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Informant: Suspect thought to release rats at JFK

Accused Kennedy Airport terror mastermind Russell DeFreitas discussed releasing a pack of wild rats into the terminal to create a diversion for an attack on fuel tanks, a government informant testified during cross-examination in Brooklyn federal court Tuesday.

"By us sending rats and frightening people it would actually create a lot of attention so we could go in and plant explosives," FBI mole Steven Francis said of DeFreitas' idea. "It was to create chaos."

DeFreitas, 66, a Guyanese-American former Kennedy cargo worker from Brooklyn, and Abdul Kadir, 59, a former Guyanese politician, are charged with multiple conspiracies for allegedly planning to blow up jet fuel tanks and pipelines in 2006 and 2007. They face life in prison.

The defense is trying to portray DeFreitas as a hapless terror-wannabe and the alleged conspiracy a hopeless scheme that would never have gone anywhere without the encouragement and help of Francis, a former drug trafficker who infiltrated the plot for more than a year and taped the plotters.

The rat plan came up when DeFreitas' lawyer, Mildred Whalen, asked Francis what he made of her client's scattered remarks after admitting he had no idea of how to pull off an attack while driving around Kennedy with Francis in January 2007.

"The technology is too advanced, so if the technology is advanced, we got to behave advanced, we got to come up with supernatural things," DeFreitas is heard telling Francis on tape.

"Got ways, maybe get some rats, whatever, looks deluxe, I don't know. I just come up wild things . . . "

Rats? asked Whalen. "He's talking about diverting the attention of security," Francis explained.

In addition to the rat idea, Francis said DeFreitas interspersed his plotting with efforts to get money for odd entrepreneurial ideas such as harnessing power from waterfalls and marketing a water purifer that could kill disease.

They ranged from importing soapstone and opening West Indian specialty stores to harnessing power from waterfalls and marketing a water purifier invented in Japan that could cure disease.

Whalen also played an FBI videotape, secretly recorded in Francis’ truck, that showed a frightened DeFreitas, crouched on the floor, trying to take surveillance footage at Kennedy without raising his head to look through his camera’s eyepiece for fear that he would be spotted.

DeFreitas was convinced that high-tech spy cameras in the Kennedy airport tower could see everything. “He’s asking me to see if the camera’s catching anything,” Francis explained. “He wanted me to direct him. But I’m driving!”

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