Terrorism Suspect Charged; Man Bought Bomb-Making Ingredients

By Matthew Harwood

The federal government has charged Najibullah Zazi, a 24-year old Denver airport shuttle driver, with buying and preparing bomb-making materials for an al Qaeda conspiracy to attack U.S. soil, reports The New York Times

Zazi was caught on surveillance cameras at a Denver beauty supply store buying hydrogen peroxide, a critical ingredient to manufacturing TATP explosives, which were used in the 2005 London terrorist attacks and more evidence Zazi indeed trained in an al Qaeda training camp in Pakistan, according to Peter Bergen, an al Qaeda expert, on CNN's AC360.

According to another NYTs story, the evidence mounting against Zazi shows a serious terrorist threat.

If government allegations are to be believed, Mr. Zazi, a legal immigrant from Afghanistan, had carefully prepared for a terrorist attack. He attended a Qaeda training camp in Pakistan, received training in explosives and stored in his laptop computer nine pages of instructions for making bombs from the same kind of chemicals he had bought.

While many important facts remain unknown, those allegations alone would distinguish Mr. Zazi from nearly all the other defendants in United States terrorism cases in recent years. More often than not the earlier suspects emerged as angry young men, inflamed by the rhetoric of Osama bin Laden or his associates. Some were serious in intent. More than a few seemed to be malcontents without the organization, technical skills and financing to be much of a threat. In some cases, the subjects appeared to be influenced by informants or undercover agents who pledged to provide the weapons or even do some of the planning.

Karen J. Greenberg, executive director of the Center on Law and Security at New York University law school, has studied past terrorism cases with her organization and found many of them amounting to nothing more than "fantasy," with undercover agents providing the suspects with the push to plan terrorist atrocities. 

The Zazi case, however, seems to be the real deal, she told the NYTs, calling the bomb ingredients "quite scary."


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