Faisal Shahzad: Times Square Bomb Suspect Charged
Authorities say Faisal Shahzad confessed and is cooperating in investigation.
May 4, 2010— -- Accused Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad has been charged in federal court with numerous crimes in the terrorism plot including attempting to commit an act of terror, attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, and traveling over an international border to commit an act of terrorism.
According to the criminal complaint, Shahzad also admitted to receiving bomb-making training in Waziristan, Pakistan.
The announcement comes as at least five others have been detained in Pakistan in connection with the Times Square bomb plot, and raids continue in different Pakistani cities.
Two men arrested are reportedly related to Shahzad: friend Tauseed Ahmed and Shahzad's father-in-law.
Attorney General Eric Holder said additional evidence in the case was gleaned after searching Shahzad's car and home. At a press conferenc Tuesday afternoon, Holder said officials are coordinating with members of President Obama's national security team as the investigation continues.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly praised the brave efforts of police officers and investigators involved in the case, but warned that "in the eyes of terrorists, New York is America, and they keep coming back to kill us."
Shahzad, who federal officials say has admitted his involvement in the New York City terror plot after being arrested late Monday at the JFK airport and is cooperating, worked as a junior financial analyst in the Stamford, CT office of the Affinion Group, an international marketing firm, ABC News has learned.
He worked at the firm from mid-2006 to 2009.
"Federal authorities have not yet called Affinion and asked about him," said Affinion spokesman James Hart. Affinion is owned by Appolo Management, a major private equity firm.
The firm had no subsequent contact with Shahzad after he left, Hart added, and he would not comment on whether the now accused bomber resigned or was terminated.
"I have no information about him going to Pakistan after he left the firm-it's been a year since we've had any awareness of him," Hart said, who added that he would not comment on his character or education level.
A junior financial analyst generally has a bachelor's degree.
Shahzad, who had been the subject of a huge manhunt, almost made it out of the country on a Emirates flight to Dubai, with a planned connection onward to Pakistan, according to officials.
"He appeared real close to getting away," one federal official said. "The plane was buttoned up. Backed away from the jetway."
Authorities said that despite the manhunt, his passport had not been flagged and he was able to buy a ticket with cash and clear airport security.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, while refusing to criticize any agency Tuesday morning, said Shahzad was "clearly on the plane and shouldn't have been."
At a Tuesday morning press conference, President Obama said the attempted bombing "is another sobering reminder of the times in which we live." Of attackers, he said, "They will stop at nothing to try and interrupt our life."
FBI agents discovered Shahzad's car parked in a short-term lot at JFK airport Monday evening and searched for his name on airline passenger manifests.
The flight had begun to taxi for takeoff when FBI agents ordered it to return to the gate where Shahzad and two others were taken into custody. The other two were later released, authorities said.
Authorities said they found a 9 mm handgun in Shahzad's car and two loaded ammunition magazines.
Shahzad was questioned for several hours by the FBI agents and, according to WABC-TV, said he had acted alone in carrying out his attempted bomb plot in Times Square.
Shahzad is a naturalized American citizen, who had recently returned from a five-month trip to Pakistan and the city of Peshawar, a known jumping off point for al Qaeda and Taliban recruits.
At a press conference early Monday morning, Attorney General Eric Holder said, "It's clear that the intent behind this terrorist act was to kill Americans." He urged America to "remain vigilant."
One Monday, ABC News reported that there is growing evidence the bomber did not act alone and had ties to radical elements overseas, with one senior official telling ABC News there are several individuals believed to be connected with the bombing.
Officials declined to provide the specifics that led them to believe there were overseas links to a larger plot.
Authorities said a clue in the investigation was a video posted online early Sunday morning by persons in Connecticut, who may have been involved in the bomb attempt. The video, posted on a site registered one day before the attack, has the Taliban in Pakistan claiming responsibility for the attempted bombing.
Though a Taliban leader thought killed in a U.S. drone strike resurfaced in the video threatening attacks on U.S. cities, and the Taliban has claimed credit for the failed New York attack, U.S. authorities are skeptical.
The would-be bomber packed the car with more than 100 pounds of fertilizer, but not the kind that would explode, police said.
Had the bomber chosen the right kind of fertilizer, the bomb would have had the force of more than 100 pounds of TNT. But instead of ammonium nitrate, the kind of fertilizer used by Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, the bomber used a harmless fertilizer, New York City Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said.
The license plate on the car was apparently stolen from an auto repair shop outside Bridgeport, Conn., according to law enforcement officials.
The authorities told ABC News that the previous owner provided a description of the man who bought the car, and told investigators the vehicle was sold for several hundred dollars in cash, with no written records identifying the purchaser.
The license plate found on the Pathfinder also came from Connecticut, #98CY09, according to photographs of the vehicle.
The surrounding area was evacuated after street vendor Duane Jackson saw smoke coming from the Pathfinder and alerted police. Jackson, who has been working in Times Square for 13 years, said he is always on alert in the crowded public space, and in touch with police. "Vigilance is the key," said Jackson. "Keep your wits about you [and] don't take anything for granted."
Police moved back thousands of theatergoers and tourists as the bomb squad moved in.
Technicians blew open the back doors and trunk and found the car packed with propane canisters and gasoline containers.
"Clearly it was the intent of whoever did this to cause mayhem," said New York police commissioner Ray Kelly.
But the detonator, alarm clocks hooked up to fire crackers, failed to work.
"They would not have been able to have stopped the bomb if it had been wired properly," said former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, now an ABC News consultant. "Someone was able to drive into New York with what looks like bomb parts, drive right into the heart of Times Square, pull up on the sidewalk, jump up and run away and not get caught."
The bomb bore similarities to two Al Qaeda-connected attacks on a London nightclub and an airport in Scotland in 2007. Three vehicles used in the attempted bombings contained propane gas tanks.
Al Qaeda has posted videos showing how to construct a bomb using propane tanks and gasoline.
On Sunday night, the Taliban released a video featuring Hakimullah Mehsud, who U.S. and Pakistani authorities had thought was killed in a drone strike in January.
On the recording Mehsud can be heard saying, "The time is very near when our fedayeen will attack the American states in their major cities." He also claims that Taliban fedayeen "have penetrated the terrorist America, we will give extremely painful blows to the fanatic America."
Mehsud's video was recorded April 4, and Mehsud threatens attacks in the days and weeks to come.
Earlier, in the hours after the failed Times Square bombing, a Taliban group in Pakistan claimed responsibility for what it called a "jaw-breaking blow to Satan's USA.
But U.S. officials expressed doubt about a Taliban connection.
Mayor Bloomberg said that so far there was "no legitimate evidence" the Taliban or al Qaeda were involved. "There's one group of the Taliban that claims credit for everything, including traffic jams," said Bloomberg.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano noted on Good Mormng America that there is a history of groups trying to claim credit for attacks. But she did not rule out any groups. "What we have is a real attempt at an attack," said Napolitano. "Law enforcement is pursuing leads."
Anna Schecter and Megan Chuchmach contributed to this report.
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