Officials said the plot may also have included plans to hit the JFK terminal buildings and aircraft, in addition to the fuel lines.
In discussing JFK airport as a target, Defreitas exulted over JFK airport’s symbolic importance, according to a U.S. Justice Department complaint:
“Anytime you hit Kennedy, it is the most hurtful thing to the United States. To hit John F. Kennedy, wow …. They love John F. Kennedy like he’s the man …. If you hit that, this whole country will be in mourning. It’s like you can kill the man twice. ”
In a later recorded conversation with his coconspirators in May 2007, Defreitas compared the plot to attack JFK airport to the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, stating, “even the Twin Towers can’t touch it,” adding that, “this can destroy the economy of America for some time.”
Sources said the planning stages of the plot involved surveillance of JFK airport as well as scouting out US properties in Guyana for possible attacks.
Aviation officials said there is no major threat to air travel related to this plot since it was caught in the developmental stages.
One law enforcement official said: “[There was] credible intent to commit violence but it was not operational.”
Officials said the suspects never got hold of explosive devices.
“This was the ultimate hand-and-glove operation between NYPD and FBI,” said U.S. Rep. Peter King, a Republican from Long Island.
The arrests mark the latest in a series of alleged homegrown terrorism plots targeting high-profile American landmarks.