The State Department intends to designate the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) as a "foreign terrorist organization" after the suspect charged in the failed Times Square bombing admitted to being trained by the group, two senior officials tell CNN.
Both officials called the decision to designate the group inevitable after Faisal Shahzad, the 30-year-old Pakistani-American suspect in the failed Times Square bombing case, entered pleas of guilty Monday in federal court to all 10 counts he was facing after the botched attempt to ignite a vehicle bomb in Times Square on May 1.
There is still some process before the group is added. Both officials stressed that the State Department still needs to do its due diligence in following the strict legal guidelines involved in officially adding a group to the blacklist, but that the intent to designate the group as a foreign terrorist organization is there. The designation would freeze any of the group's assets in the United States and impose financial and travel restrictions on its members.
The move to designate the TTP as a foreign terrorist organization comes as New York's Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer, and Kirsten Gillibrand, along with both Democratic senators from New Jersey, Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, are expected to introduce legislation blacklisting the group.
In May, the senators wrote Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking that the TTP be added to the list, but at the time the State Department would only say it was reviewing such a move.
"This group, the Pakistani Taliban, trained and bankrolled Shahzad and yet, despite the clear links to the Pakistani Taliban, they are not on our terrorist list," ," Schumer said Tuesday. "We're a co-equal branch of government, and we believe we can't wait any longer. Not when Shahzad, even when he pleads guilty, vows that he and his terrorists will be back to attack the U.S. again."
"The Pakistani Taliban will stop at nothing to kill innocent Americans," Lautenberg added. "The question really is, if the Pakistani Taliban is not a terrorist group, what possibly is?"
Shahzad said he traveled to Waziristan in Pakistan in December with two friends to join the Taliban. He said that during the five days he was there the Taliban gave him $4,000, which he combined with $4,900 of his own money to pay for the materials used in the attack.
"The weight of evidence, particularly in light of yesterday's court proceeding in New York would suggest that a designation is inevitable," one senior official said. "It's a no-brainer. There is no doubt where this will end up but there is a process that has to be done to gather all the needed evidence ... under law and that process is not done yet."