|2010 Times Square car bombing attempt|
|Part of Terrorism in the United States|
The dark blue Nissan Pathfinder SUV (right) in Times Square, Manhattan, 27 minutes after the attempted attack.
The vehicle's rear hazard lights are on.
|Location||1 Astor Plaza/1515 Broadway, New York City, New York (Times Square, Manhattan) 10036, United States|
|Date||Saturday, May 1, 2010 |
6:28 p.m. EDT (UTC−04:00)
|Car bombing (failed attempt)|
|Perpetrators||Faisal Shahzad |
On May 1, 2010, a terrorist attack was attempted in Times Square in Manhattan, New York. Two street vendors alerted NYPD after they spotted smoke coming from a vehicle, and a car bomb was discovered. The bomb had been ignited, but failed to explode, and was disarmed before it caused any casualties. Two days later, federal agents arrested Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old Pakistan-born resident of Bridgeport, Connecticut, who had become a U.S. citizen in April 2009. He was arrested after he had boarded Emirates Flight 202 to Dubai at John F. Kennedy International Airport. He admitted attempting the car bombing and said that he had trained at a Pakistani terrorist training camp, according to U.S. officials.
United States Attorney General Eric Holder said that Shahzad's intent had been "to kill Americans." Shahzad was charged in federal court in Manhattan on May 4 with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and other federal crimes related to explosives. More than a dozen people were arrested by Pakistani officials in connection with the plot. Holder said the Pakistani Taliban directed the attack and may have financed it.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned of "severe consequences" if an attack like this were to be successful and traced back to Pakistan. The Obama administration saw a need for retaliatory options, including a unilateral military strike in Pakistan, if a future successful attack was to be traced to Pakistan-based militants.
On October 5, 2010, Shahzad was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to a 10-count indictment in June, including charges of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting an act of terrorism.
The suspect's vehicle, a dark blue 1993 Nissan Pathfinder sport utility vehicle with dark tinted windows, entered Times Square at approximately 6:28 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Saturday evening, May 1, 2010, as seen on a surveillance video.
Two minutes later, two street vendors, T-shirt seller Lance Orton, 56, and handbag seller Duane Jackson, 58 noticed smoke drifting from vents near the back seat of the unoccupied vehicle, which was parked with its engine running and its hazard lights on. They also heard firecrackers going off inside.
Meanwhile, Alioune Niasse, a Senegalese immigrant who sells photographs on the Square, was among those who noticed the vehicle and alerted a mounted policeman. The vehicle had been parked on a tourist-crowded block at the eastern corner of 1 Astor Plaza (intersection of West 45th Street and Broadway), near the entrance to the Minskoff Theatre which was housing the musical The Lion King. The police officer approached the Pathfinder to investigate, and observed the smoke, canisters inside, and the smell of gunpowder. He immediately called for backup, a bomb disposal team, and the Fire Department.
The police quickly evacuated and barricaded the area stretching from 43rd Street to 49th Street on Seventh Avenue, and 45th Street from Seventh Avenue to Eighth Avenue, of all vehicle and foot traffic, including Broadway-performance attendees. They also evacuated several buildings near the vehicle, including the New York Marriott Marquis hotel. While many Broadway theaters had their opening curtains delayed, all shows gave their performances that night.
The team found in the rear of the vehicle:
Investigators believed the car bomb was actually made up of four separate, individual explosive components – in effect, four bombs comprising one large bomb. The firecrackers would have started the process by setting off triggering devices, attached to the gasoline. That would have created an explosion that would then have in turn set off the propane and the fertilizer. A cell phone and wristwatch recovered from the vehicle may have been intended as separate timing/triggering devices. The maker of the "bomb" incorrectly surmised that the urea/sugar mixture fertilizer would work like the ammonium nitrate-based fertilizer which was used in the Oklahoma City bombing.
The improvised explosive device's ignition source malfunctioned, however, and failed to set it off as intended. Had it detonated, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the bomb would have cut the car in half, and "would have caused casualties, a significant fireball." Police said the bomb would likely also have sprayed shrapnel, and killed or wounded many people.
Shortly after the bomb was discovered, the police looked for a male who was seen on surveillance footage, changing his shirt in Shubert Alley (which runs between 44th and 45th Streets, just west of Broadway). By May 4, however, he was no longer of interest to the police. Investigators also looked for another person captured on video running north on Broadway, away from the area.
In the early stages of the investigation, officials considered several possibilities. Police Commissioner Kelly mentioned lone-wolf terrorism, saying: "A terrorist act doesn't necessarily have to be conducted by an organization, an individual can do it on their own." The police also investigated whether the bomb was planted in relation to threats posted on the Revolution Muslim website against creators of South Park from Comedy Central. Investigators compared similarities between the Times Square device and the two devices discovered outside a London bar in the al-Qaeda 2007 London car bombs.
Investigators examined the vehicle at a forensics center in Jamaica, Queens, for fibers, fingerprints, hair, and DNA evidence. They began tracking where the bomb materials were purchased. Commissioner Kelly said the bomb components were all "locally available materials." At least three people other than the primary suspect were involved in buying the bomb materials, sources said. The Pathfinder and bomb components were next taken to the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, for analysis.
The vehicle identification number (VIN) plate, a unique serial number used to identify individual motor vehicles, had been removed from the car's dashboard and the door VIN sticker, but police retrieved the VIN from the bottom of its engine block. The investigators traced the SUV's last registered owner, and the female college student who sold the suspect the Pathfinder. Law enforcement officials recovered the suspect's pre-paid disposable cell phone's number from the cell phone of the seller, and ran it through a number of databases. They determined that the disposable phone had been used for calls to and from a Pakistani telephone number which they knew to be associated with Faisal Shahzad. The phone had also been used to call a fireworks store in rural Pennsylvania. They collected his e-mail address from an email which he sent to the seller's computer.
Sets of keys left in the Pathfinder included one to Shahzad's house in Connecticut, and another to one of his other cars, a 1998 Isuzu Rodeo. Intending to use his Isuzu for escape, Shahzad had parked it eight blocks from the bomb site before the attack. He left the keys in the Pathfinder and had to take the train home. He returned for his Isuzu the following day, with a second set of keys.
The Pathfinder's license plates did not match its registration, and had apparently been taken from a Ford F-150 pickup truck awaiting repair at a Stratford, Connecticut, garage. The registered owner of the plates did not appear to be involved in the incident.
E-ZPass and other camera records at toll plazas were reviewed to identify where the vehicle entered Manhattan. Law enforcement officials reviewed security camera footage from 82 city cameras and from business and tourist cameras for additional information. After Shahzad's arrest, a surveillance video revealed images of him wearing a white baseball cap, walking in Shubert Alley moments after witnesses noticed the smoking SUV.
An FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force took over the investigation as indications of a possible international connection increased. Shahzad had been listed on a U.S. government travel-lookout list since 1999, because he had brought large amounts of cash (approximately $82,500) in increments of about $20,000 into the U.S. between January 1999 and April 2008.
Senior Obama administration officials said a flood of international and domestic clues suggested a plot involving more than one person. A review of Shahzad's phone call records revealed that he had received a series of calls from Pakistan directly before and after he purchased the Pathfinder. Investigators also examined international phone records showing calls "between some of the people who might be associated with this and folks overseas," according to a U.S. official. According to The Wall Street Journal, Shahzad received bomb-making training from the Pakistani Taliban. On May 6, The New York Times, quoting various American officials, said that evidence was mounting that Shahzad's alleged attempt was tied to the Taliban.
U.S. authorities reportedly identified a money courier who helped funnel cash to Shahzad from abroad to finance the car bombing. There is no record of his having had a job since returning to the U.S., but he had an $1,150-per-month apartment on which he did not miss a payment, purchased materials estimated to cost $2,000 to build the bomb, paid for the $1,300 car-bomb vehicle in cash, bought an $800 plane ticket in cash, and bought a $400 gun.
On May 13, investigators searched several locations in the northeastern U.S. They detained three Pakistani men. Two, cousins who were living at a house in Watertown, Massachusetts, were Brookline, Massachusetts, gas station attendant Aftab Ali Khan (27 years old at the time, who was set to fly from the U.S. to Pakistan the day he was arrested, and whose visa had expired six months prior) and Boston-area cabdriver Pir Kahn (43 at the time). The two denied knowing Shahzad, but a search of their home found an envelope with Shahzad's surname and phone number among Aftab Ali Khan's belongings. Shahzad's name and number were also found in a cell phone believed to belong to Aftab Ali Khan. The third man detained was Mohammad Shafiq Rahman, a 33-year-old computer programmer living in South Portland, Maine. He had known Shahzad in the past, lived in Connecticut a few years prior, and went to Maine in approximately 2008. They were detained on immigration, not criminal, charges. The FBI also conducted searches at a gas station in the nearby town of Brookline, in Camden and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and in Centereach and Shirley, New York, on Long Island. U.S. Attorney General Holder said there was evidence the men had provided money to Shahzad through an informal money transfer network (known as a hawala), but it was not yet clear if they were aware of the bombing plot.
Faisal Shahzad was born in Pakistan in 1979 to a wealthy, well-educated family. His father, a former Pakistan Air Force Vice Marshal, is deputy director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan. Shahzad attended primary school in Saudi Arabia, and then studied in Pakistan. Arriving in the U.S. in 1999 on an F-1 student visa, he studied at now-defunct Southeastern University, receiving a 2.78 grade point average. In 1999 the United States Customs Service placed him on its travel lookout list. He transferred in 2000 to the University of Bridgeport, receiving a B.A. in 2002, and an M.B.A. in 2005. He worked in the accounting department of Elizabeth Arden in Connecticut from 2002 to 2006, leaving for a junior financial analyst job (for an estimated $55–80,000 salary) for Affinion Group in Connecticut until he resigned in June 2009. He had been granted a three-year H1-B skilled worker visa in 2002, a green card in 2006, and became a U.S. citizen in April 2009 by his marriage to his wife. He also has a Karachi identification card, reflecting Pakistani residency.
In 2004, in an arranged marriage, he married Huma Asif Mian, a Colorado-born U.S. citizen who had just graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She and her Pakistani-born parents had lived in Qatar and Colorado; her parents now live in Saudi Arabia. A neighbor recalled Shahzad visited the family only once before she joined him in Connecticut. Shahzad's family lived in a single-family three-bedroom house in Shelton, Connecticut for three years. He then defaulted on his $200,000 mortgage, and was sued by the bank in September 2009 as it foreclosed on his home. This foreclosure occurred only 8 months before the attempt.
In addition to traveling to Pakistan regularly, "Shahzad has been visiting Middle Eastern countries," according to Minister Malik. Shahzad had traveled to Dubai before, most recently on June 2, 2009, on an Emirates flight. The New York Times reported that in 2009 he asked his father for permission to fight in Afghanistan against American and NATO forces, but his father refused, saying that he disapproved and reminding Shahzad that Islam does not permit a man to abandon his wife or children.
On July 3, 2009, he reportedly traveled to Pakistan and is believed to have visited Peshawar, often a gateway for foreign visitors to join up with jihadist groups in the militant-occupied Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and stayed there from July 7 to July 22. Peshawar's legacy for blackmarket terror goes back to the Soviet–Afghan War when it was a center for the Mujahideen parties and their US & Gulf patrons. The Center for Strategic and International Studies describes the FATA as: "ground zero in the U.S. Jihadist war, and home to many al-Qaeda operatives, especially the numerous foreigners from the Arab world, Central Asia Muslim areas of the Far East, and even Europe who flock to this war zone for training [and] indoctrination." A senior Administration official said it appears he had an attack in mind when he went there, and he went there seeking help for the attack.
While in Pakistan, he said he trained, including explosives bomb-making training, at a terrorist training camp in Waziristan, according to American officials and the complaint against him. Waziristan is home to a number of terrorist and militant organizations, and is the main base for al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban. He spent five months in Pakistan, where his wife is now living. CBS News reported that he may have spent at least four months at the camp. He committed to the car bombing while undergoing training, according to U.S. officials.
Shahzad told interrogators that he met with Pakistani Taliban operatives in North Waziristan in December and January 2009, and later received explosives training from the same operatives, said a senior military official.
After dropping his wife and children off in Saudi Arabia, he returned to the U.S. on February 3, 2010, on an Emirates flight from Dubai. He reportedly bought the ingredients for his bomb slowly over an extended period of time as he had been instructed to in his bomb-making training camp in Pakistan to avoid suspicion.
On March 8, he bought Silver Salute M88 fireworks from a Matamoras, Pennsylvania, fireworks company, according to the company's records and surveillance images. He telephoned the company again on April 25.
Shahzad reportedly drove from his Connecticut home to a Dunkin' Donuts in Ronkonkoma, New York, on Long Island in the days before the failed attack to collect $4,000 in cash, some of which he used to finance his plan.
Shahzad is believed to have bought the 1993 Nissan Pathfinder on April 24, a week prior to the attempted bombing. The vehicle had been listed in an online Craigslist ad, and he reportedly bought it from a female Connecticut college student for $1,300 (negotiated down from $1,800), which he paid in $100 bills. He reportedly exchanged the cash for the car at a Connecticut shopping center parking lot, where he inspected the interior and cargo area (but not the engine) and declined the offer of a bill of sale. He later had the car windows tinted, which made it harder to peer inside. A surveillance tape from the parking lot shows Shahzad test-driving the car, according to the FBI. He bought a second vehicle through Craigslist (a black Isuzu Rodeo) from a mechanic in Stratford, Connecticut.
Shahzad reportedly watched streaming videos online to determine the day of the week and time that Times Square would be busiest, determining that it would be a Saturday night at 6:30 pm. He picked the following Saturday night at the same time as his alternate time for his car bomb attack.
On April 28, three days before the attempted bombing, he drove the Pathfinder from Connecticut to Times Square, apparently in a dry run to figure out where the best place to leave it later would be, according to an official. A day before the attempted attack he drove a getaway car into mid-Manhattan, dropped it off blocks from his target, and took a train home to Connecticut, a law enforcement official said.
On May 3, federal authorities identified a person of interest in the attack. At 11:45 pm EDT, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers arrested Shahzad at John F. Kennedy International Airport. He was detained just moments before his flight, Emirates Flight 202 to Dubai, left the gate. His destination was Islamabad, Pakistan, and he had paid for his estimated $800 ticket in cash.
After he was arrested, Shahzad directed authorities to his car which he had driven to and parked at the airport, a white Isuzu Trooper. His Kel-Tec 9 mm Sub Rifle 2000 was inside it, along with five full magazines of ammunition, according to law enforcement officials.
The FBI and NYPD searched Shahzad's Bridgeport, Connecticut, $1,150-a-month two-bedroom apartment (which he had rented since February 15, without ever missing a payment) at Sheridan Street and Boston Avenue on May 4, removing filled plastic bags. Materials related to the bomb were found in his apartment, including boxes that had contained the alarm clocks. Keys that had been found in the Pathfinder opened the door to the home, and in his garage fertilizer and fireworks were found that were similar to those that had been discovered in the car bomb.
The motive that the bomber Faisal Shahzad stated was the repeated CIA drone attacks in Pakistan, his native country. "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," Attorney General Holder said. Holder said that Shahzad admitted involvement in the bombing attempt and that it "was a terrorist plot". The Complaint against Shahzad also indicated that he had admitted to receiving bomb-making instruction in Waziristan, that he brought the Pathfinder to Times Square and attempted to detonate it there.
Shahzad reportedly had four other high-profile targets in the New York area he was planning to attack if his first attack had been successful. On his list were Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Terminal, the World Financial Center (just across from World Trade Center/Ground Zero) and the Connecticut-based company that manufactures helicopters for the U.S. military, Sikorsky.
CNN reported that Shahzad felt Islam was under attack, according to an official familiar with the investigation. By a year prior to the attack, Shahzad became more introverted, more religious, and more stringent in his views, according to a friend of his from college.
Shahzad told interrogators that he was "inspired by" extremist Anwar al-Awlaki to take up the cause of al-Qaeda. Shahzad was moved to action, at least in part, by al-Awlaki's writings calling for holy war against Western targets as a religious duty, and was a "fan and follower" of al-Awlaki, according to sources. A U.S. official said that al-Awlaki was a crucial influence on Shahzad, saying: "He listened to him, and he did it." Shahzad made contact over the internet with al-Awlaki, the Pakistani Taliban's Baitullah Mehsud (who was killed in a drone strike in 2009), and a web of jihadists, ABC News reported.
Al-Awlaki was known among other things for having spoken with three of the September 11 hijackers in 2001, for having exchanged dozens of emails with the suspected Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan, he is believed to have met with Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab during his training by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and for militant English-language online lectures and writings with violent rhetoric were a catalyst for a number of attacks. The New York Times described al-Awlaki as "perhaps the most prominent English-speaking advocate of violent jihad against the United States." Al-Awlaki was the first U.S. citizen killed by the CIA under a presidential decree.
On May 4, federal prosecutors charged Shahzad with five counts, including attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and trying to kill and maim people within the U.S. Two of his felonies carry a maximum of a life sentence if convicted, and two of his other counts carry mandatory minimum terms of 5 and 30 years, which means that if he is convicted of both, he will face at least 35 years in prison.
Federal authorities say Shahzad voluntarily waived his Miranda rights and his right to an initial speedy court appearance, and agreed to answer questions. He was interrogated by the recently formed High-Value Interrogation Group. Ron Kuby, who has represented a number of terrorism defendants, said: "My experience with ... Islamists, is they love to talk. Their goal isn't to beat the rap when they're caught. Their goal is either to die as a martyr, or commit mass murder". Ken Wainstein, a former U.S. attorney who headed the Justice Department's anti-terrorism efforts, said that a defendant's cooperation is motivated by "just sheer pride in what he's done." Faisal was arraigned on May 18. He is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. On June 17, a federal grand jury indicted Shahzad on terror charges. Shazad pleaded guilty to the charges. On October 5, 2010, he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole by a federal judge in New York. He responded to the sentence by saying that "the defeat of the U.S. is imminent." When asked by the judge, "Didn't you swear allegiance to this country?" Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen, replied, "I sweared, but I didn't mean it."
Representative Jane Harman, a California Democrat and Chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment, said Pakistani officials arrested "alleged facilitators" as part of a "far broader investigation." Pakistani authorities arrested more than a dozen suspects in the investigation of the attempted car bombing, including two or three people at a house in Karachi's Nazimabad district where Shahzad is said to have stayed.
Pakistani intelligence officials said a man named Tauseef Ahmed, a friend of Shahzad, was detained in Karachi in connection with the case. He had been in touch with Shahzad by email, and is believed to have traveled to the U.S. two months prior to the attack to meet with Shahzad. Another man arrested, Muhammad Rehan, an alleged hardcore militant, had spent time with Shahzad during a recent visit to Pakistan and was arrested in Karachi at a mosque known for links to the militant group Jaish-e-Muhammad. On May 6, Pakistani officials said U.S. law enforcement officers had joined them in questioning four alleged members of an al-Qaeda-linked militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammad, regarding possible links to Shahzad. A major serving in the Pakistan Army and businessman Salman Ashraf Khan were also arrested.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly were in Washington, D.C., to attend the 2010 White House Correspondents' Dinner, but returned immediately to New York after they were informed of the incident. Bloomberg's initial statement was to the effect that it may have been perpetrated by a domestic terrorist, saying to CBS's Katie Couric, "If I had to guess 25 cents, this would be exactly that: homegrown, or maybe a mentally deranged person, or somebody with a political agenda that doesn't like the health care bill or something. It could be anything." Bloomberg warned against retribution, saying, "We will not tolerate any bias or any backlash against Muslim New Yorkers." Commissioner Kelly said that to terrorists, "New York is America, and they want to come back to kill us."
President Barack Obama called the bomb attempt a "sobering reminder of the times in which we live", and said that Americans "will not cower in fear" as a result of it. He telephoned Duane Jackson, one of the vendors, to thank him for alerting police. Attorney General Eric Holder called it a "terrorist act". White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, similarly, said "Anybody that has the type of material that they had in a car in Times Square, I would say that was intended to terrorize, absolutely. And I would say that whoever did that would be categorized as a terrorist, yes."
On May 6, 2010, then-senator Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent and chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee at the time, introduced bipartisan legislation under which Americans joining or working with foreign terrorist groups would be stripped of their U.S. citizenship. Identical legislation was introduced in the United States House of Representatives by Pennsylvania Congressman Jason Altmire, a Democrat, and Charlie Dent, a Republican. Lawmakers said that revoking citizenship would block terrorism suspects from using U.S. passports to re-enter the U.S., and make them eligible for prosecution before a military commission instead of a civilian court. The measure, named the Terrorist Expatriation Act, was immediately criticized by Muslim advocacy groups, who said it would unjustly target Muslim Americans and other minority groups. "In my opinion it is xenophobic and unconstitutional and un-American," said Mahdi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society. The bill was an amendment to a 1940 law which stripped citizenship from individuals who joined either Japanese or German armies. The bill was not enacted into law.
Muslim leaders in the U.S. urged the public to "distinguish between acts of violence and terror and Islam, a religion that they said encourages peace and love", reported The Wall Street Journal . It has further been pointed out that the media largely ignored how the Senegalese man who raised the alarm was in fact a Muslim as well.
Some criticism followed partisan lines. Conservative political commentator S. E. Cupp, for example, wrote that there was a culture of political correctness towards Islamic extremism in the White House, juxtaposing it with the administration's supposedly more aggressive stance towards Christian militia groups. Michael B. Mukasey, the former U.S. Attorney General who served during the George W. Bush administration, lamented the leakage of what he termed "intelliporn"—intelligence information that is disclosed by the media because it is "fun to read about" even though it causes harm by disclosing critical information to terrorists. The Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat carried an editorial praising Obama for not mentioning the word Islam in connection with Shahzad.
Professor Fouad Ajami wrote:
This is a long twilight war, the struggle against radical Islamism. We can't wish it away. No strategy of winning "hearts and minds," no great outreach, will bring this struggle to an end. America can't conciliate these furies. These men of nowhere—Faisal Shahzad, Nidal Malik Hasan, the American-born renegade cleric Anwar Awlaki now holed up in Yemen and their likes—are a deadly breed of combatants in this new kind of war. Modernity both attracts and unsettles them. America is at once the object of their dreams, and the scapegoat onto which they project their deepest malignancies.
In Dubai's Gulf News, a columnist responded to Ajami's column by writing: "What is now needed is for smart police officers in the East and the West to work together to arrest and bring to justice criminals who have little respect for life itself – though we must also try politicians who launched perpetual wars and thinkers who pretended to add value by opining that our civilizations are doomed to clash."
Initially, according to a report by the Associated Press, a Pakistani Taliban group claimed responsibility for an attack against the U.S. in a video posted on YouTube, saying it was revenge for the killing of Baitullah Mehsud and the top leaders of al-Qaida in Iraq — Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri — as well as for general American "interference and terrorism in Muslim Countries, especially in Pakistan." However, "The tape makes no specific reference to the attack; it does not mention that it was a car bomb or that it took place in New York City". According to The New York Times and the New York Daily News, the same group has made far-fetched, false claims for other attacks in the past.
On May 6, however, a Pakistani Taliban spokesman said it was not involved with the attempted bombing, but added: "Such attacks are welcome. We have no relation with Faisal. However, he is our Muslim brother. We feel proud of Faisal. He did a brave job." On May 9, The New York Times opined that the retraction may have been prompted by fears that admission of responsibility might result in an attack on the Pakistan Taliban in North Waziristan by the U.S. or Pakistan.
On May 9, however, Holder said "We've now developed evidence that shows the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attack," directed the plot, and may have financed it. The Taliban in Pakistan is believed by some military intelligence officials to have joined forces with al-Qaeda. John Brennan, President Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser, said: "He was trained by [the Taliban in Pakistan]. He received funding from them. He was basically directed here to the United States to carry out this attack." Some military intelligence officials believe the Taliban in Pakistan has joined forces with al-Qaeda. John Brennan, President Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser, said: "It's a group that is closely allied with al-Qaeda. They train together, they plan together, they plot together. They are almost indistinguishable."
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