What Happened to Zazi’s Beauty Product Purchasing Associates?

The House Judiciary Committee is going into a classified briefing tomorrow at which, if history is any judge, the Administration will tell them about ongoing terrorist investigations that require the gutting of the Fourth Amendment.

When the members go into that meeting, there are a number of questions I hope they ask. But one of those is, whatever happened to the three Zazi associates described as having purchased acetone and hydrogen peroxide in the government’s detention motion against Zazi?

As you’ll recall, one piece of evidence the government presented to the Court to justify holding Zazi without bail pertained to the actions of “individuals associated” with Zazi:

The evidence will further establish that individuals associated with Zazi purchased unusual quantities of hydrogen and acetone products in July, August, and September 2009 from three different beauty supply stores in and around Aurora. One person purchased a one-gallon container of a product containing 20% hydrogen peroxide, as well as an eight ounce bottle of acetone. A second person purchased an acetone product in approximately the first week of September. A third person purchased 32-ounce bottles of Ion Sensitive Scalp Developer, a product containing high levels of hydrogen peroxide, on approximately three occasions during the summer of 2009.

Now, frankly, I don’t know how these purchases add to the case to deny Zazi bail (there was already far more damning, more relevant information in the motion). Zazi’s more likely, more dangerous potential co-conspirators would seem to be people in NY, where the alleged attack was planned and where his mosque-related affiliates had a history of sympathy for extremists. And it’s not the associates’ purchase of these items, per se, that makes Zazi a threat if he’s out on bail; it would be the possession of these materials by someone who had both instructions akin to Zazi’s on turning the materials into an explosive and the intent to do so. If the associates already have those things, that’s not going to change whether or not Zazi is in custody.

The government’s implication in the detention motion was that these were potential co-conspirators of Zazi–otherwise, why would they be relevant to Zazi’s bond hearing at all???

Only, more than a month after this motion was submitted, we’ve had no reports of arrests, and the attention at least publicly seems to be focused on NY, not on CO.

So what happened to these three people who bought beauty products in Aurora, CO?

Before I pursue that question, look what the government claims about them. The government represents that these are “unusual” quantities of these products. By what measure? All of these purchases are far, far less than Zazi purchased himself (6 bottles of one product and 12 of another, in one purchase). Would a beauty salon that uses Ion Sensitive Scalp Developer [warning: clicking that link may make you a terrorist suspect] go through three bottles of the stuff in three months? Given that the stuff is sold in a gallon-sized bottle as well, how does purchasing one 32-oz. bottle a month qualify as “unusual”? Were the acetone and hydrogen peroxide purchased together? If not, is an 8-oz. bottle of acetone really “unusual”? Note the vagueness surrounding the second person–the person who purchased an acetone product in approximately the first week of September, suggesting the product was purchased after Zazi’s last known attempts to allegedly cook up TATP in August, and potentially even after Zazi left for NY. How can the government assert this is an unusual quantity if it doesn’t even, apparently, know what it was, when it was purchased, and in what volume?

And when the government says these people are “associated with Zazi,” what does it mean? Were they  members of the same mosque (with which, public reports suggest, Zazi was not that closely involved, unlike his mosque in Flushing, NY)? Were they also airport drivers at DIA, perhaps working for the same company but not socializing with Zazi at all? Were they neighbors of one of the residences at which Zazi briefly lived in the eight months he lived in CO?

So now return to the question of what happened to these people. What has happened to them in the last month or so, then? Have they been wiretapped, and if so, under FISA or under criminal statutes? Have their houses been searched, perhaps using a sneak and peek search so they wouldn’t know? Has the government asked their bank, their internet provider, their credit card companies, and credit rating agencies for reports on their actions? If so, did a judge review the government’s request to do so? Has their mosque been watched? Have investigators started asking these people’s neighbors and employers if these people are good upstanding citizens or maybe instead South Asian immigrants who might secretly be terrorists?

And if any or all of those things have happened, then what? Are they still under investigation? Or has the government discovered that they are, instead, a patriotic, law-abiding handyman and beauty salon owner and home-owner who bought products that millions of Americans use every day? And if the latter, then have their neighbors and employers started treating them differently since the time the FBI came and asked a bunch of questions about them?

The FBI is not going to tell me or you the answers to these questions. But it would, presumably, be willing to answer them in tomorrow’s briefing.

If one of your Representatives serves on the House Judiciary Committee (I’ve included numbers for the Dems below), call them and ask that they get answers to those questions tomorrow, before they decide whether to make such fishing expeditions based on the purchase of every day items easier for the government.

John Conyers: 202-225-5126
Howard Berman: 202-225-4695
Rick Boucher: 202-225-3861
Jerrold Nadler: 202-225-5635
Bobby Scott: 202-225-8351
Mel Watt: 202-225-1510
Zoe Lofgren: 202-225-3072
Sheila Jackson Lee: 202-225-3317
Maxine Waters:
Bill Delahunt: 202-225-3111
Robert Wexler: 202-225-3001
Steve Cohen: 202-225-3265
Hank Johnson: 202-225-1605
Pedro Pierluisi: 202-225-2615
Mike Quigley: 202-225-4061
Judy Chu: 202-225-5464
Luis Gutierrez:
Tammy Baldwin: 202-225-2906
Charles Gonzales: 202-225-3236
Anthony Weiner: 202-225-6616
Adam Schiff: 202-225-4176
Linda Sanchez: 202-225-6676
Debbie Wasserman Schultz:
Dan Maffei: 202-225-3701

For updates on other events regarding PATRIOT and FISA, join the Fix the PATRIOT Act and FISA Facebook group or follow GetFisaRight on Twitter.

48 replies
  1. bobschacht says:

    For updates on other events regarding PATRIOT and FISA, join the Fix the PATRIOT Act and FISA Facebook group or follow GetFisaRight on Twitter.

    Thanks for this update, and the reference to the action groups.

    Bob in AZ

  2. BoxTurtle says:

    I’m going to take a guess that one or more of his associates was a government plant.

    Boxturtle (I’ll take entrapment for $500, Alex)

    • esseff44 says:

      It does seem like another setup instigated by FBI and informants. Since we have heard nothing more about his ‘associates,’ it is strong evidence of entrapment or something close to it.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        I’m sure not going as far as strong evidence. Another theory which fits the facts as well is that the FBI turned the others and they’re protecting them from other unnamed members of the gang.

        It’s something that a defense atty would look into, that’s for sure.

        Boxturtle (It’s also possible there’s NOTHING at all going on, the bust was just for show)

    • skdadl says:

      I’m going to take a guess that one or more of his associates was a government plant.

      Good bet. Up here, that would be a slam-dunk. For the RCMP, that’s SOP.

  3. Jim White says:

    What Happened to Zazi’s Beauty Product Purchasing Associates?

    They used the peroxide and got away. The Feds only look for brown people with dark hair./snark

    • BoxTurtle says:

      I just snorted a mouthful of very nice single malt scotch out my nose, you rat.

      Boxturtle (On the plus side, it cleaned my monitor quite well)

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Apologies for the OT, but if bmaz hasn’t seen Big Dog talk about car racing and voting, this is a must-see. Come to think of it, it could be a handy strategy for Congresscritters entering a hearing, as well.

        • BoxTurtle says:

          Glenfarclas, a sherry monster. 15 years in a refill sherry cask.

          Boxturtle (had to refill my glass. I blame that entirely on JimWhite)

            • BoxTurtle says:

              Possible responses:

              1) Burn the Witch!!!!
              2) Make him snort his own Morag.
              3) Sic Freep on him.
              4) Have andther drink.
              5) Have another drink and think evil thoughts about him.

              Boxturtle (Think Arnold from Terminator)

              • freepatriot says:

                3) Sic Freep on him.

                I already poured him a shot of jim beam

                that oughta do it

                or we could give him a shot outta the Mason Jar; that stuff will blind an ordinary man, probably kill him …


                    • LabDancer says:

                      Way OT–because someone’s thrown out last weekend’s Trash [o.k., “closed down”]

                      -from October 24 Trash, pick-up at # 61

                      “I actually feel better about the Nord Horde after this game than at any time earlier this year. No quit; Harvin’s certainly tough, able not just to play but produce with that bad shoulder; the d-backs showed signs of learning & improvement; Favre’s comment about Sidney Rice is looking credible. A small, superficially perverse prediction: that the Vikes’ power rating according to this goes up following this loss: http://www.advancednflstats.com

                      And sho’nuff:

                      Going into Week: #7 #8
                      Overall ranking: 14 12
                      Game Win Percentage GWP: 51 55
                      Opposition GWB: 34 43
                      Offense ranking: 13 12
                      Defense ranking: 26 23

                    • Petrocelli says:

                      I haven’t seen a Pitcher dominate a game this way in a loong time.

                      Cliff Lee should be able to pitch 3 games if this goes 7. What a performance !

  4. Jim White says:

    I’m not in Wexler’s district, but I think I’ll give his office a call tomorrow. Since he’s a short-timer now, he just might feel free enough to ask these tough questions from Marcy.

    [Guys, put the stuff away before Mom gets home; we’re on the front page now.]

  5. skdadl says:

    Me, I’m a wino, but I will take a wee dram of the Lagavulin on Hogmannay or Burns Night, ta very much. Or any other time I run out of wine, actually.

    I keep waiting for a chance in the Zazi threads to make the limp joke about falafels, but I don’t want to bring the tone down or anything.

    (Vegan potlucks? Unpaid phone bills? The FBI are funny?)

  6. HarryWaisbren says:

    Thanks so much for linking to @GetFISARight and to our Facebook group Marcy!

    And to the FDL community: you have no idea how much I respect the work you are capable of, and it is precisely why I am so hopeful that we can attain as much of your support as possible!

    I have been an obsessive FDL reader for years now (though not a consistent commenter—which I am actively changing now), and I am not being hyperbolic in the least when I say that this blog has done an almost unparalleled amount to shape my political world view and my personal life philosophies. However, it has not only been the writers here that have had this impact on me, as it is the collective power of this community that has fostered many of the “aha” moments in which I have realized the extent to which our world’s political and social dynamics have changed.

    I know I will continue to learn from your example, but again I’ll restate how much I hope to earn your support for these initiatives as we attempt to act upon the lessons that FDL has exhibited!

      • HarryWaisbren says:

        Well I clearly know the degree to which the FDL community supports this issue—I never would have first become engaged myself if it wasn’t for the tireless coverage of retroactive immunity on this blog last year.

        However, we are hoping to synchronize our social networking based campaigns with the more blog based campaigns on FDL. Last summer we organized 20,000+ on the Obama campaign’s social network and achieved a litany of blogosphere and mainstream media attention (including a response directed to us from Obama himself), and we have been hard at work attempting to replicate such successes to help force civil liberties issues back into the national discussion!

  7. totoinkansas says:

    I’m a jeweler and we use lots of noxious chemicals, hydrogen peroxide, acetone, methanol, ammonia, many serious acids, etc. When I go to purchase them, there are no forms which are required for me to sign, nobody checks anything. I guess they’ll be rounding us up for suspicious purchases since they are too dumb or too lazy to track important chemicals. They track pseudoephedrine here in the Meth Capital of the US, why not this stuff??

    • skdadl says:

      Oh, bricklefritz.

      So does that mean that the “trials” at GTMO that were already underway are starting up again?

      I’m thinking of Khadr, but there are close to twenty involved, I believe.

      • TheOrA says:

        So does that mean that the “trials” at GTMO that were already underway are starting up again?

        That is the way I read it. From the article.

        The new system was initially supposed to be approved by September, and detainees’ cases have been put on hold for months as court officials waited for the rules to be in place.

  8. Loo Hoo. says:

    bmaz, you’ve broken the toobz on the Fisker Automotive site. Just went to show my daughter, and there’s no getting in.

  9. PJEvans says:

    Eight ounce bottles are a pretty common size – that’s one cup (or 250 ml). Buying one bottle in that size – I wouldn’t bother investigating, unless they’re buying something in a concentrated form.

  10. powwow says:

    Ron Wyden at the Huffington Post today:

    The Patriot Act changed the law [regarding “buiness records”] to authorize the government to collect any records deemed “relevant to an investigation.”

    The consequences of this change are tremendous, as there are limitless interpretations of the word “relevant.” And while it is known as the “business records” provision, it actually permits the collection of “any tangible thing” (such as blood or DNA samples) as long as it can be called “relevant.”

    I have served on the Senate Intelligence Committee for eight years, and I have yet to see evidence — classified or otherwise — that has convinced me that revising the business records provision to include a less intrusive standard would be harmful to U.S. national security. Yet as Congress considers whether to reauthorize this standard — written in a rush to judgment eight years ago — some will undoubtedly argue that Congress should just trust that the provision is essential and blindly sign-off on reauthorization. I disagree.


    Specifically, there is classified information that the public and the majority of my colleagues have not seen that, in my judgment, is essential to understanding the full scope of this issue. I and other senators have raised this problem with the Executive Branch in classified correspondence, and I hope that this information will be declassified soon. If it is not, however, I believe that the Senate should debate it in closed session to ensure that all senators are fully informed before casting their vote.

    • TheOrA says:

      Thanks for the link powwow.

      The understandably intense fear and panic gripping the nation in those early days following the attacks fueled the near-record speed with which dramatic alterations to U.S. surveillance law were drafted, debated and made law.

      I hate the fear and panic meme they lay on then “nation”. I was startled by the magnitude of the event, but not fearful. Apparently our elected officials up and peed themselves and feel the need to project. Well, I say aim that thing another direction.

Comments are closed.