Presidential hopefuls respond to foiled JFK terror plot

Presidential hopefuls are responding to a foiled plot to destroy a fuel pipeline feeding John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Federal agents announced Saturday that three Muslim men are in custody, including 63-year-old mastermind Russell Defreitas. Defreitas, a retired JFK cargo handler, was arrested Friday in Brooklyn. Kareem Ibrahim and Abdul Kadir are also in custody. Officials identified Kadir as a former mayor of a Guyanese town and a member of the country's Parliament.Authorities in Trinidad are seeking a fourth suspect, Abdel Nur.

According to a federal complaint, the men turned to a radical Muslim group based in Trinidad for help. An indictment said one of the suspects felt destroying the airport named after the slain president would "Put the whole country in mourning. It's like you can kill the man twice."

Presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani said the plot is another example why he should be elected. "The choice we make in November 2008 will determine the course we take in how we deal with terrorism," Giuliani said while speaking in Florida Saturday. "Republicans and Democrats look at terrorism in a very different way."

"Giuliani is looking for traction right now and he is certainly playing politics because he recognizes the Democrats are the ones saying get the forces and the money we're spending over there in Iraq [in the United States]," News 12 political analyst Lawrence Otis Graham said.

Sen. Hillary Clinton released a statement, stressing the fight against terrorism is neither a Democratic or Republican issue.

"They underscore the need to promote and to foster interagency cooperation and to provide all levels of law enforcement with the tools they need to continue the fight against terrorism here at home," Clinton said.

AP wire reports contributed to this story.

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