3 arrested and a fourth still at large.
The plot, which never got past the planning stages, did not involve airplanes or passenger terminals, according to the two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the arrests had not yet been announced.
Sources said the plot involved a plan to blow up a jet-fuel pipeline at JFK setting off a potential massive explosion.
Details were to be given out at a 1 p.m. news conference.
The pipeline takes fuel from a facility in Linden, N.J., to the airport. Other lines service LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport.
The arrests mark the latest in a series of homegrown terrorism plots that targeted high-profile Amerian landmarks.
A year ago, seven men were arrested in what officials called the early stages of a plot to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago and destroy FBI offices and other buildings. A month later, authorities broke up a plot to bomb underwater New York City train tunnels to flood lower Manhattan.
I will bring updates and links as the news develops.
[Update] WNBC.com has the names of the three suspects that were taken into custody.
Four people have been charged. One is in custody in New York. Three suspects in total are in custody. One is still at large.
According to sources, the suspects have been identified as: Russell Defreitas, Abdul Nur, Kareem Ibrihim and Abdul Kadir.
Sources said a cargo worker at JFK allegedly began to plot attacking the US last July or August. The cargo worker sought help in carrying out a plan and went to an FBI informant, who gathered information about the plot.
The cargo worker is a U.S. citizen with roots in Guyana. Sources said he be a former government official in Guyana.
Sources said counter-terrorism officials have been following the plot for a little less than one year.
ABC7 is also reporting on this.
CNN has joined the fray.
From checking out memeorandum, I see Hot Air is also keeping track of updates as is QandO.
[Update] Search Engine shows that this is popping up in every city and state news media (139 so far, some repeats I am sure), but all the articles have the same information right now until more news comes out. [Update] 10:49am(AZ) Now 441 stories showing on the search engine.
[Update] More from Fox:
A senior law enforcement official told FOX News that of the three arrests, one was in New York and two were in Trinidad. The New York suspect was identified as Russell Afreitas, a former JFK employee who allegedly planned to attack the airport's fuel supply because he thought he could do more damage than attacking a passenger terminal. Afreitas is a Muslim U.S. citizen from Guyana.That is the goal of terrorists, whether they are al-Qaeda, home grown and internet trained (as was the group that was arrested last month for planning an attack on Fort Dix) or any other terror group, all they want to do is kill as many innocent people as possible.
I will follow up after the press conference which has been moved to 1:15pm.
[Update] News Conference so far confirms, 3 were charged and arrested, 1 in Guyana, 2 in Trnidad and 1 in New York and a 4th is at large, I beleive they said in Guyana.
Awaiting a transcript to link to.
The fuel line runs 40 miles from New Jersey to JFK and setting off explosions in that fuel line would have killed countless amounts of people, which was their goal.
[Update] 10:52 (AZ)- Hot Air points out a coincedence:
No one’s said this is a jihadist plot (yet), and the locales here are probably a coincidence, but there is one notorious Al Qaeda operative at large with ties to both Guyana and Trinidad who’s allegedly been looking to hit the U.S. for a long time.
This latest foiled plot makes it clear that we cannot let our guard down, people must report suspicious activities and most importantly, we must note that this plot has been under observation for nearly a year before they were able to charge them and arrest them.
There are investigations going on right this second that we know nothing about because reporting on it would warn them that they are under observation.
Be vigilant but stop assuming that we are 100% safe, we aren't.
[Update] From ABC News'-The Blotter:
FBI agents feared but never confirmed the three men accused of plotting to attack John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York were linked to one of the most wanted al Qaeda leaders, Adnan Shukrijumah, known to have operated out of Guyana and Trinidad.
Officials tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com that they heard repeated references to "Adnan" during the extensive wiretaps conducted on the suspects' telephone conversations, including calls to Guyana and Trinidad.
There is a $5 million reward for information on Shukrijumah, who officials consider extremely dangerous because of the years he spent living in the Miami area and his known ties to al Qaeda. Some of the 9/ll hijackers attended a south Florida mosque run by Shukrijumah's now deceased father.
The New York Times:
The plan, which was described by United States Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf as “one of the most chilling plots imaginable,” involved a former airport worker who is a United States citizen of Guyanese descent and a former member of the Guyanese parliament, who is also an imam.
The former airport worker, Russell Defreitas, was in custody in Brooklyn and was expected to be arraigned this afternoon. The former Guyanese parliament member, Abdul Kadir, and Kareem Ibrahim of Trinidad, were in custody in Trinidad. A fourth man, Abdel Nur, of Guyana, was still being sought, law enforcement officials said.
If convicted, the men could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.
More information is still coming out, so I will continue updating this post as the day goes on.
[Update] Hot Air has a link to the PDF file of the complaint. Download PDF File.
ALSO, NewsBusters is waiting for the insanity on the left to start spouting about conspiracy theories blaming Bush for the "timing" of the arrest... I have to agree that Bush Derangement Syndrome shoud be in full frontal assault mode within hours, and will bring them to you as they come out.
[Update] Michelle Malkin is also all over this and has excerpts of the complaint itself on top. (Correction added)
[Update] Not a conspiracy theory yet but just as bad, Taylor Marsh does not see "plans" to kill innocent people, from at least 4 different people which makes it a "conspiracy", as "breaking news", and in fact Marsh actually calls reporting this as breaking news as "silly".
However, here's a clue. The news conference is being held behind closed doors on the 10th floor somewhere so cameras can't get in. It's highly likely that this was a non event that should never have been broadcast in the first place. Not every yahoo with grandeous plans of bombing planes is worth a "breaking news" headline. At some point law enforcement has to start separating the silly from the serious. Over reaction is as potentially dangerous as no reaction at all.
They live in denial and I guess to people as clueless as this, only when thousands of people actually are killed in a terrorist attack should we speak of it.
They wonder why the public doesn't trust far left liberal democrats with our National Security? That is a perfect reason why we don't and we won't.
Joe Gandelman from the Moderate Voice "gets it".
The story is a stark reminder that terrorist threats now come from several sources and that the U.S. can’t let its guard down.
[Update] Yupppppp, first hint of "conspiracy theory" in the Talk Left comment section.
Yep (5.00 / 1) (#2)
by rdandrea on Sat Jun 02, 2007 at 03:06:42 PM EST
Libby sentencing this week, time for a terror bust.
NewsBusters called it....
To be fair, Talk Left gave the news without making false accusations and cannot be held accountable for the commenters idiocy.
[Major Update] 1:13pm (AZ)- The Department of Justice has issued their official release:
Four Individuals Charged in Plot to
Bomb John F. Kennedy International Airport
Plot Targets Airport’s Jet Fuel Supply Tanks and Pipeline
Defendants Include Extremists in United States, Guyana, and Trinidad
BROOKLYN, NY – Four individuals, including a former member of the parliament of Guyana and a former airport cargo worker at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), have been charged with conspiring to attack JFK airport by planting explosives to blow up the airport’s major jet-fuel supply tanks and pipeline. The plot was foiled well before it came to fruition through an outstanding law enforcement effort in the United States and abroad.
The arrests were announced today by Roslynn R. Mauskopf, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Mark J. Mershon, Assistant Director-in-Charge, FBI, New York Field Office, Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department, Samuel J. Plumeri, Superintendent of Police/Director of Public Safety, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department, and Michael Balboni, Deputy Secretary for Public Safety, New York State Department of Homeland Security.
Agents from the FBI Joint Terrorist Task Force (JTTF) arrested one of the defendants, former JFK employee Russell Defreitas, a U.S. citizen and native of Guyana, in Brooklyn, New York. He is expected to make his initial appearance at 2:00 p.m. today before United States Magistrate Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York. Abdul Kadir, a citizen of Guyana who has served as a member of the Guyanese Parliament, and Kareem Ibrahim, a citizen of Trinidad, are in custody in Trinidad. A fourth defendant, Abdel Nur, is a citizen of Guyana. The United States plans to seek their extradition.
According to the criminal complaint, beginning in January 2006 and continuing to the present, the defendants conspired to destroy buildings, fuel tanks, and fuel pipelines at JFK airport with explosives. JFK handles on average over 1,000 flights daily, approximately half of which are international flights, and handles annually, approximately 45 million passengers and over 1.5 million tons of cargo with an estimated value of $120 billion. The fuel supply for these operations are linked primarily to the Buckeye Pipeline, which distributes fuel and other petroleum products to various sites in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Queens, New York, among others.
As alleged in the complaint, the plot tapped into an international network of Muslim extremists from the United States, Guyana, and Trinidad, and utilized the knowledge, expertise, and contacts of the conspirators to develop and plan the plot, and obtain operational support and capability to carry it out. For example, as part of the plot, the conspirators dispatched Defreitas from Guyana to conduct video and photo surveillance of JFK airport on four occasions in January 2007. During the surveillance and using his knowledge of airport operations from his prior employment, Defreitas identified targets and escape routes and assessed airport security. The defendants also obtained satellite photographs of JFK airport and its facilities from the internet and traveled frequently between the United States, Guyana, and Trinidad to discuss their plans and solicit the financial and technical assistance of others.
The defendants used their connections to present their terrorist plot to radical groups in South America and the Caribbean, including senior leadership of Jamaat Al Muslimeen (“JAM”), which was responsible for a deadly coup attempt in Trinidad in 1990. As the complaint alleges, defendants Kadir and Nur were longtime associates of JAM leaders. Defendant Kareem also was preparing to send an emissary overseas to present the plan to other extremists.
An informant working with law enforcement agents began monitoring the plot at its early stages and made numerous recorded conversations with the defendants. In a recorded conversation following one of the surveillance missions to JFK airport, Defreitas predicted that the attacks would result in the destruction of “the whole of Kennedy,” that only a few people would survive the attack, and that because of the location of the targeted fuel pipelines, part of Queens would explode.
In discussing JFK airport as a target, Defreitas exulted over JFK airport’s symbolic importance:
Anytime you hit Kennedy, it is the most hurtful thing to the United States. To hit John F. Kennedy, wow .... They love John F. Kennedy like he’s the man .... If you hit that, this whole country will be in mourning. It’s like you can kill the man twice.
In a later recorded conversation with his coconspirators in May 2007, Defreitas compared the plot to attack JFK airport to the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, stating, “even the Twin Towers can’t touch it,” adding that, “this can destroy the economy of America for some time.”
In discussing the plans, Kadir stressed the goal of causing economic damage and suggested minimizing the killing of innocent men and women. In one conversation, Kadir and Defreitas discussed the need to disable the airport control tower from which airport security monitors the fuel tank locations. Kadir, an engineer by training, explained that the tanks were, most likely, double tanks, requiring two explosions to provide enough oxygen to ignite the fuel inside the inner tank.
Kenneth L. Wainstein, Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the Justice Department, said, “The defendants sought to combine an insider’s knowledge of JFK Airport with the assistance of Islamic radicals in the Caribbean to produce an attack that they boasted would be so devastating to the airport that ‘even the Twin Towers can’t touch it.’ Like the Fort Dix case several weeks ago, this plot highlights the evolving nature of the terrorist threat we face, and our investigation into both plots highlights how our agents and prosecutors are refining their capability to detect and pre-empt such plots before they advance to a dangerous stage.”
“The defendants are charged with conspiring to bomb one of the busiest airports in the United States, located in one of the most densely populated areas in the northeast – had the plot been carried out, it could have resulted in unfathomable damage, deaths, and destruction,” stated U.S. Attorney Mauskopf. “But, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of law enforcement, the defendants’ plan never reached the operational stage, and the public was never at risk. We remain unwavering in our commitment to stop terrorist plots before they become terrorist acts and will spare no effort to secure the safety of the public.” Ms. Mauskopf added that the investigation is continuing.
Mark J. Mershon, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, stated, “The defendants had the connections to present their terrorist plot to radical groups in South America and the Caribbean, including senior leadership of Jamaat Al Muslimeen (“JAM”), which was responsible for a deadly coup attempt in Trinidad in 1990. As the complaint alleges, defendants Kadir and Nur were longtime associates of JAM leaders. Defendant Kareem was also preparing to send an emissary overseas to present the plan to extremist networks there when law enforcement stepped in to disrupt it.
“Once again, terrorists have plotted against New York, and once more NYPD detectives and FBI agents joined forces to deny them. A disaster has been averted. Congratulations to both in thwarting this plot, and to the Port Authority Police Department with whom the NYPD continues to work closely to protect JFK International Airport,” stated Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.
“This announcement demonstrates, once again, that there are people continuously plotting violence against our vital assets and our homeland. This investigation and the arrests that are related to it prove that the cooperation of state, local, and federal law enforcement can produce real results that help to make our state and nation safer,” stated Michael Balboni, Deputy Secretary for Public Safety, New York State Department of Homeland Security.
If convicted of conspiring to attack JFK airport with explosives, each of the defendants faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The charges in the complaint are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey Knox and Marshall L. Miller of the Violent Crimes and Terrorism Section.
Reuters gives us a couple of teasers from conversations, including comments from Russell Defreitas:
"Any time you hit Kennedy, it is the most hurtful thing to the United States. To hit John F. Kennedy, wow ... they love John F. Kennedy like he's the man ... if you hit that, this whole country will be mourning. You can kill the man twice," Defreitas said in another conversation, it said.
"Even the twin towers can't touch it," referring to the September 11 attacks in another comment that the law enforcement authorities said was recorded last month. "This can destroy the economy of America for some time."
[Update] Fox News has some reactions from the suspects family members.
More still coming in, I will continue to update.
Tracked back by:
Four arrested in plot to bomb fuel lines at JFK ai from Tel-Chai Nation...