Saturday, October 7, 2017


NYC Well will collaborate with the national Disaster Distress Helpline to strengthen mental health outreach

 Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray today announced a collaboration between NYC Well, the City’s free, confidential mental health support helpline, and the Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH), a national crisis counseling and emotional support service funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to more fully support mental health outreach in New York City, as well as Puerto Rico. The collaboration between NYC Well and DDH will strengthen pathways for referral and counseling services to effectively manage the heavily-anticipated volume of calls locally and in Puerto Rico as telephone lines are restored and individuals seek help. This includes connecting natives of Puerto Rico to NYC Well as they arrive in the City, and fielding calls from concerned family members or friends outside of the City to DDH when appropriate.

NYC Well call center staff stands ready to respond to community mental health needs, including services for Puerto Ricans experiencing the trauma of evacuating their home and local volunteers returning to New York City after supporting hurricane relief efforts. As a result, NYC Well will bolster its Spanish-speaking and bilingual call center staff to ensure that counselors are effectively trained and have competence in Psychological First Aid and Disaster Counseling. Both NYC Well and DDH are administered by the Mental Health Association of New York City (MHA-NYC).

"Nearly three weeks after Hurricane Maria, the vast majority of Puerto Rico lacks power and most families are without running water. Whether you're the latest relative to arrive in NYC, or the compassionate volunteer in PR assisting families in need, know that counseling and referral services are available. I thank First Lady McCray for leading this effort, and all of the dedicated mental health staff at NYC Well and the Disaster Distress Helpline for their time, expertise and emotional support during these trying times," said Mayor Bill de Blasio

"Our brothers and sisters of Puerto Rico have already endured a great deal in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Grappling with sudden loss, takes an unmeasurable toll on a people and can have lasting effects. I am proud that ThriveNYC workers and our NYC Well program will partner with the nation's trusted counseling service, the Disaster Distress Helpline, to provide mental health first aid to the residents of Puerto Rico, the volunteers as well as New Yorkers here in the City," said First Lady Chirlane McCray.

The announcement was made at an event today at the FDNY EMS Station 26 in the Morrisania section of the Bronx as part of the City’s ongoing donation efforts to support individuals affected by Hurricane Maria.

City emergency services personnel that have been deployed to Puerto Rico will provide technical support on the ground to help ensure that electricity is restored on the island and raise awareness about the mental health support that DDH is providing to the Puerto Rican community. As of today, 158 City workers are in Puerto Rico.

"We are all one and it is our duty and privilege to come together to help each other in a time of need," said the Black Eyed Peas. "We are proud to be of service and do anything we can to help our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico."

It is natural to experience anxiety, anger, fear and countless other emotions after a traumatic event, such as a natural disaster. Here are some coping mechanisms: 

•       Traumatic events can be stressful. Recover at your own pace:
Experiencing a traumatic event can be very overwhelming. Stress caused by the event may affect how one feels, thinks and acts, but the effects should lessen with time. Accept those feelings and give oneself time to recover. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to react because everyone experiences and deals with stress differently. Be patient with oneself and those around you.

•        Know when to seek help:
Reach out to others and ask for help and support if you feel stuck or overwhelmed. Speak with someone you trust. You may find that others are having a similar experience and you can begin to explore how best to support each other.

•        Offer support and comfort to children:
Although parents may have their concerns, it important to help children remain calm. This will reassure them and help them feel safe. Children may present as confused, afraid, and they may have many questions. Don’t ignore their worries. Answer their questions and explain the facts in a way that they can understand. Let them express their feelings, and reassure them that it is okay to have such feelings. Spend extra time with them and limit their exposure to distressing conversations. If at all possible, try to get back to a familiar routine or start anew given the situation.

Also on hand were State Senator Gustavo Rivera and Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, and many members of the local community who came out to see what was going on.

Above - Mayor de Blasio is introduced by one of the Black Eyed Peas.
Below - After the event Mayor de Blasio shook hands with community members, and even posed for a photo with these children.

About the City’s Hurricane Maria Relief Efforts

The City is collecting monetary donations through the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. These funds will be distributed to organizations working to support the 3.5 million Puerto Ricans and other Caribbean residents who have been impacted by this storm. City workers now have the option to make a donation directly from their paychecks to Hurricane Maria relief efforts. 

The City is also collecting donations of critically needed items through October 31 at 24 firehouses and EMS stations, and every NYPD precinct, transit agency and police service areaacross the five boroughs. Only donations of batteries, diapers, feminine hygiene products, first aid supplies and baby food will be accepted at these drop-off sites. Donations will be accepted during the hours of 7 AM through 9 PM

As of October 5, 265 pallets of donated items have been collected and are being packaged for shipment at the New York City Emergency Management warehouse in Brooklyn. Items collected include approximately 12,800 cases of diapers; 23,800 cases of feminine hygiene products; 1,200 first aid kits; 3,600 cases of baby food and 8,800 packs of batteries. Thousands of these items have already arrived in Puerto Rico.

About NYC Well

New Yorkers seeking support or treatment for mental health or substance use issues for themselves or their loved ones can contact NYC Well by calling 1-888-NYC-WELL, texting “WELL” to 65173 or going to Free, confidential support is available at any hour of the day in over 200 languages.

About the Disaster Distress Helpline

Individuals can call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. DDH provides 24/7, year-round, confidential crisis counseling to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters in the U.S. and its territories. Helpline staff members provide psychological first aid, supportive counseling, information on common stress reactions and healthy coping, and referrals to local disaster-related resources for follow-up care and support. DDH also offers online tools, including a freeDisaster Behavioral Health Response Mobile App.

Comptroller Stringer, NYC Pension Funds Announce $450 Million Investment in Affordable Housing

NYC’s Pension Funds launch first-of-its-kind initiative that commits millions of dollars to support affordable housing for veterans
Comptroller’s Office and NYC Pension Funds reach new milestone of 100,000+ affordable units created and preserved through funded mortgages
  Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and the New York City Pension Funds today announced a major new investment of $450 million to purchase and support non-predatory mortgages for everyday New Yorkers and support affordable housing across the five boroughs. In addition to stocks and bonds, Comptroller Stringer and the Pension Funds also invest in funds that finance affordable single-family homes as well as larger, multi-unit buildings in New York City. The investment of $450 million in pension funds will support and create tens of thousands of affordable homes and units citywide. The new investment includes a first-of-its-kind infusion of millions of dollars specifically to support veteran in New York City. Since the Comptroller’s Economically Targeted Investment program began, the Pension Funds have created or preserved over 100,000 affordable units citywide.
The $450 million will be invested through a separately managed account with RBC Global Asset Management’s Access Capital Community Investment Strategy, which invests in non-predatory, agency-backed mortgages from both private and government affordable housing programs, such as those run by a wide variety of federal, state, and city housing and economic development agencies. It includes a renewal of $300 million that had previously been invested and the addition of $150 million in new funds. The initial agreement is for three years, with the option of two three-year extensions.
By purchasing and owning these tens of thousands of mortgages, the Pension Funds are making stable long-term investments while supplying the capital needed to make more affordable housing loans. This enables and encourages public and private lenders to issue more affordable housing mortgages and promotes lower interest rates that are more favorable to consumers.
Further, the Comptroller’s Office, in partnership with RBC GAM Access Capital, has created a first-of-its-kind program to support affordable housing for veterans in New York City. Each year at least $5 million will finance mortgages guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs to veterans and their families living in New York City, with the goal of 10 percent of all capital invested through RBC GAM Access Capital going to these mortgages.
“We have to work together to make New York City more affordable – and we’re taking action in innovative ways through the Pension Funds. We’re demonstrating that you can simultaneously protect the retirements of hardworking New Yorkers while mitigating one of our city’s long-term challenges. This is undoubtedly a great thing,” New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said. “We’re proud to have helped create and preserve over 100,000 affordable units citywide, and even more thrilled to launch a new effort to support our veterans. Through this initiative, we’re helping everyday families, adding long-term affordable housing, and strengthening our pension funds. This is going to have positive outcomes for many, many New Yorkers.”
The Comptroller’s Office expects investing in mortgages for veterans will encourage more banks to issue VA-backed mortgages, making it easier for veterans to obtain stable housing at better rates. Approximately 210,000 veterans live in New York City.
Since 2007, investments from the pension funds in the separately managed account with RBC GAM Access Capital have totaled $397 million — resulting in 1,887 affordable single-family homes in New York City — as well as $170 million invested in multi-family buildings that delivered 33,390 affordable units across the five boroughs. Historically, the separately managed account has made nearly half of single family home investments with New York City families making less than 80% of Area Median Income (AMI)— currently $77,000 a year for a family of four— and half with moderate and middle income families.
The investment in RBC GAM Access Capital is part of the Comptroller’s Office’s Economically Targeted Investments program, which seeks investments that deliver strong returns while also creating secondary benefits, such as affordable housing and good paying jobs. The Economically Targeted Investment program was launched in 1984, and currently the City Pension Funds have invested nearly $2.5 billion with an additional $500 million in future commitments. These investments have financed 105,000 units of affordable housing.
For information on the New York City Pension Funds’ Economically Targeted Investment program, click here.
“Solving the affordable housing crisis requires innovative solutions and strong partnerships, and I commend the Comptroller for extending this important lifeline to our city’s veterans,” said New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “Creating more opportunities for affordable homeownership, especially for those individuals who have sacrificed for our country, is a critical component of the Mayor’s housing plan.  We look forward to our continued collaboration as we work to improve access to homeownership across the five boroughs.”
Comptroller Stringer serves as the investment advisor to, and custodian and a trustee of, the New York City Pension Funds. The New York City Pension Funds are composed of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, Teachers’ Retirement System, New York City Police Pension Fund, New York City Fire Department Pension Fund and the Board of Education Retirement System.
In addition to Comptroller Stringer, the New York City Pension Funds’ trustees are:
New York City Employees’ Retirement System: Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Representative, John Adler (Chair); New York City Public Advocate Letitia James; Borough Presidents: Gale Brewer (Manhattan), Melinda Katz (Queens), Eric Adams (Brooklyn), James Oddo (Staten Island), and Ruben Diaz, Jr. (Bronx); Henry Garrido , Executive Director, District Council 37, AFSCME; Tony Utano, President Transport Workers Union Local 100; Gregory Floyd, President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 237.
Teachers’ Retirement System: Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Appointee, John Adler (Chair); Raymond Orlando, representing the Chairperson of the Panel for Educational Policy and Debra Penny, Thomas Brown and David Kazansky, all of the United Federation of Teachers.
New York City Police Pension Fund: Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Representative, John Adler; New York City Finance Commissioner Jacques Jiha; New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill (Chair); Patrick Lynch, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association; Michael Palladino, Detectives Endowment Association; Edward D. Mullins, Sergeants Benevolent Association; Louis Turco, Lieutenants Benevolent Association; and, Roy T. Richter, Captains Endowment Association.
New York City Fire Department Pension Fund: Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Representative, John Adler; New York City Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro (Chair); New York City Finance Commissioner Jacques Jiha;  Gerard Fitzgerald, President, LeRoy McGinnis, Vice President, Edward Brown, Treasurer, and John Kelly, Brooklyn Representative and Chair, Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York; John Farina, Captains’ Rep.; Paul Mannix, Chiefs’ Rep., and Jack Kielty, Lieutenants’ Rep., Uniformed Fire Officers Association; and, Thomas Phelan, Marine Engineers Association.
Board of Education Retirement System:  Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña; Mayoral: Isaac Carmignani, T. Elzora Cleveland, Vanessa Leung, Gary Linnen, Lori Podvesker, Stephanie Soto, Benjamin Shuldiner, Miguelina Zorrilla-Aristy; Michael Kraft (Manhattan BP), Deborah Dillingham (Queens BP), Geneal Chacon (Bronx BP), April Chapman (Brooklyn BP), and Peter Calandrella (Staten Island BP); and employee members John Maderich of the IUOE Local 891 and Donald Nesbit of District Council 37, Local 372.

Comptroller Stringer: Subway Delays Hit City Economy, Cost Workers and Business Nearly $400 Million Each Year

Comptroller Stringer: Subway Delays Hit City Economy, Cost Workers and Business Nearly $400 Million Each Year 

  As subway delays continue to frustrate New Yorkers and disrupt commutes, Comptroller Stringer today released a first-of-its-kind economic analysis that shows New York City’s economy takes a direct hit from subway delays, which cost workers and businesses in the hundreds of millions annually. According to the analysis, the annual economic cost of stalled trains could reach nearly $400 million dollars under worst-case scenarios, with delays on the 5, A, 7, F, and 4 subway trains being the most costly, topping out at a whopping $140 million a year combined. The new economic analysis follows a survey of straphangers conducted by the Comptroller’s Office that highlights the human impact of subway delays, which showed that 74% of respondents reported being late to a work meeting due to subway delays, while 65% reported being late to pick up or drop off a child and 13% reported losing wages.

The analysis explores three different scenarios that provide a range of costs. Using data on ridership, delays, and wait times for trains from the MTA and average hourly wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the analysis examines how delays impact New York City’s economy. The analysis estimates that — depending on the length of delays and the assumptions made — the annual economic impact to New York City could range from $170.2 million up to $389 million dollars.
“Several months ago, we did a comprehensive citywide survey to understand the human impacts of subway delays. Now, we understand the economic costs of the crisis underground. What these new numbers show is that the cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action; that subway delays take a massive toll on our economy. We need to fix our subways both to improve quality of life and our economy. This isn’t a choice – it’s a must,” Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said. “There is no question our subways are in crisis after decades of underinvestment and inaction. With the ‘Summer of Hell’ fading into what could be a ‘Fall of Frustration,’ every level of government needs to step up. Our subway system is the backbone to our economy. That means with every delay, there aren’t just lives affected – there’s an economic consequence.”
Systemwide “Major” Delay averageEconomic Cost
5 minutes$170.2 million
10 minutes$243.1 million
20 minutes$389.0 million
By MTA definitions, a train is considered to have a “minor” delay if it arrives 25% to 50% behind schedule, a “medium” delay if it arrives 50% to 100% behind schedule, and a “major” delay if it is more than 100% behind schedule. The Comptroller’s analysis uses the midpoint of the range of wait time delays for minor and medium delays (37.5% and 75% behind schedule, respectively, or on average roughly 2 and 4 minutes), and three different scenarios for major delays equal to 100%, 200%, and 400% behind schedule — or on average 5, 10, and 20 minutes — and yields a low-end estimate of $170.2 million per year and a high end of $389 million.
The Comptroller’s Office also released a line-by-line economic analysis to help New Yorkers understand which lines may end up costing our economy the most activity.
According to the data, the five subway lines that most negatively impacted economic activity include:
  • The 5 train, with estimated impacts ranging from $12.1 million to $31.5 million annually;
  • The 7 train, with estimated impacts ranging from $13.7 million to $29 million annually;
  • The A train, with estimated impacts ranging from $11.1 million to $28.5 million annually;
  • The F train, with estimated impacts ranging from $11.3 million to $28 million annually;
  • The 4 train, with estimated impacts ranging from $10.5 million to $26.6 million annually.
Together, the worst-case economic impact of delays on these five lines tops $140 million.
In July 2017, Comptroller Stringer released the results of a survey that highlighted the human impacts of subway delays. According to the survey:
  • 74% of respondents reported being late to a work meeting due to subway delays;
  • 65% reported being late to pick up or drop off a child due to subway delays;
  • 29% said they had been late to a doctor’s appointment due to subway delays;
  • 13% reported losing wages due to subway delays; and
  • 2% said they had been fired from a job due to subway delays.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Unsealing Of Charges Against Three Men Arrested For Participating In International Plot To Carry Out Terrorist Attacks In New York City For Isis In The Summer Of 2016

The Planned Attacks, Thwarted by Law Enforcement, Included the Detonation of Explosive Devices in Times Square and the New York City Subway System

  Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Dana J. Boente, the Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security, William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Danny Kennedy, the Acting Assistant Director-in-Charge of the Los Angeles Field Office of the FBI, Calvin A. Shivers, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Denver Field Office of the FBI, and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the Police Department for the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced the Court’s unsealing of federal terrorism charges against three men alleged to have plotted attacks on New York City during the summer of 2016 in support of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (“ISIS”), which were thwarted by law enforcement.  All three men have been arrested, and one has pled guilty.

The defendants are: ABDULRAHMAN EL BAHNASAWY, a 19-year-old Canadian citizen; TALHA HAROON, a 19-year-old U.S. citizen residing in Pakistan; and RUSSELL SALIC, a 37-year-old Philippine citizen.  Communicating through Internet messaging applications, these three men allegedly plotted to conduct bombings and shootings in heavily populated areas of New York City during the Islamic holy month of Ramadhan in 2016, all in the name of ISIS (the “NYC Attacks”).  EL BAHNASAWY purchased bomb-making materials and helped secure a cabin within driving distance of New York City to use for building the explosive devices and staging the NYC Attacks.  HAROON allegedly made plans to travel from Pakistan to New York City to join EL BAHNASAWY in carrying out the attacks, and traveled within Pakistan to meet with explosives experts in furtherance of the plot.  And as EL BAHNASAWY and HAROON prepared to execute the NYC Attacks, SALIC allegedly wired money from the Philippines to the United States to help fund the terrorist operation.

  • The planned attacks included detonating bombs in Times Square and the New York City subway system, and shooting civilians at specific concert venues.

  • Law enforcement – the FBI and the NYPD – successfully thwarted this terrorist plot.  An undercover FBI agent (the “UC”) convinced the defendants that the UC was an ISIS supporter prepared to carry out the attacks with them.

  • EL BAHNASAWY, who has been in custody since he was arrested by the FBI in May 2016, pled guilty to terrorism offenses and is awaiting sentencing.

  • HAROON and SALIC have been arrested in foreign countries by foreign authorities in connection with these charges and it is the hope and expectation of this Office and U.S. law enforcement that they will be extradited to the United States to face justice in a United States court.

On May 21, 2016, EL BAHNASAWY was arrested in New Jersey, after traveling to the United States from Canada in preparation for carrying out the NYC Attacks.  HAROON was arrested in Pakistan in or about September 2016, and SALIC was arrested in the Philippines in or about April 2017.  EL BAHNASAWY pled guilty on October 13, 2016, to a seven-count Superseding Information before U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman.  Today, the Court unsealed the Superseding Information and EL BAHNASAWY’s guilty plea, as well as the Complaint and Indictment previously filed against EL BAHNASAWY.[1]  The Court also unsealed today the five-count Complaint charging TALHA HAROON (the “Haroon Complaint”), and the seven-count Complaint charging RUSSELL SALIC (the “Salic Complaint”), based on their alleged participation with EL BAHNASAWY in the plot to carry out the NYC Attacks.

According to the allegations in the Haroon Complaint and the Salic Complaint[2]; the Complaint, Indictment, and Superseding Information filed against EL BAHNASAWY; and the transcript of EL BAHNASAWY’s guilty plea[3]:

In the spring of 2016, EL BAHNASAWY and HAROON were plotting to carry out terrorist attacks in New York City in support of ISIS during the Islamic holy month of Ramadhan (which ran from approximately June 5 to July 5 in 2016).  In the course of their preparations, EL BAHNASAWY and HAROON communicated, via electronic messaging applications accessible on cellphones, with a certain individual posing as an ISIS supporter who was, unbeknownst to them, the UC.

EL BAHNASAWY and HAROON declared their allegiance to ISIS in electronic communications with the UC, and expressed their intention of carrying out Paris- and Brussels-like terrorist attacks on behalf of ISIS in New York City.  EL BAHNASAWY explained to the UC that he was in contact with an ISIS affiliate about obtaining official sanction of the planned attacks by the Khorasan Province, a branch of ISIS active in Pakistan.  HAROON, who was based in Pakistan and was introduced to the UC by EL BAHNASAWY, informed the UC that he was in contact with ISIS associates within the Khorasan Province, and that “khurasan dawla [ISIS] has o[u]r back.”  EL BAHNASAWY stated to the UC that “[t]hese Americans need an attack,” that he aspired to “create the next 9/11,” and that he planned to “com[e] to new York at around may 22” from Canada.  HAROON stated that he intended to fly from Pakistan to New York City to carry out the NYC Attacks with EL BAHNASAWY, and hoped to “cause great destruction to the filthy kuffars[4]by our hands.”[5] 

EL BAHNASAWY and HAROON identified multiple locations and events in and around New York City as targets of the planned attacks, including the New York City subway system, Times Square, and certain concert venues.  For example, on May 1, 2016, EL BAHNASAWY sent the UC multiple images of maps of the New York City subway system containing markings that depicted plans for attacking the subway system, including by identifying the subway lines in which explosives would be detonated as part of the NYC Attacks.  On May 12, 2016, EL BAHNASAWY sent the UC an image of Times Square and stated:  “[W]e seriously need a car bomb at times square. . Look at these crowds of people!”  That same day, EL BAHNASAWY also expressed his desire to “shoot up concerts cuz they kill a lot of people.”  EL BAHNASAWY described the plan to attack concerts as follows:  “[W]e just walk in with guns in our hands.  That’s how the Paris guys did it.” 

On May 5, 2016, HAROON expressed to the UC that the subway was a “perfect” target, that they should shoot as many passengers on the train as possible, including “women or kids,” and that “when we run out of bullets we let the vests go off.”  That same day, HAROON discussed with the UC the necessary supplies for making explosive devices for use in the NYC Attacks.  On May 9, 2016, HAROON stated to the UC:  “NY Needs to fall.  It’s a must.”    

During May 2016, EL BAHNASAWY, while in Canada, purchased an array of bomb-making materials for use in the NYC Attacks, including approximately 40 pounds of hydrogen peroxide (the “Hydrogen Peroxide”) – which is a primary ingredient in TATP (triacetone triperoxide), a powerful explosive commonly used in improvised explosive devices.  EL BAHNASAWY also purchased, among other things, batteries, Christmas lights, thermometers, and aluminum foil for use in constructing explosive devices to carry out the NYC Attacks.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, based on HAROON’s communications with the UC, HAROON traveled to a certain city to meet with an explosives expert for the purpose of obtaining additional information to be used in building bombs for the planned NYC Attacks.  HAROON advised that they would need “perming cords” (i.e., detonator cords) for constructing the improvised explosive devices, and conveyed his expectation that EL BAHNASAWY was acquiring “all that’s needed.”  HAROON repeatedly expressed his commitment to travel to New York City as soon as feasible to carry out the planned attacks in support of ISIS, and described the steps that he had taken to renew the necessary travel documents to enable him to exit Pakistan and travel to the United States for the purpose of carrying out the NYC Attacks.    

In early May 2016, EL BAHNASAWY informed the UC that EL BAHNASAWY had been communicating with SALIC – who was known to EL BAHNASAWY as “Abu Khalid” and “the doctor” – about providing additional funding for the NYC Attacks.  EL BAHNASAWY further informed the UC that SALIC was a trusted ISIS supporter who had provided funding in support of ISIS on prior occasions.  EL BAHNASAWY advised that SALIC would send approximately $500 to help fund the NYC Attacks, and that the money sent by SALIC would be used to acquire additional ammunition and bomb-making materials for carrying out the attacks.  EL BAHNASAWY informed the UC that he had sent the UC’s account information to SALIC so that SALIC could transfer money to the United States in support of the NYC Attacks, and EL BAHNASAWY provided the UC with SALIC’s contact information on an electronic messaging application, to enable SALIC to execute the planned money transfer.

Shortly thereafter, SALIC, using the alias “Abu Khalid,” began messaging with the UC.  SALIC informed the UC that he had been in contact with EL BAHNASAWY, and that SALIC was prepared to transfer money to the United States to help fund the NYC Attacks.  SALIC, who allegedly maintained an active pro-ISIS social media presence, also conveyed that he had previously sent money to multiple other countries in support of ISIS, and expressed his allegiance to ISIS.  For example, on May 9, 2016, SALIC informed the UC that he was “desperate” to travel to Syria to join ISIS.  SALIC also expressed his belief that he could safely send money to support the NYC Attacks from the Philippines, where he claimed to be at the time, without attracting law enforcement scrutiny, stating:  “[I]ts not strict here. Unli[k]e in Aus [Australia] or Uk [the United Kingdom] even liking FB [Facebook] status will put[] u in jail . . . Terrorists from all over the world usually come here as a breeding ground for terrorists . . . hahahaha . . . But no worry here in Philippines. They dont care bout IS [ISIS]..loll[.] Only in west.” 

On May 11, 2016, SALIC sent approximately $423 from the Philippines to the UC to help fund the planned NYC Attacks.  SALIC also informed the UC that he intended to continue sending additional money in support of ISIS in the future, stating:  “In Sha Allah once we have the blessings again we will distribute again.”

As described above, EL BAHNASAWY acquired an array of bomb-making materials for use in carrying out the NYC Attacks.  In mid-May 2016, EL BAHNASAWY shipped those bomb-making materials, including the Hydrogen Peroxide, to the UC in the United States.  EL BAHNASAWY planned to build the explosive devices and prepare for the NYC Attacks with HAROON and the UC at a rural cabin within driving distance of New York City.  EL BAHNASAWY helped to secure such a cabin for a period beginning in late May 2016, when he planned to arrive in the New York City area.  EL BAHNASAWY informed the UC that the cabin would need to contain a refrigerator for purposes of making the explosives, and that EL BAHNASAWY wanted to “practise shooting” at the cabin site if it was not “too close to people.”

On May 12, 2016, when the UC sent SALIC a photograph of the Hydrogen Peroxide that EL BAHNASAWY had purchased for use in the NYC Attacks, SALIC reiterated his support for the planned attacks, and SALIC also conveyed that if he was unable to travel to Syria to join ISIS, he might carry out an attack himself.  During subsequent communications with the UC, SALIC described New York City as “the capital of Kufr [Kuffar],” and stated that “[i]t would be a great pleasure if we can slaughter” people in New York City.  SALIC further conveyed to the UC that he would be praying to Allah for the success of the operation when the planned attacks were imminent.

On May 20, 2016, HAROON conveyed to the UC that Times Square was “a perfect spot to hit them,” and suggested that the plan could include “[d]rive by or we surround the whole street and trap them and kill as many as possible.”  In the course of his communications with the UC, HAROON also stated:  “I wanna kill . . . them in thousands”; and “we have to make a ocean out of their blood[.] Leave no one standing.”  HAROON reiterated his intention of traveling to New York City, and discussed attempting to execute the attacks as soon as Memorial Day (i.e., May 30, 2016), stating that “that’s a day that will change history” and that the attacks “will scar them for life knowing the soldiers of Allah are everywhere and ready.”

On May 21, 2016, EL BAHNASAWY traveled from Canada to the New York City area, in preparation for staging and ultimately carrying out the NYC Attacks with HAROON.  In coordination with Canadian law enforcement, U.S. law enforcement closely monitored EL BAHNASAWY’s travel to the United States on May 21, 2016, and EL BAHNASAWY was arrested by the FBI that night in Cranford, New Jersey.  HAROON was subsequently arrested in Pakistan based on the charges in the Haroon Complaint, and SALIC was subsequently arrested in the Philippines based on the charges in the Salic Complaint.    

The chart below reflects: (i) the charges in the Superseding Information to which EL BAHNASAWY, 19, of Mississauga, Canada, pled guilty; (ii) the charges in the Haroon Complaint filed against HAROON, 19, a U.S. citizen residing in Pakistan; and (iii) the charges in the Salic Complaint filed against SALIC, 37, of the Philippines.

Conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction
18 U.S.C. § 2332a
Life in prison
Conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries
18 U.S.C. § 2332b
Life in prison
Conspiracy to bomb a place of public use and public transportation system
18 U.S.C. § 2332f
Life in prison
Conspiracy to provide material support and resources to terrorists
18 U.S.C. § 2339A
15 years in prison
Attempted provision and provision of material support and resources to terrorists
18 U.S.C. § 2339A
15 years in prison
Conspiracy to provide material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, i.e., ISIS
18 U.S.C. § 2339B
20 years in prison
Attempted provision and provision of material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, i.e., ISIS
18 U.S.C. § 2339B
20 years in prison

The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by a judge.

As noted above, EL BAHNASAWY was arrested in New Jersey on May 21, 2016, and has remained in custody since that date.  On October 13, 2016, EL BAHNASAWY pled guilty to the seven-count Superseding Information.  EL BAHNASAWY is scheduled to be sentenced on December 12, 2017.  HAROON was arrested in September 2016 in Pakistan in connection with the charges in the Haroon Complaint, and proceedings for his extradition to the United States are currently pending in Pakistan.  SALIC was arrested in April 2017 in the Philippines in connection with the charges in the Salic Complaint, and proceedings for his extradition to the United States are currently pending in the Philippines.

Mr. Kim praised the outstanding efforts of the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, which principally consists of agents from the FBI and detectives from the NYPD, and the FBI’s Los Angeles and Denver Field Offices.  Mr. Kim also thanked the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the FBI’s Cleveland Field Office, the FBI’s Legal Attaché Offices in Canada, Pakistan, and the Philippines, the New York State Police, the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, the Counterterrorism Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California for their assistance.

This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys George D. Turner and Negar Tekeei are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance from Trial Attorneys Joshua Champagne and Larry Schneider of the Counterterrorism Section.

The charges contained in the Haroon Complaint and the Salic Complaint are merely accusations, and HAROON and SALIC are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.        
 [1] Certain portions of the transcript of EL BAHNASAWY’s guilty plea remain sealed pursuant to judicial order.  Those portions have been redacted from the version of the transcript unsealed today.
[2] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the texts of the Haroon Complaint and the Salic Complaint, and the descriptions of the allegations against HAROON and SALIC in those charging documents set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and should be treated as allegations.  EL BAHNASAWY has pled guilty, so as to him, the descriptions are not merely allegations.
[3] The Complaint, Indictment, and Superseding Information filed against EL BAHNASAWY refer to HAROON as “CC-1” and to SALIC as “CC-2.”  The Haroon Complaint refers to EL BAHNASAWY as “CC-1” and to SALIC as “CC-2.”  The Salic Complaint refers to EL BAHNASAWY as “CC-1” and to HAROON as “CC-2.”
[4] “Kuffar” generally means “disbelievers.”  
[5] Unless otherwise indicated, the communications quoted herein have not been altered to correct for grammatical, spelling, or other errors that exist in the original communications.