Shahzad a 'lone wolf': Petraeus
[Dawn] A senior US military commander and a lawmaker said on Friday they believed the man who tried to bomb New York's Times Square was a 'lone wolf'. Gen David Petraeus, who oversees America's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, told a US news agency there was no indication that Faisal Shahzad worked with others in concocting the terror attack or the homemade bomb.

"We don't know that this individual did something that escaped in some way our ability to pick up on either his trip to Pakistan or some other case," said Congressman Silvestre Reyes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, when asked at a news conference why US intelligence agencies failed to learn about Faisal's links to the Taliban.

Gen Petraeus, however, told AP that Faisal was "inspired by militants in Pakistan but didn't have direct contact with them".

On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that US investigators were "increasingly convinced that (Faisal's) accounts to interrogators, in particular his assertion that he was trained by the Pakistani Taliban, are on the mark".

The report, quoting anonymous intelligence sources, also claimed that US officials had identified an "overseas courier" who funnelled money to Shahzad for the failed terrorist attack.

The Obama's administration believed that drone attacks were not adequate in thwarting militant attempts on the West. And it was considering an "expanded training mission" by US Special Forces to establish enough "confidence" in the Pakistani military to launch offensives against militant strongholds in North Waziristan, a press report said.

The US administration did not share the media's enthusiasm, particularly when it came to browbeating Pakistan.

"We have dramatically increased our partnership with Pakistan -- intense security cooperation, supporting Pakistan's largest offensive against terrorism within borders -- within its borders in years, an offensive that is focused not just on Al Qaeda, but on the Pakistani Taliban as well," said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

Mr Gibbs also downplayed the suggestion that Faisal had received training at a camp in North Waziristan.

"The specific region was not, as I recall, brought up in great detail today," said the White House spokesman when asked if President Barack Obama had discussed the terror camps in North Waziristan with his war council on Thursday.

"Suffice to say that many regions in Pakistan have been the focus of our cooperative work with Pakistan, the government of Pakistan for the length of our administration, understanding that we have a threat that continues from that region of the world."
Posted by: Fred 2010-05-09