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Posted: 9/19/2001 7:42:16 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/19/2001 7:43:02 AM EDT by shooter69]
(I shouldn't really be surprised I suppose.) Charges Filed in Terrorism Probe Terrorists Attack U.S. By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal authorities filed the first criminal charges arising from the terrorism investigation after finding three men in Michigan with airport diagrams and phony immigration documents. Armed with new legal powers, agents expanded their efforts to find possible terrorist collaborators. The arrests in Detroit occurred after FBI (news - web sites) agents raided a residence looking for one of the nearly 200 witnesses being sought in the investigation. Instead, they found the three men and a cache of documents. The trio was charged Tuesday in Detroit with fraud and misuse of visas, passports and other immigration documents. Attorney General John Ashcroft (news - web sites) expanded the terrorism investigation Tuesday to include U.S. attorneys in every city, vowing to wage a ``concerted national assault.'' Aided by a federal grand jury in White Plains, N.Y., the investigation has detained 75 people for questioning and has four people under arrest as material witnesses. The government also announced a new policy giving investigators wide latitude in detaining the non-U.S. citizens whom it takes into custody on possible immigration violations in the terrorist probe, including allowing authorities 48 hours, or longer in emergencies, to decide whether to charge an alien with status violations, up from 24 hours. The Justice Department (news - web sites) also has drafted legislation that would allow the attorney general to arrest and deport suspected terrorists without presenting evidence in a court, The Washington Post reported in Wednesday's editions. In the criminal case against the three men in Detroit, an affidavit filed in court provided a glimpse of the FBI's massive investigation. But the court papers gave no indication that the FBI believed the three men had anything to do with last week's terrorist attacks that led to the destruction of New York's World Trade Center and heavy damage to the Pentagon (news - web sites). In a five-page document, FBI special agent Robert Pertuso said that he and agents on the Joint Terrorism Task Force in the Detroit FBI recovered ``handwritten sketches of what appeared to be a diagram of an airport flight line, to include aircraft and runways'' when they went to a residence as part of the probe of the World Trade Center attack. They were looking for a man on ``a list of suspects, potential associates of the suspects and potential witnesses,'' Pertuso wrote. They found the name of the man they were looking for on the mailbox outside, but the three men in the residence denied knowing him. The agents spotted Detroit Metropolitan Airport identification badges for food service workers and the men said they were previously employed at the airport.
Link Posted: 9/19/2001 7:42:45 AM EDT
In addition to the false papers and the sketches, the agents observed a day planner containing notations on the ``American base in Turkey,'' the ``American foreign minister'' and ``Alia Airport,'' Jordan, the FBI affidavit said. The affidavit did not explain the reference to ``U.S. foreign minister.'' The three men are Karim Koubriti, 23; Ahmed Hannan, 33; and Farouk Ali-Haimoud, 21. The man the FBI was hunting for was Nabil Al-Marabh. The landlord, Sadik Tawil, told The Associated Press through a cousin who acted as interpreter that Al-Marabh lived there for about three months and left in July 2000. He said the other men moved in Sept. 5 and he didn't know why Al-Marabh's name was still on the mailbox. The attorney general vowed to use ``every legal means at our disposal to prevent further terrorist activity by taking people into custody who have violated the law and who may pose a threat to America.'' Ashcroft said publicly for the first time that authorities were investigating whether more flights were targeted for hijackings beyond the four that were hijacked and crashed on Sept. 11. Among the four material witnesses under arrest was Albader Alhazmi, 34, a Saudi national and Saudi-trained doctor who was doing a medical residency in radiology at University of Texas Health Science Center, a law enforcement official said. He was being held in New York. Alhazmi did not show up for his radiologist job on Sept. 11. He had been working at a military hospital located on Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio during the week before the attacks, said an official at the medical center. Meanwhile, evidence emerged Tuesday that the FBI had tracked the activities of one Arab man who was seeking jetliner training from Minnesota to Oklahoma in the weeks before Tuesday's attacks. The FBI visited the Airman Flight School in Norman, Okla., about two weeks before the terrorist attacks, inquiring about Zacarias Moussaoui, who is now in custody in New York in the investigation. The FBI had a picture of Moussaoui and asked if people at the school could identify him. They also asked about his mannerisms and what he did at the school, admissions director Brenda Keene said. Moussaoui was detained Aug. 17 in Minnesota on immigration issues after he aroused suspicions by seeking to buy time on a flight simulator for jetliners at a Minnesota flight school, law enforcement officials said. An unconfirmed link to Iraq emerged Tuesday in the intelligence community. A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States has received information from a foreign intelligence service that Mohamed Atta, a hijacker aboard one of the planes that slammed into the World Trade Center, met earlier this year in Europe with an Iraqi intelligence agent. The raw intelligence came in since the attacks and has not yet been corroborated by U.S. authorities, the official said.
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