New York: Terror can come cheap.
Confessed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad appears to
have financed his failed plot with a wad of USD 100 bills, but
the amount of money needed to execute the scheme was fairly
There was his plane ticket to the US from Pakistan, as
well as a return flight to the United Arab Emirates, at a cost
of less than USD 800 each way. Add to that his living
expenses, including three months rent for a Connecticut
apartment at a little less than USD 1,200 per month.
His car bomb was relatively cheap, too: USD 1,300 for a
rusting 1993 Nissan Pathfinder and the cost of some
firecrackers and tanks of gasoline and propane.
Shahzad, who seemed to have paid cash for many and maybe
all of his purchases, bought himself a Kel-Tec rifle, which
sells for around USD 400, but skimped on luxuries.
The 30-year-old slept on an air mattress in a sparsely
furnished apartment, and, according to one account, tried to
get a job at a jewellry store where he had worked as a young
Shahzad`s finances are under scrutiny, as authorities try
to learn whether he got cash from a terror group.
A law enforcement official told The Associated Press on
Thursday that investigators had identified and were looking
for a person who helped courier money to Shahzad from an
overseas source. The official spoke on condition of anonymity
because of the sensitivity of the investigation.
Matthew Levitt, a former US Treasury intelligence
official, now a senior fellow at The Washington Institute for
Near East Policy, said the fact that Shahzad paid for the car
and plane ticket in cash, sometimes using USD 100 bills, was a
The money trail, he said, may provide valuable clues as
to whether Shahzad had any help.
Yet the bombing plan, as described by authorities,
appears to have been simple enough that even a single person
or a small group with limited means could stage this sort of
Shahzad`s rent from mid-February to the start of May, his
two airline tickets, gun and vehicle purchases appear to total
less than USD 7,000. The actual bomb components- fertilizer,
propane tanks, and a few boxes of cheap firecrackers- were
even cheaper, maybe a few hundred dollars at most.
"You don`t need to have a lot of money to put together a
bomb. It`s all relative to what you want to make," said Leo W
West, a retired FBI explosives expert.