It Actually Wasn’t Months of Careful Investigation That Led to Terror Charges Against Zazi


Even though federal investigators had been keeping their eye on former Queens street vendor Najibullah Zazi for months, it was only the last-minute scramble for damning clues after his September visit to New York that provided them with enough evidence to charge him with a terror conspiracy. While his lawyer argues that there’s no conspiracy (no one else has been charged with conspiring alongside Zazi), in the two weeks before his arrest the FBI made a lot of progress wrapping up their case. It was only after Zazi was alerted by a double-crossing double agent on September 10 that the investigation kicked into full gear — which meant that there was not enough evidence yet compiled to stop him from returning to Denver from Queens. After that point, investigators quickly found bomb-making guides on his laptop, surveillance video and receipts indicating he’d purchased a dozen bottles of beauty products containing hydrogen peroxide (a key element to the bombs), and evidence that he’d been cooking up explosive materials in a hotel room.

Rush for Clues Before Charges in Terror Case [NYT]