Dilemmas, dilemmas: Do we follow the “blame Bush” blueprint here and lay responsibility for Shahzad’s act at the president’s feet? Or do we maybe take a breath and remind ourselves that just because the enemy retaliates doesn’t mean one’s strategy is wrong?
Kindly count me on the side of Team Barry.
The Connecticut man charged yesterday with the botched Times Square car bombing confessed to trying to slaughter innocent people in retaliation for US drone attacks that wiped out the leadership of his beloved Taliban, The Post has learned.
Admitted terrorist Faisal Shahzad — who copped to training in explosives in the past year with Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, the leading extremist Islamic group in his native Pakistan — said he was driven to evil by the slew of deaths among leaders of the terror group, law-enforcement sources revealed yesterday…
Sources said he was an eyewitness to the onslaught throughout the eight months he spent in Pakistan beginning last summer.
Note well: He’s not lamenting civilian casualties caused by the drone strikes, he’s lamenting the fact that they’ve been too darned successful in decapitating the jihadist hydra in the area. Same with the Taliban tape released last weekend, which cited the deaths of Baitullah Mehsud and the Al Qaeda wonder twins in Iraq as chief grievances. Does that explain why the media hasn’t picked this story up as evidence of why we need to get out of Afghanistan pronto? Or are they just loathe to criticize their boyfriend in the White House as usual? If it’s the latter, given current lefty sentiment about the war, I’m actually surprised.
Andy Levy floated an interesting possibility on last night’s “Red Eye”: Was Shahzad actually a suicide bomber who chickened out at the last minute? I’m thinking no just because (a) the clocks in the back seat suggest a time bomb (although it’s possible that that was an eleventh-hour switch from a planned suicide device) and (b) if he’s part of some jihadi outfit like the Taliban or Lashkar e-Taiba, he’d be a precious asset. How many American-citizen sleeper agents trained in bombmaking can they afford to burn through in suicide attacks? On the other hand, it is odd that his getaway to Dubai seems to have been planned on the fly. If the time bomb was the plan all along, you would think he’d have had an exit route already ready to go. The other lingering question is whether this guy was in fact a sleeper agent and, if so, how long he’s been hanging around waiting to strike. That detail in the Times story spotted by Byron York this morning about counterterror agents following up on Shahzad in 2004 is provocative, although maybe at the time they were taking a look at any young male who’d spent significant time in Pakistan. Another provocative detail: Word around the Bridgeport mosque is that Shahzad wasn’t known to be religious, which is hard to square with the whole “training in Waziristan” thing unless he was purposely staying away from religious facilities here to avoid the feds’ suspicions. If they really were eyeing him for awhile as a possible agent and he knew it, he might stay away from mosques to convince them that he wasn’t devout. Exit question: What kind of deep-cover jihadist sleeper agent tries to set off a bomb with fireworks so weak that they “wouldn’t damage a watermelon”?
Update: Commenters are speculating that he was a terror-for-hire mercenary purchased by jihadbots in Pakistan to do the deed. Okay, but that brings us back to his panicky, seat-of-the-pants getaway. Why wasn’t that pre-planned?
Update: Here we go.
Sources tell CBS News that would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad appeared on a Department of Homeland Security travel lookout list – Traveler Enforcement Compliance System (TECS) – between 1999 and 2008 because he brought approximately $80,000 cash or cash instruments into the United States…
The system has been recently called inefficient by members of Congress. In late March, Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Susan Collins of Maine criticized the system in a letter to DHS, writing that, “Current functionality does not allow interoperability among databases, fast searching of information, modern interfaces for users of the system, or sufficient security to protect critical terrorist travel data.”
Young male known for spending months in Pakistan who’s already on a watch list for bringing unusual amounts of cash into the country? What could go wrong? I guess now we know why the feds were sniffing around in 2004.
The money question: Just how long has Shahzad been “jihadically oriented,” shall we say?