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Najibullah Zazi Terror Probe: A Timeline Of Events

CATHERINE TSAI and P. SOLOMON BANDA   09/21/09 09:34 PM ET   AP

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DENVER — A timeline leading to the arrests of Najibullah Zazi, his father and an associate in a terror investigation, according to arrest warrant affidavits prepared by FBI special agents, public statements and public records:

_ Najibullah Zazi is born in Afghanistan on Aug. 10, 1985. He moved to Pakistan at age 7 and emigrated to the United States in 1999, according to his attorney. A legal permanent resident of the U.S., he returned to Pakistan in 2007 and 2008 to visit his wife, the lawyer said.

_ Aug. 28, 2008: Najibullah Zazi travels to Peshawar, Pakistan, from Newark International Airport, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection records.

_ Jan. 15, 2009: Zazi travels from Peshawar to New York, arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to Customs and Border Protection records. Zazi has said his last trip to Pakistan was around this time, to visit his wife.

_ Feb. 3: Zazi applies for a license to drive an airport shuttle in Denver, listing his past job as a vendor on Wall Street. Application says he's married and that he has been in Denver for about a month.

_ March 26: Zazi files for bankruptcy in New York, claiming about $51,000 in credit card debt and a $914 cell phone bill. He lists a Flushing, N.Y., address and says he's unmarried.

_ April 15: Denver grants Zazi a limousine driver's license, indicating Zazi passed a Colorado Bureau of Investigation background check and a driving record check. He works as a driver for ABC Airport Shuttle.

_ Aug 17: Bankruptcy is discharged.

_ Sept. 9: FBI agents see Zazi drive away from his home in Aurora, Colo., in a rented car.

_ Sept. 10: Zazi arrives in New York, more than 1,600 miles away, and stays at a home in Queens. He is stopped by police on the George Washington Bridge, which connects New Jersey to Manhattan, and consents to a random search of his vehicle for drugs. He was allowed to leave. Family members say he drove because he wanted to see the country. Meanwhile, New York City police detectives meet with Ahmad Wais Afzali, whom they've used as a source before. They show him photos of Zazi and others, and Afzali says he recognizes Zazi.

_ On or around Sept. 11: Zazi and his father, Mohammed Wali Zazi, of Aurora, Colo., talk with Afzali by phone about what authorities asked Afzali. Later, Najibullah Zazi tells Afzali he feels like he's being watched.

_ Sept. 11: Zazi's rental car is towed for a parking violation, according to Zazi's attorney, Arthur Folsom. FBI agents search the car and find a laptop with an image of nine pages of handwritten notes on how to make explosives, detonators and fuses.

_ Sept. 12: Najibullah Zazi flies back to Denver, though his rental records show he wasn't due to return his rental car in New York until Sept. 14.

_ Sept. 14: FBI agents and police officers armed with warrants seeking bomb materials search three apartments and question residents in a Queens neighborhood. The agents find a black scale and AA batteries with Zazi's fingerprints on them. An intelligence warning to U.S. law enforcement raises the alarm of a potential plot involving homemade hydrogen peroxide-based explosives similar to those used in public transit attacks in Madrid and London.

_ Sept. 16: Federal agents interview Najibullah Zazi, who voluntarily appears at the FBI office in Denver with his lawyer for about eight hours. Zazi says he hadn't seen the handwritten notes and must have downloaded them unintentionally along with a religious book he downloaded and later deleted in August. Agents also search Zazi's apartment and the nearby home of his aunt.

_ Sept. 17-18: In more interviews with the FBI, Najibullah Zazi allegedly admits that during his 2008 trip to Pakistan he attended courses at an al-Qaida training facility in the federally administered tribal areas and received instruction on weapons and explosives.

_ Sept. 19: Authorities arrest Zazi, his father and Afzali on charges of lying in a matter involving terrorism.

_ Sept. 21: Zazi, his father make their initial court appearances in Denver, while Afzali is in court in New York. All three are ordered jailed until their next court appearances Sept. 24.

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Filed by David Weiner  |