Two ‘Lapses’ in Security Resulted in Shahzad Boarding Plane

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The Emirates plane after Shahzad's arrest.
The Emirates plane after Shahzad's arrest. Photo: WABC-TV via nytimes.com

Attempting to answer the question of why Faisal Shahzad was allowed to board a plane heading to Dubai about 24 hours after investigators learned he might have a connection to the Times Square attempted car bombing, the Times is reporting that there were “at least two significant lapses in the security response of the government and the airline” that allowed him to almost flee the country, according to information from Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and other agency officials.

First, the FBI surveillance team that originally found Shahzad in Connecticut “lost track of him” before he left for JFK Airport, which meant authorities didn’t learn of his flight plans until a final passenger list was sent to the Customs and Border Protection Agency minutes before takeoff. Additionally, the airline Shahzad was flying, Emirates, did not adhere to an electronic message sent midday Monday asking for all airlines to make sure to check for an “important added name” to the no-fly list.

Of course, these oversights would be getting way more attention if investigators hadn't ultimately tracked down their man. "Clearly the guy was on the plane and shouldn’t have been," Mayor Bloomberg said. "We got lucky.”

Lapses Allowed Suspect to Board Plane [NYT]