CNN BREAKING NEWS
U.S. Authorities Have Custody of Sudanese Air Force Pilot
Aired September 20, 2002 - 09:07 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: U.S. authorities say they now have custody of a Sudanese air force pilot who may have been planning to hijack an airliner.
National security correspondent David Ensor joins us now from our Washington bureau with more.
Good morning, David.
DAVID ENSOR. CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Paula.
Well, sources say, that as you just mentioned, a Sudanese air force pilot is in U.S. hands now. He was believed to be plotting to hijack an airliner, with the possibility of targeting perhaps the White House or a major target in Washington. This was first reported in "The Washington Times" newspaper, which said that the Sudanese Air Force pilot had training in Afghanistan, was linked to Al Qaeda. And had gotten into Canada sometime not long earlier.
So, but now we hear from sources that this man is actually in U.S. Custody. And we are checking with other sources. We hope to have more details soon from law enforcement people on exactly who this person is and what they know about him -- Paula.
ZAHN: What's kind of strange about this story that is borne out in "The Washington Times" piece this morning, is that even though this guy went into Canada, Canadian authorities say they have no record of him ever coming into the country.
ENSOR: Well, you know, this story -- our viewers are watching the reporting process here. As I suspect that as the day progresses, we may hear more from Canadian authorities, Paula.
ZAHN: Do we have any idea, if this is all true, what he potentially would have targeted?
ENSOR: Well, "The Washington Times" reports that he was planning to target the White House. We don't have our own confirmation of that specific detail. Our understanding from our sources is that the pilot planned to target a major installation or target in Washington, Paula.
ZAHN: OK, David, we are going to leave it there, and as soon as you have more information, we will come back to you live.
Appreciate the breaking news.
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