NEW YORK – A U.S. citizen who had recently returned from a five-month trip to his native Pakistan, where he had a wife, was arrested at a New York airport on charges that he drove a bomb-laden SUV meant to cause a fireball in Times Square, federal authorities said.
Faisal Shahzad was on board a Dubai-bound flight at Kennedy Airport when FBI agents and New York Police Department detectives took him into custody late Monday, law enforcement officials said. One official said he claimed to have acted alone.
U.S. authorities "will not rest until we have brought everyone responsible to justice," Attorney Eric Holder said early Tuesday, suggesting additional suspects are being sought.
Shahzad, 30, is a naturalized U.S. citizen and had recently returned from a five-month trip to Pakistan, where he had a wife, according to law enforcement officials who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation into the failed car bombing.
Investigators hadn't established an immediate connection to the Pakistani Taliban — which had claimed responsibility for the botched bombing in three videos — or any foreign terrorist groups, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
"He's claimed to have acted alone, but these are things that have to be investigated," the official said.
Another law enforcement official said Shahzad was not known to the U.S. intelligence community before the failed bombing attempt.
The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan was handling the case and said Shahzad would appear in court Tuesday, but the charges were not made public. FBI agents searched the home at a known address for Shahzad in Bridgeport, Conn., early Tuesday, said agent Kimberly Mertz, who wouldn't answer questions about the search.
Authorities removed filled plastic bags from the house overnight in a mixed-race, working-class neighborhood of multi-family homes in Connecticut's largest city. A bomb squad came and went without entering as local police and FBI agents gathered in the cordoned-off street.