Wednesday: Officials Probe Shahzad’s Ties Overseas; Bear Stearns Execs on Hill
A Pakistani policeman guards the locked residence of Faisal Shahzad in Peshawar on Wednesday. Photo by Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images.
One day after the arrest of Faisal Shahzad, the 30-year-old U.S. citizen charged with trying to detonate a car bomb in New York’s Times Square, investigators are trying to answer two key questions: Why was Shahzad nearly able to elude capture, and does he have ties to overseas terrorist groups?
In the 53 hours and 20 minutes between when Shahzad allegedly tried to ignite a car bomb in the heart of Manhattan and his capture, “there were at least two significant lapses in the security response of the government and the airline that allowed him to come close to making his escape,” reports the New York Times.
The first occurred when an FBI surveillance team briefly lost track of Shahzad as agents tracked him at his former address in Connecticut. “Why or how the suspect snuck away isn’t clear,” says the Wall Street Journal. One concern among law enforcement, though, is that the arrival of a handful of news organizations in the neighborhood “may have tipped off Mr. Shahzad and prompted him to sneak away,” says the Journal.
Hours later, just minutes before departure, Shahzad was apprehended on board an Emirates airline flight bound for Dubai. The New York Times reports that Emirates “failed to act on an electronic message at midday on Monday notifying all carriers to check the no-fly list for an important added name. …That meant lost opportunities to flag him.”
Following his arrest, Shahzad admitted his role in the failed attack and reportedly told FBI agents he had received bomb-making training in his native Pakistan.
Shahzad, who has been cooperating with authorities, became a naturalized citizen last year. He comes from a military family in Pakistan, where he spent five months before returning in February to his home in Shelton, Connecticut, reports the Washington Post.
The potential Pakistani connection points to a larger, more troubling trend, Brian Fishman, an expert in counterterrorism at the New American Foundation, told the NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown on Tuesday.
Since 2007, “the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaida have agreed on one thing, one thing most importantly, which is the need to attack Pakistan and kill Pakistanis,” according to Fishman. “And now we see the possibility that they agree on something else, which is the need and the prioritization of attacking in the West. And that’s concerning.”
Ex-Execs at Bear Stearns to Testify
Former executives from Bear Stearns will be on Capitol Hill on Wednesday as the federal commission investigating the causes of the financial crisis opens the first of two days of hearings on the so-called shadow banking system.
As Planet Money explains, the shadow banking system is essentially how big investment banks and financial institutions borrow money:
“During the crisis, the shadow banking system led to old-fashioned bank runs on Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns; lots of the institutions who lent to the investment banks asked for their money back all at once. Banks generally can’t survive when that happens.”
Two of the company’s former CEO’s, James Cayne and Alan Schwartz, are among those who will testify. In his prepared remarks to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Cayne says, “Considering the severity and unprecedented nature of the turmoil in the market, I do not believe there were any reasonable steps we could have taken, short of selling the firm, to prevent the collapse that ultimately occurred.”