That’s three plots in a row with this degenerate’s fingerprints on them. He was Nidal Hasan’s terrorist sherpa and, according to some reports, actively recruited Abdulmutallab for the Flight 253 attack. Now this.

As a friend said on Twitter, he’s like the Tony Robbins of jihad.

Accused Times Square Bomber Faisal Shahzad linked up with the Pakistani Taliban through the internet, ABC News has been told by law enforcement and intelligence sources close to the investigation. Once the Taliban identified him as more valuable in the U.S. than in Pakistan, they trained him to return to execute his bomb attack.

But according to these sources, Shahzad also had a web of jihadist contacts that included big names tied to terror attacks in the U.S. and abroad, including the figure who has emerged as a central figure in many recent domestic terror attempts – radical American-born Muslim cleric Anwar Awlaki…

According to a person briefed on the FBI interrogation, Shahzad has told federal agents that he was angry at the CIA missile strikes carried out in Pakistan and suffered a personal crisis in his life. He has reportedly said he carried out the attempted bombing because he was under duress and that he feared for his family’s safety if he didn’t fulfill the mission.

That’s the best explanation I’ve heard yet for why the bomb was such a dud. Maybe he had misgivings about going through with it but felt obliged to do something lest his wife and daughter back in Pakistan suffer the consequences of him chickening out. So he compromised, driving the bomb into NYC but using bum fertilizer and rigging it so that it wouldn’t go off. (Apparently, the wires on his time bomb weren’t connected to anything.) That way, he could come back to the Taliban and say, “Hey, I tried,” and hopefully that would be good enough. Another possibility: Shahzad really is some kind of mouth-breathing imbecile. Seems far-fetched, I know, but read this CNN story about him setting up a getaway car in advance … and then leaving the keys to it in the car-bomb SUV. Dude. Maybe that’s why the Taliban is claiming today that he’s not one of their guys? Just sheer embarrassment?

Meanwhile, a footnote to yesterday’s post about Shahzad supposedly being angry about the drone campaign in Pakistan. Remember, according to a friend of his, he’s had a beef with U.S. foreign policy dating back several years. But look what the Anchoress caught in a report from CNN:

Any grudge Shahzad may have held against the United States appears to have developed recently, according to a senior U.S. official who is familiar with the investigation but not authorized to speak publicly.

The investigation has found nothing to indicate that Shahzad had any long-standing grudge or anger toward the United States, the official said.

“What we know is, the dynamic appeared to have changed in the last year,” the official said.

That jibes with a NYT profile of Shahzad claiming that his radicalization only happened within the past year or so. According to a friend of his, money problems caused by the recession may have led him to “lose his way,” which I suppose is plausible. People under stress turn to religion for comfort and this tool may have turned a bit too far. But then, as James Lileks notes, there’s really only one religion these days where “too far” means a body count. Exit quotation: “CNN chatterboxes later ruminated that the fellow had a hard life in the U.S. — couldn’t get a good job, had his house foreclosed on. Granted. But this has happened to many during the Great Recession, and 99.99999% don’t sit down and conclude: ‘Well, it’s Pakistan for fertilizer bomb training, then.'”

Update: Needless to say, we’re well past the point where people e-mailing Awlaki via his website for “spiritual advice” can be safely shrugged off. He’s a high-profile jihadi now; anyone in contact with him, even for apparently innocent Koranic questions, is suspicious.

Update: People are e-mailing us in a frenzy over yesterday’s CBS story noting that Shahzad was removed from the DHS travel lookout list in 2008. Supposedly, this is somehow Obama’s fault. I’m not sure why given that Obama wasn’t sworn in until January 2009, but in any case, I don’t know how the travel lookout list works. It may be that you’re only on there for a set period of time and are automatically removed if you do nothing to invite further suspicion.