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America's New War: Manhunt for Witnesses Continues Worldwide

Aired September 18, 2001 - 06:01   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.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: The search for suspects is worldwide and authorities say they now have netted 49 material witnesses in their massive manhunt for conspirators.

CNN's Justice Department correspondent Kelli Arena brings us up to date now on the investigation from Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: And the attorney general is lobbying to give investors -- investigators more power to do their jobs.

Now to date, the FBI says that it has received more than 50,000 leads and a manhunt continues for 185 people that the FBI has identified as individuals who many have information about last Tuesday's terrorist attacks. There are at least 49 people in INS custody and at least 4 people are being held in New York as material witnesses. Among those, a San Antonio doctor who was taken into custody last week, Albador Alhazmi (ph). Now he has a similar last name as two of the hijackers, and investigators are looking into whether he trained at the same flight school as another hijacker.

Now while the investigation is making progress, the FBI is asking for -- the public for help. It's seeking and recruiting citizens with proficiency in Arabic and Farsi. Meanwhile, the attorney general is warning once again that there is information that more people involved in the plot to pull off Tuesday's attacks remain in the United States. And sources tell CNN that some confiscated material suggest that the terrorists had backup plans to their hijacking plot. The attorney general says that's why Congress needs to move fast to change some laws, most notably wire tap laws.

Kelli Arena, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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