The Denver Post had a story detailing the superb work the FBI did to prevent Najibullah Zazi from launching his attack on the subways. As it describes, the FBI discovered an email he wrote discussing an upcoming “wedding,” and in two weeks managed to track him down.
They also had three e-mails that Zazi had reportedly sent, in which he asked about “mixtures.”
“The marriage is ready flour and oil,” one e-mail stated, in part.
It’s widely known in intelligence circles that terrorists use the word “marriage” to mean an attack or suicide bombing. To see the words “marriage” and “ready” in such close proximity, the agents knew, was cause for serious alarm.
While this story describes (as I have) how the NYPD tipped Zazi off to the investigation, it also makes clear, once again, what didn’t identify Zazi: the NYPD’s abusive spying program. The NYPD had recruited Zazi’s imam as an informant. And yet they missed the development of one of the biggest plots of recent years.