May 4th, 2010
09:16 PM ET

Latest Updates: Times Square car bomb scare

[Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET] The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York said Shahzad would not appear in court until at least Thursday as he continued to be questioned.

[Updated at 8:36 p.m. ET] Fireworks used in the attempted car bombing of New York's Times Square were purchased from a store in Pike County in northeastern Pennsylvania, a federal law enforcement source told CNN Tuesday.

The source says the M-88 fireworks Faisal Shahzad is accused of placing in a Nissan Pathfinder were bought at a Phantom Fireworks store in Matamoras.

[Updated at 8:32 p.m. ET] Authorities conducting surveillance of the Times Square car bombing suspect lost him late in the day Monday before he arrived at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, where he was ultimately arrested, a senior counterterrorism official said Tuesday.

However, an FBI official responded that surveillance operations are designed with redundancies in place, and that agents had to avoid tipping off suspect Faisal Shahzad that he was being followed. Shahzad was arrested shortly before midnight Monday at JFK airport after he boarded Emirates Flight 202 to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

He had been put on a no-fly list earlier Monday, but at the time of this ticket purchase, the airline had not refreshed its information so his name did not raise any red flags.

But U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which reviews all flight manifests, caught his name when the airline sent the agency its passenger list, according to the counterterrorism official.

– CNN's Frances Townsend

[Updated at 8:27 p.m. ET] A 9 mm gun found in a vehicle believed to have been driven to New York's John F. Kennedy airport Monday night by Times Square car bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad was bought at a gun shop near his former home in Shelton, Connecticut, federal law enforcement sources told CNN on Tuesday. The sources said Shahzad bought the semi-automatic Sub 2000 rifle less than two months ago at Valley Firearms in Shelton.The purchase was legal, according to the sources.

Shahzad was arrested late Monday after boarding a flight bound for Dubai,United Arab Emirates. The car Shahzad is believed to have driven to the airport was found on the second floor of a parking deck located opposite the airport's international Terminal 4.

– From CNN's Susan Candiotti

[Updated at 5:04 p.m. ET] Times Square bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad's father is a retired senior officer in the Pakistani Air Force, Shahzad'scousin, Kafayat Ali, told CNN.The father, Bahar Ul Haq, a former air vice marshal, lives in the Peshawar suburb of Hayatabad in what is now Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province - formerly known as the North West Frontier Province.

"This is certain, that these people, they never indulged in any criminal activities," Ali said. "Not a family member. Not the village from which both of these people belongs, none of the village members involved in any criminal activities or any jihad activities."

Shahzad also has a brother named Amir who lives in Canada, a police source said.

–  From CNN's Samson Desta and Reza Sayah.

[Updated at 4:32 p.m. ET] Times Square bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad worked as a junior financial analyst for marketing firm Affinion Media Group, a spokesman for the company told CNN.

Public relations director Michael Bush said Shahzad worked in the company's Norwalk, Connecticut, office from mid-2006 to June 2009 and left the firm voluntarily.

[Updated at 4:09 p.m. ET] Charges have been filed against Faisal Shahzad, the suspect in the attempted car bombing of New York's Times Square, court documents show.

A complaint filed Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in New York details five counts against Shahzad: attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to kill and maim people in the United States, using and carrying a destructive device, transporting an explosive device, and attempting to damage building, vehicles and other property.

The complaint also shows that Shahzad, 30, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, admitted to law enforcement officials that he attempted to detonate the car bomb and that he recently received bomb-making training in the Waziristan region of Pakistan.

Shahzad has not yet appeared in court.

Read the court documents (PDF)

[Updated at 3:59 p.m. ET] Charges have been filed against Faisal Shahzad, the suspect in the attempted car bombing of New York's Times Square, court documents show.

[Updated at 3:49 p.m. ET] Faisal Shahzad told the FBI he trained at a terrorist camp in the Waziristan region of Pakistan, an administration official said.  The official cautioned that investigators have not corroborated his account.

[Updated at 3:38 p.m. ET] The suspect in the attempted car bombing of New York's Times Square was already in police custody Monday night when a flight he was scheduled to be on pushed back from the gate, a federal law enforcement source with direct information about the arrest told CNN.

A second source, an administration official, said Faisal Shahzad had made it on to the plane and the door was shut, but the plane had not pushed off when the door was then opened and he was arrested.

Shahzad was subsequently being questioned by law enforcement officials when Emirates Flight 202 to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, was called to return to the gate, the law enforcement source said.

[Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET] Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad has admitted involvement in what authorities have now labeled an attempted terrorist attack.

[Updated at 1:39 p.m. ET] The suspect in the Times Square car bomb attempt was questioned before and after having his Miranda rights read to him, FBI Deputy Director John Pistole said Tuesday.

The issue of reading Miranda rights to terror suspects came to the forefront in December, after a Nigerian man was arrested for trying to ignite
explosive material on a U.S. airliner bound for Detroit, Michigan.  Some lawmakers charged that terror suspects should not receive the protections of the Miranda rights.

[Updated at 1:34 p.m. ET] A federal law enforcement official told CNN Faisal Shahzad made his flight reservations during his ride to the airport. He was on a no-fly list– which the passenger manifest was being run against, but he only showed up on the manifest at the very last minute because he bought his ticket so late, the official said. Customs and Border Protection noticed this at the last minute and reacted quickly taking him into custody, the official told CNN.

[Updated at 1:28 p.m. ET] Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that the Justice Department anticipates charging Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad "with an act of terrorism," among other things.

"It is clear that this was a terrorist plot," Holder said. It could have caused "death and destruction in the heart of New York City."

[Updated at 1:26 p.m. ET] Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that the suspect in the failed Times Square car bomb case has been providing useful information since his arrest Monday night.

[Updated at 1:25 p.m. ET] A senior official with Emirates Airlines in Dubai tells CNN that the Faisal Shahzad’s attempt to buy a ticket from New York to Islamabad with cash “flagged him” to the airline’s staff at JFK airport.

The official says the airline’s staff regarded the purchase as unusual; the suspect had no reservation and bought his ticket with cash at the counter. The official added Emirates staff informed security officials at the airport immediately.

The government of the United Arab Emirates says it has no record of Shahzad using his US passport on previous visits to or travel through Dubai.

[Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET] A federal law enforcement official confirmed to CNN Tuesday that Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad was given his Miranda rights, but wouldn't say exactly when that happened.

[Updated at 1:12 p.m. ET] The Times Square car bomb suspect, Faisal Shahzad, attended the University of Bridgeport, the college said Tuesday. He earned a bachelor's degree in computer applications and information systems in the fall of 2000 and received a master's of business administration in 2005, the university said in a written statement. The college said it has informed relevant federal authorities of Shahzad's attendance.

[Updated at 12:50 a.m. ET] Investigators in Pakistan have arrested a number of suspects in the investigation into a failed car bombing in New York City's Times Square, a Pakistani intelligence source said Tuesday. They arrested two or three people after raiding a house where the Times Square bombing suspect, Faisal Shahzad, is believed to have stayed during a recent visit to Pakistan, the source said.

The house is in the Nazimabad district of Karachi, Pakistan, the source said.

[Updated at 11:53 a.m. ET] Investigators have found a hand-drawn map in the Times Square attempted bombing probe, but it's not clear where it was found, a federal law enforcement official confirmed.

The official believes Faisal Shahzad "wasn't working alone."

Referring to Shahzad's $1,800 cash payment for a car, the official said, "you don't come up with that kind of money by yourself."

[Updated at 11:48 a.m. ET] Investigators have found a 9mm handgun with clips and ammunition in a vehicle that the Times Square bombing suspect is believed to have driven to the airport, a federal law enforcement source said Tuesday.

In addition, authorities found 15 bags of "standard green fertilizer" and flash powder in the trash outside Faisal Shahzad's apartment in Connecticut, the source said.

[Updated at 11:35 a.m. ET] The suspect in the failed Times Square car bombing purchased a house that entered foreclosure proceedings in the latter part of last year, court documents reveal. CNN Special Investigative Unit producer David Fitzpatrick reports that documents from the civil division of Milford (Connecticut) Superior Court show that Faisal Shahzad, along with Huma Mian, purchased a home at 119 Long Hill Avenue in Shelton, Connecticut, on July 7, 2004. They took out a mortgage for $218,400 from Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corp. On September 21, 2009, the mortgage company began foreclosure proceedings. As of December 14, Shahzad and Mian owed $207,837.

[Updated at 11:13 a.m. ET] President Barack Obama said Tuesday that "justice will be done" in the case of the attempted bombing at Times Square, and U.S.  officials "will do everything in our power to protect the American people."

The failed bombing is "another sobering reminder of the times in which we live," the president told an audience of business leaders.  But the United States "will be vigilant" and "will not cower in fear."

[Updated at 10:27 a.m. ET] Faisal Shahzad was arrested "for allegedly driving a car bomb into Times Square," the FBI said on Tuesday.

[Updated at 10:21 a.m. ET] New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg Tuesday praised law enforcement officials for cracking the case of the attempted bombing at Times Square, an act he said was "designed to kill innocent civilians."

"We will not be intimidated by those who hate the freedoms that make the city and this country so great," he said in a news conference.

In the aftermath of the arrest of suspect Faisal Shahzad, Bloomberg said the city will not tolerate any bias or backlash against Pakistani or Muslim New Yorkers. Shahzad is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

"All of us live in this city, and among any group, there's always a few bad apples."

[Updated 9:53 a.m. ET] President Obama will make remarks on the arrest of the suspect in the Times Square bombing attempt at 11:05 a.m. Tuesday, a senior administration official said.

[Updated 9:51 a.m. ET] The suspect in the failed Times Square car bombing, Faisal Shahzad, will appear in federal court sometime after 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan said.

[Updated 9:41 a.m. ET] The New York Times examines early comments from officials after the Times Square bombing scare. On the Sunday morning talk shows, the homeland security chief, and a senator and representative from New York delivered much the same message: This was an isolated threat and investigators are handling the situation. John Dinges, a professor at Columbia University, is quoted as saying, the proper question to ask at that point is: "How do you know that; was this based on real briefings?"

[Updated 9:24 a.m. ET] The two passengers removed from an Emirates flight Monday night along with Faisal Shahzad have now been cleared and released, a federal law enforcement source tells CNN. The source said the two "had nothing to do with this" but had been taken off the plane at New York's JFK International Airport in an abundance of caution "in the rush of the moment." The two passengers are now on a flight headed to their original destination of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, an airline officialconfirmed to CNN.

[Updated at 9:18 a.m. ET] A woman who said she lived next door to Faisal Shahzad in Shelton, Connecticut, told CNN Tuesday that the man she knew was quiet and claimed to work on Wall Street in New York. "He was quiet. He would wear all black and jog at night. He said he didn't like the sunlight," Brenda Thurman said. She explained that Shahzad, his wife, two children and his wife's two sisters lived next to her for about three years, moving out in July of 2009. Thurman said her daughter played with Shahzad's daughter often.

[Updated at 9:16 a.m. ET] Cell phone calls conducted for the purchase of the vehicle used in the Times Square bombing attempt helped lead police to the suspect, law enforcement sources told CNN. Sources said investigators got cell phone information from the daughter of the Nissan Pathfinder owner. She sold the vehicle to Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad on behalf of her father. Shahzad was arrested overnight in connection with the failed bombing attempt. She had been talking on the phone to Shahzad in organizing the purchase of the SUV, which was advertised for sale on Craigslist.

[Updated at 7:54 a.m. ET] The Pakistani-American suspect in the Times Square bombing attempt has a Karachi identification card, a document that shows Pakistani residency, and the suspect's family is from northwestern Pakistan, Interior Minister Rehman Malik told CNN. Malik was notified about the arrest of Faisal Shahzad on Tuesday morning by the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan and said his government will cooperate with
the United States government in the investigation.

[Updated 6:55 a.m. ET] Investigators removed filled plastic bags Tuesday from a house in Bridgeport, Connecticut, that they searched in the investigation into the failed car bomb attack in Times Square, residents said. Agents with the FBI and local police, including members of a bomb squad, conducted the search in the mixed-race, working-class neighborhood.

[Updated 6:45 a.m. ET] President Barack Obama was briefed six times Monday about the Times Square investigation and notified of the arrest at 12:05 a.m. ET Tuesday, all by the White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

[Updated 6:43 a.m. ET] Shahzad was headed to Pakistan via Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, when he was arrested, a law enforcement official said.
[Updated 6:32 a.m. ET] Authorities removed three passengers from a Dubai-bound flight late Monday, according to a spokesman for Emirate Airlines. An airline official said the three included Faisal Shahzad, the suspect arrested in connection to the foiled bomb attempt at Times Square.
[Updated 5 a.m. ET] Investigators searched a house in Bridgeport, Connecticut, early Tuesday morning in connection with the foiled bomb attack in New York's Times Square over the weekend.

Speaking to reporters, FBI Special Agent in Charge Kim Mertz would not disclose any details of the search.

"Our first mission was to ensure the safety of the public and our law enforcement officials," she said. "That is complete and the public is safe."

Along with several patrol cars, a Connecticut State Police bomb squad truck was called to the two-story building at Sheridan Street and Boston Avenue.

[Updated 4:19 a.m. ET] Faisal Shahzad is believed to be the person who drove the sports  utility vehicle into Times Square, a law enforcement official said.

The  Nissan Pathfinder had its Vehicle Identification Number removed from the dashboard. Police climbed under the SUV and retrieved the VIN from  the bottom of its engine block. This, said the official, led  investigators to the registered owner of the vehicle and then to Shahzad  who purchased the SUV.

Another law enforcement source  said Shahzad is claiming he acted alone in the incident.

[Updated 1:46 a.m.] A U.S. citizen has been arrested in Times Square bombing probe, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced early Tuesday.  Faisal Shahzad was arrested at JFK airport in New York as he prepared to board a flight to Dubai, Holder said.

[Updated 12:39 a.m.] An arrest has been made in a failed attempt to set off a car bomb in New York's Times Square over the weekend, a law enforcement official told CNN early Tuesday.

Monday's roundup | Sunday's Roundup

soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. Spencer J. and Pamela T. Atkinson, PFTLD

    Blog regarding the Car Bomb in Times Square,-5-4-2010

    Everyone was being thanked, the police, the fire department, and the vendors for responding in a way that may have prevented the bomb from exploding and the great disaster that would have followed. I couldn't help but notice no one was thanking God, even the Mayor said "we were lucky" (a gambling term), when we were actually blessed. When the radical extremists groups plant a bomb or blow something up, they do it in the name of their god, so what is wrong with thanking our God, the God of the United States of America when such disasters are prevented and why is it not labeled a miracle? I wonder how God feels about it. I personally think the greatest threat to humanity is disrespecting or ignoring God's blessings even through disbelief in God, making Armageddon a sure thing.

    May 4, 2010 at 6:56 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. dave kelley

    Thank God for what? God didn't get that man arrested, human diligence did. When all bad people stop hurting good people, then you can start thanking mythical creatures.

    May 4, 2010 at 7:11 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. matt

    Thank the people on the street for caring and speaking up!

    May 4, 2010 at 7:25 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Robert Dowell

    Its time to stop being politically correct and take care of the true us citizens, as members of islam are forbidden by the Koran to be loyal to any non Muslim nation, it is impossible for a muslim to be a US citizen! so it no wonder these things are happening and is just the beginning! The God of Christ help us because our goverment which we pay our tax dollars to wont, they are too busy working for the rich!

    May 4, 2010 at 7:26 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. mike reyes

    stupid idiot!

    May 4, 2010 at 7:30 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. sherri

    it seems to me we should be more worried about the fact he was a naturalized citizen. how long will it be before the next islamic fanatic is blond blue eyed and white? or black? or any other nationality? islam is not a race its a religion.a religion practiced by all races.we kid ourselves if we think we are safer than london from terrorsist attacks. as for pitting the christian god against the islamic one,we are putting ourselves on the same level as the terrorists themselves. this is about the innocent lives lost thru terrorist activity.its about survival. i,for one, can not understand why a person would listen to "holyman" who told me to not only commit suicide,but to take innocent lives with me. esp.when its apparent this man has no intention of killing himself for the same cause. i would consider this man a coward a deceiver,and definantly NOT holy.so senseles..as forthisman acting alone? its possible,buti doubt it. usually someone needs to be coaxed into this sort of "heroic, holy"death. the men who seek ones to do this are serpents. hopefully some islamics will realize this.

    May 4, 2010 at 7:34 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Victor

    Are you aware that Christians, Jews and Muslims pray to the same God ? Anyways lets thank everybody involved (including God) for helping avert a terrible incident.

    May 4, 2010 at 7:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Steve

    This was hardly a car bomb. This was a wanna-be low level amateur. Car bombs explode, they do not catch on fire. Car bombs use explosives that create craters and blow out windows and turn the car into shrapnel.

    May 4, 2010 at 7:44 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Bob Matis

    Doesn't anyone realize that by reporting how Federal Agents obtained the VIN number form the SUV have now placed that same information into the hands/minds of terrorists?
    Police, Federal Agents, media correspondents....let's all get smarter and think about just how much detail needs to be reported to the public during an anti-terroist investigation. REMEMBER CURRENT AND PAST HISTORY... WE ARE AT WAR, AND LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS!

    May 4, 2010 at 7:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. nikki

    so let me get this right...regular new yorkers notify joe police officer who handles things perfectly and brings in the appropriately trained US personnel who then take care of everyday citizens (by the thousands!!) and so we are here today not mourning the deaths of many of "our" guys...but we find a way to turn this into another "my god is better than your god" deal. Meanwhile, "our" guys within a couple of days, figure out who did this, where the guys is, and make the arrest–and we're still going on about my god, your god!!! This country's going to hell in a handbasket. How about a round of atta boys. You guys should be watching The Pacific and feeling a little more humbled about this great Country

    May 4, 2010 at 8:01 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Hassan S Al Jabri

    All I can Add is ; prayers that "God help us and keep us far from these sick people, no matter their nationality or relgion, to protect us all" I'm greatful this plot was not successful.

    If it was, all people at that time in Times Square in that area will be killed by the explosion and it will not spare any believer if Muslim, Christian or Jews. So who ever do this, do not consider the precious mean of life and wonder of a living soul. Sick Sick and do not represent anyone in this world or after.

    God Bless us All.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:04 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Rich

    Eric Holder will soon run out of fingers and toes to count the number of home grown Islamic terrorists that have caught during his watch. When we stop being so politically correct about the danger posed by Islamic fundamentalists inside our own borders we will develop a more reasoned response to them.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:04 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Tony

    United States of America is a melting pot. There is no such thing as "God of the United States of America". Such comment is ignorance and assuming that all Americans are of Christian faith. Feel free to pry to the God of your own religion. We need to respect all religions and accept that no one religion is more superior to another.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:06 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. JoAnn

    This should show us all that our country is not safer now than when the 911 attack happened. There will be an attack under this administration as they continue to not recongnize that there are terrorists right here.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:39 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. doug

    In light of all the anti Muslim rhetoric I feel compelled to remind us all that the greatest act of homegrown terrorism in recent years was carried out by a Christian in Oklahoma City. Maybe we need to keep a better eye on that group.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:52 am | Report abuse | Reply
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