Two men were arrested on terrorism charges in New York City last night. The young men were said to be “homegrown” but of “North African” and “Moroccan” descent. They were caught trying to purchase hand grenades and guns in a sting operation, as reported in the New York Times.
The two men allegedly discussed attacking a synagogue, although they apparently had not chosen a target yet.
Curiously, the FBI has not become involved in the case. The Times says “a law enforcement official said one official had told the FBI it was not a terrorism case.” Later in the story, it is said that the “FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force… chose not to become involved.” Does that mean local authorities previously told the FBI they didn’t think these characters were terrorists, but the picture has changed now that they’re in custody? Or does the FBI know all the details, but still chooses not to involve itself in the case?
As the Times points out, such matters “are not generally handled by the Police Department alone and are seldom prosecuted in state court.” The men are nevertheless expected to be charged under state terrorism laws.
The New York Post says “the plot was not in retaliation for the killing of Osama bin Laden” and was “planned before his death,” according to an unnamed source.