Obama was briefed six times Monday on the ongoing investigation, and John Brennan, the president's top counter-terrorism adviser, notified him at 12:05 a.m. Tuesday of the arrest of the suspect, Faisal Shahzad.
That's according to Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, who tweeted the news to reporters Tuesday morning.
Meantime, Attorney General Eric Holder said that despite the arrest, authorities are still following many leads.
"This investigation is ongoing, as are our attempts to gather useful intelligence, and we continue to pursue a number of leads," Holder said in a hastily called news conference. "But it's clear that the intent behind this terrorist act was to kill Americans."
He noted that "this would have been a deadly attack" and "the intent was to kill Americans."