Federal authorities investigating Times Square bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad should look into his activities and links in Pakistan, especially given that he had spent five months there prior to the planned attack in New York, according to Lisa Curtis, Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, a think-tank based in Washington.
Speaking to The Hindu Ms. Curtis, formerly with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the CIA and the State Department's South Asia Bureau, said she expected there would be a “serious investigation into his links in Pakistan,” including contact with international terrorist networks in the country and ideological links.
Drawing parallels to such links that the suspects in the London subway bombing case had, Mr. Curtis said that though it was too early to say with certainty whether Shahzad was a ‘lone wolf' or not, U.S. authorities would be likely to look into his connections with not only Al-Qaeda but also its affiliates such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.
Ms. Curtis recently provided expert testimony on Lashkar-e-Taiba at a Congressional hearing during which Congressman Gary Ackerman had noted that the LeT was an organisation of growing scope and ambition and a threat to the U.S. “Pakistan was in a delicate dance with a Frankenstein's monster of its own making... which was now going global,” Mr. Ackerman had said.
Shahzad, a Pakistan-born naturalised citizen of the U.S., was arrested on Monday night following a trace of the Vehicle Identification Number of the Nissan Pathfinder that loaded with explosive materials and parked in Times Square, New York. According to reports the trace led back to a Connecticut woman who had allegedly sold the vehicle to Mr. Shahzad.
A dramatic arrest on the tarmac of New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport followed, which saw the Dubai-bound Emirates flight that Mr. Shahzad was on being recalled to the airport after takeoff.
According to a statement from the White House on Tuesday, President Obama had been briefed regularly about the investigation and was notified of the Shahzad arrest by John Brennan, the administration's top counterterrorism advisor.