U.S. creating 'Westernized' photos of terror suspects
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Attorney General John Ashcroft said Monday that authorities are working to create "Westernized" pictures of the five men suspected of being would-be suicide terrorists. Officials hope the updated photos will help lead to the men's apprehension.
"We're working on that right now," Ashcroft told CNN's Larry King Live. "We hope to be able to release that as soon as possible, because it's very likely ... these individuals have Westernized their appearance so they could blend in."
Authorities have called on the public's help in finding the five men, and last week the government released pictures and videotape without sound of them apparently making martyrdom statements.
The tapes were recovered from the ruins of the Afghanistan home of Mohammad Atef, named as a top aide to Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind behind the September 11 attacks against the United States. Atef was killed by an airstrike in November, according to U.S. officials.
Four of the men were identified by name: Abd Al-Rahim, Muhammad Sa'id Ali Hasan, Khalid Ibn Muhammad Al-Juhani and Ramzi Binalshibh.
Little is known about the men, except for Binalshibh, who had been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the government's indictment against Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person charged in direct connection to the September 11 attacks.
Binalshibh has been named by U.S. and German authorities as a member of the Hamburg al Qaeda cell, and he is wanted by Germany on mass murder charges in connection with the September attacks against the United States.
Ashcroft said Binalshibh has tried to enter the United States three times and is "an individual we care deeply about."
"It could be he wanted to be the 20th hijacker," Ashcroft said.
The videotapes show the men in Arab garb, with beards making statements that authorities have described as martyrdom statements.
Ashcroft said he will make the audio portions of the videotapes available to the public only if doing so might help authorities locate them.
"If we believe that the messages somehow will be helpful, then we'll provide it. We want to make sure that we don't provide these folks with any opportunity to signal or assist in any activity with these tapes," he said.
"Multiple interpreters" are currently parsing the tapes, he said.
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