Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, was charged Tuesday with assorted terror and explosives violations. He is reportedly cooperating with investigators and allegedly admitted to planting the bomb.
His apprehension was about 2 1/2 days after smoke from a sports utility vehicle led to authorities finding a bomb made of fireworks, gasoline, propane gas and fertilizer.
The device failed to detonate. Officials said if it had there would have been many casualties in Times Square, which had its usual Saturday evening crowd of tourists and theater-goers.
Investigators said they linked Shahzad to the SUV by Sunday and had him under surveillance. Even though his name, and later his passport information, was added to a no-fly list, Emirates airlines personnel accepted cash from Shahzad for a one-way ticket to Dubai and allowed him to board the aircraft. The plane was recalled to the gate just before takeoff and Shahzad was arrested.
"Clearly the guy was on the plane and shouldn't have been," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "We got lucky."
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, however, said he was confident Shahzad wouldn't have been allowed to leave the country and "I was never in any fear that we were in danger of losing him."