Tales from the Trail

A long slog gives way to a ‘good week’ for U.S. Justice Department

After months of trying times, U.S. Justice Department officials are walking with a little spring in their step, describing it as a “good week” after the terrorism suspect accused of trying to detonate a car bomb in the heart of New York’s busy Times Square was nabbed only two days after the failed attack.

TIMESSQUARE/The department has been under fire since last fall over issues ranging from Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to prosecute the accused plotters of the Sept. 11 attacks in the heart of Manhattan to closing the military prison at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

And when a Nigerian man was able to sneak a bomb hidden in his underwear aboard a U.S. commercial jet, the dull roar of anger became white hot rage by both Republicans and President Barack Obama’s fellow Democrats about how the administration handled the situation.

A presidential investigation was undertaken, intelligence agencies admitted they missed some clear warnings about a pending attack and who might try to carry it out, and scores of congressional hearings were called to delve into how Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab got on the plane and the response.

Republicans slammed the White House and Justice Department when details about Abdulmutallab’s interrogation leaked out — that it lasted about 50 minutes before he was wheeled into surgery and then later read his Miranda rights entitling him to remain silent and to a lawyer. He later began cooperating with authorities again.

Obama calls New York street vendor-turned-hero

USA-RIG/LEAK

 

 

 

President Barack Obama on Monday called the street vendor who may have saved the day in New York when he alerted police to a smoking vehicle. Times Square was evacuated when a failed bomb was found in the Nissan sport utility vehicle. 

Obama wanted to thank T-shirt vendor Duane Jackson for “his vigilance in alerting authorities,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters.

Jackson, a Vietnam veteran, saw the suspicious vehicle parked awkwardly across the street and told police. Authorities are looking into the possibility that the failed bomb attack could have been coordinated by people with foreign ties, according to the Washington Post.