The more we learn about New York City terror suspect Jose Pimentel, the more Mayor Bloomberg’s assertion that he was something of a “lone wolf” seems like a loaded statement. Law enforcement sources now claim that Pimentel could barely scrape together enough money to build his pipe bombs, and had trouble drilling the holes he needed to make them, relying heavily on the company, advice, and apartment of a confidential government informant. The New York Times reports that Pimentel smoked marijuana with the informer, and that some of the suspect’s incriminating statements were made and recorded while he was high. It’s these issues, in part, that made the FBI wary of taking on the case, worrying that the informer’s role could raise issues of entrapment.
Officials have still said that Pimentel will likely be convicted, and that he should have been arrested. NYPD spokesman Paul Browne brushed off the criticisms, because that’s his job: “It sounds like some people speaking anonymously who are not particularly familiar with the case are trying to undermine it,” Browne said. “The fact remains that the words and actions of the suspect speak for themselves.”
Pimentel’s mother has apologized for her son’s actions (he lived with his uncle), but insisted, “My son is not a terrorist.” She said he merely “likes the way of the Muslims,” and “wasn’t a fanatic.” But several Times sources said Pimentel tried to circumcise himself, possibly in line with religious tradition.
The suspect was known around the barber shop on 138th Street as the weird guy sitting alone, not speaking. According to one patron, “He’s like a zombie; he’s in limbo all the time.”