A Long Island man whose home was raided during the investigation into accused Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad said federal agents have returned items seized from his house - including his Pakistani passport - and gave him a handshake and an apology.
"I think they felt bad for all the bother to someone who is really loyal to this country," Mohammad Iqbal of Shirley, who had vowed to sue the FBI if federal agents didn't apologize, said Sunday.
FBI spokesman James Margolin confirmed that the meeting took place but would not say what might have been returned or discussed.
Home raided May 1
In coordinated raids after the failed bombing attempt on May 1, FBI and immigration agents, along with local police, searched Iqbal's home and that of his one-time roommate, Muhammad Younis of Centereach.
Investigators were looking for possible financial links to Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan. Officials say he left makeshift bombs in a sport utility vehicle in Times Square on May 1, which failed to go off. A U.S. law enforcement official said later that Shahzad, 30, a former financial analyst living in Bridgeport, Conn., received $4,000 in cash at a Dunkin' Donuts in Ronkonkoma sometime before the bombing attempt.
Agents questioned Iqbal for several hours on May 13 about whether he had ever sent money to Pakistan, whether he knew Shahzad or participated in the Times Square plot, and about Younis, who once lent Iqbal money for a flight back to Pakistan.
Younis' one-bedroom basement apartment on Oxhead Drive was also raided, according to a witness. Agents searched a backyard shed and Younis' vehicle, but it was unclear if they took anything.
Neither man was arrested.
Iqbal, a limousine driver who works primarily in Manhattan, said he got a call on Thursday morning from agents who asked him to meet them on a Chelsea street corner that afternoon. An FBI agent and an NYPD detective, both of whom had been present at the raid, arrived. They returned a black-and-white composition notebook containing records of an $8,000 loan Iqbal got from Younis in 2005, he said.
The pair also returned Iqbal's father's ledger, which also showed personal loan information, a cell phone and Iqbal's Pakistani passport, he said. The agents did not offer any information about the investigation or what led them to him or Younis.
"They shook my hand and said they were sorry, and I'm happy with that," Iqbal said. He said the agents indicated that they had found nothing amiss, and that he shouldn't expect to hear from them again. He said the agents had asked if he was in contact with Younis, with whom he once worked at a 7-Eleven in East Patchogue in the mid-1990s. "They said, 'Do you see him or talk to him?' I said no.' "
A message left for Younis at his home last week was not returned. A man who answered the door at the apartment said he didn't know where he was or if he was living in the apartment.
Last week, Aftab Ali Khan, of Watertown, Mass., appeared in federal court in Manhattan so that he could be assigned a lawyer. Khan, who is believed to be a witness in the Shahzad case, is one of three men reportedly detained on the same day as the Long Island raids as investigators followed the money trail to Shahzad. Khan is being held on an immigration charge.
On Saturday, May 1, an NYPD officer found smoke coming out out a car in Times Square. The area around Seventh Avenue and 45th Street was evacuated, and the bomb squad found propane and other potential explosives in the vehicle. On May 3, Faisal Shahzad was arrested and eventually charged with attempted terrorism.