NEW YORK - Faisal Shahzad, the failed Times Square bombing suspect, told investigators that he drew inspiration from Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni-American cleric whose militant online lectures have been a catalyst for several recent attacks and plots, according to a leading American newspaper. The 30-year Shahzad, a US citizen of Pakistani origin, was inspired by Awlaki, The New York Times said, citing an unnamed official, who would speak of the investigation only on condition of anonymity. He listened to him, and he did it, the official said, referring to Saturdays attempted bombing on a busy street in Times Square. Friends of Shahzad have said he became more religious and somber in the last year or so, and asked his fathers permission in 2009 to join the fight in Afghanistan against American and NATO forces. Investigators believe he was trained by the Pakistani Taliban, a militant group that previously focused mainly on Pakistani government targets. A senior military official said Thursday that Shahzad has told interrogators that he met with Pakistani Taliban operatives in North Waziristan in December and January. Later he received explosives training from the same operatives, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the case. Counterterrorism officials want to know how Shahzad, who had earned an M.B.A., married and had children and worked in several corporate jobs, came to embrace violence. "It is no surprise to counterterrorism officials to find that an accused terrorist had been influenced by Mr. Awlaki, 39, now hiding in Yemen, who has emerged as perhaps the most prominent English-speaking advocate of violent jihad against the United States," The Times said. "Earlier this year, the Obama administration took the extraordinary step of authorizing the killing of Mr. Awlaki, making him the first American citizen on the Central Intelligence Agencys hit list". Awlakis English-language online lectures and writings have turned up in more than a dozen terrorism investigations in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, counterterrorism experts have said. And in two recent United States cases, Awlaki communicated directly with the accused perpetrator. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, in November, exchanged about 18 e-mail messages with Awlaki in the year before the shootings, asking among other things whether it would be permissible under Islam to kill American soldiers preparing to fight in Afghanistan. After the shootings, Awlaki praised Major Hasan, who is of Palestinian descent, as a hero on his Web site, which was taken offline by the Internet host company shortly after the posting. In addition, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a trans-Atlantic airliner on Christmas Day, is believed to have met Awlaki during his training by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, The Times said. It is unclear whether Shahzad ever directly communicated with Awlaki.