Assassinate President Barack Obama. Kill a cop. Gun down federal agents.
Even join the military for the sole purposes of killing American soldiers.
The head of the FBI had just revealed that the agency is investigating terrorism — everywhere — when the news broke: ISIS conspirators were here. In New York City.
“I have homegrown violent extremist investigations in every single state,” he told America’s top law men at the National Association of Attorneys General in the nation’s capital Wednesday morning.
By then, a bust was already underway at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens. Akhror Saidakhmetov, 19, one of the three Brooklyn men scooped up, was taken into custody before boarding a plane to Istanbul.
He and 24-year-old Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, who had a ticket to fly in March, were going to go to Turkey and then sneak into Syria where ISIS, or ISIL, has turned life upside down, a blockbuster federal indictment alleges. Abror Habibov, 30, was their money man.
The horrors from Syria emerge daily: On Tuesday, ISIS reportedly abducted at least 150 people from Assyrian Christian villages in northeastern Syria.
Saidakhmetov and Juraboev also had designs on hijacking a plane and bringing it to the leaders of the caliphate.
“The flow of foreign fighters to Syria represents an evolving threat to our country and to our allies,” Brooklyn United States Attorney Lynch said in unveiling the attempt and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists charges.
“This is one of the countless examples going on in this country and around the world of people getting sucked up in ISIS’ recruitment propaganda,” Stuart Gottlieb, an counterterrorism expert at Columbia University, told Metro. “This is by no means an isolated case.”
The feds built their case using informants and listening devices.
When discussing what he’d do if getting to Syria proved impossible, Saidakhmetov, who is from Kazakhstan originally, said in a recorded intercept: “I will just go out and buy a machine gun, AK-47, go out and shoot all police,” the indictment says.
He allegedly told another: “We will go and purchase one handgun … then go and shoot one police officer.”
“Then, we will take his gun, bullets and a bulletproof vest … then, we will do the same with a couple of others.”
“Then we will go to the FBI headquarters, kill the FBI people.”
Juraboev, who hails from Uzbekistan, put a target on Obama’s back in postings on an Uzbek language web site.
“What I’m saying is to shoot Obama and then get shot ourselves, will it do?” he posted on Aug. 9 under an alias. “That will strike fear in the heart of infidels.”
Habibov was the money man and encourager, the feds say, and funded Saidakhmetov’s plane ticket. Saidakhmetov worked for Habibov, who operates kiosks that sell cookware and cell phones in malls in Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania, prosecutors said.
Juraboev and Saidakhmetov were arraigned in federal court in Brooklyn Wednesday — Habibov, remains in custody in Florida where he was arrested.
Saidakhmetov’s attorney, Adam Perlmutter, described his client as a “young, innocent kid” who would plead not guilty, according to the Associated Press. “This is the type of case that highlights everything that is wrong with how the Justice Department approaches these cases.”
An NYPD spokesman, Stephen Davis said the city is not raising security alerts in the aftermath of the arrests.
“Nonetheless, the NYPD has a full-time dedicated Counterterrorism Bureau that can respond to conditions as they develop, unfold and come to our attention,” he said.
“The NYPD is one of the best intelligence organization in the world, and NYC is still one of terrorism’s biggest targets …Police are all just that much more on edge and increasing surveillance because of ISIS,” said Columbia’s Gottlieb.
He cautioned against thinking the three nabbed Wednesday are not a real threat.
“They’re exactly the same kind of people who could have turned out like the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston,” who attacked the marathon, he said. “They are clearly motivated.”
Referring to a hatchet attack last fall on Queens cops by a terror wannabe, he said: “If you get a cell of three and they work together, they can do something much bigger than a (hatchet) attack.”
At a news conference, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said the day’s developments point to the need for Congress to fund the Department of Homeland Security. Republicans had threatened to hold funds in a dispute with Obama over his unilateral changes in immigration policy.
— John A. Oswald w/Chester Jesus Soria