May 05, 2010

Ghosts of Fort Hood Haunting Time Square

He had ammo in the SUV. He had a gun in his trunk at the airport. Again, but for the grace of God Faisal Shahzad would have had the same success as Nidal Hasan.

But that's not the only thing the failed Times Square bomber had in common with the successful mass murderer at Fort Hood:

A few weeks after he moved in, Mr. LaMonica said, investigators from the national Joint Terrorism Task Force interviewed him, asking for details of the transaction and for information about Mr. Shahzad.
I had noticed the same report a couple of days ago and had meant to highlight it, but it got lost in all the new details coming out hour by hour.

Let me disagree with AJ on one point: I see no evidence that anything has changed since the Bush era in regards to follow up on domestic terrorism. It is far more likely that Shahzad was investigated on a cursory level, nothing was found, and so the agents moved on to bigger and better things.

Which makes this a problem of: a) tools b) manpower.

Could the FBI have looked into Shahzad's electronic communications to Pakistan without the burden of a FISA warrant, they may very well have prevented this. I keep hearing that over a thousand FISA warrants are issued a year and this is evidence that either a) law enforcement has plenty of tools or b) that this is evidence of a massive invasion of privacy or civil rights abuses.

Neither of which is true given that most FISA warrants don't ever lead to convictions, implying that the warrants are more likely to clear a suspected terrorist than they are to lead to an arrest. But if people really understood the sheer number of terrorist sympathizers in this country, they'd realize that 1,000 is a fairly low number. At least it sounds like a low number to me.

UPDATE: On the Traveler Enforcement Compliance System (TECS) list from 1999 - 2009.

Also, let me remind readers that jihad aspirations are not mutually exclusive to other motivations.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 05:06 PM | Comments |