Terror Plot Foiled
A man drove from Long Island, New York, into Lower Manhattan earlier today in a van he thought was filled with explosives. He parked the van close to the Federal Reserve building, just a few blocks from the World Trade Center, and planned to detonate it using a cell phone from a nearby hotel.
The explosives, however, were fake.
The arrest of the suspect, Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, came at the end of a sting operation conducted by the FBI and the NYPD as part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force. He obtained the "explosives" from an undercover FBI agent he met online while discussing jihad, which is what initially flagged him to authorities.
The suspect was acting alone, though he thought he had partners. According to FBI acting assistant director Mary Galligan, "Two of the defendant’s ‘accomplices’ were actually an FBI source and an FBI undercover agent."
From a Justice Department press release:
"In a written statement intended to claim responsibility for the terrorist bombing of the Federal Reserve Bank on behalf of al-Qaeda, Nafis wrote that he wanted to 'destroy America' and that he believed the most efficient way to accomplish this goal was to target America’s economy. In this statement, Nafis also included quotations from 'our beloved Sheikh Osama bin Laden' to justify the fact that Nafis expected that the attack would involve the killing of women and children."
The public was never actually at risk, since the explosives were inert. The suspect is believed to be from Bangladesh; he came to this country in January with the intention of executing a terror attack.