Investigators tailing suspected terrorist Najibullah Zazi early last month briefly lost him in the city subway system, heightening already mounting concerns about his actions, a law enforcement official told Newsday Tuesday.
The official, who asked not to be identified because of the continuing investigation, said joint terrorism task force investigators lost track of Zazi soon after his car was stopped Sept. 10 on the George Washington Bridge.
On that date, Port Authority police, with FBI approval, stopped Zazi's car for what was ostensibly a routine drug checkpoint search, officials said. Zazi's car was also later reportedly searched without his knowledge and his laptop computer hard drive copied by investigators.
"He was gone for a while," the official said about Zazi's subway trip.
The day after he was stopped on the bridge, Zazi took the subway at one point. His short disappearance while he was in the system led some officials to fear he might be telling other alleged plotters to dispose of bomb-making chemicals, according to Newsweek, which first reported about the 40 minutes to 90 minutes of lost surveillance on its Web site.