Terrorist Plot in New York City Thwarted Before Labor Day Weekend

COMMENTARY Terrorism

Terrorist Plot in New York City Thwarted Before Labor Day Weekend

Sep 5th, 2019 2 min read
COMMENTARY BY
David Inserra

Policy Analyst for Homeland Security and Cyber Policy

David Inserra specializes in homeland security issues, including cyber and immigration policy as well as critical infrastructure.
A 19-year-old born in Pakistan told an undercover agent that he wanted to “conduct a stabbing or bombing on behalf of ISIS." GCShutter/Getty Images

Key Takeaways

This was the 114th Islamist terrorist plot or attack against the U.S. homeland. 

Chudhary wanted to be a lone-wolf attacker on behalf of ISIS, authorities say.

The case exemplifies the importance of coordinated law enforcement sting operations.

Law enforcement arrested a 19-year-old New York man before the Labor Day weekend and charged him with plotting a terrorist attack in New York City. It was the 114th Islamist terrorist plot or attack against the U.S. homeland. 

Authorities gave this account: 

The man, identified as Awais Chudhary of Queens, New York, contacted an undercover law enforcement agent who was acting as a supporter of the Islamic State terrorist group, or ISIS, in the week leading up to the holiday weekend. 

Chudhary communicated his desire to “conduct a stabbing or bombing on behalf of ISIS.”

He asked the undercover agent for information about the best type of knife for a stabbing spree. He also expressed interest in building a bomb if the undercover agent could provide him with instructions. 

Chudhary wanted to be a lone-wolf attacker on behalf of ISIS, authorities say. He went on to discuss potential targets for a bomb or knife attack and how to carry out such attacks. He talked about hiding his identity and about escape routes, but said he was willing to die in the attack.

Law enforcement agents located Chudhary and followed him as he surveilled potential targets for an attack; specifically, the area around Flushing Bay Promenade in Queens.

He discussed what gear to buy with the undercover agent and whether it would ship quickly, as he intended to commit the attack “very soon.”

When Chudhary went to pick up the items from the retailer, law enforcement arrested him before he could endanger the public. He was charged Aug. 30.

This plot is the 100th by a homegrown terrorist. Chudhary appears to have become radicalized in the U.S. in the years after coming here from Pakistan as a child and becoming a citizen. 

The case also exemplifies the importance of coordinated law enforcement sting operations, with the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force responding quickly to the rapidly developing plot. 

Such task forces are an important part of our ability to stop terrorists before they attack.

We also are adding a previously unnoticed case to The Heritage Foundation’s list of Islamist terror plots. 

In January and February 2018, authorities say, Wesley “Dallas” Ayers, 27, of Anderson, South Carolina, left several explosive devices disguised as teddy bears on rural South Carolina roads, resulting in one injury. He also left various fake devices to terrorize locals, they said. 

Ayers, who pleaded guilty and was sentenced to more than 30 years in prison, was a homegrown terrorist inspired by ISIS and al-Qaeda figures. His actions thus become case No. 102 on The Heritage Foundation’s terrorism timeline.

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal