I found a story on NY1 that an Ohio truck driver admitted Thursday he was part of a terrorist plot to sabotage the Brooklyn Bridge. This is some scary ass stuff. I don’t know about other New Yorkers, but I’m freaked. Here we are in June, and coming up in 3 months is the 2 year anniversary of the World Trade Center. I am not sure how to stay in New York City, and not go koo koo. For anyone that doesn’t know, I was a first responder to the WTC with an ambulance on September 11th so for me all of this is a little more real than for someone that watched it on TV.
Attorney General John Ashcroft said 34-year-old Iyman Faris pleaded guilty to two felony charges, including conspiracy and providing material support to terrorists. The charges together carry as much as 20 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines.
Ashcroft says Faris scouted out the Brooklyn Bridge during a visit to New York last year, then sent a coded message to the al Qaeda terror group. As part of his guilty plea, Faris admitted he was told by a senior al Qaeda operative to get “gas cutters,” equipment that could have been used to cut bridge cables.
“This case has many of the hallmarks we have come to recognize in al Qaeda operations: recruitment of sympathetic operatives, extensive planning, travel inside several countries and extensive use of hard to track communications, such as cell phones and Internet cafes,” Ashcroft said.
Justice Department officials say Faris was also plotting to blow up aircraft and derail trains in the United States.
“From late 2000 to March of this year, Faris worked in concert with al Qaeda – our enemies – to plot potential attacks against America and its citizens,” said Ashcroft.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Faris conducted surveillance of the Brooklyn Bridge and saw tight security, so he allegedly sent this coded message back to al Qaeda: “The weather is too hot.”
Kelly credited the NYPD’s counter-terrorism work. The bridge is under 24-our surveillance and heavily-armed police teams guard city landmarks.
Faris, who is originally from Kashmir, was a truck driver licensed to carry hazardous materials. Investigators said he traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan and even met with Osama bin Laden.
Government investigators said Faris was receiving instructions directly from senior al Qaeda leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. Mohammed is in U.S. custody overseas and is reportedly providing interrogators with valuable intelligence about the terror group.