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Monday, August 1, 2011

9 Cops Probed in Terror-Plot Leak

Nine NYPD officers probed in terror-plot leaks, subpoenaed in subway bomb plan
The New York Daily News by Alison Gendar and Rocco Parascandola - July 28, 2011
The NYPD was accused of mishandling the 2009 terrorism case of Najibullah Zazi

Four NYPD detectives have been hauled before a federal grand jury probing leaks of top-secret information about a terror plot to blow up city subways, sources told the Daily News. More, including a deputy chief, are due in the dock in the leaks probe stemming from old tensions between the Police Department and the feds. At least nine NYPD officers have received subpoenas, one source said. FBI agents have also been subpoenaed in the case, and reporters may be questioned. Sources said the grand jury investigation is focused largely on the 2009 Zazi terrorism case, which the NYPD was accused of mishandling, forcing the FBI to make arrests sooner than it planned. The inquiry is said to be focusing on leaks of sensitive information from the FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force to cops who did not have clearance. Some of the information ended up in the press. Sources said two NYPD detectives assigned to the task force testified on Friday and two more were in Washington to testify yesterday. "I think it went well. They testified truthfully. No one took the Fifth," said a source familiar with the detectives' testimony. One source said each detective testified for less than 30 minutes. It was not clear exactly what leaks are at issue. Sources said one of the leaks was so serious it was included in a classified briefing for President Obama, who made his displeasure known. Former Queens resident Najibullah Zazi, who pleaded guilty to plotting a suicide attack on the New York subways, was arrested in September 2009. He had been under FBI surveillance, and officials hoped to gain more information by watching him. One previously reported failure occurred when NYPD officers in the Intelligence Division showed Zazi's picture to a Queens imam, a sometime police informant who turned around and tipped Zazi off, forcing the premature arrest. In the wake of that incident, Deputy Inspector Paul Ciorra was transferred out of the Intelligence Division and made commanding officer of the Highway Patrol. He was widely considered a fall guy for decisions made by his superiors. The turf battle between the NYPD and the feds has been brewing on and off for years. Deputy Chief James Shea is expected to testify as early as next week in the leaks probe, sources said. In March, he was nearly bounced from the terrorism task force by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly for refusing to bring classified documents from 26 Federal Plaza to Police Headquarters. The FBI went to bat for Shea, and the transfer was rescinded, The News reported. Two months later, Kelly transferred Shea to the Police Academy. The FBI would not confirm or deny the probe. The NYPD didn't respond to requests for comment.

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