Mr Obama dialled in to a briefing the New York Police Department was giving
his counterterrorism and homeland security adviser to thank the police for
their “outstanding” work during the UN General Assembly and the ongoing
He told the police they have the respect and gratitude of all Americans, White
House press secretary Robert Gibbs said afterward.
“The president told the NYPD that he is particularly grateful for the
exceptional teamwork that has been abundantly evident over the past several
weeks with other police departments and with federal departments and
agencies,” Mr Gibbs said.
NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly and members of the NYPD’s Intelligence
Division and Counter Terrorism Bureau were briefing Obama adviser John
Brennan on the ongoing investigation that led to the arrest of Najibullah
Zazi, a Denver airport shuttle driver who’s accused of conspiring to use
weapons of mass destruction.
Zazi, an Afghan immigrant, had at least 18 bottles of peroxide-based hair
lighteners and pages of notes for how to turn the beauty products into
bombs, authorities say.
He has publicly proclaimed his innocence. His attorney says claims he planned
an attack in New York City are missing a key element – explosives or the
chemicals used to make them.
A recently unsealed criminal complaint had suggested that police acting
without the FBI’s knowledge might have compromised the investigation and
helped blow the surveillance of Zazi by questioning a Muslim religious
leader about him.
A top commander in the Intelligence Division was transferred after the
investigation became public and concerns were raised about detectives’
questioning of the Queens imam, who’s accused of tipping off Zazi to the
The imam and Zazi’s father face charges of lying to terrorism investigators;
they deny the allegations.
Federal and NYPD investigators are seeking additional suspects. Authorities
have issued a flurry of terrorism warnings for sports complexes, hotels and
transit systems based on their investigation.
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