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Obama Sends Panetta, Jones to Pakistan to Probe Times Square Bomb Plot

President Obama has sent two of his senior national security aides to Pakistan to investigate the failed Times Square bomb plot.

U.S. National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones and CIA Director Leon Panetta traveled to Pakistan Monday night to meet with top government officials surrounding the May 1 car bombing attempt and counterterrorism efforts within the region.

"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," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor told FoxNews.com.

"Panetta has cultivated a sound relationship with the Pakistanis, building bridges in key areas --especially counterterrorism," another White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Fox News. "It's important the Pakistanis hear our latest thinking on the common threat we face from the tribal areas."

Pakistani-born U.S. citizen Faisal Shahzad was arrested for trying to set off a car bomb in Times Square and will face terrorism and mass destruction charges.

Shahzad was captured by U.S. authorities on a plane bound for Dubai days after the bomb attempt. He later told interrogators he was linked to the Taliban in Pakistan, where he claims he received bomb-making training.  Shahzad also reportedly told authorities that he was angered over U.S. predator drone attacks in Pakistan.  

Shahzad, who became a naturalized American in April 2009, had reportedly spent several months in the country before returning to the U.S. in February.  

U.S. authorities also arrested three Pakistani men after FBI raids in Massachusetts and New York last week. The men are suspected of funneling money to Shahzad to fund the plot.

The Obama administration has increasingly pressured Pakistan to step up its efforts in fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorist network. 

Senior Pakistani civilian and military officials traveled to Washington, D.C., in March for a so-called "strategic dialogue" aimed at improving the U.S.-Pakistani relationship. The summit was later followed by an April meeting between Obama and Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani. Jones has visited Pakistan three times since 2009 to meet with top government officials, most recently in February, according to Vietor. 

"The U.S. and Pakistan have a robust bilateral relationship based on shared interests," Vietor said.  "We are in frequent contact and this is one of many senior-level engagements that occur."