Media beats FBI to terror suspect Zazi's door

Suddenly, Denver is the center of the terrorism-investigation universe. Tuesday afternoon, word surfaced that a man linked to terrorism-related raids in Queens, New York who was originally said to be from "the midwest" actually lived in the Denver area. Mere hours later, the suspect was revealed to be Najibbullah Zazi, a DIA shuttle driver with an apartment in Aurora -- and instead of laying low, he lawyered up (attorney Arthur Folsom acted as his mouthpiece) and met the media on as close to his terms as possible. The press then staked out his residence, giving them a close-up-and-personal view of an FBI raid on the pad and stayed on site all day, leading to stories like the one above by Eli Stokols of Channel 31/The Deuce. Seems surprising that the feds waited a full day after Zazi returned to Colorado to bust in to this joint,and one belonging to a couple of his family members -- but considerably less shocking, given the delay, that they found nothing justifying an arrest thus far. Although the story's huge at this point -- even National Public Radio led its main news segment with the tale this morning -- it could very well peter out, as the real action moves behind the scenes. Until then, TV stations owe the FBI a debt of gratitude. The Bureau's timing may not have been great from a law-enforcement standpoint, but it was ideal for boosting ratings.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts