New York, NY, October 5, 2010 — Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Janice K. Fedarcyk, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), and Raymond W. Kelly, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York ("NYPD"), announced the sentencing today of Faisal Shahzad to life in prison for his attempt to detonate a car bomb in Times Square on the evening of May 1, 2010. Shahzad was sentenced in Manhattan federal court by U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum. Shahzad, 31, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, was taken into custody at John F. Kennedy International Airport ("JFK Airport") on May 3, 2010, after he was identified by the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Customs and Border Protection while attempting to leave the United States on a commercial flight to Dubai. Shahzad was then charged in a five-count criminal Complaint. On May 18, 2010, he was presented in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV. On June 17, 2010, Shahzad was indicted in the Southern District of New York for ten offenses relating to the May 1, 2010, attempted bombing. Based on the offenses alleged in the Indictment, Shahzad faced a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. On June 21, 2010, Shahzad pled guilty to all ten offenses before Judge Cedarbaum.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: "Faisal Shahzad is a remorseless terrorist who betrayed his adopted country and today was rightly sentenced to spend the rest of his life in federal prison. While his life sentence ensures that he will never again threaten the security of New York City and our nation, together we must remain vigilant against those like him who wish to do us harm."
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk said: "The case of Faisal Shahzad demonstrates the global scope of the terrorist threat. Distinctions between home-grown and foreign terrorists are blurred when a U.S. citizen travels to Pakistan to learn bomb-making from a known terrorist organization, then returns to the U.S. and receives financial backing from the overseas organization. However you define him, there’s no question that Shahzad built a mobile weapon of mass destruction and hoped and intended that it would kill large numbers of innocent people – and planned to do it again two weeks later. The sentence imposed today means Shahzad will never pose that threat again. The FBI will continue to work with our partners here and around the world to protect the public."
NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said: "It's only right that Faisal Shahzad forfeit his freedom for life after trying to forfeit the lives of innocent New Yorkers forever."
According to the Indictment to which Shahzad pled guilty, other documents filed in Manhattan federal court, and statements made during today's proceeding:
In December 2009,Shahzad received explosives training in Waziristan, Pakistan, from explosive trainers affiliated with Tehrik-e-Taliban, a militant extremist group based in Pakistan.
On February 25, 2010, Shahzad received approximately $5,000 in cash in Massachusetts sent from a co-conspirator ("CC-1") in Pakistan whom Shahzad understood worked for Tehrik-e-Taliban.
Approximately six weeks later, on April 10, 2010, Shahzad received an additional $7,000 in cash in Ronkonkoma, New York, which was also sent at CC-1's direction.
On March 15, 2010, Shahzad purchased a semi-automatic 9 millimeter Kel-Tec rifle in Connecticut. This rifle was later found, loaded, in Shahzad's car on the day of his arrest.
In April 2010, Shahzad contacted the seller of a Nissan Pathfinder after seeing an advertisement posted on a website. Thereafter, on April 24, 2010, Shahzad and the seller of the Pathfinder agreed to meet in a supermarket parking lot in Connecticut, where Shahzad paid the seller $1,300 for the Pathfinder. In April 2010, Shahzad also purchased components for the improvised explosive and incendiary devices that he loaded into the Pathfinder on May 1, 2010.
On May 1, 2010,Shahzad drove the Pathfinder, loaded with the improvised explosive and incendiary devices, into Manhattan. He parked the Pathfinder in Times Square in the vicinity of 45th Street and Seventh Avenue. After parking the Pathfinder, Shahzad attempted to begin the detonation process of the improvised explosive and incendiary devices.Shahzad then abandoned the Pathfinder and returned to his residence in Connecticut.
On May 3, 2010, Shahzad drove from Connecticut to JFK Airport with his Kel-Tec rifle inside his car as he attempted to flee to Dubai. He was arrested later that same day at JFK Airport. After his arrest, Shahzad admitted that he had recently received bomb-making training in Pakistan. He admitted that he had brought the Pathfinder to Times Square and attempted to detonate it. He also admitted that if he had not been arrested he would have attempted to detonate another bomb in New York City two weeks later.
The law enforcement operation that culminated with today’s sentencing was the result of the investigative efforts of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces ("JTTF") in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, especially those JTTF members from the FBI and the NYPD. U.S. Customs and Border Protection also made significant contributions to the case. Substantial assistance also was provided by the Justice Department's National Security Division, as well as the U.S. Attorney's Offices for the Districts of Connecticut and Massachusetts.
The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brendan R. Mcguire, Randall W. Jackson, John P. Cronan, and Jeffrey A. Brown of the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.