ISLAMABAD (CBS/AP) – An employee at Pakistan’s state-run Islamic advisory body has been detained for allegedly playing an important role in assisting the failed New York Times Square car bomber, an intelligence officer said Thursday.
The suspect accompanied Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistan-American bomber, to Pakistan’s northwest to meet militant leaders, said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the intelligence agency does not permit its operatives to be named in the media.
The suspect, identified as Faisal Abbasi, was with Shahzad throughout his time in Pakistan, the officer said.
He said Abbasi worked for the government’s Council of Islamic Ideology, which advises on Islamic affairs.
The secretary general of the council confirmed Abbasi had worked there but had been on “vacation” for the last three months.
Pakistan has already charged three men with assisting Shahzad while in Pakistan and sending him money in America.
Shahzad is due to be sentenced in the United States on Oct. 5. He has pleaded guilty to the May 1 failed bombing.
CBSNewYork.com learned this week that once wasn’t enough for the Times Square car bomber – he wanted to strike New York City twice. Prosecutors said Wednesday that Shahzad was planning another attack in America, just two weeks after he thought he’d kill as many as 40 people in Times Square.
Shahzad should get life in prison when he is sentenced, prosecutors said in a filing, arguing that he “had every intention of delivering a powerful and terrorizing strike to the heart of New York City.”
Months before Shahzad’s car bomb fizzled in Times Square, he was the star of his own video.
// “The reason why I’m making this video is to grab the attention of the people with no hearts,” Shahzad said.
The video, titled “A brave effort by Faisal Shahzad to attack United States in its own land,” shows the former financial analyst shooting a rifle in what appears to be the mountains of Pakistan. Produced by the media arm of the TTP – the Tehrik Taliban Pakistan – Shahzad holds a Koran as he speaks.
“I have been trying to join my brothers in jihad ever since 9/11 happened,” Shahzad said. “I’m among them, and planning to wage an attack inside America.”
That’s just what Shahzad tried to do on May 1, when he left a car bomb in a tourist-packed Times Square on a Saturday night. He botched the job, however, and the bomb just smoked and never blew up.
The terrorist wannabe was caught a few days later on a jet, trying to flee the country.
“There has to be a bigger purpose to life than just living like animals,” he said in the video.
Alongside Shahzad in the recruiting video are pictures of the failed bomb plot, as he speaks about his religion, jihad, the oppression of America, and how Muslims need to fight back.
“Our way is not just go and condemn in streets; this wasn’t the way of our prophet, peace be upon him,” Shahzad said. “Our way is with the sword.”
In building a case against the former financial analyst, the government decided to construct and detonate a duplicate bomb, as powerful as the one that fizzled in Times Square, to show what would have happened if the May First attempted bombing had gone off as planned.
The 250 pounds of ammonium nitrate used in the experiment along with tanks of propane and gasoline destroyed a Nissan Pathfinder, like Shahzad’s vehicle, and clearly would have spread death and destruction among the many tourists in Times Square, CBS 2′s John Slattery reported.
His confidence was brimming before the failure.
“I also want to inform my Muslim brothers living abroad that it’s not difficult to wage an attack on the west, and specifically in the U.S.,” he said.
Shahzad pleaded guilty after confessing to investigators who plucked him off the plane as he tried to leave the U.S.
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