As Federal investigators search for answers in the failed Times Square bombing and the events leading to the arrest of Faisal Shahzad, a University of Missouri professor and Senator Bond have their own questions.
MU professor Paul Wallace teaches courses on terrorism, has written numerous articles about it, and even testified as an expert in a terrorism case. He says there are three basic, important questions in this scenario. Did Shahzad act alone? Did he get training while in Pakistan? And is he affiliated with a terrorist group?
Wallace says it’s possible Shahzad did get training from the Taliban, based on where he was living in Pakistan. Wallace says members of the Taliban are accumulating in Karachi as they’re being pushed out of other areas of Pakistan. He says it’s easier for them to hide among the city’s population of about 15 million people. It’s been reported Shahzad recently spent time there.
“He certainly had the opportunity. My feeling, and this is just from the limited knowledge so far, is that he probably received some training but wasn’t a good student. Because (the bomb) didn’t go off,” Wallace said.
Wallace says Shahzad also could have been inspired by the group. He says a true “lone wolf” is uncommon.
“I would think there’d be a couple of his friends who would also be involved in this, in terms of the reinforcement of such a radical step,” Wallace said.
Senator Bond, the ranking member on the Senate’s intelligence committee, says we’re lucky the bomb and Shahzad were caught before they could do any damage. But he says it’s troubling they were both caught at the last minute. He wants to know if we could have seen this coming, and why Shahzad wasn’t arrested until he was already on a plane.
“How could someone who’s on a no fly list get on an airplane? It’s a question of when they got the no fly list out. They knew who Shahzad was by Sunday,” Bond said.
Bond also has a question about the arrest itself.
“We want to know who interrogated the terrorist. Why did you offer him Miranda rights, saying he could keep quiet get a lawyer? Fortunately he didn’t, but it is absolutely disconcerting and very troubling,” Bond said on a conference call with reporters.
Bond says suspected terrorists are not entitled to the same procedural safeguards as normal criminal suspects.
Wallace says going forward; the most important aspect of the investigation will be what intelligence can be gathered from the incident.
“It’s possible that if he has associates he’ll be talking about them. Which could lead you to a longer trail,” Wallace said.