US Officials Lost Track of Shahzad – Terror Suspect Let on Plane Bound to Dubai
In court papers, investigators said Shahzad returned to the U.S. on Feb. 3, moved into an apartment in a low-rent section of Bridgeport, then set about acquiring materials and an SUV he bought with cash in late April. They said that after his arrest, Shahzad confessed to rigging the bomb and driving it into Times Square. He also acknowledged getting training in Pakistan, the filing said.
The investigation of the fizzled bomb attack unfolded quickly, with a suspect in custody in only 53 hours — but it didn’t go off without a hitch.
After identifying Shahzad through the previous owner of the SUV, investigators had him under surveillance when he nearly slipped away.
Authorities initially planned to arrest him at his Connecticut home but lost track of him, two people familiar with the probe told The Associated Press. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk publicly about the breach in surveillance.
NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly played down the slip on the morning TV talk shows Wednesday, telling ABC’s “Good Morning America” that “it’s not unusual in an investigation” to briefly lose track of the target.
Emirates airlines also didn’t initially notice when Shahzad purchased a ticket that he had been placed on the government’s no-fly list, according to a law enforcement official.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano credited customs officials with recognizing Shahzad’s name on a passenger manifest and stopping the flight. Agents apprehended him on the plane.
Remember, as Democrat Steny Hoyer said yesterday… “We’re tough on terrorists. That’s our policy.”