(Mary Altaffer ~ Associated Press)
Ahmad Afzali pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in a deal sparing him up to six months in prison.
"I take full responsibility for my actions," the 38-year-old Afzali said in a tearful statement in Brooklyn federal court.
"It was never my intention to help those idiots for what they did in the name of Islam," he said, referring to the terrorist suspects.
Afzali was sentenced to time served, four days from Sept. 20 to Sept. 24. He will be monitored electronically until he leaves the country.
He also apologized to the Muslim community, his family and the United States. He said he doesn't expect to return to Afghanistan but does not know which country he will go to. "I'm going to start shopping around," he said.
He was arrested in September as federal authorities scrambled to thwart a plot by Najibullah Zazi, a Colorado airport van driver who is the case's principal suspect. Afzali has said he had wanted to help authorities, but lied under grilling by the FBI about his phone conversations with Zazi.
After returning to the United States, the plotters hoped to detonate bombs on trains at two of the city's biggest subway stations: Times Square and Grand Central Terminal, according to two officials. The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss details of the investigation.
Zazi admitted that he tested bomb-making materials in a Denver suburb before traveling by car to New York intending to attack the subway system to avenge U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan.
Two other men suspected of direct roles in the plot, Adis Medunjanin and Zarein Ahmedzay, have pleaded not guilty to charges they sought to join Zazi in what prosecutors described as "three coordinated suicide bombing attacks" on Manhattan subway lines. The alleged attacks were timed for days after the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorism.
The alleged New York plot was disrupted in early September when police stopped Zazi's car as it entered New York.
Another suspect was recently arrested in Pakistan, law enforcement officials said Monday.