Video: During sentencing, Shahzad warns of 'flood' of violence

  1. Transcript of: During sentencing, Shahzad warns of 'flood' of violence

    WILLIAMS: Good evening.

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: He says he used to watch surveillance cameras to figure out what time of day Times Square had the most pedestrian traffic so he could kill the most people when his car bomb went off. Well, we're all very fortunate that Faisal Shahzad was an inept car bomber. But his case and where it led law enforcement was a wake-up call and was helpful to US investigators. His case is now closed having confessed to the crime. He's now going to prison for the rest of his life. Tonight in this country and around the world, there are several new developments to report in the effort to stop terrorists before they carry out attacks. We begin tonight with our chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell . Andrea , good evening.

    ANDREA MITCHELL reporting: Good evening, Brian . As police crack down on terror suspects in Europe and Africa , here at home that would-be Times Square bomber was defiant as he was sentenced to a mandatory life in prison. An FBI test shows just how bad the damage could have been. A warm spring night last May, a congested Times Square , and a Nissan Pathfinder loaded with explosives, but with faulty wiring. In court today 31-year-old Faisal Shahzad , smirking and taunting the judge, said, "Brace yourselves, because the war with Muslims has just begun. Consider me only a first droplet of the flood that will follow me." The judge told him, "I do hope that you will spend some of the time in prison thinking carefully about whether the Quran wants you to kill lots of people." In a video the government released prior to today's sentencing, Shahzad , who became a US citizen last year, appeals for attacks against the US.

    Mr. FAISAL SHAHZAD: I have been trying to join my brothers in jihad ever since the 9/11 happened.

    Mr. RAY KELLY (New York Police Department Commissioner): Perfectly appropriate that he forfeited his freedom because he was clearly willing to forfeit peoples' lives.

    MITCHELL: Shahzad trained in Pakistan , where CIA drones attacked again yesterday, killing a number of Germans, but, NBC News has learned, missing their real target, top Taliban commander and master terror trainer Qari Hussain , who built the bomb that killed seven CIA officers in Afghanistan last December. Hussain was inside the house but, local sources tell NBC News , escaped with bruises. Intelligence officials say Pakistan 's training camps could be preparing as many as 100 Westerners ready to launch plots in Europe. Only today police in France arrested a dozen suspects. And a German, Sascha Alessandro Boettcher , was arrested in Kenya .

    Mr. ROGER CRESSEY (NBC News Terrorism Analyst): Western Europeans are the perfect al-Qaeda operative. They have clean passports. They don't fit the profile of previous al-Qaeda terrorists. And because they do not need visas inside Western Europe they can move from country to country.

    MITCHELL: Tonight US officials say that they cannot confirm that the mastermind of last year's CIA killings did survive that drone attack in Pakistan , while other officials say that today's arrest in France proved they were right to issue the travel alert for Americans abroad. Brian :

    WILLIAMS: Andrea Mitchell starting us off in our Washington newsroom. Andrea ,

NBC, and news services
updated 10/5/2010 6:50:53 PM ET 2010-10-05T22:50:53

The Pakistani immigrant who tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison with no chance of parole, a mandatory penalty that left him defiant as ever and the judge who sentenced him determined to send a message to anyone who might want to follow in his path.

Faisal Shahzad came to court to tell Americans he felt no remorse about his May 1 bombing attempt, and he sparred with U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum.

"Brace yourselves, because the war with Muslims has just begun," Shahzad said just before being sentenced.

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Cedarbaum said her sentence was very important "to protect the public from further crimes of this defendant and others who would seek to follow him."

Shahzad, 31, defended his attempt to kill Americans. During his statement before sentencing, Cedarbaum cut him off at one point to ask if he had sworn allegiance to the United States when the Pakistan-born Shahzad became a citizen last year.

"I did swear but I did not mean it," Shahzad said.

"So you took a false oath," the judge told him.

Cederbaum also told Shahzad that he will have a lot of time to "think about whether the Koran wants you to kill lots of people."

After the life sentence came down, Shahzad said: "Allah Akbar" (God is Great), and then went on to say, "we will defeat you (the infidels) with time."

Shahzad was arrested two days after a bomb in the back of a sport utility vehicle fizzled with a mere sputter of smoke, drawing the attention of a street vendor who alerted police.

The Pakistan-born Shahzad, a former budget analyst from Connecticut, did not dispute the allegations while under interrogation and taking a guilty plea.

In fact, "he spoke with pride" about the scheme, in which he bragged that he wanted to kill at least 40 people, the government said in a sentencing memo. If he escaped arrest, he added, he hoped to set off another bomb two weeks later in a second, undisclosed location.

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"While it is impossible to calculate precisely the impact of Shahzad's bomb had it detonated, the controlled detonation ... demonstrated that those effects would have been devastating to the surrounding area," prosecutors wrote.

Calling himself a Muslim soldier, a defiant Shahzad pleaded guilty to 10 terrorism and weapons counts, some of which carry mandatory life sentences.

"I want to plead guilty and I'm going to plead guilty a hundred times forward," he said.

Unless the U.S. leaves Muslim lands alone, he warned, "we will be attacking U.S., and I plead guilty to that."

Shahzad has said the Pakistan Taliban provided him with more than $15,000 and five days of explosives training late last year and early this year, months after he became a U.S. citizen.

For greatest impact, he chose a crowded a section of Times Square by studying an online streaming video of the so-called "Crossroads of the World," prosecutors said.

He lit the fuse of his crude, homemade bomb, then fled on foot, pausing along the way to listen for the explosion that never came, court papers said.

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A street vendor spotted smoke coming from the SUV and alerted police, who quickly cleared the area. The bomb attempt set off an intense investigation that culminated two days later with investigators plucking Shahzad off a Dubai-bound plane at a New York airport.

A few days later, Pakistani authorities arrested three men on charges they helped him meet leaders of the Pakistan Taliban, a militant group based in the northwest of the country that has claimed responsibility for the plot. They also are accused of sending him cash in the United States when he ran short of money.

The men's lawyer says there's no evidence to support the allegations and that the men had been forced to sign confessions. A trial date has yet to be set.

Three other men were detained in New England on immigration charges in an investigation of an underground money transfer system used by Shahzad, but they were never charged with any crimes.

The Associated Press and NBC's Ron Allen contributed to this report.

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