WASHINGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., Tuesday praised coordinated law enforcement efforts in the arrest of a Connecticut man in the attempted Times Square car bombing. But he warned that since the suspect’s plans went undetected by intelligence agencies, the fast and courageous actions of vigilant citizens were critical to thwarting the attempted terrorist attack.

            Faisal Shahzad, who lived in Bridgeport and before that in Shelton, was arrested Monday night at Kennedy International Airport. He is a naturalized U.S. citizen, originally from Pakistan, who reportedly spent several months recently in his home country, perhaps undergoing terrorist training.

“The FBI, New York City Police Department, Department of Homeland Security, and Connecticut law enforcers deserve our gratitude for breaking open this case as quickly as they did,” Lieberman said. “But let’s not forget that but for the grace of God and the sheer incompetence of the suspect, this explosion could have taken place as planned, and many people might have died.

“That’s why the quick reactions of courageous New Yorkers who saw smoke coming from the car parked near Times Square and reported it quickly also deserve our grateful thanks.”

            Shahzad took a number of steps to plan his attack in Connecticut, Lieberman said. Several days ago, Shahzad purchased the Nissan Pathfinder found in Times Square from a Bridgeport woman for $1,300 in cash at a mall parking lot.  Investigators tracked the Nissan back to Connecticut, based in part on the vehicle identification number.

            “I am proud of Connecticut law enforcement for its role in tracking down Shahzad,” Lieberman said. “The Connecticut State Police, Connecticut Intelligence Center, Joint Terrorism Task Force in New Haven, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, and the Bridgeport Police Department all played key roles in unraveling the events that led to last Saturday’s attempted bombing and continue to support the ongoing investigation.

“The cooperative work among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to protect Americans from the ever-present threat of terrorist attack, and particularly from homegrown terrorist attacks, was key to the quick resolution of this case.”

            Lieberman said the role of Connecticut law enforcement underscores the need for continued federal aid to states to support counterterrorism and homeland security prevention efforts.

            Among the Department of Homeland Security agencies that worked closely with the FBI to identify Shahzad as a naturalized U.S. citizen living in Bridgeport and arrest him at Kennedy International Airport were Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Citizenship and Immigration Service.