Terror in America: FBI Says It Has Second Key Witness Arrested in New York ; the Investigation
Gumbel, Andrew, The Independent (London, England)
AUTHORITIES IN America authorities said yesterday they had arrested a second man as a material witness to last Tuesday's attacks, issued warrants for two others, and were questioning a further two dozen people rounded up through immigration checks and raids on homes across the country.
In an investigation increasingly frustrated by false leads, unsuccessful searches and growing evidence of what authorities might have been able to do to prevent the calamity in the first place, the new arrest was a rare piece of good news following days of frenzied activity without a major break.
The first arrest, of a man initially detained at New York's John F Kennedy airport last Thursday, was formalised on Saturday. Details were scant, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation said both arrested men - deemed crucial to the investigation and subject to indefinite detention - were in custody in New York. The charges against them and the others being sought are under court seal and it was not immediately clear how many of them were taken from a pool of 25 people investigators have been able to hold indefinitely because of irregularities in their immigration or visa status.
FBI officials also announced they had raided two apartments, one in Delray Beach, Florida, that had been occupied by at least one of the hijackers, and the other in Jersey City, just across the Hudson River from the World Trade Centre. It had been occupied by two of the men now in detention, and the search yielded documents as well as two individuals who were taken away for questioning.
Many of the most promising leads so far have led straight into brick walls because of a spider's web of decoys, stolen identities and false documents that appear to have been a crucial part of the hijackers' modus operandi.
Of the 100 names of people wanted for questioning by federal authorities and distributed to police departments across the United States, several appear to be false leads. Phone numbers and e-mails are now out of service, and several of those contacted by US journalists expressed consternation they were on the list.
The FBI's efforts to stay on top of the investigation were also rocked by a report in the Los Angeles Times, citing intelligence and law enforcement sources, that the agency had spent three weeks trying and failing to locate two of the hijackers who ended up on board the American Airlines jet that crashed into the Pentagon.
According to the report, the FBI received a tip-off from the Central Intelligence Agency that the two men, Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaq al-Hamzi, were in the United States and began searching for them on 21 August 21. Mr al-Midhar was wanted in connection with the bombing of the the warship USS Cole in Aden harbour last October - which, like last Tuesday's strikes, is believed by the US government to have been the work of a terror network controlled by Osama bin Laden.
Investigators now believe the two men lived in Phoenix and San Diego …
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Publication information: Article title: Terror in America: FBI Says It Has Second Key Witness Arrested in New York ; the Investigation. Contributors: Gumbel, Andrew - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: September 17, 2001. Page number: 2. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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