The chief suspect in Saturday night's failed terror attack on New York, a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen named Faisal Shahzad, has admitted that he rigged a car bomb and attempted to detonate it in Times Square.
Thirty-year-old Faisal Shahzad will face charges of terrorism, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, and other crimes listed in the government's complaint filed Tuesday in a Manhattan federal court.
Authorities say Shahzad admitted he perpetrated the failed car bombing in Times Square and that he had received bomb-making training in Pakistan.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says that Shahzad has provided useful information about the attack.
"It is clear this was a terrorist plot aimed at murdering Americans in one of the busiest places in our country," said Eric Holder. "We believe that this suspected terrorist fashioned a bomb from rudimentary ingredients, placed it in a rusty SUV [sport utility vehicle] and drove it into Times Square with the intent to kill as many tourists and theatergoers as possible."
Prosecutors say Shahzad, who lived in the northeastern state of Connecticut and once worked as a financial analyst, bought the sport utility vehicle that was used in the attempted bombing. After a street vendor noticed that the SUV was unattended and idling, police discovered a crude bomb inside made with propane, gasoline, firecrackers and fertilizer.
Shahzad was arrested Monday night at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport as he prepared to leave aboard a commercial flight bound for Dubai.
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that any link Shahzad might have to international terrorism would be uncovered. He praised the people in New York who thwarted the attack.
"I've had the opportunity to personally thank some of the citizens and law enforcement officers whose quick thinking may have saved hundreds of lives," said President Obama. "And this suspect has been apprehended because of close and effective coordination at every level."
Referring to Shahzad's link to Pakistan, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg cautioned that it must not be an excuse to discriminate against Pakistani or Muslim New Yorkers.
"It's the city where you can practice your religion and say what you want to say and be in charge of your own destiny," said Mayor Bloomberg. "And we're going to keep it that way. People from every corner of the world come here and live in the same buildings and same neighborhoods and that's what makes this the greatest city on Earth."
Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Times Square in New York has been heavily policed, and many surveillance cameras oversee the area. Some experts as well as Mayor Bloomberg are urging that a program to track all vehicles in Midtown Manhattan be initiated to deter terrorist acts.
Related video report by Carolyn Presutti.