Shahzad pleads guilty to Times Square bombing charges

Shahzad pleads guilty to Times Square bombing charges
# 22 June 2010 04:43 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. Faisal Shahzad, the 30-year-old Pakistani-American suspect in the failed Times Square bombing case, entered pleas of guilty Monday in federal court to all 10 counts he was facing, APA reports quoting CNN.
Shahzad, wearing a white skullcap, gray prison jumpsuit and orange T-shirt, was wearing handcuffs as he was escorted into the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Miriam Cedarbaum.
Before entering his pleas, he told the court: "I want to plead guilty 100 times because unless the United States pulls out of Afghanistan and Iraq, until they stop drone strikes in Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen and stop attacking Muslim lands, we will attack the United States and be out to get them."
Cedarbaum then placed Shahzad under oath and asked him questions about the crime.
A law enforcement source told CNN the decision to plead guilty was Shahzad’s.
Shahzad is accused of attempting to set off the botched vehicle bomb in Times Square on May 1. He was arrested two days later while trying to leave the country on a flight from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Shahzad said he traveled to Waziristan in Pakistan on December 9 with two friends to join the Taliban. He said that during the five days he was there, the Taliban gave him $4,000, which he combined with $4,900 of his own money to pay for the materials used in the attack.
In a news release, the Justice Department said Shahzad received explosives training from Tehrik-e-Taliban, a militant extremist group in Pakistan. In February, it said, he received approximately $5,000 in cash in Massachusetts sent from a co-conspirator in Pakistan who Shahzad believed worked for Tehrik-e-Taliban and he received $7,000 more in Ronkonkoma, New York, which was also sent at the co-conspirator’s direction.
"Once I got back to the states, I started working on the plan," he said. "Getting together what I needed for the bomb. I rented a place in Bridgeport, Connecticut. That is where I built the bomb, put it in the Pathfinder and drove it to Times Square."
On May 1, he said, he drove the vehicle into Times Square and ignited the 2.5- to 5-minute fuses, "and then I left the car." The bomb, he said, was in three pieces.
"I consider myself a mujahedeen and a Muslim soldier," he said.
Asked by Cedarbaum whether he understood that children and other innocents might have been among his victims, Shahzad was unapologetic. "They don’t see the drones killing children in Afghanistan," he said. "It’s a war and I’m a part of it."
Asked whether he understood that his actions represented a crime, he said, "I would not consider it a crime. ... I’m aware it’s a crime in the United States, but I don’t care about the law of the United States."
A source familiar with the case told CNN that prosecutors will ask for the maximum sentence on the charges during sentencing, which is scheduled for October 5.
The source said there was no plea deal and no cooperation deal. That means that, despite the fact that Shahzad cooperated with prosecutors for two weeks after his arrest, they will not request any preferential treatment for him.
Of the 10 charges, six carry a maximum sentence of life: attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, possession of a firearm in relation to conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempted act of terrorism transcending national boundaries, conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism, and attempted use of a destructive device in relation to conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism.
Because Shahzad pleaded guilty to Count 3, Count 6 carries a mandatory minimum penalty of life in prison.
Counts 7 and 8 -- transportation of an explosive and conspiracy to transport an explosive -- each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years.
Counts 9 and 10 -- attempted destruction of property by fire and explosives and conspiracy to destroy property by fire and explosives -- each carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Shahzad’s arrest heightened concerns about the Pakistani Taliban, who authorities believe directed the Times Square plot. U.S. intelligence officials fear that the Taliban are plotting to strike within the United States and are targeting American interests overseas.