For the first few days after Faisal Shahzad's Nissan Pathfinder was found smoking and loaded with petroleum in the heart of Times Square, officials insisted that he was most likely acting alone, and not at the command of a larger organization. Even though the Taliban in Pakistan took credit for the attack, the U.S. government played down the claim, as the group was not regarded as strong enough to lash out against us on our soil, and Shahzad himself at first claimed to have acted alone, according to reports. But according to the Times, mounting evidence suggests that Shahzad was, in fact, working at their behest. Yesterday the Post reported that Shahzad had been working with the Taliban there and was enraged when he saw the damage inflicted by U.S. attack drones bombing his comrades at the behest of the Pakistani government (against whom the Taliban are engaged in a constant struggle).
Last March a Pakistani Taliban leader vowed to attack Washington in a move that would "amaze everyone in the world" in revenge for the drone attacks, but American intelligence officials didn't think the group had the sophistication or resources to pull of anything so serious. But according to the Times, officials are being forced to reassess this stance after Saturday's attempted bombing of Times Square, now realizing that even if the attempt is disorganized, crude, and minimal, the Taliban will see nearly any kind of attack here as a propaganda victory.
As evidence that Shahzad was working for a larger group, officials point to the fact that someone provided him cash to buy the Pathfinder and also a plane ticket to Dubai to escape. Investigators are pursuing the financial link. Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports a new video of Shahzad, this time of him buying the fireworks for his failed bomb at a store in Pennsylvania. Their report claims that Shahzad did something of a dry run of his attack a few days beforehand:
Shahzad drove the SUV to Times Square from Connecticut on April 28 apparently to figure out where would be the best place to leave it later, then returned to the area April 30 to drop off a different vehicle, a black Isuzu, the official said. He then went back Saturday to leave the SUV with the car bomb but forgot the keys for both vehicles in the SUV and had to take public transit back home, the official said. He returned to Times Square on Sunday with a second set of keys to pick up the Isuzu, which he had parked about eight blocks from the bombing site, the official said.
Don't you hate it when you forget the keys to the car you left your bomb in?
Talking Points Memo has also unearthed Shahzad's résumé, which lists the following career objective: "To work in a high energy and challenging business environment that will promote professional and personal growth while adding significant value to my employer." We assume this is not the one he sent to the Pakistani Taliban.