Updated 09/23/2009 09:36 PM
Complaint Suggests NYPD Misstepped In Terror Probe
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A criminal complaint filed Wednesday reportedly suggests the New York City Police Department inadvertently blew the FBI's terror investigation involving two Colorado men.
According to published reports, the complaint states the NYPD may have compromised the FBI bomb plot investigation, by questioning Queens Imam Ahmad Afzali about suspect Najibullah Zazi.
Afzali is accused of tipping Zazi and his father Mohammed off to the FBI probe.
The document also reportedly suggests Zazi may have become suspicious after a rental car he was using during a trip to New York was towed and searched.
Both agencies deny the claim, and in a joint statement said, "The FBI and the NYPD work together on joint investigations and side by side in task forces on a daily basis... This collaboration is an essential part of what helps to protect New York City from another terrorist attack."
Another law enforcement export also said he did not see rivalry between the FBI and NYPD.
"I didn't see competition, I saw cooperation," said former NYPD Counterterrorism Chief John Colgan. "The focuses of the two entities are different, but their mission is the same."
Last week, investigators raided Queens apartments visited by Najibullah Zazi. Police seized backpacks and cell phones and say they found bomb-making instructions on his computer.
Zazi and his father, Mohammad, are charged with lying to authorities. Afzali was arrested on charges he lied to authorities by denying he had tipped off Zazi.
Afzali is expected in Brooklyn Federal Court Thursday, while the other two men will appear at the Arraj Federal Courthouse in Denver.
Afzali's attorney, Ron Kuby, said the case sends the wrong example to the Muslim community about cooperating with authorities.
"It's best to just keep your mouth shut. That's the message that law enforcement is sending," said Kuby. "So I hope the government got what it wanted out of this case, because they burned an awful lot of goodwill in the process."
In response to these arrests, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are expanding their terror warning, calling for increased security at hotels, stadiums, and other large venues.
Attorney General Eric Holder called the threat very serious and very organized.
The NYPD says security on the city's transit system is always high. And, while there is no specified threat, officers are being shown a 14-minute video on hydrogen peroxide bombs.
"The critical response vehicles, the police officers, we're moving them every day," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
"We didn't have to change anything, but I think the increase in security that the federal government has called for, in most places, really is merited," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.