Failed Times Square bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad had considered targeting several other locations, including Stratford-based defense contractor Sikorsky, before deciding to leave an explosives-laden SUV at the "crossroads of the world," law enforcement sources said.
Shahzad, who has yet to appear in court, admitted to planning the May 1 bomb attempt in the busy theater district. Authorities say the Pakistani-born U.S. citizen has been cooperating with investigators and in the course of discussions admitted that he had eyed other the local defense company and several New York landmarks, including Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Station and the World Financial Center downtown, sources tell NBCNewYork.
In the end, Shahzad's bomb plot fizzled and the Bridgeport, Connecticut resident was arrested two days later at John F. Kennedy Airport while aboard a plane destined for Dubai.
Shahzad had admitted to receiving terror training in Pakistan, and since the failed plot federal and local law enforcement have been trying to uncover whom else might have been complicit in the plot.
On Monday, the White House said it was dispatching two senior national security aides to Pakistan to press the government there to intensify efforts to investigate the failed bomb plot and prevent others like it.
Gen. James L. Jones, the national security adviser, and Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director are the highest-level American visit to Pakistan since May 1.
A senior administration official said General Jones would not threaten the Pakistani administration, but would convey "the risks to the country’s relationship with the United States if a deadly terrorist attack originated there," the New York Times reported today.
Both intend to press the Pakistani government to take tougher steps against the Taliban and other insurgent groups, U.S officials said.
"In light of the failed Times Square terrorist attack and other terrorist attacks that trace to the border region, we believe that it is time to redouble our efforts with our allies in Pakistan to close this safe haven and create an environment where we and the Pakistani people can lead safe and productive lives," a White House official told the French news agency, AFP.
Last week, the FBI raided homes on Long Island, outside of Boston, Mass. and in New Jersey looking for possible money connections to Shahzad. One of three men arrested in the sweep yesterday denied any connection to the primary supsect.
Pakistani Consul General Barry Hoffman said Aftab Khan, a Pakistani gas station attendant who lives in Watertown, Mass., told him during a visit to his jail cell Monday that he does not know Faisal Shahzad and had no contact with him.
"He doesn't have any connection to him," Hoffman said. "He's never spoken to him, doesn't know him."
Hoffman said Khan, 27, came to the United States from his native Pakistan about eight months ago. He described Khan as a "scared young man" who doesn't understand why he was arrested last week.
Khan, his roommate, Pir Khan, 43, and a third man, Mohamad Rahman, of South Portland, Maine, are being held on immigration charges after their arrests Thursday.
Authorities say the men funneled money to Shahzad but may not have known how the money would be used.