PR War Over Queens Raid Terror Suspect: Friendly Shuttle Driver or Backpack Bomber?

The Times talked to that guy whose visit to our area prompted the Monday Queens terror raids. Najibullah Zazi, 25, of Aurora, Colorado actually had his car stopped-and-searched near the George Washington Bridge this weekend -- which sounds like more of a tip-off, if one were needed, than the allegedly sloppy police work the New York Post claimed had alerted the Queens residents.

The Post sees it differently, claiming the plot "unearthed" after the raids involved backpack bombs meant to detonate in subways and elsewhere in the city. They cite unnamed sources who say Zazi is "an al Qaeda associate who'd gotten top-level training in bomb-making at a Pakistani terrorist camp." They still claim that the feds are mad at Ray Kelly and the cops, which NYPD denies...

"I was hoping they'd come question me," Zazi tells the Times. "If they want to investigate, they can." The Times says he claims to have been in town to "resolve an issue with a coffee cart that he said his family is licensed to operate in Lower Manhattan," rather than to blow up New York, and left early because of all the law enforcement hassles. A relative confirms that Zazi works as an airport shuttle driver in Colorado, and hopes to become a U.S. citizen, which seems rather unlikely now.

The Denver Post also interviewed Zazi, to whom he also proclaimed his innocence, and a relative, who characterized Zazi as "greedy... He lived with me for six months and never gave me a penny," though the relative stopped short of calling him a terrorist. The Denver Post article includes many other details of Zazi's recent life ("On March 15, Zazi crashed into the back of another taxi and was charged with careless driving").

Well, it's come to this: a PR war over alleged terrorist connections. Oprah should get this guy on, pronto. (Say, isn't this stuff supposed to be secret?)


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