Terror Probe Spurs Raid by Police in New YorkBy CAM SIMPSON and EVAN PEREZ
Wall Street Journal
September 15, 2009
Authorities executed search warrants and seized evidence early Monday at locations in the Queens borough of New York City as part of a terrorism investigation, according to a senior official familiar with the case.
This person said some counterterrorism officials were concerned that the individual at the center of the investigation may have had access to, or an interest in acquiring, materials that could be used for a chemical, biological or radiological device. One aspect of the probe involves whether the person had some contact or connections with suspicious individuals overseas, the official said.
A second person familiar with the probe said investigators with New York's Joint Terrorism Task Force have had under surveillance one person in the case. It isn't clear what drew investigators' interest. Authorities recently raised the seriousness of the probe after "specific concrete evidence" came into their hands and after the person under surveillance made contact with subjects in Queens that law enforcement officials were familiar with, this person said.
Law-enforcement officials are aware of the person's whereabouts, but the individual isn't in custody, the senior official said. The official said little was known about any potential plots, targets or the seriousness of the matter, and that no danger appeared to be imminent. Federal officials in Washington briefed members of Congress about the case Monday.
Rep. Peter King (R., N.Y.) said he was dining Sunday night at the home of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, when New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly took him aside to brief him on the planned search.
At a three-story apartment complex in Flushing, Queens, where one of the raids occurred, dozens of neighbors gathered outside on Monday evening to share stories. Michelle Lenhart, an 18-year-old student who lives across the street, says she was walking her pit bull at 4 a.m. when she saw two trucks and four cars parked in front of the complex. Agents with "F.B.I." emblazoned on their jackets walked in and out of the building, she said. By 5 a.m. A Fox 5 News van was on the scene. "This is crazy," she says. "This is a good neighborhood, but it was right here on the block. I would never think" this would happen, she said.