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Holder: NYC Bombing Suspect Still Cooperating

May 6, 2010 at 12:00 AM EST
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Attorney General Eric Holder said the suspect in last weekend's failed Times Square bombing is continuing to cooperate with authorities investigating the plot and possible ties to extremists in Pakistan. Kwame Holman reports.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: New details emerged today about events leading up to the attempted attack in Times Square last Saturday. Investigators also stepped up efforts to run down any connections to militants in Pakistan.

NewsHour correspondent Kwame Holman has our report.

KWAME HOLMAN: Federal officials reported today they’re still getting information from Faisal Shahzad, the prime suspect in the bombing probe.

Attorney General Eric Holder discussed the interrogation at a Senate hearing this morning.

ERIC HOLDER, U.S. attorney general: During ongoing questioning by federal agents, Shahzad has provided useful information. And we will continue to pursue a number of leads as we gather intelligence relating to this attempted attack. Now, although this car bomb failed to properly detonate, this plot was yet another reminder that terrorists are still plotting to kill Americans.

KWAME HOLMAN: Shahzad was arrested late Monday, and has not been seen publicly since. Investigators say he began talking almost immediately and waived his right to a speedy arraignment.

He was accused of leaving this 1993 Nissan Pathfinder, loaded with fireworks, gasoline and propane, parked on a busy street in Times Square, but the bomb failed to go off. Today, the Associated Press reported investigators now believe Shahzad made a dry run with the SUV into Times Square last Wednesday to choose the best place to leave the vehicle. Allegedly, he returned Friday to drop off a black Isuzu eight blocks from the bomb site as a getaway car.

Then, investigators said, as he fled the scene Saturday night, Shahzad accidentally left his car keys in the Nissan, and had to take public transit back home. They said he came back Sunday with a second set of keys to pick up the Isuzu. Shahzad has confessed to authorities that he trained at a terrorist camp in Pakistan, but acted alone.

Still, House Republican Leader John Boehner today accused the Obama administration of issuing bland reassurances that this was just a lone wolf.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-Ohio, House minority leader: We have been lucky that we have been able to thwart these attempted attacks. But, frankly, most of us believe that the strategy ought to be at preventing such attacks, not counting on our luck to — to catch these at the — at the last moment.

KWAME HOLMAN: But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi argued, the law enforcement system has worked.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-Calif., speaker of the House: The harder we work, the luckier we get. I think that’s probably the point. I don’t think anybody accused them of being lucky when the millennium plot was foiled, well, now 10 — 10 years ago. It’s about a large number of elements that come to work, and one of them which is very important is the vigilance of the American people.

KWAME HOLMAN: The Pakistan connection also came under increasing scrutiny today. Published reports said U.S. officials now believe the Pakistani Taliban may have played a role in the plot, as the militant group has claimed.

In the meantime, there was a new alert today at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. An Emirates Airlines flight briefly was called back to the gate when officials incorrectly matched a passenger to the no-fly list of terror suspects. Shahzad had been arrested on an Emirates flight at JFK, despite being put on the no-fly list.