An Islamic terrorist plot to blow up the New York Federal Reserve Bank building has been thwarted. 21-year-old Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, a Bangladeshi man who entered the United States on a student visa in January 2012, was arrested Wednesday morning after he allegedly attempted to remotely detonate a fake 1,000-pound car bomb outside the lower Manhattan building that sits only a few blocks from Ground Zero. A criminal complaint filed in the Eastern District of New York alleges that Nafis “did knowingly, intentionally and without lawful authority attempt to use a weapon of mass destruction,” and that he “did knowingly and intentionally attempt to provide material support and resources…including communications equipment, explosives and personnel, including himself, to a foreign terrorist organization, to wit: al-Qaeda.”
The complaint further alleges that Nafis had come to America specifically to put together a terrorist cell and carry out an attack. Fortunately, one of the people Nafis attempted to recruit worked for the FBI as a confidential human source (CHS). “On or around July 5, 2012” Nafis contacted the CHA telling the informant that he had come from Bangladesh to wage “jihad.” Nafis also revealed that he considers all Muslim and Muslim sheikhs in the U.S. to be “Talafi” meaning not true Muslims, that he “admired” Sheikh “O,” whom the CHS assumed was Osama Bin Laden, and that he admired the magazine starting with “I,” which the CHS believed referred to “Inspire,” an “al-Qaeda affiliate-sponsored” publication. Nafis described the United States as “dar al-garb” meaning land of war in Arabic, and also discussed his “martyrdom” in the conversation.
Between July and October, several additional meetings and consensually recorded phone calls took place between Nafis and the CHS, during which plans began taking shape regarding a potential attack in New York’s financial district. Nafis told the informant that he had al-Qaeda contacts abroad and that he intended to return to Bangaladesh for terrorist training. He also revealed that he was collaborating with two other individuals, one in Bangladesh, and one in the U.S. (a “co-conspirator” who has also been arrested) and that all of them were “ready for action.” In July, the co-conspirator informed the CHS that Nafis also wanted to “attack and kill a high-ranking government official.”
As the plans unfolded, the CHS told Nafis that he knew someone in al-Qaeda. Nafis agreed to meet with the individual, who was actually an undercover agent (UC), in Central Park. Nafis then made his intentions clear. “What I really mean, is that I don’t want something that’s like, small,” he told the agent. “I just want something big. Something very big. Very very very very big, that will shake the whole country, that will make America, not one step ahead, change of policy, and make one step ahead, for the Muslims…that will make us one step closer to run the whole world.”
In August, Nafis was considering the New York Stock Exchange as his target and began casing it, even as he remained under surveillance. He told the UC he needed a “big car with lots of fruits and vegetables in there which can blow up the whole New York Stock Exchange building” in order “to make sure that this building is gone.” By September, for unexplained “operational reasons,” Nafis made the Federal Reserve Bank on Liberty Street his target. Nafis understood that an attack would result in “a large number of casualties, including women and children,” but he was fine with proceeding.
Originally, Nafis assumed he would martyr himself in the attack and expressed a desire to visit his family before it happened. The undercover agent kept him in the country by telling him that, per al-Qaeda instructions, he could detonate the bomb by remote control. “Indeed, Nafis was excited by the new plan to detonate the explosive device remotely because, he indicated, it would allow him to conduct additional terrorist attacks on U.S. soil,” the complaint stated.
By October, Nafis had obtained “numerous items for use in the explosive device, including batteries and other electrical components” and he attended a meeting in a New York warehouse with the UC to finalize purchases, and make a “very concrete plan.” At another meeting, several 20-pounds bags of phony explosive material were brought to the warehouse, put into a van, and covered with a tarp. Nafis was given a thumb drive containing an article he had written about his motivations, one that he thought Inspire magazine would publish after he carried out his plan.
After a few more days of preparation, Nafis drove to Lower Manhattan prepared to carry out the attack. On the way, he mentioned that his jihadist views had been shaped in part by slain American terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki. He parked his van in front of the Fed and went to a hotel room, where he told the UC to record a statement for the public. “We will not stop until we obtain victory or martyrdom,” he said, while covering his face and disguising his voice. He then made repeated attempts to detonate the bomb “by placing multiple telephone calls to the cellular telephone which he had installed as the initiating device for the detonator.” After agents entered the vehicle and confirmed the detonator had been activated, Nafis was arrested.
On Thursday, he appeared in court in Brooklyn. He did not enter a plea, and was ordered held without bail. If convicted, he faces a life sentence.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly praised his police force, even as he reminded Americans that terrorists have “tried time and again to make New York City their killing field.” “We are up to 15 plots and counting since 9/11, with the Federal Reserve now added to a list of iconic targets that previously included the Brooklyn Bridge, the New York Stock Exchange, and Citicorp Center,” Kelly said in his statement.
The New York Post also reminded people of something as well: NYPD’s efforts to keep terrorists at bay have been denigrated by the Associated Press and the New York Times. “The press agency–and its soul-mates at The New York Times–work tirelessly to weaken terror-monitoring programs, particularly those run by New York’s Finest,” the editorial stated. “The AP even won a Pulitzer Prize for its exertions (which says much more about the state of modern American journalism than it does about the NYPD).”
In March 2008, during a meeting commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security, former President George W. Bush stated two essential realities about Islamic jihad that still apply today. And they apply, no matter how hard the unholy alliance of Muslim organizations such as CAIR and ISNA and their leftist allies try to obscure them. “At this moment, somewhere in the world, a terrorist is planning an attack on us. I know that’s an inconvenient thought for some, but it is the truth,” said Bush. He later added a sobering reality. “To attack us, the terrorists only have to be right once; to stop them, we need to be right 100 percent of the time.”
The FBI New York Field Office’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and detectives from the New York Police Department got it right once again. The nation owes them a great deal of gratitude for their efforts.
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