A man accused of trying to blow up New York's Federal Reserve Bank with what he thought was a 1,000lb car bomb has pleaded guilty to terrorism charges stemming from an FBI sting.
Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, told the judge: "I had intensions to commit a violent jihadist act. I deeply and sincerely regret my involvement in this case."
The Bangladeshi man could be jailed for life when he is sentenced on May 30.
He was charged in October with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda.
Investigators said Nafis came to the US vowing to carry out jihad and worked out the specifics of a plot when he arrived - contacting a government informant, who then went to federal authorities.
They said he selected his target, drove a van loaded with dummy explosives to the door of the bank and tried to set off the bomb from a hotel room using a mobile phone he thought had been rigged as a detonator.
But it was all fake.
He also believed he had the blessing of al Qaeda, but he has no known ties to the terrorist group, according to federal officials.
Nafis spoke of his admiration for Osama bin Laden, talked of writing an article about his plot for an al Qaeda-affiliated magazine and said he would be willing to be a martyr but preferred to go home to his family after the attack, authorities said.
And he also talked about wanting to kill President Barack Obama and bomb the New York Stock Exchange, officials said.
But family members in Dhaka said they did not believe he was capable of such actions.
"My son couldn't have done it," Quazi Ahsanullah said after his son's arrest.
Nafis, who was working at a Manhattan restaurant at the time of his arrest, came to the US as a student.
His parents said he did not perform well in school in Bangladesh and that he persuaded them to send him to study in the US as a way of improving his job prospects.
He moved to Missouri, where he studied cyber-security at Southeast Missouri State University. He also became vice president of the school's Muslim Student Association and began attending a mosque.
But he withdrew after one semester and requested over the summer that his records be transferred to a school in Brooklyn. The university declined to identify which school.
The Federal Reserve Bank in Manhattan is one of 12 branches around the country that, along with the Board of Governors in Washington, make up the Federal Reserve System that serves as the central bank of the United States. It sets interest rates.
The Federal Reserve is one of the most fortified buildings in the city, at the centre of a massive security operation headed by the New York Police Department where a network of thousands of private and police cameras watch for suspicious activity.