A Long Island man accused of firing a rocket at U.S. troops in Afghanistan and plotting attacks against New York transit targets reportedly is cooperating with law enforcement officials here and in Europe.
Bryant Neal Vinas, 26, is charged with providing material support to Al Qaeda and conspiring to kill American soldiers in papers unsealed Wednesday. The support came "from specialized knowledge of the New York Transit system and Long Island railroad." The attempted attack on American troops came last September.
A New York Times report indicates information Vinas provided after his arrest in Peshawar, Pakistan last November prompted a warning about possible attacks on New York transit. He also may be a significant witness in two pending European terror trials:
"The cases there, in Belgium and Italy, center on two groups of French and Belgian nationals, several of whom trained in the camps, as well as on a Moroccan-born woman, Malika El Aroud, who has been accused of using the Internet to recruit the young Muslim men to train with Al Qaeda in Pakistan.
Mr. Vinas, according to European officials, is expected to be a key witness in those attacks because he spent time in the training camps with the men, who officials have said were recruited through Ms. El Aroud's Web site."
Vinas converted to Islam through a Long Island mosque, the Times reports. The complaint against him lists aliases including "Ibrahim," "Bashir al-Ameriki" and "Ben Yameen al-Kanadee." The original grand jury indictment is here and a superseding charging document is here.
The Los Angeles Times has a must-read with incredible details about the Vinas and the "massive" scope of the investigation here.