Authorities cite foreign link in Times Square Bomb Scare
Who planted the tricked-up SUV in the very section where Times Square narrows to a choke point, where Broadway meets up with 7th Avenue in the virtual center of Manhattan? The issue was muddied when the Pakistani Taliban said they were responsible, but the Pakistani government was quick to pour cold water on the Islamic militants’ claim. “We do not have any credible or verifiable information about Pakistani involvement at this stage,” said Farahnaz Ispahani, a presidential spokesman, “but we condemn terrorism anywhere and everywhere.”
The investigation into the Times Square car bomb has started to reveal information that suggests the failed attack was the work of an international plot, a senior administration official told the reporters.
The official could not definitively say whether a foreign conspiracy was behind the incident, but that the body of evidence was moving in that direction.
The administration’s assessment came after the White House for the first time clearly defined the attempted attack as an act of terrorism, without saying whether it was the work of a foreign or domestic plot.
Obama administration officials previously stopped short of declaring the incident terrorism.
New York Gov. David Paterson immediately called the attempted attack an “act of terrorism” after police were alerted to the bomb and cleared out Times Square Saturday night. But Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday said it was too early to officially designate the incident as terrorism.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, in several interviews since Sunday, has by turns described the incident as a potential or likely terrorist act, though she said investigators need to find out more about the origin of the plot.
The New York Police Department too seemed to have put the Taliban on the lower end of its list of suspects. Still, no one dismissed Islamic terrorists completely out of hand. After all, on Friday two New Yorkers were indicted on charges that they attempted to send computers and other supplies to help al-Qaeda modernize. And other reports pointed out that the crude bomb in Times Square seemed to resemble the car bombs that were defused in London in 2007 outside the Tiger Tiger nightclub. British authorities later arrested a number of Iraqis with alleged links to al-Qaeda over the incident, which was apparently part of larger bombing plots, including a fiery but abortive attack on Glasgow Airport.