CNN BREAKING NEWS
Raid on Business with Possible al Qaeda Links
Aired December 6, 2002 - 08:32 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news out of Massachusetts today. There has been a raid on a high-tech business there that may have ties to al Qaeda.
Kelli Arena, our Justice correspondent, tracking that story in D.C. Kelli, what more do we know?
KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the name of the company is P-Tech (ph), and the investigation into this company is two-pronged. Midnight last night, Customs agents went in and executed several search warrants, looking into whether or not this software company is financed by an individual who is on the U.S. terror watch list, an individual by the name of Qasan al Kadi (ph).
Since September 11, it has been illegal for U.S. companies to knowingly do business with anyone on this list. Investigators say there is indication that the company officials were aware of the connection, but never severed the relationship. The reason that this company is so troubling to investigators is because of its client base, which includes the Department of Energy, the U.S. Navy, the FBI.
It's a software company that provides product for several government agencies, and so this is causing a great deal of concern as to whether or not any of this product may have been tampered with in some way.
According to one government official, there has been absolutely no evidence showing that there has been any tampering of any product, but that investigation is ongoing through computer forensics and so on.
There was information that was downloaded from company computers last night onto government computers to aid in the investigation.
Now, the second part, the second prong here, involves the FBI, and that investigation, we are told by sources, focuses on whether or not executives of this company are involved in a charitable organization which sends money to the Middle East and whether or not money from that charity is being diverted to the al Qaeda terrorist network.
So you have two separate investigations ongoing. I must underscore here, A, there have been no arrests in this investigation so far. This remains very much a work in progress. No definitive links that have been established so far. All we have at this point is a great deal of concern on the part of the U.S. government and we are told that the White House has been directly involved in this investigation once it was discovered what the client base was -- Bill.
HEMMER: Kelli, I don't know what your sources are telling you about surveillance of this company, but do we know how long they've been watched, how long they have been monitored, and if so, why move now? Anything tip them off?
ARENA: I know that the investigation has been going on for at least several weeks. The search warrants that were executed last night do take some time to come by when you go into computers and you're not just searching the premises, that is a very different set of search warrants that you get. I don't know why they moved yesterday. It could just be that they had all of their ducks in a row, and were ready to go last night.
HEMMER: Kelli, thanks. Certainly more on the story as we get the information throughout the morning and the afternoon here on CNN. Kelli Arena working that story for us in Washington, D.C.
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