Monday, September 14, 2009

Terror Bust In Queens

Media outlets are reporting that the Joint Terrorism Task Force has raided a number of residences in Queens, New York.
Law enforcement agents raided residences in New York City on Monday as part of a terrorism investigation, and prepared to brief Congress about the probe.

New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne confirmed that searches were conducted in the borough of Queens by agents of a joint terrorism task force. He would not discuss the matter further.

Separately, federal authorities planned to brief senior lawmakers in Congress on the case later Monday.
Expect to hear from Rep. Peter King shortly, as he represents Queens.

The last major terror bust in New York City was this past May, when the FBI arrested five men in connection with a plot to blow synagogues in the Bronx and take out aircraft flying out of Stewart International Airport near Newburgh, New York. Before that, in 2008 a group of four men were arrested plotting to blow up JFK Airport and the gas lines that run to and through the airport vicinity.

According to NY1, no arrests have been made.
The NYPD says one of the residences is located on 147th Street between Parsons and 41st Avenue in Flushing, Queens.

The Associated Press reports that the investigation is terrorism-related but neither the FBI nor the NYPD will confirm those claims.

The FBI says several criminal search warrants were issued but no arrests have been made at this time.
Also, the timing of this is interesting given that President Obama was in New York City not too far from my office in Lower Manhattan when he gave a speech at Federal Hall. Also, he met with former President Bill Clinton for lunch in the Village.

Needless to say, security would be tight under normal circumstances, but a terror bust an immediate briefing with Congress does raise eyebrows. There will be much more to this story.

Via Reuters:
New York City police and the FBI raided at least one home in the borough of Queens early on Monday as part of an investigation into suspected terrorism, focusing on one man who has been under surveillance, officials said.

Members of U.S. Congress briefed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation said there was no imminent danger.

"There was nothing imminent, and they are very good now at tracking potentially dangerous actions and this was preventive," said Charles Schumer, a U.S. Senator from New York who was among those briefed by FBI officials.

The New York Times, citing an unnamed senior law enforcement official, said authorities had uncovered a small group of people who espoused a militant ideology aligned with al Qaeda.

Neither a specific plot nor a target of any planned attack had been detected, but their activities had aroused enough suspicion to obtain search warrants, the Times said.

Schumer told reporters the rumors indicated the terrorist threat was related to an upcoming appearance in New York by President Barack Obama but authorities learned that this was not true.

Peter King, a Republican congressman from New York who was also briefed on the case, told ABC News: "He was being watched and concern grew as he met with a group of individuals in Queens over the weekend.
Agents were looking for powders, gels, fuses, TNT, and other materials that could be used in explosives at several locations in Queens. There was nothing imminent according to this report, but they were looking at a residence of five Afghan men.

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