"al-Qaida sympathizer" accused of plotting to bomb police and post
offices in New York City as well as U.S. troops returning home remained
in police custody after an arraignment on numerous terrorism-related
Jose Pimentel of Manhattan was described by Mayor Michael Bloomberg
at a Sunday news conference announcing Pimentel's arrest as "a
27-year-old al-Qaida sympathizer" who was motivated by terrorist
propaganda and resentment of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said police had to move quickly to
arrest Pimentel on Saturday because he was ready to carry out his plan.
"He was in fact putting this bomb together," Kelly said. "He
was drilling holes and it would have been not appropriate for us to let
him walk out the door with that bomb."
Ten years after 9/11, New York remains a prime terrorism target.
Bloomberg said at least 14 terrorist plots, including the latest alleged
scheme, have targeted the city since the Sept. 11 attacks. No
attack has been successful, however. Pakistani immigrant Faisal
Shahzad is serving a life sentence for trying to detonate a car bomb in
Times Square in May 2010.
Kelly said Sunday that Pimentel was energized and motivated to carry
out his plan by the Sept. 30 killing of al-Qaida's U.S.-born cleric
"He decided to build the bomb August of this year, but clearly he
jacked up his speed after the elimination of al-Awlaki," Kelly said.
An unemployed U.S. citizen originally from the Dominican Republic,
Pimentel was "plotting to bomb police patrol cars and also postal
facilities as well as targeted members of our armed services returning
from abroad," Bloomberg said.
He also talked of bombing a police station in Bayonne, N.J., Kelly
New York police had him under surveillance for at least a year and
were working with a confidential informant; no injury to anyone or
damage to property is alleged, Kelly said. In addition,
authorities have no evidence that Pimentel was working with anyone else,
the dhimmi mayor said.
"He appears to be a total lone wolf," the mayor said. "He was
not part of a larger conspiracy emanating from abroad."
At Pimentel's arraignment, his lawyer Joseph Zablocki said his
client's behavior leading up to the arrest was not that of a conspirator
trying to conceal some violent scheme. Zablocki said Pimentel was
public about his activities and was not trying to hide anything.
"I don't believe that this case is nearly as strong as the people
believe," Zablocki said. "He (Pimentel) has this very public online
profile. ... This is not the way you go about committing a terrorist
Pimentel, also known as Muhammad Yusuf, was denied bail and remained
in custody. The bearded, bespectacled man wore a black T-shirt and
black drawstring pants and smiled at times during the proceeding.
His mother and brother attended the arraignment, Zablocki said.
Pimentel is accused of having an explosive device Saturday when he
was arrested, one he planned to use against others and property to
terrorize the public. The charges accuse him of conspiracy going
back at least to October 2010, and include first-degree criminal
possession of a weapon as a crime of terrorism, and soliciting support
for a terrorist act.
Bloomberg said at the news conference that Pimentel represents the
type of threat FBI Director Robert Mueller has warned about as U.S.
forces erode the ability of terrorists to carry out large scale attacks.
"This is just another example of New York City because we are an
iconic city ... this is a city that people would want to take away our
freedoms gravitate to and focus on," Bloomberg said.
Kelly said a confidential informant had numerous conversations with
Pimentel on Sept. 7 in which he expressed interest in building small
bombs and targeting banks, government and police buildings.
Pimentel also posted on his website trueislam1.com and on blogs his
support of al-Qaida and belief in jihad, and promoted an online magazine
article that described in detail how to make a bomb, Kelly said.
Among his Internet postings, the commissioner said, was an article
that states: "People have to understand that America and its allies are
all legitimate targets in warfare."
The New York Police Department's Intelligence Division was involved
in the arrest. Kelly said Pimentel spent most of his years in
Manhattan and lived about five years in Schenectady. He said
police in the Albany area tipped New York City police off to Pimentel's
Asked why federal authorities were not involved in the case,
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said there was
communication with them but his office felt that given the timeline "it
was appropriate to proceed under state charges."
About 1,000 of the city's roughly 35,000 officers are assigned each
day to counterterrorism operations. The NYPD also sends officers
overseas to report on how other cities deal with terrorism.
Through federal grants and city funding, the NYPD has spent millions of
dollars on technology to outfit the department with the latest tools --
from portable radiation detectors to the network of hundreds of cameras
that can track suspicious activity.
Alexis Smith, 22, who lives in an apartment in the same building as
Pimentel, said she was shocked that he was a suspect in a terrorist
plot. "He was always very courteous to us," she said, adding that
Pimentel helped her carry groceries and luggage into the building.
"It's nice to know he was only working alone," she said.