The would-be terrorist from Colorado who officials believe was planning to carry out bombings in New York was reportedly in contact with al-Qaida's top operations leader.
Intelligence officials tell the Associated Press that Najibullah Zazi talked to an intermediary of Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, an al-Qaida founder who is in Osama bin Laden's inner circle.
The CIA has not spoken of Al-Yazid's interactions with Zazi, who is being held on charges of conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction.
His father is accused of lying to investigators, and a Queens Iman is accused of tipping of the Zazis and lying to officials. All three have pleaded not guilty.
Two other men are being kept under surveillance because officials believe they traveled to Pakistan with Zazi for terrorist training.