Man plotted ISIS-inspired attack on New York concerts, say officials


Federal authorities arrested a Canadian man this summer accused of an ISIS-inspired plot to attack music concerts, landmarks and crowded subways in New York City, according to multiple officials familiar with the case.

The news comes days after a lone actor with no link to any terror group opened fire on a concert crowd in Las Vegas, killing 58 people. Terrorists earlier killed concertgoers in England and France.

Investigators said the goal was to injure as many people as possible, but the suspect was arrested before obtaining any weapons. They described the plot as inspired by the ISIS terror group but said it was more aspirational than operational. It wasn't immediately clear which venues may have been targeted.

Officials said the suspect spoke to a second man about wanting to strike Times Square and the crowded New York City subways during rush hour. Times Square saw a failed car bomb attempt by terrorist Faisal Shahzad in 2010 and the 2009 Zazi plot was set to be a series of backpack bombings on the subways. 

While the plan may have been aspirational, former FBI Supervisor J.J. Klaver said the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the U.S. Attorney's Office wouldn't have made the arrest if the man's plans were "just idle talk."

"They are going to look at the extent of the plans being made and the extent that these guys are taking actions to further those plans," said Klaver.

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FILE PHOTO - A police body camera is seen on an officer during a news conference on the pilot program of body cameras involving 60 NYPD officers dubbed 'Big Brother' at the NYPD police academy in the Queens borough of New York, December 3, 2014. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo
New York City Police (NYPD) officers stand outside The Jewish Children's Museum following a bomb threat in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, U.S. March 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
NYPD officer stands guard next to Trump Tower while demonstrators protest against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in Manhattan, New York, U.S. November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
A hearse carrying the body of New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer Steven McDonald is escorted by fellow officers during a procession down 5th Avenue to his funeral service at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, U.S., January 13, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
New York Police Department (NYPD) officers push back on the barricades during a protest against President-elect Donald Trump in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 12, 2016. REUTERS/Bria Webb
Lisa Tuozzolo is embraced as the casket of her husband, slain New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer Paul Tuozzolo is put in a hearse outside the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church during his funeral service in Massapequa, New York, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Lisa Tuozzolo watches as the casket of her husband, slain New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer Paul Tuozzolo is carried to his hearse outside the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church during his funeral service in Massapequa, New York, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A New York City Police (NYPD) officer stands guard near the finish line ahead of the 2016 New York City Marathon in Central Park in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., November 6, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
An officer with the New York Police Department Transit Bureau K-9 unit walks through Times Square in New York, U.S., November 7, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
NYPD officers stand guard as runners arrive to compete in the 2016 New York City Marathon in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., November 6, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
A shopper shows her "The Life of Pablo" merchandise to NYPD officers after visiting a pop up store featuring fashion by Kanye West in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 19, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Officers from the NYPD embrace a man to stop him from climbing the outside of Trump Tower in New York, U.S., August 10, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
The Times Square NYPD precinct is seen in New York, U.S., June 20, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A member of the NYPD Joint Terrorist Task Force patrols a subway station in the Manhattan borough in New York, March 22, 2016. Picture taken through a window. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
NYPD officers stand guard at the east side as people arrive for Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Independence Day celebrations in New York July 4, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
NYPD officer looks at the memorial to fallen officers in Battery Park near the site of the World Trade Center in New York on September 9, 2002. The memorial wall holds the names of all the NYPD officers killed in action, 23 were added from September 11, 2001, and two were added from year 2000. REUTERS/Chip East CME/ME
New York City Police Department Emergency Service officers walk down Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange August 2, 2004. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge announced on Sunday that Al-Qaeda was targeting specific buildings, including the New York Stock Exchange. REUTERS/Henny Ray Abrams HRA
New York Police Department graduates attend their induction ceremony at Madison Square Garden in New York, December 27, 2013. The NYPD graduated 1171 recruits to ranks of police officer. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY)
A New York Police Department (NYPD) officer dressed for the cold stands guard during New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square in New York, December 31, 2013. REUTERS/Zoran Milich (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY ANNIVERSARY CRIME LAW)
New York City Police officers embrace as they visit a makeshift memorial at the site where two of their fellow police officers were fatally shot in the Brooklyn borough of New York, December 23, 2014. NYPD officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot and killed as they sat in a marked squad car in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon, New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said. The suspect in the shooting then shot and killed himself, according to Bratton. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES Tags: - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW SOCIETY)
A sign of support is left at the makeshift memorial at the site where two police officers were shot in the head in the Brooklyn borough of New York, December 22, 2014. NYPD officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot and killed as they sat in a marked squad car in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon, New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said. The suspect in the shooting then shot and killed himself, Bratton said at a news conference at the Brooklyn hospital where the two officers were taken. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW CIVIL UNREST)
New York City Police (NYPD) caps sit on a Christmas wreath left a makeshift memorial at the site where two of their fellow police officers were fatally shot in the Brooklyn borough of New York, December 23, 2014. NYPD officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot and killed as they sat in a marked squad car in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon, New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said. The suspect in the shooting then shot and killed himself, according to Bratton. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES Tags: SOCIETY CIVIL UNREST)
NYPD Sergeant Joseph Freer demonstrates how a body camera will be activated during a news conference on the pilot program involving 60 NYPD officers dubbed 'Big Brother' at the NYPD police academy in the Queens borough of New York, December 3, 2014. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW)
Some people helps NYPD car to move at Manhattan, NY, USA, 14 March 2017. (Photo by Anik Rahman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A NYPD officer patrols with his K9 unit in front of elevators at the lobby of Trump Tower on January 8, 2017 in New York / AFP / Eduardo Munoz Alvarez (Photo credit should read EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2015/12/20: Olivia and Cameron Hunt hold memorial image of slain police officers with statement 'Blue Lives Matter'. NYC mayor Bill de Blasio joined the families of slain NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos to dedicate a plaque in memory of the officers at the 8th precinct house in Brooklyn. (Photo by Andrew Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 27: New York Police Officers at the funeral of slain New York City Police Officer Rafael Ramos, one of two officers murdered while sitting in their patrol car in an ambush in Brooklyn last Saturday afternoon on December 27, 2014 in New York City. Thousands of fellow officers, family, friends and Vice President Joseph Biden are expected at the church in the Glendale neighborhood of Queens for the funeral. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 27: Maritza Ramos, wife of the victim, holds the colors as she is joined by her sons Justin, left, and Jaden, right, during the funeral of slain New York Police Department (NYPD) officer Rafael Ramos at the Christ Tabernacle Church on December 27, 2014 in the Glenwood section of the Queens borough of New York City. Ramos was shot, along with Police Officer Wenjian Liu while sitting in their patrol car in an ambush attack in Brooklyn on December 20. Thousands of fellow officers, family, friends and Vice President Joseph Biden arrived at the church for the funeral. (Photo by Kevin Hagen/Getty Images)
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Although officials said the plot was discovered months ago, prosecutors were not prepared to reveal the arrests until Friday, in part because federal agents wanted to be certain no other people were involved.

Klaver said terrorism investigations require a balance "between protecting the integrity of the investigation and letting the public know the vital information they need to determine whether or not they feel safe going to a particular venue."

Sources familiar with the case said this was not a typical law enforcement sting operation, but the FBI and the NYPD became aware of the plot and introduced an undercover operative to help monitor it. 

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