Monday, February 22, 2010

New York Terror Suspect Admits Guilt and Cooperates

Via -

The Afghan immigrant who played a central role in what the federal authorities have said was one of the most serious threats to the United States since the 9/11 attacks, pleaded guilty on Monday to terrorism charges after admitting to a plot to blow up the New York subway.

In entering his plea, the immigrant, Najibullah Zazi, admitted that he came to New York last year near the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks to kill himself and others on the subway using a homemade bomb — what he said was a “martyrdom operation” that he was just days away from executing until he realized he was under government surveillance.

Mr. Zazi, 25, pleaded guilty in United States District Court in Brooklyn to charges that included conspiracies to use weapons of mass destruction, to commit murder in a foreign country and to provide material support for a terrorist organization. He faces a sentence of life in prison.

Throughout the 45-minute proceeding, Mr. Zazi seemed unaffected by his circumstances, even smiling through his dark beard on several occasions. And when he spoke, he did so in an unapologetic, matter-of-fact manner, explaining that he was driven to terrorism by his concerns about the United States’ military’s actions in Afghanistan.

In recent weeks, Mr. Zazi had begun providing information to prosecutors as part of the initial stages of an agreement that led to his guilty plea on Monday, according to two people with knowledge of the case. The 10-page plea agreement was sealed by Judge Raymond J. Dearie, but the arrangement suggests that prosecutors believe Mr. Zazi can be a valuable source of information.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a statement: “This was one of the most serious terrorist threats to our nation since Sept. 11th, 2001, and were it not for the combined efforts of the law enforcement and intelligence communities it could have been devastating. This attempted attack on our homeland was real, it was in motion, and it would have been deadly.”

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