A California man arrested on child pornography charges has been linked to the foiled plot by a young Bangladeshi to blow up the New York Federal Reserve, the New York Times reported Friday.
The Times said Howard Willie Carter II was arrested after an FBI agent found 1,000 images and three video files containing child pornography on a laptop and hard drive in the trash near his San Diego apartment.
After tracing the computer back to Carter, investigators found emails on it addressed to “Yaqeen,” a name that had surfaced in the investigation of the bomb plot.
Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, was arrested after trying to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb but in fact was a dummy provided in an elaborate sting operation, according to federal prosecutors.
The Times said Carter had been placed under surveillance as early as August, but that officials had waited until after the Nafis arrest to arrest him.
Prosecutors say Nafis travelled to the United States in January in order to carry out a terrorist attack and that he had sought out Al-Qaeda contacts and potential recruits.
One of the potential recruits was actually an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who then took part in the sting.
Nafis allegedly wrote a statement claiming responsibility for his planned attack, in which he said he wanted to “destroy America” and referred to slain al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden as “beloved.”
He has been charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to support al-Qaeda.
The Federal Reserve building, part of the network that makes up the US central bank, houses one of the world’s largest gold deposits, consisting mostly of bullion belonging to other countries.
Nafis’s family in Bangladesh said he was a devout Muslim but never displayed any signs of extremism.