A federal jury has convicted four Newburgh, New York, men for conspiring to bomb two synagogues in the Riverdale section of the Bronx and planning to fire missiles at military planes.
The four men, arrested last May after planting bogus C-4 explosives and a phony Stinger surface-to-air missile (provided by an FBI informant, natch) near two synagogues in the Bronx were indicted on various counts of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction within the United States, conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles, and conspiracy to kill federal employees.
Prosecutors say the suspects planned to launch the missiles at military transport planes at Stewart Airport in Newburgh.
According to the indictment, one of the defendants — James Cromitie — had made references to the FBI informant about being “upset” with the war in Afghanistan, wanting to do “something to America,” and expressed interest in joining a Pakistan-based organization to “do jihad.”
Cromitie and his co-conspirators were convicted after an eight-week trial by an 11-person jury after one juror saw inadmissible evidence and was dismissed from deliberations.
In a statement e-mailed to reporters, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called the verdict an affirmation of his office’s “commitment” to fight “homegrown terrorism:”
“The defendants in this case agreed to plant bombs and use missiles they thought were very real weapons of terrorism,” he said. “We are safer today as a result of these convictions.”
The New York Times, which says the defense team called the men “reluctant participants” and tried to discredit the FBI’s informant by arguing entrapment, points out that the entrapment strategy “has never been successful in terrorism cases since 9/11.”