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Saturday, June 2, 2007

New York JFK Airport Terror Threat

FBI Counterterrorism Division seal According to the FBI, four men were charge today with conspiring to attack JFK airport in New York by planting explosives to blow up the airport’s major jet-fuel supply lines.

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 the 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 one suspect 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, that suspect 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, two suspects were longtime associates of JAM leaders. Another suspect 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, one suspect 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, one suspect 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, one suspect 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, another suspect, 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.

“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 United States 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.

For the rest of the story, please visit the New York FBI office Website for their press release: >>>>>> Four charged <<<<<<


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