Officials Guess Detainee Was Plotting 9/11 Attack

Shuttle Driver 'Biggest Threat to US Since 9/11'

Despite the fact that he left New York City on September 12 and wasn’t arrested until September 19, a federal prosecutor told the judge today that captured terror suspect Najibullah Zazi was planning to attack New York City on September 11.

Zazi, an Afghan-born shuttle bus driver in Denver, visited New York that week in connection with his part ownership in a coffee cart business in the city. He has repeatedly and publicly denied being a terrorist since his capture by officials.

The shuttle bus driver and enterprising donut vendor had been subject to an investigation for terror ties for quite some time, but following his arrest the principle piece of evidence was a battery powered scale and some extra batteries, which it was speculated could be used to weigh explosives, but really could have been used to weigh about anything, being a scale and all.

Since then, however, officials say that Zazi also bought six bottles of Clairol Clairoxide, which is used as a hair lightener, and some nail polish remover. Though it can’t be ruled out that Zazi was simply planning to go blonde, the two chemicals could be highly volatile in combination, and officials now say Zazi was the most serious threat to the US since the 9/11 attacks.

What still remains is exactly what, if anything, Zazi was planning to attack. Officials don’t seem to know, and prosecutor claims about 9/11 aside, they concede there doesn’t seem to have been any specific plot. The evidence against him may make him the most dangerous threat since 9/11, but this is more a testament to how little evidence they’ve had on their previous high profile arrests (like the “magician” who was planning to destroy the Sears Tower with his magic staff).

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.