NEW YORK (AP) - Intelligence officials say the terrorist operative who contacted an Afghan immigrant accused of plotting a New York attack was the head of Afghanistan's al-Qaida operations.
The U.S. officials say Mustafa Abu al-Yazid (moo-STAH'-fah AH'-boo ahl yah-ZID') used an intermediary to contact the 24-year-old Najibullah Zazi, of Colorado, as he hatched a plot to attack New York's mass transit system.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case remains under investigation.
Al-Yazid is an Egyptian, an al-Qaida founder and a confidant of Osama bin Laden. The officials declined to describe his specific interaction with Zazi.
Zazi has pleaded not guilty to conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction.
Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.