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Monday, June 17, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Failed Times Square|Bomber Gets Life in Prison

(CN) - Defiant and unrepentant, would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad told the judge that "the defeat of the U.S. is imminent and will happen in the near future" before receiving a mandatory life sentence Tuesday for trying to detonate a car bomb in downtown Manhattan in May. Shahzad pleaded guilty to 10 felony terrorism and weapons charges.

When U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum handed down the sentence, Shahzad exclaimed "Allahu akbar," Arabic for "God is great."

He confessed to the plot and had been cooperating with authorities in the past few months.

Before the foiled bombing, Shahzad lived in Connecticut, where a neighbor described him as "just a normal dude" with a wife and two children. He had an MBA, worked as a budget analyst and seemed to have all the trappings of a normal American family. "Didn't you swear allegiance to this country?" Judge Cedarbaum asked Shahzad in court.

"I sweared it," Shahzad replied, "but I didn't mean it."

Shahzad traveled to Pakistan last December, where he received explosives training from Tehrik-e-Taliban militants. Accomplices also provided him with thousands of dollars in funding in the following months.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Janice Fedarcyk said the case shows the global scope of terrorist activity.

"However you define him, there's no question that Shahzad built a mobile weapon of mass destruction and hoped and intended that it would kill large numbers of innocent people - and planned to do it again two weeks later," Fedarcyk said.

"You appear to be someone who was capable of education," Judge Cederbaum said after handing down Shahzad's sentence. "And I do hope you will spend some of the time in prison thinking carefully about whether the Quran wants you to kill lots of people."

The indictment included 10 counts related to the bomb plot, including "attempted act of terrorism transcending national boundaries" and "attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction."

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