White House Says Pakistan Taliban Behind Times Square Car Bomb
President Barack Obama’s homeland security and counterterrorism adviser said Sunday that authorities believe the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attempted bombing at Times Square.
White House adviser John Brennan said that while the investigation is ongoing, it appears that accused bomber Faisal Shahzad was working for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP. The militant group is believed to be hiding senior al-Qaida leaders, including Osama bin Laden.
Brennan said the finding “underscores the serious threat that we face from a very determined enemy.”
The conclusion seemed to contradict a recent statement by Gen. David Petraeus, who said Shahzad apparently operated as a “lone wolf.” Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command, said in a statement Friday to The Associated Press that while Shahzad was inspired by militants in Pakistan, he didn’t necessarily have direct contact with them.
Brennan’s comments come after speculation that TTP had orchestrated the attack. Shahzad, a U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, spent five months in Pakistan before returning to the United States in February and preparing his attack.
Shahzad has told investigators that he trained in the lawless tribal areas of Waziristan, where both al-Qaida and the Pakistani Taliban operate. He was arrested aboard an Emirates Airlines jet in
New York just minutes before it was scheduled to take off for Dubai.
The finding could increase U.S. pressure on Pakistan to clamp down on the terrorist network. Brennan said Islamabad was being very cooperative in the investigation but that the U.S. wants to know exactly who may have been helping Shahzad.
“There are a number of terrorist and militant groups operating in Pakistan,” he said. “And we need to make sure there’s no support being given to them by the Pakistani government.”
Brennan would not say whether Shahzad may be connected to fugitive al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, other than to acknowledge his Internet sermons are popular among extremist Muslims.
Brennan spoke on CNN’s “State of the Union” and “Fox News Sunday.”