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FBI Says Embassy Bombing Verdict May Be a Deterrent to Future Terrorists

Aired May 29, 2001 - 13:53   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Most of our attention today is focused, of course, on the conviction of those four men in lower Manhattan federal court on the charges, conspiracy, murder and other charges, in connection with the Kenya and Tanzania embassy bombings. And the man who was assistant director of the FBI office in New York who oversaw the investigation from the time it happened, even traveled to Africa, is Lewis Schiliro who joins us now.

Mr. Schiliro the -- first of all, your reaction to the conviction?

LEWIS SCHILIRO, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Well, I think it's an important statement, certainly for the victims' families and certainly for the American public to realize that those responsible for this kind of act will be brought to justice and held accountable.

WATERS: And you may have heard Mary Olds, who is a mother of Sherry Olds who was killed in the Nairobi bombing, telling us that this won't be over for her until Osama Bin Laden is taken down. Are you any closer to him?

SCHILIRO: Well, I think certainly that is a valid objective of this investigation. It has been right from the outset. From what I understand, this government will not rest until Mr. Bin Laden is brought to justice.

WATERS: And how did he play in this conspiracy investigation? He's mentioned prominently in the indictment.

SCHILIRO: Well, certainly, it's been our belief all along that Bin Ladin was the person responsible for putting out the fatwah, for declaring a war on the United States and for certainly training and equipping those responsible for the bombings that were convicted today.

WATERS: How was this FBI investigation conducted in the context of the ease with which it seemed to come together?

SCHILIRO: Well, I think that it's important to remember that this investigation came together really as I result of the tremendous cooperation we received from both the Kenyan and the Tanzanian authorities. It was just a tremendous worldwide effort that allowed us to get the results that you hear today. WATERS: As you may know, the constitutional court of South Africa says that K.K. Mohamed, one of the defendant's rights were violated because he was extradited to the United States and is now vulnerable to the death penalty, which is outlawed by South Africa. We understand that an FBI agent talked with K.K. Mohamed, and he asked to be taken to America. Do you have any reaction to that aspect of this case?

SCHILIRO: Well, certainly during this case, every effort was made by the U.S. government to ensure that evidence collected in Africa would be presentable in U.S. courts. As a matter of fact, we had with us Department of Justice officials and assistant attorneys that oversaw all the interviews, so it's my firm belief that everything constitutionally possible was done to ensure that their rights were maintained.

WATERS: In this fight against international terrorism, do you feel as though the FBI and other agencies have made significant process in being able to tackle this in the future because of what's happened in this case?

SCHILIRO: Well, I think certainly, any time that the U.S. authorities can really travel the distance we did in going into Africa and bringing back those responsible, sends a powerful statement to anybody that would choose to use violence for political purposes. It's my belief that this case would certainly show that, and I think the government did demonstrate it in this case.

WATERS: Lewis Schiliro, thanks so much for checking in with us today. Mr. Schiliro was the FBI agent who oversaw the investigation of the case that we are now reporting on today.

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