Taliban Claim Responsibility for Binghamton Shootings

On Tuesday, Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud responded to a $5 million reward for his arrest by threatening terrorist attacks in America.  “You can’t imagine how we could avenge this threat inside Washington, inside the White House,” Reuters quoted him as saying.  Today, he’s claiming responsibility for yesterday’s shooting spree in Binghamton, New York.

The diminutive Mehsud is considered the prime suspect in the murder of Benazir Bhutto and he’s taken seriously.  But most are skeptical. of this latest claim.

U.S. officials were not immediately available for comment about Mehsud’s claim, but Pakistani security analysts dismissed it as a publicity stunt.  The New York Times quoted representative Maurice Hinchey, whose district includes the town of Binghamton in New York state where the shooting took place, as saying indications were the gunman was an immigrant from Vietnam.

I suppose anything’s possible but it strains credulity that a Pashtun tribal leader has a network that includes Vietnamese immigrants in upstate New York.

Photo credit: The Sun

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    First of all, let’s look at what we know about the individual and see what fits.

    I live about three hours out of Binghamton. I’ve worked in that market, and still have contacts in the region. Suffice it to say, my sources of news are possibly more effective than what some of you have to bring to bear, on this one.

    My understanding of the situation (As of Friday Night at least):

    The guy just got laid off from his job at IBM. That much we know We also know he’s from Vietnam.

    Here’s where speculation… and I admit that’s what this is… comes into play.

    From what I know of his work history, (he’s moved around rather a lot over the years, Los Angeles was one of a few stops along his trajectory) it seems likely he’s here on some kind of a work permit, possibly an H1B. when he got laid off, by definition, the H1B expired, as well. He was about to be sent back to Vietnam.

    If he can’t have citizenship, well, neither can the rest of these poor sots. Boom.

    Again, that’s speculation. But, it does rather neatly fit the known facts.

    -=-=-=

    Now, as to he Pashtun, let me remind the reader of the many attacks on Israel by various groups… where for every bombing there’s at least a half dozen groups and usually more, claiming to be responsible for the attack, trying to better their own fortune and prestige in the terrorist world. This claim seems a page from that book.

    It does interest me, however, that such an individual would have the information about the attack that quickly. Unless Satellite equipped TV’s are more the norm than I know in that region, that seems a question worth some research.

  2. DavidL says:

    I too consider it unlikely that Baitullah Mehsud was responsible for the Binghamton murders. It really would not make a lot of sense.

    However on the the other hand, I am not opposed to taking Mehsud at his word. Allowing people to take credit for attacks on our country is simply not in our national security interest. So as Mehsud admits guilt, I am in favoring treating him as if he were guilty. Dropping a Mk-82 down his chimney would be an apt response. Then he will no be in position to take credit for killing Americans.

  3. Pug says:

    For his next trick Baitullah Mehsud will take responsibility for the sub-prime mortgage disaster.

  4. sam says:

    @DavidL

    So as Mehsud admits guilt, I am in favoring treating him as if he were guilty. Dropping a Mk-82 down his chimney would be an apt response. Then he will no be in position to take credit for killing Americans.

    That’s not a bad idea, you know.

  5. sam says:

    @Bit

    It does interest me, however, that such an individual would have the information about the attack that quickly. Unless Satellite equipped TV’s are more the norm than I know in that region, that seems a question worth some research.

    Jesus, Bit, what are you driving at? I know it may come as a surprise to you, but we do have, ah whatayacallit, oh yeah, global mass communications now. I hear it’s near instantaneous, too.

  6. Bithead says:

    What you’re missing here, sam, is the money factor. You and I spend more on our comms… internet and whatnot, in a month than most of the folks in the Pashtun region make in six.

  7. sam says:

    Uh, let me go out on a limb here, but I suspect that Baitullah Mehsud is in direct and continuous communication with some folks in the Pakistan ISI who have all the latest thingys. Just a hunch.

  8. Bithead says:

    Uh, let me go out on a limb here, but I suspect that Baitullah Mehsud is in direct and continuous communication with some folks in the Pakistan ISI who have all the latest thingys. Just a hunch.

    Very good. Only took you two tries to get my point. You’re getting better at this.

  9. sam says:

    Well perhaps if you’d be less effing coy in you comments we wouldn’t be wasting each others’ time. Just say what you mean in future, ok, without the flashlight-under-the chin dramatics.

  10. Bithead says:

    You see, I depend on a certain amount of intelligence in the reader. Thereby, I suggest to you that getting your reader to engage in actual thought, as you clearly did here, is never a waste of time.

    Congrats. On that occasion you made the cut. Anjin, as an example, never has… not that I’d expect him to be able to.

  11. Dave Schuler says:

    Other than the FUD factor I doubt that we’re the audience for such outlandish claims.

  12. Bithead says:

    And perhaps FUD is exactly the point, Dave.

    By the way, an update: Apparently my take that the guy was here in an H1B was incorrect, so subtract that point. Also, add the idea that he was having some serious problems with the english language which caused social probelms. However, it appears the rest of the feel was correct.