Terrorism Suspect In Plea Talks

Najibullah Zazi, 25, arrives at the federal building in downtown in Denver i i

Najibullah Zazi, 25, arrives at the federal building in downtown Denver on Thursday. The FBI has been questioning Zazi about a suspected plot to bomb transportation targets in New York City. Marc Piscotty/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Marc Piscotty/Getty Images
Najibullah Zazi, 25, arrives at the federal building in downtown in Denver

Najibullah Zazi, 25, arrives at the federal building in downtown Denver on Thursday. The FBI has been questioning Zazi about a suspected plot to bomb transportation targets in New York City.

Marc Piscotty/Getty Images

An airport shuttle driver the FBI had been questioning about a suspected plot to bomb transportation targets in New York City has admitted ties to al-Qaida and has been discussing a possible plea deal on criminal terrorism charges, law enforcement sources said Friday.

FBI investigators have been questioning Najibullah Zazi, 25, since Wednesday in connection with a nearly yearlong investigation into his possible ties to al-Qaida. They have not arrested him, and no charges have been filed.

But on Friday, two senior law enforcement sources told NPR that Zazi admitted he had explosives training at an al-Qaida camp in Pakistan. Two law enforcement officials close to the case said Zazi's lawyer had floated a plea deal in which he also would cooperate with investigators. The exact parameters of any agreement were still unclear Friday evening.

Art Folsom, Zazi's attorney i i

Art Folsom, Zazi's attorney, speaks with the media Thursday. Two law enforcement officials close to the case said Folsom had floated a plea deal in which he also would cooperate with investigators. Marc Piscotty/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Marc Piscotty/Getty Images
Art Folsom, Zazi's attorney

Art Folsom, Zazi's attorney, speaks with the media Thursday. Two law enforcement officials close to the case said Folsom had floated a plea deal in which he also would cooperate with investigators.

Marc Piscotty/Getty Images

A spokesman for Zazi's lawyers said the talks were continuing and that the legal team would have no further comment Friday. For the past two days, Zazi and his lawyers maintained that he was caught up in a case of mistaken identity.

Zazi was born in Afghanistan and lived in Pakistan before moving to the United States with his family a decade ago. He has lived in the Denver area since January. FBI agents there had been tracking him after he made repeated trips to Pakistan and New York, officials said. When Zazi decided to rent a car and drive cross-country just days before last week's anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, authorities were concerned.

Law enforcement officials also had been watching a group of Zazi's friends — a handful of other Afghans who were living in Queens and with whom Zazi stayed during a trip to New York last week. The FBI raided the apartment he stayed in and several other apartments soon after Zazi returned to Colorado. Officials said as many as 12 people are under surveillance in New York and Denver.

Authorities have not made public what they found in the raids. But one law enforcement source close to the investigation said they found 16 backpacks and a number of mobile phones in the Queens searches. They also found a bomb-making manual and uncovered some receipts that they have been following up on. Officials said receipts show the purchase of chemicals at home improvement stores in the Denver area. The FBI is seeking surveillance video from those stores to see if they can identify other possible suspects.

Most troubling to authorities over the past several days was the possibility that other unknown suspects might be involved and planning some sort of attack. That is why Zazi's cooperation would be key to any plea agreement.

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