What If Times Square Was Just a Dry Run?

Apparently accused Times Square car bomber Faisal Shahzad is ‘singing like a bird,’ to U.S. law enforcement officials, claiming he wanted to kill Americans in retaliation for drone attacks in Pakistan and because he hated George Bush.

But what if it’s all a ruse? What if he was just part of a dry run to figure out how to do a more serious attack later? And what if he was supposed to die in the blast, but chickened out at the last minute? What if he’s been making it up ever since?

Think about it – he claims to have gone to bomb school in Waziristan.

But we know that so far, those bomb school grads have all been suicide bombers. He's nobody special -- it’s unlikely his handlers would have given him an exemption. They would have considered him expendable.

That’s why there was no elaborate plan to get him away after he fled the van.

It appears it took Shahzad two days to figure out an escape plan – fly Emirates Air to Dubai, the major airline hub in the Middle East, and change planes for Pakistan. He made the reservation on the way to the airport, paid cash, used his own passport, and had no luggage. If he was supposed to survive the blast, he would have preplanned an escape route, complete with fake passport, and scrupulous avoidance of the one place they knew we’d look – international flights to the Middle East.

Why a dry run? To flush us out, to determine what surveillance we had in place – cameras, license plate readers, undercover cops. To see how difficult it would be for a van filled with explosives to get to Times Square and stay there long enough to detonate. To see what our response was – how would law enforcement react and the public would react. To see how easy it was for an American citizen to evade detection beforehand.

What have they learned? That an attack on Times Square would be comparatively easy. That the surveillance program in place in Lower Manhattan isn't yet in place in Midtown Manhattan. That the only thing that stood between a foiled attack and a fireball in Times Square was a bungling bomber and an alert bystander. And that Americans, once again, got lucky.

And then there's this question: are they sitting back in their caves in Waziristan taking odds on when America's luck runs out?

Kathleen Troia "K.T." McFarland is a Fox News National Security Analyst and host of FoxNews.com's DefCon 3. She is a Distinguished Adviser to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and served in national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations. She wrote Secretary of Defense Weinberger’s November 1984 "Principles of War Speech" which laid out the Weinberger Doctrine. Be sure to watch "K.T." and Mike Baker every Monday at 10 a.m. on FoxNews.com's "DefCon3" already one of the Web's most watched national security programs. 

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