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Posted: 10/12/2001 1:54:20 PM EST
By JOHN SOLOMON .c The Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) - An Arizona man has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of giving false statements to the FBI in the terror attacks investigation, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced Friday. Ashcroft told a news conference the man was in federal custody in New York but would be returned to Arizona. According to the indictment, Faisal Michael al Salmi told FBI agents that he did not know one of the hijackers when he in fact did and lied about having spoken to a Middle Eastern man who had been interviewed by the FBI about his association with the same hijacker. Al Salmi knew Hani Hanjour, suspected of piloting the plane that crashed into the Pentagon, ``and had spoken with him on several occasions including at one occasion when they spoke of a mutual interest in aviation,'' the indictment said. Al Salmi also spoke with Rayed Mohammed Abdullah about Abdullah's conversation with the FBI about Hanjour, but denied doing so to the FBI, the indictment said. Al Salmi's and Abdullah's names are contained on a list of people wanted for questioning by the FBI that was given to banks and published last week by the Finnish banking agency. Al Salmi's is listed with a Phoenix address and Abdullah was listed with Arizona addresses in Tempe and Mesa. Ashcroft said the indictment was ``a reminder that the Department of Justice will bring the full weight of the law upon those who attempt to impede or hinder this investigation.'' Nearly 700 people have been detained or arrested in the investigation, but there have been only a handful of indictments. On a separate subject, Ashcroft said investigators had not linked an anthrax case and two other exposures at a supermarket tabloid in Florida to the latest anthrax scare on Friday in New York. The Justice Department opened a separate investigation into the exposure of an employee of NBC News to a form of anthrax. Ashcroft urged Americans to be more cautious in their lives, and said that people ``have to learn how to use information to prepare, not to panic.'' ``We should promote caution, not incite paralysis. I think we're learning to do that one step at a time,'' Ashcroft added. With America already on heightened alert, Ashcroft earlier said citizens should be cautious in opening suspicious items they receive in the mail. The new warning was prompted by the anthrax scare in New York and came one day after the FBI issued its most stark and specific warning Thursday about the possibility of more terrorist attacks.
Link Posted: 10/12/2001 1:54:51 PM EST
``If individuals receive mail of which they are suspicious, they should not open it, they should not shake it,'' Ashcroft said, advising Americans to leave the area where they find such mail and call law enforcement and public health authorities. Kenneth W. Newman, deputy chief inspector of investigations for the U.S. Postal Service, said the New York case, where a suspicious letter is being investigated as the possible source of the anthrax, would be the first time that a biological agent was sent through the U.S. mail. The government also acknowledged Thursday it didn't know how six of the 19 suspected terrorists in the Sept. 11 hijackings made it onto U.S. soil. ``Certain information, while not specific as to target, gives the government the reason to believe that there may be additional terrorist attacks within the United States and against U.S. interests overseas over the next several days,'' the FBI said. ``The FBI has again alerted all local law enforcement to be on the highest alert, and we call on all people to immediately notify the FBI and local law enforcement of any unusual or suspicious activity,'' an FBI statement said. President Bush said the warning was precipitated by a ``general threat'' the government received. ``I hope it's the last, but given the attitude of the evildoers it may not be,'' he said. A U.S. intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said authorities had received an increasing amount of intelligence in the past two days about terrorists plotting to wreak more havoc through this weekend. The possible threats ranged from diplomatic sites overseas to possible truck bombs in the United States, the official said. Police on Thursday sharply restricted truck traffic in a 40-block zone around the U.S. Capitol. In Houston, authorities investigated the apparent theft of 700 pounds of explosives from a storage site. Federal agents said it was too early to tell if the theft from AirJac Drilling Inc. was terrorist-related. The warning came as Bush also disclosed that a nation formerly accused of harboring terrorists, Syria, might help with the anti-terrorism fight. ``We'll give them an opportunity to do so,'' the president said. The government's immigration chief acknowledged that U.S. authorities don't know how six of the hijackers entered the country. AP-NY-10-12-01 1721EDT
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