The plot, which dated from January 2006 to the present, tapped into an international network of Muslim extremists from the United States, Guyana and Trinidad, the statement said.
The four defendants were identified as Russell Defreitas, a U.S. citizen and native of Guyana who was arrested in Brooklyn. Authorities said Defreitas was the former airport employee.
They said two suspects were in custody in Trinidad and Tobago, and identified those two as Abdul Kadir, a citizen of Guyana and former member of its parliament, and Kareem Ibrahim, a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago.
The fourth was named as Abdel Nur, described as a citizen of Guyana. They provided no other immediate information on Nur’s whereabouts, but said Kadir and Nur were associates of Jamaat Al Muslimeen, which was behind a deadly coup attempt in Trinidad in 1990.
“Any time you hit Kennedy, it is the most hurtful thing to the United States. To hit John F. Kennedy, wow … they love John F. Kennedy like he’s the man … if you hit that, this whole country will be mourning. You can kill the man twice,” Defreitas said in another conversation, it said.
“Even the twin towers can’t touch it,” referring to the September 11 attacks in another comment that the law enforcement authorities said was recorded last month. “This can destroy the economy of America for some time.”
The law enforcement authorities said the investigation was helped by an informant, who recorded the conversations with the suspects.