Zazi NY Terror Case
New York Terror Case
An FBI agent outside the apartment of Najibullah Zazi in Aurora, Colorado. AP Photo
A 24-year-old Colorado resident was indicted today in a New York federal court and charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction—explosive bombs—in the United States.
Justice Department documents related to the case state that Najibullah Zazi had received “detailed bomb-making instructions in Pakistan, purchased components of improvised explosive devices, and traveled to New York City on September 10, 2009 in furtherance of his criminal plans. … Zazi remained committed to detonating an explosive device up until the date of his arrest.”
Last week, our agents arrested Zazi, a legal permanent resident of the U.S. from Afghanistan, and charged him with lying to the FBI regarding an international and domestic terrorism case. Today’s indictment states that between August 1, 2008 and September 21, 2009, “Zazi knowingly and intentionally conspired with others to use one or more weapons of mass destruction.”
The case is ongoing. “We are investigating a wide range of leads related to this alleged conspiracy,” said Attorney General Eric Holder, “and we will continue to work around the clock to ensure that anyone involved is brought to justice.” He added, “We believe any imminent threat arising from this case has been disrupted, but as always, we remind the American public to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.”
The investigation is being conducted by the New York and Denver FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces, which include investigators from more than 50 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
A motion filed by the Department of Justice in New York and Colorado stated that agents learned during their investigation that Zazi allegedly conducted extensive research on the Internet regarding components of explosive devices, and on “multiple occasions” purchased items necessary to produce Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP) and other explosive devices. TATP was the explosive used in the 2005 London train bombings and in the failed 2001 “shoe bomb” plot by Richard Reid.
When agents lawfully searched Zazi’s laptop computer, they found bomb-making instructions and Internet searches for hydrochloric acid. While under surveillance during July and August, Zazi and others purchased unusually large quantities of hydrogen peroxide and acetone products from beauty supply stores in the Denver area—all of which can be used to make TATP.
Agents also intercepted e-mail and cell phone messages from Zazi in which he sought information about bomb-making ingredients.
The Justice Department is seeking to have Zazi transferred from Colorado to the Eastern District of New York to be arraigned on the charge in today’s indictment. If convicted, he faces a potential sentence of life in prison.
Also today: In an arrest unrelated to the Zazi case but which involved the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, a 29-year-old Illinois man was charged in a plot to bomb the federal building in Springfield, Illinois. Michael C. Finton, also known as Talib Islam, actually tried to detonate a vehicle bomb, but he didn’t realize that undercover agents made sure the bomb was inactive.