"This attempted attack on our homeland was real, it was in motion, and it would have been deadly," Attorney General Eric Holder declared at a press conference.
Zazi was first arrested by the FBI in September. He has been cooperating with and providing information to prosecutors "in recent weeks," according to the New York Times.
Given the GOP outrage over the administration's decision to charge attempted Christmas bomber Umar Abdulmutallab in criminal court, one might have expected a flurry of Republican press releases and TV appearance this week over the handling of the Zazi case.
But the press releases never came, and the TV appearances were never scheduled.
Republicans Sen. Kit Bond and Rep. Pete Hoekstra have been perhaps the most vocal critics of the administration's handling of Abdulmutallab.
Bond declared when Abdulmutallab was indicted: "We have learned the hard way that trying terrorists in federal court comes at a high price, from losing out on potentially lifesaving intelligence to compromising our sources and methods. We must treat these terrorists as what they are -- not common criminals, but enemy combatants in a war."
Similarly, Hoekstra said "Farouk, and all other jihadist attackers, should be charged as an enemy combatant, taken into military custody, interrogated for vital intelligence, and tried in military courts under the laws of armed conflict."
Neither Bond nor Hoekstra have commented on Zazi's plea this week, a search of news archives and their Web sites show. Spokespeople for Bond and Hoekstra have not responded to requests for comment on the Zazi case.
Late Update: Greg Sargent asks: Where are congressional Dems on the Zazi case?