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Bomb suspect faces terrorism, weapons of mass destruction charges

Faisal Shahzad, 30, is a naturalized U.S. citizen and had recently returned from a five-month trip to Pakistan

U.S. law enforcement officials offered no explanation Tuesday for how the suspect in the failed Times Square bombing was allowed to board an international flight despite being hunted by the FBI and placed on the government no-fly list.

At a news conference, Attorney General Eric Holder said the suspect, Faisal Shahzad, had admitted trying to set off a car bomb in crowded Times Square on Saturday. He faces terrorism and weapons of mass destruction charges, Holder said.

“Based on what we know so far, it is clear that this was a terrorist plot aimed at murdering Americans in one of the busiest places in our country,” Holder said.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Shahzad, a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen, was placed on the no-fly list as authorities closed in. She credited Customs officials for recognizing his name on a passenger manifest and stopping the flight.

But she had little explanation for how Shahzad was able to board the flight with a last-minute ticket. Passengers on the no-fly list should not be allowed to board a plane.

“I was never in any fear that we were in danger of losing him,” Holder said.