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Thursday, May 13

"Pakistan arrests suspect who says he was accomplice to Times Square bomber"

Colleague just informed me that the situation with the suspicious vehicle near Union Square subway is "all clear." Details will probably be forthcoming over the next few hours. It might have been a hoax but everyone is on edge since May 1 bombing attempt.
UPDATE 12:29 AM EDT May 14
UK Press Association filed approx. 12:10 AM EDT:
Police bomb disposal experts are investigating a suspicious car apparently containing gas cans near New York City's Union Square. The car was spotted not far from the Union Square [subway] tube station, where several lines connect. Police said two gas cans were seen in the back of the car. The area was sealed off and the bomb squad and Emergency Service Unit are on the scene.
Thursday, May 13, 2010; 7:31 PM EDT
By Greg Miller
Washington Post Staff Writer
The Washington Post

The Pakistani government has arrested a suspect with connections to a Pakistani militant group who said he acted as an accomplice to the accused Times Square bomber, U.S. officials said.

The suspect, whose arrest has not been previously disclosed, provided an "independent stream" of evidence that the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attack, and has admitted helping Faisal Shahzad, the main suspect, travel into Pakistan's tribal areas for bomb training.

Officials familiar with the probe cautioned that there have been inconsistencies in the two suspects' accounts. Federal authorities expanded their search for physical evidence Thursday, carrying out raids in four northeastern states, and arresting three people suspected of funneling money to Shahzad.

Indeed, the U.S. determination that the Pakistani Taliban directed the attempted attack is based largely on accounts of the two men, several U.S. officials said. Authorities have been examining phone records, e-mails and other communications for firmer evidence of the links between Shahzad and the Pakistani Taliban.

"What they said has been corroborated by other evidence,'' said a senior law enforcement source, who would not specify that evidence, saying it is classified.

The suspect in Pakistani custody "is believed to have a connection to the TTP," said a U.S. intelligence official, using an acronym for the Pakistani Taliban. Certain clues have added to authorities' understanding of the plot, the official said, but "what is definitely true is that a lot of this comes from the statements of people directly involved."

Assessing the role of the Pakistani Taliban carries significant stakes. A clear link would move the militant group onto an expanding list of al-Qaeda affiliates that pose a direct threat to the United States. It would also put new pressure on the U.S. relationship with Pakistan at a time when President Obama is pushing the country to expand its military campaign against insurgent groups.

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