- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 4, 2010

In his first public statement on the Times Square bombing attempt since suspect Faisal Shahzad was arrested Monday night, President Obama on Tuesday said that while the incident is a “sobering reminder” of the ongoing threat against the United States, the nation “will not be terrorized.”

“Justice will be done, and we will continue to do everything in our power to protect the American people,” Mr. Obama said at the top of a speech to the Business Council, a consortium of national chief executive officers. “This incident is another sobering reminder of the times in which we live. Around the world and here at home, there are those who would attack our citizens and slaughter innocent men, women and children in pursuit of their murderous agenda.”

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Mr. Obama said the attack failed because ordinary citizens were vigilant and law enforcement officials acted quickly. He said he had had an opportunity to thank the street vendors who spotted the suspect’s smoking, abandoned sport utility vehicle in New York’s Times Square on Saturday and the responding police officer.

He said Mr. Shahzad, 30, is now in custody and being questioned by U.S. law enforcement officials.

“The American people can be assured that the FBI and their partners in this process have all the tools and experience they need to learn everything we can. That includes what, if any, connection this individual has to terrorist groups,” Mr. Obama said.

Reports surfaced Tuesday that Mr. Shahzad, a Connecticut resident who was apprehended late Monday on a plane headed for Dubai, has told police he acted alone. But The Washington Post and other media outlets have quoted anonymous administration officials who said the investigation suggests a plot with international links.

The Pakistani Taliban has put out a video claiming responsibility for the botched attack, but U.S. officials have not verified the authenticity of those claims.

Mr. Shahzad is a naturalized U.S. citizen but recently returned from a five-month stay in Pakistan, his native country.

“As Americans and as a nation we will not be terrorized,” Mr. Obama said Tuesday, one day after the White House for the first time described the botched attack as an act of terror.

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