Feds: Synagogue Bomb Suspect Wanted To Shoot President "700 Times"

By Jonathan Dienst
|  Tuesday, Apr 13, 2010  |  Updated 4:45 PM EDT
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Photos: Arrests in Alleged Bomb Plot

AP

James Cromitie, right, is led by police officers from a federal building in New York, early Thursday, May 21, 2009, after being arrested on charges related to a bombing plot in the Bronx. The FBI arrested four men Wednesday in what authorities called a plot to detonate a bomb outside a Jewish temple and to shoot military planes with guided missiles. (AP Photo/Robert Mecea)

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The lead terror suspect in last year's alleged plot to bomb synagogues in the Bronx claimed he wanted to shoot President Bush "700 times" and repeatedly called Osama Bin Laden "my brother," according to transcripts of FBI recordings filed in federal court Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors said James Cromitie approached the FBI informant claiming "I want to do something to America" adding "With no hesitation I will kill 10 Yahudis [Jews], and I'll have to think 20,000 times before I kill one Muslim. You understand?"

Cromitie was charged last May with recruiting three others to try to carry out attacks on Jewish temples in the Riverdale section of the Bronx as well as plotting to shoot down airplanes at Stewart Air base in Newburgh.

The four men have pleaded not guilty and defense lawyers have claimed the group was set up by an FBI informant. The defense last month asked a federal judge to dismiss the charges alleging misconduct by the informant and his government handlers.

Prosecutors filed their response to the defense motion stating Cromitie along with suspects David Williams, Onta Williams and LaGueerre Payen acted on their own. "These four defendants actually showed up and placed what they believed to be Improvised Explosive Devices in front of a synagogue and a Jewish Community Center," prosecutors said.

Investigators said the three other suspects were not known to the FBI informant when Cromitie allegedly recruited them for the plot.  Prosecutors called Cromitie a "hate-filled, virulent anti-Semite who wanted to commit attacks against Jews and the United States ..."  who claimed it was  "for a cause, not just because."

NBCNewYork broke the story of the alleged plot back on May 19. The suspects are charged with conspiracy to use a weapon on mass destruction, conspiracy to kill U.S. military officers and conspiracy to acquire anti-aircraft missiles.

Investigators said Cromitie first met the informant on June 13, 2008 and spoke of his family in Afghanistan. Cromitie allegedly said he wanted to strike at the U.S. because of American military involvement there.

"If the Muslims was to want the United States down, they can do it.  With the regular Muslims here, all somebody has to do is give a good Fatwa [religious edict] to the brothers and make sure that they understand. They are taking down our Islamic countries ... So, we start taking something down here" he said according to a wiretap transcript.

Last month, defense lawyers claimed the FBI informant had offered $250,000 to Cromitie to help in the plot.  Court papers identified the informant as Shaheed Hussain who had claimed to be a member of a terror group from Pakistan. If not for the offer of cash, defense lawyers claim the men never would have gotten caught in the FBI's sting.

A spokesman for U.S. attorney Preet Bharara declined to comment on the court filings.  Cromitie's lawyer Vincent Brecetti did not immediately return a call. 

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