Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Suspect Arrested in Times Square

I posted news of this as it was breaking over at Potluck. Since that time Attorney General Eric Holder(see video)  held a press conference shortly after 1:30 AM Eastern. The suspect Shahzad Faisal of Shelton CT was arrested while attempting to board a plane to Dubai at JFK Airport. Reuter's adds the following details from the press conference:
"It's clear that the intent behind this terrorist act was to kill Americans," Holder said at an early morning news conference. "We continue to gather leads in this investigation, and it's important that the American people remain vigilant."

Sources said the arrested man is believed to be the buyer of the 1993 Nissan sport utility vehicle used to carry the crude bomb made of fuel and fireworks into Times Square as it was packed with people on a warm Saturday evening.

For New Yorkers who bore the brunt of the September 11 attacks by al Qaeda militants in 2001, the scare was a reminder that their city of 8 million people is under constant threat.

"Investigators who were tracking the man were also exploring whether he or others who might have been involved in the attempted bombing had been in contact with people or groups overseas," the Times said, citing unnamed federal officials.
The overseas connection is significant.  Though he is a naturalized citizen of the United States, Faisal is of Pakistani origin.  He recently returned to the United States after spending several months in Pakistan.  As the investigation continues there will certainly be a focus on potential connections to Pakistani Taliban:
The Taliban in Pakistan said on Sunday it planted the bomb to avenge the killing in April of al Qaeda's two top leaders in Iraq. New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Bloomberg have said there was "no evidence" to support that claim.

But former CIA analyst Bruce Riedel, who oversaw an Obama administration strategy review on Afghanistan and Pakistan last year, cautioned against dismissing a possible role of the Pakistani Taliban in the failed car bomb.

"They have said they want to attack inside the United States," Riedel said before the Times report, adding there was "a very serious possibility" the incident involved "some Pakistani-American who has never built a car bomb before in his life but who is being coached either by phone or Internet."
In other words, pay no attention to anything Mayor Bloomberg has to say about the investigation.  I suppose that means we can safely rule out the tea partier irate over health care legislation theory.   I suppose we can expect an apology from Bloomberg shortly after the Obama administration reconsiders that whole open hand/unclenched fist strategy.

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