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May 04, 2010

Times Square Bomber Nearly Got Away

We can't keep counting on the incompetence of terrorists but first we have a bit of work to do on our own end.

(Faisal) Shahzad, who had been the subject of a huge manhunt, almost made it out of the country on a Emirates flight to Dubai, with a planned connection onward to Pakistan, according to the officials.

"He appeared real close to getting away," one federal official said. "The plane was buttoned up. Backed away from the jetway."

Authorities said that despite the manhunt, his passport had not been flagged and he was able to buy a ticket with cash and clear airport security.

FBI agents discovered Shahzad's car parked in a short-term lot at JFK airport Monday evening and searched for his name on airline passenger manifests.

The flight had begun to taxi for takeoff when FBI agents ordered it to return to the gate where Shahzad and two others were taken into custody. The other two were later released, authorities said.

Now it wasn't really quite that close. If they had been a few minutes later they could have ordered the plane to return, land somewhere else or worst case scenario, arrested him in Dubai or when he got off the plane in Pakistan.

Still, questions need to be asked about how a wanted terrorist manage to buy a ticket, presumably a one way ticket to Pakistan and still get on a plane. Did the NYPD/FBI not ask State/TSA to flag it? Or did the breakdown occur in the implementation?

8+ years after 9/11 and we're still treating old ladies at airports like they are prison drug mules but this can happen?

The system is not working.

Via Jake Tapper.


Added: Mayor Bloomberg emails to say, "We are investigating reports this individual was heading to Pakistan, not to escape law enforcement but because he can't stand living in the US now that health care reform has been signed into law".


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posted by DrewM. at 10:27 AM

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