Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 4, 2010

ARREST IN TIMES SQUARE CASE.... When reports in the early evening said federal authorities believe Saturday's attempted car bomber in Times Square "did not act alone and had ties to radical elements overseas," it came as something of a surprise. After all, we've come to expect at least some degree of sophistication when it comes international terrorist plots.

And Saturday night's car bomb was not sophisticated. The device itself was crude and ineffective. The driver neglected to remove the vehicle identification numbers. The truck included more than 100 pounds of fertilizer that wouldn't explode. Even the propane tanks hadn't been prepared properly.

What's more, the attempted terrorist (or terrorists) left plenty of clues about his identity. A former NYPD bomb squad detective said, "He was trying to cover his tracks, but he left more clues than a guy walking into a bank to rob it without a mask."

Late last night, about 48 hours after the attempted bombing, authorities apprehended Faisal Shahzad as he attempted to flee the country.

Federal agents and police detectives arrested a Connecticut man, a naturalized United States citizen from Pakistan, shortly before midnight Monday for driving a car bomb into Times Square on Saturday evening in what turned out to be an unsuccessful attack, Justice Department officials announced. [...]

Mr. Shahzad was taken into custody at Kennedy Airport as he tried to board a flight to Dubai, U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in an early morning statement delivered at the Justice Department in Washington. Charges against Mr. Shahzad, who had returned recently from a trip to Pakistan, were not announced, but he was expected to be charged Tuesday in federal court.

The investigation will, of course, continue, given that the suspected terrorist likely had accomplices. Of particular significance are questions about Shahzad's overseas contacts, and yesterday, control of the investigation shifted to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, a multiagency group led by the Justice Department.

This is obviously a story that's still unfolding, and if recent history is any guide, conservatives are going to start complaining incessantly about whether Shahzad has been Mirandized, whether he'll face charges in U.S. courts, and with demands that he be tortured immediately. GOP rhetoric is already tiresome, and it hasn't even started yet.

But before all of that gets started, now seems like a good time to applaud the exceptional work of law-enforcement officials at every level, from the cop on horseback who first smelled gunpowder to the federal agents who put the suspect in handcuffs last night. This was an exceedingly impressive display.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (16)

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5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

The blame Obama game has to start any minute now.

Posted by: SaintZak on May 4, 2010 at 8:03 AM | PERMALINK

As far as the conservatives crying about him being Mirandized... all trolls and other hand wringers please note. He is a naturalized citizen
not a foreign national and as such gets the same constitutional rights as an abortion clinic bomber or other domestic terrorist.

Posted by: John R on May 4, 2010 at 8:17 AM | PERMALINK

5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

The blame Obama game has to start any minute now.

...to be immediately followed by howls from the knuckledragger right demanding that Shahzad be water-boarded.

Posted by: "Fair and Balanced" Dave on May 4, 2010 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

sure ... props to the cops for the quick arrest. but, really, was it that difficult to trace this guy. phone records re the car purchase would reveal his name, and from there any number of national security state databases would presumably include passenger lists.

Posted by: bkny on May 4, 2010 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

Remember when Kerry was crucified for saying this kind of crap would be better handeled by law enforcement than invading countries? Richard Clarke was scary on Olberman last night. We were lucky this time...

Kudos to NYC police, FBI.

And so far, incompetent cretins who fail remind us to be vigilant.

Posted by: Stevio on May 4, 2010 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

I think I recall reading yesterday that two street vendors (food carts) were the first to smell explosives and hail a nearby cop.

Posted by: msmolly on May 4, 2010 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

Great job by law enforcement.

Also note that during the time that this investigation took place no small countries were invaded based on non existent evidence.

Posted by: madstork123 on May 4, 2010 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

No doubt now we're supposed to turn him over to the military, who will commence with waterboarding, right?

Well, FoxNews/Rush/Beck, what are you waiting for?

Posted by: A DC Wonk on May 4, 2010 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

Well, FoxNews/Rush/Beck, what are you waiting for?

Posted by: A DC Wonk on May 4, 2010 at 8:52 AM

Give them a break. They haven't been on yet today. I am sure they will hatch a fantasy plot involving President Obama and Eric Holder. In fact I can almost hear Rush demanding the CIA waterboard President Obama to find out what he knew and when he new it. Fox News will argue that we should strip the citizenship of every naturalized pakistani. Of course as a reasonable precaution Liz Cheney will argue that we should waterboard every naturalized Pakistani, their wives and children before they are deported.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 4, 2010 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

As it is not safe to try terrorists in NYC are they going to have to move him to Arizona for a fair trial?

Posted by: martin on May 4, 2010 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

Wait, I thought that since President OBama and AG Holder caved in to wingnut fearmongering and transfered KSM's trial out of Manhatan, Al Qaeda had promised to cancel all NYC bomb plots.

I guess this guy didn't get the memo.

Posted by: Winkandanod on May 4, 2010 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

What has not been told is that President Obama advised the Pakistani immigrant to switch his popular restaurant to All-Pakistani cuisine. Too many hours spent watching Seinfeld re-runs and not enough governing.

Yes, this was serious, but, the perp has to be one of the most inept wannabes, fortunately.

Posted by: berttheclock on May 4, 2010 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Obviously there is much involved in this investigation that hasn't been disclosed to the public yet, but I'd like to know if 1) the phone call to the car's former owner were traced to the suspect;2) how a license plate from a truck being repaired at an auto parts shop in CT was found on the Pathfinder; and 3) WHY was no paperwork involved in the cash transaction for the Pathfinder? Why would the seller not insure that the title was released legally to the buyer?

Posted by: winddancer on May 4, 2010 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

An educated, empowered populace is always our best defense against treason, terrorism or sedition.

Posted by: Quatrain Gleam on May 4, 2010 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

When having to live thru the knee-jerk touretting of Publicans, teabeggars, and random reichwingers, it's apposite to remember -- and help others around you to recall as well -- that GW Bush had Osama bin-Laden literally within our grasp, and chose to let him walk off scot-free.

Posted by: smartalek on May 4, 2010 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

Sometimes i wondering, how many times in my life i get hurt because i'm gay, and people don't accept me for that.

Posted by: internet marketing on December 28, 2010 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK



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