Faisal Shahzad, beset by financial problems and unemployed, may have gotten foreign help funding cash transactions he made in the weeks leading to his botched attempt to explode an SUV in Times Square last Saturday, a law enforcement source said Thursday.

"We haven't ruled it out," said the official, familiar with the terror probe, but who asked not to be identified. The official didn't know if Shahzad has explained the source of his cash during questioning by the FBI.

The Pakistani Taliban denied any role in the botched car bombing yesterday but praised Shahzad's "brave job," as New York authorities pressed him on his claims of terrorist training.

The White House sidestepped questions about whether Shahzad was linked to foreign terror groups as the FBI sought to tamp down reports it had either confirmed or disproved such connections. One thing is clear: He was financially strapped.

A family source who spoke on the condition of anonymity told The Washington Post, the father of two "was lately not living happily with his wife . . . after the couple lost their jobs" and defaulted on their home mortgage in Connecticut. His wife, Huma Mian, a U.S. citizen from Colorado, had returned to Pakistan to live with her parents in Karachi.

An indication of Shahzad's general financial straits came from one of his former employers Thursday. Sylvia Lee, of Lee Dynasty Jewelry in New Haven, Conn., told Newsday Shahzad used to work for her part-time about eight years ago, while he attended school in Bridgeport.

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Lee said she had not heard from Shahzad for years when out of the blue, a couple of months ago, he called her and inquired about work. Lee told Shahzad there weren't any jobs because of the bad economy.

At a Senate hearing in Washington, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Shahzad "has provided useful information and we will continue to pursue a number of leads." The U.S. said it was encouraged by Pakistani promises of cooperation.

There is no credible evidence at this point that Shahzad had help from anyone in the United States, according to several sources familiar with the probe.

"So far he's said that he did it alone," NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly told National Public Radio Thursday.

In a five-count criminal complaint filed by U.S. prosecutors in federal court in Manhattan Tuesday, Shahzad claimed to have received bomb-making training in Pakistan, which he visited for several months until early February. That has not been independently confirmed. Charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, he has yet to appear in court and officials said it was unclear if he would do so today.

Investigators said Shahzad paid $1,300 cash on April 24 for the SUV later rigged with an explosive device and Monday paid cash for a one-way flight to Pakistan via Dubai, a journey travel websites price at between $1,400 to nearly $7,000 for a round-trip ticket. Shahzad was seated on the Emirates flight and within minutes of departure when federal agents pulled him off the plane and arrested him.