Car bombing suspect was “in Pakistan for several months” prior to attack

Fox News reports:

Federal authorities have identified a person of interest in Saturday night’s car bomb attempt in New York City’s Times Square, Fox News confirms.

The person is a naturalized American citizen who was in Pakistan for several months and returned to the United States recently, investigative sources told Fox News, though the person’s identity has not been made public.

If he’s a naturalized U.S. citizen who spent several months in Pakistan, he is probably from Pakistan originally. In any case, he was in Pakistan before the attack, and the Taliban in Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack. Also the man who sold the SUV used in the failed bombing said the buyer was of Hispanic or Mideastern appearance, and, as told below (as well as at ABC), U.S. intelligence sources say there is growing evidence of an international connection to the bombing. So the signs are pointing to an organized jihad operation. Also, the same U.S.-based Muslim who threatened the South Park producers is warning of further attacks against New York City.

The story continues:

The latest developments come as a senior administration official confirmed earlier to Fox News that investigators have begun to suspect the failed attack was the work of an international plot. The official could not definitively say whether a foreign conspiracy was behind the incident, but that the body of evidence was moving in that direction.

The Washington Post first reported that officials were eyeing an international connection. One official told the Post that “some tell-tale signs” have led investigators to look at a “foreign nexus.”

Police, meanwhile, have interviewed the registered owner of the bomb-laden sports-utility vehicle but say he is not a suspect. CBS News reports that the man told investigators he recently sold the vehicle on Craigslist for $1,300 to someone who looked “Middle Eastern” or “Hispanic.” The buyer reportedly paid in $100 bills.

Sources told Fox News that investigators are focusing on the similarities between the failed attack in New York City and both the 2007 attack on Glasgow’s airport in Scotland and the attempted bombing of a London nightclub the same year. Propane gas and gasoline were used in all three incidents.

The administration’s assessment came after the White House for the first time clearly defined the attempted attack as an act of terrorism, without saying whether it was the work of a foreign or domestic plot.

“I think anybody that has the type of material that they had in a car in Times Square, I would say that that was intended to terrorize. Absolutely,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said when asked by Fox News how the White House would categorize the incident. “And I would say that whoever did that would be categorized as a terrorist. Yes.”

Obama administration officials previously stopped short of declaring the incident terrorism.

New York Gov. David Paterson immediately called the attempted attack an “act of terrorism” after police were alerted to the bomb and cleared out Times Square Saturday night. But Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday said it was too early to officially designate the incident as terrorism.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, in several interviews since Sunday, has by turns described the incident as a potential or likely terrorist act, though she said investigators need to find out more about the origin of the plot.

“It certainly is something that I would not rule out,” she told Fox News on Monday morning.

A Pakistani Taliban group released a videotape that appeared to claim responsibility for the incident, but New York City officials said they had no evidence to support that.

Fox News’ Major Garrett and Catherine Herridge contributed to this report.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 03, 2010 08:14 PM | Send

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