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    Tuesday, February 23, 2010

    Zazi Pleads Guilty

    The plea is sealed but here's the DOJ press release:

    Najibullah Zazi guilty plea

    It's clear from the information revealed in this release that Al Qaeda Core is now focusing on smaller scale attacks.

    The conventional wisdom for years has been that AQ wanted to stage an attack even more spectacular than 9/11 and was not interested in smaller operations. I personally doubt whether this was ever true (there was already strong evidence to the contrary), but at this point no one can credibly mount such a claim.

    This has to be seen as a negative development, since smaller attacks are easier to accomplish and pressing small attacks does not preclude the simultaneous deployment of a spectacular attack.

    In fact, if the operations are properly compartmentalized, smaller attacks could distract focus away from a larger operation. U.S. counterterrorism focus is highly reactive. For instance, we might be preoccupied chasing breast impant bombs with body scanners while someone is stowing a dirty bomb on an LNG tanker from Yemen.

    Another interesting point here is that Zazi traveled specifically to fight for the Taliban and only after arriving on the ground was he diverted to Al Qaeda. Since 2003, we’ve seen an increase in cases where potential foreign fighters are diverted to terrorism before they gain any battleground experience.

    Prior to 2001, fighters would more often cut their teeth in a more traditional foreign fighter combat or even regular military environment, and after proving themselves under those conditions then be recruited to receive specialized training for terrorism.

    For instance, Khalid Shaik Mohammed went to Bosnia in 1992 to play a support role for the mujahideen, but returned in 1995 to recruit terrorist operatives from the pool of experienced fighters.

    There is a useful distinction and transition to explore between jihadist (which I am defining as a foreign fighter taking part in a localized armed conflict or insurgency) and what I would call a “networked terrorist” (attacking non-combatant civilian targets outside of a hot conflict zone). I'll get into this more in my forthcoming book.

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    Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    American Arrested in Raid on Bosnian Village

    An American citizen was arrested during a police raid on a Bosnian village populated by Wahhabis, according to Balkans media outlets.

    Enis Bosnic, of Jacksonville, Florida, was among several people arrested in "Operation Light," a sting operation conducted in Gornja Maoca, in northern Bosnia. The residents of Gornja Maoca live under Shariah law.

    Some members of the community are believed to have relocated there after the Bosnian government shut down a notorious village of former mujahideen known as Donja Bocinja.

    According to Bosnian news outlets, Edis Bosnic is a Bosnian national who became a naturalized American citizen. A person by that name was nominated to the board of directors of the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida in 2004.

    According to the Bosnian TV news magazine "60 Minutes" (no relation to CBS), Bosnic was in close contact with Adis Medunjanin, the Queens man arrested in the U.S. on suspicion of taking part in a bomb plot led by Afghan national Najibullah Zazi.

    Bosnian journalist Bosnian journalist Esad Hecimovic contributed to this report.


    Glas Srpske

    International Relations and Security Network

    Washington Post

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    Friday, September 25, 2009

    Najibullah Zazi Indictment, Detention Document

    9/23/2009: Najibullah Zazi indictment

    This is an indictment for planned use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (in this case, bombs).

    9/24/2009: Affidavit in support of detention of Najibullah Zazi

    This is a much more informative document detailing why Zazi is a flight risk.

    An interesting note: Zazi rented a hotel room with a stove specifically so he could cook up TATP, a fairly powerful improvised explosive.

    Ramzi Yousef, working in a Manila apartment in 1995, also used a stove to prepare explosives, and TATP was found in his apartment after it was exposed.

    Yousef's footprint has loomed large for years after his incarceration.

    * September 11 was at least inspired by Yousef, if not wholly concocted by him.

    * The 2006 London airliner bomb plot -- the reason you can't take shampoo on a plane -- involved smuggling TATP or its components onto a plane or planes. In addition to the chemical explosive coming up again, the method of smuggling and the number of targets were both extremely similar to Yousef's Bojinka plot, which would have deployed lquid explosives against a dozen U.S.-bound airliners).

    * The "shoe bomb" concept used by Richard Reid is reminiscent of some of Yousef's plan for smuggling bomb components onto airplanes in the heels of his shoes. That bomb also used TATP.

    * Yousef's chemical recipes and specific bomb designs continue to be distributed online through jihadi forums and at terrorist training camps.

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    Sunday, September 20, 2009

    Najibullah Zazi, Queens Suspect, Criminal Complaint and FBI Affidavit

    Criminal complaint for Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan-American suspected of ties to Al Qaeda, and his father, Mohammed Wali Zazi. According to the complaint:

    [T]he defendant NAJIBULLAH ZAZI traveled to Peshawar, Pakistan from Newark International Airport via Geneva, Switzerland and Dohha, Qatar. ...

    On or about September 11, 2009, FBI agents conducted a legally-authorized search of the defendant ZAZI's rental car, which was parked near the Queens Residence. During the search of the car, a laptop computer was found containing a jpeg image of nine-pages of handwritten notes (the "handwritten notes"). The handwritten notes contain formulations and instructions regarding the manufacture and handling of initiating explosives, main explosives charges, explosives detonators and components of a fuzing [sic] system.

    According to the complaint, the FBI obtained the passwords to three of Zazi's email accounts, through unspecified means. One of the accounts was "known to law enforcement" prior to the FBI's search of Zazi's laptop. Media reports have said Zazi traveled to an Al Qaeda-linked training camp in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area, but the complaint does not contain this allegation.

    The complaint also says Zazi's father and an individual referred to as "the imam" from New York both warned Zazi that he was under investigation.

    "The imam" was an "individual known to law enforcement, whom the NYPD has utilized as a source for information in the past," the complaints state. "The imam" said in a phone call to Zazi:

    "I want to speak with you about something . . . I want a meeting with you [and others]. You probably know why I'm calling you for this meeting . . . I was exposed to something yesterday from the authorities. And they came to ask me about your characters. They asked me about you guys....

    "I'm not sure if somebody complained about you. I'm not sure what happened. And I don't want to know. They [the authorities] said, 'Please, we need to
    know who they are ... what they're all about.' I told them that they are innocent, law abiding. ...

    "They [the police] came to the masjid to ask for help. That is a good sign. Trust me that is a good sign. The bad sign is for them coming to you guys and picking you up automatically."

    Complaint against Najibullah Zazi

    Complaint against Mohammed Wali Zazi

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