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CNN BREAKING NEWS
Attempted Bombing Arrest
Aired May 4, 2010 - 00:20 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
ASIEH NAMDAR, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Asieh Namdar at CNN Center.
We are following breaking news: A major development in the failed car bombing attack in Times Square. Word of an arrest.
Susan Candiotti joins us with more on the phone.
Susan, what can you tell us?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Seeing not much more than that at this hour because this news is just breaking and just coming in. However, a law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the case confirms to CNN that, in fact, an arrest has been made in that failed attempt to set up a car bomb in New York's Times Square on Saturday.
We had been reporting that the buyer of a sport utility vehicle that was used in that failed attempt had been considered a potential suspect in the case. That buyer was described to CNN as a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan. However, investigators have told CNN that they are looking at more than one person in connection with that unsuccessful bombing according to another source.
We remember that that bomb was made up of propane tanks, fertilizer and gasoline. But it failed to go off because sources, said, it contained a bad grade of fertilizer and was constructed in such a way that it could not have gone off, or could not have gone off at least without much damage. Certainly, it could have caused some casualties if only the gasoline and propane inside had been exploded, but with not enough force to bring down an entire building.
Nevertheless, the case has been moving along with a lot of intensity in the last 24 hours in particular. And now, we have this development -- Asieh.
NAMDAR: So, Susan, at this point, no indication that -- whether this is the Pakistani national that they were looking for?
CANDIOTTI: We don't have confirmation of that as of yet. But that's what we're working on. What we do know is that someone has been arrested.
NAMDAR: OK. Thank you so much. Again, as Susan just reported, a law enforcement source has told her there has been an arrest in the failed car bombing attack over the weekend in Times Square. We don't know anything much more than that. But we do know that the person who purchased that SUV that was packed with explosives and fertilizers purchased that car through a transaction on the web. And at this point, really, that's all we know about the arrest.
Let's bring in Drew Griffin, who is also following the investigation.
Drew, can you add anything more to what Susan had to tell us?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT: Just, Asieh, that there's been a lot of talk about a possible accomplice or other people involved in this. And we're getting word that that maybe why this arrest perhaps took a little while to make, even though the crime has really just happened. It's our understanding that there may have been a lot of information about this person out there. And police didn't want to rush in to make an arrest quickly if, indeed, there were accomplices until they had a handle on the entire operation, if there is, Asieh, an operation to have.
Now, with Susan Candiotti reporting that there has been an arrest, a single arrest, we might get a little more clearer focus on whether or not this was a bigger plot, a lone wolf, or perhaps a person who has some kind of help from overseas or guidance from overseas, or even some kind of spiritual guidance from overseas. And there is no more arrests to be made here.
We just will not know that. We understand there may be a news conference in the wee hours of the morning. CNN is trying to confirm that.
But, again, just to back up what Susan Candiotti has just broken on CNN is that main suspect does appear, Asieh, to be the man who purchased that vehicle, that Nissan Pathfinder for $1,800 cash three weeks ago at a parking lot in a shopping center in Connecticut.
What is still unclear -- and this is from a law enforcement source that I have very close to this investigation -- what's still unclear is whether or not this man who is now under arrest was the man who drove the car, the vehicle, into Times Square or put the explosive material into that vehicle. Perhaps we'll get some of that detail later on in the wee hours of the morning here. But that's one thing that we'll be watching -- Asieh.
NAMDAR: And also still, Drew, a lot of questions about the man we see on this surveillance tape that is seen walking ago way and at one point, he changes his shirt. You know, a lot of questions about him and -- you know, certainly, I don't want to make any assumptions. But who was this person? And could this be the person that was perhaps arrested?
GRIFFIN: Right. That, obviously, we do not know yet. You know, keep in mind, Asieh, that police when this tape was released, were still hunting for somebody. They were looking for anybody. They thought this person looked suspicious because of that activity there. He's changing his shirt. He's looking towards where the car was parked and then he walks away.
This man may have nothing to do with it. It happened to be kind of a hot night. He may have been peeling off a layer. Or that may be your suspect right there. We just do not know the detail yet as the police have been quite frankly playing this close to the vest.
And I might add a little context here -- playing this close to the vest with good reason. You remember the last terrorist attempt -- attack we had in New York was Najibullah Zazi, who there has been a lot of speculation whether one police agency or another jumped the gun on that investigation and allowed some of the potential suspects or some of the potential evidence to scatter in that case. I think police and the FBI and joint task force were being very cautious on this investigation and continue to be so there are no repeat mistakes, no allowing this umbrella to expand beyond what they have the capability to keep their eyes on.
NAMDAR: All right. Thanks so much -- Drew Griffin there.
Again, let's recap what we know at this point. A law enforcement source tells our Susan Candiotti that a major -- an arrest has been made in the failed car bombing in Times Square over the weekend.
We really don't know anything beyond that. We don't know if this is perhaps the Pakistani national that was mentioned earlier today by law enforcement. Really, at this point, not a whole lot more except an arrest has been made.
And this case has really taken a whole new turn in the past 24 hours. Initially, when they found this car bomb, New York police commissioner and Mayor Michael Bloomberg really said there's no evidence to point to international terrorism. Then we learned from the Federal Joint Terrorism Task Force that it's perhaps considering the possibility that this incident was more than just a lone wolf and that there is a connection overseas, perhaps to Pakistan. Investigators believe that this was perhaps an intended terrorist attack to set off explosives in Times Square, that the individuals actually intended for the tanks to explode but didn't have the expertise to detonate it.
And a federal source also told CNN that authorities are looking for this person that Drew and I have been talking about along with Susan Candiotti, looking for a Pakistani -- actually, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Pakistani origin as a potential suspect. And, again, as Drew and I have been talking about, at this point, we don't know much more than that.
But I imagine there will be questioning the suspect -- this person they've arrested for a while before authorities come out and talk to reporters.
So, Drew, do you think this man will face some pretty intense questioning before officials come out and talk to reporters? GRIFFIN: Oh, absolutely. I think that the questioning is going to be along the lines of confirming what police and what the FBI believes or doesn't believe about this man. And that is whether or not he is acting alone or whether or not there are others out there to get.
Keep -- it's my understanding that a lot of work has been done on that very angle, Asieh, without this fellow knowing anything about it. But once they have him in custody, which they apparently do, they will do some pretty extensive, you know, debriefing with him, trying to make sure that -- number one: that there are no more people involved in this plot; and, number two, that if there is any kind of dangerous material yet to be found somewhere that they will get that information and be able to make that material inert so that there can't be no harm once this whole thing is over with.
Of course, you know, it goes without saying that this Saturday, the failed explosion was the first big break that police had because it not only, you know, stopped a catastrophe down in Times Square, but it also gave them that piece of material there, that car. It's the car that led them to the car sale, the car sale that led them to the parking lot, the parking lot which led them to an I.D. on this person through Craigslist and, apparently, has now led to an arrest.
NAMDAR: It's amazing how it's all come willing together.
Our Deborah Feyerick has also been on the story from day one when it happened. She joins us on the phone with developments from Shelton, Connecticut.
Deb, what can you tell us?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, what we're now learning is that the man that authorities were looking for was arrested around midnight at JFK Airport. Law enforcement source is telling us that the person they were seeking was trying to leave the country and he was preparing to board an airline. He was arrested at JFK Airport. That is what we're learning right now.
We're trying to run it to the ground to see exactly who this person was. They believe he is a man of Pakistani descent. Possibly, a neutralized -- a naturalized U.S. citizen -- excuse me -- and he was trying to leave the country at JFK Airport where he was arrested.
NAMDAR: Deb, was he trying to leave the country for Pakistan?
FEYERICK: That right now is under investigation. So, we're trying to determine exactly what airline he was trying to catch. But, right now, the small information we have is that he was arrested at JFK Airport, the man the authorities were looking for in connection with this Times Square bombing.
NAMDAR: OK. So, let's sort o bring our audience up-to-date on what we've learned just in the past few minutes. We're learning from a law enforcement source that an arrest has been made in the failed bombing attack in Times Square over the weekend, which was Saturday. You may remember that they discovered the car. A t-shirt vendor noticed smoke coming out of this Nissan Pathfinder alerted authorities. Authorities came and got the car, looked inside, found explosives, found fertilizer -- basically said this thing could have caused a lot of damage.
Then there was questions about whether this was -- you know, had any links to international terrorism. Initially, they discounted saying there's no evidence of that. Now, we're learning that perhaps there is a link to international terrorism. We learned earlier from a federal source that authorities were looking at a naturalized U.S. citizen of Pakistani origin as a potential suspect, the person who purchased that car.
Now, in the past few minutes, we've learned an arrest has been made. We don't have confirmation whether the man who was arrested is the Pakistani man. But we just spoke to Deborah Feyerick and she learned that around midnight, a man was arrested at JFK trying to leave the country. And he was believed to be of Pakistani descent.
So, at this point, this is all we know. But this is a story that has had lots of new information, lots of new developments just in the past few hours. And we're following all the developments here with Susan Candiotti, with Drew Griffin, with Deborah Feyerick -- everybody is on the story.
And, of course, we will bring you the latest information as we get it here on -- to CNN.
A lot of talk has been made about also the surveillance video. And, Drew, do you just want to talk about the significance of this surveillance tapes? And also whether authorities ever got their hand on the tape that that Pennsylvania tourist had in his hands?
GRIFFIN: Actually, we do have some reports. They withheld that tourist video from Pennsylvania. They were going to release that. But they withheld that because it may not have been the suspect.
That's something that we are still trying to chase down. But that may had had less value. Of more value, of course, was the vehicle in all this and the videotape of that vehicle, and in particular, the license plate and the registration on that vehicle which led them to Connecticut. It's still unclear of the significance of that tape that was released reportedly showing a man looking back at the vehicle.
We just do not know at this time to say if that is the suspect. What we do know is the suspect -- a suspect has been arrested. And that suspect is a man who purchased the vehicle, the Nissan Pathfinder that was driven into Times Square on Saturday.
NAMDAR: All right. Drew Griffin -- again, thank you so much.
We are following breaking news here at CNN. And again, if you're just joining us, we want to recap what we know.
An arrest has been made in the failed attempt to set off a car bomb in New York's Times Square. The arrest took place at New York's JFK Airport. The suspect was trying to board a plane to go overseas.
We don't know at this point where the suspect was going. What we do know he was at JFK traveling somewhere, the destination not immediately known. According to a federal law enforcement official -- and, again, we don't know if this is the naturalized U.S. citizen of Pakistani origin that has been mentioned as a potential suspect.
Drew, am I missing anything in telling our audience what's been going on? Please, fill in the gaps for me.
GRIFFIN: I wish, Asieh, I could fill in the gaps. But, you know, we have Deb Feyerick working the story, Susan Candiotti. Both of whom have been on this since this happened. We have been getting dribs and drabs here and there.
But I must tell you that, from experience, the leaks have been few and seemingly calculated. And I think that is because -- number one, this was such a potentially dangerous event that took place. And, number two, with the suspect missing, they had no idea whether or not they were more suspects out there or perhaps even a second or third attack in the works. They wanted to make sure that they could get their hands around it and make sure they have all the suspects in hand before they -- before they, you know, made kind of announcement.
What is interesting, I'm wondering here, if this arrest is premature. Again, we'll have to wait to see. But if this man was trying to leave the country and he was one of their suspects or somebody they were watching, they had no other option other than to nab him. And I'm wondering if they had their drudgers if that's what they would have wanted to do.
I think in the best case scenario, you'd want to watch this person, see who he's interacting with, see who he is calling on the phone, perhaps chatting with on computer screens while he doesn't think the police are watching him. And then they could make sure that they would have the entire group -- if there is a group to be had -- Asieh.
NAMDAR: OK. Well, let's go to Tom Fuentes. He's a terrorism analyst. And he joins us from Cartagena, Colombia.
Tom, I assume by now you've heard what we learned. An arrest has been made in the failed bombing in Times Square. Tell us in these kinds of situations: what is important when you're talking to a suspect and at what point do you make an arrest? And at what point do you tell reporters and the media what has happened?
TOM FUENTES, FMR. ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI (via telephone): Well, in this case, the overall strategy would be, from the time that they identified the vehicle as having been purchased, as has already been reported, they would be trying to locate the subject that made the purchase.
Now, there's possibility that person may have put the explosive material in the vehicle. That person may have driven it to Times Square and parked it -- or that person may not have. The person may have lent the car to another friend who actually did all of that. And he may have had an accomplish or he may not.
So, in these kinds of investigations, it's very important for the investigators to keep a very open mind on all the different possibilities. But in this situation, they would have the purchaser under surveillance if they've located him. And then they would be trying to continue the investigation to determine if there were other people involved. They would be normally getting his telephone records, those e-mail records, talking to other people that may know him, co-workers, et cetera, to try to identify if, in fact, there were a number of people involved in this.
And once that they were identifying the people, then, you know, the next thing is to keep them from fleeing the country. So, if someone is trying to board an aircraft at JFK, that's the time when you have to decide to make the arrest whether you want to or not as of that moment.
The next phase is going to be to take the forensic evidence recovered from that vehicle, recovered from the explosive materials, the gas tanks that were removed, the metal containers that were removed, and this suspect now will be required to submit, to provide DNA samples, fingerprints, other material which will be examined against the forensic material collected from the vehicle to see if that matches and to see if other -- if it matches particularly on the explosive tanks which he's not going to be able to say he lent the car to somebody else and someone else did it.
So, there are a number of factors that are still going to be ongoing in this investigation very intensively, even with the subject in custody.
NAMDAR: I think my colleague Drew Griffin has a question to ask you.
Drew, go ahead.
GRIFFIN: Yes. Tom, we had heard that an arrest was imminent, but that the authorities didn't want to really arrest this guy unless he was going to flee. So, as long as they had him somewhat contained, they were content to sit, watch and listen, as you've been reporting.
So, is it in your understanding and based on your experience he was heading to the airport trying to flee? Do you know anything about the actual arrest? Was he actually boarding the plane?
FUENTES: I don't know that at all. And I'm just speaking to from experience of the strategy that would be followed.
So, if they had identified the individual that bought the car and were treating him as -- you know, which they would, as prime suspect at the time, and if he him located, they would attempt to keep him from fleeing, losing his location while the other parts of the investigation was going on. And one of their concerns would be, as you reported earlier tonight, that they might -- other accomplices might flee or if there's other evidence that may be disposed of. And you have to be concerned with that. Don't forget, they may have bought more than just these L.P. tanks that were in the car or just these fireworks or batteries or other materials that were used. They could be in somebody's home right now, more of the same that's link to this case.
So, those are the things that the investigators would have is to allow enough time to develop all the facts and locate and identify the other individuals who may be involved; and at the same time, not let it go so long that material will be lost, stolen or otherwise flee the country.
GRIFFIN: Let's bring in Deb Feyerick.
Deb, you're on with Tom Fuentes. I know you're giving information but also, this is an opportunity for us to get information.
FEYERICK: Well, yes, absolutely. And, you know, what was so fascinating is that we were out in Connecticut all the day. The lead they had, one of the strongest leads they had was a car that was used in this particular attack. Now, clearly, somebody bought that car and loaded it with propane tanks and the fertilizer and gasoline.
The original lead came because of a sticker on the back of the car that pointed it in the direction of the dealership here in the Stratford-Bridgeport, Connecticut, area, about an hour and a half just outside New York. Law enforcement authorities questioned the dealer. He was able to go back into his records and track the original owner. And from there, they connected it to various owners. The car changed hands a number of times.
We learned that, in fact, the car itself was purchased just three weeks ago on Craigslist. As a matter of fact, Drew, I just want to tell that you we're trying to get to a location we believe may be the home of the person who's in custody. But the car was purchased about three weeks ago on Craigslist. Authorities were looking over e-mails and telephone calls trying to figure out exactly who the seller may have been.
Obviously, in this kind of case, nobody knows whether the name they're giving is the right name. But they were able to get a person who they do believe is the person that they're looking for. We're told by law enforcement authorities that he was arrested at JFK Airport trying to get out of the country.
NAMDAR: Deb, I have a question to ask you: do we know the suspect who was arrested, is his primary residents in the United States?
FEYERICK: It appears so. It appears that this is a man from Shelton, Connecticut -- again, about an hour and a half just outside New York. And so, that is where we are now. We're actually trying to find a house where he may have lived. But, again, that's a big clue, a big lead for investigators because once they get inside his residence, they'll be able to develop even more leads.
NAMDAR: Did we lose Deb on the phone? OK. Do we have --
FEYERICK: Yes. I'm here.
NAMDAR: Oh, Deb is there. I'm sorry, Deb. We lost you for a second there. Continue, please.
FEYERICK: Yes. Basically, they believe that this man is from Shelton, Connecticut. It's the area -- it's 10, 15 minutes from where they believed he purchased the car.
And the interestingly thing about the transaction is that it was for $1,800. He paid cash. There were no records, no papers. When you buy a car that way, really, all do you is you give the money over and the owner of the car will give the registration. And then it's up to the buyer -- it's up to the buyer to basically register the car.
It appears also that after he bought that car and the transaction took place in the parking lot of a grocery store that the person then went to a local scrap yard where license plates -- a license plates was recovery from the vehicle is believed to have been taken.
So, a lot of things happening really within 15, 20-mile radius here in the area of Connecticut.
NAMDAR: And, I guess, at this point, it's too early to tell if whoever has been arrested, if it, in fact, is this Pakistani man, whether he acted alone, if there were any kind of links to broader international terror plot. Certainly, we don't want to make any kinds of assumptions. But that is one of the things investigators will be looking at.
Jeanne Meserve is also on the phone and she joins us from Washington -- oh, actually, she's live at the bureau. My apology.
Jeanne, what can you add?
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's our understanding from law enforcement sources that we spoke to earlier this evening that in fact this -- they were looking for more than one individual potentially. That they had keyed in on this one individual who was a U.S. citizen of Pakistani origin. But they were potentially looking at some other individuals as well in connection with this plot.
Also, we've been told that they had -- were looking at several locations of interest. Not all of them from the east coast. Now, we don't know if the evening has progressed whether or not some of those other locations have panned out or if they have not. But earlier in the day, that's what they were telling us.
In addition, we can tell you that -- excuse me -- I'm trying to get some information here. No. Sorry. Just checking my BlackBerry there to see if we had it cleared.
Interesting that he was arrested at JFK. The reason being that the Transportation Security Administration had beefed up security at airports on the east coast, specifically those in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston -- those within easy reach of Times Square after these events of Saturday evening. They were concerned about the potential for another attack. And they were taking protective measures to try to prevent that.
But in addition, we were told that the TSA was coordinating with Customs and Border Protection to facilitate more secondary inspections and if necessary to I.D. particular flights where they might need to do additional security.
So, perhaps they had some clues then that an airport might be involved here with this individual. That there might be some attempt. Who knows? We don't know the specifics yet by this individual to leave the country.
Back to you.
NAMDAR: Deb, I have a question for you about this arrest again. Was this man arrested after passing through the security checkpoint?
FEYERICK: I'm trying to figure right out. As a matter of fact, we're trying to develop that lead. And as soon as we know, certainly, we'll let you know.
One thing that they were looking into -- and this is something that Jeanne reported earlier this afternoon -- is the focus really began shifting late in the day on whether this person or people may have some sort of international connections, whether the person traveled overseas, had been in communication with anyone overseas, whether they were influenced by jihadi Web sites that have ties to radical elements.
And, again, that sound was being pronounced very loudly later in the afternoon, that, in fact, the focus of the investigation had begun to shift.
NAMDAR: Tom Fuentes is also on the phone with us from Cartagena, Colombia. He's a terrorism analyst.
Tom, I find it interesting that initially when they found this car filled with explosives, the New York police commissioner and Mayor Michael Bloomberg basically told reporters that, really, there was no evidence to connect this attack to international terror. In fact, Mayor Bloomberg even said the stuff they had found was -- I'm quoting here -- "amateurish" and not all that, perhaps, professional.
And then you get this -- the link to perhaps a Pakistani man, a U.S. citizen of Pakistani origin as the potential suspect. And then we had a claim of responsibility from Pakistani Taliban. And, again, they sort of discounted that.
So, my question is, do you think, perhaps, they should not have discounted all that and perhaps said nothing until, you know, all of the cards were on the table?
FUENTES: Well, first of all, the Pakistani Taliban had taken credit for many things that they have nothing to do with. So, that would -- they were correct in saying that -- not giving that a lot of credence, if you will.
As far as saying at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, eight hours after the car had been found, when they were saying it at that time that there was no evidence. There would have been no evidence probably as of then.
So, they really -- what was required is to get the vehicle identification number off the vehicle. And I think the mayor said it had been removed. But that's virtually impossible. It's etched into every piece of glass, every piece of metal, the engine block, the rear axle.
So, at the point where the car was rendered safe by the bomb technician, they were able then to get the actual vehicle identification number and access the computer systems of the DMV throughout the country and determine exactly where that vehicle had been last registered, who was the last owner, or was it assigned to a dealer or was it belonging to a rental car company, or had been stolen. That part of the investigation will begin.
And, again, once they got inside of the vehicle and actually when they had a chance to analyze the method of the wiring, that also tells bomb experts what school of bomb-making the people came from. Oftentimes, if it's from one particular country or one particular terrorist organization, it will have its own signature as to how the wiring was done.
They were correct in saying amateurish only because a very professional bomb maker would know how to wire those propane tanks to go off. But it's my understanding that they're not easy. And they're designed to be hard to blow so that you don't blow yourself up when you're barbecuing in your backyard. So, that's one of the reasons that when they did the wiring of this thing and ignited it, all they got was fire and smoke rather than an actual explosion of the tanks.
So, there are many parts of the investigation that couldn't even really start until they had access to the vehicle, access to the devices, begin doing the forensic examination of all of that materials, see if there's DNA material on those propane tanks that later can be matched to a potential subject, pieces of skin or hair or fingerprints or any other evidentiary material which then once you have a suspect, you can try to match that up to that person.
So, at the time that they were making those announcements for 2:00 a.m. the other day, it was premature to say much more what they did say.
GRIFFIN: I want to ask you, he's heading to the airport. He's obviously potentially fleeing and fleeing somewhere. Does that raise the specter that he either had help or support from abroad? Or is that a natural instinct for anybody in a criminal investigation to get out of the way? FUENTES: (AUDIO BREAK) and/or if they're from Yemen or in another country, that oftentimes they make trips back and forth for a number of reasons -- family reasons, they miss their hometown, going home to a wedding and not necessarily going to the mother ship to get instructions on how to do this.
Now, it appears and I think the bomb experts will concur, that they must not have been thoroughly schooled in bomb-making by the Taliban or any other terrorist organization because they didn't wire it correctly and it didn't go off.
So, the fact that the person was trying to flee, that might be the obvious thing. If they're from another country and think they're going to be a fugitive or be wanted in this country, they basically get out of dodge.
NAMDAR: Let's recap -- if you're just joining us, we're following a breaking news. An arrest has been made in a failed attempt to set off a car bomb in New York's Times Square over the weekend. And that's according to an official that told our Susan Candiotti and Deb Feyerick. Both have been on this story since day one.
Now, the identity of the suspect we don't know. We know he was arrested at JFK Airport while trying to leave New York. The suspect was trying to board a plane to go overseas.
Again, we don't know where he was headed. But we do know that officials had been looking for naturalized U.S. citizen of Pakistani origin as a potential suspect.
Now, another law enforcement official said the buyer of the sports utility vehicle using the car bomb was this Pakistani man that they've been looking for. The buyer apparently paid -- from what Deb Feyerick told me -- $1,800 in cash for this Nissan Pathfinder. It was a very quick transaction.
And Deb is following the story also us from Shelton, Connecticut, where this man is believed to have a home phone there.
Deb, anymore information -- are you still on the phone with us?
FEYERICK: Yes, I'm still here, Asieh. It's --
NAMDAR: I'm sorry, go ahead.
FEYERICK: No, go ahead.
Well, I was going to say it's very quiet here at this home where he is believed to live. So, it's interesting. Right now, we have a sense of his name but we're not releasing it until it is made public, until it is confirmed. We're believe we're at a home that belongs to him, because it's very quiet. There's no police activity and that's why we're being a little bit cautious on this.
But again, yes, this is -- this is the purchase of a vehicle, again, you know three weeks ago that was made. So, whether they began to keep this bomb together inside the vehicle over three week's time, again, is very short window. Whether they were storing components at home or perhaps in a nearby facility -- all of these are leads that authorities are tracking down just as we are.
NAMDAR: Tom, are you surprised how relatively quickly an arrest was made? I mean, it's early morning Tuesday, 12:54 Eastern Time and this attack happened Saturday evening. So, your thoughts on that?
FUENTES: Well, there is no question that this was going to be an intensive investigation. And, of course, with the vehicle and the identification number, that would give them, you know, the lead, where to start the investigation.
But, again, you know, the person that's been taken into custody -- if it's the person that made the purchase of that vehicle -- there are still many other possibilities that can play out here. You could have someone buy the vehicle, lend it to a friend, not realizing that the friend was going to put explosives in it and park it in Times Square and then when you see the vehicle on Saturday night on CNN going into hiding because you're scared. So, that's always a possibility that the person that bought the car may not have been aware that it was going to be used in this way.
Or he had been directly involved in it.
So there were a number of facts that need to be determined, that need to be checked out. And the other fact is that, initially, you know, we're wondering what paperwork may have been had or provided at the time of the purchase. You know, you could have false information given as to identity or maybe person that sold the car didn't give the police the accurate information.\
So, all of these questions just have to be meticulously run down by the investigators in this case. So, there are many possibilities that still exist in this thing in terms of what the facts are going to be proved to be.
NAMDAR: Let's go back to our Jeanne Meserve in Washington -- Jeanne.
MESERVE: Yes. Not a particular surprise that it is coming to some sort of resolution this quickly. According to the folks I've been talking to, a lot of them former officials who say there was so much evidence in this case.
They had the bomb because, of course, it had not exploded. They had the vehicle. They had the surveillance tapes. They had a multitude of witnesses in Times Square who they could interview.
And the feeling was that a case like this was so rich with information that it was almost inevitable that they were going to be able to make some kind progress of this very, very quickly indeed.
NAMDAR: And at what point -- I'm posing this question to either Jeanne or Tom or even Drew or Deb -- at what point do you bring in authorities from perhaps Pakistan and federal enforcement officials from there if, in fact, this guy is the man they were looking for, the U.S. -- the naturalized U.S. citizen of Pakistani origin?
GRIFFIN: I think that --
FUENTES: That would happen immediately. I'm sorry. I was going to say that --
GRIFFIN: I was going to say that I think this is for you.
FUENTES: The FBI would send the leads immediately. And in this situation, they may have already done that because that once a person was developed as a suspect, they started to obtain telephone records and e-mail records, that they saw contacts going to not just Pakistan but all over the world, all over the rest of the United States. They would immediately be sending leads to those countries for the FBI to request the host country to provide the information of who was the recipient of the e-mail or the recipient of those phone calls in those countries.
And then also, as they were identifying this person, what's his background in terms of the other country? Is he still a citizen of the other country? What residence did he have? Did he have affiliations with suspicious persons in the country?
So, the international aspect of the investigation would be absolutely immediate once they have the identity of the suspect in this case.
NAMDAR: I also wonder if this suspect was on any kind of list, no-fly list or, you know, if his name was on any terror list.
Drew, your thoughts on that.
GRIFFIN: I'm sorry. I was checking something.
NAMDAR: No worries. I was just telling or actually asking Tom -- you know, you also wonder if whoever has been arrested and if he's a Pakistani origin, if his name, you know, if authorities are making calls to find out if his name was actually on some kind of -- I hate to use the word terror -- but terror list?
GRIFFIN: Well, I can tell you, we believe we know this person's name. We're withholding it and it is a very, very name even here in New York. In fact, this name exists all over the country. So, you know, we have to be careful here. There is a suspect who is in custody. He happens to have a name that many other people share.
So whether or not he was on a terror watch list or not, obviously, we don't know. I can tell you, if we do have the right person, I looked at his -- a quick look at his record. There is apparently no arrest record at least that we can find at this time.
So, I mean, that's going to be one of the interesting things, that this guy just pop-up on the radar screen unbeknownst to anybody, kind of a lone wolf, or as we have been reporting in the last few hours, on "ANDERSON COOPER" show, they don't believe that he acted alone. All of these are questions, I say, that have yet to be answered. But, obviously, it does appear that this arrest may have been rushed because he was trying to flee.