Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad used inferior explosives to avoid detection, New York's police commissioner said Tuesday, helping to explain why an international bomb plot ended up a dud.
Commissioner Ray Kelly, speaking to the Center for National Policy, a Washington think tank, discussed his department's concerns about the changing threats of terrorism....
"He tried to lessen the explosive nature of the fertilizer that was used because he thought he would get a higher profile as he went to buy it," Mr. Kelly told reporters, adding that Mr. Shahzad "sort of dumbed that down."
Mr. Shahzad also used M-88 fireworks that were much weaker than other alternatives, Mr. Kelly said.
... Mr. Shahzad was apparently so worried about [legal] tripwires that he deliberately built a weaker, less effective bomb....
Truly, it is much more difficult to get serious explosive ingredients than it was back when I was building big fireworks in my youth. Yes, a determined terrorist can still figure out ways to construct a significant device, but the amateurs (of any political stripe) can't just build a major explosive "off the shelf" without drawing scrutiny.
And that is a good thing.