On Wednesday morning, Nafis met the undercover agent and traveled to a warehouse, where he allegedly said he had a "Plan B" that involved a suicide attack if the bombing was stopped by police. At the warehouse he assembled what he thought was a bomb, and then allegedly parked his van outside the bank on Liberty Street near the New York Stock Exchange.
He then went to a nearby hotel, where he recorded a video statement that was to be released after the attack. On the video, Nafis allegedly stated, "We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom."
He then called a cellphone attached to the "bomb," trying repeatedly to detonate the device. The device did not explode, and federal agents arrested him.
"Attempting to destroy a landmark building and kill or main untold numbers of innocent bystanders is about as serious as the imagination can conjure," Mary Galligan, acting assistant FBI director, said Wednesday. "It is important to emphasize that the public was never at risk in this case."
Kelly said Nafis presented another example of why the threat from so-called lone wolf actors is still very real, even as the core of al Qaeda has been hammered by American forces.
"We don't see the threat as having diminished significantly. We have said all along the lone wolf threat has been out there consistently since 2002," he said. "There is so much information out there as to how to build a bomb or how to create mayhem... I don't see any reason to be optimistic about a diminishing of this threat."