Alleged Fed Bank bomber raised red flags in college

(CBS News) CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -- Quazi Nafis left little impression on students at Southeast Missouri State University. Some were struck by how homesick the 21-year-old freshman was.

Jim Dow met Nafis in physics class. He says Nafis gave him a gift -- a Quran -- and urged him to convert to Islam. But they talked politics only once.

Jim Dow
Jim Dow
CBS News

"He told me he did not believe Osama bin Laden was involved in the Twin Tower (bombing,) that he believed that bin Laden was a very good religious man and that a good devout religious Muslim would not do something like that," Dow said.

Bangladeshi students who came with Nafis to Missouri told the FBI last night they became alarmed when his political views slowly turned radical. He began talking about violence and videos recorded by Anwar al Awlaki -- the al Qaeda recruiter killed by a U.S. drone in Yemen last year.

The friends described one incident in which Nafis watched an Awlaki video onboard an airplane. His shocked friends told him to shut it off.

Fed suspect's dad: "My son couldn't have done it"
Alleged Fed bomb plotter's ties probed
Suspect arrested for Fed Reserve Bank attack plot

Ken Dobbins, the university's president, says FBI agents have been on campus for weeks, and he added the school was never the target

Nafis was granted admission without producing his Bangladesh college grades. If he had, school officials would have discovered Nafis has flunked out.

"We put him in as a probationary student and he had to prove himself," Dobbins said, adding that he didn't then didn't do well, and "then he left."

Family of terror suspect stunned by allegations

Nufis was enrolled as a cyber-security major, but never took a cyber-security course.

In July, as a foreign student, Nufis notified the unviersity he was transferring to ASA College, a computer programming school in Manhattan. That's where he was enrolled when he was arrested Thursday.

  • Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann was named CBS News Transportation correspondent in August 2011. He has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001, and is based in the Atlanta bureau.

Comments