The good news: FBI agents pulled Faisal Shahzad off his New York to Dubai flight Monday just before takeoff, at which point he allegedly admitted his involvement in a failed car-bombing of New York’s Times Square.
The bad news is more complicated. Shahzad had been placed on a "no fly" terror watch list seven hours before he bought a ticket and boarded. The U.S. reaction has been to mandate that airlines from now on check watch lists more frequently, but a deeper look into how it happened is also called for.
Beyond that, if Shahzad had been a competent bomb builder, even with the watchful eyes of a street vendor who alerted a mounted police officer to smoke accumulating in an abandoned SUV, the bomb could have exploded and injured people before law enforcement had a chance to react.
The Times Square scare realizes what many terror specialists have long feared — that terror attacks could become a fact of life in this country.
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