Car bomber caught in the nick of time

The Times Square car bomber managed to board an aircraft on its way to the Arab Emirates–despite being on the no fly list–but authorities boarded the plane just before it took off and nabbed him.  The American citizen born in Pakistan, Faisal Shahzad, admitted everything, including training as a terrorist in Pakistan.

As federal agents closed in, Faisal Shahzad was aboard Emirates Flight 202. He reserved a ticket on the way to John F. Kennedy International Airport, paid cash on arrival and walked through security without being stopped. By the time Customs and Border Protection officials spotted Shahzad’s name on the passenger list and recognized him as the bombing suspect they were looking for, he was in his seat and the plane was preparing to leave the gate.

But it didn’t. At the last minute, the pilot was notified, the jetliner’s door was opened and Shahzad was taken into custody.

After authorities pulled Shahzad off the plane, he admitted he was behind the crude Times Square car bomb, officials said. He also claimed to have been trained at a terror camp in Pakistan’s lawless tribal region of Waziristan, according to court documents. That raised increased concern that the bombing was an international terror plot.

Shahzad, a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen, was charged Tuesday with terrorism and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction in Saturday evening's failed Times Square bombing. According to a federal complaint, he confessed to buying an SUV, rigging it with a homemade bomb and driving it into the busy area where he tried to detonate it.

via Security slip let suspect on plane, near takeoff – Yahoo! News.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://RoseFremer@yahoo.com Rose

    Terrorism? Sounds like treason.

  • http://RoseFremer@yahoo.com Rose

    Terrorism? Sounds like treason.

  • DonS

    I have refrained from commenting on this issue until now, because, quite frankly, we didn’t know much and it seemed pointless to speculate. We still don’t know much, and rightly so, as the government agencies responsible for investigating and reviewing this matter need maintain confidentiality regarding very sensitive information for the time being. The bottom line is that more seems to have gone right than gone wrong. No one was hurt, the perpetrator was quickly identified, and he was apprehended before he had an opportunity to leave the country. He is a U.S. citizen, entitled to certain constitutional rights not available to an alien. When citizens choose to turn on their country, there is always a higher risk that fellow citizens and others will get hurt, because, since we value our liberty, we cannot impose a police state on our citizens.

    For this reason, Mr. Shahzad should be, as Rose rightly suggests, prosecuted as a traitor. He has violated the trust which we put in our citizens and attempted an act of terrorism against his own country. In the meantime, we have learned that we need to institute a better cross-checking system with respect to our no-fly list. Someone yesterday commented on another blog that he was on the “no fly” list, not the “no board” list. While that may be somewhat humorous, I think we all agree that someone on the no fly list should not have been able to board the airplane. When we find out why he was on the no fly list, we can intelligently discuss whether, consistent with his constitutional protections as a citizen, other measures should have been to better track his movements and activities in the days prior to the event.

    One more thing that we learned is that Contessa Brewer of MSNBC is anything but an objective reporter, though she sits at the news desk.

  • DonS

    I have refrained from commenting on this issue until now, because, quite frankly, we didn’t know much and it seemed pointless to speculate. We still don’t know much, and rightly so, as the government agencies responsible for investigating and reviewing this matter need maintain confidentiality regarding very sensitive information for the time being. The bottom line is that more seems to have gone right than gone wrong. No one was hurt, the perpetrator was quickly identified, and he was apprehended before he had an opportunity to leave the country. He is a U.S. citizen, entitled to certain constitutional rights not available to an alien. When citizens choose to turn on their country, there is always a higher risk that fellow citizens and others will get hurt, because, since we value our liberty, we cannot impose a police state on our citizens.

    For this reason, Mr. Shahzad should be, as Rose rightly suggests, prosecuted as a traitor. He has violated the trust which we put in our citizens and attempted an act of terrorism against his own country. In the meantime, we have learned that we need to institute a better cross-checking system with respect to our no-fly list. Someone yesterday commented on another blog that he was on the “no fly” list, not the “no board” list. While that may be somewhat humorous, I think we all agree that someone on the no fly list should not have been able to board the airplane. When we find out why he was on the no fly list, we can intelligently discuss whether, consistent with his constitutional protections as a citizen, other measures should have been to better track his movements and activities in the days prior to the event.

    One more thing that we learned is that Contessa Brewer of MSNBC is anything but an objective reporter, though she sits at the news desk.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@2), you said, “When we find out why he was on the no fly list, we can intelligently discuss whether, consistent with his constitutional protections as a citizen, other measures should have been to better track his movements and activities in the days prior to the event.” You need to read more on this situation.

    According to this article:

    But at about 12:30 p.m. on Monday, more certain that Mr. Shahzad was the suspected terrorist, investigators asked the Department of Homeland Security to put him on the no-fly list. Three minutes later, the department sent airlines, including Emirates, an electronic notification that they should check the no-fly list for an update. At about 4:30 p.m., more information was added to the list, including Mr. Shahzad’s passport number, officials said.

    Workers at Emirates evidently did not check the list, because at 6:30 p.m., Mr. Shahzad called the airline and booked a flight to Pakistan via Dubai, officials said. At 7:35 p.m., he arrived at the airport, paid cash for his ticket and was given a boarding pass.

    In short, he wasn’t on the no-fly list in days prior to this event. He was only on it two days after the event took place. Because he was being tracked down.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@2), you said, “When we find out why he was on the no fly list, we can intelligently discuss whether, consistent with his constitutional protections as a citizen, other measures should have been to better track his movements and activities in the days prior to the event.” You need to read more on this situation.

    According to this article:

    But at about 12:30 p.m. on Monday, more certain that Mr. Shahzad was the suspected terrorist, investigators asked the Department of Homeland Security to put him on the no-fly list. Three minutes later, the department sent airlines, including Emirates, an electronic notification that they should check the no-fly list for an update. At about 4:30 p.m., more information was added to the list, including Mr. Shahzad’s passport number, officials said.

    Workers at Emirates evidently did not check the list, because at 6:30 p.m., Mr. Shahzad called the airline and booked a flight to Pakistan via Dubai, officials said. At 7:35 p.m., he arrived at the airport, paid cash for his ticket and was given a boarding pass.

    In short, he wasn’t on the no-fly list in days prior to this event. He was only on it two days after the event took place. Because he was being tracked down.

  • DonS

    Thanks, tODD. I had missed that. Which goes to my original point that this situation seems to have been handled reasonably well. I also just heard in a radio report that changes have already been made with respect to the no fly list, requiring airlines to check and update their passenger manifests more quickly when updates are issued.

  • DonS

    Thanks, tODD. I had missed that. Which goes to my original point that this situation seems to have been handled reasonably well. I also just heard in a radio report that changes have already been made with respect to the no fly list, requiring airlines to check and update their passenger manifests more quickly when updates are issued.

  • tonto2

    Interesting point: He lost his house for failure to make payments, yet he was able to buy the Toyota for $1300.00 cash and purchased his plane ticket with cash. I see some kind of disconnect here.

  • tonto2

    Interesting point: He lost his house for failure to make payments, yet he was able to buy the Toyota for $1300.00 cash and purchased his plane ticket with cash. I see some kind of disconnect here.


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