Tags: FBI | Identifies | Hijackers | 'Associates'

FBI Identifies Hijackers, 'Associates'

Wednesday, 12 September 2001 12:00 AM

He added that no one had been arrested, though one person had been held on an immigration charge.

Attorney General John Ashcroft, appearing with Mueller at a news conference, said: "Our government has credible evidence that the White House and Air Force One were targets" of the terrorists, and "a number of hijackers were trained as pilots in the United States."

Senior Justice Department officials subsequently refused to confirm that the hijackers and their associates are of Arab background, or that they may have ties to the terror organization run by renegade Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden.

Ashcroft downplayed some of the reports surrounding Tuesday's attacks and the origin of the terrorists.

"We will give you whatever information we can confirm," Ashcroft said. " … However, we will give you only facts we can confirm. You may be hearing things that we have not told you, but some people have the luxury of speculating."

The FBI and other U.S. agencies "have received numerous, credible leads," according to the attorney general.

"The four planes were hijacked by between three and six individuals per plane, using knives and box cutters, and in some cases making bomb threats," Ashcroft said.

The attorney general said FBI command posts have been set up at all the crime scenes.

"Recovery of bodies and collection of evidence is ongoing at the Pentagon and the crash site in Somerset County," Pa., where one of the hijacked airliners went down. The evidence gathering has not yet started in New York because of the massive wreckage and recovery efforts.

Investigators are obtaining "the passenger manifests, rental car receipts, telephone logs, videotape from parking garages and pay phones at all scenes for review and appropriate follow-up interviews," he said.

The FBI's Mueller said agents "have successfully identified many of the hijackers" and, in the airliners' cities of origin, have identified "a number of individuals who may have had something to do with the hijacking."

Mueller said "as we identify individuals we may find [a connection] to individual terrorist groups." The FBI director did not say whether that had taken place, and Justice Department officials refused to elaborate later.

On Tuesday morning, American Airlines Flight 11 departed Boston for Los Angeles, was hijacked by suspects armed with knives, and was deliberately crashed into the World Trade Center.

United Airlines Flight 175 departed Boston for Los Angeles, was hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center.

American Airlines Flight 77 departed Washington Dulles for Los Angeles, was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon.

United Airlines flight 93 departed Newark for San Francisco, was hijacked and crashed in Shanksville, Pa.

The death toll is expected to climb into the thousands.

Mueller said more than 4,000 FBI special agents and 3,000 support personnel are on the case. In addition, there are 400 FBI lab personnel in New York City, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon.

"We will leave no stone unturned to find those individuals responsible and return those individuals to justice," Mueller said.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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He added that no one had been arrested, though one person had been held on an immigration charge. Attorney General John Ashcroft, appearing with Mueller at a news conference, said: Our government has credible evidence that the White House and Air Force One were targets ...
FBI,Identifies,Hijackers,,'Associates'
506
2001-00-12
Wednesday, 12 September 2001 12:00 AM
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