Counter-terror authorities say they have broken up a major plot to attack a major U.S. airport.
Justice Department officials describe the suspects as al-Qaeda “wanna-be's.” Experts say their plot to blow up fuel tanks at New York's JFK airport could have reached much further than just the airport limits.
ABC's Stephanie Sy talked to the wife of one of the suspects – she has more on what she had to say, and the very latest in the foiled terror plot.
Two men – Abdul Kadir and Kareem Ibrahim – accused of plotting to blow up fuel tanks and the fuel line leading to John F. Kennedy airport faced an extradition hearing in Trinidad Monday. Kadir is a former member of the parliament in his native Guyana.
“We are praying to God for his help and guidance, and we are begging them, asking them to free my husband because he is not a terrorist,” says Isha Kadir, wife of suspect Abdul Kadir. “He is very independent, disciplined, a big man.”
Ibrahim's neighbors said he did not seem to be an extremist.
“If that's the guy (referring to Ibrahim), he's very quiet,” a neighbor of Ibrahim says. “He comes and goes about his business.”
Authorities say a naturalized American citizen, Russell DeFreitas, was the leader of the plan. The former JFK employee was arrested Friday night outside a Brooklyn diner, and faces a bail hearing later this week.
Police are also seeking a fourth suspect in Trinidad.
The group was apparently far from acting out any plan, but FBI officials are touting the foiled plot as an example of the success of their use of informants.
“We have to expand our awareness as law enforcement is going,” says Senator Chuck Schumer. “We have to expand our awareness that is homegrown, indigenous, less sophisticated, but harder to track down.”
Insiders able to infiltrate extremist communities are viewed as critical for preventing homegrown terrorism.