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30-year-old Pakistani American Charged with Terrorism in Failed NY Bombing

Faisal Shahzad (file photo)
Faisal Shahzad (file photo)

U.S. authorities have charged a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen with terrorism related charges in connection to the failed Times Square bombing. Thirty-year-old Faisal Shahzad was charged Tuesday in a five-count complaint, one day after he was arrested while trying to leave New York on a flight for Dubai.  Authorities say he has admitted to receiving explosives training in Pakistan.  

Faisal Shahzad is charged with terrorism, explosives, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction and more.  U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says Shahzad has provided useful information and has admitted his involvement in the attempted bombing.

"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 this country," said Eric Holder.

The 30-year-old Pakistani-American nearly slipped out of the country late Monday night aboard a plane bound for Dubai.  Authorities say the plane was on the runway at JFK airport when FBI officials stopped it and arrested Shahzad.

"Clearly, he was on the plane and should not have been," said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Police tie Shahzad to this vehicle containing bomb materials, found parked in Times Square on Saturday.  A bomb squad dismantled the device - comprised of propane tanks, fireworks and a detonator, which failed to go off.  

Officials say Shahzad became an American citizen last year, and recently spent five months in Pakistan. Prosecutors say he admits to receiving bomb-making training there, and Pakistani officials say at least one other person has been arrested in Karachi.


An on-line video appearing the day after the attempted bombing, claimed the Taliban in Pakistan was responsible.  But police say the video was posted from Connecticut.

Officials are praising the New York vendor who reported suspicious smoke coming from the SUV Saturday night.

"This failed bombing attempt clearly shows the value of the saying, 'If you see something, say something,'" said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

And Times Square tourists and residents are talking.

"Yes, I do see it different today," said one. "It's usually a lot more crowded than it is right now."

"As a kid growing up in New York my mom used to open the door, let us go outside on our bike, our tops, our games and said 'See you at 5 oclock,'" said another. "Can you imagine doing that with a seven or eight year old now?"

President Obama had this to say:

"As Americans and as a nation, we will not be terrorized," said President Obama. "We will not cower in fear.  We will not be intimidated."


Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

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