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America Under Attack: Investigative Leads Sprout in Boston and South Florida

Aired September 12, 2001 - 10:56   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.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go now to our Washington bureau, where Kelli Arena, our justice correspondent, is standing by -- Kelli.

KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Leon, there are many threads that are being pulled together here to try to get at exactly who did this, and I'll start with the fact that intelligent sources tell CNN that at least two phone calls were intercepted by the United States after the bombing.

Now, they believe that the conversations were between members of the group the al Qaeda organization, which is backed by Osama bin Laden. During those conversations there was talk of hitting two U.S. targets. This is one of the pieces of evidence that points to Osama bin Laden. Points to doesn't prove anything, but that is part of the investigation.

The second thing is that we did heard from the Justice Department earlier that it is a good guess that there were between three and five hijackers on each of the planes and at least one of the hijackers must have been trained professionally to fly commercial aircraft.

We do know that -- law enforcement sources tell us that part of the investigation involves looking into -- checking the flight manifests, the passenger lists, and crosschecking those with names that have attended flight school to see if there's any correlation between the two. They're also looking at facilities that offer simulation training, flight simulation training, to see if there's anything that matches there, because they say to fly state-of-the-art equipment, like we have on our commercial aircraft, you had to be trained either in the United States or in Europe. And so they are busy doing that.

We do know that the investigation, we heard earlier, has intensified in two areas: in Boston, where there was a car that was impounded by law enforcement with, we are told, suspicious materials; but also in southern Florida, where law enforcement sources confirm that there were several search warrants that were attempted to be delivered this morning, there were some information on flight manifests as well that pointed to possible links with Osama bin Laden sympathizers in south Florida. But unfortunately, none of those search warrants were able to yield anything. I was told the quote is: "it's pure vanilla so far," meaning there is no solid investigative leads. But investigations are intense in both Boston and south Florida, Leon.

HARRIS: All right, great. Thanks much.

Kelli Arena in Washington.

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