NY bomb suspect talking, probe eyes foreign ties

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The suspected Times Square bomber is cooperating with investigators who want details about his contacts in Pakistan, postponing indefinitely any court appearance, law enforcement sources said yesterday.

Faisal Shahzad, 30, who was born in Pakistan and became a US citizen last year, is accused of trying to kill and maim people with a car bomb in the heart of Manhattan on Saturday night. Authorities defused the bomb.

Formally charged with five terrorism-related counts, he faces life in prison if convicted unless he negotiates a lesser sentence in exchange for cooperation.

Shahzad has waived his right to an initial court appearance, a US official told Reuters yesterday.

New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has also said Shahzad had waived his Miranda rights, which give him the right to an attorney, and was cooperating.

“(Shahzad) was giving them intricate details as to what he did overseas,” a US law enforcement source familiar with the investigation said. “There was a determination that there wasn’t anyone else in the (New York) area to target.”

Prosecutors say Shahzad, son of a retired Pakistani vice air marshal, drove a crude homemade bomb of gasoline, propane gas, fireworks and fertilizer into Times Square and fled.

Authorities defused the bomb and captured Shahzad two days later, plucking him from an Emirates airline flight to Dubai on his way back to Pakistan, where prosecutors say he had received bomb-making training. Investigators believe the Pakistani Taliban financed that training, a law enforcement source said.

Shahzad had bought a ticket and boarded the plane on Monday evening despite having been put on a US government “no-fly” list earlier in the day. Yesterday, the Obama administration ordered airlines to step up their efforts to prevent people on the list from boarding flights.

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