Four Quick Observations About Faisal Shahzad

1. I am struck by the fact that he is a naturalized American citizen, not a recent or temporary visitor. This suggests that either he was a long-term sleeper agent (unlikely, for various reasons) or that he became over time immune to the charms of life in America, even Barack Obama's America. Another unhopeful sign for the future of integration.

2. Janet Napolitano should subcontract the work of the Department of Homeland Security to the NYPD. Jim Fallows has a very funny blog post related to this notion.

3. This is a guess, but I don't think that Faisal Shahzad, if he is indeed a terrorist,  was radicalized solely by the construction in East Jerusalem of apartment buildings for Jews. This suggests the limited relevance of the "linkage" argument.

4. It appears as if Shahzad was quite amateurish in his alleged plotting. His lack of professionalism will undoubtedly cause many people to say something along the lines of, "See, the terrorist threat is hyped, these guys are all clowns." It is true that most would-be terrorists are clowns, but it is also true that the 9/11 plotters were not clowns. If you had argued on 9/10 that Muslim terrorists were capable of hijacking four airplanes simultaneously and destroying the Twin Towers with two of those planes, most people would have laughed in your face. I worry when people come to the conclusion that our adversary is not capable of doing great damage to America.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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