Rupert’s Print Version of Fox News had a truly terrifying headline and lede about the failed Times Square bomber, summed up thusly: Had the bomb gone off, mass destruction would have ensued (with pictures too!):
Thankfully, it didn’t go off as planned.
A secret FBI test of a correctly made version of the Times Square bomb revealed that it “would have killed thousands of people” if it had been made to explode as terrorists had intended, law-enforcement sources told The Post yesterday.
Had he built the Times Square device the way he had originally intended to, terrorist Faisal Shahzad, would have turned his SUV and nearby vehicles into a fatal spray of razor-sharp fragments and transformed building windows into glass guillotines hurtling to the streets, cutting down hundreds of people walking by.APSecret tests show the bomb Faisal Shahzad left in Times Square…would have dwarfed the Oklahoma City blast. [...]“It would have been the biggest thing ever to happen in this country since Sept. 11,” another source said.
“It definitely would have been bigger than [the 1995] Oklahoma City” bombing of the federal building that killed 168 people, the source said. “There would have been a lot of casualties.”
“People would also have been stomped to death from running away. It would have been panic. The buildings would have been severely damaged.”
One source added: “If you look at the four corners [near the bomb] that night, there could easily be 500 people between 20 to 30 feet from the car. [...]
The results of the explosive test were sobering — showing that Shahzad was on track to becoming the biggest individual mass murderer in US history, several sources said.
Scary, bedwetting, nightmarish stuff. And just think, there are still some Americans that don’t want to pick random Muslim countries to invade and some that still have quaint qualms about torturing and indefinitely detaining random Muslims, just in case.
But, really, the story is a non-story because of this:
Shahzad’s homemade bomb — on which he substituted less effective, cheaper components for the more expensive and deadly components he had planned to use — was left in the back seat of his parked SUV in the middle of Times Square, where it smoldered but failed to detonate.
So, yeah, had the bomb gone off, not much would have happened because while he might have planned to build a really awesome super destructive bomb, he basically used “bottle rockets and Miracle-Gro.” In fact, those advanced components and high grade explosive material that the Feds substituted for their test are hard to come by, and that kind of makes all the difference in the world. From a separate article:
New York Police Department bomb experts later determined Shahzad had used a type of fertilizer that wasn’t volatile enough to explode like the ammonium nitrate grade fertilizer used in previous terrorist bombings. Kelly said Tuesday that investigators believe Shahzad purposely “dumbed down” the bomb — using the less potent fertilizer and M88 firecrackers — to avoid detection.
For the test, the officials said the investigators also used a Pathfinder but rigged it with the higher grade fertilizer and more sophisticated components. Four other vehicles were positioned around the car bomb in positions replicating cars in an adjacent traffic lane and parking spots in Times Square.
So, yeah, be afraid, be very afraid. If he had built a really lethal bomb that worked instead of the dud he patched together with bubble gum and duct tape, the bomb would have blown up a lot of people. But he didn’t because real bomb materials are hard to come by without being detected, and building it would be hard even with the right ingredients.