Browsing the archives for the Terrorism category.

Just How Stupid Is Jennifer Rubin, Really?

Terrorism, Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

The inexplicably still employed Jennifer Rubin, still pumping Benghazi as a scandal, posted this in the early evening yesterday:

BREAKING: The president knew the truth about Benghazi

By Jennifer Rubin

In a blockbuster report, John Solomon, the former Associated Press and Post reporter, has ferreted out the president’s daily brief that informed him within 72 hours of the Sept. 11 attack that the Benghazi attack was a jihadist operation.

Please proceed, Ms. Rubin.

Citing officials directly familiar with the information, Solomon writes in the Washington Guardian that Obama and other administration officials were told that “that the attack was likely carried out by local militia and other armed extremists sympathetic to al-Qaida in the region.”

Overlooking the fact that there’s some space between “likely carried out” and “was a jihadist operation,” let’s look at what our old buddy David Petraeus told Congress yesterday. This is from an Associated Press story posted yesterday on the WaPo website:

Testifying out of sight, ex-CIA Director David Petraeus told Congress Friday that classified intelligence showed the deadly raid on the U.S. Consulate in Libya was a terrorist attack but the administration withheld the suspected role of al-Qaida affiliates to avoid tipping them off.

The recently resigned spy chief explained that references to terrorist groups suspected of carrying out the violence were removed from the public explanation of what caused the attack so as not to alert them that U.S. intelligence was on their trail, according to lawmakers who attended Petraeus’ private briefings.

He also said it initially was unclear whether the militants had infiltrated a demonstration to cover their attack….

;;;After the hearings, lawmakers who questioned Petraeus said he testified that the CIA’s draft talking points in response to the assault on the diplomatic post in Benghazi that killed four Americans referred to it as a terrorist attack. Petraeus said that reference was removed from the final version, although he wasn’t sure which federal agency deleted it.

Adding to the explanation, a senior U.S. official familiar with the drafting of the points said later that a reason the references to al-Qaida were deleted was that the information came from classified sources and the links were, and still are, tenuous. The administration also did not want to prejudice a criminal investigation in its early stages, that official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the process publicly.

Even the John Solomon article Rubin cites explains what happened pretty well –

Most of the details affirming al-Qaida links were edited or excluded from the unclassified talking points used by Rice in appearances on news programs the weekend after the attack, officials confirmed Friday. Multiple agencies were involved in excising information, doing so because it revealed sources and methods, dealt with classified intercepts or involved information that was not yet fully confirmed, the officials said.

“There were multiple agencies involved, not for political reasons, but because of intelligence concerns,” one official explained.

The rightie blogosphere (collective IQ: 12) is still screaming that Obama lied to the American people. As Kevin Drum pointed out a couple of days ago, this is a conspiracy in search of a motive.

As best I can tell, the suggestion from the right has been that Obama didn’t want to admit that Benghazi was a terrorist attack because….well, I’m not sure, exactly. Something about how this would blow a hole in his claim to be decimating al-Qaeda via drone attacks. Or maybe it would remove some of the luster from being the killer of Osama bin Laden. Or something. But one way or another, the story is that Obama was deeply afraid of admitting that terrorists are still out there and want to do us harm.

This has never made a lick of sense. If anything, the continuing existence of terrorists justifies his drone attacks. And it certainly wouldn’t do him any harm in an election. The American public routinely rallies around a president responding to a terrorist attack.

Of course, if George W. Bush were still in the White House and running for re-election when this happened, he and his minions would be screaming TERRORISTS TERRORISTS TERRORISTS GONNA GITCHA IF I’M GONE BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA even if it meant throwing sources and methods under the bus.

If you didn’t already know Petraeus pretty much shot down the claim that the Obama Administration was engaged in some kind of political coverup, just watch John McCain immediately after the testimony:

He was deflated like an old, tired balloon. McCain’s no genius, but we now know he’s a few shades brighter than Jennifer Rubin. Given enough time he actually can add two and two together and come up with four.


Speaking of Domestic Terrorism . . .

abortion, Terrorism

I mentioned a couple of days ago that obstetric-gyncological clinics in the Atlanta area were being burglarized and set on fire. Arsonists have hit abortion clinics as well as practices that don’t do abortion.

Now some of the obstetricians are saying they fear they are being targeted because they publicly opposed Georgia’s “fetal pain” bill.

“You hate to point fingers, but when you start to see a pattern I think it’s a little more worrisome,” said Dr. Richard Zane, whose Atlanta Women’s Health Group office in Sandy Springs was burglarized March 4.

Act 631, signed by Gov. Nathan Deal earlier this month, reduces the time period for when an elective abortion can occur from about 26 weeks to 20 weeks. Some doctors said restricting medical exceptions to abortions between 20 and 26 weeks would prevent them from treating mothers who are having difficult pregnancies.

The crimes began shortly after the January legislative session started. …

… The three physicians who were victims of burglaries and of Sunday’s fire in Lilburn do not perform abortions. However, they had all visited the Georgia Capitol this session to discuss the impact of the legislation on pregnant women and their unborn children, said Dr. David Byck, president of the Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society.

The arsonists have been breaking into doctors’ offices and stealing computers before setting their fires. So far no one has been hurt. However, one fire was set during office hours while the clinic (which does do abortions) was full of staff and patients. Everyone was evacuated safely, but clearly the arsonists aren’t being careful not to kill someone.

The offices of the Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society were burglarized the night before a Senate committee was to discuss amending the bill to continue to keep private the names of physicians who have to report abortions to the state.

The intruders bypassed three laptops and appeared to make a beeline for two laptop computers in the executive directors office which stored the names and addresses of doctors.

Like that’s a coincidence? The ATF and FBI are investigating, and so far they are not saying for certain that the clinics are being targeted by anti-reproduction rights terrorists. If it turns out that they are, I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for the shriekers on the Right to condemn the arsonists, though.


Arsonists Target Atlanta OB-GYN Clinics

abortion, Terrorism, Women's Issues

Someone may be making the war on women literal. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that there have been a series of burglaries and arsons in the Atlanta area targeting abortion clinics and OB-GYN practices that don’t do abortion. In other words, they’re going after any clinic or practice that deals exclusively with women’s reproductive health care.

The latest arson was the most brazen one, occurring during business hours Wednesday morning at Alpha Group GYN, which provides abortion services and counseling, on Powers Ferry Road in Marietta.

Another suspicious fire on Sunday occurred at the Atlanta Gynecology and Obstetrics Gwinnett office in Lilburn, which also was the site of a burglary on Jan. 26. The thieves stole a desktop computer.

Two other burglaries at obstetrics and gynecology offices occurred in March in Sandy Springs and unincorporated Suwanee. Most of the clinics do not perform abortions.

The FBI has begun an investigation.


Obama Behind Plot to Blow Up His Own Headquarters!

Obama Administration, Terrorism, Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

You’ve probably heard that a sting operation caught three young men who allegedly planned terrorist activities to protest the NATO summit in Chicago. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the three “allegedly plotted to firebomb President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s North Side home, as well as police stations and squad cars.”

Whether the three are guilty or not I do not know. What’s fascinating to me is the way this little issue is being portrayed by bloggers.

At Firedoglake, we read:

The NLG [National Lawyers Guild] attorneys representing the arrestees have not been shown any police records on any “month-long investigation.” The details I have been able to gather from speaking to arrestees personally make it seem like the police have, in the past 48 hours, fabricated all of these details about having some investigation in progress. Yet, the press get to see the records on arrestees so that the police can be sure people take the charges against the activists seriously and do not suspect police abuse or repression of activists. …

…It is important to recall that back in 2008, prior to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, eight activists were preemptively raided and ultimately charged with “conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism.” The national security state has a script, and when it comes to “National Special Security Events,” they stick to that script pretty well.

So that’s one perspective, which I neither endorse nor dismiss. Certainly there is a long history of police-state tactics targeting demonstrators, especially around large conventions and summit meetings. There’s more than a whiff of entrapment in this story.

Of course, there’s also a long history of hot-headed young men who want to blow stuff up. I’m making no assumptions here.

Rightie bloggers have another view, which is that the three indeed are deranged terrorists working on behalf of the Occupy movement. Per the Sun-Times article, the three found each other through an Occupy Chicago housing board. In the simple world of James Hoft, that makes them “#Occupy NATO terrorists.”

Hoft doesn’t mention the three alleged terrorists were allegedly planning to bomb Obama campaign headquarters. However, commenters brilliantly deduced Chicago + terrorism = Bill Ayers (example).

The Breitbrats also forgot to mention that the alleged terrorists were going to firebomb Obama campaign headquarters and Rahm Emanuel’s home. But the commenters wasted no time in deciding that Obama himself was behind the plot:

Hold on to your butts. Ask yourself, “Why did they decide to have NATO in Chicago, anyway?” Ya all are gonna have a knee-jerk reaction to these kids. “Stupid hippies,” and i don’t disagree. They’re responsible, yes, yes, of course, but THEY ARE ALSO BEING PRODDED TO VIOLENCE AND PROTEST BY THE INVISIBLE HAND. Obama cannot have his revolution without division, chaos, and flame.

Just another way for the Obama admin to launder (our) money for his homeys in Chicago.

Here you get the best of both worlds — it’s police oppression creating false terrorists, and the Obama Administration is behind it:

So, now our federal government has given up on the muslim terrorists and are going to create fake domestic terrorists at home? And you’re right!!! Why even have this in Chicago in the first place? Have you ever heard of “FALSE FLAG?” Just wait… something crazy is going to happen and Obama is going to try to emerge as the HERO to give himself an election boost… The fix is in for this NATO Summit. I’m so sick of this crap! These people (the feds) are so predictable!

BTW, I find the video highly annoying. There’s nothing productive about yelling the “F” word at a police station.

The “get a brain, moran” award has to go to the commenters at Weasel Zippers. Here at least the blogger headlines the part about blowing up Obama headquarters, and the commenters still think Obama was behind it. Sample:

thank you barak insane obama,
mmmm, mmmm, mmmm
you and ayers are great leaders
teachers, or terrorist tactics

The Weasel Zippers crowd are not famous for eloquence. All the comments are pretty much on that level.

See also Cannonfire.


Osama bin Laden, 1957-2011

Obama Administration, Terrorism

I’ve been surfing around this morning looking at reactions to the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death. The executive summary: Hooray! followed by But it will make no difference in the 2012 elections. The campaign next year will focus on domestic issues, not terrorism.

See Nate Silver’s analysis of the political implications of the death of bin Laden, with which I largely agree. President Obama should get a boost in popularity that will disappear before election day 2012.

On the other hand, rightfully or not, the death of bin Laden ought to bolster public perception of President Obama as a serious commander in chief and someone who is “tough” on national security. This will be reinforced in a few weeks when we observe the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

It strikes me that none of the likely Republican nominees has much in the way of real or imagined national security credentials. I don’t think any of them served in the military or is associated in the public mind with any past national security crisis. And one of them is named “Tim.”

This event serves as a reminder to the public that the job of president is serious and requires more than just an ability to insult Democrats.

And while Sarah Palin and others can stand on the sidelines and belittle Obama’s foreign policies (which I do not necessarily endorse myself) all they like, as Nate says the death of bin Laden “neuters” the issue. Their whines and tweets and chest thumpings seem all the more pathetic now.

How will the Right respond? I predict they will belittle Obama for taking credit for the death of bin Laden in his speech last night. It was U.S. forces that did the job, they will say, not President Obama. They will probably try to give credit to George W. Bush somehow, with a nod to President Reagan. See also Steve M. I think most voters will perceive this posturing as sour grapes, though.

This is not to say that future events couldn’t change the current political dynamic, and drastically. It also is not to say that killing bin Laden changes anything in the real world at this point. He’s been more of a symbolic figure than a real leader for several years.

Update: Great photographs of the celebration in lower Manhattan.

Update: Fox News congratulates George W. Bush on death of bin Laden.

Update: Little Lulu slams President Obama for receiving credit for death of bin Laden.

Update: Recalling some 2008 campaign talking points.


Gitmo Files Leaked

Terrorism, torture

Wikileaks has released information on Guantanamo detainees. And as a lot of us have been saying, many of the people held there were completely innocent.

An assessment of 780 people detained at Gitmo at one time or another shows that 220 really were/are dangerous terrorists. Another 380 were “foot soldiers,” low-level people with ties to various extremist or insurgent groups but who had no access to intelligence.

And at least 150 were completely innocent Aghanis and Pakistanis, some of whom were sold to security forces for a bounty. Juan Cole says, “Wearing a Casio watch could be a cause for arrest, apparently, because al-Qaeda types used them as timers.” And in many cases their documents contain no accusations against them. Yet they were held for months and years and “interrogated” just the same.

For example,

In May 2003, for example, Afghan forces captured Prisoner 1051, an Afghan named Sharbat, near the scene of a roadside bomb explosion, the documents show. He denied any involvement, saying he was a shepherd. Guantánamo debriefers and analysts agreed, citing his consistent story, his knowledge of herding animals and his ignorance of “simple military and political concepts,” according to his assessment. Yet a military tribunal declared him an “enemy combatant” anyway, and he was not sent home until 2006.

See, righties, this is why some of us have issues with military tribunals. Several other similar stories have come out of the leaks.

The 172 men remaining at Gitmo have been rated ‘high risk,” but then so were a lot of other detainees who were eventually transferred and even released.

At least some of the remaining crew really are hard-core terrorists with ties to the 9/11 perps. But the issue is that, since evidence against them was obtained through torture, they can’t be properly tried. But they really are dangerous, so neither can they be released. No one has any idea what to do with them, except keep them at Gitmo.


Right-Wing Domestic Violence News: The Grand Silence

Terrorism, Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

Before today’s review of “isolated incidents” of right-wing domestic violence, take a moment to view this bit of a curiosity from Glenn Beck, from a few months ago. Brad Blog has a transcript.

It’s a curiosity, because if you listened to it you may have thought you heard Beck saying “You’re going to have to shoot them in the head.” But, we learn from Patterico that he didn’t say that at all! Very curious, indeed. Are we all suffering a mass audio delusion?

Ah, here’s the explanation. Patterico objects because there is an unspoken implication that Beck was telling his audience to shoot someone in the head. But that’s not true! Patterico says:

When you read [the transcript], you will see that the word “you” refers to the leftist politicians in Washington and their pals in the media, and “they” refers to their radical leftist friends — who, Beck warns, actually believe there must be violent revolution . . . and if they don’t get what they want, they may start one.

Beck is warning the comfortable pols that the people who put them in power aren’t going to be satisfied with seeing just a little of their agenda accomplished. They want it all. Because they are revolutionaries at heart — people who have called for violence and never repudiated it. And if they aren’t satisfied, Beck tells the pols, they will come after you. Violently.

You’re going to have to shoot them in the head. But they may shoot you.

Johnson wants you to believe that the “you” is Beck’s audience, whom Beck is inciting to violence. Nothing could be further from the truth.

See? Nobody’s inciting anybody to violence. So if you’re a rightie thinking I was going to say something snarky about Patterico, you can go back to your regular favorite websites. Thanks much.

Are they gone? Jeebus, is this sick, or what? See also Steve M.

If you’ve got the stomach for it, Dave Neiwert has a roundup of Glenn’s greatest hits, which includes this bit.

Anyway, in other domestic violence news — you may have heard of the bomb left along a Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane. I say you may have heard; this story hasn’t made much of a splash at all. But law enforcement officials say the bomb wasn’t an amateur job, but a sophisticated and deadly piece of work.

The Spokane bomb was packed with shrapnel and would have been detonated by a remote device, if it hadn’t been discovered.

Authorities are still checking out a long list of suspects, including the Aryan Nations. So far, the investigation appears to be focused on right-wing hate groups.

Dave Neiwert, who lives up in those parts somewhere, provided a background of right-wing hate groups in the Spokane area. And Will Bunch asks if right-wing media carping about the coverage of the Tucson shooting has news media spooked from covering the bomb attempt in Spokane.

Because, you know, if they could tie that bomb to someone named “Mohammed,” it would be all we’d hear about for days. But some right-wing racist yahoos? Nothin’ to see hear, folks, move along.

And police in Arlington, Massachusetts, have seized “a large amount of weapons and ammunition” from some guy who suggested on his blog that all members of Congress should be shot. After the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tuscan, he titled a post “1 down, 534 to go.” He told police he was just joking. Of course, I suppose it could be argued that since the guy advocated the shooting of all member of Congress, of both parties, that makes him a moderate.

Sorta kinda related — New Jersey’s job-killing governor Chris Christie may have blown his status as the Right’s new “best boy” by appointing a Muslim man to be a judge.


Righties on the Side of Terrorism

Terrorism, Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

Regarding the arrest of a suspect in the Times Square not-bombing, I’m of the same opinion as Steve M — if that’s the best the Jihadi Islamic Menace (JIM) can do, they aren’t that much of a menace. High five, everybody.

Naturally, the fact that JIM in America is too incompetent to build even a simple fertilizer bomb has not stopped the rightie blogosphere from going into mighty orgasms of JIM hysteria. If you aren’t whipped into a state of high terror, buckaroos, you must not love America. Or something.

Further, righties want to honor the alleged perpetrator by sending him to Gitmo to face a secret military-tribunal type trial, instead of a mundane, pedestrian, inglorious civilian criminal trial. I’m with c u n d gulag — “Now, we try him in a court of law. And, if guilty, sentence him to the appropriate prison. Not Gitmo. No martyr. No hero. Just a criminal.”

They’re also screaming that this arrest somehow signals some kind of incompetence on the part of the Obama Administration. Actually, seems to me things have gone pretty smoothly. Bombing attempt on Saturday, no one hurt, New York shrugs it off, arrest made Monday. System functioning.

For lo these many years, when any of us on the Left pointed out that the Bush Administration had all kinds of screaming neon warnings about an imminent terrorist attack in 2001 and took no steps whatsoever to prevent it, we were told we were crazy. But because the FBI didn’t bother to personally keep surveillance on one of millions of Middle Easterners in the U.S., somehow this is incompetence. Right.

(Somebody should ask these geniuses how high they want their taxes cranked up to pay for all this individual surveillance.)

I also appreciated what Roy Edroso wrote at Village Voice (and not just because he linked to me):

You may remember that right after 9/11 it became trendy for conservatives to gush over New York and Rudy “America’s Mayor” Giuliani. Then, when it became apparent that New Yorkers still weren’t going to vote Republican, they went back to their usual uncomprehending contempt toward the big, bad City (“I get the feeling these New Yorker liberals just don’t understand how 9-11 changed things. It’s like they don’t even remember it”).

But this weekend a car bomb was found, undetonated, in Times Square, and rightbloggers rushed to explain that the non-explosion was, like the crotch-bomber’s non-explosion, all Obama’s fault, and to generally try to make terror work for them, as it did back in those marvelous days of September 2001, by wrapping the city they despise in their oily, insincere hugs.

What really infuriates them about New York is that New Yorkers don’t stay terrorized. It’s a patriot’s duty to be terrorized, you know.

See also James Fallows, “If the TSA Were Running New York.”


Why I Don’t Like to Speculate


The New York Post published a video that allegedly shows a suspect in the Times Square bomb attempt —

In a chilling surveillance video, the man is seen at the end of Shubert Alley peeling off a sweatshirt he’d been wearing over a short-sleeved red shirt, furtively glancing over his shoulder, then stuffing the sweatshirt into a bag.

Yes, some guy removing a sweatshirt on a warm spring day is certainly suspicious. So I looked at the NY Post video, which was made with a phone camera, and I have no idea why this particular guy was more of a “suspect” than anyone else seen in the video.

At times like this I think of Jean Charles de Menezes. If the name doesn’t ring a bell –

Think back to the 2005 London subway bombing. In the aftermath of the bombing, London police spotted a Middle Eastern-looking man acting very suspiciously

[The man] was wearing a thick coat when he ran into the Stockwell subway station in south London Friday. Temperatures in London on Friday were in the 70s. Police began following the man when he left his home in an effort to arrest him as part of their investigation.

The man “was challenged and refused to obey police instructions,” Blair said. Witnesses said about 10 armed police in street clothes chased the suspect, he tripped, and, after telling bystanders to get down, police then shot him; the man died.

“They pushed him onto the floor and unloaded five shots into him. He’s dead,” witness Mark Whitby told the British Broadcasting Corp. “He looked like a cornered fox. He looked petrified.”

Whitby said the man didn’t appear to have been carrying anything but said he was wearing a thick coat that looked padded.

Another witnesses, Anthony Larkin, told the BBC that the man appeared to have “a bomb belt and wires coming out.” Sky News reported that there were no explosives found on the man after he was shot.

If you read the early news stories about the guy, he certainly sounded suspicious, if not downright guilty. However, after a few days it finally came out that the man who was killed was 27-year-old Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian national. Menezes had been working as an electrician in London since 2002.

His visa status was questionable; some news stories suggest his visa might have expired, but that was never completely clear. Other than the possible visa violation, however, the guy had no criminal record and no ties to any terrorist group that anyone ever turned up.

Basically, Menezes was killed for being at the wrong place at the wrong time while looking sort of Middle Eastern.

I appreciate the NYPD might have some reason to suspect the balding white guy in the video that they’re not telling us. But to call the bit of video at the NY Post “chilling” is just silly. It’s a video of an average guy taking off his shirt. And I think whipping up hysteria over this guy (going on at some rightie sites; the usual ones) is irresponsible.


The “T” Word and Times Square


[Couple of updates below.]

On a warm Saturday night, Times Square has got to be one of the most densely packed places on the planet. Sometimes the crowds are so thick that walking just one block is nearly impossible.

So, while last night’s car bomb didn’t hurt anyone, panicking people with the “t” word — terrorism — might have been very dangerous.

New Yorkers don’t panic easily, but the Times Square crowd last night no doubt contained a high percentage of tourists. This is partly because the natives have enough sense to not go near Times Square on a Saturday night unless they have a very specific reason to be there. If you’re just out for dinner and a stroll, several other parts of the city are less crowded and have a better choice of restaurants.

The other kind of panic the city doesn’t want is the kind of panic that causes people to vacation somewhere else. NYC needs those tourism dollars. Who else is going to see all those Walt Disney musicals that have been on Broadway forever and pay $25 for a pastrami and corned beef sandwich at Lindy’s?

So, there are all kinds of practical reasons why the city of New York is reluctant to attach the word “terrorism” to the car bomb, even though by most definitions of the “t” word a car bomb automatically qualifies. There’s always a chance the perpetrator did not actually intend to terrorize anyone but was just following the orders of the voices in his head. Clearly, the perp was not part of al Qaeda’s “A” team.

Of course, these obvious and practical reasons for keeping the rhetoric toned down do not occur to rightie bloggers, who are quivering with outrage that the “t” word isn’t being plastered all over today’s headlines. They suspect some kind of cover-up. For example, the predictably thick Darleen of Protein Wisdom wrote, “With NYPD already attempting to squash any terrorism link, how much can we trust them to be honest with the findings of their investigation?”

In other words, in Darleen’s world an honest and forthright NYPD would immediately have declared the bomb a possible act of Muslim jihadists, thereby pretty much destroying the city’s summer tourism season, before they’d had time to investigate anything.

Pam Geller (do you really want me to link to her?) wrote, “Finally get out and about — Saturday night in NY — and I have to bolt home to report this story. Can we count on Muslim bombs failing? And catching every jihadi before he gets one of his balls bombs off? Is that our strategy now?” Let’s not jump to any premature conclusions or anything.

Several accounts have said the SUV that contained the incendiary device (which, experts said, would never have exploded [update: click on link in second paragraph, above, for corroboration]) was parked near the theater running the “Lion King.” Maybe the perp was a disgruntled former Disney employee.

Seriously, other than picking a very crowded area for maximum injury, I don’t see an obvious connection between Times Square and anybody’s righteous cause. The perp might be Muslim, but not necessarily. (And if he is, all the Muslim cab drivers who make a living picking up fares in the theater district might be less than approving.) But if it turns out the perp is a right-wing loon trying to purify Manhattan for Jesus, can we all count on Geller to never admit she was wrong? Of course!

I have no doubt that Mayor Bloomberg is busting chops (that’s a New York expression) right now, pushing the investigation as hard and as fast as possible, because no one wants to prevent another such incident more than he does. One car bomb is a fluke; two is a rash of canceled hotel reservations.

Update: The SUV was indeed parked right next to the Viacom building, which means one possible reason someone might have for attempting to set off a bomb in Times Square is in retaliation for South Park’s portrayal of Mohammad. However, if that’s the case someone should explain it to the Pakistani Taliban, which is claiming credit for the attempt without linking it to South Park. I suspect the Pakistani Taliban is just grandstanding, though.

Update: Newshoggers notes that there also is a Bank of America next to where the SUV was parked. This is true, but the main Bank of America building is on 42nd Street near Bryant Park; the one on 45th and Broadway is a branch. So I doubt there’s a Bank of America connection.

Doug Hughes points out (and I should have thought of this) that it’s terribly difficult to park exactly where you want to in Manhattan. If someone were determined to park a car right next to the Viacom building he might have had to drive in circles for hours until a spot opened up. It’s more likely the perpetrator just parked as close to Times Square as he could get.

Update: The average ten-year-old boy could have made a better bomb.

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