(photo credit: CBS/Facebook)
Times Square has been a popular target for a number of Muslim terrorist plots and attacks.
Sources told CBS2 that Ashiqul Alam was taken into custody by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes both the NYPD and FBI.
The 22-year-old man from Queens allegedly bought guns and wanted to use a suicide vest and grenades to attack Times Square to kill police officers and civilians.
Authorities say Alam bought two guns with their serial numbers removed from undercover agents.
“Mr. Alam discussed guns, suicide vests, hand grenades, and surveilled crowded New York targets such as Times Square”, said Police Commissioner James O’Neill. “Our job is to prevent these terrorist attacks whenever we can before they are carried out. This case is another example of the tightly-knit teamwork of the JTTF and the NYPD’s Intelligence Bureau. Mr. Alam is charged with illegally purchasing untraceable firearms from undercover officers. That was a clear indicator of his intent to move his plot forward.”
Authorities say Alam wanted to either attack Times Square or Washington D.C., with an eye toward killing a “senior government official.”
Alam reportedly went to Times Square for reconnaissance and made videos as he was researching potential targets.
Authorities say Alam underwent laser surgery to correct his vision and allegedly linked his decision to get surgery with his plot.
“Let’s say we are in an attack, right, say that my glasses fall off. What if I accidentally shoot you? You know what I mean. Imagine what the news channel would call me the ‘Looney Tunes Terrorist’ or the ‘Blind Terrorist,’” Alam allegedly said.
Police believe he was working alone.
A LinkedIn profile of an Ashiqul Alam states that he is a student at John Jay College. It's unknown if that is the same person, but the photo being used of Ashiqul Alam by the media links to a Facebook account which includes multiple links for John Jay pages.
Including, Students for Justice in Palestine at John Jay College
That would suggest that Alam, assuming it is the same man, is a supporter of the notorious anti-Semitic campus hate group.
Other links include the Bangladesh Muslim League, Jaamat e-Islami Pakistan, Pakistan is Not a Terrorists Country, Islamic Knowledge, Defense of Indian Subcontinent, AK-47 Fans and Moderate Muslims.
This raises yet more questions about the degree to which SJP's campus presence is normalizing violence.