An FBI informant urged seven terror suspects to target FBI offices throughout the country - including one in New York - and even helped the men scout the buildings, law enforcement sources told the Daily News yesterday.
The suspects, who also allegedly schemed to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago, were denied bond in a Miami federal court yesterday as sources shed light on the FBI effort to ensnare them.
Last December, the FBI arranged for an undercover informant posing as an Al Qaeda terrorist to meet with alleged ringleader Narseal Batiste, who authorities say had already recruited six men to help bring down the landmark 110-story Chicago office tower.
But in March, in an effort to solidify his "terrorist credentials," the informant suggested the men widen their aims to attack FBI offices in Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington and New York, a law enforcement source said.
Batiste and his followers readily agreed, even taking an Al Qaeda oath at the suggestion of the informant, Justice Department sources said. Soon, Batiste and the agent began a surveillance operation of the FBI office in Miami - while the bureau watched their every move, sources said.
"The FBI made sure the informant suggested Bureau buildings and not, say, airports, in order to maintain an element of control," said a law enforcement source. "The FBI knew exactly what was going on and was in complete control."
The terror suspects never performed reconnaissance on the Sears Tower or any other FBI office, including the one in lower Manhattan that was also targeted in a 1993 plot to blow up New York landmarks. They also never acquired any of the explosives to carry out their attacks, authorities said.