A New York City Muslim male suspect is being detained by U.S. federal law enforcement after he allegedly attempted to buy weapons such as firearms and military grenade launcher and grenades in order to attack the city’s entertainment center known as Times Square, according to a report received by the National Association of Chiefs of Police (NACOP) on Friday.
Officials said 22-year-old Ashiqul Alam, of Jackson Heights — a section of Queens County — was nabbed by federal and local agents and officers, and they claimed he posed no imminent threat, especially since police had Alam under surveillance throughout their investigation. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman is expected to prosecute the case.
“At a time when the Federal Bureau of Investigation is suffering from so much negative press and Americans calling for the agency to be investigated and for heads to roll, this case reminds us of what the FBI should prioritize — counter-terrorism and counterintelligence,” said former police intelligence official Bartlett C. Trancott.
“Here’s a case that shows the need for better immigration security and border protection, especially from nations close of our borders,” Trancott, a security manager in New York, told the Conservative Base.
The NACOP report noted that between 2018 and 2019 Alam frequently displayed his search for firearms and explosives for use in a far-reaching terrorist attack. He said he was weighing Times Square or Washington, D.C. as his targeted cities. He also favored those two cities so he could kill as many high-level government officials as possible.
While Americans awaited President Trump’s State of the Union Address in January 2018, Alam began his visits to Times Square for reconnaissance and to record videos as he searched for potential targets, police officials said.
He also allegedly planned an attack in which he and any fellow-terrorists would use AR-15 rifles to assassinate police officers.
As has happened in the past, Alam unsuspectingly contacted an undercover officer on the internet who identified himself as an arms dealer. Alam attempted to buy two Glock 9mm pistols. He later met with the people he believed were providing the firearms and he brought up his interest in purchasing rocket-propelled grenade launchers (RPG’s) because they were capable of killing numerous Americans and causing extensive damage to structures.
Prior to his intended terrorist attacks, Alam underwent Lasik eye surgery because he told his cohorts he was worried about his glasses falling off during any terrorist operation.
“Let’s say we are in an attack, right, say that my glasses fall off. What if I accidentally shoot you? You know what I mean. Imagine what the news channel would call me the ‘Looney Tunes Terrorist’ or the ‘Blind Terrorist,'” Alam said, according to New York’s Eyewitness News reporter Jim Dolan
Alam’s frequent Internet entries also expressed hero-worship for Osama bin Laden and his attacks would make him a “legend,” according to the federal criminal complaint. When asked what would make him happy, he replied “seeing the flag of Islam on the Twin Towers or the Empire State Building,” he said, according to the Department of Justice complaint.
FBI agents and NYPD officers said Alam again met with the undercover individual he believed was going to sell him firearms and he gave them cash. The wannabe bin Laden was then arrested.
The lone-wolf terrorist appeared in federal court in Downtown Brooklyn (King’s County) on Friday. The judge issued an order of detention for the defendant, citing that he poses a threat to the community and is a flight risk. The next hearing date is scheduled for June 21, 2019 at 11:00 a.m.
Alam is a Bangladeshi citizen and permanent United States resident.