Four Quick Observations About Faisal Shahzad

By Jeffrey Goldberg

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.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/05/four-quick-observations-about-faisal-shahzad/56112/