How I was fooled by terrorism news

Najibullah Zazi was a young father living
in Denver. Authorities were obviously falsely 
accusing him of being a terrorist.

I remember watching a Denver newscast when a local man, Najibullah Zazi, was accused of being a mastermind behind a terrorist plot. I thought: yeah right, the authorities are inventing all sorts of charges against him because he's an airport-shuttle driver who's a Muslim.

Turns out I was completely wrong.

Mr. Zazi actually was in contact with the terrorist group al-Qaeda, and he eventually pleaded guilty to planning to blow up subway cars in New York City.

I may have been deceived because of certain events reported in the media:
Mr. Zazi and his attorney voluntarily agreed to be interviewed by the FBI.  I thought: why would an innocent man do that?

When he was arrested, it was for making false statements to authorities. That seemed like a lame reason to arrest someone, especially since he gave hours and hours of interviews. (Turns out, it was 28 hours worth.) Couldn't any one of us have made some mistakes and been charged by those overzealous FBI agents?

Finally, Mr. Aziz's arrest was anything but low-key. When police cars showed up at his home with lights flashing, I thought he was being made to involuntarily take part in a bit of "security theater." The authorities are just trying to make themselves look useful, I said to myself. Maybe to get more funding for their agency.
It turns out, according to a Denver Post newspaper article, that Mr. Zazi coming in to be interviewed did surprise the FBI, but they knew more than they let on, and they did catch him telling significant lies.

And when they arrested him, they hoped to dissuade any possible accomplices by staging a high-profile arrest.

So I was right about his arrest seeming to be staged, but wrong about what it meant.

Just goes to show you that due to my bias against the authorities in this situation, and my reliance on the only information I could get - which of course was from the media - I completely misread what was going on.

(At the beginning of October 2011, Mr. Aziz was cooperating with New York prosecutors. He faces up to life in prison, or he might be a future candidate to be hidden and given a new identity by the witness security program.)

Read the entire article: Coloradan Zazi's coded e-mail started agencies plan to stop N.Y. subway attack, The Denver Post>>
- Security Theater, Wikipedia>>
- Najibullah Zazi, Wikipedia>>

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