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Al Qaeda detainees to be questioned on sniper

'We would be criticized if we didn't'

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- United States investigators intend to question al Qaeda detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and elsewhere to see if they have any information about the sniper attacks in the Washington area, government sources said Thursday.

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The sources emphasize that no evidence has been uncovered to establish a link between the shootings and organized terrorism, and say they do not believe the sniper shootings fit the pattern of an attack by al Qaeda or another organized terrorist group. (Full story)

But the interviews are seen as a prudent investigative avenue, officials said.

"We would be criticized if we didn't, even though there is no evidence of an al Qaeda link," an FBI official said.

Officials point out that al Qaeda has not left such items as a Tarot card at the scene of an attack -- especially one with the phrase "I am God."

A Tarot card bearing that message was found near the scene of the October 7 sniper shooting at a middle school in Bowie, Maryland. Authorities have not said whether the card was left by the sniper or a prankster. (About Tarot cards)

Also, while many terrorist organizations claim responsibility for their acts, no such claim has been made in the sniper case.

About 600 al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners are being housed at Guantanamo Bay.

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