CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Bush Administration Lauds Capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
Aired March 4, 2003 - 10:06 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: There is a lot going on on Capitol Hill this morning. A couple of hearings that we're keeping our eyes and ears tuned to. We want to take you to the first that's one under way right now. Attorney General John Ashcroft is going to be making a joint appearance this morning with the Homeland Security Tom Ridge there, and they're talking about the war on terror, and we hope to hear some more about what happened with the major arrest over the weekend.
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JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTY. GENERAL: ... ruthless enemy. I will continue to seek the assistance of a Congress as we build a culture of prevention and ensure resources of our government can be dedicated to defending Americans.
Let me share three reasons, three reasons why the United States is winning this war and illustrate those points with some examples. First, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have set new standards for cooperation and coordination. The FBI's domestic intelligence operations are substantially strengthened by the CIA's information-sharing intelligence analysis and operational coordination.
For example, the capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed by Pakistani authorities in coordination with the CIA is a severe blow to Al Qaeda that could destabilize their terrorist network worldwide. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the brain, is the Al Qaeda mastermind of the September 11th attacks and Osama bin Laden's senior terrorist attack planner. Next to bin Laden, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was the FBI's most wanted terrorist.
May I be clear here, the Department of Justice's overriding priority is preventing future terrorism, not just prosecuting past crime.
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's capture is first and foremost an intelligence opportunity to prevent new terrorist attacks from killing more innocent Americans. Today, the world's premier intelligence agencies, the CIA and FBI, are moving rapidly to exploit that intelligence opportunity. The CIA and FBI are cooperating thoroughly to share information from the capture, analyze that intelligence and coordinate follow-up operations. And when I say today, I don't just mean today, I mean from the instant the opportunity occurred in the capture, I know my phone was ringing at 1:30 in the morning Sunday morning with a request for consultation in regard to our exploitation of this opportunity. Under our new standard of FBI/CIA cooperation and coordination, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's capture means FBI can better prevent terrorism and save American lives.
Second, the new FBI, America's domestic counterterrorism force, integrates fully intelligence and law enforcement capabilities to protect American lives.
Today, we have unsealed charges against two Yemeni citizens, Mohammed Ali Hasen Al Moyad (ph) and Moshan Yaha Yahid (ph), the result of extensive FBI undercover operation. They are charged with conspiring to provide material support to Al Qaeda and Hamas terrorists through Moyad's (ph) worldwide fund-raising operation.
As the complaint alleges, the FBI undercover operation developed information that Al Moyad (ph) personally handed Osama bin Laden $20 million from his terrorist fund-raising network.
As set forth in the complaint in November of 2001, the FBI's international terrorism squad began working with a confidential informant who had known Al Moyad (ph) for over six years.
According to the complaint, during several meetings with the FBI informant, Al Moyad (ph) boasted jihad was his field. and trumpeted his involvement in providing money, recruits and supplies to Al Qaeda, Hamas and other terrorist groups, and he said he -- and said he received money for jihad from collections at the Al-Farooq mosque in Brooklyn. Al Moyad (ph) also claimed to be Osama bin Laden's spiritual adviser.
On January 7, 2003, Al Moyad (ph) and Zayad (ph) flew from Yemen to Frankfurt, Germany to meet with the FBI informant. According to the government's complaint, Al Moyad (ph) allegedly went to the meetings to get $2 million from a terrorist sympathizer who wanted to fund Al Qaeda and Hamas.
Again the complaint details that at meetings with FBI informants in Frankfurt last month, Al Moyad (ph) confirmed that the $2 million contribution would be used to support the Mujahideen fighters of Al Qaeda and Hamas. Zayad (ph) even -- quote -- "swore to Allah" -- closed quote, that Zayad (ph) would get the money to Al Qaeda and Hamas if anything would happen to Al Moyad (ph).
This extensive FBI counter terrorism operation blended human intelligence resources, advanced electronic surveillance, deep undercover operations, terrorist financing savvy and criminal subpoenas and search warrants. With seamless law enforcement and intelligence cooperation added to those components, we find ourselves in a position to unseal that complaint today.
The breadth and talent of the team fielded in this case literally spanned the globe, from New York City police to prosecutors in Frankfurt, Germany, and this is the new FBI focused on preventing terrorism, integrating intelligence and law enforcement and delivering results. Director Mueller and FBI agents around the world have transformed their intelligence and counterterrorism operations to achieve this prevention mission. Their results make Americans safer and bring justice to the full network of terror, often in ways that the public does not see and cannot be disclosed.
Third, the Justice Department is prosecuting the war on terrorism by integrating our law enforcement and intelligence capabilities as authorized under the Patriot Act.
The department recently indicted Sami Al-Arian and seven coconspirators, several of whom were leaders the Palestinian Islamic jihad. The indictment details that Al-Arian served as the secretary of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's governing council, called the "Shura Council." He was also identified as the senior North American representative of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
As the Allegations in the indictment detail, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad is responsible for the murder of over 100 innocent people, including 20-year-old American student Alyssa Flatow, whose father I quoted at the beginning of my testimony. Seized item described in the indictment include a fax to Al-Arian and several associates on April 9, 1995, the day Alyssa Flatow was killed. The facts announced the death of Khalid Al Katib (ph), the killer who carried out the suicide bomber that killed Alyssa.
Also seized and described in the indictment, the wills of suicide bombers in the computer files of Al-Arian's purported charitable organization. And also seized, a fax containing names of Palestinian Islamic Jihad suicide bombers killed, and the names and account numbers of those who were to receive money on their behalf, their having committed suicide, money to come from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Yet prior to the passage of the Patriot Act, the prosecutors in this case did not have the ability to participate fully in this investigation that ultimately led to RICO and material support charges against Al-Arian and his associates.
Today, Americans are safer, because we transformed the rules of engagement for investigating and prosecuting suspected terrorists within our borders. First, and to be commended to the Congress, and the Congress to be commended for its passage of the Patriot Act in October 2001, allowed for information sharing between law enforcement and intelligence, and allowed us to implement our new FISA guidelines.
Second, on November 18, 2002, the Foreign surveillance -- Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review reversed the district level FISA court and upheld our new FISA guidelines for information sharing. Third, we've tasked the U.S. attorney's offices to review all intelligence material that may provide the basis for criminal charges against terrorists and terrorist financiers.
As the FISA court of review noted, that's appeal court of FISA court, and it's only issued one opinion in its existence -- and I quote, "Effective counterintelligence requires the wholehearted cooperation of All the government's personnel who can be brought to the task." I'm continuing to quote. "A standard which punishes such cooperation could well be thought dangerous to national security" -- Closed quote.
This dangerous standard existed until we reformed the law. You helped in the Patriot Act. We rewrote the FISA procedures, and directed prosecutors change their procedures.
Senator Hatch, I want to personally thank you for your strong support and your leadership in eliminating this dangerous standard.
I would also like to thank the American people for their continue role in protecting the country from terrorism. We have not suffered another major attack in this country, and it is to the credit of an alert, vigilant and supportive public, as well as thousands of unsung, dedicated public servants, that Senator Leahy mentioned. They are to be commended and thanked, and some whose stories cannot be told, as a result of national security concerns. Many of whom I'm privileged to work with on a daily basis, and they deserve my thanks and I believe the thanks of this nation.
Now I'd like to turn to a brief overview of additional results of our integrated prevention strategy. First, we're gathering and cultivating detailed intelligence on terrorism in the United States. Hundreds and hundreds of suspected terrorists have been identified and tracked throughout the U.S. Our human resources of intelligence have doubled, our human sources for intelligence. Our counterterrorism investigations have doubled in one year; 18,000 subpoenas and search warrants issued. Over 1,000 applications in 2002 were made to the FISA court targeting spies and foreign powers who threaten our security, including 170 emergency FISAs.
Second, we are arresting in detaining potential terrorist threats, four alleged terrorist cells in Buffalo, Seattle, Detroit, Portland broken up, 211 criminal charges brought to date, 108 convictions or guilty pleas to date, including those of shoe bomber Richard Reid, American Taliban John Walker Lindh and one member of the Buffalo cell, 478 deportations linked to the September 11th investigation, and we are dismantling terrorist financial network -- 36 designated terrorist organizations, 124 million in assets frozen and over 600 accounts frozen around the world, 70 investigations into terrorist financing, with 23 convictions or guilty pleas to date.
Fourth, we're disrupting potential terrorist travel. More than 50 major airports sweeps in operation tarmac with more than 1,200 arrests for I.D. and document fraud and other crimes, nine major Alien smuggling networks disrupted. Hundreds of terrorist and criminals stopped through the national exit/entry registration system, NSEERS (ph), a mandate of Congress, I might add, which we are now fulfilling, including eight suspected terrorists, with at least one known member of Al Qaeda apprehended as a result of that effort; 551 Aliens stopped at the border who were wanted criminals, had committed past felonies or violated other laws; 46 felons identified through domestic enrollment, through special registration, who were in the country illegally, including cocaine traffickers, child molesters and individuals convicted of assault with a deadly weapon. HARRIS: If you are just joining us, you are listening to Attorney General John Ashcroft ticking through a list of successes of the Justice Department and fighting terror. Listing now to some of the preventative measures that are now being taken by the administration, and we're keeping our eye on this, and we'll be staying with this coverage.
But we want to let you know about something else that is happening in Washington. You see President Bush on the right side of the screen. He is right now speaking before the American Medical Association. He's got a whole list of his own that he's going through with them, starting with overhaul of Medicare that he is proposing to push through Congress, but he's also going to talk about a key reform for malpractice, insurance and issues of dealing with malpractice. That is going to be a key part of the speech, and we'll have coverage of that in just a bit.
So stay with us. We want to go right back now to the testimony by Attorney General John Ashcroft, and as you see there, FBI director Robert Mueller.
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ASHCROFT: Finally I would like to point out that through thought process, the Department of Justice has acted thoughtfully, carefully and within the Constitution of the United States, that framework for freedom.
Time and again, the actions on the war on terrorism have been subjected to thorough judicial review, and time and again, the department has successfully defended legal challenges, including detaining enemy combatants, sustained, detaining the enemy at Guantanamo Bay, sustained, sharing FISA information, sustained, withholding the names of sensitive immigration detainees, sustained, freezing assets purported charities that fund terrorists, sustained. The president's powers to protect the American people are rooted in our Constitution, and they are sustained in our courts.
The actions we take against the terrorists threat will always be rooted in the Constitution, while accounting for the adapting and changing methods of our terrorist enemies.
As the president stated in a recent visit to the FBI, there is no such thing as a perfect security against a hidden network of cold- blooded killers, yet abroad and at home, we are not going to wait until the worst dangers are upon us. We will work. Our strategy and tactics are working.
Listen to the recorded conversation between charged terrorist cell member Jeffrey Battle and an FBI informant and May 8, 2002. This is instructive about whether or not what we do and what you do really makes a difference. Battle is a part of the alleged Portland, Oregon cell. In his conversation, unsealed in court, Battle explained why his enterprise was not as organized as he thought it should have been.
And now I quote, "Because we don't have support," Battle says. "Everybody is scared to give up any money to help us, you know what I'm saying? Because that law that Bush wrote about, you know, supporting terrorism, whatever, the whole thing. Everybody is scared. He made a law that says, for instance, I left out of the country and I fought, right? But I wasn't able to afford a ticket, but you bought my plane ticket. You gave me the money to do it.
"By me going and fighting, by me going and me fighting, and doing that, they can, by this new law, they can come and take you and put you in jail," closed quote.
Very frankly, I was stunned at the understanding of those involved in terror of the impact of the law passed by the United States House of Representative and Senate and sent to the president for his signature. They are getting the message. We are gathering and cultivating detailed intelligence on terrorism in the United States. They understand our effort. We are arresting and detaining potential terrorist threats. We are dismantling the terrorist financial network and we are disrupting potential terrorist travel, and we building our long-term counter-terrorism capacity. We are winning the war on terrorism. I thank you for this opportunity to be with you, and I'll be happy to respond to questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, general.
We'll turn to you Secretary Ridge.
TOM RIDGE, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Mr. Chairman, Senator Leahy and distinguished members of the committee, it is a distinct pleasure and a privilege to appear before you today, in what is, as Senator hatch has noted, my first opportunity to testify before the Congress as a secretary of Homeland Security.
I also appreciate the opportunity to appear with my colleagues, Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Bob Mueller, two extremely distinguished public servants and two of my closest allies in the ongoing campaign to enhanced safety and security of our American homeland.
Thank you for this opportunity to highlight the activities and the accomplishments and work of the Department of Homeland Security.
Last Saturday, the first of March, 2003, we integrated nearly two dozen agencies or entities into the Department of Homeland Security.
With them came some 180,000 dedicated federal workers who have All been serving their country with distinction from various departments within the government. This momentous milestone means that there is now real muscle on the skeleton of a department that was created back in January.
With these agencies and these people come tremendous capabilities, as well as challenges. In order to better protect our borders, Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson has launched a well-conceived and much-needed plan to combine the forces of the Customs Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the agriculture and inspection functions of the Animal and Planned Health Inspection Service and the Federal Protective Service.
His initiative, based on the vision articulated in the Homeland Security Act, combines the four entities into two, a bureau of customs and border protection and a bureau of the immigration and customs enforcement. This an important step that will leverage the operational expertise of all those involved and move us toward a future where there will be one organizational face at our borders rather than several.
This realignment of resources has already demonstrated its benefit. Last week, customs, immigration and agriculture border inspectors reported to three separate port directors, who in turn reported up three separate chains of command to three separate cabinet secretaries.
Today, these inspectors now report to one interim port director, who reports through a unified chain of command to one cabinet secretary. Two weeks ago, we wrote out the citizens preparedness program. The public response has been overwhelming, with our ready.gov Web site receiving more than 2.5 million visits per day since becoming operational. This program provides immediate and practical guidance to millions of Americans who two their credit, know that preparation makes sense and saves lives.
As of first of March, we have entered into a number of memoranda of understanding that consolidate previously dispersed national incident support functions into the new Department of Homeland Security. We have taken responsibility and control of the domestic emergency support team, the strategic national stockpile and America's national disaster medical system and teams. Structuring these authorities gives the department the ability to manage major domestic incidents by establishing a single comprehensive and coherent national management system.
Also ahead of us are other challenges, as well as opportunities to work more efficiently and effectively. We are make good progress on a regional structure that will help to enhance overall accountability and efficiency. That plan is still under development. When we have a better idea of how the regions will be organized, we look forward to giving the plan to Congress.
We continue to build and refine our federal departments, state and local governments and the private sector.
There is no federal plan that will ensure our homeland security. It must be a national plan that involves all Americans, and it must go beyond even this, working closely with our neighbors and allies overseas to build an international plan and an international response. We are working to build such a plan.
While this work goes on, we must continue to carefully tend to all of the critical missions of the Department of Homeland Security, especially those that are not directly security related. We have the support of our partners like the gentlemen and colleagues who join me here today, and we have the support of Congress, which has been critical in getting us to this point. I certainly appreciate the opportunity to be here today to testify and to talk about the work we are doing to make America a safer home for us, for our children and generations to come.
I thank you for inviting me to appear before you today, and I look forward to answering your questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. We'll turn to the FBI Director Mr. Mueller at this moment.
ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: Thank you, Chairman Hatch, and Senator Leahy and members of the committee.
President Bush recently re-emphasized to all FBI employees that the FBI has no greater priority than preventing terrorist attacks against the United States. And since the attacks of September 11th, the FBI embraced this challenge and transformed itself to address the current threat facing this country.
Before I outline for the committee the advances the FBI has made in the past 18 months, I do want to assure the American people and the members of this committee, particularly the members of this committee who played such a vital role in enhancing the FBI's counterterrorism efforts through the USA Patriot Act, I want to assure the FBI is committed to carrying out its mission in accordance with protections provided by the Constitution.
Every FBI agent is trained to recognize that the responsibility to respect and protect the law its the basis for their authority to enforce it. Respect for constitutional liberties is not optional; it is mandatory. And the FBI could not be effective and would not exist without it.
The FBI's efforts to identify and dismantle terrorist networks have yielded major successes over the past 18 months. We have charged over 200 suspected terrorists with crimes, half of whom have been convicted to date. And the rest are awaiting trial. And moreover, our efforts have damaged terrorist networks throughout the United States and overseas.
Last month I testified before the Senate select committee on intelligence that the Al Qaeda network will remain for the foreseeable future the most immediate and serious threat facing this country. And while this remains true, the arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in Pakistan only three days ago is a significant blow to the leadership of the Al Qaeda network.
While Osama bin Laden maintains worldwide name recognition as the leader of Al Qaeda, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is the operational or was the operational mastermind. His terrorist plots believed to include the 1993 World Trade Center, the USS Cole bomb delivered by boat and the September 11th attacks delivered by air and resulted in the deaths, or the death of thousands of innocent people.
I'd like to congratulate and thank our Pakistani partners on this major victory in the war on terrorism, as well as thanking our brethren in the intelligence community. But most particularly, I want to thank the Pakistanis for their efforts that led to the capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
I can assure you, both here and throughout the country, that any and all resources of the FBI will be brought to bear to exploit the intelligence information that may become available as a result of this arrest. We must not lose site, however, of the fact that there are many groups committed to international terrorism that offer Al Qaeda varying degrees of support, nor will we discount the threat from single individuals sympathetic or affiliated with Al Qaeda, acting without external support or surrounding conspiracies.
And despite the arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Al Qaeda and other terrorist networks are adapt at defending their organizations from U.S. and international law enforcement efforts.
As these terrorist organizations evolve and change their tactics we, too, must evolve. Accordingly, over the past 18 months, we have brought momentous changes to the FBI, including the incorporation of an enhanced intelligence function. These changes will better enable us to defend against this terrorist threat.
Mr. Chairman, to effectively wage this war against terror, we have augmented our counterterrorism resource and are making organizational enhancements to focus our priorities. I'd like to review some of those changes with the committee, beginning with the FBI's analytical program. To give new focus to analysis, last year I created an analysis branch in the counterterrorism division and signed it the mission of producing strategic assessments of the terrorist threat to the United States. To date, the analysis branch produced nearly 30 in-depth analytical assessments.
Since 9/11, the FBI has increased the number of counterterrorism analysts by 61 percent. And for fiscal year '04, our proposed increase will result in the quadrupling of the number of analysts beyond that of those we had prior to September 11th.
Recognizing in the short term that we could not get where we needed overnight, Director Tenet detailed 25 of his analysts to the FBI to provide immediate intermediate (ph) infusion of expertise into our program while our hiring initiative was under way.
We have Also implemented a number initiatives aimed at enhancing training for our analytic workforce,including the creation of College of Analytical Studies, which, in conjunction with the CIA, has begun training our new intelligence analysts.
Now these improvements to our analytic program had to be made as quickly as possible to address our immediate needs. I now want to ensure our ability to collect and analyze this intelligence for the long term. The center piece of this effort is the establishment of our executive assistant director for intelligence who will have direct authority and responsibility for the FBI's national intelligence program. Specifically, this individual will be responsible for ensuring that the FBI has the optimum strategy, structure and policies in place first and foremost for our counterterrorism mission. Furthermore, intelligence units staffed with reports officers will be established in every field office, and will function under the authority of the executive assistant director for intelligence.
HARRIS: We are going step away from our coverage of this hearing right now before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
We'll keep our ears tuned to it to see if any news comes out of it.
But we also want to continue our discussions here in the studio about some of the information that we have heard talked about so far, most specifically the arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, this man who's been called operational chief Al Qaeda. And you just heard moments ago, all three panelists saying how important it was to capture him, perhaps even more so than capturing Osama bin Laden himself.
Joining us now on the set here to talk about this is Mike Brooks, security analyst for CNN here, who's been very close to this and the discussions that have been taking place since the arrest over the weekend of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
Let me first off note that it was notable to me to notice we heard two gentlemen here go out of their way to thank the Pakistani intelligence services for helping out in this arrest. How key that is? What novelty do we know about what happened with that level of cooperation?
MIKE BROOKS, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: Well, this is not the first time, Leon, that we've seen the working cooperation between the FBI, CIA and the Pakistani authorities. We can go back to the extradition of Amir Molcanti (ph), back in 1997, the extradition of Ramzi Yosef, who was responsible for the World Trade Center bombing back in 1993, he was brought back to the United States with the help of Pakistani authorities in 1995.
And then we go up to 1998. Right after the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, Pakistani Customs authorities stopped at the border Sadiq Ode (ph), who was one of the people responsible for making the bomb that blew up the embassy in Nairobi in August 1998. They've checked his passport, noticed a difference in his appearance. The FBI and the Kenyan criminal investigative division, went up to Karachi, brought him back to Nairobi, and he was subsequently brought back to the United States and stood trial.
HARRIS: You know, strikes me about that though, Mike, those two, those are very significant events, we can't belittle them at all, but they happened before some of these new changes that the FBI and CIA have undergone in terms of sharing information and cooperating more in operations, these things that have been cited so far in this hearing so far as being the key to winning this war on terror.
BROOKS: And as Attorney General Ashcroft went out of his way a number times, talking about the new FBI, and with that the new FBI, that brings new cooperation between the FBI and CIA. Taking a law enforcement branch, the FBI, and intelligence and merging them closer. We just heard director Mueller talking about 25 analysts detailed from the CIA over to the FBI.
When I was at the Joint Terrorism Task Force in D.C. for six years, from 93 and 99, we had CIA, we had NSA there at the field office, supplying the investigators with information on a religion basis. That has been enhanced even more now.
HARRIS: What would you say is the most key development in the new relationship between the CIA and the FBI right now?
BROOKS: I think this new analytical center at the FBI is a big deal. That is playing a major role in getting more analysis, or focusing more on intelligence side of things than on the criminal. They haven't gotten away from the criminal side of things. Mr. Mueller probably...
HARRIS: Although there is some concern that is beginning to happen.
BROOKS: Yes, there is. They've reorganized a lot of the field offices, the Washington field offices, New York field offices, taking their focus away from white-collar crime from some of the other criminal investigations they are doing and focusing in on antiterrorism and counterterrorism efforts. There are some critics, even with the FBI, I've spoken to, that are concerned that that is going have -- the war on drugs has gone away. The war on white collar crimes has Also gone away. But it hasn't. They have just reassigned some agents to -- a lot more agents to counterterrorism and left some to deal with the criminals.
HARRIS: Not just some, I was reading about the Washington office, and not just some they were talking about reassigned, almost everybody, talking about perhaps 80 percent of the agents being reassigned.
BROOKS: Exactly, in fact, one squad, there were 64 agents that were investigating street crimes, along with local law enforcement. Now there are 14. And cases like the Chandra Levy case, they are still working on that, there are still agents assigned there, but agents who are working on the counterterrorism side, who are also, let's say, members of the evidence response team, are still there to assist local law enforcement should they need help and assistance, like we saw back during the sniper case in Washington D.C.
HARRIS: One case we know they are working on right now hot and heavy is this Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. We just heard Director Mueller there say that every resource at the FBI will be used to capitalize on capture of this man. What do we know what is being learned so far? They've had him in their custody perhaps three days or so. Do we know anything about whether he's begun to crack or anything come out of what they have found in laptop or cell phone or anything?
BROOKS: What we're hearing from federal law enforcement sources, and David Ensor has also been reporting this in the last two days of this treasure trove of information that authorities are now getting, and they're take this information on the ground there where they are, talking to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, wherever that may be, taking that, trying to prioritize and look for any information they can act on immediately.
Some of my sources have been telling me they mentioned cities in the United States, they wouldn't say which specific cities, but what they are doing right now, they have...
HARRIS: Cities as targets or as host towns...
BROOKS: As possible links with cells with operatives within those cities. We know a lot of cities have -- a lot of the FBI offices in some of the major cities have ongoing investigations. So what they'll do is they'll try to take the information they're gleaning from Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, take that, compare it with the open cases they have now, with some of the people they have under surveillance right now that they believe to be members of an Al Qaeda cell in these particular cities, and see if there is any difference in their movement, see if they can take that make link analysis of the information they have with the information they're getting.
They're also take a look at prioritize anything to deal with force protection. This is against any plans, any information he may have targeting U.S. interests overseas, especially right now the troops. As there is impending war, there is a thought that Al Qaeda could act against some of our troops, and we've seen some of activity taking place in Kuwait against American interests. Whether that has been linked or directed to Al Qaeda or not, that remains to be seen, but they are taking a look at these things in the short term to see what they can do to thwart any attacks at all.
HARRIS: Real quickly, last thing I want to talk about, I have heard a number of times now that something was found specifically on that computer listing imminent or nearly imminent attacks, attacks that were in the planning, I should say -- don't let me use the word imminent here -- attacks that were in the planning stages and were in operation right here in the U.S. Will we ever find out what they were?
BROOKS: There is a possibility we may. There is a possibility as they go further and try to make these link analysis to try to find out if these are new plots, or are they information about old operations that they were thinking about doing. You know, we go back with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, back to 1995, where he was working on a conspiracy to blow up U.S. airliners traveling from the Philippines areas back to the United States. And his nephew, Ramzi Yosef, was also involved in that, and when they raided the apartments in the Philippines, they found improvised explosive devices, and they also arrested two other people that were found in that particular case.
Now, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed fled, and they later caught him in Pakistan.
HARRIS: OK, good deal. We'll have to leave it there, Mike. We've got so much more to talk about. We've got all day, too. So you'll be busy here doing it with us.
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