Advertisement

Officials: N.Y. bomb suspect trained at Pakistani terror camp

May 04, 2010
  • An FBI agent carries on object from a home in Bridgeport, Conn. Tuesday morning. FBI agents searched a home in Bridgeport where Faisal Shahzad lived. Shahzad was arrested late Monday in connection with the failed Times Square car bomb attack.
Associated Press,

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The suspect in the failed Times Square bombing told authorities he trained at a terrorism camp in Pakistan, officials said Tuesday as they worked to unravel the events leading up to the nearly catastrophic attack.

Faisal Shahzad was arrested late Monday and charged with trying to blow up an SUV in crowded Times Square on Saturday evening. Attorney General Eric Holder said Shahzad was cooperating with authorities and would face terrorism and weapons of mass destruction charges.

Holder said Shahzad had provided valuable information, but the attorney general would not elaborate.

One law enforcement official said Shahzad told the FBI he trained in Pakistan. A second said the training was believed to be in the lawless tribal region of Waziristan, where the Pakistani Taliban operates with near impunity.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive ongoing investigation.

The Pakistani Taliban has taken credit for the bomb plot, but U.S. officials say there's no evidence to back that up.

Advertisement

The report of training raises the possibility the attack was a coordinated international effort, but authorities have not said whether they believe that to be the case.

Top U.S. law enforcement officials offered no explanation for how Shahzad was allowed to board an international flight despite being hunted by the FBI and being placed on the federal no-fly list.

At a news conference, Holder said Shahzad had admitted trying to set off a car bomb in crowded Times Square on Saturday. He will face terrorism and weapons of mass destruction charges, Holder said.

"Based on what we know so far, it is clear that this was a terrorist plot aimed at murdering Americans in one of the busiest places in our country," Holder said.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Shahzad, a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen, was placed on the no-fly list as authorities closed in. She credited Customs officials for recognizing Shahzad's name on a passenger manifest and stopping the flight.

But she had little explanation for how Shahzad was able to board the flight with a last-minute ticket. Passengers on the no-fly list should not be allowed to board a plane.

"I was never in any fear that we were in danger of losing him," Holder said.

But he, too, would not say how a terrorist suspect whose name was being widely circulated by federal law enforcement was allowed to board an airliner two days after a nearly catastrophic bombing.

Shahzad's flight had left the gate. It was called back so authorities could arrest him.

Shahzad is being questioned and has provided useful information, Holder said. The FBI read Shahzad his constitutional rights after he provided information, and he continued to cooperate, FBI Deputy Director John Pistole said.

The break in the case came when investigators matched the car's vehicle identification number to a Nissan Pathfinder that had recently been sold for cash in Connecticut. The dashboard VIN had been scratched off, but there are other numbers elsewhere on the car.

President Barack Obama said Tuesday the FBI was investigating possible ties between Shahzad and terrorist groups. Officials would not say whether they believe Shahzad acted alone or as part of a conspiracy.

Shahzad became a U.S. citizen in April 2009 after passing the required criminal and national security background checks. Law enforcement officials familiar with the inquiry say investigators would go through Shahzad's citizenship application line by line to see if he lied about anything. He became a citizen in Hartford, Conn.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|