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NPR Politics presents the Lunchbox List: our favorite campaign news and stories curated from NPR and around the Web in digestible bites (100 words or less!). Look for it every weekday afternoon from now until the conventions.

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Man Arrested For Allegedly Trying To Bomb N.Y. Federal Reserve

Oct 17, 2012
Originally published on October 17, 2012 5:50 pm

"Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, was arrested this morning in downtown Manhattan after he allegedly attempted to detonate what he believed to be a 1,000-pound bomb at the New York Federal Reserve Bank on Liberty Street in lower Manhattan's financial district," the FBI confirms an email just sent to reporters.

It adds that:

"The arrest of Nafis was the culmination of an undercover operation during which he was closely monitored by the FBI New York Field Office's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). The explosives that he allegedly sought and attempted to use had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement and posed no threat to the public. ...

"The defendant faces charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaida. ...

"According to the criminal complaint filed today in the Eastern District of New York, defendant Nafis, a Bangladeshi national, traveled to the United States in January 2012 for the purpose of conducting a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Nafis, who reported having overseas connections to al-Qaida, attempted to recruit individuals to form a terrorist cell inside the United States. Nafis also actively sought out al-Qaida contacts within the United States to assist him in carrying out an attack. Unbeknownst to Nafis, one of the individuals he attempted to recruit was actually a source for the FBI. Through the investigation, FBI agents and NYPD detectives working with the JTTF were able to closely monitor Nafis as he attempted to implement his plan."

The New York Post, which got word of the arrest before it was announced, reports being told by sources that "this morning, after parking [a] van, [the suspect] went to the Millennium Hotel near the World Trade Center, where he called the cell phone in the van. It did not explode, and he was arrested by federal agents. The terrorist was the only one arrested, sources said."

Update at 5:45 p.m. ET. Case Differs From Some Others:

This case, NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports, appears to be different from other undercover operations the FBI has conducted recently. The criminal complaint indicates that the motivation for an attack came from Nafis and that he came to the U.S. with an attack in mind. He was not first identified because he was boasting about jihad in an Internet chat room and then picked up by undercover agents. Also: Nafis allegedly claimed to have a connection to al-Qaida — though it is unclear if that is true.

Update at 4 p.m. ET. More From The FBI.

The agency has been tweeting about this investigation. It just posted that:

"Nafis also referred to 'beloved Sheikh Osama bin Laden' to justify killing of women and children."

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