FBI raids in Times Square probe: What were they looking for?

The FBI raids in Brookline and Watertown, Mass., and on Long Island, N.Y. were likely following-up on information gained from the interrogation of Faisal Shahzad, a suspect in the Times Square probe.

Steven Senne/AP
FBI investigators move between a van and a home in Watertown, Mass., on Thursday. Raids in two Massachusetts towns and on Long Island, N.Y. were connected to the Times Square probe, the FBI said.

What were federal agents looking for as they searched locations in Massachusetts and New York on Thursday in connection with the Times Square probe?

Most likely, they were looking for people whom bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad had told them to pick up. Federal authorities have indicated that Mr. Shahzad is cooperating with investigators, and enough time has passed since his arrest on May 3 for the FBI to follow up on any leads he has provided.

Agents on Thursday morning searched a small house in Watertown, Massachusetts, as well as a site in Brookline, Massachusetts, and another on New York’s Long Island, according to an FBI spokesperson. Two people encountered during the raids were arrested on immigration violations, said the FBI. The raids targeted money couriers, CNN reported.

The searches were the result of evidence developed during the Shahzad investigation, but there is “no known immediate threat to the public or any active plot against the United States”, FBI spokeswoman Gail Marcinkiewicz said.

Some US officials have said they believe Shahzad was a “lone wolf” who had no real confederates in an attempt to blow up a vehicle in Times Square.

But it is possible that alleged bomber Shahzad had accomplices after all, or that he may have met people in Pakistan at terrorist training camps who have since traveled back to the US.

The rolling up of a suspect’s network of fellow travelers is a common law enforcement technique. The recent case of Colleen LaRose, also known as “Jihad Jane,” shows how it can work.

Ms. LaRose has been charged in a global terror plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist who had offended Muslims. The FBI announced her arrest in March – acknowledging at the same time that she had been in custody since November.

She appears to have talked during those intervening months. Hours before they made her case public, authorities rounded up seven people in Ireland, charging that they had worked with LaRose.

Among those arrested was Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, of Leadville, Colorado. According to a federal indictment, LaRose recruited Ms. Paulin-Ramirez over the Internet. Allegedly Paulin-Ramirez moved to Ireland to participate in the terrorist plot, marrying a terror suspect from Algeria on the day she arrived.


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