Defense: 2nd man to be questioned in terror probe
Associated Press Writer
DENVER – FBI agents will question the father of a man being investigated in a terrorism probe in New York and Colorado, a spokeswoman for the defense team said Friday.
The FBI didn’t say why it wanted to talk to Mohammed Zazi, but he will cooperate, said the spokeswoman, Wendy Aiello. She said the father would be questioned later Friday.
FBI spokeswoman Kathy Wright said she couldn’t comment.
Zazi’s son, Najibullah Zazi, was being questioned for a third day Friday. Aeillo said the fact that agents want to speak to the father doesn’t signal that they are done questioning the son.
Najibullah Zazi has already undergone hours of questioning this week, and his apartment and his uncle and aunt’s home in suburban Denver have been searched.
Authorities have not said what they found and have made no public statements on the investigation. Officials in both New York and Colorado have said they knew of no specific threat.
Najibullah Zazi hasn’t been arrested, and his attorney, Arthur Folsom, says he doesn’t expect him to be.
An official familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press that the younger man had contact with a known al-Qaida associate. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, would not provide details on the location or nature of the encounter.
The official said agents have been monitoring Najibullah Zazi and four others in Colorado as part of a terrorism investigation. It wasn’t immediately known whether Mohammed Zazi was one of the four.
Folsom said his client has never met with al-Qaida operatives and isn’t involved in terrorism.
“He’s simply somebody who was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Folsom said Thursday.
Folsom told The Denver Post the agents aren’t repeating questions to Zazi but are asking different things.
“They are going through things – the best I can describe it is chronologically. Covering all the bases,” Folsum said.
Najibullah Zazi is a driver for an airport shuttle service in Denver. Authorities say he rented a car and drove from Denver to New York, crossing into Manhattan the day before the anniversary of Sept. 11.
He was stopped in what was described as a routine stop at the George Washington Bridge before he was allowed to go free.
A relative said Zazi drove because he wanted to see the American countryside. Zazi said he went to New York to resolve some issues with a coffee cart he owns in Manhattan, but officials suspected that something more sinister might have been in the works.
FBI agents and police officers with search warrants seeking bomb materials searched three apartments and questioned residents in the neighborhood in Queens where he was staying.
A joint FBI-New York Police Department task force feared Zazi may be involved in a potential plot involving hydrogen peroxide-based explosives like those cited in an intelligence warning issued Monday, said two other law enforcement officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the investigation.
Folsom said Zazi, 24, was born in Afghanistan in 1985, moved to Pakistan at age 7 and emigrated to the United States in 1999. Zazi’s aunt had said earlier that he was born in Pakistan and grew up in Queens, N.Y.
Folsom said Zazi has returned to Pakistan four times in recent years: in 2004 because his grandfather was sick and dying, in 2006 to get married, and in 2007 and 2008 to visit his wife.
Associated Press Writer Adam Goldman in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.