Skip to comments.Did Law Enforcement Blow the Denver Terrorism Investigation?
Posted on 09/22/2009 9:11:29 AM PDT by La Lydia
A depressing report in the Washington Times about the ongong terrorism investigation, suggesting that turf warring between rival agencies the FBI and the NYPD prematurely blew the investigation before law enforcement could gather enough evidence to make a strong terrorism case against anyone. Specifically, the FBI was watching the Denver-based prime suspect, Najibullah Zazi, a 24-year-old native Afghan who has reportedly received training in al-Qaeda camps. Zazi had plans to be in New York by the anniversary of 9/11 (always a date of concern) and, in fact, took two days to drive there. (Driving, rather than flying or taking trains, suggests he may not have wanted to leave a trail of evidence showing his travel.)
It is customary and common sense that, if the FBI has information of a potential plot in NYC, it alerts the NYPD. In fact, these agencies systematically work together on Joint Terrorism Task Forces in NYC and elsewhere. In this case, the FBI would have expected the NYPD to work cooperatively with the feds (and subordinately to them). But the NYPD is very independent, especially where potential terrorism is concerned, and the FBI can't make them tow the line.
Obviously, what the FBI wanted to do was keep watching Zazi to see where he would go, whom he would meet with, and what he would do figuring that, as long as they had a covert eyeball on him, they could let the plot unfold and gather evidence without the risk that a terrorist attack would actually occur. But what appears to have happened again, according to the report (I have no personal knowledge) is that the NYPD decided on its own to go interview a New York based imam, Ahmed Wais Afzali, who was somehow connected to Zazi. Afzali not only refused to cooperate but alerted Zazi (probably through the latter's father, Mohammed Zazi) that he was being monitored. As a result, Zazi aborted without doing much of anything that would corroborate the existence of a massive terrorist plot (though he did try on September 10 to rent a truck in Queens, under very suspicious circumstances)...
With the investigation burned, agents grabbed Zazi for interrogation and, when he obviously didn't give it up after four days of questioning (under the usual FBI protocols that the Left insists are just as reliable in a ticking-bomb situation as the CIA's coercive methods), they finally charged him with the only offense they felt safe charging at the moment, making false statements during interrogation. Apparently, Afzali and the elder Zazi also told the FBI to pound sand when it came to cooperation, and they've similarly been charged with making false statements evidently arising out of whatever they told the government about their conversations with each other and Zazi the younger. (The Bureau reportedly has intercepted conversations in which Afzali and Zazi senior tell Zazi junior he's being watched.) Meantime, everybody else who may have been involved in the plot now knows to destroy any evidence (e.g., explosive precursors) and scatter.
I hope this isn't what happened, but...I would not be surprised if it did. And if it did, expect a renewed debate over whether we need a British style MI-5 because, critics have long contended, our law-enforcement agencies are not competent to do effective spying.
There's far too much at stake here to be coddling people's hurt feelings. Do it right or get out of the way.
My bet is that the blab happened at the Federal level and the NYPD is getting stuck with the blame. IIRC, some members of Congress were briefed, and I wouldn’t trust any of them to keep their mouths shut.
That very well could be.
In any case, this crap has to STOP. We're at WAR with these monsters!
Where oh where have prosecutions for TREASON gone? This leak should be investigated thoroughly and the leaker tried for treason. If there is no consequence for such despicable behavior, it will only grow.
If the FBI flubbed the Colorado terrorist investigation that shows how stupid and irresponsible it is to allow terrorism to be regarded merely as a law enforcement issue.
As he says, he’s taking the FBI’s word for it. Why?
We don’t know for sure who blew it, but the FBI has a long record of screwing up and blaming the local police for their own mistakes. And things have only gotten worse since Clinton promoted his corrupt stooges to the top levels—and Bush did nothing to fix it.
I’d say the odds are 99-1 that it was the FBI the screwed up, not the NYPD. For one thing, we know that they employ Muslim translators and informants who have, in the past, proved to be double agents. I’ll bet the same thing happened again.
” if the FBI has information of a potential plot in NYC, it alerts the NYPD.”
Do we now for certain that the FBI did inform the NYPD?
If you are the feds, what you do is go to NYPD and get some heads while reinforcing the position of the NYPD on the JTF. That is what you have to do or you end up fighting the NYPD instead of the terrorists.
True, but I'm not sure how else it could be handled better, as far as domestic investigation goes.
Should the CIA and the military be working this within our own borders?
Well, we know what happened in this case. The imam, Afzali, a longtime source for the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, was questioned by the New York police and then tipped off Zazi that he was under surveillance.
Kind of like the FBI was ‘watching’ the terrorists who bombed the WTC in ‘93.
Rather not wait for the bombs to go off thank you anyway.
True, but a possible sympathizer in the Oval Office, and with leakers all over the administration (they sure leaked on the Bushes), I am not sure many of them could keep a secret if our lives depended on it--which they very well might.
Start trying them all for treason, and we'd probably need more lamp posts in DC.
At this point, it’s unknowable just who made the bad calls here.
Blowing the larger case may have been the price paid to prevent the blowing up of thousands of Americans.
Yes, the FBI’s tracking/watchful waiting came to an abrupt halt with NYPD’s questioning of the informant. However, I’m not at all confident in the infallibility of the FBI’s timing and judgment on when to pull the plug on things. It is a calculated game of Russian roulette at play. Whether NYPD also was uncomfortable with that and weighed the risks, opting to take its chances on exposing the investigation, or whether they just plain bungled it, might be of secondary interest to the real bottom line.
Who knows? Perhaps the hand of Providence, fed up with the lot of them and much more concerned with lives than jurisdictional turf wars, said, “Enough,” and intervened. Given the track record of our alphabet agencies, it’s as good a theory as any.
It seems to me that the FBI when it was run under the charge of J. Edgar Hoover actually operated with despatch and efficiency. Since then it has all been downhill. And that means putting Americans in very grave danger and not only from terrorist attacks either. Maybe they’re afraid of the same thing that this administration is doing to the CIA.
Former federal prosecutor, longtime NR contributor and overall good writer Andrew McCarthy doesn’t know the expression is “toe the line” (as in stepping up to the starting line at exactly the same position as everyone else and in accordance with the governing rules of the race), not “tow the line” (which many people mistakenly think is about a tug-o-war on a rope or something, or pulling a heavy rope in a certain direction).
Bill Buckley is turning over in his grave.
“If we were serious, we would rend him to his home in Afghanistan where our Afghan allies could interview him. The terrorist would talk to them and we would have enough information to roll up the rest of the terror cell within a few days.”
The days when any LEO, (state, federal or military) will even consider such a “reasonable” option, for fear of personal and professional destruction, as well as being sent to prison or death at the behest of Holder, the democrat controlled congress and Obama.
Perhaps what Americans should do, is start hanging ribbons in memory of those that Obama IS GOING to get killed.
Imagine what millions of such ribbons around the country would do for image of the Incompetent in Chief.
THIS I know. I think everyone here blaming the FBI needs to chill. They had 2 offices...NY and Denver on this and VERY on top of this. NYPD Sharted itself. If they had let the Bureau do what it is supposed to do and let this play out they would have had MANY prosecutions on their hands. Now they have nothing thanks to poopy pants NYPDer’s.
FBI was not the ones who blew this...
I would just start leaking info that ALL Imams are double-agents, then watch the fun begin
The FBI and NYPD have different missions and different perspectives.
NYPD’s primary mission is protecting NYC.
I work about 2 miles from the apartment in Flushing in a large Federal Building. I also take mass transit to work.
This case is a little more immediate to me.
The FBI will cleanup this cell and make the case, but Ray Kelly wants to protect NYC.
It doesn’t matter, even if the strong case is made, Obama gives them United States’ citizen rights, let’s them go to some tropical setting, and forces us to pay for it.
Wouldn't be surprising; I've heard and read that, elsewhere.
Or...nobody was talking and they wanted to flush out—or help those unknown suspects to run and flee instead of continuing with their targets. Or they ran into a dead end—which always happens.
NYPD wins based on history;
much better to go in too early than too late.