James Cromitie, the alleged ringleader of a plot to bomb synagogues in New York and shoot down a military plane using a Stinger missile, told an undercover informant he wanted to blow up New York synagogues to vent his anger against Jews, according to dozens of secretly recorded conversations played for the jury at his trial this week.
"I don't care if it was a whole synagogue of men," Cromitie bragged to the FBI informant, Shahed Hussain. "I will take them down."
"The worst brother in Islam is better than 10 billion [Jews]." "Without hesitation, I will kill 10 [Jews]" "and then I will have to think 20,000 times before I kill one Muslim," Cromitie told Hussain according to another recording.
Hussain testified in federal court in Manhattan on Monday that he worked as an undercover informant for the FBI and secretly recorded conversations with Cromitie over several months.
Cromitie's anger was not just directed against Jews. He also wanted punish America for killing Muslims overseas. "Somebody needs to send one big message, bigger than the World Trade Center," Cromitie said.
Another tape showed Cromitie and Hussain in a sports utility vehicle outside a military base in what prosecutors claim to be a reconnaissance mission. Cromitie spoke of cargo planes as "beautiful" and "the biggest target."
Cromitie was also shown on tapes telling Hussain: I am a soldier in America but not for America."
Cromitie and three other men—Onta Williams, David Williams, and Laguerre Payen— all from Newburgh, NY are on trial in U.S. District Court in Manhattan in a plot to bomb a synagogue and Jewish community center in the Riverdale section of the Bronx and to use surface-to-air missiles to shoot down planes at the Air National Guard base in Newburgh, a city 60 miles north of New York City.
The men, who were arrested on May 20, 2009, have pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles to kill U.S. officers and employees. The four men face life in prison if found guilty.
Defense attorneys argue that the arrests are an example of government entrapment and the men would not have engaged in the plot if the government informant had not offered them money.
The trial has recessed for the Labor Day weekend following Hussain's testimony and will resume Tuesday, when Hussain is expected to be cross-examined by the defense.