- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 13, 2001

Prosecutors are expected to use the threat of a death sentence for suspected terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui in an effort to get the names of others who helped in the September 11 attacks that killed more than 3,000 people, authorities said yesterday.
Mr. Moussaoui, indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Virginia on six counts of conspiracy, has refused to cooperate since his Aug. 16 arrest by FBI agents in Minnesota. But he now faces four conspiracy counts that, if convicted, could land him on death row.
"You might say he has some incentive this week [to cooperate] that he didn't have before," said one federal law enforcement official who asked not to be identified. "Even tough guys know that death is forever."
The 30-page indictment, announced by Attorney General John Ashcroft, is the first in a global investigation directly related to the deadly attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Mr. Moussaoui is scheduled for arraignment Jan. 2 at the U.S. District Court in Alexandria.
An agreement by Mr. Moussaoui to cooperate in the case in exchange for consideration of leniency on a possible death penalty conviction would not be the first time a suspected al Qaeda terrorist has given up information about Osama bin Laden's network.
Ahmed Ressam, 34, an Algerian convicted in April of plotting to bomb Los Angeles International Airport during the 2000 millennium celebration, is said to be cooperating with federal authorities in the September 11 investigation.
Ressam spent seven months in a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan and is believed to have ties to bin Laden. His sentencing, originally scheduled for Sept. 20, was postponed until February. Facing 130 years in prison, Ressam has sought to cooperate with authorities to reduce the sentence and already has testified against other suspects in the airport scheme.
The millennium plot was derailed when Ressam was arrested in December 1999 while trying to enter the United States from Canada with explosives in his car.
Yesterday, a New York grand jury indicted Samir Ait Mohamed, 32, an Algerian, on charges he assisted Ressam in 1999 in the millennium plot. The indictment is believed to be based, in part, on Ressam's cooperation, authorities said.
According to the statement, Mr. Mohamed was charged with conspiring to commit an act of terrorism across national boundaries, conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist act, and participating in a conspiracy to commit credit-card fraud through the production and use of counterfeit cards.
Mr. Ashcroft said on Tuesday that no decision had yet been made on whether prosecutors would seek the death penalty in the case, although the matter is being reviewed at the Justice Department and he expected a decision shortly.
Meanwhile, Mr. Moussaoui named in the indictment along with 23 unindicted co-conspirators, including bin Laden and members of al Qaeda is being questioned in New York by the Justice Department's terrorism task force.
Task force members, according to authorities, believe Mr. Moussaoui although in custody in Minnesota at the time of the September 11 attacks was an "active participant" in the suicide strikes.
Investigators said Mr. Moussaoui worked in concert with top al Qaeda officials to carry out the attacks, receiving thousands of dollars in wire transfers from overseas to attend flight schools in the United States.
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said Mr. Moussaoui first came to the attention of the bureau on Aug. 15, when FBI agents in Minneapolis received information about his flight training.
He said the agents, working with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, were able to ensure that Mr. Moussaoui was detained on visa violations, and he has remained in custody.

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