Man Charged With Providing Transit Data To Al Qaeda

Earlier today, court papers were unsealed to reveal that a 26 year old man named Bryant Neal Vinas was charged with providing al Qaeda with data on NYC Transit & the Long Island Rail Road. He was also charged with taking part in a rocket attack on US troops in Afghanistan. Lets take a look at two separate reports on Mr. Vinas starting with a report by Jason Ryan & Pierre Thomas of ABC News:

A man from a New York City suburb has been charged with joining Al Qaeda and taking part in a rocket attack against a U.S. base in Afghanistan.

Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York alleged in court papers unsealed today that Bryant Neal Vinas, 26, of Long Island received al Qaeda training in Pakistan between March and August 2008. He is also accused of taking part in a September 2008 rocket attack against U.S. forces.

Vinas has worked as a truck driver and for the Long Island Rail Road, a major commuter rail line in and out of New York City. Public records indicate lived in Patchogue, was the son of Rosa and Juan Vinas, and was a registered Democrat who voted in local elections in 2005.

Click here for the complete report.

Now takes a look at a second report on this story courtesy of Michelle Nichols (reporting) & Eric Walsh (editing) from Reuters:

A U.S. man has been charged with giving al Qaeda details about the New York City transit system and the Long Island Railroad, as well as firing rockets on U.S. troops in Afghanistan, according to court papers unsealed on Wednesday.

Bryant Neal Vinas, 26, is also accused of receiving military-type training between March and August last year from the Islamist extremist group headed by Osama bin Laden.

Click here for the complete report.

With such shocking news coming out, the first thought on the mind of many riders would be concern & possible paranoia about the information obtained on the system by al Qaeda. The MTA was quick to issue a statement on the Bryant Neal Vinas story. Here is their statement which was sent to me & other transit media:

“As part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the MTA has been in constant communication with local and federal authorities as the investigation involving Bryant Neal Vinas developed. There was never an imminent threat to the system. The security of our entire transportation network and the safety of our customers continue to be the MTA’s top priorities.”

Background: Vinas has never been employed by the MTA or its vendors.

I will continue to follow up on this story including getting some verification as to why one story claims he worked for the MTA.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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