NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A terror suspect on trial in New York was among several young recruits under orders by al Qaeda to infiltrate Western society and pull off the biggest operation since the Sept. 11 attacks, a prosecutor said Tuesday in opening statements.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Celia Cohen told jurors in federal court in Brooklyn that the failed conspiracy in 2009 called for attacks in New York City, England and Denmark. She said Abid Naseer, 28, who is acting as his own attorney, headed a cell in Manchester, England, where he attended college as part of his cover and communicated in coded emails with his al Qaeda handler about the cell’s plan to attack a shopping mall.
“That was the whole point of the Western operatives. They knew how to blend in and conduct reconnaissance and pick the best target,” Cohen said. The goal, she added, was to “repeat the devastation of 9/11.”