Informant helps FBI stop NY terrorists

Thanks to an invaluable informant and a carefully orchestrated FBI operation, the plans of four amateur NY-based terrorists have been thwarted. The undercover investigation lasted about a year – time very well spent as New York was spared the bombing of two Bronx synagogues and the shooting down of planes at an Air National Guard base.

James Cromitie (aka Abdul Rehman)The four men hail from Newburgh, NY (about 70 miles north of Manhattan); three were born in the U.S. and one in Haiti. They were arrested last night, caught in the act of planting “explosives” at the Riverdale Temple and the Riverdale Jewish Center. The bombs weren’t real, as the informant provided them courtesy of the FBI (though he told the men he procured them from a Pakistan-based terrorist group with which he was affiliated). He also gave the group an FBI-manufactured missile that wasn’t capable of firing.

Back in June 2008, the informant (obviously unnamed) started working with James Cromitie (also known as Abdul Rehman), one of the four men involved in the plot. The story goes that Cromitie was full of hate towards America and openly expressed his feelings to the informant. He was angry about the death of Muslims in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and he figured it was payback time for the U.S. Cromitie also spoke of moving to Afghanistan, where he was convinced he’d make his way to paradise if he died for the cause. He wanted to join the terrorist group the informant claimed to be connected to, so he could play his part in jihad.

In October, the group plus our FBI informant started meeting at a so-called safe house that was wired with FBI video cams and audio recorders. During their planning sessions, Cromitie and his co-conspirators (David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen) discussed which New York targets they were going to hit.

Cops guarding Riverdale Jewish Center a day after the arrestNew York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says the guys probably got acquainted in prison, where they all did time for various drug and assault-related charges. The connection between the four and the informant was likely a mosque in Newburgh called Masjid al-Ikhlas, or Orange County’s Islamic Learning Center.

Things are moving quickly since the four men were arrested on Wednesday night. Charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction within the U.S. and conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles, they appeared in federal court in White Plains, N.Y. today.

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