Ed Driscoll

Paterson: Failed Car Bomb In Times Square Is 'Act Of Terrorism'

A car bomb was found in Times Square Saturday Night. Patterico quotes numerous officials quick to remind New Yorkers that the terror-inducing car bomb consisting of gasoline, propane, and gunpowder that could have potentially killed dozens or more (maybe a lot more) people is not in fact, terrorism, and adds:

I get a little sick of federal officials quickly declaring that there is no terrorism angle to an act that makes most sane people think instantly of terrorism. It’s not reassuring; on the contrary, it just seems clueless. Which is pretty damned far from reassuring.

Meanwhile, Breaking News Online president Michael van Poppel tweets details from a press conference involving New York City government officials:

Bloomberg: Car bomb looked amateurish.

They always do, except for the one that succeeds.

Update: New York’s Gov. Paterson breaks the embargo on the T-Word:

New York Governor David Paterson on Sunday released the following statement on the failed car bombing in Times Square, calling it an ‘act of terrorism.’

“Tonight, we owe an incredible debt of gratitude to the heroic actions of the New York City Police Department and to a single vigilant New Yorker who identified a suspicious vehicle near Times Square in New York City. Luckily, no one is hurt, and now the full attention of city, State and federal law enforcement will be turned to bringing the guilty party to justice in this act of terrorism.”

Terrorism? You don’t say.

Update: Breaking News Online has a pretty extensive update of what’s known about the situation so far:

Authorities on Sunday are continuing to investigate a failed car bombing at New York City’s Times Square on Saturday evening. Governor Paterson called it an ‘act of terrorism.’The incident started at 6.34 p.m. EDT on Saturday when a t-shirt vendor alerted a mounted police officer to a suspicious dark green Nissan Pathfinder that had been parked at 45th Street near Broadway with its lights flashing. The officer noticed smoke coming from objects in the backseat of the car and smelled gunpowder. He then called in additional resources, including the fire department.

The area remains closed more than nine hours after the incident began, and the city’s bomb squad is still working to render some parts of the device safe. Among the evacuated buildings was the south tower of the Marriott Hotel.

It is unclear who was driving the SUV, which had a license plate that did not match the vehicle, and no arrests were made as of early Sunday. Officials said the vehicle was seen driving west on 45th Street at 6.28 p.m. EDT in security camera footage. Additional footage from security cameras is being sought.

New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the car contained three propane tanks, consumer-grade fireworks, two filled 5-gallon gasoline containers, and two clocks with batteries, electrical wire and other components. A black metal box resembling a gun locker was also recovered.

“We avoided what could have been a very deadly event,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a press conference near the scene of the incident. He described the bomb as being ‘amateurish.’

The description preceding Bloomberg’s quote doesn’t seem to make the bomb sound all that amateurish.

Update (5/2/10 10:00 AM PDT): Welcome everyone discussing the incident in the comments below, and linking to this post, including Mark Steyn, who writes, “You Can Feed the Crocodile, but…:”

…sometimes he’ll still eat you first. While the initial US reports on the Times Square car bomb concentrated on the by now traditional denials that this was anything to do with terrorism and, even if it was, it was “amateurish”, the Telegraph in Britain was the first to note the parking space:

The dark green Nissan Pathfinder with tinted windows was parked near the junction of 45th Street and Broadway.

The location is also adjacent to the Viacom building, fuelling speculation that it might be linked to the company’s controversial South Park cartoon which recently depicted Prophet Muhammad in a bear suit.

The important thing to remember about Iraq and Afghanistan is that, from the jihad’s point of view, they’re sideshows: The real battlefield is New York and Chicago and London and Paris.

Allahpundit updates his post at Hot Air to include quite an interesting item from milblogger Bill Roggio: “A top Pakistani Taliban commander took credit for yesterday’s failed car bomb attack in New York City.”

Real? False flag operation? Click over to Hot Air for some thoughts from Allah on what it all could mean. And then check out Richard Fernandez’s take back here at Pajamas.

Update: Liz Blackney (the artist formerly known as “Media Lizzy” on AOL) notes, “Day after Times Square bomb scare, Pittsburgh Marathon course detoured due to ‘explosive device.'”

Update (12:40 PM PDT): For what it’s worth, Breaking News Online tweets: “NYC Police Commissioner says no evidence of a Taliban link to Times Square bomb event”, and adds, “Officials tell NBC there was no explosive device found on Pittsburgh Marathon route.”

Update: (1:35 PM): Liberty Pundits has a terse summary of the New York Police Commissioner Press Conference:

More than one group and/or individual claim responsibility. It was a white male who ran from the scene. The bomb seems to have been intended to detonate at midnight. The vehicle was located in front of the Viacom building.

The deactivation of the device was completed less than two hours ago. Times Square is now filled with tourists and New Yorkers.

There will be an increased police presence, but there will not be screening of vehicles in Times Square.

The investigation is on-going.

Meanwhile, at the Volokh Conspiracy, Stewart Baker explores some of the flaws of NYC’s expensive, overly engineered video camera system, and proposes a slightly more low-tech solution.

Update (2:35 PM): “Police and federal agents on Sunday were reviewing surveillance footage that shows a possible suspect in the failed Times Square car bombing, describing him as a white man in his 40s who was walking away from the area where the vehicle was parked, looking furtively over his shoulder and removing a layer of clothing, officials said.”

Glenn Reynolds adds, “NYPD: No evidence of Taliban link. Of course, what would that evidence consist of, at this point? Best evidence against a Taliban connection is that the bomb sucked; they’ve got better bomb-making skills than that. . . .”


Update (10:18 PM): Video from Real Clear Politics: “NYPD Releases Tape Showing Suspect In Times Square Bomb Scare.”