A Pakistani born American named Faisal Shahzad was arrested in relation to the attempted bombing in Times Square at JFK Airport while attempting to board a flight to Dubai by FBI agents and New York Police detectives.
Investigators apparently were able to track down the original owner of the SUV, a 1993 Nissan Pathfinder, which was found packed with explosives, propane tanks, and gasoline at Times Square Saturday night through an identification number on the engine block and axle. The original owner had sold the vehicle to Faisal Shahzad, who had paid cash.
At the center of the crudely put together explosive device was a “gun box” or “gun locker” packed with fertilizer. However the fertilizer was not the type that could be made to explode, filled with ammonium nitrate, such as used in the Oklahoma City Bombing.
The specific motives of Faisal Shahzad and whether or not he had accomplices is as yet unknown. But Faisal Shahzad did recently return to the United States from a lengthy trip to Pakistan where he has a wife. The Taliban in Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attempted bombing.
The known facts suggest that Faisal Shahzad may have had some help or training by terrorists during his trip to Pakistan, but was pretty much on his own to carry out the operation. This sort of thing seems to be the new MO of the terrorists, to recruit and assist home grown terrorists who have already established identities in the United States. In other words, a seemingly normal person living in America could secretly be a seething cauldron of resentments and anger, ripe for being recruited to jihad.
And even more disturbing fact besides the idea of “terrorists among us” is the seeming fact that authorities had no clue as to what was going on until the moment the Nissan Pathfinder started smoking. Terrorist attacks are generally foiled through careful intelligence, so that they can be stopped before they can take place. There were a number of planned attacks post 9/11 that were stopped thanks to intelligence gathered by the Bush administration.
But things seem to be falling apart now that Barack Obama is now president. The only two things that stopped a mass casualty bombing in Times Square, with a death toll in the hundreds, was blind luck and the incompetence of Faisal Shahzad in putting together and detonating his bomb.
Next time, we may not be so lucky.
Source: Man held in NYC car bomb attack to appear in court, Tom Hays and Colleen Long, AP, May 4th, 2010
Car Bomb in Times Square Fails to Detonate,Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, May 3rd, 2010