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The Zazi plea and the Patriot Act

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By Michelle Malkin  •  February 22, 2010 04:44 PM

Afghan-born jihadi Najibullah Zazi pleaded guilty to terrorism charges related to his railway bombing plot hatched in Colorado and NYC:

Mr. Zazi appeared before Judge Raymond J. Dearie at Federal District Court in Brooklyn. He pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiracy to commit murder overseas, and providing material support for a terrorist organization. He faces a sentence of life in prison.

Two people with knowledge of the case said that in recent weeks, Mr. Zazi had begun providing information to prosecutors as part of the initial stages of an agreement that led up to his guilty plea Monday. Such an arrangement suggests that prosecutors believe Mr. Zazi can provide valuable information, including evidence about the plot and the involvement of others, including those who may be overseas, and other intelligence on Al Qaeda.

Spokesmen for the F.B.I. and the office of the United States attorney in Brooklyn, Benton J. Campbell, declined to comment. Throughout the 45-minute proceeding on Monday, Mr. Zazi seemed unaffected by his circumstances, even smiling on several occasions. And when he spoke, he did so in an unapologetic, matter-of-fact manner. “I would sacrifice myself to bring attention to what the United States military was doing to civilians in Afghanistan,” he said to the judge.

Obama supporters will use the case to support civilian trials for Gitmo detainees.

Before they make that leap, they need to acknowledge how the case against Zazi was built. Remember: If you can’t collect the dots, you can’t connect the dots.

Reminder #1:

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) explained Monday that Zazi’s capture and indictment would not have been possible without the Patriot Act, the infamous 2001 anti-terrorism law that some lawmakers have signaled they hope to scuttle this year.

“All the layers of defense President Bush set up after September 11 are working. The FBI is working more closely with local police, the Patriot Act, which allows roving wiretaps… is essential,” King told Fox News. “We have to have this, it’s absolutely essential.”

Reminder #2:

The indictment of suspected terrorist Najibullah Zazi, who is charged with acquiring and preparing bombs similar to the ones deployed in the 2005 London subway attacks, rides substantially on Zazi’s Internet surfing habits.

Federal prosecutors say that Zazi was trained in Pakistan and shuttled between Queens, N.Y. and Denver in an attempt to prepare bombs. The Feds allege that Zazi was involved in an Al Qaeda conspiracy to attack the U.S.

As you read the indictment and order for permanent detention you can almost picture the various connected databases and monitoring techniques at work. Simply put, Internet surveillance and information technology sleuthing played a big role in the Zazi case. FBI agents arrested Zazi in Colorado.

Jeffrey Knox, an assistant U.S. attorney, tells the tale in the permanent detention document.

And where do CAIR and its sympathizers stand? Where they always stand on every last counterterrorism/homeland security measure:

For all their apparent success, the surveillance measures are overly intrusive, Muslim groups say, undermining the integration of an overwhelmingly law-abiding community.

“Almost everyone I know has been interviewed or knows someone has been interviewed by the FBI,” says Edina Lekovic, communications director for the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

At a time when arrests in Denver, Springfield, Ill., and Dallas are revealing intimate details about the threat of domestic terrorism, however, such tactics are often the subject of praise, not scorn.

“All the layers of defense President Bush set up after Sept. 11 are working. The FBI is working more closely with local police, the Patriot Act, which allows roving wiretaps … is essential,” Rep. Peter King (R) of New York told Fox News Monday.

He said the arrest of Najibullah Zazi, the Denver airport shuttle driver indicted in a plot to blow up New York subways with homemade bombs, is enough to justify renewing the Patriot Act.

On Tuesday, Mr. Zazi pleaded not guilty to charges of plotting terrorist attacks on New York. Meanwhile, New York police said none of Zazi’s accomplices, who have not yet been apprehended by law-enforcement officials, were now a threat.

Congress is currently reviewing three provisions of the Patriot Act that expire this year. Lawmakers have the chance to revise, eliminate, or extend without any revisions parts of the law passed in the aftermath of 9/11 that give law enforcement the ability access business records, conduct “roving” wiretaps, and track so-called “lone wolf” suspects not connected to terrorist groups or foreign governments.

…The FBI has repeatedly denied that it randomly targets any one group or person because of their religion or ethnicity and says they only begin an investigation when they have cause.

But the American Civil Liberties Union and many Muslim groups have asked Congress to add constitutional protections to the Patriot Act that would limit some of the FBI’s ability to begin wiretaps and collect information.

“The expiration of the three Patriot Act provisions is an opportunity to reexamine surveillance law and reject sections that waste law enforcement resources by targeting law abiding Americans without any suspicion of criminal activity,” said Faiza Ali, community affairs director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in an e-mail. “We perceive that trust between the American Muslim community and the FBI remains an issue, especially given concerns of confidential informants and agent provocateurs in places of worship.”

We already know national security deputy John Brennan agrees with the Muslim grievance-mongers that homeland security programs have been “excessive.”

We already know corruptocrat AG Eric Holder sides with the grievance mob on profiling.

This is why the White House doesn’t have the balls to push stand-alone reauthorization of the Patriot Act — instead preferring to play hide-the-salami by stuffing it into the jobs bill.

Fecklessness as usual.

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