Tags: Report: | Italy | Overheard | Pre-Sept. | Chat

Report: Italy Overheard Pre-Sept. 11 Chat

Wednesday, 29 May 2002 12:00 AM

Italian authorities listened in on al-Qaeda members in Europe for more than a year as they repeatedly discussed how a major plot aimed at the United States was in the works.

"This will be one of those strikes that will never be forgotten," a suspected Yemeni terrorist said in August to an Egyptian national in Italy. "This is a terrifying thing. This is a thing that will spread from south to north, from east to west: The person who came up with this program is a madman from a madhouse, a madman but a genius."

The same two men were also overheard discussing a German-based cell made up of "10 men with whom no one can make contact."

The transcripts were part of a report prepared by an anti-terrorism prosecutor in Milan and indicated that al-Qaeda operatives who were not necessarily directly involved in the attack were aware of what was coming on Sept. 11.

Terrorism experts had previously believed that al-Qaeda cells were highly compartmentalized, with few, if any, operatives outside bin Laden's immediate circle knowing what was going on.

The Times said it did not appear that U.S. intelligence officials saw the intercepts prior to Sept. 11, although the FBI and CIA told the newspaper that they planned to review them in the near future.

The Justice Department told the Times that the United States would attempt to determine who had access to the wiretaps and what the conversations they recorded actually meant.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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Italian authorities listened in on al-Qaeda members in Europe for more than a year as they repeatedly discussed how a major plot aimed at the United States was in the works. This will be one of those strikes that will never be forgotten, a suspected Yemeni terrorist...
Report:,Italy,Overheard,Pre-Sept.,Chat
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2002-00-29
Wednesday, 29 May 2002 12:00 AM
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