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NYC Bomb Attempt: Targets And Terrorists

Saturday's terrorist attempt to detonate a VBIED (Vehicle-Based Improvised Explosive Device) at Times Square in New York City is an important event. Do not dismiss it with common media coverage that includes "lone wolf" and "amateurish" language to describe the attempt. Initially wrong about the placement of the vehicle, it is clear to me that it was parked right at the northeast entrance of the Viacom building, home to - among other networks - Comedy Central, which produces and airs South Park. I'll not make the same mistake twice. Nor should you.

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I had originally made a now angering error, placing the vehicle on the far side of Broadway across the intersection from the Viacom building. As you can see from the above image and insert, that was not the case.

A more detailed analysis will follow in this space later today. But for now there are things you too should be considering.

The first is not the nature of the bomb itself, but rather who claimed responsibility: The Taliban. Thanks to The Jawa Report for laying hands on a cached version of the recording after Google took it down from YouTube. Listen and read the transcription captions.

That's not just anyone speaking. That's the Taliban's top bomb maker. The Long War Journal was the first to note the Taliban audio statement, and Bill Roggio shared the following key bits of information. Now pay attention.

Qari Hussain Mehsud, the top bomb maker for the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, said he takes "fully responsibility for the recent attack in the USA." Qari Hussain made the claim on an audiotape accompanied by images that was released on a YouTube website that calls itself the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan News Channel. The tape has yet to be verified, but US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal believe it is legitimate. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan News Channel on YouTube was created on April 30. Officials believe it was created to announce the Times Square attack, and Qari Hussain's statement was pre-recorded.

Pre-recorded. What's your sign aside from looking at the original audio file uploaded? The Taliban's Qari Hussain Mehsud fully expected the bomb to detonate and kill people within striking distance of a VBIED firebomb parked next to street vendors, in front of Viacom's front door and with tourists milling about.

The argument against Viacom as a primary target would be that Mehsud makes no reference to the South Park controversy. If this has nothing to do with South Park's quashed intent to air a depiction of Muhammed, it would be among the greatest of coincidences.

However, here's why you take the Taliban claim very seriously: While the Taliban and al-Qaeda are masters of propaganda, they rarely lie when taking credit for an attack. They may execute an attack and not claim it immediately, and they may embellish the aftermath and impact, but they rarely if ever lie about executing an attack or attempt. They're quite clear and up front.

More on this later in more organized detail.