Patterico's Pontifications


Breaking: Attempted Terrorist Attack in the Capital? (Update: AQ Literature and Bomb-Making Materials?) (Update: Device Not Workable?) (Update: ABC Video) (Update: Video on Suspect’s Identity)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 5:31 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Update (VII): More video from ABC on the identity of the suspect and his background:

The one question that a person naturally asks is answered by James Taranto. Yes, he is a Muslim. Taranto has additional thoughts about the political correctness that keeps the news media from reporting that news, and you really should read the whole thing.

Update (VI): This ABC News report seems fairly current and verified:

Update (V): The reports are so contradictory right now, I am officially going to stop updating for a while and wait to see what shakes out.  But I will be watching it closely if only because I live in the area.

Update: You can watch a press conference, right now, here, on the incident.  But the spokesman doesn’t seem to know much, yet.  (H/t: Mary Katherine Ham).

Update (II): Now the link above seems to be showing live coverage, generally, from a local station.  (And they are saying they are not sure a device has actually been found.)

This morning they shut down all the roads around the Pentagon and an explanation is starting to trickle out.  First, from the WAPO’s Breaking News blog:

A person was taken into custody near the Pentagon after a suspicious device was found in a car, NBC News is reporting.

One or two other people fled the scene and police were searching for them, according to NBC.

An official told NBC News the device “looks like a bomb,” although it remained unclear what it was.

Roads remain closed around the Pentagon and Arlington County police said they are investigating a suspicious vehicle on Washington Boulevard.

You should read the whole thing, updates and all, but this one at 8:07 is creepy:

Channel 9 is reporting authorities are planning to do a controlled explosion of the suspicious vehicle.

That means it looks real and dangerous enough that they don’t want to try to disarm it, right?

Update (V): Now ABC news says the device might not have been workable.  So…  I think I am going to let the dust settle for a bit, and see what can be confirmed.

And this CBS/AP article is very obviously the product of on-the-fly editing,* but adds some detail:

CBS News chief national security correspondent David Martin reports the Department of Homeland Security has one person in custody who is suspected of planting suspicious devices around the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery and the Iwo Jima Memorial.

It remains unclear whether the vehicle in question belongs to the person in custody, but all the roads around the Pentagon have been closed and traffic is at a standstill, says Martin.

So this is a breaking news story and we can expect details to be murky and things to be just plain wrong.  Let’s not forget all the false reports we heard when Gabby Giffords was shot, not the least being the false report that she was dead.  But piecing things together we might be seeing a coordinated attack; or they are getting it massively wrong.  Expect more updates.

Update (III): If verified, this information, tweeted by Good Morning America, is troubling:

Just in: Man arrested at Arlington Cemetery near Pentagon w/backpack: ammonium nitrate, spent 9mm shells, Al Qaeda related statements inside[.]

Hmm…  (Further Update: Non-tweet link.)

Update (IV): See what I mean about being suspicious of early reports?  From the updated AP article:

The man was detained after the Park Police came across him over night in Arlington National Cemetery. The Park Police then launched a search for the man’s vehicle, which was found near the Pentagon, the Arlington police said.

Previously, the man was suspected of planting suspicious devices in the cemetery and at the Iwo Jima Memorial. The Arlington police did not confirm that report.

So that’s in the maybe column.  Stay tuned.


* I have been hard on the AP for editing their stories without issuing a correction in the past, but bluntly this situation falls squarely into their rule allowing for changing the article without a correction in the midst of a breaking news story.  So I expect that AP story to change, and that is in keeping with their rules.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

14 Responses to “Breaking: Attempted Terrorist Attack in the Capital? (Update: AQ Literature and Bomb-Making Materials?) (Update: Device Not Workable?) (Update: ABC Video) (Update: Video on Suspect’s Identity)”

  1. The only purpose in writing this comment is to make sure y’all see this post. 🙂

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  2. Packages must be given due credit.

    JD (380601)

  3. well, joking aside… now i wonder if that bomb scare at weiner’s office was related?

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  4. spent 9mm shells in the backpack? obviously someone who cleans up after himself, probably some radical environmentalist.

    steve (369bc6)

  5. I’m glad no one has been hurt thus far! I hope they find those who ran away. Also, I hope the bomb techs, etc., stay safe!

    Not a very insightful comment, I know.

    Random (543d30)

  6. I believe this guy is what James Lileks so aptly referred to as a “Splodey-dope”.

    Walt (6d7c8f)

  7. Recovering spent shell casings is not a typical street criminal thing to do. That’s consistent with a much more focused, sophisticated and prepared act than some idiot sticking up gas stations.

    They only have to get lucky once. We have to be stop them 100% of the time.

    Bugg (9e308e)

  8. Radio reports indicate he is a Muslim Marine reservist. bag he was carrying included a 5 lb. package labelled “amonium nitrate” but FBI analysis preliminaryly indicates the susbtance is inert. FBI searching his home.

    Bugg (9e308e)

  9. The ABC news report concludes with “Law enforcement officials say they believe [the suspect] was acting alone…”

    Wouldn’t surprise me if he was. Every time members of a group communicate with each other, there’s a chance they’ll be overheard, spotted, etc., and that someone will become suspicious and call the cops, the FBI, or whoever. But someone acting alone doesn’t produce any “chatter” as he makes his plans, so the only chance to catch him is via suspicious behavior (e.g., being in a place nobody’s supposed to be right now).

    Kudos to the Park Police for following up on their suspicions, BTW.

    Robin Munn (347954)

  10. Because of the FBI’s questioning of a 7 y.o. I’ll just have to stick with a “No Comment”

    Carnifex (74f848)

  11. When you pick up brass after shooting, there has to have been a shooting. Got any shootings in mind?
    On the other hand, if you’re on AD training as a reservist, you can pick up spent brass. They like it turned back in because it’s worth money. But if you pocket a couple of dozen when nobody sees you, you can use them to…sell to a dealer…make candle holders…frags in a bomb….

    Richard Aubrey (cafc94)

  12. Sorry, not buying the brass as shrapnel theory. Nine millimeter casings would have too little mass to make good shrapnel and far, far better can be bought by the truck load at any Loews or Home Depot.

    Have Blue (dbbcd4)

  13. Somewhat related is this story from the UK.

    Naturally, they do this one day after I did an order with Amazon UK. (Approx. 46 dollars and immediate shipment there versus 64 dollars and wait for the official US release next month if ordered from Amazon US. I have no idea why there’s that much of a price difference.) Amazon says it’s been “despatched” via Royal Mail, so hopefully the closure won’t impact me.

    kishnevi (14ed7d)

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