Feds: Terror Suspect Hoped to Be Swapped For American Soldier in Afghanistan - NBC New York

Feds: Terror Suspect Hoped to Be Swapped For American Soldier in Afghanistan



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    Adis Medunjanin was questioned by the FBI in October 2009, about his alleged connections to Najibullah Zazi.

    An associate of convicted subway bomb plotter Najibullah Zazi allegedly confessed several times to FBI agents saying he hoped to swapped for an American POW in Afghanistan

    Prosecutors said Adis Medunjanin repeatedly told investigators he traveled to Pakistan to meet with al Qaeda operatives and that he hoped to carry out suicide bombings in the September 2009 plot.

    The new details come as Medunjanin prepares for his trial to fight the charges that he was in on the terror plot.

    Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay have already pleaded guilty.  Court papers suggest the three men hoped to carry out the bomb plot during the holy month of Ramadan.  After his arrest, Medunjanin allegedly asked to be part of a prisoner exchange.

    "The defendant also stated he thought himself as a prisoner of war, and as of the agents of enemy soldiers," prosecutors said in court papers filed on Friday.  "The defendant then requested to be exchanged in a prisoner of war swap for an American soldier captured in Afghanistan."  

    Medunjanin grew up in Queens with Zazi and Ahmedzay.  He allegedly told investigators the three men became increasingly radicalized over the years and traveled to Pakistan to join terrorists in jihad.

    "The defendant volunteered that he loved Osama bin Laden more than he loved himself and that al Qaeda was 'good people,'" the court papers said quoting a debriefing of the suspect.

    With the FBI and NYPD tailing him, Medunjanin was arrested after he crashed his car in Queens in January 2010 in an alleged intentional attempt to kill an American.

    The court papers said he was driving over 90 mph and made a 911 call shouting in Arabic "We love death more than you love life."  Officials said that is a jihadist motto and was yelled by Nidal Hassan while killing US soldiers during the Fort Hood terror attack.

    "The defendant admitted he that he had crashed his car in an attempt to kill himself and others because he believed that he needed to carry out an act of jihad before he was arrested," the documents claim.

    Defense lawyer Robert Gottlieb has said his client denies he is a terrorist.  He is trying to get a federal judge to throw out the alleged confessions.  He claims Medunjanin was questioned even after he invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and had hire him as an attorney.

    But the FBI said the terror suspect waived his right to remain silent in writing several times before obtaining the numerous confessions.