Washington Post: Officials increasingly see international link in Times Square bomb attempt
The failed car bombing in Times Square increasingly appears to have been coordinated by more than one person in a plot with international links, Obama administration officials said Tuesday.
The disclosure, while tentative, came as the White House intensified its focus on the incident Saturday in New York City, in which explosives inside a Nissan Pathfinder were set ablaze but failed to detonate at the tourist-crowded corner of Broadway and 45th Street.
Emerging from a series of briefings, several officials said it was premature to rule out any motive but said the sweeping, multi-state investigation was turning up new clues. One federal law enforcement official cautioned that, while investigators are examining unspecified international communications that may be connected to the attack, "that doesn't get you to an international plot, a multi-organizational plot."
"We're just not there," the official said.
Separately, the White House also characterized the incident for the first time as an attempted act of terrorism. "I would say that was intended to terrorize, and I would say that whomever did that would be categorized as a terrorist," spokesman Robert Gibbs said, sharpening the administration's tone.
Another U.S. official, recounting a conversation with intelligence officials, said: "Don't be surprised if you find a foreign nexus. . . . They're looking at some telltale signs and they're saying it's pointing in that direction."
The emerging picture came as police and federal investigators searched for a man in his 40s whom surveillance cameras caught changing his shirt in an alley and looking over his shoulder near where the car was parked about 6:30 p.m., and another person seen running north on Broadway from the area. New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly also said detectives had spoken with the registered owner of the car but revealed no details other than that the man was not a suspect.