Black People : Using Imam in Terror Inquiry Backfired on Police

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by oldsoul, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. OldSoul

    OldSoul Permanent Black Man PREMIUM MEMBER

    Country:
    United States
    Joined:
    May 16, 2002
    Messages:
    1,831
    Likes Received:
    909
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Staying Alive
    Location:
    Bronzeville USA
    Home Page:
    Ratings:
    +976
    How Using Imam in Terror Inquiry Backfired on Police
    By WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM and AL BAKER-NYTimes

    A decision to enlist a Queens imam in an effort to develop information about the man at the center of a long-running cross-country terrorism investigation backfired earlier this month.
    In fact, federal prosecutors have now charged the imam, a onetime source of information for the New York Police Department, contending that he betrayed the police by warning the suspect and then lied about it, and maybe even coached him on what to say if he was questioned.
    Several law enforcement officials have said the imam’s disclosures went a long way toward forcing their hand in an extremely sensitive investigation of a possible Qaeda plot. The situation left them scrambling to conduct raids and arrest the suspect sooner than they might have otherwise, a development that they said could make it harder to identify others involved and develop evidence against them.
    Several officials — all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because much of the investigation is classified — have said that the inquiry, which had been under way for months, could well have continued, tracking the communications, meetings, plans and associates of the suspect, Najibullah Zazi, 24.
    And one official said that the public nature of the new phase of the inquiry would probably require more work and more resources to accomplish its goal: to determine whether a bomb plot was far along and to identify its target and the operatives involved.
    Current and former police and federal officials said the approach to the imam, and the resulting disruption, added to a long history of tensions and rivalry between the New York New YorkPolice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which in recent years have developed a new dimension: a clash of sorts within the Police Department, between its two primary antiterrorism units.
    Those tensions, according to police and federal officials, have led to communication and coordination problems between the two police units and between one of them, the Intelligence Division, and the F.B.I. The other unit, the Counterterrorism Bureau, oversees the more than 100 detectives assigned to work with the F.B.I. on the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
    Current and former police and federal officials said that the effort on Sept. 10 to enlist the imam, Ahmad Wais Afzali, was undertaken by detectives from the Intelligence Division. They showed him pictures of the central suspect and three other men, some of the officials said.
    In the subsequent hours, Mr. Afzali spoke both with the suspect, Mr. Zazi, a Denver airport shuttle bus driver, and his father. Court papers say he told the younger Mr. Zazi, who had driven from Colorado to Queens on Sept. 9 and 10, that the authorities had been looking for him.
    Neither the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, nor Joseph M. Demarest Jr., the assistant director in charge of the F.B.I.’s New York office, would answer questions about what had happened with the imam. But the two men issued a joint statement on Tuesday evening.
    “The F.B.I. and the N.Y.P.D. work together on joint investigations and side by side in task forces on a daily basis,” the statement said. “We have a particularly close partnership between the F.B.I. and the N.Y.P.D.’s Counterterrorism Bureau and Intelligence Division. This collaboration is an essential part of what helps to protect New York City from another terrorist attack.”
    Indeed, their efforts through the Joint Terrorism Task Force have led to any number of successes, some that have been made public and some that have not.
    Since taking over the department three months after the attack of Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Kelly has greatly expanded both the intelligence and counterterrorism divisions. The intelligence unit, run by one of Mr. Kelly’s close advisers, David Cohen, a former top Central Intelligence Agency official, has created a network of informants around the city, sent agents overseas and conducted investigations independent of the F.B.I. and the police detectives assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
    The two units sometimes clash, and while in years past police investigators often complained that the F.B.I. withheld information, complaints about access to sensitive information have recently come from F.B.I. agents and task force detectives...
     
Loading...