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Homeland Security

Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Kelly And District Attorney Vance Update New Yorkers On Arrest Of Suspect In Terror Case

PR- 416-11
November 20, 2011

The following are Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s remarks as delivered at City Hall tonight

“Good evening. I’m joined by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.

“Yesterday afternoon, New York City police officers arrested a 27-year-old Al Qaeda sympathizer who was plotting to bomb police patrol cars and also postal facilities, as well as target members of our Armed Forces returning from abroad.

“Jose Pimentel of Washington Heights, which is in the northern end of Manhattan, faces terrorism-related charges that District Attorney Vance will discuss in a moment.

“Earlier today, I also described this case to U.S. Congressman Pete King, the chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, who has long been a champion of Federal support for the NYPD’s counter-terrorism efforts.

“The NYPD Intelligence Division did outstanding work in tracking this individual and containing the threat he posed to the city. The police also constructed a duplicate of an explosive device that the suspect built, and then detonated it in a way that he intended to use his weapon. We wanted to show you a video about the resulting damage.

“I should point out that our staff briefed the Governor’s staff on this earlier this evening, and I’ve asked Commissioner Kelly to discuss this case in greater detail. But first, let me make these observations.

“The suspect was a so-called lone wolf, motivated by his own resentment of the presence of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as inspired by Al Qaeda propaganda. He was not part of a larger conspiracy emanating from abroad. He represents exactly the kind of threat FBI Director Robert Mueller and his experts have warned about, as American military and intelligence agencies have eroded Al Qaeda's ability to launch large-scale attacks.

“This case is also reminiscent of another lone wolf plot in 2004 in which two New Yorkers angry over the treatment of prisoners in Iraq plotted to bomb the Herald Square subway station. Like the current case, the Herald Square plot was uncovered by the NYPD Intelligence Division.

“And as with still another case earlier this year in which a lone wolf plotted to attack a large synagogue, the NYPD teamed-up with the Manhattan District Attorney's office to prosecute Pimentel under State terrorism-related statutes.

“Whether launched by lone wolves, Al Qaeda, or Al Qaeda affiliates, there have been at least 13 previous terrorist plots since 9/11 targeting New York City. This would be the fourteenth.

“Because of such repeated threats, the NYPD remains focused on preventing another terrorist attack. We assign a thousand officers to counter-terrorism duties every single day. This is just another case where our precautions paid off.

“Now let me ask Commissioner Kelly to provide details.”

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