Times Square terror suspect Faisal Shahzad got bomb-making training on his recent trip to Pakistan -- but made an error that probably saved the lives of hundreds: he packed an SUV with the wrong explosive material, law enforcement sources told FoxNews.com.
And the bomb was planted just two days after the military's Central Command issued a classified intelligence report warning of the dangers of fertilizer bombs being manufactured by the Taliban and insurgents in Pakistan, FoxNews.com has learned.
Officials say Shahzad, a 30-year-old naturalized American citizen, admitted he received training in making fertilizer-based IEDs in his native Pakistan in the five months he was there before he returned to America in February.
Law enforcement officials said he was apprehended late Monday night after investigators tracked him through the IP address of the computer he used to contact the seller of the 1993 Nissan Pathfinder he allegedly purchased for the attack.
He was charged in federal court on Tuesday in association with the attempted car-bombing.
According to officials, Shahzad told FBI agents that he received bomb-making training in the Waziristan region of Pakistan — the same place convicted terrorist Najibullah Zazi was trained to carry out an attack on New York City’s subways — an attack that was foiled by law enforcement officers last fall.
Central Command's 13-page report, titled “Fertilizer Production in Pakistan and IED Implications”and obtained by FoxNews.com, was dated April 29, 2010. It was written by a CENTCOM analyst with the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization Global Information Research Center.
“Beyond domestic instances of fertilizer-based HME (homemade explosives), militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan are increasingly using fertilizer as the main charge in their IEDs,” the report reads.
“Ammonium nitrate-based fertilizers, including calcium ammonium nitrate, produce effects similar to dynamite, and the mixture of urea and nitric acid produces explosives similar to nitroglycerine," it says.
The report goes on to list instances in which the dual-use chemicals ammonium nitrate and urea — both used in fertilizers and in homemade explosives — have turned deadly.
-- The 1993 World Trade Center bombing involved an explosive device that included 600 kilograms of urea nitrate (a mix of urea and nitric acid.)
-- It was also used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. That device contained over 2000 kilograms of an ammonium nitrate fertilizer and diesel fuel mixture.
The report says the Taliban in Pakistan are increasingly using fertilizer to fight NATO forces.
If Shahzad was trained in Waziristan, as he purportedly claims, he may have been taught to assemble this exact kind of fertilizer-based homemade car bomb.
Inside the SUV, investigators say they found a complicated but “amateurish-looking” homemade device — a mishmash of household and garden store products including eight bags of sugar nitrate fertilizer — but not ammonium nitrate, which can produce a dynamite-like explosion.
If the device had functioned properly, it probably would have created a deadly fireball — though not nearly as disastrous as an ammonium nitrate device.
Frank Doyle, a former bomb expert and 33-year FBI veteran, said he doubted Shahzad received proper training in Pakistan or elsewhere to build a bomb, particularly when it came to what type of fertilizer he used.
"I would question his degree of training or whatever he knew about it," Doyle told FoxNews.com. "That's only one of a series of really serious mistakes he made."
Doyle declined to indicate what material Shahzad should have used to detonate the device he allegedly packed in an SUV in the middle of Times Square.
"As a member of this community," I don't want to teach them how to correct it," Doyle said.
The fact that Shahzad used the incorrect type of fertilizer for his device should be considered a "blessing," Doyle said.
"If not luck," he added.
FoxNews.com's Joshua Rhett Miller contributed to this report.