The admitted Al Qaeda member who's confessed he tried to build bombs to explode in rush-hour subway cars testified in federal court Wednesday he told an aunt he was making fertility drugs to help women get pregnant.
Najibullah Zazi said his aunt and uncle found his bomb-making chemicals in their Colorado garage and told him they didn't want those items there. "I claimed I was taught how to make drugs to have babies," Zazi testified, at the conspiracy trial of his former friend from Flushing High School. Zazi said he was trying to build the detonators for at least three bombs that would be used in crowded, New York City subway cars.
Zazi's testimony about bomb-making was clear and to the point. He said he learned how to make explosives in Pakistan in 2008 and that he planned a suicide-bombing mission with Adis Medunjanin of Flushing, now on trial in Brooklyn Federal Court, along with another, high school friend, Zarein Ahmedzay. Ahmedzay has pleaded guilty, like Zazi, but Medunjanin said he never agreed to be a suicide bomber.
Yet Zazi testified the three, old friends talked about potential dates for an attack, after playing basketball on a spring day in 2009, at Kissena Park in Queens. "I believe it was Adis who mentioned Ramadan, " Zazi testified, referring to a month-long Muslim holiday that would fall between late August and late September 2009.
In Zazi's testimony, he said the men wanted to use bombs similar to the ones utilized in the London underground and bus attacks of July 7, 2005, which killed dozens of commuters. He talked about buying acetone peroxide in beauty supply stores to make the detonators and mentioned Christmas tree lights as another ingredient. And in one graphic piece of testimony, he talked about the effectiveness of ball bearings in a bomb. "They say the ball bearings do the damage. The ball bearings go like bullets, when you release the bomb."
Zazi testified he had transferred 9 pages of bomb-making notes to an email file in 2008, to avoid detection when he returned to the United States. And he admitted that he did not make Medunjanin part of the bomb-making operation, suggesting Medunjanin was not clever enough to fool people, if he went shopping for some supplies.
At one point, Zazi and Ahmedzay talked about potential bomb targets, during an outing to Bear Mountain. "We talked about Grand Central. The impact. Ones that happened in Manhattan that would have extra damage. It's all about making America weak, financial wise." Zazi testified the three, wanna-be bombers hoped to detonate the explosives, using backpacks, during morning rush hour.
Zazi had a code for his Al Qaeda associates in Pakistan, to let them know when his mission was about to be launched. "The marriage is ready," he wrote them.
Zazi worked on parts of the bomb at the Homestead Suites Hotel in Colorado, which had a kitchen unit, before renting a car to drive to New York. He testified acetone peroxide was in his suitcase in the trunk, when police stopped him at the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey, on September 10th, 2009. He said a bomb-sniffing dog failed to detect anything, and he was sent on his way. He dumped the acetone peroxide at Ahmedzay's apartment and claims he told Medunjanin the plot was now "done". But several days later, the FBI hauled him in for questioning in Colorado.
In one clip played in court of an FBI interrogation, Zazi said he didn't know how a measuring scale got into his suitcase. He claimed the only scale he ever saw was used by his family in Colorado. "I don't possess any scale," he told the FBI originally. "My family had used it to make cakes and biscuits."
During cross-examination, defense attorney, Robert Gottlieb, hammered away at Zazi's history of untruthfulness. Zazi had already admitted in direct testimony that he was guilty of tax fraud in the past, for not claiming cash income he made in his self-employment as a coffee vendor in Manhattan. Zazi is facing life imprisonment for pleading guilty to terror conspiracies but hopes to get a reduced sentence for his cooperation with the U.S. government.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun