After raiding three homes in Flushing, Queens early Monday morning, the FBI is apparently set for more! The Daily News provides the tip-off: "Fearful of a Madrid-style subway train bombing, authorities are poised to make more raids to seize bomb-making materials at locations in Queens, sources said Wednesday... Another source said an earlier raid uncovered nine backpacks and cell phones, raising memories of the March 2004 bombings in Madrid."
A Post source says, "They were going to blow up several places simultaneously and take out as many people as possible -- a large number of people." However, the authorities did not recover any explosives. The FBI had been monitoring a former Queens resident who now lives in Denver, Najibullah Zazi, and apparently became alarmed when he rented a car to drive from Denver to Queens. Zazi claims he's innocent and that he just came to NYC to deal with an issue he had with his coffee cart that he used to operate in Lower Manhattan. From the NY Times:
Mr. Zazi said he was stopped at the George Washington Bridge by the authorities, who briefly detained him and searched his car. A city official confirmed that officers stopped a man at the bridge and searched his car, and that “everything was clean.” The official could not say what prompted the stop.
Mr. Zazi said he thought the police might be profiling him or suspected him because he has a beard and had rented the car. The next day, he said he thought his car had been stolen, but the police told him it had been towed. The following day, he said, he noticed he was being followed and called the police twice to complain.
Finally, he said, he cut short his stay in New York, deciding to fly back to Colorado on Saturday.
“It was too much for me,” Mr. Zazi said. “I said, ‘I can’t stay here, even for a minute.’ "
However, sources claim that Zazi left town when he figured out there was heightened surveillance; they also say he trained with Al Qaeda in Pakistan (Zazi's relative confirms he traveled for Pakistan for five months—to see his wife). There are also reports suggesting that the FBI is upset at the NYPD—the feds wanted to delay the investigation whereas the NYPD wanted to act quickly.
Today, the FBI and NYPD say there's no immediate threat to NYC; Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said, "We're the best protected city in world. There are no guarantees, as we live in a dangerous world. Certainly [the terrorist attacks on] 9/11 showed that to us, and we can see developments throughout the world that underscore that. But we are doing more than anyplace else and we'll continue to do that."