Seeking out terrorists

September 24, 2009 2:07:03 PM PDT
It's hardly an exact science, the anti-terrorism business.Unless these guys - and they are mostly guys - telegraph their intent ahead of time, it's extremely difficult to get a heads-up on terrorist activities. (The one exception may be the intelligence memo in the summer of 2001 to Pres. Bush, warning of a terrorist strike by al Qaeda against the U.S. The Sept. 11 Commission made a big deal of the president ignoring that warning. Alas, most terrorist attacks don't come with such a red-flag warning ahead of time.)

After all, these extremists operate not just in small groups and cells, but their focal points are based on religious fundamentalism - the most zealous, crudest and fervent of any ideology.

Which is why the police always had the benefit of any doubt and criticism that they acted too soon or were chasing wild geese when they raided those apartments in Queens last week.

When they busted Najibullah Zazi, his father and an Imam, they charged them only with lying to federal agents - a felony akin to busting Al Capone on tax evasion rather than for murder.

But today, Mr. Zazi was indicted for plotting to bomb various sites in the U.S. And sources say Zazi and associates used stolen credit cards to buy bomb supplies in Colorado, and then returned to New York. Zazi, who worked as a shuttle driver at the Denver airport, reportedly received training from al Qaeda in Pakistan.

Tonight at 11, we'll have the latest on the case, and reaction.

And as if right on cue, another terror case emerged, not connected to the New York/Colorado case. A man in Illinois drove a van containing what he thought was explosive material and parked it in front of a federal building in Springfield and tried to detonate.

It didn't blow up. Instead, he was busted, because he had been set up in a FBI sting. The material was not explosive.

We'll have the latest from the U.N. today, where the General Assembly is wrapping up its annual gathering. Pres. Obama today chaired a Security Council meeting on nuclear disarmament.

It was the first time an American president has presided over a Security Council summit.

The group unanimously approved a U.S.-drafted resolution aimed at stopping nuclear proliferation.

Mr. Obama and many of the world's leaders will now go to Pittsburgh for the opening of the two-day G-20 Summit.

And one more note about the U.N. - Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wanted to have a dinner and reception at the Essex House on Central Park South tomorrow night. He was rejected. The Essex House is owned by a company from Dubai, and the folks in that country don't get along with Iran anymore.

Also at 11, we got a lot of reaction from investigative reporter Jim Hoffer's months-long look at how food is transported by some restaurants from wholesalers. It's sometimes left for hours in unrefrigerated trucks and in hot temperatures - fish, meat, milk products. Tonight, part two of Jim's exclusive investigation, and the worst-case scenarios for leaving perishable food out.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.