FBI Executes Search Warrants on Terror Subject in Denver

As Najibullah Zazi was at the F.B.I. office in Denver with his lawyer voluntarily providing statements, handwriting samples and DNA, FBI agents were en route to search his residence. So why is Zazi talking to the feds? (Note: Update here.)

Zazi's lawyer says he called the FBI and offered to bring him down for an interview. The FBI called back and accepted. The local media sounds thrilled the lawyer for the suspect is "video-genic." I'll bet the F.B.I. is too. While Zazi was sitting in their office with his lawyer, volunteering handwriting exemplars and providing fingerprints and a saliva sample (and information about his travel history), they were searching his apartment (and his aunt's and uncle's nearby.) [More...]

This is a federal-state terrorism investigation involving the NYPD and the feds in Washington. They've obviously been watching Zasi for a while. They knew he was en route to New York because they stopped him on the GW bridge on his way into the city and asked to search his car (for drugs, they said.) He consented. While there over the weekend, his lawyer says his car was towed for a parking violation and they searched his laptop. Sounds like he was picked up on a wiretap, and the person whose phone was tapped is someone they believe has real terror ties.

Search warrants are executed every day. Not too many like this though:

Authorities quickly cordoned off the complex's parking lot with police tape, evacuated Zazi's apartment building and an adjacent building and asked the media to move back.

One poor woman in the complex was in her apartment, with a face mask on her face, watching Dirty Dancing on her DVR in her underwear (you can't make this stuff up) and the police made her leave the building. They also had a local school delay letting the kids leave after school and parents were asked to come pick up their kids.

FBI agents wore wearing protective gear and were accompanied by dogs during the search of Zazi's apartment. (The feds have been putting out clues about hand burns today.) The FBI made some other visits in the Denver area today -- to Home Depot, seeking information about purchases of large amounts of chemicals. They weren't asking randomly. They had credit card numbers and asked for video of specific times the purchases were made. The chemicals: "Muriatic acid and another strong chemical used to clean concrete."

As to why Zazi drove to New York from Colorado in a rental car for the weekend on the weekend of Sept. 11 (flying back last night after leaving the rental car at the airport), the New York Times reports he says he was resolving an issue with a coffee cart lease his father owned. The cart operator confirms there is a lease and Zazi stopped by this week. (It's not cheap to drive a car across the country and leave it at the airport on the other side.)

And Zazi thinks he can just go down to the F.B.I. and explain things and they'll apologize and clear his name? Apparently not. Here's the latest: It's been 8 hours and he's still there.

As of 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Zazi had still not left the FBI building. His attorney was called back there around 7 p.m. after leaving around 6 p.m.

What did the FBI take during the searches:

Agents left Zazi's apartment with at least six boxes. One was labeled "swabs," and others were marked "fragile" and "glass."

As I always say, the jails are filled with people who thought if they could only tell their side of the story, the cops would see it their way. It rarely happens. The Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and Miranda rights exist for good reason. Use them or lose them.

< Obama Scraps Missile Defense System Based In Eastern Europe | The Wrongheaded Belief In "The Market" For Health Insurance >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    I hear that... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by kdog on Thu Sep 17, 2009 at 08:12:13 AM EST
    the guy should keep quiet...like Hunter taught us, the FBI ain't your friends, not by a long shot.

    Kinda making me think he is innocent though...desperate to clear his name after his picture been plastered all over the papers, before some vigilante f*cks with him.  

    If the FBI wants to talk with me, (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by cwolf on Thu Sep 17, 2009 at 06:25:20 PM EST
    so be it.

    But unless I'm under arrest, I would rather chat in a more friendly place than one of their video studios, say a nice Restaurant, on their Dime.

    If he is innocent... (none / 0) (#2)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Sep 17, 2009 at 08:30:50 AM EST
    ...what kind of live will he and his family have here when it's all over?  I'm guessing that they are going to have to move somewhere else and start over.  

    I'm also a bit po'd at the authorities for needlessly scaring the parents and their kids with the school closings.  Not that they locked down the schools, but the fact that they were not honest and up-front with them and refused to provide any specifics.  

    @MMH... (none / 0) (#4)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Sep 17, 2009 at 08:46:59 AM EST
    ...that's "life" dumbas$.

    /needs much, much more coffee.


    He was released around 10 pm (none / 0) (#3)
    by magster on Thu Sep 17, 2009 at 08:41:13 AM EST
    with his lawyer saying "do you think he'd be released if they found one milligram of explosives?"

    His lawyer... (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Thu Sep 17, 2009 at 09:13:02 AM EST
    makes a good point, he'd be locked up if they found a roach, nevermind a milligram explosives.

    His lawyer is incompetent. (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Thu Sep 17, 2009 at 10:02:49 AM EST
    I tend to agree with you... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Thu Sep 17, 2009 at 10:12:53 AM EST
    the right to remain silent...hello?

    Still made a good point though...if they had anything, he wouldn't be walking around.


    If they had enough he wouldn't still (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Thu Sep 17, 2009 at 10:15:16 AM EST
    be walking around.  Stay tuned.

    He's returning for more questioning today (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Sep 17, 2009 at 10:33:58 AM EST
    This is an ongoing investigation. They haven't finished analyzing the stuff they took out of his house yet. They aren't just looking for chemicals.