As federal authorities announced late Monday that a suspect in Saturday night's attempted car bombing in New York's Times Square was arrested, Los Angeles-area authorities said they have beefed up patrols of area movie studios as a precaution.
It's not clear if the terror attempt targeted the entertainment media — on Monday we reported about a possible connection to Los Angeles-based animated show South Park — but the arrest of Pakistan-born Faisal Shahzad as he tried to head to Dubai via New York's JFK would seem to pull the focus away from any possible Hollywood connection.
A group called the Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, but that claim was initially discounted by authorities. The suspect had reportedly been in Pakistan recently and also had ties to Connecticut, where the 1993 Nissan Pathfinder used in the attempt was purchased via Craigslist for $1,300.
Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters Monday night that Shahzad was arrested “as he attempted to board a flight to Dubai.”
“We continue to pursue a number of leads,” Holder said. “But its clear the intent behind this terrorist act was to kill Americans.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that sheriff's officials were keeping an eye on Universal Studios (Sheriff Lee Baca called the New York attempt a “wake-up call”) while Sgt. Jay Trisler in Santa Monica, home to South Park's parent network, MTV, said his officers would remain “vigilant.”
South Park's 200th episode last month featured a depiction of the Muslim prophet Muhammad as a voice coming from inside a U-Haul. The character then appeared in a bear costume.
Many muslims consider it sacrilege to depict Muhammad, and the program's producers received what amounted to at least one public death threat. The show's producers then claimed that the network censored a subsequent show that addressed Muhammad once more.