Apparent car bomb discovered at Times Square in New York

The White House said tonight that President Barack Obama was being kept up to date on the investigation into the apparent car bomb found in New York City's Times Square.

White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said in a statement that Obama, who attended an annual gala dinner for White House news correspondents, praised the quick and effective response by the New York Police Department.

New York City police removed bomb-making materials from a parked sports utility vehicle in Times Square, including propane tanks and a clock suspected to be a timing device. They also removed gasoline and explosive powders from the vehicle.

Police said an officer noticed smoke coming from the SUV around 6:30 p.m. Saturday and police cleared the streets of thousands of theatergoers and tourists from the vicinity.

Shapiro said that Obama ordered his homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, to advise New York officials that the federal government was prepared to provide support.

Brennan and others will keep the president informed of progress made in the investigation, Shapiro said.

Police were investigating a report that someone was seen running from the vehicle, a Nissan Pathfinder, at some point and were reviewing security videotapes, a police spokesman said.