Federal Reserve Ban of New York terrorism plot - New York News

Conflicting images emerge of Federal Reserve terror suspect

Posted: Updated:

COLLEEN LONG | AP 

NEW YORK (AP) — At the Missouri college where Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis enrolled, a classmate said he often remarked that true Muslims don't believe in violence.

That image seemed startlingly at odds with the Bangladesh native's arrest in an FBI sting this week on charges of trying to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank in New York with what he thought was a 1,000-pound car bomb.

"I can't imagine being more shocked about somebody doing something like this," said Jim Dow, a 54-year-old Army veteran who rode home from class with Nafis twice a week. "I didn't just meet this kid a couple of times. We talked quite a bit. ... And this doesn't seem to be in character."

Nafis' family in Dhaka, Bangladesh, denied he could have been involved in the plot. His parents said he was incapable of such actions and came to America only to study.

Federal investigators, often accused by defense attorneys of entrapping and leading would-be terrorists along, said the 21-year-old Nafis made the first move over the summer, reaching out for accomplices and eventually contacting a government informant, who then went to federal authorities.

They said he also selected his target, drove the van loaded with dummy explosives up to the door of the bank, and tried to set off the bomb from a hotel room using a cellphone he thought had been rigged as a detonator.

During the investigation, he and the informant corresponded via Facebook and other social media, talked on the phone and met in hotel rooms, according to a law enforcement official who was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Nafis spoke of his admiration for Osama bin Laden, talked of writing an article about his plot for an al-Qaida-affiliated magazine, and said he would be willing to be a martyr but preferred to go home to his family after carrying out the attack, authorities said. And he also talked about wanting to kill President Barack Obama and bomb the New York Stock Exchange, a law enforcement official said.

Investigators said in court papers that he came to the U.S. bent on jihad and worked out the specifics of a plot when he arrived. While Nafis believed he had the blessing of al-Qaida and was acting on behalf of the terrorist group, he has no known ties, according to federal officials.

Nafis, who at the time of his arrest Wednesday was working as a busboy at a restaurant in Manhattan, was jailed without bail. His attorney has not commented on the case, but in other instances where undercover agents and sting operations were used, lawyers have argued entrapment.

Investigators would not say exactly how he initially contacted the government informant.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, whose department had a role in the arrest as a member of a joint federal-state terrorism task force, said the entrapment argument rarely prevails.

"You have to be otherwise not disposed to do a crime," Kelly said. "And if it's your intent to do a crime, and somehow there are means made available, then generally speaking, the entrapment defense does not succeed."

Meanwhile, a law enforcement official said the bomb plot investigation led to the arrest of a San Diego man on child porn charges.

Howard Willie Carter II was arraigned Thursday in federal court in San Diego on three counts of child pornography. He pleaded not guilty.

Investigators discovered child porn on Carter's computer after he communicated online with Nafis.

The official was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Carter wasn't charged in the bomb plot, but he's listed as an unnamed co-conspirator in the federal complaint against Nafis.

Nafis was a terrible student in his native Bangladesh, and his middle-class parents said he persuaded them to send him to study in the U.S. as a way of improving his job prospects. They don't believe he was planning an attack.

His father, a banker, said Nafis was so timid he couldn't venture out onto the roof alone.

"My son couldn't have done it," Quazi Ahsanullah said, weeping.

"He is very gentle and devoted to his studies," he said, pointing to Nafis' time studying at the private North South University in Dhaka.

Belal Ahmed, a spokesman for the university, said Nafis was put on probation and threatened with expulsion if he didn't bring his grades up. Nafis eventually stopped coming to school, Ahmed said.

Ahsanullah said his son had argued that a U.S. degree would give him a better chance at success in Bangladesh. "I spent all my savings to send him to America," the father said.

Nafis moved to Missouri, where he studied cybersecurity at Southeast Missouri State University. He also became vice president of the school's Muslim Student Association and began attending a mosque.

But he withdrew after one semester and requested over the summer that his records be transferred to a school in Brooklyn. The university declined to identify which school.

Dow, his former classmate at Southeast Missouri State, said Nafis spoke admiringly of bin Laden. At the same time, "he told me he didn't really believe bin Laden was involved in the twin towers because he said bin Laden was a religious man, and a religious man wouldn't have done something like that," Dow said.

He said Nafis gave Dow a copy of the Quran and asked him to read it. But he "didn't rant or rave or say crazy stuff," Dow said.

"What really shocked me the most was he had specifically spoken to me about true Muslims not believing in violence," Dow said.

Dion Duncan of St. Louis, a fellow student and member of the Muslim organization, said: "Nafis was a good kid. He showed no traces of anti-Americanism, or death to America, or anything like that. He was a trustworthy, honest kid."

"He was polite and courteous. He was helpful. All the things you would expect from a good Muslim kid. He prayed five times a day," Duncan said.

___

Associated Press Writers David B. Caruso in New York, Jim Suhr in St. Louis, Julie Watson in San Diego, and Farid Hossain in Dhaka, Bangladesh, contributed to this report.

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • Cardinal, leaders meet about NYPD-community relations

    Cardinal, leaders meet about NYPD-community relations

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 6:41 PM EDT2014-08-20 22:41:51 GMT
    Timothy Cardinal Dolan gathered religious and city leaders with the focus of how to ease tensions between police and the community in advance of this Saturday's march to protest the death of Eric Garner. Some of the leaders in this group are rarely photographed together, let alone seated at the same table. But they were brought together over concerns about possible protest violence by the cardinal, one of the most powerful figures in the city and who commands respect across the board.
    Timothy Cardinal Dolan gathered religious and city leaders with the focus of how to ease tensions between police and the community in advance of this Saturday's march to protest the death of Eric Garner. Some of the leaders in this group are rarely photographed together, let alone seated at the same table. But they were brought together over concerns about possible protest violence by the cardinal, one of the most powerful figures in the city and who commands respect across the board.
  • New York's daring Instagrammers

    New York's daring Instagrammers

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 6:03 PM EDT2014-08-20 22:03:35 GMT
    Pull out your smartphone on any given day, tap on Instagram and you'll find a lot of selfies. But while the rest of us clog our feeds with our best pouty faces, a group of photographers scales and then hangs off bridges and buildings in a contest to produce the most daring photograph in New York City.
    Pull out your smartphone on any given day, tap on Instagram and you'll find a lot of selfies. But while the rest of us clog our feeds with our best pouty faces, a group of photographers scales and then hangs off bridges and buildings in a contest to produce the most daring photograph in New York City.
  • Five Guys offers bacon milkshakes

    Five Guys offers bacon milkshakes

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 4:32 PM EDT2014-08-20 20:32:27 GMT
    Burger chain Five Guys is testing the adage that everything tastes better with bacon. It is rolling out a customizable milkshake program and along with bananas, peanut butter, Oreo cookies, salted caramel, you can chose bacon.  Yes that's right: a bacon milkshake.
    Burger chain Five Guys is testing the adage that everything tastes better with bacon. It is rolling out a customizable milkshake program and along with bananas, peanut butter, Oreo cookies, salted caramel, you can chose bacon.  Yes that's right: a bacon milkshake.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • New York's daring Instagrammers

    New York's daring Instagrammers

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 6:03 PM EDT2014-08-20 22:03:35 GMT
    Pull out your smartphone on any given day, tap on Instagram and you'll find a lot of selfies. But while the rest of us clog our feeds with our best pouty faces, a group of photographers scales and then hangs off bridges and buildings in a contest to produce the most daring photograph in New York City.
    Pull out your smartphone on any given day, tap on Instagram and you'll find a lot of selfies. But while the rest of us clog our feeds with our best pouty faces, a group of photographers scales and then hangs off bridges and buildings in a contest to produce the most daring photograph in New York City.
  • Designer clothes at giant thrift shop in NJ

    Designer clothes at giant thrift shop in NJ

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 5:57 PM EDT2014-08-20 21:57:04 GMT
    Like most soon-to-be third graders, Sonja knows what she's looking for when it comes to back-to-school shopping. For kids trying to be fashionable -- and parents looking to keep it affordable -- there's the Ocean County Hunger Relief Warehouse in Toms River, New Jersey. It's basically a huge thrift shop.
    Like most soon-to-be third graders, Sonja knows what she's looking for when it comes to back-to-school shopping. For kids trying to be fashionable -- and parents looking to keep it affordable -- there's the Ocean County Hunger Relief Warehouse in Toms River, New Jersey. It's basically a huge thrift shop.
  • Snow leopard cubs on display at Bronx Zoo

    Snow leopard cubs on display at Bronx Zoo

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 4:55 PM EDT2014-08-20 20:55:28 GMT
    Two snow leopard cubs born at the Bronx Zoo in the spring are now on display in the Himalayan Highlands exhibit with their mother, the Wildlife Conservation Society announced. The male cubs were born May 6 to first-time parents, the WCS said. The Bronx Zoo participates in a cooperative breeding program with other zoos around the country to prevent inbreeding and make sure zoo animals are genetically viable.
    Two snow leopard cubs born at the Bronx Zoo in the spring are now on display in the Himalayan Highlands exhibit with their mother, the Wildlife Conservation Society announced. The male cubs were born May 6 to first-time parents, the WCS said. The Bronx Zoo participates in a cooperative breeding program with other zoos around the country to prevent inbreeding and make sure zoo animals are genetically viable.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices