Pakistani-American terror suspect Faisal Shahzad faces a potential life sentence if convicted on the charges of attempted use of weapons of mass destruction and plotting a bomb at Times Square, a top US official told lawmakers today.
Shahzad, a naturalised US citizen born in Pakistan, was arrested in connection with the Times Square failed bombing bid, and was charged with acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, and other federal crimes.
"If convicted, he faces a potential life sentence in prison," US Attorney General Eric Holder, said in his appearance before a Congressional Committee.
Holder said during ongoing questioning by federal agents, Shahzad has provided useful information.
"We will continue to pursue a number of leads as we gather intelligence relating to this attempted attack," he said.
"Although this car bomb failed to properly detonate, this plot was yet another reminder that terrorists are still plotting to kill Americans," he said.
He recalled that in February, Najibullah Zazi, a key participant in the plot to bomb New York City's subway system, pleaded guilty to terrorism violations.
"Less than two weeks ago, we secured another guilty plea from one of Zazi's co-conspirators and revealed the role of senior al-Qaeda leaders in ordering the plot. Three others also have been charged as a result of our investigation," he said.
Holder said these attempted attacks are stark reminders of the threats that the United States confronts.
For the administration, he said, there is simply no higher priority than disrupting potential attacks and bringing those who plot them to justice.
"In the Shahzad and Zazi cases, that is exactly what the dedicated federal agents, law enforcement officers and Justice Department prosecutors achieved through exemplary investigative efforts.
"It is in every American's best interest to ensure that these public servants have the resources necessary to continue their outstanding work," Holder said.
Amidst criticism from Republican Congressmen over the reading out of Miranda rights to Shahzad, Holder said it has not deterred him from speaking.
"As we have seen in prior investigations, the giving of Miranda warnings has not deterred people from talking to us, and Mr Shahzad is, in fact, continuing to cooperate with us," Holder said in response to a question at the hearing.
Shahzad Faces Life Sentence If Convicted: Holder
Lalit K Jha/Washington
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