Four New York City men have been arrested and charged with plotting a deadly terrorist attack. They will appear in court this morning.
According to investigators, the men had organized a plan to bomb a Jewish synagogue in the Bronx and shoot down military planes at New York’s National Guard base in upstate New York with surface-to-air missiles.
The charges are being brought by the U.S. Attorney’s office, the FBI, the NYPD and NY State Attorney’s office.
"They selected targets and sought the weapons necessary to carry out their plans," said Lev Dassin, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York in a statement.
The four men – three U.S. citizens and one Haitian national - are identified as James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen. One of the men says he is of Afghan descent.
The explosives they planned to use were acquired from undercover FBI agents in a sting operation. All of the explosives were fake or inert.
One of the men reportedly told an FBI informant last year that his parents had lived in Afghanistan and he was upset about the numbers of Muslims being killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Another allegedly said, he was seeking revenge for Muslim "brothers and sisters" killed by the U.S. Army.
According to FBI informants, the men plotted the attacks at a house in Newburgh, N.Y. and were "petty criminals" who were acting alone - not in concert with any other terrorist organization.
All of the men are Muslim – one born into the faith and the other three converted in Prison.
"This case clearly illustrates that the threat of terrorism in New York is persistent and it affects all of our communities, regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity," said New York Governor David Patterson.