[Guest post by DRJ]
Najibullah Zazi, the Denver-based Afghan detained last week in a terror investigation, has been indicted in New York and charged with conspiracy to use WMDs:
“The two-page indictment of Zazi — who appeared in a Denver court on Thursday — offers few details, but a separate document — a government motion seeking to deny bail — lays out evidence gathered by investigators.
The airport shuttle driver began plotting to “use one or more weapons of mass destruction” between Aug. 1, 2008, and September 2009 against the United States, the papers say.
The document says that on Sept. 6 and 7, Zazi tried to communicate with another individual “seeking to correct mixtures of ingredients to make explosives.”
“Each communication,” the papers say, was “more urgent than the last.”
On those days, Zazi rented a suite at a hotel in his hometown of Aurora, Colo., authorities charge. The room had a kitchen, and subsequent FBI testing for explosives and residue in the suite found the presence of residue in the vent above the stove.
In July and August, Zazi bought unusually large amounts of hydrogen peroxide and acetone — a solvent commonly found in nail polish remover — from beauty supply stores in the Denver metropolitan area, the document says. He searched the Internet for home improvement stores in Queens before driving a rental car for a two-day trip to the city, the document says.”
Zazi’s father and the imam of a New York City mosque also appeared in court on charges of lying to investigators about the terror plot. Counterterrorism experts say the plot may have been an effort to detonate homemade bombs in New York-area mass transit.
UPDATE: At NRO, Andy McCarthy discusses whether a turf war between the FBI and the NYPD “prematurely blew the investigation” so authorities had to arrest some suspects before all the participants were identified. If so, compare that to this Dallas report:
“Federal authorities arrested a 19-year-old Jordanian citizen whom they said placed an inactive car bomb today at Fountain Place, a 60-story skyscraper in downtown Dallas.
Authorities said that Smadi was under continuous FBI surveillance. Federal agents posed as members of an al-Qa’ida sleeper cell. Smadi, who was in the U.S. illegally, allegedly told them that he came to the country specifically to commit “Jihad for the sake of God.”
According to authorities, Smadi identified potential Dallas targets in June and allegedly scoped out Fountain Place in July. Authorities said that Smadi lived and worked in Italy, about 45 miles south of Dallas.
Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert said city officials were notified of the impending arrest beforehand.
“We were clearly communicated to that there was not going to be a danger to anybody,” Leppert said. “There’s a good working relationship between the police and the FBI. This is an example of that.”