Close Calls

How Shahzad Almost Got Away

Call him the one who almost got away. Faisal Shahzad, wanted by investigators in connection with Saturday night’s attempted bombing of Times Square, had boarded a flight to Dubai Monday night and the plane had already begun to leave the gate before airline officials noticed he had been added to the no-fly list. The New York Times identifies two security lapses that allowed Shahzad to almost escape: first, he eluded a surveillance team tracking him in Connecticut and managed to get to John F. Kennedy International Airport; and second, Emirates, his air carrier, failed to act on an urgent Monday email notifying all carriers of Shahzad’s addition to the no-fly list. FBI officials narrowed their search to Shahzad by Sunday night and began to track him, and he was added to the no-fly list at 12:30 p.m. on Monday. But at 11 p.m. Monday, Shahzad had nearly left the country when air-traffic controllers alerted the pilot to turn back and agents boarded the plane and seized him. While cabinet officials praised the quick investigation and arrest of Shahzad, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said “clearly the guy was on a plane when he shouldn’t have been. We got lucky.”