War on Terrorism

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Press Conference Regarding Times Square Investigation

May 4, 2010
John S. Pistole
Deputy Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation

* Remarks as prepared for delivery.

Good afternoon. I want to commend the men and women who have worked around the clock since Saturday to find those responsible for what could have been a deadly attack—a host of agencies, departments, and individuals working together toward a single goal. Our collective success unraveling this plot comes down to traditional investigative skills and intelligence collection.

We used traditional law enforcement techniques, such as federal court-authorized search warrants, along with intelligence-based authorities, to maximize our evidence and intelligence gathering. Using these techniques, we were able to identify Faisal Shahzad as the person who purchased the 1993 Pathfinder. Customs and Border Protection identified Shahzad’s extensive travel to Pakistan, which led to expanded investigative steps enabling us to fully identify, locate, and eventually arrest Shahzad. A key step in this process occurred around noon yesterday, when we placed Shahzad on the no-fly list. Customs and Border Protection then did an outstanding job identifying Shahzad as the person on the JFK flight last night.

JTTF agents and officers interviewed Mr. Shahzad last night/early this morning under the public safety exception to the Miranda rule. He was cooperative and provided valuable intelligence and evidence. He was eventually transported to another location, Mirandized, and continued talking.

We in the FBI, with our law enforcement and intelligence partners here at home and around the world, continue to investigate this matter. We are conducting a forensic examination of all evidence collected by the NYPD at the scene. Much of this evidence has been transferred to the FBI Laboratory so that we can test the individual chemical composition of the materiel in the explosive device. We also want to test the potential impact of the device to ascertain what would have happened had it worked as intended.

We are working with our law enforcement and intelligence partners to uncover all possible ties this particular individual has or may have had to radical extremism or terrorist organizations, both at home and overseas, and we are pursuing every lead in that regard. And, as always, we are seeking out all those who would orchestrate these kinds of attacks.

Prevention will continue to be our end-game. And we offer thanks to vigilant citizens, like the vendors in Times Square who first noticed this suspicious vehicle. This investigation, like others we have handled in the past year, once again reminds us that our work is not finished. And we will continue to work side by side with our partners—and with citizens across the country—to find and stop those who would do us harm.

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