But the New York Times says authorities are looking for a suspect, white male approximately 40 years-old. See, "Police Pursue Video Leads in Times Sq." And the report indicates that "there was no evidence to support a claim of responsibility by a Pakistani Taliban group." See Sky News as well, "NY Bomb: 'No Evidence Supports Taliban Link'." And at ABC News, "White Male in 40s Seen on Tape Near Scene of Car Bomb Attempt: NYPD's Kelly Casts Doubt on Taliban Claim; Police Say Man Near Scene Was Looking Around In A 'Furtive Manner'." At the video, national security expert (and Democrat) Richard Clark indicates that the Times Square bomb is reminiscent of another failed device in London a couple of years ago. Clark notes that the London attempt was mounted by home-grown Islamist jihadis who had studied al Qaeda operations on the Internet:
RELATED: Bruce Hoffman, at National Interest, "American Jihad":
WHILE WE concentrate on the battle abroad, believing that al-Qaeda is focused on attacking the United States overseas and that radicalization and recruitment within the homeland will never occur, we are creating the largest, most devastating blind spot—America.
During 2009, at least ten jihadi terrorist plots or related events came to light within our borders—an average of nearly one a month. By any metric, this is an unprecedented development. While many of the incidents involved clueless incompetents engaged in half-baked conspiracies, some of the plans alarmingly evidenced the influence of an identifiable terrorist command-and-control apparatus.
In some cases, these terror networks merely inspired individuals: there was the plot by four prison parolees and Muslim converts to bomb two synagogues in New York City and an upstate Air National Guard base; the attempt by a Jordanian national who overstayed his visa to bomb a Dallas office building; or a similarly far-fetched plan by another Muslim convert to bomb a federal courthouse in Springfield, Illinois.
But in other instances, terrorist groups either actively recruited individuals in the United States, deliberately motivated others to carry out terrorist attacks on U.S. soil or directed trained operatives in the execution of coordinated strikes against American targets within our borders. These network-linked incidents should concern us even more. Think of Najibullah Zazi, the Afghan-born U.S. resident arrested in Colorado last September who pleaded guilty to charges of plotting a “Mumbai on the Hudson”–like suicide terrorist attack on, among other targets, the New York City subway; the shooting last June outside a military-recruiting station in Little Rock that killed one recruiter and wounded another; and the November 2009 massacre at Fort Hood that claimed the lives of thirteen people. Both shooters—Abdulhakim Muhammad, an African American convert to Islam who had spent time in Yemen, and Major Nidal Hasan—had some connection to AQAP, the same local franchise of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda movement that was responsible for the Christmas Day bomb plot. And Awlaki, the cleric who had a role in radicalizing Abdulmutallab, is also believed to have played an important part in the radicalization of Major Hasan.
It is hard to be complacent when al-Qaeda and its Pakistani, Somali and Yemeni allies arguably have been able to accomplish the unthinkable—establishing at least an embryonic terrorist recruitment, radicalization and operational infrastructure in the United States with effects both at home and abroad. Al-Qaeda’s grasp is deep and wide. And it has also allowed them to co-opt American citizens in the broader global al-Qaeda battlefield. These accomplishments include the radicalization and recruitment of nearly thirty young Somali Americans from Minnesota who were dispatched for training in their mother country and the case of five young Muslim Americans from Alexandria, Virginia, who sought to fight alongside the Taliban and al-Qaeda and were arrested in Pakistan. Additional incidents involved sleeper agents like the Pakistan-born U.S. citizen named David Headley (who changed his name from Daood Sayed Gilani) whose reconnaissance efforts on behalf of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a long-standing al-Qaeda ally, were pivotal to the success of the November 2008 suicide assault in India; and both Bryant Neal Vinas and Abu Yahya Mujahdeen al-Adam, two American citizens recently arrested in Pakistan for their links to al-Qaeda.
While it is easy to dismiss the threat posed by wannabes who are often effortlessly entrapped and snared by the authorities, or to discount as aberrations the homicides inflicted by lone individuals, these incidents evidenced the activities of trained terrorist operatives who are part of an identifiable organizational command-and-control structure and are acting on orders from terrorist leaders abroad.