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Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 9, 2010; 11:43 AM
Attorney General Eric Holder said Sunday that there is now conclusive evidence the Pakistani Taliban is to blame for last weekend's attempted car bombing in Times Square.
"We've now developed evidence that shows that the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attack," Holder said on ABC's "This Week."
"We know that they helped facilitate it. We know that they probably helped finance it. And that he was working at their direction."
His remarks were echoed by the top White House counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, who on CNN's "State of the Union" said it "looks like" the suspect, Faisal Shahzad, was working with the group Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, which he described as "closely allied with al Qaeda."
Shahzad was arrested late Monday by Customs and Border Patrol agents at JFK International Airport as he tried to board a flight to Dubai. Authorities became aware of his identity Monday afternoon.
A naturalized U.S. citizen born and raised in Pakistan, Shahzad has told investigators that he was trained and directed by the Pakistani Taliban, and met with its highest officials. Investigatorsare uncertain about his claims that he met higher-ups within the group, including Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, U.S. officials have said.
One key focus of the investigation is the money trail. Investigators were tracking a courier who may have helped funnel money to Shahzad, but they cautioned that any links were uncertain. Shahzad also may have received money from a hawala, an informal money-transfer network popular in South Asia and the Middle East, according to a former U.S. official briefed on the investigation.
Hawalas have been linked to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. In Pakistan, authorities have detained numerous militants as part of the investigation, some of whom they think might be connected to Shahzad, as well as the fathers of both Shahzad and his wife. An FBI team landed Friday in Islamabad, where the FBI has a legal attache office that works with Pakistani law enforcement and intelligence officers, Pakistani officials have said.
Muddy Road Molds Debate on the Future of Guyana
By SIMON ROMERO
The argument over a plan to pave the road reflects a nation pulled between competing desires to delve into the global economy or pursue a more ecologically sustainable path toward development.
For BP, a History of Spills and Safety Lapses
By JAD MOUAWAD
BP continues to lag other oil companies when it comes to safety. The Deepwater Horizon blast, which killed 11 people, is not the company’s first time under scrutiny.
TODAY'S HIGHLIGHTS Gates vows to shrink Pentagon bureaucracy ABILENE, KAN. -- Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates vowed Saturday to lead an effort to cut as much as $15 billion in overhead costs from the Pentagon's $550 billion budget and warned that without the savings, the military will not be able to afford its current force. (By Greg Jaffe, The Washington Post)
POLITICS Special election for Murtha's seat is a horse race JOHNSTOWN, PA. -- The ghost of John P. Murtha looms large over this congressional district: from the hundreds of millions of dollars the late Democratic legislator famously funneled to western Pennsylvania to the many eponymous buildings, highways and even an airport that memorialize him. And now... (By Lois Romano, The Washington Post)
NATION PRESIDENT OBAMA & PRESIDENT KARZAI President Obama has bluntly instructed his national security team to treat Afghan President Hamid Karzai with more public respect, after a recent round of heavy-handed statements by U.S. officials and other setbacks infuriated the Afghan leader and called into question his relationship with... (By Scott Wilson and Rajiv Chandrasekaran, The Washington Post)
WORLD U.S. urges Pakistan to cooperate in bomb probe After more than a year of doling out carrots to Pakistan, the Obama administration has reminded its strategic partner on the Afghanistan border that the U.S. mood could quickly sour if FBI investigators confirm ties between the Times Square bombing suspect and Pakistani insurgent groups. (By Karen DeYoung and Greg Miller, The Washington Post)
BRIDGING THE DIVIDES How the next four days in Washington will focus attention on the shifting, sometimes-strained dynamics at the core of the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan (By Joshua Partlow, The Washington Post)
METRO A D.C. killing that remains in the darkness Last Halloween, Nori Amaya ate dinner with her brother at the bar of their Italian restaurant on U Street NW. Then, in a long black dress and a mask decorated with peacock feathers, she stepped out into the Washington night. (By Paul Schwartzman, The Washington Post)
BUSINESS How to fix Wall Street: 6 simple steps The first thing you learn when you start looking at Wall Street, which I've been doing for 40 years, is to never trust the salesmen. What they promise you isn't necessarily what you get. You need to use common sense, watch out for your own interests and at least make an attempt to understand the ... (By Allan Sloan with Doris Burke Fortune, The Washington Post)
TECHNOLOGY Taking on the Goliath that is Google Too big to fail turned out to be wrong for banks and other corporations. But don't tell that to Google, which has quickly expanded into making smartphones, mapping streets of the world, streaming videos, connecting friends and selling digital books. (By Cecilia Kang, The Washington Post)
SPORTS Sharks eliminate Red Wings with 2-1 victory SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Patrick Marleau scored the tiebreaking goal 6:59 into the third period and the San Jose Sharks eliminated the two-time defending Western Conference champion Detroit Red Wings with a 2-1 victory Saturday night in Game 5 of their second-round series. (By JOSH DUBOW, AP)
STYLE Despite deep themes, only the surface is explored Is beat poet Allen Ginsberg's photography collection enough to make it great work? Debatable, just like Ginsberg's larger legacy, poetic, musical, intellectual and cultural. (By Philip Kennicott, The Washington Post)
Questioning suspected terrorists IT HAS BECOME accepted wisdom that the United States is engaged in an unconventional war against terrorist forces. Yet the Obama administration's response to attempted acts of domestic terrorism has been consistently conventional: Suspects are apprehended, perhaps questioned under a public-safety... (The Washington Post)
U.S. aviation regulators on Monday are slated to propose enhanced inspections and fixes of anti-icing systems and stall-warning devices on hundreds Bombardier regional jets.
The FAA moves follow safety recommendations by the manufacturer and subsequent directives issued by Canadian regulators. They affect more than 960 airliners and include most Bombardier jet models manufactured since the early 1990s.
On about one-third of the jets, the FAA is seeking to prevent malfunctions of devices that help warn pilots of an impending aerodynamic stall. On the rest of the planes, the FAA is proposing stepped-up maintenance of heating elements intended to prevent ice buildup on the wings.
Improper operation of these safety systems, especially if pilots aren't aware of breakdowns, can be particularly dangerous in icing conditions when aircraft typically stall at a higher speed than normal. The FAA said the result in both cases could be "reduced controllability of the aircraft," though there haven't been any reports of accidents.
For more than 360 of the larger twinjet CRJ 700-series models built by Canada's Bombardier Inc. and flown by U.S. carriers, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to inspect, and in some cases replace, various parts that measure the upward angle of wings during flight. According to the agency, defective parts can result in early or late activation of stall-warning and stall-prevention devices in cockpits that alert pilots when planes are in danger of losing lift. The airworthiness directives go beyond previous U.S., Canadian and European safety directives covering the same parts.
Bombardier's regional jets are used around the world, including fleets that fly commuter routes for Delta Air Lines Inc., AMR Corp.'s American Airlines and UAL Corp.'s United Airlines.
Previously, regulators from all three jurisdictions issued similar mandates covering the same parts used on certain Bombardier Q400 turboprops. And in February, European regulators mandated inspections and replacement of the same type of parts provided by the same supplier but installed on wide-body Airbus jets. All the affected parts are supplied by a unit of France's Thales SA, according to Bombardier officials.
For about 600 older versions of Bombardier jets used by U.S. carriers, the FAA is proposing new safeguards to ensure proper operation of systems that use hot air to keep ice from accumulating on the front edges of wings. FAA officials and their Canadian counterparts have identified several in-service incidents when the system failed to work properly and didn't alert pilots about potentially dangerous ice buildup on a portion of the wings. The FAA is proposing stepped-up inspections, along with modification or replacement of portions of these systems
A Bombadier spokeswoman said that Thales supplies so-called angle-of-attack vanes for both its Q400s and the CRJ family of aircraft. She said most of the planes operating in North America have been inspected in advance of regulatory deadlines, and Thales has provided parts to speed up the process.
The spokeswoman added that "safety is Bombardier's top priority" and the plane-maker responded with its own safety alerts "well in advance" of moves by regulators
Over roughly the last two decades, Bombardier jets have suffered at least eight accidents or serious incidents stemming from loss of lift caused by ice buildup on their wings, according to aviation safety experts. Some versions of the jets are particularly vulnerable to such icing because they lack slats — movable panels at the front of the wings that increase lift during takeoffs, landings and maneuvers at slow speeds.
Bombardier has said that starting last year it acted proactively to investigate icing-related defects with angle-of-attack sensors as soon as it learned about similar problems on Airbus jets. Write to Andy Pasztor at firstname.lastname@example.org
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