A 21 year old man from Bangladesh attempted to blow up the Federal Reserve building in New York City on Wednesday. The suspect parked a van he believed was filled with explosives near the building. Fortunately, the explosives were fake, provided to the man by undercover agents. The operation was an organized sting by federal agents and the NYPD. No one was hurt in the attempted attack and the suspect has been arrested.
The suspect has been identified as Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis. He had been living in Queens, but originally hails from Bangladesh. He came to the US in January of this year in an attempt to carry out the attack. He actively sought out Al Qaeda contacts in the US in hopes of forming a terrorist cell. This brought him into contact with an undercover FBI agent, who helped him assemble the fake bomb.
The operation marks another successful anti-terrorism operation within the US. Since the September 11th attacks in New York and Washington, there have been no major attacks on US soil. Following those attacks, major changes were made to US intelligence agencies and law enforcement to better combat the threat facing the nation. The changes began under President Bush, and have continued under President Obama.
The bad news is that small scale attacks like this will never be fully preventable. This is the trade off of living in a free society. There will always be some risk. Earlier this year there was a spate of shooting sprees committed by ordinary Americans. In years past we had the “shoe bomber” and the “underwear bomber” who managed to slip by our already tight security. While some attacks will inevitably slip through the cracks of our defense, it is good to know our law enforcement is still capable of stopping most of them.