Pakistani Army Major Arrested in Times Square Bomb Probe

It was the first court appearance for Faisal Shahzad

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    NEW YORK - MAY 18: Police keep watch outside the Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Courthouse in lower Manhattan May 18, 2010 in New York City. Pakistani-born U.S. citizen Faisal Shahzad, the admitted plotter behind the failed car bombing of Times Square, was brought to federal court today to be arraigned by authorities on terrorism and mass destruction charges. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

     A former Pakistani army major has been arrested in connection with the probe into a failed attempt to detonate a car bomb in Times Square, sources said today.

    The news of an overseas arrest comes as Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen, was arraigned and ordered held without bail in Manhattan federal court Tuesday evening.  It  was his first appearance before a judge since being nabbed on May 3.

    The accused terrorist was clad in a grey baggy sweatshirt and grey sweatpants as marshals escorted him into the room. Shahzad did not enter a plea -- and spoke only a single word as the judge read aloud the five felony bomb-making and conspiracy charges he faces. 

    Sitting at a table, and his attorney, Julia Gatto of the Federal Defenders of NY, Shahzad waived his right to a speedy trial, and preliminary hearing was scheduled for June 3. Shahzad answered "yes" when the judge asked him if a financial affidavit submitted to the court was accurate. Prosecutors and Gatto agreed Shahzad would be held without bail.

    He was taken to the Metropolitan Correctional Center downtown, officials said. The Pakistani-American had been in law-enforcement custody since his May 3 arrest and has provided valuable intelligence from which further investigative action has been taken, authorities said.

    Meanwhile, officials tell NBCNewYork, that Pakistani Army  Major Adnan allegedly had phone contact and met personally with Shahzad in the months before his failed plot. Investigators are not describing the nature of those meetings.

    Adnan was taken into custody at his home in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. He was dismissed from Pakistan's military two months ago, officials said.

    Investigators continue to look into alleged ties between Shahzad and the Pakistan Taliban. On Monday, the White House dispatched Gen. James L. Jones, the national security adviser, and Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, to press Pakistani officials to look into the May 1 bomb attempt.

    Pakistani Consul General Barry Hoffman said Aftab Khan, a Pakistani gas station attendant who lives in Watertown, Mass., told him during a visit to his jail cell Monday that he does not know Faisal Shahzad and had no contact with him.

    "He doesn't have any connection to him," Hoffman said. "He's never spoken to him, doesn't know him."
     
    Hoffman said Khan, 27, came to the United States from his native Pakistan about eight months ago. He described Khan as a "scared young man" who doesn't understand why he was arrested last week.
     
    Khan, his roommate, Pir Khan, 43, and a third man, Mohamad Rahman, of South Portland, Maine, are being held on immigration charges after their arrests Thursday.
     
    Authorities say the men funneled money to Shahzad but may not have known how the money would be used.

    Shahzad is charged with one count of attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, one count of attempting acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, one count of use of a destructive device in connection with an attempted crime of violence, one count of transporting and receiving explosives, and one count of attempting to damage and destroy property by means of fire and explosives. If convicted on all counts, he faces life in prison. 

    Meanwhile,  Shahzad had considered targeting several other locations in the city -- including Grand Central and Rockefeller Center -- before deciding to leave an explosives-laden SUV at the "crossroads of the world," law enforcement sources said.

    Shahzad admitted to planning the bomb attempt in the busy theater district.  Authorities say the Pakistani-born U.S. citizen has been cooperating with investigators and in the course of discussions admitted that he had thought about other city landmarks, including Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Station and the World Financial Center downtown.  He also said he considered attempting to bomb Connecticut-based defense contractor Sikorsky, sources tell NBCNewYork.  But, officials say no plans were made for any other location other than Times Square.