Suspected al Qaeda terrorist Najibullah Zazi will be permanently detained while the government builds their case against the 24-year-old shuttle bus drive from Denver, Colorado, a judge ordered this morning.
Zazi, dressed is a blue smock and pants over an orange prison-issued T-shirt, entered a plea of not guilty through his attorney J. Michael Dowling.
Zazi is charged with conspiracy to use explosive bombs in an alleged terror plot authorities have described as "the real deal." He was brought into the courthouse handcuffed, and sat quietly next to his lawyer for the brief hearing today.
Judge Raymond W. Dearie granted the prosecution's request to declare the case against Zazi "complex" – meaning that because of the nature of classified evidence and the international aspect of the case, they expect it will take a long time to prosecute.
The government said it intends to use evidence acquired under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which would include classified evidence that, if presented, would require the setup of a special room and Zazi's attorney would need to get secret clearance to be inside.
Speaking outside the U.S. Eastern District Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn, NY after the hearing, Dowling said, "I'd like to stop this rush to judgment. What I've seen so far does not amount to a conspiracy."
Zazi was transported to New York from Colorado Friday evening. According to court documents, Zazi planned to use chemicals and hair care products he bought at beauty supply stores to build a series of devastating bombs.
He "purchased unusually large quantities of hydrogen peroxide and acetone from beauty supply stores in the Denver metropolitan area," a federal indictment unsealed late last week said.
The chemicals in the products matched those listed in nine pages of hand written bomb-making instructions Zazi received when he attended an al Qaeda training camp in Pakistan late last year, according to officials.
His next court proceeding is set for Dec. 3.