Federal agents and police detectives have arrested a naturalized citizen from Pakistan in the botched unexploded car bomb in Times Square.
They identified the man as Faisal Shahzad of Connecticut who they said bought the 1993 Nissan Pathfinder several weeks ago through a website ad but did not register it. The unattended SUV was loaded with gasoline, propane, fireworks, two timers and 100 pounds of fertilizer. With smoke puffing from inside the vehicle, a Tee-shirt vendor reported the incident to a cop on horseback patrol.
The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the incident which is odd in that the bomb failed to work and apparently was cobbled together by what bomb experts believe were rank amateurs.
Earlier on Monday, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, insisted it was too early to draw any conclusions as to the legitimacy of the claim or to speculate if the attack was a case of domestic or international terrorism.
Not so circumspect was White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs who told reporters: “I think anybody that has the type of material that they had in a car in Times Square, I would say that that was intended to terrorize, absolutely.”
Shahzad was arrested at Kennedy Airport Monday night as he awaited to board a flight to Dubai.
New York police say they no longer have interest in viewing more video tapes of the bomb scare in which one man was at first believed to be suspicious.
The New York Times reported authorities began focusing on Shahzad after they tracked the vehicle with 141,000 miles on its odometer to its previously registered owner in Bridgeport, Conn., who had advertised it for sale on several websites. He paid $1,300 cash, and the sale was handled without any formal paperwork.
The former owner told investigators that it appeared the buyer was of Middle Eastern or Hispanic descent, but could not recall his name. Investigation of the incident Monday was taken over by federal agents from the Joint Terrorist Task Force.
The materials found in the Pathfinder were sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s laboratory in Quantico, Va., for analysis, police said.
Americans have cause to rejoice that since Sept. 11, 2001, a string of so-called terrorist plots have fizzled or failed as carried out by rank, inept amateurs who may or not be working in association with al-qaeda leaders in the Middle East. If these are secret cells, the members resemble more of the "Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight" as wannabe terrorists than the actual cunning of those at work in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan who ply their skills murderously with IED's and car bombs. Those dumb efforts that come to mind are the Christmas Day underwear bomber, shoe bomber Richard Reed, the gang who tried to explode gasoline tanks stored at Kennedy International Airport and the six goons who thought they could overtake a military fortress at Fort Dix, New Jersey. How much longer our luck will hold remains to be seen. Osama bin Laden must be chuckling to himself in some cave or hideout in Pakistan.
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