Economic Troubles May Have Driven Shahzad to Terror

Five days after the attempted car bombing in New York City's Times Square, new details have emerged about the alleged attacker's troubled financial life, as well as the government's slow response in tracking him. According to The New York Times, Faisal Shahzad hit a rough patch during the recession. JPMorgan Chase foreclosed last summer on the Shelton, Conn., house he shared with his Colorado-born wife and their two children, while the Los Angeles Times reports that the couple tried to sell broken furniture and used clothes for extra cash. Several media outlets from ABC News to the Times make the intellectual leap that these economic troubles fueled Shahzad's radicalization and his anger toward the U.S. His financial problems prompted him to spend several months in Pakistan, including Peshawar and Waziristan, two areas known for their strong Taliban presence.

The federal government, meanwhile, is engaged in its own game of finger-pointing, as it tries to figure out when exactly Shahzad was placed on the airlines' "no-fly" list in the hours following the attempted bombing. NEWSWEEK's Mark Hosenball reports that "Shahzad spent more than three hours at New York's JFK airport unwatched by authorities while he waited to board a plane out of the country because FBI surveillance of him ‘broke down.' " Several politicians, from senators to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, are calling for new laws and measures to tighten security both for airline travelers and for people placed on terrorist watch lists. In the coming days, The Washington Post says, the Obama administration will look to the Pakistani government for help in investigating the case.