The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Police Department are reporting that they’ve uncovered a serious plot by Islamic terrorists to blowup New York City’s Holland Tunnel. The tunnel connects Manhattan Island with New Jersey via the Hudson River.
According to an anonymous source within the NYPD’s Intelligence Division, the terrorists were hoping to cause a serious flood in lower Manhattan. Such a scenario would cripple the financial district. The bombing of the tunnel would have killed hundreds of motorists within the tunnel, as well.
This NYPD intelligence official, speaking to this writer on condition of anonymity, claims part of the investigation revealed that these same terrorists were looking at other targets including subways, bridges and other tunnels.
The source also said that the tunnel bomb plot may be merely part of a massive, multi-target attack that would shutdown transportation into and out of Manhattan Island, increasing their chances of isolating the city’s financial community and other key businesses.
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 New York Post. Information by their source correlates with information provided to this by the NYPD intelligence official.
While this new story is breaking today, the source said that upon learning some of the details of the bomb plot US officials requested that security authorities in Beirut arrest one of the suspected conspirators, who is being identified as Amir Andalousli, a few months ago.
Meanwhile, FBI agents and NYPD’s special operations officials are attempting to apprehend additional suspects. During a press conference by the Police Commission, it was reported that there was no indication of just how many people they were seeking. The PC did say several suspects were the target of the international “dragnet,” but said they are living or operating in a number of countries throughout world.
“This is an ongoing investigation,” one source said.
US agents reportedly were allowed access to the jihadist captured in Beruit. The Daily News also reports that their FBI source said they took part in the interrogation of Andalousli, but did not disclose what information they were able to secure from the imprisoned suspect.
FBI and New York City Police Department officials would not comment about the investigation on the record, although there are a number of sources speaking on “deep background.” The over all investigation and counterterrorism operation has been kept secret for months.
This writer’s source provided his summary of the plot: The terrorists would detonate a huge amount of explosives inside the Holland Tunnel that would blast a hole in the tunnel that would destroy it and everyone traveling in it. The terrorists were hoping the blast would create a catastrophic flood which would run through the streets of that part of Manhattan. As with the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the modus operandi would be vans or trucks — loaded with explosives — which would enter the tunnel during rush hour.
Other sources said that New York City officials believed the plan could conceivably work with enough explosives placed in the middle of the tunnel, which runs underneath the river bed. But others doubted that plan would achieve success for the bombers.
“You are talking major, major explosives and knowledge of blast effect to make this happen,” another senior counterterrorism source told the New York Daily News. Besides bedrock, the tunnel is protected by concrete and cast-iron steel.
The FBI discovered the plot by monitoring Internet chat rooms, where the aspiring terrorists discussed striking the US economy, rather than causing mass casualties, according to the Daily News reporters.
Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden often appeals to his followers to “bleed” America financially. The Lebanese government had been expected to release a statement about Andalousli’s arrest but was asked by the US to hold off while operations to disrupt the plot continued.
The Daily News sources contrasted the chat room jihadists to the seven wannabe Al Qaeda cell members arrested in a poor area of Miami by the FBI last week, who appeared to have no capability of carrying out plots they hatched to bomb FBI offices in several cities including New York’s 26 Federal Plaza. (Such a scenario occurred in a 1998 motion picture
“The Siege” in which Islamic terrorists blewup the federal building, killing the majority of the FBI’s counterterrorism unit.)
“These terrorists are much more advanced than the [amateurish] Miami Seven,” said one of the sources.
The disclosure of the Holland Tunnel plot came at the same time Homeland Security Department officials announced a boost in funds to protect rail and transit lines in the New York City area yesterday.
While the FBI is the lead agency in this particular operation, the NYPD’s Intelligence Division is as effective and far-reaching as any intelligence agency in the world. Originally created to fight the Mafia and other organized crime gangs — the OCCB or Organized Crime Control Bureau is part of it — as well as narcotics investigations, since 9-11 the division focuses more of its resources on combating terrorism.
”’Jim Kouri, CPP, is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer for TheConservativeVoice.Com. He’s also a columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. He’s appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com. Kouri’s own Web site is located at”’ http://jimkouri.us
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