New York, May 5 (IANS) A Pakistani American suspect in the failed Times Square car bombing has admitted he attempted to detonate a bomb at the New York landmark and had received bomb-making training in Pakistan, according to court charges filed against him.
Other charges against Faisal Shahzad, 30, who was arrested as his plane was about to take off from Kennedy Airport shortly before midnight Monday, allege that he received a series of phone calls from Pakistan in the days leading up to the incident.
Five of these calls were received on the same day he bought the Nissan Pathfinder used in the attempted attack Saturday night in the bustling area of New York, documents filed by FBI Tuesday in US District Court in New York show.
The documents detail five counts against Shahzad: attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, use of a destructive device in connection with criminal violence, transporting and receiving explosives, and damaging and destroying property by means of fire.
If convicted, Pakistan-born Shahzad could get life in prison. Shahzad, who become a naturalised US citizen on April 17, 2009, was due in federal court Tuesday, but that appearance was delayed until at least Thursday as he continued to be questioned by authorities.
The court documents allege that Shahzad admitted to investigators to driving the Pathfinder into Times Square and attempting to detonate the bomb. The documents also reveal a clearer picture of how he was linked to the plot.
After receiving explosives training at a camp in Pakistan's terrorist hotbed in Waziristan region, Shahzad returned to the United States via a one-way plane ticket Feb 3, the court documents say, citing Customs and Border Protection records.
He told immigration officials upon his return that he had been visiting his parents in Pakistan for five months, according to the documents. He also told officials that his wife remained in Pakistan.
Authorities focused on Shahzad when they traced evidence to him from the sale of the Nissan Pathfinder used in the failed attack, information considered the linchpin of the case.
The SUV's vehicle identification number had been removed from the dashboard.
Police retrieved the VIN from the bottom of its engine block.
This, said a federal law enforcement official, led investigators to the registered owner of the vehicle and then to Shahzad, who purchased the SUV on April 24 for $1,300 cash via an ad on the internet, the court documents show. He was identified in a photo lineup by the seller of the vehicle.
In addition to the bomb-making materials found in the Pathfinder-which included gasoline, propane tanks, fireworks and non-explosive fertilizer- investigators found a set of keys, one of which opened Shahzad's Connecticut home. Another belonged to an Isuzu vehicle. Shahzad is believed to have driven an Isuzu to the airport Monday.
Phone records cited in the court documents show a series of calls made from Pakistan to a pre-paid cell phone used by Shahzad. The phone was activated April 16 and inactivated around April 28, last Wednesday. The attempted attack was carried out Saturday.
Phone records further indicate that Shahzad called a fireworks store in Pennsylvania that carries M-88 firecrackers, the same kind found in the Pathfinder.
Additionally, FBI agents searching Shahzad's Connecticut residence recovered fireworks and fertilizer from his garage, the documents say.
"It is clear that this was a terrorist plot," Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday. It could have caused "death and destruction in the heart of New York City."