Today in New Delhi, India
Mar 19, 2019-Tuesday
New Delhi
  • Humidity
  • Wind

Failed, foiled, successful terror plots on US soil

The United States has not suffered a major terrorist attack on its soil since September 11, 2001, due mostly to heightened vigilance and luck after undetected bombs failed to detonate.

world Updated: Sep 09, 2011 07:42 IST

The United States has not suffered a major terrorist attack on its soil since September 11, 2001, due mostly to heightened vigilance and luck after undetected bombs failed to detonate.

The US justice department said it has convicted and incarcerated more than 400 people in the past decade for terrorism-related offenses that occurred both in the United States and overseas, including a growing number of "home-grown" terrorists.

Here is a list of high-profile failed, foiled and successful plots.


May 2010:

A street vendor spots smoke pouring out of a car parked in New York's Time Square and alerts police, who manage to disarm the bomb it before it blows up.

Faisal Shahzad, who received training from the Pakistani Taliban, pleads guilty and is sentenced to life in prison.

Christmas 2009:

A Nigerian student is subdued by passengers and crew after explosives allegedly stitched into his underwear failed to detonate aboard a flight from Amsterdam as it prepared to land in Detroit.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 24, is set to face trial on terror charges on October 4.

December 2001:

British citizen and self-proclaimed al Qaeda member Richard Reid is subdued by passengers and crew after trying to light explosives hidden in his shoes with a match aboard a flight from Paris to Miami.

Reid was sentenced to life in prison in 2003 after being found guilty of terror charges.


October 2010:

Two packages containing bombs disguised as printer cartridges are discovered on cargo planes bound from Yemen to the United States before they can detonate.

Saudi intelligence agents learned of the plot and the bombs -- which investigators believe were set to detonate over US soil -- were located at layovers in the United Arab Emirates and Britain.

October 2009:

Colleen LaRose -- who called herself "Jihad Jane" and thought her US citizenship and blond hair would make a great cover -- is arrested with seven others for plotting to kill a Swedish artist who outraged Muslims with a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad with the body of a dog.

LaRose, 46, pleaded guilty to terror charges in February 2011 and is awaiting sentencing.

October 2009:

David Coleman Headley -- the son of an American woman and Pakistani diplomat -- is arrested at a Chicago airport on his way to Pakistan. He is charged with plotting to attack a Danish newspaper and tells investigators about his role in plotting the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Headley pleaded guilty in 2010 in exchange for avoiding the death penalty or extradition and has not yet been sentenced. His childhood friend, Chicago businessman Tahawwur Hussain Rana, was found guilty in June 2011 of helping Headley plan the Danish attack.

August 2004:

Two men are arrested in a plot to bomb a New York subway station ahead of the Republican National Convention after an undercover detective infiltrates the group.

James Elshafay, a US citizen, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years after testifying against Shahawar Matin Siraj who was jailed for 30 years.

May 2003:

Iyman Faris, a naturalized US citizen originally from Kashmir who lived in Ohio, is arrested for plotting to use blowtorches to collapse the Brooklyn Bridge.

He pleaded guilty to conspiring to help al Qaeda and was sentenced to 20 years in jail.

May 2002:

US citizen Jose Padilla is arrested at a Chicago airport upon his return from Pakistan, where he was allegedly working with al Qaeda on a dirty bomb plot. The former Chicago gang member and convert to Islam was held for three years on a military brig as an "enemy combatant."

Criminal charges filed in 2005 made no mention of the dirty bomb plot and Padilla was sentenced to 17 years in jail in 2008 after his conviction on terror charges.


November 2009:

Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan allegedly opens fire in a crowded processing center at Fort Hood in Texas, killing 13 people and wounding 32 others.

While Hasan was linked to a radical Islamic cleric, it appears he was acting alone and went on the rampage in a disturbed attempt to avoid being deployed to Afghanistan.

He faces the death penalty and is set to face trial in a military court on March 5, 2012.

June 2009:

Memphis-born Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, a convert to Islam, opens fire in a drive-by shooting at a recruiting office, killing one soldier and wounding another.

Muhammad, who said he was working for al Qaeda after 16 months of training in Yemen, was sentenced to life in prison without parole after pleading guilty.

First Published: Sep 09, 2011 07:40 IST