Colorado's Connection to the Latest Terrorism Investigation

September 2009

Najibullah Zazi, a 24-year-old airport shuttle driver from Aurora, denies that he is the central figure in a massive federal terrorism probe that sparked several police raids yesterday in New York City and fears that bombers were planning an attack. "All I can say is that I have no idea what it is all about," Zazi tells The Associated Press, as news organizations scramble to ferret out Colorado's link to the investigation. Citing confirmation from "two law enforcement officials," the AP reports that Zazi was put under surveillance by FBI agents and New York Police because of suspected ties to al-Qaida terrorists and possible involvement in the manufacture of homemade explosives using hydrogen peroxide. Zazi's odyssey began last week after he drove to New York to address a matter pertaining to a coffee cart he used to operate in the city. He was stopped by authorities on the George Washington Bridge who searched his car and laptop computer, but allowed him to leave, according to The Denver Post, which quotes Zazi's attorney. When Zazi returned to Colorado, friends in New York told him FBI agents were asking questions about him.

Zazi's relatives say Zazi visited Pakistan several months ago, but it was to see his wife. Meanwhile, Zazi's father, Mohammed, says news reports have taken on a life of their own. "It's a mistake," he says. "Everyone has made a mistake. The media has made a mistake." At one raid site, a fifth-floor apartment on 41st Avenue in New York, tenant Naiz Khan says Zazi stayed there overnight on Thursday and that they were students at Flushing High School. Kahn says he only wanted to help the FBI. "Anything they need, I will help them out," he tells The New York Times. "It's my responsibility."