Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More Details Emerge About Latest NYC Terror Plotter

The alleged terrorist who sought to carry out bombings in the New York City metro area has been identified as Jose Pimentel. Among the suspected terror targets was the Bayonne, New Jersey police department, which is colocated with the City Hall and other local government agencies. Pimentel figured that it would be easier than targeting locations in New York City because of its anti-terror initiatives. Other targets included post office boxes, NYPD cops and military personnel returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the family members who came to greet them. Still another potential target was the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum.

The FBI apparently had concerns over the informant that was supplying the FBI and NYPD with information about Pimentel. The FBI apparently passed twice on Pimentel before the NYPD acted.
The FBI and federal prosecutors were unimpressed by Jose Pimentel's radical pedigree and Internet rantings, deciding he was a big talker who couldn't carry out his plans without help, sources said.

But when city cops arrested the Muslim convert over the weekend, he allegedly was drilling holes into pipes with the help of a jihadist bomb-making blueprint.

"No question in my mind that we had to take this case down," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Monday. "There was an imminent threat.

"All you have to do is look at this young man's blog to see the violent rhetoric and you see the evidence."

Pimentel, a divorced deadbeat dad with a petty-crime history, had been on the NYPD radar since 2009, when Albany cops tipped them to his radical views.

At the time, he lived upstate but he moved back to Manhattan early last year.

By September, his blog was so full of anti-American bombast and hints of violence that a confidential informant began working the case.

The feds were kept up to date as the alleged plot to blow up police cars and post offices progressed from talk to buying supplies at 99-cent stores and a Bronx Home Depot - with the assistance of the informant.

But in a replay of a different terrorism case in Queens earlier this year, the FBI and the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office took a pass.

It took several weeks for Pimentel to amass the components specified in the manual "Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom," officials say.

The criminal complaint outlines how the informant was with him when he bought some of the items. The suspect worked on the device at the informant's apartment.

On Saturday, he was an hour away by his own account from creating a functional explosive when cops grabbed him at the informant's apartment, cops said.
At the time of the arrest, the NYPD showcased a video that depicted how a device like the one Pimentel was assembling could tear apart a car and do significant damage to anyone nearby.

The NYPD's intelligence division had him under surveillance for several years, after Albany police had tipped off the NYPD to his increasing radicalization and criminal history following his divorce and his wife took custody of their son. His plans to carry out a terror attack became more concrete following the death of Anwar al-Awlaki in a US airstrike in Yemen on September 30. That was the final straw apparently, and Pimentel moved ahead with his plans to build bombs for his attacks.

The NYPD amassed hundreds of hours of recordings, and Pimentel's website is offered up as further evidence of his radicalization as a converted Muslim and his deep-seated hatred of the US; particularly its ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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