Sorry, honey: I was busy stopping a terrorist plot
May 22, 2009
New Windsor police got a call May 8 from an employee of the Guardian Storage business on Route 32. The employee was suspicious of a man who had a Middle Eastern appearance and made 45 visits over three days to the storage units he was renting. He took pains to conceal what he was storing.
Police made some inquiries, New Windsor police Chief Michael Biasotti said. "Of course, we set off all kinds of alarms, because it's an FBI operation. At that point, we're brought into it." Biasotti took his place in the command post set up at Stewart Airport.
The moral of the story, Biasotti said, is that "The 'If you see something, say something' campaign works.'"
Biasotti can now explain to his stepdaughter, Elizabeth Hanley, why he was unable to attend her graduation from a doctoral program at Columbia Wednesday.
"I had to miss that," he said with a rueful chuckle, "and I couldn't even give a reason about why I couldn't be there."
Not the expected answer
U.S. Magistrate Lisa Margaret Smith was dealing with the arraignments of the accused terror plotters Thursday.
In what is a pro forma question in such court appearances, Smith asked if any of the defendants had taken drugs in the past 24 hours.
James Cromitie volunteered that he had smoked marijuana on Wednesday.
Town police were involved, also
The FBI briefed Town of Newburgh police last week on the year-long investigation, according to Deputy Chief John Mahoney.
The department also had a member stationed in the local command post Wednesday while arrests were being made, but only to monitor the situation.
"Our concern was for the safety of the residents of the town," Mahoney said.
The Stewart Air National Guard base is primarily on the Town of Newburgh side of the airport, off Route 17K.
State police Capt. Wayne Olson at Troop F headquarters in Middletown confirmed the troop was involved in the investigation but would not say in what capacity, nor would he make any more specific comments.
He referred questions to the FBI.