Photograph by NYPD via Getty Images.
A radical Muslim convert who was arrested over the weekend in New York for allegedly plotting to attack U.S. servicemen and police officers was just an hour away from finishing work on a bomb he planned to use in the attack, ABC News reported Monday.
Meanwhile, unnamed law enforcement officials tell the Associated Press that the FBI had declined to pursue the case despite being contacted twice by the NYPD as its investigation unfolded.
According to one of the AP's sources, federal officials concluded that the suspect didn't have the "predisposition or the ability" to carry out his plot, leaving NYC officials in charge of the investigation into Jose Pimental, a 27-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen said to have been fascinated by American-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.
That report, however, does not line up directly with what city officials have said publicly. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said over the weekend that the NYPD had worked closely with federal authorities on the case. The FBI declined to comment to the AP on the subject.
Pimental was arrested on Saturday for allegedly planning to use a bomb to assassinate U.S. military personnel returning home from active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Officials say that he had been plotting the attack since August but that he refocused his efforts after Awlaki, a former leader of an al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen, was killed by a U.S. drone attack in September.
At the time of his arrest, officials say Pimental had enough materials to build a bomb, which he was allegedly attempting to do in his mother’s home after reading the infamous "How to Build a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom" article published in al-Qaida's magazine, Inspire, according to ABC News.
"We had to act quickly," New York police commissioner Ray Kelly said at a press conference Sunday, "because he was in fact putting this bomb together." Officials say that Pimental was acting as a "lone wolf" and has no known ties to foreign terrorism organizations.
Pimental, who moved to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic at age 8, is being held without bail. Authorities have been monitoring his activities for more than a year after first rousing suspicions in May 2009.