Terrorism Plot Uncovered in New York City; Four Suspects Arrested
The Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested a terrorist cell in the midst of a plot to detonate improvised explosive devices (IEDs) at two Jewish synagogues and to shoot down a military plane with a Stinger surface-to-air missile at a local Air National Guard base.
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and New York City Police officers arrested four terrorism suspects in the Riverdale section of New York City's Bronx borough on Wednesday night at about 9 PM (et).
According to a briefing for NYPD Shield members, the suspects possessed "no viable weapons" at the time of their apprehension and offered no resistance to the arresting officers.
The suspected terrorists were under law enforcement surveillance during the course of the suspects' conspiracy, according to Elana DeLozier, a research speciialist with the NYPD-FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, or JTTF.
According the the NYPD Shield briefing, beginning in June 2008, the JTTF one of the conspirators spoke of martyrdom and doing "something to America. Later, the conspirator discussed his interest in joining the Pakistan-based terrorist group, Jaish-e-Mohammed. He told an FBI informant in the nearby township of Newburgh that his parents had lived in Afghanistan and that he was upset about the number of Muslims being killed in the war there and in Pakistan by American forces.
Beginning in October 2008, the conspirators discussed their desire to attack a Jewish temple in the Bronx and target a military aircraft, according to the NYPD Shield briefing. Last month the terrorists selected their targets, conducted a surveillance operation and illegally purchased a 9mm semi-automatic handgun.
Earlier this month, the terrorism suspects acquired IEDs and a surface-to-air missile and launcher.
The four men, identified as James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen, were arrested after buying an inactive missile and inert explosives in a sting operation run by the NYPD, FBI and other agencies.
"While the bombs these terrorists attempted to plant tonight were -- unbeknownst to them -- fake, this latest attempt to attack our freedoms shows that the homeland security threats against New York City are sadly all too real," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a separate statement.
New York has remained on high alert for another attack since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade Center. Almost 3,000 people died in that attack -- the worst in US history.
The four terrorism suspects are due to appear in federal court later today for arraignment on charges stemming from the plot.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's the former blog editor for the House Conservatives Fund's weblog. Recently, the editors at Examiner.com appointed him as their Law Enforcement Examiner. Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer for NewswithViews.com and PHXnews.com. He's also a columnist for AmericanDailyReview.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 300 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. If you wish to receive Kouri's emailed law enforcement and intelligence reports, write to him at COPmagazine@aol.com. Simply write "Free Subscription" on the subject line.