N.Y. / Region

Suspect, Charged, Said to Admit to Role in Plot

Jessica Hill/Associated Press

F.B.I. agents searched a home in Bridgeport, Conn., on Tuesday. More Photos »

This article is by Mark Mazzetti, Sabrina Tavernise and Jack Healy.

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A Pakistani-American man arrested in the failed Times Square car bombing has admitted his role in the attempted attack and said he received explosives training in Pakistan, the authorities said Tuesday.

The man, Faisal Shahzad, 30, was arrested as he tried to flee the country in a Dubai-bound jet late Monday. Hours later, there were reports that seven or eight people had been arrested in Pakistan, as officials in both countries sought to determine the origins and scope of the plot.

Mr. Shahzad was charged on Tuesday with several terrorism-related crimes. American intelligence officials said that while any ties Mr. Shahzad had to international terrorist groups remained murky, investigators were strongly looking at possible links to the Pakistani Taliban in the attempted attack on Saturday.

If the role is confirmed, it would be the group’s first effort to attack the United States and the first sign of the group’s ability to strike targets beyond Pakistan or Afghanistan.

The Pakistani Taliban is a different organization from the Taliban groups that the United States is battling in Afghanistan.

Mr. Shahzad’s ability to board an international flight despite being the target of a major terrorism investigation was the result of at least two lapses in the response by the government and the airline, Emirates.

Mr. Shahzad, a naturalized United States citizen from Pakistan who lived in Bridgeport, Conn., was charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and other federal charges, several related to explosives. He was interrogated without initially being read his Miranda rights under a public safety exception, and he provided what the Federal Bureau of Investigation called “valuable intelligence and evidence.”

He continued talking after being read his rights, the F.B.I. said. The authorities charged him as a civilian, but he did not appear in court and no hearing has been scheduled.

“It is clear that this was a terrorist plot aimed at murdering Americans in one of the busiest places in the country,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said at a news conference on Tuesday in Washington.

Mr. Shahzad booked a ticket on his way to Kennedy Airport and bought it with cash when he got there, officials said. He had boarded the plane but was taken off before it taxied away.

Investigators had been trying to find Mr. Shahzad after determining that he was the man who bought a Nissan Pathfinder from a Connecticut woman last month and had parked it just off Broadway on Saturday night packed with gasoline, propane, fertilizer and fireworks. No one was hurt, but officials said the bomb could have been deadly on the crowded streets if it had ignited.

Officials said Mr. Shahzad had been placed on a no-fly list on Monday afternoon, but they declined to explain how he had been allowed to board the plane.

An Isuzu Trooper that Mr. Shahzad had apparently driven to the airport was found in a parking lot. Inside the Trooper, investigators discovered a Kel-Tec 9-millimeter pistol, with a folding stock and a rifle barrel, along with several spare magazines of ammunition, an official said. Fearing the Izuzu might be rigged to explode, officials briefly cordoned off the area around it.

All of the passengers were taken off the plane, and they, their luggage and the Boeing 777 were screened before the flight was allowed to depart, about seven hours late, at 6:29 a.m. Two other men were also interviewed by the authorities but released, according to one law enforcement official.

Mr. Holder said Mr. Shahzad had been providing “useful information” to federal investigators since he was pulled off the plane. Besides saying that he had received training in Pakistan, Mr. Shahzad said he had acted alone, a claim that was still being investigated.

In Pakistan, developments unfolded quickly. Officials identified one of those arrested as Tauhid Ahmed and said he had been in touch with Mr. Shahzad through e-mail and had met him either in the United States or in the Pakistani port city of Karachi.

Another man arrested, Muhammad Rehan, had spent time with Mr. Shahzad during a recent visit there, Pakistani officials said. Mr. Rehan was arrested in Karachi just after morning prayers at a mosque known for its links with the militant group Jaish-e-Muhammad.

Investigators said Mr. Rehan told them that he had rented a pickup truck and driven with Mr. Shahzad to the northwestern city of Peshawar, where they stayed from July 7 to July 22, 2009. The account could not be independently verified. Mr. Shahzad spent four months in Pakistan last year, the authorities said.

Pakistani officials promised to aid the United States “in bringing such culprits to justice,” the Pakistani interior minister, Rehman Malik, said in a telephone interview as he announced the seven or eight arrests.

Mr. Shahzad is believed to be originally from Kashmir and is among a handful of Pakistani-Americans who have recently faced terrorism accusations in the United States or abroad.

Reporting was contributed by Nina Bernstein, Russ Buettner, Alison Leigh Cowan, Dan Frosch, Carlotta Gall, Jason Grant, Ismail Khan, Angela Macropoulos, Salman Masood, Colin Moynihan, Ray Rivera, Eric Schmitt, Ginger Thompson, Benjamin Weiser, Michael Wilson, Katie Zezima and Karen Zraick.