Senior U.S. officials are concerned over recent intelligence indicating that the Pakistani Taliban, which orchestrated the failed Times Square bombing, may have successfully placed another operative inside the United States to launch a second attack, sources tell Fox News. Authorities, however, know very little about the potential operative or any possible plot.
“[We] don’t know who it is and don’t know where it is,” one source said. “We know the guy’s here, but don’t know anything about him.”
Based on the intelligence, authorities believe the Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, would have directed the individual to attempt another Times Square-style operation, but not necessarily in New York City.
A senior intelligence official said the threat stream’s lack of specificity makes it nearly impossible for the counterterrorism community to defend against such an attack. Any possible threat, however, does not seem to be imminent, with a senior counterterrorism official saying he was “unaware” of any “imminent threats” against the U.S. homeland.
Nevertheless, the Pakistani Taliban has been looking to make up for its previous failure. Authorities believe the subject of the latest intelligence would use “a similar mechanism” and the “same modus operandi” employed by 31-year-old Faisal Shahzad in May, mostly “because it’s easily accessible here,” as one source put it.
In the months leading up to his attack, Shahzad purchased fertilizer, propane gas, fireworks and other components from stores in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. But the bomb he ultimately built and packed inside a sport utility vehicle did not detonate properly.
If someone successfully set off such a bomb, the effects would be “devastating,” according to federal prosecutors. In June, FBI agents built and tested a device identical to Shahzad’s, except this time they made sure the bomb actually detonated.
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