Posted at 3:09 PM ET, 08/26/2010

Hurricane Katrina through The Washington Post front pages

By Melissa Bell

Five years ago this Sunday, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. The day before the rain fell, the approaching hurricane did not make the front page of The Washington Post. The morning the storm arrived, the evacuation made it to the front page. For the next three weeks, the story dominated the paper. First came the floods, then the world witnessed the delayed response, the terror of the forced evacuations, the grisly discovery of bodies and the utter devastation across the Gulf Coast.

Walk through the first nine days after the levees broke. And then share your Katrina story with us. Where were you when the storm hit? When did you realize the real magnitude of the event? Let us know your stories here and share your photos here. We'll post some of your stories soon.


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Follow Melissa Bell on Twitter at @melissabell.

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Posted at 9:04 AM ET, 08/11/2010

Elyse Porterfield is not Jenny, the quitter with a whiteboard.

Capitalizing on incredibly opportune timing, released a series of photographs Tuesday of a girl named "Jenny" holding whiteboards that called her boss out for spending too much time playing the Facebook game Farmville and for referring to her as a "hot piece of ---" .Clipboard01.jpg

On the coattails of Steve Slater's fantastically dramatic exit out of his job as a flight attendant (cursing over the intercom, grabbing some beer and jumping the emergency slide off the plane), the photographs of Jenny burned through the web. Articles and blog posts on Slater, including two in the Washington Post, invariably mentioned Jenny's whiteboards.

But almost as quickly as people started to crow about Jenny's bold move, suspicions started to rise about the origins of the series. had previously perpetrated two other hoaxes on the Internet, one about Donald Trump leaving a huge tip and another purporting to show a mis-sent text message from a daughter to her father.

This morning, those suspicions proved true. A second series of photographs appeared on Jenny is Elyse Porterfield. She never quit her job. The whiteboards were actually her job. She's an actress in Hollywood, who is probably enjoying the sudden burst of fame.

Jenny may be a fake, but for all the fans searching for a quitting hero, Steve Slater is most definitely the real deal. The flight attendant is facing charges for trespassing, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief, though he is now out on bail.

--Melissa Bell

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Posted at 12:20 PM ET, 06/21/2010

Wimbledon update: Federer averts upset in 1st round


By Steven Wine
AP Sports writer

WIMBLEDON, England -- For Roger Federer, Wimbledon nearly ended at the beginning.

The six-time champion overcame a two-set deficit to avert a monumental first-round upset, beating Alejandro Falla 5-7, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1), 6-0.

Federer has reached the tournament final each of the past seven years, but Monday he barely survived the traditional opening match on Centre Court as defending champion.

Falla, ranked 60th, had lost all 11 sets in his previous four matches against Federer, but the Colombian played brilliant tennis to take charge of the match early. The turnaround came in the fourth set with Falla serving for the match and three points from victory, when Federer broke for only the second time.

He played his best tennis of the day after that. It was the sixth time Federer has won after trailing by two sets.

After winning the first two sets, Falla received treatment from a trainer during the next three changeovers for an upper left leg injury. But it was only when he served for the biggest victory of his career at 5-4 in the fourth set that his game unraveled.

Falla made shaky errors on the first two points, and a pair of deft forehands by Federer gave him the break. He ran away with the tiebreaker, taking advantage of four more unforced errors by Falla, and the disconsolate Colombian mustered little resistance in the final set.

There had been signs coming into the tournament that Federer might be vulnerable. He lost at the French Open this month in the quarterfinals, his earliest Grand Slam exit in six years. Then he dropped to No. 2 in the rankings behind nemesis Rafael Nadal. Then at a Wimbledon warm-up event came Federer's second grass-court defeat since 2003, extending his drought of nearly five months without a title.

But no one expected so much trouble against a 26-year-old journeyman who has yet to win a tournament. There were stretches of stunned silence from the crowd, dumbfounded by the score. Fans also roared in appreciate of Falla's frequent winners.

The match was Falla's third in the past four weeks against Federer, which at first worked to the Colombian's advantage. He kept Federer off balance by coming to the net often and made good use of crosscourt shots from the baseline.

The left-handed Falla was unfazed by Federer's serve, one of the sport's best, and repeatedly won points serving to Federer's backhand -- a tactic frequently employed by another lefty, Nadal.

Federer searched for more than two hours to find his championship form. He slipped several times on the immaculate lawn and shanked shots, hitting one forehand so wild that Falla had to leap out of the way.

Trouble for Federer began at 5-all in the first set. He had the first double-fault of the match on the opening point, then hit a poor volley and lost the next point. Falla dropped a backhand volley onto the baseline for a winner for the first service break, then served out the set.

Falla broke again for a 4-3 lead in the second set, then served out the set in a long, tense game.

Federer was 0-for-6 on breakpoint chances before putting a forehand winner on the line to close out the third set. He lost serve to start the next set, though, and found himself on the verge of defeat with Falla serving at 5-4.

Then Federer's big surge began. Barely 30 minutes later, he kissed the line with his final shot for a winner and walked to the net to give Falla a sympathetic pat on the shoulder.

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Posted at 3:39 PM ET, 06/ 3/2010

All 12 BP oil spillcams now available to view

By Garance Franke-Ruta

Responding to a request from Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), BP on Thursday expanded access to the camera feeds from the remotely operated vehicles working to stanch the flow of oil from the Macondo wellhead in the Gulf.

Where once one spillcam showed a relatively static image of oil billowing into the ocean, images of robotic underwater vehicles zipping around deep under water, dramatically waving their arms and using tools as part of the "top cap" procedure under way Thursday are now available, some even showing the same scene from a variety of different angles at once.

There are up to a dozen remotely operated vehicles in use at any given time trying to address the environmental disaster -- with names like Viking Poseidon, Enterprise and Skandi -- and while the feeds made public before now could have come from any of the ROVs, this is the first day all feeds were available to the public at the same time.

"The release of the Spillcam brought the urgency of this disaster into homes across the United States, and this new level of transparency will allow for robust, real-time information to the world," Markey said in a statement announcing the feeds, which are being hosted by the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and also on BP's website.

Watch all twelve spillcams here.

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Posted at 1:04 PM ET, 06/ 3/2010

James Cameron says 'morons' charged with fixing Gulf oil spill

Updated 4:39 p.m.
By Garance Franke-Ruta

"Avatar" and "Titanic" director James Cameron on Wednesday evening criticized those responsible for stopping the geyser of oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico and again offered the assistance of the private team of deep-sea experts with whom which he has worked on several underwater films and exploration efforts.

"Over the last few weeks I've watched, as we all have, with growing horror and heartache, watching what's happening in the Gulf and thinking those morons don't know what they're doing," Cameron said at the D: All Things Digital conference sponsored by The Wall Street Journal near Los Angeles.

Cameron developed expertise in deep sea robotic vehicles and submersibles over a period of 22 years, he said. That's led to the filming of two documentaries about the Titanic, as well as the feature film of that name, which at the time was the highest-grossing feature film ever. He also directed "The Abyss."

"Wait a minute, I know a lot of smart people in deep submergence," Cameron said he thought as the Gulf crisis deepened. "Why don't I just get all these people that I know together for a brainstorming session?"

Continue reading this post »

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Posted at 2:00 PM ET, 05/ 4/2010

Faisal Shahzad, Times Square bomb suspect in custody -- LIVE UPDATES

Related stories: "Times Square bomb suspect cooperating with authorities, Holder says"; "N.Y. plot brings the politics of terrorism to the forefront"; "The Times Square arrest and the politics of national security"; "Times Square bombing attempt reveals limits of video surveillance."

7:16 p.m. Pakistan Taliban claim being "reconsidered"
As investigators focused on the Pakistan Taliban, law enforcement officials said they were "reconsidering" a purported claim of responsibility by the group in a video posted early Sunday on YouTube, and one later that night showing its commander, Hakimullah Mehsud, promising to launch attack in the United States.

A U.S. official briefed Tuesday said the videos' origins were under investigation. Evan F. Kohlmann, a terrorism consultant at Flashpoint Global Partners who monitors terrorist Internet communications, said the videos were uploaded by a user known as "Tehreeketaliban," apparently a play on the group Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan's official name, who engaged commentors in English and referred to the videos' English-subtitles.

Kohlmann said the user's postings "sounded like someone who's a political" operative trying to expand the group's outreach in the United States and English-speaking countries.
--Spencer S. Hsu

6:01 p.m., Updated 6:14 p.m. Court appearance delayed
Faisal Shahzad's initial appearance in U.S. District Court, scheduled for Tuesday, was postponed until Thursday, at the earliest. The U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan had said Shahzad would appear Tuesday; the reason for the delay was not explained. Privately, U..S. officials said the suspect was continuing to cooperate with authorities.

4:30 p.m. United State of America vs. Faisal Shahzad
Read the legal complaint here. The complaint states that after he was captured Shahzad "admitted that he had recently received bomb-making training in Waziristan, Pakistan."

3:47 p.m.; Updated 4:45, 7:07 p.m. Did the no-fly list catch Shahzad -- or not?
Who stopped Faisal Shahzad from leaving America?

An American law enforcement official and a source close to the United Arab Emirates government, which owns the Emirates airline on which Shahzad purchased a last-minute ticket, said that while his name was added to the no-fly list mid-day Monday, that did not stop him from boarding the flight.

The UAE source said Emirates alerted Customs and Border Protection authorities about Shahzad because its systems flagged him for making a reservation on his way to the airport and paying cash for his ticket.

A law enforcement official contradicted that account. The official said that although an electronic notice about Shahzad's no-fly status had been sent to airlines, the information had not yet been processed in Emirates' computer system to the point where it would have triggered an automated alert.

"It was not by merit of airline notification," the official said, adding that the airline's call was not made until 1:30 a.m., after Shahzad's arrest.

A senior administration official blamed a "breakdown" by the airline, for not updating its computer systems to put Shahzad in their sites before he showed up at the airport at about 7:35 p.m.

"If the Emirates airlines had done what they were supposed to do, they would have flagged him," the administration official said.

CBP officers discovered Shahzad's presence not from Emirates, but in the course of making routine checks, the law enforcement official said. International airlines submit passenger manifests to CBP in batches before departure to compare with government watch lists. At 10:40 p.m., Emirate sent over a list including Shahzad's name, and CBP found a lookout for him in its systems based on his nomination to the no-fly list, leading to a race to the gate.

But the plane door shut before the agents could get on board to retrieve him. That happened at 11:02 p.m., just before the plane was going to push back from the gate.

Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-Maine), ranking member of the Senate homeland security committee, said Shahzad's ability to board the plane "raised a key question as far as our ability to assess whether the system worked."

"If he was put on the no-fly list before he arrived at the airport, then he never should have been allowed to board the plane in the first place," Collins said. While pressing the administration for details, Collins added, however, "It's evident to me in contrast to the [Christmas Day bombing attempt by Umar Farouk] Abdulmutallab case, there was much better coordination this time at the federal level between our intelligence agencies and our law enforcement agencies."

U.S. and UAE sources also corrected earlier accounts of where and when Shahzad was apprehended. He was apprehended while the plane was parked at the gate, but after the door had been closed and the jetbridge pulled away. The UAE source and the law enforcement official said CBP officials called to pull the jetway back up and Shahzad was removed. The plane then pushed back from the gate, but was called back again and two additional passengers deemed persons of interest were taken off. The passengers were cleared for subsequent travel, the law enforcement official said.
--Spencer S. Hsu

3:33 p.m. Gun left at airport purchased by Shahzad; Updated 4:01, 4:36 p.m.
Sources say the gun left in a white Isuzu driven by Times Square attack suspect Faisal Shahzad to John F. Kennedy International Airport has been traced to a purchase Shahzad made at Valley Firearms in Shelton, Conn., in March. The gun was a 9mm Keltec Rifle.
--Sari Horwitz

3:05 p.m. Shahzad loved yardwork; his wife, shopping
SHELTON, Conn. -- One of Faisal Shahzad's former neighbors described him as a pleasant family man who enjoyed taking care of his yard and playing with his two daughters.

"He loved to work in his yard. His grass was always neat. He was always outside with his daughters," said the teen-aged neighbor, who identified herself only as the daughter of Brenda Thurman.

The teen said Shahzad left Shelton every morning for work shortly after 6 a.m. in a suit and would return around 3:30 p.m. Shahzad told her he worked on Wall Street.

The teen said Shahzad told her his wife didn't speak English. But after Shahzad moved out last year -- two months before his wife -- the teen discovered she did in fact speak English.

Shahzad's wife sometimes wore a veil and traditional robes, other times more typical American clothing, the girl said. The wife was a full-time homemaker, she said.

"They loved to shop. The only time she drove was when they went to shop" for clothes, the teen said.
--Mary Beth Sheridan

2:49 p.m. Cousin: Shahzad "has no connections with any militant groups"
PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- At the Shahzad family house in the village of Mohib Banda, two men who identified themselves as Shahzad's cousins said his father is a retired Vice Air Marshal named Bahar ul-Haq, and that the father and other relatives live in the large northwest Pakistan city of Peshawar.

One cousin, Sari ul-Haq, 45, said Shahzad had visited the village about six months ago for a wedding ceremony. He said Shahzad was not accompanied by his wife or children at the wedding and did not know where they live.

The cousin expressed disbelief that Shahzad was behind the bombing. "He is a simple man. He has no connections with any militant groups," Sari ul-Haq said.
--Haq Nawaz Khan

2:00 p.m. GOP revives 'Miranda' debate in wake of Times Square bombing arrest
After new broke late Monday that federal authorities had arrested Faisal Shahzad in connection with Saturday's botched car bombing in New York's Times Square, congressional Republicans wasted no time in reviving the debate on whether to read Miranda rights to a terror suspect. The Miranda issue rose to prominence in the aftermath of the failed attempt to blow up an airliner on Christmas Day. It was reported that the suspect, Omar Farouk Abdulmutallab, stopped providing information after he was read his rights following 50 minutes of interrogation.

In remarks Tuesday morning, President Obama did not say when Shahzad was read his Miranda rights. In a news conference at the Justice Department, Deputy FBI Director John Pistole said Shahzad was initially interrogated by the FBI under the "public safety exception to the Miranda rule" and provided "valuable" intelligence and evidence. Pistole said Shahzad was later Mirandized and "continued to cooperate and provide valuable information." Pistole declined to say how long Shahzad was in custody before he was Mirandized.

Continue reading reaction from politicians to the Miranda rules debate»
--Matt DeLong

1:57 p.m. Shahzad not often seen at Bridgeport mosque
Worshipers at Bridgeport's main mosque, Masjid an-Noor, said Shahzad did not worship there regularly.

"This guy, I've never seen him," said the imam, Sheikh Hasan Abu-Mar.

He said he couldn't rule out that Shahzad may have turned up a few times to pray. "There come to our mosque about 1,000 people. You think I can remember everyone here?" He added that the man's alleged act was against the mosque's teachings of "peace and love."

If mosque leadership had learned of anyone planning a violent act, "we''ll kick him out," the imam said.

One worshiper added: "Nobody knew him. We see him on TV. Everyone's surprised." The man declined to give his name.
--Mary Beth Sheridan

1:55 p.m. Politico: Audio of pilot and air traffic control at JFK Airport as plane is recalled

Audio of air traffic controllers and pilots for Emirates 202 departing from John F. Kennedy International Airport was posted on YouTube by a pseudonymous user Tuesday. The audio was confirmed by Politico with, which provides aviation audio feeds to air travel enthusiasts.

"Actually, I have a message for you to go back to the gate immediately so make the left turn when able," the female controller tells the pilots of Emirates flight 202, according to the YouTube.

The pilots begin to comply when she repeats her command.

"Two-zero-two, make the left turn onto echo, left alpha back to the ramp -- I don't know exactly why but you can call your company for the reason," the flight controller said.

"We're trying to figure out what's going on here right now," added another voice, from Emirates airlines. "But as far as we know I'd like to request you to keep the flight plan open right now."

Citing an anonymous U.S. government official, the Associated Press reported today that Shahzad "made his flight reservation on the way to the airport and paid for his ticket in cash."

He was taken into custody after boarding his plane at Kennedy airport.

1:24 p.m. Suspect first attended college in Washington, D.C.
Faisal Shahzad transferred to the University of Bridgeport, Conn., in the spring of 1999 from Southeastern University in the District, UB tells The Post's Peter Finn.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Faisal Shahzad was granted an F-1 student visa in December 1998.

1:06 p.m. Time: Suspect may have been at training camp in Pakistan
Time magazine cites an anonymous Pakistani government source as saying that Faisal Shahzad had ties with militants while in Pakistan. "He was here at a training camp," the source told Time. The report has not been confirmed.

1:01 p.m. AP: Fireworks box removed from Shahzad home

Law enforcement and FBI agents remove evidence from a house in Bridgeport, Conn., Tuesday, May 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The Associated Press reports:

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Federal investigators at the home of the Times Square bombing suspect have removed a fireworks box among other evidence at the property in Bridgeport, Conn.
The box is labeled "Silver Salutes." Those fireworks are similar to the M88s authorities say were found among containers of gasoline and other materials left in an SUV meant to explode in New York City on Saturday night.

12:50 p.m. Neighbor saw Shahzad driving SUV Thursday
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Dozens of police in blue uniforms swarmed around Sheridan St. in Bridgeport Tuesday morning, one of Faisal Shahzad's last addresses. Police had closed off the street of with yellow emergency tape as federal agents removed items from the home overnight.

Luz Caban, 18, who said she lived across the street from Shahzad's home, described him as almost an invisible presence.

"Nobody ever came out of the house," she said. She had assumed it was empty in part because of the "For Rent" sign out front.

In the nearly three months Caban had lived on the street, she said, she had only seen Shahzad once. It was on Thursday, when he was pulling out in the blue SUV.

"I was like, who's that?" she said.

She added: "When I seen the news, I was like, 'Oh my God, it's the same car I saw behind the house.'"

She described the neighborhood as a mix of Puerto Rican, African American and Mexican residents, plus an Indian family.

FBI search a house where Faisal Shahzad lived in Bridgeport, Conn., Tuesday, May 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Salsa tunes blared from an auto shop around the corner from Shahzad's home as police and TV crews milled around. His home is cream-colored with white trim. Some homes on street filled with three-story houses looked rundown; his was in better condition.
--Mary Beth Sheridan

12:45 p.m. Terrorism questions and answers.
Gary Ackerman, a terrorism expert at the Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, answered reader questions live online Tuesday. Evan F. Kohlmann, at terrorism consultant, with Flashpoint Partners answered reader questions Monday.

12:16 p.m. Two arrested in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD -- An intelligence official who was not authorized to speak on the record said two arrests had been made in Karachi in connection with the bombing attempt. One arrested is named Tausif Ahmed, and he is believed to have traveled to the United States recently to meet with Faisal Shahzad, according to this official. The official did not have the other's name. Ahmed was arrested in a busy commercial neighborhood called Gulshan-e-Iqbal.

Pakistani television stations are reporting that as many as five other connected people may have been arrested in the central industrial city of Faisalabad, but those reports are not confirmed.

Shahzad hails from Pabbi, the main town of Nowshera District in the northwest, near Peshawar, according to Interior Minister Rehman Malik.
--Karin Brulliard

12:00 p.m. CBS sources: Several people in custody in Pakistan
Citing anonymous sources, CBS News is reporting that "multiple people have been taken into custody for questioning in Pakistan in connection with the Times Square bomb plot" after raids in the South Asian nation Monday night and Tuesday morning. Between four and eight people were believed to be being held at undisclosed locations, the network reports, "and there are reports that some of them may be related to the suspect arrested overnight in New York."

11:45 a.m. Obama calls New York police officers, vendors
"Following his call to Duane Jackson yesterday, the president this morning made calls to Lance Orton and Officers Wayne Rhatigan and Pam Duffy to thank them for their vigilance," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement Tuesday morning.

Vendors Orton and Jackson first reported the suspicious SUV to police. Officers Rhatigan and Duffy were the first responders on the scene and evacuated the area. You can read Post reporter Keith Richburg's profile of Jackson here.

11:35 a.m. Faisal Shahzad's former house for sale

Screen shot of an online ad for Shahzad's former home in Shelton, Conn. His last known residence was in Bridgeport, Conn. The house can be toured online at Habitat Boom.

11:24 a.m. Obama: "We will not be terrorized. We will not cower in fear. We will not be intimidated."

President Obama pledged that federal agencies would work aggressively to determine whether the suspect in what he called an "attempted terrorist attack" had any connection to terrorist groups.

In a speech to business leaders in Washington, Obama said, "Justice will be done, and we will continue to do everything in our power to protect the American people." He called the Times Square incident "another sobering reminder of the times in which we live" and said terrorists "will stop at nothing to kill and disrupt our way of life."

Obama hailed New York's first responders, saying that their "quick thinking may have saved hundreds of lives."

He said, "New Yorkers have reminded us once again how to live with their heads held high.... As Americans and as a nation, we will not be terrorized. We will not cower in fear. We will not be intimidated."
--William Branigin

11:11 am. Shahzad was a 2001 graduate of the University of Bridgeport reports:

BRIDGEPORT -- Faisal Shahzad, the man charged in the attempted bombing in Times Square, is a 2001 graduate of the University of Bridgeport and had lived at multiple addresss in Fairfield and New Haven counties.

Shahzad, who will appear in federal court in Manhattan Tuesday, graduated from UB in May 2001 with a bachelors of science degree. His parents had traveled to Bridgeport from Pakistan to attend his graduation. When Shahzad's name was called, his father proudly whispered, "that's him."
Records also show that Shahzad has lived in the region since May 2001 including addresses in Milford, Norwalk, Bridgeport and Shelton.

The paper also adds details on his real estate dealings:

In Shelton, Shahzad bought a house at 119 Long Hill Ave. in 2004 and took out a $218,400 mortgage from Chase Home Finance. In February 2009, he obtained a $65,000 home equity loan from Wachovia bank and seven months both banks began foreclosure.

11 a.m. Obama on Shahzad arrest
President Obama is expected to address the arrest of Faisal Shahzad in connection with the attempted Saturday night car bombing of Times Square during remarks to the Business Council this morning.

10:55 a.m. Shahzad was booked to fly to Pakistan
Richard Mintz, a spokesman for the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Washington, said Faisal Shahzad was booked to fly to Islamabad on Emirates Airlines, which is owned by the UAE. He was to travel on Flight 202 to Dubai, then change planes and fly on to the Pakistani capital.

Shahzad had flown to Pakistan through Dubai before on Emirates Airlines, but UAE officials have no records showing that he ever passed through customs in the United Arab Emirates or stayed there for any length of time, Mintz said.

Officials from the Persian Gulf nation are working with U.S. authorities who are retracing Shahzad's steps, to see if Shahzad ever entered the UAE on a passport other that the one he was using when he was arrested late Monday.
--Debbi Wilgoren

10:50 a.m. Bloomberg: No bias, no backlash -- and lots of work to do.

A photo from the social networking site shows a man identified by neighbors in Connecticut as Faisal Shahzad.(AP Photo/

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) told reporters Tuesday that "there is still plenty of work to do" following the arrest of a suspect in Saturday's attempted car bombing in Times Square, but he expressed confidence that the New York Police Department and the FBI "will fully unravel this case and bring the guilty to justice."

In a news conference. Bloomberg said, "This was an act that was designed to kill innocent civilians and strike fear into the hearts of Americans." However, he pointed to the crowds of people who have continued to flock to Times Square as evidence that New Yorkers are unafraid. "We will not be intimidated," he said.

Referring to the arrest of Faisal Shahzad, 30, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Pakistan, Bloomberg added that "we will not tolerate any bias or backlash against any Pakistani or Muslim New Yorkers." He said New York remains proud of its reputation as a city where people of all faiths can practice their religion and where "people from every part of the world live in the same neighborhoods."

He also strongly praised the police and firefighters who responded to the scene of the attempted car bombing, saying they acted professionally in evacuating the area and eliminating the threat from the smoking vehicle while also preserving evidence.

"They knew not to apply water or any other extinguishing agent" but let the bomb squad do its work, Bloomberg said.
--William Branigin

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Posted at 2:13 PM ET, 11/ 6/2009

Shooting at Fort Hood: Live updates

By Garance Franke-Ruta

5:27 p.m. Members of Hasan's mosque speak about Fort Hood shooting

Members and leaders of the Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring, where Maj. Nidal M. Hasan used to pray, speak out the day after the tragedy. They describe him as a devout Muslim, quiet but friendly. (Anna Uhls / The Washington Post)

4:17 p.m. Friday night lights
There will be a large candlelight prayer vigil for the victims of the Fort Hood shooting Friday night at Fort Hood Stadium at 6 p.m. (CST). It will be led by Army chaplains, according to reports.

3:21 p.m. President issues proclamation "Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy at Fort Hood, Texas."
The White House released a proclamation on the tragedy at Fort Hood formally ordering flags flown at half-staff "at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, Tuesday, November 10, 2009."

"Our Nation's thoughts and prayers are with the service members, civilians, and families affected by the tragic events at Fort Hood, Texas. The brave victims, who risked their lives
to protect their fellow countrymen, serve as a constant source of strength and inspiration to all Americans. We ask God to watch over the fallen, the wounded, and all those who are
suffering at this difficult hour," the president said in the proclamation.

The order came as the president was scheduled to be visiting the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the District.

3:01 p.m. Army Secretary: "The Army family is strong."
Declaring, "this is a time for the Army family to stand together. This is a time for Army strong to mean what it says," Army Secretary John M. McHugh sought to reassure his forces Friday afternoon during a news conference in Fort Hood, Tex.

Standing at his side was Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the Army chief of staff, who said, "I'll tell you candidly, this was a kick in the gut."

"Unfortunately over the past eight years, our Army has been no stranger to tragedy," Gen. Casey told reporters, "but we are an Army that draws strength from adversity." The stories of courage and heroism in response to the shooting at Fort Hood made him proud, he said.

"This is going to take a while," he warned of the investigation, but said that "the full resources of the Army and the Department of Defense are behind the men and women of the Fort Hood community."

"We take care of our own. We will grieve as a family and we will maintain our focus on our missions around the world," Gen. Casey said.

Gen. Casey also said he did not believe the shooting would have any operational impacts and, in response to a question, that the size of the force was an issue in the shooting. The Army is 70,000 soldiers larger than it was five years ago, he noted.

2:36 p.m. A moment of silence
The U.S. military mourned the victims at Fort Hood with a moment of silence lasting several minutes.

2:29 p.m. Hasan gave belongings to neighbor Tuesday night
Chris Vaugh of the McClatchy Newspapers provides some further details about Maj. Hasan's gifts to his neighbors the night before allegedly going on a shooting rampage at the Army post at Fort Hood:

On Tuesday night, he knocked on his next door neighbor's apartment, a woman who identified herself only as Patricia, and gave her a Spanish version of the Quran.

"I told him, I'm Hispanic but I don't read Spanish," she said.

When he came back Wednesday morning to give her one in English, he noticed her rather bare apartment.

He gave her three bags of vegetables from his refrigerator, a set of bookshelves and two sitting chairs.

"He said he was going to give them to the Salvation Army when he saw that I needed them," she said. "He seemed so kind."

"'I said, where are you leaving to?' He said, 'I'm leaving to Afghanistan'" Patricia said she could not believe this was the same man who is accused of killing 13 fellow soldiers and wounding 29 at Fort Hood Thursday afternoon.

Hasan, who was shot by police during his rampage, remained hospitalized.

"It shocked me because he was so nice to me," she said.

2:10 p.m. Law enforcement investigation into online posts ongoing
A federal source speaking on condition of anonymity because of the unfolding nature of the investigation confirmed that authorities seized the alleged perpetrator's computer and are performing routine tests on it. They continue to investigate whether the shooter was the author of the disturbed Internet posting described by the AP last night, as one of the many facets of the unfolding investigation.

The alleged Texas shooter was not the subject or target of a preexisting law enforcement investigation but he had come onto the radar in part because of the web postings, the source added.

On scene at the site in Texas are the FBI's evidence response team, its shooting reconstruction team, and agents from San Antonio, Austin and Waco with more on the way. The bureau's Washington field office has been interviewing colleagues, neighbors and other contacts of the alleged shooter in the D.C. area. The Post's Derek Kravitz also reports that FBI agents were at Virginia Tech, the suspect's alma mater.

Authorities are far from settling on a motive and suggest it could be a long haul as they must track down all of the witnesses to the shooting and confront possible challenges related to doctor-patient confidentiality and privacy rights and other issues with a live, rather than a dead, alleged perpetrator. It will be a "methodical" investigation, the source added.
--Carrie A. Johnson

1:28 p.m. Hasan was to deploy with behavioral health unit
The Army has confirmed that Maj. Nidal Hasan was on active duty and preparing to
deploy to Afghanistan as an individual augmentee. Hasan was "deploying to
provide behavioral health assistance with a combat stress reserve unit," said Army spokesman Lt. Col. Lee Packnett.
--Ann Scott Tyson

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Posted at 1:49 PM ET, 11/ 6/2009

A friend from the mosque recalls Hasan

By William Wan
Ezeddine Benyedder was one of the few people at the Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring, Md., who grew to be close to Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan during his time at the Mosque. He spoke with The Post as he was walking into the mosque for noon prayers.

Benyedder, 51 and also of Silver Spring, said there were no signs of anger or frustration from Hasan during his years at the mosque. But after he heard about what Hasan is alleged to have done, his mind turned back to a presentation Hasan gave to a few Muslim brothers in the library of the community center. It was a computer presentation that Hasan had been preparing to give to his superiors in the Army, but he wanted to ask his Muslim brothers for advice before delivering it.

Part of the presentation included the argument that the Army should release a soldier from duty if his religion prevented him from fulling acts ordered by the Army.

"He showed me this presentation on a CD, asking our our opinion, 'Is this okay? Is this right?'" said Benyedder.

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Posted at 10:18 AM ET, 11/ 6/2009

Shooting at Fort Hood: Day two

1:22 p.m. Two civilian officers shot Hasan
By Greg Jaffe
FORT HOOD, Texas -- It took police about four minutes to arrive at the scene of the shooting after the 911 call, said Col. John Rossi, a deputy commander at the base.

Sgt. Kimberly Munley and Mark Todd, both of whom are Army civilian police, arrived at the scene of the shooting as Hasan was fleeing the the building, said an officer who witnessed the shooting. Hasan fired his weapon, hitting Munley in the thigh.

Hasan began to fumble with his gun. "He's reloading," someone screamed, according to an officer on the scene.

As he was reloading, Todd and Munley both fired their weapons, downing Hasan, said Rossi.

An officer on the scene stripped off his belt and used it as a tourniquet to stem the bleeding from Munley's thigh.

By Garance Franke-Ruta

12:43 p.m. Hasan, before the shooting
CNN reports on video of Maj. Nidal Hasan captured by a convenience store camera early on the morning of the shooting:

12:33 p.m Obama to attend service for the slain
Scott Wilson reports: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama will attend a memorial service at Fort Hood for those killed in the shooting, once one is scheduled.

12:03 p.m. Obama orders flags flown at half-staff
Speaking at the Rose Garden on Friday, President Obama expressed condolences for the victims of Thursday's deadly attack at Fort Hood and their family members, reports The Post's Scott Wilson.

"We don't know all of the answers yet, and I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all of the facts," Obama said. "What we do know is that their families, friends and an entire nation are grieving right now for the valiant men and women who came under attack yesterday in one of the worst mass shootings ever to take place on an American military base."

President Obama makes a statement about the shootings in Fort Hood, Tex., in the Rose Garden of the White House. (Jason Reed/Reuters)

He said he has ordered the American flag at the White House and all federal buildings to be flown at half-staff until Veterans Day as "a modest tribute" to those who lost their lives as many of them were willing to risk their own lives on missions to wars being fought overseas. "We honor their service and we stand in awe of their sacrifice, and we pray for the safety of those who fight and the families of those who have fallen," Obama said.

Obama also said he met Friday morning with FBI Director Robert S. Mueller for an update on the Fort Hood investigation.

11:53 a.m. More details emerge about shooting and its aftermath
The Post's Greg Jaffe and Rick Rojas report from Fort Hood, Tex.:
In the U.S., all military weapons are locked in arms rooms. Hasan used his own personal handguns in the shooting. Soldiers are permitted to keep privately owned weapons on base as long as they register them. It isn't clear whether Hasan registered his handguns, Army officials said. Soldiers aren't searched as they leave or enter base.

Shots rang out at the readiness center for as long as 30 minutes, said soldiers, who described the fire as continuous, methodical and well aimed. When the shooting stopped, Hasan was carried out and laid on the ground in front of the center with some of the other severely wounded.

Medics pulled off his camouflage top and began to treat his wounds, said Sgt. Andrew Hagerman, a military police soldier at the scene. Hasan and three other badly wounded soldiers were flown by helicopter immediately to the main hospital in nearby Temple, Tex.

Initially, soldiers loaded their wounded colleagues, some of whom had been shot multiple times, into cars and sped them to the hospital about one mile away.

"It was very moving. They were carrying their wounded buddies into the emergency room," said Janet DiPalma, a nurse at the facility. Some troops had ripped off their camouflage tops and even fashioned T-shirts into makeshift bandages and tourniquets, said Sgt. Howard Appleby, who had gone to the hospital to meet with a psychiatrist for PTSD and quickly found himself helping with the wounded.

"It was just like being back in Iraq," he said.

Many of the doctors and nurses at the hospital had served in Iraq and had dealt with similar mass casualty attacks.

Most of the wounded had been shot two or three times in the chest, stomach or neck, said Maj. Stephen Beckwith, a doctor at Fort Hood. "I was in Iraq for 15 months. When you are in Iraq you are prepared for this to happen."

Several of the wounded soldiers lay on their stretchers and prayed. Others asked for cellphones to call their spouses and let them know they were wounded. "It was a lot of rounds fired," said Beckwith. "It was hard to imagine one person did all that shooting."

11:48 a.m. No problems with care Hasan gave
The Post's Greg Jaffe and Rick Rojas report from Fort Hood, Tex.:
The deputy commander for clinical services at Fort Hood, who was Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's boss, said that he went through a peer review in which his fellow doctors found no fault with the care he was providing.

"He was a dedicated hard-working provider who did really care for his patients," said Col. Kimberly Kesling, the deputy commander. "Sometimes people have demons we don't know about and make bad choices. ... People who take care of people with problems can develop problems of their own. "

11:15 a.m. The Facebook outpouring of support begins
A Facebook group has already popped up in support of the civilian Army police officer who stopped the rampage at Fort Hood. "Sgt. Kimberly Munley: A Real American Hero!" has 150 members.

"She is in the hospital recovering from her wounds. We can all leave her messages of gratitude along with 'get well' wishes on this page. Let us keep her as well as all those involved in our prayers!" write the group's administrators.

Sgt. Kimberly Munley (Getty Images/Twitter)

Another group, "God Bless SGT Kimberly Munley," is aggregating information about the wounded Fort Hood officer -- and growing rapidly.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to SGT Kimberly Munley...I personaly feel that this brave and courageous Officer deservs the highest honor that can be bestowed on a civillan...God blees you SGT Kimberly Munley and best wishes for a full and speedy recovery..." wrote Mark Campbell on the group's wall.

11:00 a.m.,11:26 a.m. Her name is Kimberly Munley
Last night, we heard the story of a heroic female police officer who returned fire on the suspected gunman and stopped his rampage. Today, we learn her name.

Fort Hood police Sgt. Kimberly Munley and her partner responded within three minutes of the report of gunfire, Lt. Gen. Robert Cone told reporters Friday. Munley shot the gunman four times, despite being shot herself, Cone said. She was in stable condition on Friday. "It was an amazing and an aggressive performance," Cone said.

CNN has a picture of her here; Cone identified her on CNN's "American Morning," below.

10:21 a.m. Suspect's apartment searched, computer seized
The Associated Press is reporting that "Federal authorities have seized the suspected Fort Hood shooter's computer" and that "Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's apartment in Killeen, Texas, was searched early Friday."

Earlier, KKXV News Channel 25 in Texas reported that "the bomb squad arrived just after 10:00 p.m. Thursday evening" at Hasan's apartment. "They examined the apartment using a bomb-defusing robot. Soon after, the all clear was given and detectives swarmed the apartment. Neighbors told News Channel 25 that Thursday Morning, Hasan was giving away all of his furniture and copies of the Qu' ran. They said Hasan was supposed to deploy in the coming days."

10:15 a.m. Obama will deliver Rose Garden remarks, visit Walter Reed
President Obama is scheduled to deliver remarks in the Rose Garden at 11:30 a.m. Eastern, The Post's Scott Wilson reports. White House aides said his topic will be the unemployment numbers, but they said he might also address the situation at Fort Hood.

President Obama will visit Walter Reed Army Medical Center Friday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. Eastern.

8:43 a.m. Did suspect shout "Allahu akbar"?
Matt Lauer spoke with Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, the commanding officer at Fort Hood, Friday morning on NBC's "Today" show about the shooting rampage that killed 13 people and wounded 30 others at the Texas military base.

Cone, the base commander, was asked whether the gunman yelled "Allahu Akhbar," or "God is great," as he was shooting. Cone said, "There are firsthand accounts here from soldiers that are similar to that."

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Posted at 9:44 AM ET, 11/ 6/2009

Relative of Fort Hood victim: He's 'in a lot of pain'

We are starting to receive reports from victims' conditions, from family members. Here's the latest, from reporter Ed O'Keefe:

Jamie Casteel, mother-in-law of victim Matthew Cooke, 30, said, "All we know is that he's awake, and alert and in a lot of pain." Matthew's wife, Sarah, saw him last evening, Casteel said.

"All I know is that they're still screening who goes into the hospital, and [Sarah is] it so far," for visitors to see Cooke, Casteel said.

Cooke returned from his second tour of duty in Iraq in April, and was transferred to Fort Hood in August. The Cookes live off-base. Cooke was at the Readiness Station on Thursday for a blood test, Casteel said. His unit will deploy again to Iraq in January, but Cooke is not expected to head there until March or April, she said.

Casteel drove to the hospital last evening from her home in Oklahoma.

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