Last night on my radio show, we discussed the thwarted bombing attack in Times Square. Don Clark, Former Head of the Houston FBI noted concerns that this may not be an isolated incident.
Police are now focused on finding a man who was videotaped removing his t-shirt near the SUV where the bomb was found, and they need your help. The bomb “looks like it would have caused a significant fireball” had it fully detonated, police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. The bomb in Times Square was found at the height of dinner hour, right before theatergoers headed to Saturday night shows, only blocks away from where I write this and host my radio show.
The newly released surveillance video shows an unidentified white man, 40ish, slipping into an alley and taking off a shirt, revealing another underneath. In the same clip, he’s seen looking back in the direction of the smoking vehicle and furtively putting the first shirt in a bag, Kelly said. The homemade bomb, referred to by police as “crude” was made largely with ordinary items, including three barbecue grill-size propane tanks, two 5-gallon gasoline containers, store-bought fireworks and cheap alarm clocks attached to wires. “Clearly it was the intent of whoever did this to cause mayhem, to create casualties,” Kelly said.
Police have now identified the registered owner of the 1993 Nissan Pathfinder — which had license plates from another car — and are looking to interview him. Police released a photograph of the dark-colored SUV as it crossed an intersection at 6:28 p.m. Saturday. A hand-hag salesmen, who is being called a hero, pointed out the SUV to an officer. Duane Jackson, the 58-year-old vendor from Buchanan, NY, said he noticed the car and wondered who had left it there in a no-standing zone. Jackson said he looked in the car and saw keys in the ignition with 19 or 20 keys on a ring. He said he alerted a passing mounted police officer. They were looking in the car “when the smoke started coming out, and then we heard the little pop-pop-pop like firecrackers going out — that’s when everybody scattered and ran back,” he said. “Now that I saw the propane tanks and the gasoline, what if that would have ignited?” Jackson said. “I’m less than 8 feet away from the car.”
New York’s busiest streets were shut down for 10 hours, unnerving thousands of tourists attending Broadway shows, museums and other city sights. In a desperate attempt to gain information, detectives even took the stage at the end of some shows to announce to theatergoers that they were looking for witnesses in a bombing attempt.
A Pakistani Taliban group claimed responsibility for the failed attack in a 1-minute video. Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, however, said police have no evidence to support the claims, and noted that the same group had falsely taken credit for previous attacks on U.S. soil. “The NYPD and FBI are currently examining ‘hundreds of hours’ of security videotape from around Times Square,” Kelly said.
Times Square lies about four miles north of where terrorists bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, then destroyed it on Sept. 11, 2001.