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Times Square Would-Be Bomber Pleads Guilty to 10 Federal Charges

June 21, 2010  | 

Faisal Shahzad pleaded guilty today in Manhattan federal court to each count in a 10-count indictment against him for allegedly driving a car bomb into Times Square on the evening of May 1, the Justice Department announced.

Federal law enforcement officials quickly praised the pleading.

"Faisal Shahzad plotted and launched an attack that could have led to serious loss of life, and today the American criminal justice system ensured that he will pay the price for his actions," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "We will not rest in bringing to justice terrorists who seek to harm the American people, and we will use every tool available to the government to do so."

The 30-year-old Shahzad, a naturalized citizen born in Pakistan, was taken into custody at John F. Kennedy International Airport on May 3, after he was identified by agents with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection while attempting to leave the U.S. on a commercial flight to Dubai.

"This investigation included a combination of traditional law enforcement techniques and intelligence-based authorities, with men and women from a number of agencies working side-by-side in support of a common goal," said FBI Director Robert S. Mueller.

There is no plea agreement between the government and Shahzad, and the investigation is continuing. Shahzad is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum on Oct. 5, according to a Justice Department announcement.

The indictment lays out the government's case against Shahzad:

In December 2009, Shahzad received explosives training in Waziristan, Pakistan, from explosive trainers affiliated with Tehrik-e-Taliban, a militant extremist group based in Pakistan. On Feb. 25, 2010, Shahzad received approximately $5,000 in cash in Massachusetts sent from a co-conspirator (CC-1) in Pakistan whom Shahzad understood worked for Tehrik-e-Taliban. Approximately six weeks later, on April 10, Shahzad received an additional $7,000 in cash in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., which was also sent at CC-1's direction.

On March 15, Shahzad purchased a semi-automatic 9mm Kel-Tec rifle in Connecticut. This rifle was found, loaded, in Shahzad's car on the day of his arrest.

In April, Shahzad contacted the seller of a Nissan Pathfinder after seeing an advertisement posted on a Website. Thereafter, on April 24, Shahzad and the seller of the Pathfinder agreed to meet in a supermarket parking lot in Connecticut where Shahzad paid the seller $1,300 for the Pathfinder. In April, Shahzad also purchased components for the improvised explosive and incendiary devices that he loaded into the Pathfinder on May 1.

That same day, Shahzad drove the Pathfinder, loaded with the improvised explosive and incendiary devices, to Manhattan and parked the Pathfinder in Times Square in the vicinity of 45th Street and Seventh Avenue. After parking the Pathfinder, Shahzad attempted to begin the detonation process of the improvised explosive and incendiary devices. Shahzad then abandoned the Pathfinder and returned to his Connecticut home.

On May 3, Shahzad was arrested at JFK Airport. After his arrest, Shahzad admitted that he had recently received bomb-making training in Pakistan. He also admitted that he had brought the Pathfinder to Times Square and attempted to detonate it.

"The plea reflects outstanding and timely work by NYPD detectives and FBI agents in the immediate aftermath of the discovery of the car bomb in Times Square," said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. "We remain alert to and concerned by the threat of home grown terrorism aimed at New York City."


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