Larry C. Johnson, a former senior US counterterrorist official for the CIA and State Department who works as a consultant to governments on terrorism issues, described the Friday episode as a crock of crap:
Gasoline is not a high explosive. If we were talking 50 pounds of Semtex or the Al Qaeda standby, TATP, I would be impressed. Those are real high explosives with a detonation rate in excess of 20,000 feet per second. Gasoline can explode (just ask former owners of a Ford Pinto) but it is first and foremost an incediary. If the initial reports are true, the clown driving the Mercedes was a rank amateur when it comes to constructing an Improvised Explosive Device aka IED. Unlike a Hollywood flick the 50 gallons of gas would not have shredded the Mercedes into lethal chunks of flying shrapnel.
His observations on the next days Glasgow incident are even more cutting:
Preliminary, unconfirmed reports indicate a nuclear blast has occurred at Glasgows international airport. No one has seen the mushroom cloud or heard the blast, but something by God is happening and it must be terrible. There is smoke and fire. In fact, a car is on fire. It must be Al Qaeda. Only Al Qaeda knows how to set themselves on fire inside a car. Please. Flee to the hills (leave your doors unlocked). Oh the humanity!…
We need to stop equating their [religious fanatics] hatred with actual capability. If todayâ€™s events at Glasgow prove to be linked to the two non-events yesterday in London, then we should heave a sigh of relief. We may be witnessing the implosion of takfiri jihadists religious fanatics who are incredibly inept Propane tanks and petrol (gas for us Americans) can produce a dandy flame and a mighty boom but these are not the tools for making a car bomb along the lines of what we see detonating on a daily basis in Iraq.