Thursday, May 06, 2010
The case of Faisal Shahzad
Providing an accurate e-mail address to the seller of a vehicle you intend to use as a murder weapon is the sort of mistake that might get a person’s membership card pulled down at the terrorist union hall. No doubt Faisal Shahzad, the man arrested in the Times Square car bomb case, is having a bad day. If not for that e-mail address, Shahzad might already have stepped off an airplane in Karachi, ready to melt away into Pakistan.
Last week, before the Times Square incident, I was talking with a former U.S. intelligence officer who worked extensively on jihadi cases during several overseas tours. He said that when a singleton of Shahzad’s profile—especially a U.S. citizen—turns up in a place like Peshawar, local jihadi groups are much more likely to assess him as a probable U.S. spy than as a genuine volunteer. At best, the jihadi groups might conclude that a particular U.S.-originated individual’s case is uncertain. They might then encourage the person to go home and carry out an attack—without giving him any training or access to higher-up specialists that might compromise their local operations. They would see such a U.S.-based volunteer as a “freebie,” the former officer said—if he returns home to attack, great, but if he merely goes off to report back to his C.I.A. case officer, no harm done.
From The Case of Faisal Shahzad by Steve Coll Read More here