Failed Bomb Plot Returns Nat'l Security to Spotlight

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WASHINGTON -- U.S. officials say the man suspected of trying to detonate a car bomb in New York City's Times Square has been cooperative, providing "useful information" about his failed attack.

According to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Faisal Shahzad even admitted his role in the plot. But authorities almost didn't catch the Pakistani immigrant in time.

CBN News Senior Reporter George Thomas has more on the suspect in the attempted NYC bombing.  Click play for his comments following John Jessup's report.

Also, CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck spoke with Pat Robertson about the case. Watch the interview here.

Caught In the Nick of Time

Investigators tracked Shahzad down piecing information together from the Nissan Pathfinder he recently bought that was filled with explosives.

"I was never in any fear that we were in danger of losing him," Holder said.

Despite that confidence, Shahzad nearly slipped away.

They caught him 53 hours later on board a Dubai bound-plane at New York's JFK Airport - even though his name was on the no-fly watch list.

"Clearly the guy was on the plane and shouldn't have been," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Prosecutors have charged the Pakistani born 30-year-old with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and trying to kill and maim people in the United States. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

Picture of Terrorist Unfolds

Meanwhile, the investigation is ongoing. And with Shahzad in custody, a better picture of the suspect is coming in focus.

Shahzad earned a master's degree from the University of Bridgeport and worked as a budget analyst for a marketing firm in Connecticut.

But after becoming a U.S. citizen last year, he quit his job, stopped paying his mortgage and traveled to Waziristan to learn bomb-making at a Pakistani terrorist training camp.

The news has come as a surprise to his neighbors in Connecticut.

"They had picnics on the back porch like normal people," neighbor Mary Ann Galich said. "You know, I never nothing would happen like this."

The failed plot has put national security back in the spotlight in Washington, D.C.

"The incident reminds us that the threats that we face out there are very real - as real as they were in 9-11," Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., said.

"As Americans, and as a nation, we will not be terrorized," President Obama said. "We will not cower in fear. We will not be intimidated. We will be vigilant, we will work together, and we will protect and defend the country we love to ensure a safe and prosperous future for our people."

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John Jessup

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John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at Facebook.com/John.V.Jessup.