Rats were to be used as diversion in JFK terror plot – court hears

The reputed mastermind of a plot to blow up the John F. Kennedy Airport allegedly had a secret weapon in mind – rats, according to the New York Daily Mail.

According to the report, when the trial continued before Justice Dora Irizarry on Tuesday jurors heard that Russell Defreitas thought that letting the rodents loose at the airport could help to create a diversion.

He was heard discussing the plan on a recording with a government informant.

The report said that Defreitas brainstormed about the rat invasion while talking with undercover government informant Steven Francis about how to detonate fuel tanks and lines at JFK.

“You can’t expect people to drive a car and then park the car on the runway,” Defreitas, 66, said in a 2007 tape made by Francis. “We got to come up with supernatural things. Maybe get some rats.”

Defence lawyer Mildred Whalen asked Francis to explain what they were talking about.

“By him sending rats to frighten people, he thought it would distract security…create chaos,” Francis testified.

The defence brought up some other Defreitas theories, hoping to portray him as a harmless crackpot – his belief that there was a building at JFK where faeces are converted to fuel, a scheme to sell water purified by prayer and his claim that the airport control tower could detect an ant on the ground.

Defreitas, a former Evergreen Airlines cargo worker at the airport is on trial with Abdul Kadir, a former PNCR member of parliament. They are both charged with hatching the plot in January 2006. They had allegedly circulated their plan to an international network of Muslim extremists. The two face life in prison.

Kareem Ibrahim was granted a separate trial at a later date owing to a medical condition while the fourth accused, Abdel Nur pleaded guilty to one count of providing support to terrorists and faces a possible 15 years in prison.

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