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.