Feds Thwart Times Square Terror Plot with NYC Man’s Arrest (Multi-Video)

Ashiqul Alam, 22, underwent eye surgery to improve his vision,  nervous that if his eyeglasses fell off his face during the terror strike, it could lead to media outlets to dub him the “Looney Tunes Terrorist,” according to federal charging documents.

He was arrested on Thursday and a criminal complaint was filed on Friday in federal court in Brooklyn charging Alam with knowingly receiving two firearms with obliterated serial numbers in Brooklyn, New York.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the arrest.

U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue
U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue

“As alleged, Ashiqul Alam bought illegal weapons as part of his plan to kill law enforcement officers and civilians in a terrorist attack on Times Square,” explained United States Attorney Donoghue.

“What he did not know was that he was buying weapons from government agents, who were monitoring his plans and intervening to prevent those plans from escalating into deadly violence.”

“This Office, together with our law enforcement partners, will continue to exercise extreme vigilance to prevent terrorists from attacking our city and our country.”

(Federal authorities charge 22-year-old Ashiqul Alam with knowingly receiving two firearms with obliterated serial numbers in Brooklyn, New York. Courtesy of Fox News and YouTube. Posted on Jun 7, 2019.)

“There is more to this case than just talk and the desire to carry out a terrorist attack,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.

Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr.
Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr.

“Individuals who believe in the distorted and deadly propaganda of terrorist organizations and work toward acting on those deadly impulses are incredibly dangerous and unpredictable.”

“Mr. Alam allegedly then took the steps to follow through on his deadly impulse, purchasing weapons to kill New Yorkers, target an elected official and attack police officers.”

“The FBI New York Joint Terrorism Task Force and the NYPD Intelligence Bureau will simply not allow individuals to execute their plots, and our team will use every legal tool available to us to protect our community and remain ahead of the threat individuals like Alam pose to our communities.”

NYPD top cop James O’Neill reflects on the good and the bad of his first year as commissioner
Commissioner James P. O’Neill of the NYPD

“Mr. Alam discussed guns, suicide vests, hand grenades, and surveilled crowded New York targets such as Times Square”, added Police Commissioner O’Neill.

“Our job is to prevent these terrorist attacks whenever we can before they are carried out. This case is another example of the tightly-knit teamwork of the JTTF and the NYPD’s Intelligence Bureau.”

“Mr. Alam is charged with illegally purchasing untraceable firearms from undercover officers. That was a clear indicator of his intent to move his plot forward.”

As alleged in the complaint, between August 2018 and the present, Alam repeatedly expressed a desire to purchase firearms and explosives for use in a terrorist attack.

Alam identified two targets, either Times Square or Washington, D.C., in order to kill a senior government official.

In January 2019, Alam conducted several “recon” trips to Times Square, using his cellular telephone to make a video recording of the area as he searched for potential targets.

Alam considered multiple ways to conduct such an attack, including by using a “suicide vest” and by obtaining AR-15 assault rifles to kill law enforcement officers.

Alam conducted research about firearms on the internet and discussed purchasing firearms with an undercover law enforcement officer (“UC-1”).

(CBS2’s Alice Gainer has the latest on the suspect arrested while allegedly trying to buy explosives to attack Times Square. Courtesy of CBS New York and YouTube. Posted on Jun 7, 2019.)

In April 2019, Alam underwent Lasik eye surgery, a procedure whose value he explained: “Let’s say we are in an attack, right, say that my glasses fall off.

What if I accidentally shoot you?  You know what I mean.  Imagine what the news channel would call me the ‘Looney Tunes Terrorist’ or the ‘Blind Terrorist.’”

In May 2019, Alam was told that the firearms he wanted to buy would have obliterated serial numbers, and he replied “Oh, that’s good man.”

Alam then had repeated conversations and meetings with individuals he believed were going to sell him firearms, including one meeting in which he was shown hand grenades for purchase.

Alam subsequently discussed buying grenades because a grenade could “take out at least eight people.”

Alam also asked to order ammunition as well as weapons because, he said, “What is the point of getting a gun without ammo?”

(A New York man who allegedly plotted to shoot up Times Square and spoke of explosives, suicide vests and hand grenades has been arrested and is expected to be arraigned on weapons-related charges. Ashiqul Alam (pictured), 22, from Jackson Heights in the city’s Queens borough, was arrested on Thursday after police and the FBI learned he was inquiring about buying grenades to use in his alleged plot. Alam is expected to appear in federal court in Brooklyn later on Friday. The suspect had allegedly spoken about wanting to attack politicians in New York City and Washington D.C. but decided on the plot to open fire on the heavily populated area. He was eventually taken into custody on Thursday in an undercover sting after trying to buy guns that had their serial numbers removed. Courtesy of the Daily Mail and YouTube. Posted on Jun 7, 2019.)

On Thursday, June 6, 2019, Alam met the individual he believed was going to sell him firearms and was shown two Glock 19 semiautomatic pistols with obliterated serial numbers.

The defendant provided $400 towards the purchase of the two pistols and asked whether he could also buy a silencer.  The defendant was arrested shortly thereafter.   

The charge in the complaint is an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s National Security and Cybercrime Section.

Assistant United States Attorneys David K. Kessler, Michael Keilty and Jonathan Algor are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance from Trial Attorney Jacqueline L. Barkett of the Department of Justice’s Counterterrorism Section.

The Defendant:

Ashiqul Alam
Age: 22
Queens, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-M-0531