Details continue to emerge about Faisal Shahzad, the would-be Times Square bomber intercepted by agents aboard an Emirates flight at JFK as he was attempting to flee to Dubai on Monday night.
The AP reports that his path to citizenship had been eased by marriage to Huma Mian, an American with a business degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, who describes herself on social networking site Orkut as “not political,” and listed her passions as “fashion, shoes, bags, shopping!! And of course, Faisal.”
Faisal, the 30-year-old son of a retired official in Pakistan’s air force, had been on a no-fly list, but Emirates did not notice that when he purchased a ticket, according to a law enforcement official. Custom agents recognized his name and stopped the flight. He did not put up a struggle.
Authorities have canceled the court hearing for Shahzad since he’s been cooperative with investigators, but still have little understanding of his motivation.
Until recently, his life in the U.S. appeared enviable. He had a master’s degree from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, a job as a budget analyst for a marketing firm in Norwalk, Conn., two children and a well-educated wife who posted his smiling picture and lovingly called him “my everything” on a social networking website.
In fact, everyone pretty much described Shahzad as “a nice guy.”
However, something took a turn last summer: Shahzad quit his job. The bank foreclosed on his house, and he took the family to Pakistan. When he returned from Pakistan — by himself — he rented a cheap place (which he shared with a roommate) in a not-so-nice Bridgeport neighborhood, and took to running in the dark and blasting a radio at odd hours. And then the whole Times Square thing happened.
Georgetown professor of security studies Bruce Hoffman says:
It has become a pattern in these kinds of cases for suspects to have recently traveled back to their homeland “and then, either before that trip, during that trip, perhaps upon their return, are suddenly radicalized and become involved in a terrorist plot.”
The New York Post posits that Shahzad was “trying to slaughter innocent people in retaliation for U.S. drone attacks that wiped out the leadership of his beloved Taliban.”
Still, mass slaughter as a politically driven revenge tactic doesn’t play all that sane in the “nice guy” circuit. Let’s hope that further investigations can shed light on what might make a seemingly normal family man turn against a country, learn to make bombs, and then attempt to use them to harm innocent people.