Looks like al-Awlaki has gone viral
Of course, Al-Awlaki did not invent the ideology he has become widely known for propagating. Nor did Osama bin Laden, nor did al-Qaeda. Authorities would have to dig into some highly politically-incorrect territory to get to the root of what motivated Shahzad to pursue violent jihad, especially since his case cannot be written off as the product of poverty or a lack of education. “A Newly Religious Immigrant Is Linked to a Militant Yemeni-American Cleric,” by Scott Shane and Marc Mazzetti for the New York Times, May 6:
WASHINGTON — The Pakistani-American man accused of trying to detonate a car bomb in Times Square has told investigators that he drew inspiration from Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni-American cleric whose militant online lectures have been a catalyst for several recent attacks and plots, an American official said Thursday.
Curious NYT decorum:
The would-be bomber, Faisal Shahzad, said he was “inspired by” the violent rhetoric of Mr. Awlaki, said the official, who would speak of the investigation only on condition of anonymity.
“He listened to him, and he did it,” the official said, referring to Saturday’s attempted bombing on a busy street in Times Square.
Friends of Mr. Shahzad have said he became more religious and somber in the last year or so, and asked his father’s permission in 2009 to join the fight in Afghanistan against American and NATO forces. Investigators believe he was trained by the Pakistani Taliban, a militant group that previously focused mainly on Pakistani government targets.
A senior military official said Thursday that Mr. Shahzad has told interrogators that he met with Pakistani Taliban operatives in North Waziristan in December and January. Later he received explosives training from the same operatives, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the case.
Counterterrorism officials want to know how Mr. Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen who had earned an M.B.A., married and had children and worked in several corporate jobs, came to embrace violence.