“Legat” is short for the legal-attaché office, the F. Ahmad, who is thirty-seven, was looking litigation-ready, in a well-cut dark suit and a cream blouse. A former supervisor of Ahmad’s told me that she has probably logged more hours talking to “legitimate Al Qaeda members, hardened terrorist killers,” than any other prosecutor in America.“They’re treasure troves of information about the networks, once they decide to coöperate,” Ahmad told me. For naïve young men, disenchanted with jihad and looking at forty years to life, that can be a powerful incentive to talk. She has prosecuted thirteen people for terrorism since 2009, and has not lost a case.“That’s Judge Glasser,” she whispered, motioning with her eyes toward another table. “Some of them didn’t expect to be here, to face any consequences. That week, in the courthouse across the street, she had finished a hearing in the case of a Malian man accused of murdering an American diplomat in Niger.You’re just blowing off steam in the heat of the moment. She works closely with the Pentagon, and defers to the military where it has jurisdiction. colleague had to take cover from daily rocket attacks. military base, and soldiers brought witnesses to the perimeter for interviews.
’ Everybody realizes you are not actually going to kill your brother. In combatting terrorism, Ahmad says, there is no conflict between the military and the civilian criminal-justice system.
The preview that Cheibani and his lawyers got was discouraging. Y., David Bitkower, told me, “You coöperate some kid from Minneapolis in 2009, and a couple of years later he’s going to help you prosecute an Al Shabaab commander, who is going to help you pursue defendants farther up the chain.” Ahmad considers all her Trials are relatively easy, in Ahmad’s view: “There’s a neutral arbiter—a judge, a jury.
“They know Zainab’s reputation,” a federal prosecutor who has worked with Ahmad said. You make your best argument, and they decide.” Getting an extraterritorial terrorism case charged, on the other hand, requires establishing facts to the satisfaction of an American grand jury about events that occurred, often years ago, in faraway places.
“When I was a kid, even though I had a funny name, and didn’t look like everyone else, it honestly took me a very long time to realize that. Substitute teachers would come, and start to take attendance, and hesitate, because my name was at the top of the class list, Ahmad. “I’d kind of like to go back to a time in America when teachers didn’t know where Pakistan is.”Jamile told me, “When Zainab was little, she wanted to be a receptionist. She had planned to be a hospital administrator, but things went sideways after the September 11th attacks, and she ended up at Columbia Law School, on a full scholarship. Zainab doesn’t come across as a hardboiled, aggressive prosecutor. The investigators moved carefully, placing an informant with Defreitas, but not, at first, asking him to gather evidence with a tape recorder. You need to be able to relate to people from all over the world.”Miller’s team discovered links between Kadir and Mohsen Rabbani, an Iranian diplomat believed to be the mastermind of the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. In their view, the innocent lives lost would be mere collateral damage.”Defreitas had testified that his tape-recorded plans to cause devastation were just empty talk. Terrorism is only one area of transnational crime, but it is easily the most high-profile. When I asked her, at the Perp Diner, about how an American prosecutor “coöperates” a jihadist, she drummed her fingers, shook her head, and finally came up empty.
They’d say, ‘I know I’m going to pronounce this wrong.’ And the whole class would be, like, ‘ Duh.’“Every year, in elementary school, we’d have American Heritage Day. One judge she clerked for, Reena Raggi, of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, recalls her strong academic background in finance and economics. “We weren’t sure about Guyana law, or the Guyanese, and you don’t want to blow your informant,” Ahmad said. Kadir, they determined, was planning to engage the Iranian military and special forces in his plot. S., you could afford to let it go and roll up more people. “Ladies and gentlemen, that is ridiculous,” Ahmad said. Russell Defreitas is doing everything he can to make his nightmare a reality.” The jury deliberated for five days. “Everybody I’ve flipped is still under seal.”On certain mornings, when she’s in town, her workday starts with a walk across town to Chelsea, where the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force has its headquarters.