Written by Joseph Klein
New York City police, known as "New York's Finest," arrested a would-be Islamist jihadist on Saturday November 19th, who was plotting to kill GIs returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and to bomb government targets such as police cars and post offices. Muslim convert Jose Pimentel, a 27-year-old U.S. naturalized citizen from the Dominican Republic, was stopped just one hour before his homemade pipe bomb equipped with nails to act as shrapnel would have been operational, according to New York Police Department officials.
"We weren't going to wait around to figure out what he wanted do with his bombs," a law enforcement official said. "He was in Harlem about an hour from actually having assembled the bombs," but had all the "unassembled components ready to go."
Pimentel's arrest was announced on Sunday at a press conference where New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. provided details to reporters regarding the plot, the explosive device, and Pimentel's background and motivations.
Pimentel, who was also known as Muhammad Yusuf and reportedly wanted to change his name to Osama Hussein after his two "heroes" Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, was charged under a New York State anti-terrorism law. While Pimentel was arraigned in Manhattan criminal court, Kelly and Vance stressed that the investigation of Pimentel's actions and his arrest had been coordinated with federal officials.
Pimentel said after his arrest that "Islamic law obligated all true Muslims to wage war against the United States." He received inspiration for his deadly plans from the writings of American-born jihadist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed last month in Yemen by a U.S. drone attack. It was al-Awlaki's death that evidently pushed Pimentel over the edge to accelerate his operation, said Ray Kelly.
“We knew for the last two years, he’s been reading a lot of jihadist information and talked a lot of inflammatory rhetoric,” Kelly explained. “But it appears at this juncture the death of Anwar al-Awlaki motivated him and made him increase his tempo.”
Bloomberg noted that Pimentel’s planned attack was the 14th terror-attack plot targeting New York since 9/11.
Some plots were hatched overseas, such as the 2010 attempted car bombing inTimes Square that was directed by the al Qaeda-affiliated Pakistani Taliban. The car bomber, Faisal Shahzad, who was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty, had been in contact with al-Awlaki over the Internet, was receiving money from abroad to finance the car bombing and had received a series of calls from Pakistan directly before and after he purchased the car intended to serve as the car bomb.
Pimentel, on the other hand, was evidently a lone-wolf “motivated by his own resentment of the presence of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as inspired by al Qaeda propaganda,” Mayor Bloomberg said.
Pimentel built his bomb with cheap materials he bought from a 99-cent store in Manhattan and a Home Depot in the Bronx. He wanted to go to Yemen but only got as far as Schenectady, New York before returning to Manhattan to launch his attack.
Pimentel also wrote directly to al-Awlaki before the jihadist cleric’s death, but never heard back. Nevertheless, there was plenty of al Qaeda propaganda available on the Internet to educate Pimentel on jihadist ideology and methods. He was a voracious reader of bombing manuals in particular, including one appearing in al Qaeda’s online magazine Inspire titled “How to make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.”
New York City remains the Islamist jihadists’ favorite U.S. terrorist target, more than ten years after 9/11. For that reason, the New York City Police Departmenthas set up its own counter-terrorist intelligence operation, with the cooperation of the Central Intelligence Agency. The program has included infiltrating New York’s Muslim community and monitoring dozens of city mosques and other gathering places, using plainclothes police officers to gather information about possible terror plots.
After the Associated Press revealed that undercover NYPD officers in a so-called “Demographics Unit” had targeted Muslim communities and houses of worship with the assistance of individuals who had links to the CIA, the Council of American Islamic Relations (“CAIR”) sought to shut the police operation down, calling upon the Obama Justice Department to investigate. “This is potentially illegal what they’re doing,” said Gadeir Abbas, a CAIR staff attorney.
“The New York Police Department is doing everything it can to make sure there’s not another 9/11 here and that more innocent New Yorkers are not killed by terrorists,” countered NYPD spokesman Paul Browne. “And we have nothing to apologize for in that regard.”
Mr. Browne is correct. As usual, CAIR would stand in the way of efforts to save lives from preventable terrorist attacks. The New York Police Department is doing its duty, using aggressive but vital surveillance and other law enforcement techniques to keep New Yorkers safe from potentially devastating mass murders. Especially after having to deal with the Occupy Wall Street mobs while protecting New York against the continuing terrorist threats, New York’s police deserve their nickname “New York’s Finest.”
Ironically, just a day before Pimentel was arrested, following months of careful monitoring by the police, a coalition of more than 50 religious, social justice and community organizations held a rally in New York City’s Foley Square to protest, in CAIR’s words, “the religious and ethnic profiling of Muslim communities by the New York City Police Department (NYPD), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other law enforcement agencies.”
Direct Action Working Group and Immigrant Working Group of Occupy Wall Street were among the rally’s supporters. Signs at the rally included: “No to a police state” and “Cannot stop the Occupy Movement.”
The alliance of convenience between Islamist and Leftist groups against the police and the real 99 percent of freedom-loving Americans is alive and well.
Joseph Klein is a Harvard-trained lawyer and the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and the new book, Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam.