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Zazi Plea Reaffirms Role of Criminal Justice System in “War on Terror”

On February 22, 2010 Najibullah Zazi, the key suspect in a plot to detonate explosives in New York City’s subway system, pleaded guilty to three charges in a Brooklyn courtroom. Zazi and his accomplices had obtained detonators and chemicals for making TATP – the same explosive used in the 2005 London bombings – and had planned to used them close to the eight anniversary of 9/11. A former airport shuttle driver who lived in the United States legally, Zazi had travelled to Pakistan’s Waziristan region before the bomb plot in order to receive weapons and explosive training. In preventing one of the most serious terror attempts on domestic soil since 9/11, Attorney General Eric Holder stated that “the criminal justice system has proved to be an invaluable weapon for disrupting plots and incapacitating terrorists, one that works in concert with the intelligence community and our military.” In fact, authorities have stated that Zazi’s cooperation was enhanced when charges were filed against his father and threatened against his mother – both options that the military justice system is unable to offer.


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