The Justice Department brought charges Thursday in three unrelated bombing plots, but in only one – the case of a 24-year-old man accused of taking part in an al Qaeda plot to unleash a bombing campaign against Americans – was the public in any potential danger.
In the other two cases, two men were caught in stings by the FBI. Unbeknownst to the men in both investigations, the FBI made sure the bombs they planted were fakes.
In the most serious case, Najibullah Zazi, an airport shuttle driver from Denver, was indicted Thursday in New York on charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction – explosive bombs – against persons or property in the United States. He faces life in prison if convicted. The new charge represents a serious escalation of the legal issues facing Mr. Zazi, who was charged last weekend with the far less-serious charge of lying to FBI agents investigating a purported al Qaeda bombing plot involving several people in the U.S. and Pakistan.
“We are investigating a wide range of leads related to this alleged conspiracy, and we will continue to work around the clock to ensure that anyone involved is brought to justice,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said. “We believe any imminent threat arising from this case has been disrupted, but as always, we remind the American public to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.”