Tags: 'Credible | Claim' | Blame | for | Attacks

No 'Credible Claim' of Blame for Attacks

Tuesday, 11 September 2001 12:00 AM

Usually a terrorist attack evokes a number of claims of blame, almost of them bogus, from shadowy terrorist groups, especially in the Middle East. Normally, investigators have to sort out the false claims from the credible.

But Tuesday's atrocities were followed by an unusual silence.

The official said the series of attacks, representing the most lethal terrorist attack on U.S. soil in American history, appeared to have ended, at least for now.

Tuesday's attacks included the hijacking of several passenger airplanes, including two that were steered into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York and one steered into the Pentagon across the Potomac from Washington.

Casualties from both locations were expected to be very high. Both of the World Trade Center towers collapsed after the impact, stunning the nation with the sheer magnitude of the disaster.

An array of U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA, the FBI and military units, were sifting through an enormous amount of information Tuesday evening. "We're still looking at everything we can," the administration official said. "We're obviously hoping this may point to someone" as a suspect.

Meanwhile, the FBI was uncommunicative about what was quickly turning into the most intense investigation in bureau history.

Hundreds of FBI agents and representatives from a broad spectrum of federal agencies gathered in the FBI's Strategic Information and Operations Center deep inside bureau headquarters Tuesday. They immediately began to operate secure computer systems and communication lines, sifting through mountains of information, much of it coming from abroad.

The FBI sent out "sizeable" investigation teams to each of the crash sites. However, the overwhelming extent of the damage is expected to make for a lengthy investigation.

One potential suspect getting a particularly hard look from U.S. investigators is Osama bin Laden.

A renegade Saudi millionaire of Yemeni heritage, bin Laden has been hiding out in Afghanistan under the protection of the fundamentalist Taliban regime. Bin Laden and his al Qaeda organization have been blamed for a number of terrorist attacks against Americans overseas.

Two attacks laid directly at his door are the bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998. The bombings killed 12 Americans and more than 200 foreign citizens, and wounded more than 5,000. Bin Laden is suspected of planning and financing those attacks, and is one of 17 people charged in the investigation.

Nine are in custody in the United States and London. The United States has offered a reward of up to $5 million for those who are still fugitive, including bin Laden.

However, at least one senior FBI official cautioned Tuesday that no one should jump to conclusions about the new attacks before the evidence is gathered.

Away from the FBI, the administration official said the terrorist attacks were bringing out a large measure of cooperation among federal, state and local agencies.

"The federal government is working cooperatively with all pertinent local and state governments and emergency response entities," the official said.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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Usually a terrorist attack evokes a number of claims of blame, almost of them bogus, from shadowy terrorist groups, especially in the Middle East. Normally, investigators have to sort out the false claims from the credible. But Tuesday's atrocities were followed by an...
'Credible,Claim',Blame,for,Attacks
502
2001-00-11
Tuesday, 11 September 2001 12:00 AM
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