The plot was designed to inflict maximum damage, targeting Times Square and Grand Central.
We've confirmed that terror mastermind Nazibullah Zazi has told investigators he and two cohorts, armed with suicide vests, planned to split up and then jump on downtown 1,2,3 or 6 trains during rush hour. They planned to stand in the middle of the crowd, and blow themselves up.
"Anybody that thinks that we are not a target, that thinks that we are being hysterical, this should go to show that this is not the case," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
In February, Zazi pleaded guilty to conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, and since then has been cooperating with federal investigators.
He's told them that he and two high school pals from Queens, Adis Medjunanin and Zarein Ahmedzay, trained at an al-Qaida camp in Pakistan and then planned the attack on New York's subways last September, days after the 9-11 anniversary.
Zazi even made practice runs on downtown trains. That plan was aborted when Zazi learned authorities were tailing him.
In subsequent court filings, prosecutors revealed they were seeking one or two other co-conspirators from Pakistan.
Medjunain's attorney said what Zazi told investigators isn't necessarily the truth.
"Well, it starts off as damaging, but then he had to be cross-examined," Robert Gottlieb said. "We know that Zazi had his own reasons to cooperate. He may have his own reasons to be embellishing, to be adding things."
A fourth suspect in a disrupted plot to bomb New York City subways has been arrested in Pakistan, law enforcement officials said Monday.
Federal prosecutors have already said publicly they were seeking other suspects overseas. Officials would say little else about the fourth person, other than the suspect is a citizen of Pakistan and he was arrested weeks ago.
Prosecutors say the attacks were modeled after the July 2005 bombings on the London transit system. Four suicide bombers killed 52 people and themselves in an attack on three subway trains and a bus in London.
Last month, an Afghanistan-born imam linked to the suspects pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI when asked about the men.