Two lapses allowed Times Square bombing suspect to board plane

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Washington, May 5 (ANI): There were at least two significant lapses in the security response of the U.S. Government, which allowed Faisal Shahzad, the main accused in the Times Square bombing attempt to board an Emirates flight to Dubai from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport.

According to the New York Post, officials of the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies said Shahzad came close to making his escape.

In the first instance, an F.B.I. surveillance team found Shahzad in Connecticut and then lost track of him. It is not clear for how long. As a result, investigators did not know he was planning to fly abroad until a final passenger list was sent to officials at the federal Customs and Border Protection agency minutes before takeoff.

In addition, Emirates Airline failed to act on an electronic message at midday on Monday notifying all airlines to check the no-fly list for an important added name, the officials said.

That meant lost opportunities to flag him when he made a reservation and paid for his ticket in cash several hours before departure.

Top Obama administration officials and some members of Congress on Tuesday praised the government's handling of the investigation, noting that Shahzad was identified, tracked and arrested before he could escape.

But Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said: "Clearly the guy was on the plane and shouldn't have been. We got lucky."

Senator Susan M. Collins Maine, said: "A key question for me is why this suspect was allowed to board the plane in the first place. There appears to be a troubling gap between the time they had his name and the time he got on the plane."

An Emirates spokeswoman, who said she was not allowed to speak on the record, declined to comment on the claims by government officials that the airline had neglected to recheck the no-fly list.

"Emirates takes every necessary precaution to ensure the safety and well-being of its passengers and crew and regrets the inconvenience caused," the airline said in a statement. (ANI)

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