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Judge: Moussaoui, Reid have been writing

Letters between confessed al Qaeda members intercepted

Zacarias Moussaoui is the only person publicly charged in the United States in connection with the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Zacarias Moussaoui is the only person publicly charged in the United States in connection with the attacks of September 11, 2001.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The government has intercepted several recent attempts by Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid to communicate with each other, a judge said Friday.

Agents have seized at least one letter, and U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema, in an order dealing with Moussaoui's protest of the seizing, revealed the existence of more attempts by the two confessed al Qaeda members to communicate.

The government revealed last month that Reid, who is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to trying to blow up an airliner with explosives concealed in his shoes, wrote a letter to Moussaoui. The contents of that letter were not revealed, but a source familiar with the case said it was an offer to testify during Moussaoui's trial.

Moussaoui has complained that his mail is inspected, a procedure routinely applied to convicted terrorists and jailed terrorism suspects. Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, is the only person publicly charged in the United States in connection with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The judge has entered a not guilty plea on his behalf to six charges, including conspiracy to commit terrorism and conspiracy to destroy aircraft:

The judge said Moussaoui "disputes an apparent determination by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that a recent letter from Mr. Moussaoui to Mr. Reid may contain embedded or 'coded' messages, and requests a copy of the report supporting the FBI's finding."

Moussaoui, the judge said, also argued that because he is acting as his own lawyer, he is entitled to "privileged" communications with Reid.

Brinkema said in her order that the special measures involving his communication mean he is "only entitled to have unmonitored communications" with the lawyers helping him.

"To the extent that law enforcement officials have made determinations regarding the propriety of disseminating certain correspondence between the defendant and Richard Reid, the court will not question those judgments," Brinkema said.

She added the government has complied with the special administrative measures by telling Moussaoui a particular communication will not be forwarded and the reason for the seizure.

CNN producer Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.


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