Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Terrorism: Times Square - the case continues

A diagram showing the positioning of the charges in the 1993 Nissan Pathfinder, along with other details on the device placed inside the vehicle - click to enlarge

The naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan arrested last night for his alleged role in the attempted car bombing in Times Square last Saturday was a terrorist whose goal was to murder Americans “in one of the busiest places in this country,” Attorney General Eric Holder said today in Washington.

The arrest of Faisal Shahzad just over 53 hours after an explosives-filled SUV was discovered abandoned in the middle of New York City’s famous tourist area could not have happened without the cooperative efforts of federal and state law enforcement working around the clock.

Those partnerships were evident by the people standing with the attorney general at a press conference held earlier today at the Department of Justice: FBI Deputy Director John Pistole, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Assistant Attorney General for National Security David Kris, and the U.S. Attorneys for the Southern District of New York and the District of Connecticut.

“Our collective success unraveling this plot comes down to traditional investigative skills and intelligence collection,” Pistole said. “We used traditional law enforcement techniques, such as federal court-authorized search warrants, along with intelligence-based authorities, to maximize our evidence and intelligence gathering.”

Working with New York Police Department detectives, the FBI identified Shahzad as the person who purchased the SUV. Based on that information, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents were able to uncover Shahzad’s extensive travel to Pakistan, which eventually led to his arrest at JFK airport as he was trying to leave the country.

“Our Joint Terrorism Task Force agents and officers interviewed Shahzad early this morning,” Pistole said, and he was “cooperative and provided valuable intelligence and evidence.”

Shahzad is in custody and faces a variety of terrorism charges, but the case is ongoing. The Bureau continues to investigate leads here and internationally, and we are conducting a forensic examination of all evidence collected by the NYPD. “We also want to test the potential impact of the device to ascertain what would have happened had it worked as intended,” Pistole said.

Pistole and others thanked vigilant citizens, like the vendor in Times Square who reported the suspicious vehicle to authorities. “This investigation, like others we have handled in the past year, once again reminds us that our work is not finished” with regard to terrorists, he added. “We will continue to work side by side with our partners—and with citizens across the country—to find and stop those who would do us harm.”

Source: FBI

See also Sydney Irresistible and Mike Hitchen Unleashed
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