Not long ago, a bomb attack on New York City’s Times Square would have had intelligence officials and terrorism experts checking off the usual suspects among the sources of terrorist plots against the U.S. — Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq. But these days, says a top counterterrorism official, “when I hear of a terrorist plot, I can count back from 10, and before I get to zero, someone will bring up the P word.”
That’s P for Pakistan.
Over the past couple of years, more plots against U.S. targets have emanated from or had a strong connection to Pakistan than any other country. Says the counterterrorism official, who was briefed on the hunt for the Times Square bomber but is not authorized to speak with the media: “It was totally predictable that the smoking Pathfinder would lead to someone with Pakistan in his past.”