Najibullah Zazi, a suspected terrorist, pled guilty today in federal court to conspiring to use explosive materials.
Zazi, 24, a New York-raised Afghan immigrant, was accused of trying to build and detonate explosives close to the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, US terrorist attacks. He was tried in the Eastern District Court of New York and has been cooperating with law enforcement officers since his arrest in Denver in September 2009. Zazi has said that he was recruited by al-Qaeda and was actively working with the Taliban to attack the United States.
If Zazi is convicted on all three counts, including conspiracy to commit murder and providing material support to terrorism, he could face life in prison.
Attorney General Eric Holder said that this is one of the most threatening plots since 9/11, and the announcement comes “in the wake of an intense battle” over whether or not to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, in a civilian court.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has “led the Republican opposition” to trying Mohammed and his co-conspirators in a civilian court, and, in a weekly Republican radio address said, “A civilian trial of hard-core terrorists is unnecessarily dangerous, and creates more problems than it solves.”