Bryant Neal Vinas, 29, a Long Island-raised former truck driver, who quit the U.S. Army and later joined Al-Qaeda, said that during training at a terror camp in North Waziristan in 2008, he spoke to the emir in charge of International Operations for Al-Qaeda, Abdul Hafiz al-Somali, and suggested putting suitcases with bombs on the Long Island Railroad.
Vinas, the son of Peruvian immigrants who was raised Catholic, is testifying at the federal trial of Adis Medunjanin, a Queens College grad who’s accused of conspiring in a plot to bomb New York City subways.
Vinas said for the LIRR idea, the Al Qaeda official wanted to choose a “suicide bomber” who wouldn’t call too much attention to himself. “He said preferably, it would be a white man from one of the Western countries–the European Union, Canada, Australia or the United States.” Prosecutors are trying to establish that several, New York men were dealing with the same, Al Qaeda operative in Pakistan even though Vinas testified he never met Medunjanin.
Vinas also took credit for an idea to attack Walmart. “You could hide a bomb inside a target you could return–preferably a TV–and you could get out of the store and it would explode,” Vinas testified. “It would cause a very big economic hit. Walmart is the largest retail store in the country,” he observed.