Oct 14, 2009 3:01 PM by Associated Press
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 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.