NYPD Yanks Top Cop From Terror Unit

Official replaced after unit's imam informant tipped off suspect
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2009 6:29 AM CDT
NYPD officers muster along Park Avenue before deploying to various security posts throughout the area earlier this week.   (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – A top official from one of the NYPD's two counterterror units has been replaced after his unit disrupted a federal terror probe by inadvertently alerting the prime suspect to the investigation. Paul Ciorra of the Intelligence Division—which sometimes competes with the city's Counterterrorism Bureau and clashes with federal partners—has been shifted to another job and a Counterterrorism Bureau official installed in his place, the New York Times reports.

Intelligence Division detectives sought assistance two weeks from an imam in Queens who is believed to have then tipped off suspected terror ringleader Najibullah Zazi, forcing federal investigators to move in sooner than they had planned. The decision to speak to the imam was made at the highest level and there's no indication Ciorra did anything wrong, according to a former official close to the investigation.