NYPD: New al-Qaida car bomb fix would likely malfunction

John Miller, deputy commissioner for intelligence and NYPD John Miller, deputy commissioner for intelligence and NYPD Commissioner William Bratton talk during a press conference at One Police Plaza in Manhattan on April 2, 2014. Photo Credit: John Roca

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A recent car bomb plan published by a jihadist magazine for potential use in New York City is flawed and could blow up in the face of an aspiring terrorist, a top NYPD intelligence official said Wednesday.

The bomb plan appeared last month in Inspire magazine, an al-Qaida-allied publication, as a way of showing a fix for the failed homemade bomb used by Faisal Shahzad in his attempted Times Square attack in May 2010, said John Miller, deputy commissioner for intelligence.

But a quick NYPD and FBI analysis of the plans showed that it would an unintended recipe for disaster, Miller said Wednesday with Police Commissioner William Bratton by his side.

"It does not fix the problem and if done even slightly incorrectly it could cause an explosion with the bomb maker, which is one kind of unintended result," Miller told reporters.

Last month Inspire, published by the group Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, exhorted potential terrorists to hit the United States, particularly New York City, with car bombs and mentioned building devices similar to what Shahzad tried to use in 2010. Court records show he rigged up cans of gasoline, fertilizer, propane gas and fireworks in the hope of exploding it in an Isuzu vehicle by West 45th Street and Seventh Avenue. The device smoldered but didn't explode. Shahzad was captured, convicted of terrorism charges and sentenced to life in prison.

"This bomb is not designed to topple buildings, this bomb's purpose is to be in a large container, a large vehicle and kill the people around it in a crowded environment," Miller said of the bomb plans in Inspire magazine.

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In a related development, Bratton said that he and other officials Wednesday had a "good discussion" with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh C. Johnson about restoring some of the Securing the Cities funding the federal government wants to cut. The Obama administration wants to cut New York's Securing the Cities funds to $4.8 million next year from the current $11 million. The funds are for nuclear detection devices given to the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies in the metropolitan area.

"In terms of what we were advocating for, there would be some additional millions restored to what was being proposed, that was the position we advanced to the secretary this morning," said Bratton.

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