Bomb plot: When should authorities have stepped in?
Two members of an alleged bomb-making operation with links to Al Qaeda, including a New York imam, were ordered held without bail Monday.
(Page 2 of 2)
"Britain has had far more prosecutions for actual terrorism plots," he says. However, he notes, the threat there has become more imminent.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
In the latest US terror case, Mr. Tobias says, it appears the government felt it had to act because of concerns that some of the defendants, or perhaps others, were beginning to make bombs. One of the defendants, Najibullah Zazi, has reportedly admitted receiving weapons training from Al Qaeda. He is alleged to have bombmaking instructions on his laptop computer. He and his father, Mohammed Wali Zazi, were arrested Saturday in Denver. Both were charged with lying to federal agents.
However, the younger Mr. Zazi had apparently been tipped off that the FBI was asking questions about him. The person supplying the tips was Ahmad Wais Afzali, an imam in a Queens mosque – something that even Mr. Afzali's lawyer, Ron Kuby, acknowledges.
"The government felt it had to move," Tobias says. "Its hand was forced, and there was no point in keeping it secret anymore."
On Monday, the government arraigned Afzali, who immigrated to the United States in 1981 when he was 8 years old. The government claims he lied to federal agents when he said he had not informed Zazi that the FBI was asking questions about him and that his phone calls were being monitored.
On Monday, outside of the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, Mr. Kuby maintained Afzali's innocence.
The imam did know Zazi for many years, Kuby says. And the lawyer does not deny that the imam told Zazi the FBI was asking questions about Zazi and that the imam knew his own his conversations were being taped.
"So why in the world would the imam lie to the FBI about the contents of a conversation that he knows is being taped by the FBI?" asks Kuby. "It would be as though in this interview, I turned around and said, 'I never gave that interview.' "
For more information on the current terror case, click here.
Follow us on Twitter.