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America Under Attack: Hijack Suspect Detained, Cooperating with FBI

Aired September 13, 2001 - 09:03   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.
PAULA ZAUN, CNN ANCHOR: There is a lot of news to report on the investigative front. You may remember yesterday federal agents took a number of men into custody in places as far-reaching as Providence, Rhode Island, Vero Beach, Florida, other parts of Florida and Boston.

Eileen, it's my understanding that those men have been released but they have indeed provided investigators with some new information that might help speed up the process of this investigation.

EILEEN O'CONNOR: Well, indeed. But first, of course, Paula, we actually have a major development. We are being told, on the ground, CNN's Susan Candiotti in Vero Beach, Florida, is being told the ground that Adnan Bukhari, who was a pilot training in Vero Beach, he described himself as a Saudi pilot, you see him here, he is alive, and he is cooperating fully with the FBI.

Now, we know that Mr. Bukhari was speaking or that he was negotiating with the FBI to be brought in. We were told that by a Rooms To Go salesman who called us after seeing our picture of Bukhari on our air. He called Susan Candiotti.

And also, inside of the apartment that the FBI searched, that Bukhari lived in Vero Beach, the FBI left behind receipts indicating that they in fact had taken a Rooms To Go furniture receipt from that apartment.

Now the Rooms To Go salesman said that Bukhari was in his store on Tuesday, bought furniture for exportation to Saudi Arabia.

I also know from a law enforcement -- a law enforcement source told me there was an operation of federal agents went to the port in Ft. Lauderdale on Tuesday night. And also the Rooms To Go salesman said he called the FBI and they told him, don't worry, we are negotiating with Mr. Bukhari. We now he has been brought in and he is fully cooperating with the police.

Now, we also know that German police tell CNN they detained a male airport worker. They've brought in a woman for questioning in connection with Tuesday's attack; that's in Hamburg.

Federal law enforcement in the United States was led to the Hamburg connection be way of information linked to a car seized at Logan Airport. It was a Mitsubishi. It was rented by Mohammed Atta, who lived in an apartment in Hamburg; that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) police to search. Inside was a flight manual in Arabic language material that law enforcement investigators say was very helpful. Atta's driving records indicated that he lived here at 10001 West Atlantic Boulevard in Coral Springs. Source say that -- and we have -- we have obtained Atta's driver's records and they also indicated that he lived at other address in Coral Springs.

Police interviewed Charles Voss, who housed Atta and another man, Marwen Al Hasuki (ph). He actually worked at a flight school that they attended.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were, like I said, students, they arrived over there a year ago, it was last July. And when they first arrived they had no place to stay, they just popped in pretty much, as I recall unannounced, and so we provided them -- for the benefit of the flight school, provided them a place to stay for a few days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'CONNOR: Now, they attended this flight school, Huffman Aviation International Flight School in Venice.

Now, we are being told by law enforcement source right now that Ameer Bukhari, the brother of Adman Bukhari, actually has died last year in a small airplane crash. But originally, there were -- the FBI was on the lead to the Bukhari brothers from that Portland car that they impounded -- Paula.

ZAUN: Eileen, the attorney general, John Ashcroft, was on the air earlier this morning and couldn't -- wouldn't really characterize whether any arrests are near. Given this cooperation now that you are describing between Adman Bukhari and authorities, do you expect, or are you led to believe any arrests are expected anytime soon?

O'CONNER: Well, we know that these people are -- were being sought as material witnesses. They can be detained, you know, Paula, as material witnesses for a while and then they could be arrested if enough evidence is brought forward on conspiracy charges.

We're getting this information that he's actually in custody just seconds ago. And so we do not know what kind of information he is in fact supplying. But everything does look very suspicious. That Portland, Maine car was rented at Logan, driven up to Portland and it was rented, according to documents by the FBI looked at or law enforcement looked at -- that led them to these Bukhari brothers.

Also, we know that those two men who took that car to Portland were on a U.S. Air flight from Portland to Logan right before the American and United planes took off. And they are convinced that those two men were at least some of the hijackers.

Now, they have reviewed cameras at that airport. So now what they're going to have to do is match up pictures of these brothers to those pictures, obviously. And we're also, obviously, looking at associates of these two men. That's where you are going to see the leads taking place now with Adnan Bukhari giving up more names of potential pilots, Saudi pilots, that were trained here in the United States -- Paula.

ZAUN: All right. Well thanks so much for bringing that to us, Eileen. Keep working those telephones and we will keep on coming back to you. Thanks so much.

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