Suspect in Times Square bombing attempt was paid by Pakistani Taliban, indictment says
Friday, June 18, 2010
The suspect in the attempted bombing of Times Square received $12,000 from the Pakistani Taliban to carry out the plot, according to a federal indictment released Thursday that formally charges Faisal Shahzad with receiving training and support from the militant group.
The indictment includes 10 separate charges, double the number of counts in the initial criminal complaint that was filed against Shahzad three days after a Nissan Pathfinder packed with explosives was left smoldering in one of the busiest intersections in New York.
"The facts alleged in this indictment show that the Pakistani Taliban facilitated Faisal Shahzad's attempted attack on American soil," Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a written statement.
The new charges accuse Shahzad, 30, of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, of being armed with a high-tech 9-millimeter rifle and of committing an act of terrorism "transcending national boundaries." According to the document, he received training in the Pakistani region of Waziristan in December from "explosive trainers affiliated with Tehrik-e-Taliban," an alternate name for the militant group.
Six of the counts against Shahzad carry maximum penalties of life in prison. For two of the charges, a life term is the minimum. The indictment was issued by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of New York.
The document offers little new information about the plot, aside from details of alleged payments of $5,000 and $7,000 Shahzad is said to have received in two transactions from a person in Pakistan affiliated with the Pakistani Taliban. The first payment was collected Feb. 25 in Massachusetts, and the second about two weeks later in Ronkonkoma, N.Y.
U.S. officials declined to identify the alleged accomplice or to say whether he was in custody in Pakistan.
Three U.S. residents suspected of helping funnel money to Shahzad were arrested by federal authorities in Massachusetts and Maine last month on immigration violations. A Justice Department official said none of the three had been charged in connection with the Times Square plot.
Shahzad, a Pakistani native who lived in the United States for nearly a decade before becoming a U.S. citizen, was taken into custody May 3 at John F. Kennedy International Airport while trying to board a flight to Dubai.
Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.