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Attorney General Announces First Indictment Directly Tied to 09/11 Terror Attacks

Aired December 11, 2001 - 12:53   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.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Once again, we do anticipate, possibly in 10 minutes time, for the Department of Justice in Washington, the attorney general to announce the first direct indictment for anyone tied to the attacks of 9/11, the three-month marker coming today.

Zacarias Moussauoi is a French Moroccan who was picked up in Minnesota several months ago. He is the man we are told right now has been indicted. Now, his life is still something we are trying to piece together and trace, and so, too, is CNN's Diana Muriel.

Her report now on the life of Moussauoi, from France to London to here in the U.S.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DIANA MURIEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the days up to September 11th, it appeared that Zacarias Moussauoi was the one obvious clue an attack was imminent. Moussauoi was arrested for an immigration violation on August 17th, after a Minnesota flight school allegedly told the FBI Moussauoi wanted to fly a jumbo jet, when he could barely handle a private plane. But despite the published reports, the school says he never asked to learn how to fly straight, while ignoring landings and takeoffs, but it is true that the French anti-terror authorities already had a file on Moussauoi, and gave what little information they had to the FBI.

Moussauoi's file was opened in 1994 when French authorities believed they had the name and location of a paymaster for suspected Algerian terrorists. The single name they had was Zacarias. The place, London. The French anti-terrorist judge decided to interview Zacarias Moussauoi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 1994, he went to London and asked to seek and to speak to Zacarias Moussauoi. He wanted to interview him. Not only that, he wanted to carry out a search of Zacarias Moussauoi's apartment in Strotum (ph). That was refused by the British home office.

MURIEL: The French judge was told he did not have enough evidence under British law to interview Moussauoi to see if he was the Zacarias they wanted. He was eventually dropped from the French inquiry. Before then, there was little in the life of Moussauoi to raise suspicion. He was born in southwest France in 1968 to a Moroccan family. His name came from the Old Testament. the family moved to this gated house in Nakdbon (ph) in 1981. But the family drifted apart, and Zacarias and his brother, Absumad (ph) moved out in 1991.

Zacarias headed north to Montpelier to study business, but in 1993, for some reason, he left university and went to London.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to his brother, he just went to London on the spur of the moment, just one of those things, you know, no contacts, nowhere to go, no address, he just went, with some money in his pocket, and it was really hard those initial few months, he found it very, very difficult in London.

MURIEL: But he was eventually befriended by the mosque in Brixton and got help from a local Muslim leader with a college thesis, which lead to a master's degree in international business from London's South Bank University.

(on camera): But throughout the late '90s, as Moussauoi drifted between London and elsewhere, friends here at the Brixton mosque and in France say that they saw a real change in him. Moussauoi started to dress in traditional Pakistani clothes, he grew a beard, and he started to espouse his own brand of militant Islam to others.

(voice-over): Moussauoi started to attend London's more radical mosques to hear clerics like Abu Fatarda (ph) speak. Eventually, he was asked to leave the moderate Brixton mosque because of his talks about a jihad, or holy war, against the West.

During his seven years in London, Moussauoi's family and French investigators say he traveled to Pakistan, Turkey and Afghanistan.

France's top anti-terrorist judge, Jean-Luis Bugier (ph) has opened a formal investigation into activities of Moussauoi. He won't discuss what he learned about Moussauoi, and French authorities routinely detain those with any hints of terrorist links.

(on camera): Zacarias Moussauoi was one of thousands of thousands of names in French investigators' files throughout the 1990s, but contrary to numerous media reports, French sources tell CNN Moussauoi was not actively under investigation here in Paris, nor in London. There simply was no evidence of terror links beyond his trip to Afghanistan.

(voice-over): French investigators again became interested in Moussauoi in April of 2000. That's when a close childhood friend of the Moussauoi brothers, Zabuwe Zefo (ph), was killed while fighting in Chechnya. This martyr's Web site tells his story, under his Islamic name, Masood Al-Benin (ph). He was in London with Moussauoi in the mid 1990s and converted to Islam at a ceremony at London's central mosque.

After Al-Benin, the DST, the French counter-intelligence service, knocked on the door of Moussauoi's a mother. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They asked me whether I knew where Zacarias was. I said that I did not know. They said that he had a friend that had died and they wanted to know if he had been with him. I said, no, I don't know, and then they left.

MURIEL: By the time his best friend was dead, it was believed that Moussauoi was already back in London. By now, he had shaved his beard and resumed wearing Western clothing. Acquaintances in London say he talked of blending with the enemy. At times, he lived at this Brixton flat, the flat police raided the night of September 11th. He used this address when he arrived in Oklahoma in February of this year for flying lessons.

During the summer, he moved to Minnesota to attend yet another flying school. It was here Moussauoi received two wire transfers from Germany, $15,000 that German investigators believe came from the same people who helped suspected hijack leader Mohamed Atta. It's the most direct link investigators have to the September 11th attacks.

From his arrest in August, Moussauoi mother had no word from him, until this letter arrived in October, four pages written in French. Investigative reporter Wayne Botkin (ph) has talked at lengths with Moussauoi's family about his life. He read the letter with his mother.

"Don't worry, I didn't do anything, and I can prove it in time, when the time comes, if God wills it. I have not given them proof or witnesses of anything, and God, with God's help, will all make it look completely ridiculous their plot which they're hatching."

Diana Muriel, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HEMMER: Putting pieces together slowly again. This would be the first direct indictment to anyone connecting to the attacks of 9/11, and it could -- stressing could -- hold great significance. We shall wait and see. The attorney general any moment now in Washington. We will have it for you live when it happens. With that, my day has ended. See you again tomorrow and Wednesday. I'm Bill Hemmer live at the CNN Center. To Judy again in Washington. Judy, I'll see you tomorrow.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Bill, I'll see you tomorrow. Thanks.

Well, as Bill just suggested, just said, we are going to the Justice Department in a matter of minutes, the attorney general expected to brief, but for right now, we want to our White House correspondent Kelly Wallace who has a little bit more information on what the attorney general has to say about Zacarias Moussauoi, the man just profiled in that report by Diana Muriel.

Hello, Kelly?

KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hello to you, Judy.

Well, we know, Judy, President Bushed definitely briefed about these latest developments this morning, and again, the development is the sort telling my colleagues John King that Zacarias Moussauoi will be indicted on multiple counts of conspiracy. The charges include conspiring with the deceased hijackers and Al Qaeda operatives. It is not clear, Judy, how much of this indictment, the details of the indictment, will be made public.

But one interesting development worth pointing out is that these charges will be filed against Moussauoi in federal court. Judy, as you may recall, there was some speculation a few weeks ago that Moussauoi might be the first candidate for the possible use of a military tribunal. President Bush has indicated he reserves the right to use such tribunals to try suspected terrorists, as opposed to using a civilian court.

But again, we understand Maoussaoui to be indicted today, multiple counts of conspiracy charges, and again, these charges in federal court, which means at this point it appears he would likely be tried in the criminal justice system, but again, of course, the president always reserving the right to use a military tribunal -- Judy.

All right, Kelly, and again, we expect more details from the attorney general on that in just moments from now.

Kelly, separately ask you about the videotape showing Osama bin Laden, the tape that was found in Afghanistan just a day or so ago. What are they saying at the White House about when they're going to release that and what's in it.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the word we're getting, Judy, continues to be that that tape is likely to be released, and perhaps as early as tomorrow. What is happening right now, Judy, the tape is in Arabic, and so what the administration is doing is working very, very hard to ensure it has a 100 percent accurate translation. You have federal government translators doing a translation. You also have the administration reaching out to translators outside the U.S. government. This to shield the administration from any criticism that is in any way trying to twist bin Laden's words.

We do understand, Judy, a leading option for this tape to be released again possibly as early as tomorrow. Is to have it released through the Pentagon, through the Pentagon, U.S. officials saying, because it is a military operation under way in Afghanistan. That may be why the Pentagon chosen as a forum, as also the leading option we understand, to include subtitles on the tape. The tape is in Arabic, to have English subtitles with the translation of what bin Laden is apparently saying, as well as a transcript from these outside-the- U.S.-government translators. That would be handed out as well, again, to shield the administration from any concerns about its own translation. The other concern definitely, Judy, checking to make sure releasing the tape won't compromise the intelligence-gathering methods and sources. The administration making clear it has absolutely clear the chain of custody of that tape. Judy, back to you.

WOODRUFF: All right, Kelly. We are awaiting the attorney general. He's to come out in just 30 seconds from now, we're told. We've been given what's called the two-minute warning here in Washington, where we get a little bit of a heads up that that is about to get under way.

Kelly Wallace at the White House, thanks very much.

We should go now, we should switch over to the Justice Department, where the attorney general will announce formally that the first indictment has gone forward in connection with the terror attacks of September 11th. This announcement coming on the third- month anniversary of those attacks that came on the morning of September 11th.

Susan Candiotti, our investigative reporter who's been following this, is here with me.

Susan, I think that is the attorney general now. So we will wait and talk to you after he's finished.

JOHN ASHCROFT, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Today, three months after the assault on our homeland, the United States of America has brought the assume weight of justice against the terrorists who brutally murdered innocent Americans. The first indictment has been brought against the terrorists of September 11. Al Qaeda will now meet the justice it abhors and the judgment it fears.

This morning, a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia charged Zacarias Moussaoui, a native of France, of Moroccan ancestry, with conspiring with Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda to murder thousands of innocent people in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania on September the 11th.

The indictment names the following individuals as unindicted co- conspirators. Osama bin Laden, head of the Al Qaeda network. Ayman al-Zawahiri, head of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Mustaffah (ph) Ahmed Alhaznawi, who is alleged to have provided funding to Moussaoui and some of the 19 hijackers from bank accounts in the United Arab Emirates. Ramzi Binalshibh, believed to have been a member of the Al Qaeda Hamburg cell, who is alleged to have transferred funds to Moussaoui.

Also named as unindicted co-conspirators are Mohamed Atta, Abdul Alomari, Wail Alshehri, Waleed Alshehri and Satam Al Suqami, the hijackers of American Airlines flight number 11.

Marwan Al-Shehhi, Fayez Ahmed, Ahmed Alghamdi, Hamza Alghamdi and Mohald Alshehri, the hijackers of United Airlines flight 175. Khalid Al-Midhar, Nawaq Alhamzi, Hani Hanjour, Salem Alhazmi and Majed Moqed, the hijackers of American Airlines flight 77. And Ziad Jarrahi, Ahmed Alhaznawi, Saeed Alghamdi, Ahmed Alnami, the hijackers of United Airlines flight number 93. For those who continue to doubt Al Qaeda's role in the murders of September 11, our indictment offers 30 pages of chilling allegations of Al Qaeda's campaign of terror. It lists six counts against Moussaoui, four of which authorize the maximum penalty, upon conviction, of death.

The indictment issued today charges that Al Qaeda conspired to commit acts of terrorism, conspired to commit aircraft piracy, conspired to destroy aircraft, conspired to use weapons of mass destruction, conspired to murder United States employees and conspired to destroy property. As the indictment sets forth, the United States alleges that Moussaoui engaged in the same preparation for murder as the 19 co-conspirators who carried out the September 11 hijackings.

The indictment specifies that Moussaoui, like the 19 hijackers who killed themselves in the name of terror on September 11, trained at an Al Qaeda-affiliated camp in Afghanistan. It alleges that Moussaoui, like the others, received flight training in the United States. It alleges that Moussaoui, like the others, received funding from sources in Germany and the Middle East. It alleges that Moussaoui, like his co-conspirator Mohamed Atta, made inquiries with a crop dusting company and had in his possession a computer disk containing information related to the aerial application of pesticides.

The indictment issued today is a chronicle of evil; a carefully documented, year-by-year, month-by-month, day-by-day account of a terrorist conspiracy that gathered both force and intensity in the weeks before September 11. Zacarias Moussaoui is alleged to have been an active participant in this conspiracy, alongside the 19 terrorists who carried it out. Moussaoui is charged with undergoing the same training, receiving the same funding and pledging the same commitment to kill Americans as the hijackers.

The indictment describes how Moussaoui worked in concert with unindicted co-conspirators Mustaffah (ph) Ahmed Alhaznawi and Ramzi Binalshibh, who are fugitives, to carry out the September 11 attacks. When Binalshibh was refused entry into the United States, he was alleged to have acted as a financier and facilitator of terrorism, transferring funds to Moussaoui and other terrorists from his position in Hamburg, Germany. Alhaznawi is alleged to have been another source of funding for the September 11 plot. The indictment charges that Alhaznawi moved funds to Binalshibh in Germany, who in turn wired money to Moussaoui for flight training in the United States.

Moussaoui is charged as an active conspirator in the Al Qaeda terrorist machine that to this day threatens the civilized world. The indictment alleges, it alleges that these terrorists provided training camps and military and intelligence training in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in Sudan, and other areas, for use of Al Qaeda and its affiliated groups, including the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. The charges also allege that the terrorists gave financial support on behalf of Al Qaeda, including purchasing land for training camps, purchasing communications and electronics equipment, and transporting currency and weapons to members of Al Qaeda and its associated terrorist organizations. The acts of war on September 11 were an attack on all of America. In response, we have assembled a team of investigators and prosecutors, who are among America's brightest and best. This indictment is the culmination of literally thousands of hours of effort on the part of these dedicated men and women.

I commend the men and women of the Federal Bureau of Investigation led by Director Bob Mueller. These individuals have worked beyond fatigue. They have worked seven days a week, 24 hours a day to identify, track down and disrupt terrorist networks. I congratulate Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson and Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff, both former U.S. attorneys distinguished for targeting and bringing down criminal enterprises.

I commend them for their equally extraordinary work in this investigation, bringing us to this moment.

Today's indictment is the product of a national prosecution effort undertaken by the Department of Justice September 11 task force. Although these charges are brought in the Eastern District of Virginia, prosecutors from the Southern District of New York, together with prosecutors from the Eastern District of Virginia and the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice here in Washington, have led the September 11 task force and will comprise the prosecution team.

I congratulate Paul McNulty (ph), the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Mary Jo White, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Under Mary Jo White's leadership, her office secured the conviction of four Al Qaeda terrorists who were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for their participation in the August 1998 bombing of two American embassies in Africa. Other terrorism cases are currently pending in the Southern District of New York.

Today's indictment is being brought in Virginia in recognition of the fact that we are engaged in a national struggle against terrorism and that we will investigate and prosecute the terrorist networks on multiple legal fronts and that the September 11 attack struck at one of the most important institutions of government, the United States Pentagon.

For three months now, the families of victims of September 11 have waited for the killers of their loved ones to pay the price for their crimes. We will shortly be making available a web site and a 1- 800 number for victims and victims' families to follow the progress of this prosecution. The indictment of Zacarias Moussaoui is an important step in securing justice for the victims of September 11.

Today, 7,000 miles for the field of battle in Afghanistan, another victory is taking shape in the war on terrorism. The values of freedom and justice that terrorists hate and sought to extinguish on September 11 have been vindicated as justice is served. America and the civilized world are united in defense of liberty and in the pursuit of justice. The United States will comfort and care for those victimized by terrorism. The United States will pursue and punish those who perpetrate terrorism. We will be relentless and resolute. We will not forget. And we will prevail.

ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: Thank you, Mr. Attorney General, and good afternoon all.

This morning people across the country and around the world remembered and honored those who lost their lives, those who saved lives and those whose lives were changed forever by the tragic events of September 11. The indictment we're announcing today is an important step in the process of bringing justice to those we believe to be connected to these violent and vicious attacks on America.

Zacarias Moussaoui first came to our attention on August 15, when we at the FBI received information about the suspicious circumstances of his flight training. The FBI, working with the INS, was able to assure that Moussaoui was detained the following day on visa violation charges, and he has remained in custody since August 16.

The FBI continued to investigate Moussaoui after his detention, and as we have uncovered information on the September 11 attacks, and as is alleged in the indictment, Moussaoui followed many of the same patterns, and took many of the same steps as the other -- as the 19 hijackers.

As the indictment charges, Moussaoui was present at an Al Qaeda- based terrorist training camp in Afghanistan three years ago. He attended flight school and took commercial flight training courses. He purchased flight deck videos from an Ohio flight store just as Mohammed Atta and the other hijackers had done before him. He purchased knives and protective equipment. He looked into global positioning system technology. And like Atta he also researched crop dusting.

The indictment also alleges that Moussaoui was linked to Ramzi Binalshibh, an associate of Atta who tried unsuccessfully to get into the United States on four separate occasions. And as the indictment charges, at the time of Binalshibh's last failed attempt to enter the United States, Moussaoui was contacting flight schools and making arrangements to have a legitimate presence in the United States.

In February of 2001, Moussaoui arrived in the United States, opened a bank account with $32,000 in cash, and immediately enrolled in flight school. And also charged in the indictment, in early August 2001, Moussaoui received $14,000 from Germany sent to him by Binalshibh. And lastly, on August 10, as the indictment alleges, he paid for flight lessons with $6,300 in cash.

I want to thank all those who contributed to today's indictment, including our partners here in the United States, as well as our partners overseas, whose cooperation and investigator skills were invaluable. And with the help our partners here in the United States and overseas, we will continue to investigate to ensure that justice is done. Thank you. QUESTION: Attorney General, is Mr. Moussaoui cooperating? And can you tell us, since he followed the same patterns but Mr. Mueller has told us that he wasn't the 20th hijacker, do you believe that he was going to be involved in a second wave of attacks and additional hijackings?

ASHCROFT: Quite frankly, I'm not going to be commenting on the evidence. I'm just -- the indictment is substantial. I believe you have a copy of it, and it speaks for itself. Thank you.

QUESTION: Are you seeking the death penalty in this case, sir?

ASHCROFT: The Department of Justice has a procedure for evaluating indictments that have been returned by grand juries where there are death-eligible offenses. That procedure involves a program of evaluation and recommendations. That will be conducted expeditiously, but the procedures will be followed and a determination will be made subsequent to that procedure having been completed.

QUESTION: Could you tell us about your decision to bring these prosecutions in Virginia rather than in New York? The U.S. Attorney's Office there has been bringing these prosecutions for some years and developed some expertise in these kinds of cases; and, of course, most of the victims were in New York. Why did you decide to bring this in Virginia?

ASHCROFT: Well, this is, first, an assault on the United States of America as well as the entirety of the civilized world. You know, dozens and dozens of nations lost lives in the various sites. The crimes here were committed from Maine and Massachusetts to New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia. This is a national matter.

We have focused a national investigative effort here in Washington, D.C., under the direction of the FBI; and, of course, with the Deputy Attorney General and then Assistant Attorney General Mike Chertoff. We have taken expertise from around the country to assemble the prosecution team as well as the investigative resources, and it's with that in mind that the proximity to this investigation would make the best sense for us to bring this case, using these resources, here in this setting.

QUESTION: Mr. Attorney General, bin Laden and others have been named as unindicted co-conspirators. That doesn't preclude indicting them somewhere down the line in the investigation?

ASHCROFT: No, it does not in anyway.

QUESTION: Where is Moussaoui now?

ASHCROFT: He is being detained in the United States by the United States of America and I'm not able to give you a specific address for that detention.

QUESTION: Mr. Attorney General, the evidence is mounting against Osama bin Laden. We've heard about the tape that has yet to be released, and by your own account, the evidence is pretty compelling. Why was he not indicted at this particular point?

ASHCROFT: Well, we have indicted the individual that we have in custody at this particular time and I wouldn't -- other than that, I wouldn't draw any conclusions about the fact that others are unindicted.

QUESTION: You mentioned he followed the same patterns, but during the time that he was in this country, did he have any contact, direct contact with the other 19?

ASHCROFT: I think the indictment lays out the broad outlines of the case very clearly. I would refer you to that, and then indicate that while it does that, there'll be substantial and other additional evidence that'll be presented at trial, but about which I will not comment at this time.

QUESTION: What about the concern over the use of military tribunals against people -- foreign-born folks arrested in the United States?

ASHCROFT: I believe that the idea of having military commissions to try war criminals as a tool for the president of the United States is a good tool for him to have at his disposal. This case merely indicates that my responsibility is to bring charges against those who commit crimes and are to be tried in the criminal justice system. We have done so in this instance. We believe that the indictment speaks clearly about the nature of this case.

QUESTION: Mr. Attorney General, why was the indictment brought today on the third anniversary?

ASHCROFT: We've been working, as I commended, with these individuals for their outstanding effort and the organizations they represent, day and night to develop this. We believe that when the grand jury voted to bring forth these six counts in this indictment that it would be appropriate to carry those counts immediately to the judge and to proceed.

QUESTION: Given that this man was in custody before September 11, why was it not possible to learn enough from him to prevent these attacks?

ASHCROFT: I don't -- maybe the director of the FBI wants to make that statement. We learned enough to keep him in custody, and individuals who are uncooperative frequently don't become very substantial sources of information.

MUELLER: I think, as I've indicated before, it was at the point in time after he was arrested on INS charges, that we obtained no further information from him. And consequently, while there was some information to follow up on, which we did follow up on, he was not cooperative at that time.

QUESTION: So, Director, was he the 20th hijacker or not? I mean, there is no information in the indictment that seems to clearly link him to the other 19, apart from his parallel activities.

MUELLER: Well, I think if you'll -- if you parse the indictment, you will see that Binalshibh attempted four times to come to the United States and was rejected on those four occasions. Subsequent to that fourth time that he was rejected, you see Mr. Moussaoui attempting to come to the United States. Those are the allegations in the indictment and the indictment speaks for itself.

QUESTION: Mr. Director, in terms of the investigation, to follow up on his question, were there any patterns that were missed at the time? Was there a need for a broader investigation to see if other people may have been engaging in the same type of training?

MUELLER: Well, at the time, the agents looked at his involvement with a flight school, they -- as I've indicated before, the agents in Minneapolis sought to do a FISA wire on a laptop and the attorneys at the FBI believe there was insufficient probable cause and he was being investigated -- his activities were being investigated when September 11 occurred.

Now could we have done something else, perhaps, to avoid it in that investigation, who can say? All I can tell you is that the agents on the scene attempted to follow up aggressively. The attorneys back at FBI determined that there was insufficient probable cause for a FISA which is -- appears to be an accurate decision and September 11 happened.

QUESTION: Director, is it your intention then to show that Binalshibh was going to come to the United States and hijack a plane with the other hijackers, but when he couldn't, Moussaoui was to take his place and do that?

I mean, is that what you intend to prove?

ASHCROFT: The indictment is substantial. It alleges a very serious set of facts. There may be additional facts in evidence that are provided at the time of the trial, but we will not go beyond the indictment today. The rules relating to statements we make limit us to staying within the indictment.

QUESTION: Mr. Attorney General, last week when you testified about the tribunals, you talked about you didn't want to see defendants with flamboyant defense attorneys and a long -- and people with, you know, a talk show of their own. Aren't you now going to see a very long, expensive trial since Moussaoui will be afforded two defense lawyers since he's facing the death penalty?

ASHCROFT: We look forward to this trial and the presentation of the evidence, which I think the indictments clearly indicate the direction in which we will move, and to go beyond the indictment now and try and describe the trial it would not be appropriate for me to do that.

Thank you all very much. Thank you.

WOODRUFF: The attorney general of the United States and announcing on this, the third-month anniversary of the terror attacks against the United States announcing the first indictment. This indictment against Zacarias Moussaoui, a native of France with Morrocan citizenship, a man who was arrested, actually taken into custody before September 11th, but because of information gathered along the way, he's now being charged with six counts of conspiracy, and I will detail those in just a moment. But the attorney general started out -- and I just want to say, you are looking at pictures of President Bush arriving in Charleston, South Carolina, where he will be speaking at the Citadel in a short time there, talking about changes in the U.S. military in the new war against terrorism.

But again, the attorney general saying the "United States has brought the awesome weight of justice against the terrorists who brought terror to the United States." He said Al Qaeda will now meet the justice that it so abhors.

Joining me now in the studio here in Washington, CNN's Susan Candiotti, who's been following this investigation.

Susan, fairly unambiguous the statement of what the charges are, although we don't have all the information I think we'd like to have, in terms of what are the goods they have on him.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's true, we're learning more information about how exactly they will link Maoussaoui to the grand conspiracy. Keep in mind, besides him, besides indicting Zacarias Maoussaoui, we also have the unindicted coconspirators. Among the dead, all of those identified as the hijackers aboard all three aircraft that involved the attacks on the two World Trade Center tower, and the attacks on the Pentagon and the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania, and there you see those who have been so identified.

Now in addition to those 19, Osama bin Laden has now been named as unindicted cococonspirator, as well as others associates of him, as well as Ramsey Ben Alsheeb (ph) and two others who were named in international arrest warrants issued in Germany not too long ago. Those three people remain fugitives at this time.

But again, we come back to the main player today, and that is Zacarias Maoussaoui, who is charged in this 30-page indictment which U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft describes as a chronicle of evil. Again, 30 pages, he is charged with six counts of conspiracy, and four of those six counts carry the death penalty. Those charges include acts of conspiracy with Al Qaeda, with Osama bin Laden, as well as acts of air piracy, destroying aircraft. These are all conspiracy charges, with acts of using weapons of mass destruction, the murder of U.S. employees, as well as conspiracy to destroy property.

We learned that from the news conference this day that Zacarias Moussaoui just like the others, according to the attorney general, just like the 19 others involved in the attacks, took training in Afghanistan at one of the Al Qaeda training camps, that he received money from some of the same people that were paying for the 19 located in the United States, that he received money, $32,000 and more money to receive his flight training in the United States, that when he arrived here in February of this year he started receiving those funds and the flight training.

WOODRUFF: Now, Susan, he was originally arrested on immigration charges, and it was in the days before, it was in August, wasn't it?

CANDIOTTI: Yes, that's right.

WOODRUFF: But we just heard reporters asking the attorney general and the FBI director, if you had him in custody, why didn't you find something out that would have helped prevent what happened on September 11th, and they said, well, he didn't cooperate, he wasn't talking.

CANDIOTTI: That's a key question that has been asked time and time again and is still being asked to this day. At the time, we recall, when he was picked up on immigration charges, it was because there were suspicions raised about the training that he was receiving at a Minnesota flight school, the school flagging attention to his situation, because at the time, they said he was more interested in learning how to fly straightaway, and not interested in takeoffs and landings.

Beyond that, once they picked him up and started to question him, as you heard them say, he was not cooperating. The FBI has said that all along. According to FBI director Robert Mueller, his agents questioned Moussaoui intensively and very aggressively, yet they did not find any information because he was not talking to them, and as we understand it, according to sources, is not cooperating to this day. They said that they were unable it determine a pattern.

However, it wasn't until September 11th, as we understand it, according sources, that they went back and found some of the crop- dusting information that was in his possession, the same type of information that they also learned that Mohamed Atta, one of the a suspected hijackers, had also researched, using crop dusters and pesticides and the like, but at the same time, as we heard in a report filed by our Diana Muriel, went extensively into the background. Clearly, there was an intelligence file on Zacarias Moussaoui being conducted by French investigators, among others, into his activities over the past several years. So that is a question that will continue to be asked about whether more might have been done to stop September 11th before it happened.

WOODRUFF: All right, Susan Candiotti. Well, we have heard a lot of terms in connection with Osama bin Laden. I think this is the first time we have heard the term unindicted co-conspirator, which is what we just heard from the attorney general, and I think we can all imagine that the administration would like to charge him with much more than that, but they are still accumulating evidence. Part of that may well be associated with that videotape which the White House is now saying may very well be released tomorrow.

We will continue to follow this story. The first indictment since the September 11th terror attacks.

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