An Afghan immigrant accused of conspiring to attack New York City with bombs has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction. He also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and providing material support for a terrorist organization. Najibullah Zazi entered the plea Monday in a New York court as part of a deal with prosecutors.
Zazi was arrested in Colorado last year and transferred to New York, where he was charged in the alleged plot.
After pleading guilty, Zazi told the court that in August 2008, he and others planned to go to Afghanistan to join the Taliban to fight against the U.S. military and allied forces.
Instead, they were recruited and trained by al-Qaida in Pakistan, and agreed to carry out suicide missions in the U.S.
Zazi said he planned to use chemicals obtained at beauty supply stores to make bombs to detonate on Manhattan subway lines in September 2009. But he became concerned that police were investigating and disposed of the materials.
The investigation of Zazi also includes charges against two former high school classmates, and an uncle and Zazi's father.
In a Washington news conference following the pleas, Attorney General Eric Holder had this to say:
"This attempted attack on our homeland was real," said Eric Holder. "It was in motion. And it would have been deadly."
Zazi faces life in prison when he is sentenced in June. His lawyers and prosecutors jointly asked the court to keep sealed the details of the agreement that led to Zazi's guilty pleas.