The Times Square bombing suspect apparently operated as a "lone wolf" who did not work with other terrorists, according to the general who oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But investigators believe he had some bomb-making training in Pakistan, a second senior military official said.
Gen. David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command, said in a statement Friday to The Associated Press that alleged bomber Faisal Shahzad was inspired by militants in Pakistan but didn't necessarily have direct contact with them.
The senior U.S. military official adds investigators believe Shahzad's explosives training may have been sponsored in part by the Pakistani Taliban. But the official said it is not clear where in Pakistan Shahzad trained, nor what quality of training he received. The failed bomb appeared to be poorly built, investigators said.
The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing. Shahzad was arrested aboard an Emirates Airlines jet in New York, just minutes before it was scheduled to take off for Dubai.
Shahzad has told investigators he trained in the lawless tribal areas of Waziristan, where both al-Qaida and the Pakistani Taliban operate.
Investigators have also not been able to establish whether he was recruited for the Times Square operation by the Pakistani Taliban, or another militant group — or whether Shahzad came up with the attack plan himself, as he has told investigators, the official said.
Investigators believe Shahzad also may have been inspired by fugitive al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, according to the senior official. The cleric's Internet sermons are popular among extremist Muslims. However, the investigators have not been able to establish that Shahzad had direct communications with the cleric, an American citizen hiding in Yemen.
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