Media

National media having field day with Zazi plot rumors

The case of DIA shuttle driver Najibullah Zazi, who joined his father in U.S. District Court yesterday to be advised of charges against them, has turned into the biggest news story in Denver -- and given the scope of the investigation, it's no surprise that the national media, which hasn't had a good terrorism plot to sink its teeth into for a while, is putting plenty of focus on the story, too. Witness the CBS report above, which details anonymously sourced reports about the group with which Zazi was allegedly aligned via graphics making assertions like these:

FBI SEARCHING FOR 9-12 OTHERS

NO SPECIFIC TARGETS IDENTIFIED

REPORTEDLY WANTED TO SET OFF EXPLOSIVES

MAY HAVE CENTERED ON MASS TRANSIT

The latest release from the Department of Justice is considerably less hyperbolic, sketching out the facts as using them as a jumping-off point. Read it below.

NAJIBULLAH ZAZI AND MOHAMMED ZAZI APPEAR IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT IN DENVER

DENVER -- Najibullah Zazi, age 24, and his father, Mohammed Zazi, age 53, both residents of Aurora, Colorado, appeared in U.S. District Court in Denver this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Craig B. Shaffer for their initial appearances. The defendants were advised of the charges pending against them. Najibullah Zazi was represented by counsel. The Federal Public Defender's office was appointed to represent Mohammed Zazi. The government requested that Najibullah Zazi be held without bond pending a resolution of his case. His detention hearing is presently scheduled for Thursday, September 24th, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. before Magistrate Judge Shaffer. Also, Magistrate Judge Shaffer ordered Mohammed Zazi to be released on a $50,000 unsecured bond, with the condition of home confinement with electronic monitoring. A further status conference regarding Mohammed Zazi will be held on Thursday, September 24th, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. also before Magistrate Judge Shaffer.

Both men presently face the federal criminal charge of making a false statement in a matter involving international and domestic terrorism. If convicted, they each face not more than 8 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine. The charges were filed by Criminal Complaint late Saturday night, September 19, 2009. A Criminal Complaint is a probable cause charging document. Anyone accused of committing a felony violation of federal law has a Constitutional right to be indicted by a federal grand jury. The charges contained in the Complaint are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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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