The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan have posted two videos since the attempted Times Square car-bomb attack of May 1. In one, a Taliban spokesman claims the botched New York attack. In the second, alleged to have been filmed April 4, TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud promises attacks inside the US within a month. Mehsud had been believed killed in a drone attack back in January. New York police dismiss the Taliban claim, and are looking for a middle-aged white man caught on videotape near where the SUV loaded with propane, fireworks, fertilizer and timing devices was left. (CSM, ABC, May 3)
World War 4 Report believes this is the work of the same adventurist yahoo who has been carrying out similar if less ambitious attempts for several months now.
See our last posts on Pakistan and fear in New York City.
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Arrest in Times Square case
Federal agents and police detectives late May 3 arrested a Connecticut man in connection with the failed Times Square car bombing. The suspect’s name is Shahzad Faisal, a naturalized US citizen from Pakistan. The arrest was made at JFK Airport, where police believe he was attempting to flee the country. Charges have not been announced. (NYT, May 3)
The South Park connection
well there are some speculation that the suspect are trying to blow the head office of Viacom in which they’d shown a controversial episodes of South Park that depicting Muhammad in which it angered by some of the Muslim radicals.
Taliban disavow Times Square bomber
The latest AP report (May 7) has the Pakistani Taliban denying any role in the attempted Times Square bombing, but praising the suspect for a “brave job,” and adding: “Such attacks are welcome.”
“We have no relation with Faisal. However, he is our Muslim brother,” Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq told the AP in Pakistan by telephone from an undisclosed location. “We feel proud of Faisal. He did a brave job.”
Tariq said the Taliban only knew from media reports that suspect Faisal Shahzad had told authorities he learned how to make bombs in Waziristan, an autonomous tribal region of Pakistan.
US law enforcement officials have traveled to Pakistan to question four alleged members of another militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammad, about possible connections to Shahzad, who is charged with terrorism and weapons offenses in the failed bombing.
(The man changing his shirt in the video footage is now said to be a false lead.)
More arrests in Times Square case
Three people were arrested in New Jersey, Long Island and the Boston area on the morning of May 13 in FBI searches related to an investigation of the financing of the attempted Times Square attack. For now, the suspects are being held on immigration charges. (LAT, May 13)
Attorney General Eric Holder told a House panel that same morning that federal authorities continue to believe the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attempted attack, vowing that the administration will use all available resources to bring those responsible to justice, whether they are in the US or overseas. (WP, May 13)
Deportation in Times Square case
A US immigration judge on May 27 ordered Aftab Ali Khan, among those purportedly arrested in connection with the Times Square terror case, deported to his native Pakistan. Khan was detained along with two other men earlier this month on immigration charges under suspicion that they transferred money to Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad. However, Khan told authorities that he had never heard of Shahzad. Authorities believe that Khan might not have known what the money was for, but Shahzad’s phone number was found in Khan’s cell phone and written on an envelope in his apartment. Khan’s lawyer Saher Macarius attempted to convince the court to let Khan leave the country voluntarily, rather than through a deportation order, but Judge Robin Feder rejected the request. Khan has 30 days to appeal the order.
Shahzad’s May 3 arrest stirred up controversy over whether terrorism suspects should be read Miranda rights. Earlier this month, a group of US lawmakers introduced a bill that would strip US citizenship rights from those suspected of engaging in acts of terrorism. The bill, known as the Terrorist Expatriation Act (TEA), would give the State Department the power to revoke citizenship of a US national who provides material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization or engages in/supports hostilities against the US or its allies. (Jurist, May 30)