Comment On Najibullah Zazi’s Guilty Plea In Federal Court

Another example of the strength of our justice system unfolded today in a Federal district court in New York, where Najibullah Zazi, whose actions have been described by the Attorney General as one of the most serious terrorist threats since September 11, pleaded guilty to terrorism charges.  I ask the critics whether, in this case, they would have forgone justice and the intelligence that was gained, by insisting, instead, that Zazi be designated as an enemy combatant and whisked away to Guantanamo Bay?  Or that he be subjected to waterboarding and other torture, as detainees were during the Bush administration?

I continue to have full confidence in the ability of our Federal prosecutors, law enforcement agents, and courts to bring terrorists to justice.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation and its state and local partners tracked Mr. Zazi’s movement, ultimately uncovering his plans to target transportation hubs in New York.  He was arrested, interrogated, and charged, and he will be convicted of his crimes and prevented from doing harm.  The Zazi case is another example of the success the FBI has had in gaining intelligence from terrorist suspects.

The American justice system is the envy of the world because it is fair.  It has proven that it is capable of effectively handling terrorism cases.  I applaud the dedicated FBI agents, state and local law enforcement officers, and prosecutors for their careful work in this case.  We need not cower in fear but should act with conviction and confidence in countering terrorists.  Today’s guilty plea is just the latest example of justice being served by using our counterterrorism tools and the experience of our criminal justice system.

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