WASHINGTON -- The man suspected of attempting to blow up a car bomb in the middle of New York City's Times Square has admitted to his role in the foiled attack, Attorney General Eric Holder said during a news conference Tuesday.
Thirty-year-old Faisal Shahzad, who is currently in federal custody, is providing valuable information to authorities.
"Based on what we know so far, it is clear that this was a terrorist plot aimed at murdering Americans in one of the busiest places in our country," Holder said.
Police nabbed Shahzad, who is an American citizen, as he was trying to get out the country. He was taken into custody at JFK Airport in New York as he attempted to board a flight to Dubai.
Holder said the Pakistani immigrant would be facing terrorism and weapons of mass destruction charges.
His first court appearance Monday morning was scheduled less than 72 hours after a street vendor reported something suspicious Saturday night in Times Square.
The vendor reported an unattended Nissan Pathfinder, engine running, with smoke billowing into the air. Inside, police found an improvised car bomb made of gasoline, propane, fireworks and fertilizer. Although the explosive was not the kind used in previous terrorist bombings, it was still enough to cause harm.
Law enforcement searched the suspect's Connecticut home. They tracked him down using the SUV's vehicle identification number, scratched off from the dashboard but still imprinted on the engine.
Authorities say Shahzad paid for the Pathfinder in cash about three weeks ago.
Shahzad, a native of Pakistan, is a naturalized U.S. citizen. He reportedly returned from a recent five-month trip there, where he has a wife.
Business as Usual in the Big Apple
Meanwhile, at the scene of crime, it is business as usual for regular New Yorkers and tourists alike.
"We see lots of patrols, lots of security," a woman said. "This is the third time I've been here and I've never felt unsafe."
"Right now it seems like everything is under control, but it does seem like we came awfully close to something going really wrong," one man said. "You can't really predict when it's going to happen and where. So you get off the subway you go to work and repeat the process and go home."
Law enforcement are pursuing leads, including an online video on a website registered one day before the attack. Authorities said the person or people who posted the video live in Connecticut and are being sought.
Officials are using this botched attack to remind everyone to be alert and report anything unusual.