Roughly 48 hours after he set a car bomb to go off in Times Square, and
24 hours after U.S. authorities learned of his identity, Faisal Shahzad
freely boarded an Emirates airline flight to Dubai. Officials stopped
the flight before it could take off, pulling it back to the gate to
arrest Shahzad. But how did he get so close to slipping away?
- The FBI-Grocery Store Slip-Up The New York Post's Bruce Golding recounts,
"The 30-year-old suspect earlier had managed to slip FBI surveillance.
Agents supposed to be tailing him in Bridgeport, Conn., Monday saw him
leave a grocery store near his home at 3 p.m. and followed him but later
lost him. The plan had been to arrest him at his apartment Monday
- The Lucky Break The New York Times' Scott Shane reports, "Shahzad
had evaded the surveillance effort and bought his ticket seven hours
after his name went on the no-fly list. But the system gives security
officials one more chance to stop a dangerous passenger. As is routine,
when boarding was completed for the flight, Emirates Flight EK202, the
final passenger manifest was sent to the National Targeting Center,
operated in Virginia by Customs and Border Protection. There, at about
11 p.m., analysts discovered that Mr. Shahzad was on the no-fly list and
had just boarded a plane. They sounded the alarm, and minutes later,
with the jet still at the gate, its door was opened and agents came
aboard and took Mr. Shahzad into custody."
- Reveals 'Holes in Antiterror System' The Washington Post's Karen DeYoung notes that,
although officials succeeded in capturing him, "the fact remained that
Faisal Shahzad was allegedly able to train with terrorists in Pakistan,
return to the United States to assemble a car bomb in Connecticut and
park it in Times Square without anyone in the nation's vast
counterterrorism apparatus knowing anything about it."
- ...Especially for Airlines Eileen Sullivan and
Matt Apuzzo of the Associated Press warn, "The night's events, gradually coming to light,
underscored the flaws in the nation's aviation security system, which
despite its technologies, lists and information sharing, often comes
down to someone making a right call." Despite having both his name and
Passport number placed on the no-fly list, Emirates airline failed to
stop him when he bought his ticket.
- Does 'No-Fly List' Work?
Legal blogger Stewart
Baker contemplates, "I thought that was impressively fast work —
roughly 8 hours from identification through designation, population to
the computer system, and identification before takeoff. But not so fast
that it can’t be secondguessed, apparently. The implicit criticism is
that the no-fly list didn’t work, that Shahzad should not have been able
to buy a ticket at all." Given the execution, "it seems as though the
blame should fall on Emirates, not TSA."
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