The accused terror plotter indicted this morning by the Feds seems to have spent a lot of time in recent months shopping for beauty and home improvement products.
According to a document filed by prosecutors, the FBI found on the computer of Najibullah Zaz instructions for making explosives, including Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP). That’s the explosive that was used by the London train bombers of 2005, and by Richard Reid, the “shoe-bomber,” in 2001. It’s made from hydrogen peroxide, acetone, and strong acid such as hydrochloric acid.
The document details Zazi’s alleged quest to obtain these components. This past summer, say prosecutors, Zazi’s computer shows that he searched the internet for hydrochloric acid, and searched a beauty salon website for hydrocide and peroxide.
On July 25th, according to surveillance videos and receipts, Zazi bought six bottles of a product called “Liquid Developer Clairoxide” — which contains large quantities of hydrogen peroxide — from a beauty supply store in Aurora, Colorado, where he lives.
Then about a month later, say the Feds, Zazi bought twelve 32-oz bottles of “Ms. K Liquid 40 Volume,” which also contains hydrogen peroxide. A Zazi associate bought three 32 oz bottles of Ion Sensitive Scalp Developer, a hair-color product. Other Zazi associates also went to beauty-supply stores in and around Aurora, and bought products with large quantities of hydrogen and acetone.
There was a lot more work to be done, though, say prosecutors. In early September, Zazi made calls to an associate asking for further instructions about how to create the explosives. He asked urgently about flour and ghee oil, two other ingredients in the bomb-making instructions found on his computer, say the Feds.
Then the next day, he looked online for home improvement stores in Flushing, Queens. Then he searched the store’s site for a form of hydrochloric acid - -the third component of the TATP explosive. He allegedly viewed one particular brand — Klean Strip Green Safer Muriatic Acid — several times.
After traveling to New York, Zazi went to Flushing. It was then that he appears to have been tipped off to the fact that the Feds were on to him. Law enforcement then searched the Queens apartment, and found the computer with the bomb-making instructions, as well an electronic scale, of the kind that could be used to weigh chemicals, with Zazi’s finger prints.
After Zazi returned to Colorado, a search of his Aurora home found the same computer, but this time with the hard drive removed. Soon, he was being interrogated by FBI agents. Last week he was charged with making false statements. And today the more serious charges were filed.
Prosecutors are asking for a permanent order of detention for Zazi, calling him a flight risk and a threat to the community.