Officials formally charge Times Square bomb suspect

(AP) - Authorities have brought terrorism and mass destruction charges against the suspect in the failed Times Square car bombing, saying he has confessed to receiving explosives training in Pakistan.

Charges against Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, were contained in a criminal complaint filed Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan. Shahzad was arrested overnight as he attempted to leave the country on a flight.

The complaint says he confessed to buying an SUV, rigging it with a homemade bomb and driving it Saturday night into Times Square, where he tried to detonate it.

The complaint says he admitted to receiving bomb-making training in Waziristan, Pakistan, but there is no mention of al-Qaida.

"Based on what we know so far, it is clear that this was a terrorist plot aimed at murdering Americans in one of the busiest places in our country," said Attorney General Eric Holder.

Shahzad is being questioned and has provided useful information to investigators, Holder said. The FBI read Shahzad his constitutional rights after he provided information, and he continued to cooperate, FBI Deputy Director John Pistole said.

Authorities tracked down Shahzad using the vehicle identification number on the Nissan Pathfinder that failed to detonate. They linked that number to a recent sale in Connecticut, Holder said.

Once they identified Shahzad, authorities placed him on a federal air travel no-fly list. He was arrested late Monday night aboard a plane bound for the United Arab Emirates.

President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the FBI was investigating Shahzad's possible ties to terrorist groups. Officials would not say whether they believe the suspect acted alone or as part of a conspiracy.

Shahzad became a U.S. citizen in April 2009 after passing the required criminal and national security background checks.

He was not known to the U.S. intelligence community before the failed bombing attempt in New York City, and there was no derogatory information about him in terrorism-related government databases, said one U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity as the investigation continued.

Other law enforcement officials familiar with the inquiry say investigators plan to go through Shahzad's citizenship application line by line to see if he lied about anything. He became a citizen in Hartford, Conn.

On Monday, Shahzad made a flight reservation on the way to John F. Kennedy International Airport and paid for his ticket in cash, federal officials said.

Shahzad was aboard an Emirates flight bound for Dubai that had left the gate. It was called back so authorities could arrest him.

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