The AP is reporting that the FBI uncovered a plot to bomb NYC subway tunnels and flood the financial district:
Authorities have disrupted planning by foreign terrorists for an attack on New York City tunnels, two law enforcement officials said Friday.
FBI agents monitoring Internet chat rooms used by extremists learned in recent months of the plot to strike a blow at the city’s economy by destroying vital transportation networks, one official said.
Lebanese authorities, acting on a U.S. request, have arrested one of the alleged plotters, identified as Amir Andalousli, the other official said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still under way.
A senior Lebanese security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the suspect was arrested a month ago. He said his real name is as Assem Hammoud, and that the native of Beirut admitted to the plot.
“Hammoud is a member of Al-Qaida and he confessed to this (plot) information frankly and without coercion,” the Lebanese security official said.
One U.S. official said other arrests in the plot had been made overseas, and not all were in Lebanon. The official would not say how many people are believed to be involved.
The U.S. Embassy in Beirut would not comment on the matter.
“We have seen the reports,” an embassy spokesperson said. “We are in touch with the government of Lebanon on the case,” the spokesperson added, requesting anonymity.
The spokesperson also said that both Lebanon and the United States are developing solid cooperation in the areas of law enforcement and counterterrorism. “Preventing terrorist attacks is in the interest of both of our countries,” the embassy official said.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said, “This is one instance where intelligence was on top of its game and discovered the plot when it was just in the talking phase.”
This should be a reminder that we really are engaged in an active war on terror. So many on the left have criticized the president’s methods for keeping America safe, including the NSA Terrorist Surveillance program, the Phone Call Database, and most, recently, the Terrorist Bank Records program. However, we would not have been able to stop this plot at the “talking phase,” as Senator Schumer put it, if we weren’t able to monitor international communications.
The New York Daily News that originally reported the story said the plot had ties to Zarqawi and his network before he was killed:
Counterterrorism officials are alarmed by the “lone wolf” terror plot because they allegedly got a pledge of financial and tactical support from Jordanian associates of top terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi before he was killed in Iraq, a counterterrorism source told The News.
It’s not clear, however, if any cash or assistance was delivered.
The News has learned that at the request of U.S. officials, authorities in Beirut arrested one of the alleged conspirators, identified as Amir Andalousli, in recent months. Agents were scrambling yesterday to try to nab other suspects, sources said.
AJ Strata postulates that the NY Times’ illegal disclosure of the Terrorist Bank Records program may have had an impact on this investigation:
There were three ongoing investigations that were impacted by the NY Times’ despicable exposure of the SWIFT program which was used to track terrorists cells around the world (not here in the US). It is highly possible the terrorists were adapting and disappearing from the radar screens of the international law enforcement agencies, so action now was required. The word ‘scrambling’ is not something we want to see when dealing with terrorist threats.
Update: According to Fox News Channel, the actual terror target was the NY-NJ Path Train System. The FBI will have a briefing at 1:00pm