New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is holding a terrorism-related press conference tonight at 7:30 pm. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and District Attorney Cy Vance will also be in attendance.This is a late breaking addition to Bloomberg’s schedule — and the presence of Vance indicates there may have been some sort of arrest.
Neither the Mayor’s Office nor the NYPD are releasing any information prior to the press conference.
UPDATE 6:24: NBC’s Jesse Rodriguez tweets: WNBC: Terror suspect taken into custody yesterday; lone-wolf suspect was preparing a pipe bomb.
UPDATE 6:28: The New York Times is reporting that the NYPD had the suspect under surveillance for about a year — and that he had started to construct a bomb, with the intended target an NYC government building.
UPDATE 6:33: The New York Post has details on the suspect’s would-be targets: “city police facilities and US military sites, where he plotted to target returning war personnel and the families who gathered to welcome them home.”
UPDATE 6:35: NBC New York adds that sources say the suspect lives with his mother.
UPDATE 6:57: Sources say federal law enforcement was not involve in the arrest. Representatives from the FBI are not expected at tonight’s press conference.
UPDATE 7:35: Pimentel, 27, is charged with five offenses, including criminal possession of weapon, conspiracy, and soliciting/providing support for terrorism.
UPDATE 7:45: Bloomberg says the suspect was inspired by al-Qaeda, but was not part of a larger conspiracy. Bloomberg shows video of NYPD blowing up a car with a duplicate of the suspect’s bomb.
Bloomberg says “This is the 14th threat thwarted”
Ray Kelly: Pimentel was a follower of Anwar al Awlaki — who was killed in a U.S. airstrike earlier this year — and is a convert to Islam.
Kelly says Pimentel used the Inspire Magazine article “How to build a bomb in the kitchen of your mum” to learn how to construct the bomb. Pimentel has been tracked by the NYPD since 2009, when he first expressed support for al-Qaeda.
Kelly adds that Pimentel wanted to change his name to “Osama Hussein” — after Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, according to Ray Kelly.
Cy Vance: Pimentel advocated his views on his website. The website bills itself as “a blog setup to educate people about the True Religion of Islam as revealed to the Last Prophet Muhammad.”
Kelly says the immediate catalyst for Pimentel seeking to construct the bomb was the killing of Awlaki by the CIA on September 30.
Kelly says that the federal government was involved in the investigation, but that the NYPD acted quickly yesterday because Pimentel was drilling holes in the pipe bomb for the detonator and timing device.
Q: “Was he about to test the bombs on mailboxes on Saturday?” Kelly responds “The timeline is difficult to say with precision”
Kelly: “We know that he did attempt to contact Awlaki, but received no answer.”
Kelly on why FBI was not involved in the arrest or the press conference: “Because of immediacy of situation, that was a significant factor in making arrest yesterday with state laws.”
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