Existing Laws Turned Out To Be Valuable In Hindering Times Square Bomber

It might not have just been luck which led to the failure of the bomb to go off on Times Square. As I noted yesterday, thousands could have been killed if  the plan had been successful. A report in The Wall Street Journal shows how current laws were effective in reducing the possibility that a working bomb could have been made:

Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad used inferior explosives to avoid detection, New York’s police commissioner said Tuesday, helping to explain why an international bomb plot ended up a dud…

A key question in the early stages of the investigation had been how a trained terrorist could craft such a poorly made bomb, consisting of weak fireworks, propane tanks and nonexplosive fertilizer.

“He tried to lessen the explosive nature of the fertilizer that was used because he thought he would get a higher profile as he went to buy it,” Mr. Kelly told reporters, adding that Mr. Shahzad “sort of dumbed that down.”

Mr. Shahzad also used M-88 fireworks that were much weaker than other alternatives, Mr. Kelly said.

Law enforcement agencies, particularly the Federal Bureau of Investigation, maintain a number of “tripwires” designed to encourage people who sell everyday products that could be used to make explosives to notify agents of any suspicious behavior or purchases. Mr. Shahzad was apparently so worried about the tripwires that he deliberately built a weaker, less effective bomb.

In other words, it was basic law enforcement policies which prevented a successful terrorist attack–not torture and not invading another country.

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2 Comments

  1. 1
    Mike Hatcher b.t.r.m. says:

    In other news, the U.S. supreme court cleared the way for some at gitmo to be returned to Algeria despite the objections of the detainees.  Apparently they would rather stay were they were tortured rather than return to their own country. Maybe there are fates worse on this earth than gitmo torture.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    I’m sure that some of the Gitmo prisoners risk more severe torture or death if returned, so yes there are worse fates on this earth than gitmo torture–especially considering that the torture there has been ordered to be stopped.

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