Posted on | May 4, 2010 | 29 Comments
A U.S. citizen from Pakistan accused of driving a bomb-laden SUV into Times Square and parking it on a street lined with restaurants and Broadway theaters was to appear in court Tuesday to face charges for his failed attempt to set off a massive fireball and kill Americans, federal authorities said.
The suspect, Faisal Shahzad, was taken into custody late Monday by FBI agents and New York Police Department detectives while trying to leave the country, according to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and other officials. He was identified by customs agents at John F. Kennedy International Airport and was stopped before boarding a flight to Dubai, Holder said early Tuesday in Washington, D.C.
Shahzad is a naturalized U.S. citizen and had recently returned from a five-month trip to Pakistan, where he had a wife, according to law enforcement officials who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation into the failed car bombing.
You know, I don’t want to jump to conclusions here, because that would make me too much like Matt Drudge. But if the car bomber was indeed a white guy in his 40s who didn’t know the difference between ammonium nitrate and plain old fertilizer, I’m thinking it’s gotta be a Beck Patriot who was trying to water the tree of liberty with… the blood of random Times Square tourists. . . .
Ah, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s a Limbaugh listener.
It may be a bit early to rule that out, I suppose, but Madrak is still trying to externalize blame, implying that it was “wingnuts” who were guilty of a rush to judgment.
Law enforcement officials said Shahzad bought the SUV that was parked in Times Square on Saturday from a Connecticut man three weeks ago and paid cash. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity.
NBC’s Pete Williams earlier reported the man’s name was on an e-mail that was sent to the seller of the car last month. . . .
The Times also reported that Kevin B. Barry, an official with the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators, said the attempted bomber had left many leads for detectives to follow.
“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. This guy left everything here but his wallet,” Barry said. . . .
UPDATE II: Chris Renner:
The fact that the truck was parked at the front door of the Viacom building (Viacom owns Comedy Central) should strongly suggest, to anyone with a modicum of sense, that the recent South Park controversy might have had something to do with this.
Note that the category “anyone with a modicum of sense” excludes Susie Madrak. Also via Renner, Dan Riehl has more on Faisal Shahzad’s Internet activity. Dan links Tammy Bruce for this detail:
Shahzad’s flight to Dubai had left the gate and was headed toward the runway when authorities discovered that he was on board and wanted. He was removed from the plane and taken into custody, an official said.
“Please find out what Shahzad Faisal has against health care reform. Our city is counting on you!”
And to explain that joke, here’s video via Brent Baker at Newsbusters:
UPDATE V: A potentially significant detail from the Wall Street Journal:
A person briefed on the case by law enforcement said investigators found forensic evidence—a fingerprint on one of the propane tanks — belonging to a man of Middle Eastern origin in the bomb-laden SUV.
This person said authorities have identified the man, but weren’t releasing that information while they try to locate him.
Does “Middle Eastern origin” encompass Pakistan, or is this a second suspect? Oh, and the bylines on the WSJ report include Devlin Barrett. Ring a bell? As an Associated Press reporter last year, Barrett was responsible for inspiring the misguided “anti-government sentiment” speculation in the Sparkman case — which turned out to be a suicide staged as a fake hate crime.
UPDATE VI: NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly:
“We didn’t want the press to do the investigation. You know, you’d all like to get involved in the case and solve it for us. We appreciate that, but this is what law enforcement has to do.”
This is an important point. Reporters understandably want to get as much of the story as soon as possible, but criminal investigation is a job for the police. And the mayor isn’t exactly a CSI forensic expert:
Mayor Bloomberg is that most dangerous variety of idiot — the idiot who believes himself the smartest man in the room.
Not to get too far ahead of the investigation or engage in unwarranted speculation, but if Faisal Shahzad isn’t pissed off about health care, what could possibly be his motive? Perhaps he’s a religious extremist — one of those “Christianists” Andrew Sullivan is constantly warning us about? Or maybe one of those “anti-science creationists” who so alarm Charles Johnson?