NEW YORK — The FBI yesterday arrested a Bangladeshi man in a sting operation on charges he attempted to blow up the New York Federal Reserve Bank with what he believed was a 1,000-pound (450-kg) bomb, federal authorities said.
Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, faces charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda, the US Department of Justice said in a statement. If convicted, he faces life in prison.
The FBI said the public was not in danger because the explosives provided to Nafis were never in working condition and the suspect was closely monitored by the undercover agent – highlighting a script law enforcement has employed several times this year in similar cases, including one in Washington and another in Ohio.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Barack Obama had been briefed about the arrest.
“Attempting to destroy a landmark building and kill or maim untold numbers of innocent bystanders is about as serious as the imagination can conjure,” said Mary Galligan, FBI acting assistant director-in-charge. “The defendant faces appropriately severe consequences.”
In an initial appearance in federal court in Brooklyn yesterday, Nafis wore a plain brown crew-neck T-shirt, dark-coloured jeans and sneakers. He barely spoke during the brief hearing, mumbling answers of “yes” to questions from US Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann.
According to the criminal complaint, Nafis travelled to the United States in January 2012. Once in New York, he claimed to be in contact with al Qaeda members overseas, although federal agents found no evidence that he was working for al Qaeda or that he was directed by the organisation, according to a US official who declined to be named. (Reuters)