An alleged plot to bomb the New York Federal Bank was prevented yesterday when authorities arrested a 21-year-old Bangladeshi national charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. Identified as Quazi Nafis, the young man was in the United States on a student visa and majoring in cybersecurity at SoutheastMissouriStateUniversity from January until May of this year. FBI agents were following the phony plot early on in an elaborate sting operation. Nafis is now in federal custody. Chief Business Correspondent Ali Velshi was just at the New York Federal Reserve Bank on Monday, two days before the arrest was announced. He joins John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin on “Early Start” to talk about the landmark bank.
Velshi, who says he hadn’t been to the Federal Reserve in years, was there to interview the new president, William Dudley, and something on him kept triggering security before he was finally cleared. Although Velshi says security at the bank doesn’t feel like a fortress, the bank itself is highly important and security is sensitive. “It is one the 12 Federal Reserve banks in the United States and it is the most important one,” Velshi says. “It’s also got the world’s biggest gold vault” with “probably more gold than FortKnox.”
However, Velshi finds it unusual that Nafis recognized the Fed’s integral value to the American financial system. “It doesn’t seem like an obvious target for somebody to go to,” Velshi says. “It’s crucially important, he had the right idea about how important it was, I just don’t think most people do.” Lastly, he says, “I’m glad nothing happened.”