Faisal Shahzad pleaded guilty Monday afternoon to trying to explode a car bomb in Times Square on May 1, and to receiving terror training from the Pakistani Taliban, and warned that further attacks on the U.S. were coming.
The 30-year-old naturalized American, who was born in Pakistan and lived in Connecticut, pleaded guilty to ten different terror-related federal charges, two of which carry a mandatory life sentence.
After Shahzad pleaded guilty to the first charge, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, Judge Miriam Cedarbaum said, "I gather you want to plead guilty to all [the charges.]
"Yes," said Shahzad, and then said he wanted to plead guilty and 100 times more," because he wanted the U.S. to know it will continue to suffer attacks if it does not leave Iraq and Afghanistan and stop drone strikes in Pakistan.
Calm, but clearly angry, and standing the whole time, Shahzad spent nearly an hour giving the judge a narrative of his failed bombing attempt, and how he changed from a financial analyst with an MBA to a would-be bomber and what he called "part of the answer" to the U.S. killing of Muslims. He also confirmed that he had placed the bomb in Times Square at its busiest in order to do the maximum damage.
Shahzad admitted driving a Nissan Pathfinder into midtown Manhattan on Saturday evening, May 1, when the city's theater district was packed with tourists. He abandoned the SUV, which was stuffed with fireworks, propane, gasoline and fertilizer, after trying to use the fireworks to ignite the vehicle.
Shahzad's exchange with Judge Cedarbaum began with Shahzad reading a prepared statement. Cedarbaum then asked Shahzad not to read, but to speak instead.
Shahzad told Cedarbaum it took him six months to connect with the Taliban in Pakistan. He said he then spent 40 days with the Taliban in Waziristan, only five of which were devoted to bomb training.
After his training, he spent February to April in the U.S. getting the money and materials together for a bombing and planning his attack.
"I made the bomb in a car and drove it to Times Square," he told Cedarbaum.
"All by yourself?" she asked.
"All by myself," he confirmed.
Shahzad said he didn't know why the device had failed to work, and that after lighting the fuse and waiting three-and-a-half to five minutes to hear the sound of an explosion that never came, he went to Grand Central train station and took a train back to Bridgeport, Connecticut.
He also said he had chosen no specific building, but had intentionally placed the bomb in Times Square during a busy time.
"You wanted to injure a lot of people," said Cedarbaum.
Shahzad said the judge needed to understand his role. "I consider myself a Muslim soldier," he said. When Cedarbaum asked whether he considered the people in Times Square to be innocent, he said they had elected the U.S. government.
"Even children?" said Cedarbaum.
"When the drones [in Pakistan] hit, they don't see children," answered Shahzad. He then said, "I am part of the answer to the U.S. killing the Muslim people."
Shahzad was arrested on May 3, two days after the failed bombing, at New York's JFK airport as he was about to depart on a Dubai-bound flight.