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  Posted on: Saturday, September 26, 2009
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Inside the Zazi Takedown
Newsweek

"The ticking bomb" is a cliché in movies about cops and spies and terrorists, but sometimes in real life, with real terrorists, it's the real deal. And that's what the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Police Department saw themselves up against in the case of Najibullah Zazi, the 24-year-old Afghan immigrant indicted Thursday for "conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction." Did the cops make mistakes? Some. Did Zazi find out the Feds were on to him sooner than they wanted him to know? Yes. Did the bomb go off? No. Or not yet, anyway.

To understand the case, which may have been the most dangerous Al Qaeda-related plot to take place in the United States since 9/11, it helps to understand how fast everything played out, and how little time the Feds and the New York cops thought they had to begin with. And while there are many old feuds between the Feds and the cops about turf and priorities, with a historical reluctance to share information, that wasn't the problem this time. President Barack Obama was coming to town-and so was this Afghan immigrant believed to have been given explosives training by Qaeda-related groups in Pakistan. The clock really was ticking.


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