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Chuck Schumer's jaws

According to the old Washington joke, the most dangerous place in America is anywhere between New York Sen. Charles Schumer (D) and a TV camera. But on May 2, the day after a failed terrorist car-bombing in Times Square, the safest place in America was between Schumer and any hard facts about what had actually happened.

Nevertheless, there he was, confidently holding forth live on CNN. According to Schumer, “the odds are quite high” that the attempted mass murder was the work of “a lone wolf.”

“Could it have been connected to some terrorist organization? Possibly. Probably not,” New York’s senior senator added. U.S. intelligence had heard no ominous "chatter on the line," Schumer observed, suggesting “that this was not part of any terrorist plot by al Qaeda or any known terrorist organization."

As we all know now, Schumer was well wide of the truth. To be sure, he hedged his pronouncements with liberal use of “this is preliminary” and “the investigation isn’t concluded.” He was reflecting briefings from the FBI and New York police, according to a spokesman. But, basically, whatever it was based on, his version of events has proven completely wrong. The alleged perpetrator, Faisal Shahzad, has confessed to training at a terrorist center of some kind in Pakistan. And, as a federal official told The Post yesterday, “a leading theory” of the case is that it was an international plot hatched by the Pakistani Taliban, a “known” terrorist group if there ever was one. It’s not as if there were no “signs” of an Islamist terror connection as of the time Schumer spoke. In fact, several hours earlier, the Pakistani Taliban had posted a video claiming credit for what it mistakenly assumed had been a successful “recent attack in the USA.”

For the life of me, I cannot understand why politicians rush to judgment like this.

Yes, it’s hard for any elected official to keep his mouth shut in a crisis. The urge to reassure the public is powerful, especially during tourist season. But have Schumer and others learned nothing from the mayor of Amity in Jaws?

It’s just a bad idea to assess such an inherently murky situation publicly before you really know what you’re talking about. Until you have the facts, the most dangerous place for you to be is in front of a camera, saying almost anything except “I don’t know.”

By Charles Lane  | May 5, 2010; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Lane  | Tags:  Charles Lane  
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Puleeze we all know most pols just love to shoot from the lip.

Posted by: snake_taylor | May 5, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Faisal Shahzad is a naturalized American citizen… not a recent or temporary visitor. This suggests he became immune to the charms of life in America, even Barack Obama's America. Another unhopeful sign for the future of integration.

Who knew Muslim immigrants to this land of opportunity… a great multi-cultural nation that elected its first black Muslim-friendly President… would after many years hate this country enough to kill innocent New Yorkers ? heck mostly liberals likely hostile to Israel even ?

Maybe if President Obama had cracked down harder on Israel ?

Its just a guess, but I don't think he was radicalized by the construction in East Jerusalem of apartment buildings for Jews. This suggests the limited relevance of the "linkage" argument.

Posted by: pvilso24 | May 5, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: barrysal | May 6, 2010 2:06 AM | Report abuse

Plenty of silliness from both sides on the failed bomber. There are discussions on when he turned planned from the start or foreclosure and worse job the trigger. Who cares! He attacked us, failed and was caught is what is important. Losing his tail boarding the plane showed deficiencies in otherwise fine work in his apprehension. So far we are a free country not needing papers to travel, so it is nearly impossible to interdict access to public areas by any president. People that travel to/from the terrorist training camp countries have not gotten the proper extra look by our spooks while nearly every homegrown terrorist has attended one. Some are turned by terrorist preaching clerics like those in Federal prisons and military appointed by the Saudi's and Hasan by Awlaki. Nowhere is this more of a problem than Pakistan with many Saudi madrassahs turning out Taliban supporters.

Posted by: jameschirico | May 6, 2010 6:26 AM | Report abuse

Your comments about Schumer are spot on, save for one omission...Schumer often refuses to allow facts to slow down his agenda.

Posted by: LawrenceofDescanso | May 6, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Senator Schumer, they hyper partisan attack dog from New York, smites with the same weapon Samson used on the Philistines.

Posted by: sailhardy | May 6, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

PLEASE! Tou're rushing pretty fast yourself, Lane. Why don't you send a memo to everyone who ever gets quoted in your paper: "Now hear this! No one (repeat NO ONE) is to make any statement without notice from me that all the facts are in." Next time if you don't have anything real to write about, skip that day and go to the beach.

Posted by: tughillb | May 6, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

To barrysal (3rd comment): I am one of those poor deluded souls who vote for Schumer any chance I get. You seem not to understand the basic principle of our system of government: He represents ME not you. If you're not a New Yorker you don't have a say in who my senator is. Didn't you go to elementary school? I live in Lewis County, the poorest and most rural county in the state. I am a proud LIBERAL DEMOCRAT who keeps informed on the issues, and I live in Real America, thank you. I live here rather than where you live because I like the people better. You can cling to your guns and your religion and I'll keep the change!

Posted by: tughillb | May 6, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Schumer is a pathetic political hack.

His lack of intelligence shows in his rapid assessment and rush to judgment that Shahzad was a lone wolf.

Has Schumer retracted his stupidity?

And CBS bemoaned that Shahzad was unhappy because he didn't achieve the American Dream.............I think he was too busy traveling to Pakistan and perfecting his terrorist activities so that he was unable to make money to afford his house.

I wonder what Chucky S would say about that.

Posted by: mlemac | May 6, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

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