U.S. Representative Peter King of New York is calling for an investigation into leaks to the news media on the suspect in the failed Times Square bombing attempt that the lawmaker said came from the Obama administration and could have jeopardized the case.
News reports based on comments from unnamed officials that law enforcement officials were looking for a suspect who was born in Pakistan and had become a naturalized U.S. citizen may have prompted Faisal Shahzad to attempt to flee and almost make it out of the country, King said.
“It’s very likely this person was tipped off,” King, the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, told reporters. “I have never seen so many sensitive leaks on a criminal investigation before the person has been apprehended.”
King said he wants Congress or the FBI to look into who was responsible for the leaks. A White House spokesman, Ben LaBolt, declined to comment.
Shahzad is accused of trying to “kill and maim persons” when he allegedly drove a vehicle filled with explosives into Manhattan’s Times Square on May 1 and left it there, prosecutors said in a complaint unsealed in New York yesterday.
Shahzad boarded a plane May 3 to fly to Dubai and was taken into custody by Customs and Border Protection officers before takeoff. At a press conference in Washington yesterday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Shahzad admitted his role in the bombing attempt.
King said Shahzad drove to the airport with a semi- automatic weapon and lives were put at risk by the leaks.