NYPD busts new terror plot against a synagogue

posted at 10:58 am on May 12, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Not too much is known yet about this story, except that the bust appears to come from city and state officials, and not the feds.  Two Americans of North African descent have been arrested, apparently on charges that they plotted a terrorist attack on at least one New York City synagogue:

Two Americans have been arrested by New York City police for allegedly plotting to attack a synagogue in the New York area, Fox News has learned.

One source described the case as the latest example of “homegrown” radicalization. The two men were identified as Mohammad Mamdouh, of Moroccan descent, and Ahmed Serhani, of Algerian descent.

Serhani allegedly made a general statement about wanting to attack a synagogue –- though no specific synagogue was mentioned, according to initial information obtained by Fox News. With a history of drug dealing, Serhani was hoping to make enough money to purchase weapons and possibly explosives for the attack, one source said.

This is the curious part:

Serhani and Mamdouh are now being charged under a New York State terrorism law. Federal authorities usually prosecute terrorism-related offenses, but they declined to do so in this case.

Andy McCarthy also found this odd, but not necessarily unprecedented:

Oddly, it is said that the feds were not interested in the case, which was apparently pursued by the Manhattan district attorney’s office after the FBI declined to get involved. I say this is odd because the FBI and the NYPD work together in the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and most cases are taken federal. But the NYPD also has an intel/anti-terrorism capacity that is very robust, and the City acts independently of the feds from time-to-time, much to the dismay of the feds.

Some people don’t know that the NYPD actually has its own intelligence agency that works globally (and in conjunction with federal authorities).  In fact. this appears to have caused some friction between and within those levels, as the New York Post reports today on an unrelated issue:

A top NYPD terror expert has been booted from his post after refusing an order to take federal files on Osama bin Laden from the FBI’s New York headquarters, The Post has learned. … Last week, after bin Laden was killed, [Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence] Cohen told Nicholson to bring him the FBI’s latest dossier on him. But Nicholson refused his superior’s order, citing the federal agency’s policy of not allowing such documents to leave its office.

Nicholson has extensive experience in naval intelligence, which will now be wasted as Nicholson gets shifted to normal police investigations.

The Manhattan District Attorney will release more information on these charges later today.  We’ll keep an eye out for updates.


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Serhani and Mamdouh are now being charged under a New York State terrorism law. Federal authorities usually prosecute terrorism-related offenses, but they declined to do so in this case.

Holder: “Hey, it was only some Jews. No big deal.”

Ward Cleaver on May 12, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Just in time for Obama’s soaring speech on the Arab spring.

RedRedRice on May 12, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Ron Paul preparing a statement as to how this wasn’t their fault… contemplates the natural and expected backlash against US decision to send troops to Nicaragua in 1912… also questions Israel’s imperialistic attack on the Midianites.

mankai on May 12, 2011 at 11:02 AM

Disgruntled tea partiers named Mo.

JammieWearingFool on May 12, 2011 at 11:03 AM

NYPD intel was one of the best decisions ever made in NYC

blatantblue on May 12, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Can’t wait to hear the meme about how it was somehow the Jew’s fault, or something. But hey, how about that Religion Of Peace!

search4truth on May 12, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Disgrunted Jainists I bet.

Pablo Honey on May 12, 2011 at 11:05 AM

The media will protect Islam as long as democrats see Muslims as helping keep them in power.

Homosexuals don’t breed nearly as fast as Muslims do afterall.

GardenGnome on May 12, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Getting REALLY tired of these Mormons and their terrorism.

Bishop on May 12, 2011 at 11:07 AM

Eric Holder had the following comment:

KingGold on May 12, 2011 at 11:08 AM

Federal authorities usually prosecute terrorism-related offenses, but they declined to do so in this case.

Yet another reason Eric Holder and Barak Obmama should be impeached for dereliction of duty!!

I guess the Obamanazis are too busy sticking their hands down the pants of grandmothers, infants, and 6-year old girls to bother with real terrorists.

landlines on May 12, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Dang Norwegian Lutherans.

rbj on May 12, 2011 at 11:10 AM

The media will protect Islam as long as democrats see Muslims as helping keep them in power.

Homosexuals don’t breed nearly as fast as Muslims do afterall.

Nah, they will vote for the GOP fundies who agree with their opinion of teh geys.

Pablo Honey on May 12, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Tea Partiers.

You can tell because both men were wearing chino’s and polo shirts when they were arrested.

Bishop on May 12, 2011 at 11:12 AM

Osama Bin Laden was unavailable for comment.

The Mega Independent on May 12, 2011 at 11:12 AM

NYPD intel was one of the best decisions ever made in NYC

blatantblue on May 12, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Yep – all due to Rudy – being a former Fed prosecutor and current mayor at the time – he knew damn well the difference between getting things done and swinging in the wind…

Odie1941 on May 12, 2011 at 11:13 AM

I wonder what their motive was.

John Deaux on May 12, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Serhani allegedly made a general statement about wanting to attack a synagogue

Because attacking a synagogue is directly related to opposing US imperialistic and interventionist policies in Iraq… or something.

mankai on May 12, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Will NY be sued for enforcing having its own laws against terrorism?

HowItOughtToBe on May 12, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Pablo Honey on May 12, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Muslims vote almost exclusively democrat.

Vera on May 12, 2011 at 11:15 AM

See what happens when you release Osama’s headshots? Oh, wait…

Christien on May 12, 2011 at 11:15 AM

Mohammad Mamdouh, of Moroccan descent, and Ahmed Serhani, of Algerian descent

After all of our military interventionist activities against Morocco and Algeria, I can understand why they’d want to blow up a synagogue in NYC. It all fits together.

/

mankai on May 12, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Unbelievable that Jews still support Obama.

The feds can step in , and take over at anytime, can they not? If so, and they didn’t in this case, is very telling.

So who do we think Obama supports in this? The Jews, or the Jihadists?

capejasmine on May 12, 2011 at 11:17 AM

Were they angry because Obamacare did not include a robust public option?

Naturally Curly on May 12, 2011 at 11:22 AM

I’m sick and tired of this “homegrown radicalization” meme.

catmman on May 12, 2011 at 11:26 AM

I have a funny feeling Obama doesnt lock in the Jewish American vote – yet doesnt know it yet…

Since Day 1 – Isreal is persona non grata, along with every decision siding with Palestinians, vs Isrealis…

Bibi couldnt hide his disgust for Obama any longer – hence why you never hear or see the 2 together anymore – and the few they had werent happy moments. I dont think Obamas schtick gets by a trained Isreali soldier who earned his title throughout the past 40+ years…

Odie1941 on May 12, 2011 at 11:26 AM

Holder: “Hey, it was only some Jews. No big deal.”

Ward Cleaver on May 12, 2011 at 11:01 AM

He’s probably trying to figure out a way to represent his “brethren” pro bono.

MeatHeadinCA on May 12, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Part of the Arab Spring and NASA Muslim outreach program. Holder may have declined to prosecute because he’s busy running U.S. guns to the Mexican narcoterrorists and prosecuting CIA agents who helped get bin Laden.

a capella on May 12, 2011 at 11:29 AM

I have a funny feeling Obama doesnt lock in the Jewish American vote – yet doesnt know it yet…

Since Day 1 – Isreal is persona non grata, along with every decision siding with Palestinians, vs Isrealis…

Bibi couldnt hide his disgust for Obama any longer – hence why you never hear or see the 2 together anymore – and the few they had werent happy moments. I dont think Obamas schtick gets by a trained Isreali soldier who earned his title throughout the past 40+ years…

Odie1941 on May 12, 2011 at 11:26 AM

Meh. There are many American Jews that have little to no actual connection to Israel. I suspect that many leftist Jews will vote for Obama out of fear of the hickawwwcracy Rethuglicans or something.

MeatHeadinCA on May 12, 2011 at 11:29 AM

If only they were “Holder’s people”.

NYconservative on May 12, 2011 at 11:35 AM

I don’t think it’s at all curious that the feds declined to prosecute this. From the article, it sounds like pretty thin gruel.

Serhani allegedly made a general statement about wanting to attack a synagogue –- though no specific synagogue was mentioned, according to initial information obtained by Fox News. With a history of drug dealing, Serhani was hoping to make enough money to purchase weapons and possibly explosives for the attack, one source said.

In other words, NYPD busted this before it really got off the ground. The guy had made a “general statement” but no real plan. Nor had he bought any weapons or explosives yet.

Feds usually identify these guys and wait until they make some overt move before busting them and prosecuting them.

AngusMc on May 12, 2011 at 11:35 AM

The Feds acted stupidly.
Oh, wait ..

pambi on May 12, 2011 at 11:39 AM

What is it with these guys named Mo? They’re closer to death and destruction than Timmy was to Lassie. Profiling these Mo characters should be easy – even for Holder’s short bus mopes.

MayorDaley on May 12, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Meh. There are many American Jews that have little to no actual connection to Israel. I suspect that many leftist Jews will vote for Obama out of fear of the hickawwwcracy Rethuglicans or something.

MeatHeadinCA on May 12, 2011 at 11:29 AM

While true the lefties will vote for Obama, due to ideology – the big money and votes are connected to Isreal, namely in large cities like NYC.

And out of the 10 or 12 good freinds who are Jewish in NYC (all except 2 or 3 are diehard liberals) – everyone has done a Taglit-Birthright trip…

Odie1941 on May 12, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Ed- got any more on this Nicholson chap being fired. From the sounds of it he was asked to violate policy & remove documents from a building where they are not allowed to leave- and was fired for obeying protocol?

Am I reading this wrong?

Jay Mac on May 12, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Muslims vote almost exclusively democrat.

Vera on May 12, 2011 at 11:15 AM

Of course, there is an alliance in America between the progs on the far left and the islamists, as odd as it seems. Communists protested in New York City along with the islamists in favor of the World Trade Center mosque.

slickwillie2001 on May 12, 2011 at 11:51 AM

Jay Mac on May 12, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Don’t think I would want to be on the receiving end of that civil suit just waiting to happen.

a capella on May 12, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Two Americans of North African descent

Kenyans?

Kafir on May 12, 2011 at 12:06 PM

“homegrown” radicalization. The two men were identified as Mohammad Mamdouh, of Moroccan descent, and Ahmed Serhani, of Algerian descent.

Uh, these guys ain’t American and they’re “homegrown?”

el hombre on May 12, 2011 at 12:10 PM

The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him

Why are the normal religious duties of muslems being infringed? I thought we had freedom of religion in this country.

Rebar on May 12, 2011 at 12:18 PM

I’m shocked, shocked to discover one of the terrorists to be named Mohammed.

Tantor on May 12, 2011 at 12:27 PM

I’m shocked Holder declined to prosecute./
No doubt it was because he could not ascertain a motive.

pat on May 12, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Why are the normal religious duties of muslems being infringed? I thought we had freedom of religion in this country.

Rebar on May 12, 2011 at 12:18 PM

Hence, insane pro-sharia decisions in FL, NJ, and OH.

Western_Civ on May 12, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Muslims vote almost exclusively democrat.

Vera on May 12, 2011 at 11:15 AM

Of course, there is an alliance in America between the progs on the far left and the islamists, as odd as it seems. Communists protested in New York City along with the islamists in favor of the World Trade Center mosque.

slickwillie2001 on May 12, 2011 at 11:51 AM

Actually they have long tended to be Republicans. In 2000 MPAC made it’s first presidential endorsement and it went to Bush. Since then they have trended steeply towards Democrats.

lexhamfox on May 12, 2011 at 1:10 PM

Good thing we washed Osama’s craniumless body and all.

Akzed on May 12, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Will NY be sued for enforcing having its own laws against terrorism?

HowItOughtToBe on May 12, 2011 at 11:14 AM

That point struck me.

Red state AZ enacts legislation to reinforce federal legislation regarding illegal immigration: BAD.

Blue state NY or Blue city NYC (or both) enacts legislation to reinforce federal legislation regarding terrorism: GOOD.

Good for NY, NYC, or both. But shame on the Obama administration.

In the meantime, liberals in NY and NYC should resume their full-throated support for Emperor Obama.

BuckeyeSam on May 12, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Part of the Arab Spring and NASA Muslim outreach program. Holder may have declined to prosecute because he’s busy running U.S. guns to the Mexican narcoterrorists and prosecuting CIA agents who helped get bin Laden.

a capella on May 12, 2011 at 11:29 AM

Another thought. Holder probably figures it will soon be time for him to go so that he’s not a liability for Obama 2012. So if he drags his feet while he gets his ducks in a line, he can return to his former law firm (or another firm) and help in some respect to defend these lowlifes at taxpayer expense.

BuckeyeSam on May 12, 2011 at 1:30 PM

Nah, they will vote for the GOP fundies who agree with their opinion of teh geys.

Pablo Honey on May 12, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Reality never intrudes on your cozy, little world, does it?

Question: do you people need to be told what the latest lefty talking point is? Or is the same-old, leftist viewpoint always totally obvious to you guys?

Squiggy on May 12, 2011 at 1:49 PM

Holder: “Hey, it was only some Jews. No big deal.”

Ward Cleaver on May 12, 2011 at 11:01 AM

I know this is snark, but it’s funny because it’s probably really, really close to the truth.

holygoat on May 12, 2011 at 2:42 PM

Maybe they’re guys that are upset over Obamacare.

mizflame98 on May 12, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Couldn’t be the Religion of Peace. I’m thinking Tibetan Buddhists.

MaiDee on May 12, 2011 at 5:36 PM

And out of the 10 or 12 good freinds who are Jewish in NYC (all except 2 or 3 are diehard liberals) – everyone has done a Taglit-Birthright trip…

Odie1941 on May 12, 2011 at 11:44 AM

….and their trip didn’t move the needle on their liberal-Democrat meter, did it? My experience also.

YehuditTX on May 12, 2011 at 8:40 PM