Times Square bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad's résumé is terrifyingly mundane: "PowerPoint, email tools, internet experience"


Faisal Shahzad, the Pashtun native of Pakistan who became a naturalized American citizen and is now suspect numero uno in the Times Square FailBomb case, stressed "experience with Fortune 500 companies" in his résumé. He also claimed to be a "good team player."

OBJECTIVE: To work in a high-energy and challenging business environment that will promote professional and personal growth while adding significant value to my employer.

COMPUTER SKILLS: Cognos, Hyperion, BRIO financial, Truecomp, Funnel, Artemis, Business Objects, JBA AS400 accounting and operations systems, Excel, PowerPoint, Word, FoxPro, Front Page, SwishMax, Showcase database query tools, email tools and Internet experience.

PDF of Faisal Shahzad's resume. (via NBC News)

Related: sounds like he spent all of 45 minutes learning how firecrackers work. Lucky for us all.


  1. Sooooo…Douchebags are the new fifth columnists? We’re toast. There’s too many of them. I for one, welcome our new Ant overlords. Let me just get my hair gel and Bluetooth headset.

  2. Objective: To work in a high-energy and challenging business environment that will promote professional and personal growth while adding significant value to my employer and making bombs out of candy-colored childrens toys that perform exactly as one would expect such explosives to perform.

  3. No wonder he was mad, no one gets hired with a 2 1/2 page resume. Christ, look at his formatting!

  4. And yet some smart executive recruiter at Taliban Inc (Pakistan office) came across this resume and saw a spark of potential in the man. They put him into their accelerated executive training program, and 6 months later he was working with the high energy of propane and propane accessories.

    Hank Hill would be proud.

  5. At least he didn’t put “5 years bomb making experience,” because he sure didn’t have that.

  6. “Mr. Shahzad eventually settled on a package of M88 Silver Salute fireworks”

    These are “phony” fireworks, made to look like the loud, dangerous, and illegal-everywhere M80. As I recall, the spray some sparks.

    Did he think he was getting M80s, and expected them to rupture the propane tanks?

    * * *

    I can’t help but think if someone had turned him onto WoW he’d have just put on 20 pounds and have nothing more to worry about than his wife nagging him to take the garbage out.

    1. The guy who sold him the M-88s was quoted as saying that if he had used real M-80s it probably would have exploded.

  7. Damn, there’s typos aplenty throughout that woeful document: neither a bombmaker nor proofreader, that Faisal Shazad.

    Anyone notice that the big O in “Objective” on the PDF is a big 0 (zero), but above it’s a regular O? Was the PDF edited for yukks?

  8. Haven’t we already had art house films about bored office workers who become car bombers?

    Maybe not.

  9. What makes someone who ostensibly lives a normal life, trying to crawl up the corporate foodchain, suddenly turn jihadi?

    I believe Voltaire explained it already: “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

    This will also be obvious to anyone who has even a basic grasp of logic. If you start with faulty axioms, your conclusions might be wrong, even if the rules you apply are correct.

    What I imagine might be going on here is something like this:
    (I felt it appropriate to Capitalize important concepts in the rest of the post. This is not how I usually type, and I apologize if it annoys you.)

    Axioms: God, Evil, Heaven, etc. exist
    Axiom: God is Good
    Axiom: God fights against Evil
    Axiom: I am Good

    Conclusion: I must help God in his fight against Evil

    Axiom: If I die in the battle against Evil, I will go to Heaven as a Martyr, and receive 72 Virgins

    Conclusion: I must not fear death, victory is most important

    Apparently at this point, religious people forget their Axiom: God is omnipotent. Why would they need to help God achieve his goals?

    Axiom: Some people speak for God
    Axiom: These people say the USA is Evil

    Conclusion: God says the USA is Evil
    Conclusion: I must fight the USA

    This is why intelligent religious people can honestly believe they are doing great Good, and yet be perceived as very Evil by those who don’t share their beliefs. It just means they Actually Believe what their Holy Book says.

    Osama bin Laden is probably such a person. He’s been very competent in taking over the US government, turning it into a fear-mongering institution. People can’t enter an airport without being harassed anymore.

    Take the Westboro Baptists. Are they just jackasses, or do they Actually Believe the Old Testament?

    Old Testament:
    Axiom: Homosexuality is an Abomination
    Axiom: USA allows Homosexuality
    Conclusion: USA is an Abomination, God Hates USA

    They might actually be nice people, who are trying to protect Americans from God’s Wrath, but who just appear to be jackasses to people who don’t share their beliefs! On the other hand, they might actually be jackasses, and using their belief in the Old Testament as a cover. I think that’s the case with Christians who believe unbelievers are influenced by the devil.

    “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.” — Steven Weinberg

    Another frightening example, some Christians actually believe this:
    Axiom: The Book of Revelation is True
    Axiom: Armageddon is Good
    Axiom: Destroying the biosphere with Nuclear War is Armageddon
    Conclusion: Nuclear War is Good

    My conclusion: Don’t vote for Sarah Palin. We were lucky enough that Bush didn’t launch any nukes, no need to try our luck again.

    In contrast, I think most rational atheists (i.e. those who don’t believe in crystals and stuff like that), think like this:

    Axiom: There are no supernatural beings or forces
    Conclusion: There is no such thing as a soul that survives your death
    Conclusion: There is no life after death
    Conclusion: Nothing is worth dying for, except the things I have decided are worth it, such as protecting my children.
    Conclusion: I won’t try to bomb an airplane I’m sitting in.

    Atheists are some of the safest people to be around with. They won’t try to kill you, because they won’t have irrational reasons to perceive you as Evil.

    1. Probably best to leave Westboro out of your reasoning here.

      The best guess we can make about the pastor based on evidence and interviews, though, is that he has a compulsive anger disorder that his ministry fulfills. I don’t think he fits the archetype you’re describing. What little the public knows of him points towards a genuine cognitive disability.

      His followers are also in constant direct contact with him… and don’t necessarily need to have flawed reason themselves because they were raised in his family. Garden variety stockholm syndrome and direct, violent oppression will keep almost anyone in line in that scenario.

      On the other hand in the bomber we see a seemingly normal individual spontaneously going off the rails of his own accord, rather than being born and raised to be an obedient, oppressed follower in a specific angry mob.

      Many of the people in the Westboro church are there because a specific culture was created to make them think they do not have a choice in the matter. When you’re raised by force to believe a set of things or have the shit beat out of you, it’s a lot different than someone suddenly going wingnut out on their own.

      1. You make a good point there. It flows both ways: religion can make people do bad things, but people can also have religious opinions that are influenced by their personalities, such as nice people who were raised Christian conveniently ignoring the nastier parts of the bible, which include rules that say that people need to be stoned for several things that aren’t generally seen as capital crimes nowadays.

        I just hope that most religious people continue to apply their own morals to their religion, as their own morals are usually a lot more ethical than those their religion espouses.

    2. #12,

      “What makes someone who ostensibly lives a normal life, trying to crawl up the corporate foodchain, suddenly turn jihadi?”

      I know a family who migrated entirely from Malaysia to Australia. They had kids and bought houses. Most of of those people adapted to life away from their home country, but one or two didn’t. They will remain unhappy until they return to the place of their birth.

      None of these people are in anyway violent, but I can understand a person becoming somehow unbalanced and irrational.

      Faisal Shahzad will not ever have to decide for himself what to eat or where to live. When to stay in or when to go out. Supporters of his violent acts may provide money to his wife and child in his place. He will never have to take out the garbage and he may never wash the dishes again.

      From his perspective he may have made a good deal.

  10. FOXPRO?!?!?! Wow, there’s a current marketable skill. He didn’t take advice on resume-writing, clearly. I mean, I programmed in COBOL one time, but it’s not on my resume!

    1. >FOXPRO?!?!?! Wow, there’s a current marketable skill.

      Hell — I recently interviewed at a place that’s still using FoxPro. (My look of surprise may have been misinterpreted as a smirk. I didn’t get the job.)

  11. My theory is that he got mixed up with the wrong people while visiting family in Pakistan, had his young family threatened if he didn’t use his free pass into the US for this purpose. So he set out to make something that couldn’t possibly explode, but would satisfy his extortionists that he had put in the effort. Then he used highly visible clocks, lots of useless wires, and parked the car in such a way that it would attract attention and be identified as dangerous quickly.

    Or he’s just stupid. That’s the simplest answer, but doesn’t jive too well with the college degrees and family.

    1. That’s actually a pretty interesting theory, especially since his wife is American. I wonder if we’ll ever know.

    2. “Or he’s just stupid. That’s the simplest answer, but doesn’t jive too well with the college degrees and family.”

      I don’t see how. Intelligence isn’t just a smart/dumb polarity. Some of the other hijackers were educated and middle-classed as well.

    3. This is my theory. He’s got family back home under threat. We’ll never know if such is true, because to reveal it would mean the death of those he cares for.

      Why else would someone seemingly smart make FailBomb+?

    4. my thoughts exactly… see my yahoo question frm yesterday headed “Did faisal shahzad get cold feet…”
      if not the klunky bomb teacher in pakistan needs to be sacked!.seriously though i reckon he had a change of heart – killing pple in theory is one thing actually killing pple is another…n.b how many civilian pple could actually pull the trigger of a gun and shoot someone when faced with that situation even if psyched up to it beforehand?.

  12. Just curious why the post spells out that he’s Pashtun and links to a Wikipedia entry.

    Is there a particular reason that mentioning this elucidates the story or the case?

  13. Something about this stinks to high heaven. I’m not saying there’s a conspiracy, or that this entire incident is fabricated, or anything nutty like that. I just think there’s a lot more to this story that we’re going to hear about eventually. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was extorted or threatened into it.

    It’s possible he just snapped one day, Muhammed Attah was supposedly leading a mundane existence and was a mild middling draughtsman for an engineering company. So, I could be wrong, but I really truly wonder what else is going on.

  14. I’m with macegr on this one.

    The guy’s an engineer with a graduate degree. The “bomb” he constructed would have been more explosive if he’d filled his car with Diet Coke and Mentos, and everything seems to indicate that he wanted to be found, but stopped short of turning himself in.

    1. The guy’s an engineer with a graduate degree. The “bomb” he constructed would have been more explosive if he’d filled his car with Diet Coke and Mentos

      Wait – where do you see that? According to his resume he has a BS in Business Administration with an MIS major and his graduate degree is an MBA in Finance. I don’t see “engineer” anywhere on his resume.

  15. Hasan, the Fort Hood killer had bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and went on to attend medical school. After earning his medical degree, he completed his residency in psychiatry at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Being an engineer with a grad degree shouldn’t rule out Muslim warrior.

  16. According to the linked article he bought the fireworks almost two months ago, clearly planning something for quite a while. I would expect he would have taken action much sooner in an extortion plot.

    Just because he’s educated doesn’t mean he’s smart, clever or competent. (I certainly don’t go to college campuses when I want to be around smart people. But the beer sure is cheap.)

  17. Objective: “blow a garbage can located in some building with two pounds of consumer fireworks”. Only the CIA could take that seriously.

  18. Well I hope he is not innocent, or that innocent people never live at that address ever again.

  19. Failbomb? As someone who has to go through Times Square every day as a pedestrian I can’t stand the dismissive attitude so many people are taking towards this incident.

    Har har, it didn’t work!!ROFL!

    Let’s see how funny it is when you’re the real target of a bomb.

    1. The suspect in question didn’t have bomb-making expertise, couldn’t get his hands on any real explosives and couldn’t even manage a clean getaway. You stand a much better chance of getting killed by a regular old SUV on your daily walk than by someone like this guy.

    2. Would you rather live in perpetual fear, because completely incompetent people are trying to kill you in ways that have a 0% probability of succeeding?

      You should also be scared of oatmeal. That shit is insanely scary. Have you seen the Quaker Oats guy? Creepy, man.

      There are people right now, in New York, trying to claim this was an exponentially more effective threat than it really was… and trying to use that as political motive to do things not in your best interest.

      The bomber was a moron. The liars are not only competent but are currently succeeding in doing you a disservice. Who should you be more afraid of right now? Who should you focus your anger at right now?

      People mock the bomb and play it down because it’s an antidote to the rhetoric of people who are, right now, trying to fuck you.

  20. But… but he doesn’t spend all day watering his lawn… he hates sunlight! Only a monster would hate sunlight!

  21. Not so sure about the spontaneous freak-out theory. Flying to Pakistan and taking 4 months of bomb making training in a terrorist camp seems like a bit of premeditation to me.

    Extortion is an interesting theory, they’ve said they’ve been unable to locate his parents, and i haven’t read anything about his wife who stayed behind in Pakistan after his last trip and his terrorist training.

    But aside from that theory, what does this guy say about the quality of higher terrorist explosives education?

    And how many more of these goofballs have been trained and returned to the US to each try their own stab at blowing shit up?

  22. This just illustrates a point that most people ignore; it takes almost nothing for someone-anyone-to develop the desire to kill people.

    Americans as a whole need to start learning new levels of discipline. Until we do, we are horribly vulnerable to this sort of “terrifyingly easy” crime.

  23. How did a guy with a resume this thin get such a large mortgage? I mean, I realize bankers were making some crazy loans, but this resume and that mortgage don’t seem to match up.

    When I saw the size of the mortgage, I wondered if he had some impressive down payment? And if so, where did that money come from?

  24. Killing innocent lives is the most horrendous act of violence that can be committed by any human being. I was completely appalled and devastated to know that someone from my country was the culprit. I live in Pakistan and have seen hundreds of people die recently in the bomb shedding scenes across the country. I have buried innocent children, parents, brothers, sisters and soldiers. Innocent blood spilt on the roads of Islamabad, Lahore, and Peshawar. I still fight for the right to be free and peace. Question that people need to understand is the root cause that creates such devilish minds and insanity. Come to Pakistan and witness first hand that the people are not what you capture in Afghanistan and US. We are peace loving people. When drones attack and kill innocent lives, India involvement and agencies work against your civil veneer and the entire government edifice is run by corrupt and immoral leaders, insane patterns will emerge. Pakistan as a whole condemns such acts of violence. We love peace and promote it. Please do read what occurs in this country to understand the derailing of humanity. To read more, kindly visit http://buildpakistantogether.blogspot.com

  25. you should consider reading this blog post and how it analyzes my comment below in further detail.


    it’s interesting how almost ALL media (analyzed further in link above), including boing boing refer to him as a Pakistani man of US citizenship. nobody has once referred to him as an American, they prefer the term US Citizen. i wonder when a naturalized citizen earns the right to be referred to as an American.

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