- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 18, 2001

U.S. prosecutors will likely try to indict suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden and his senior deputies on charges directly related to the Sept. 11 terror attacks, administration sources told UPI yesterday.
The terror indictments most probably would be sought from a grand jury sitting in New York, though other grand juries in the Washington area are available.
Indictments would have little effect on the fugitive status of bin Laden and other members of his shadowy terrorist organization, al Qaeda, since they are already under indictment in the United States for other terrorist activities.
But grand jury action would make public the chain of evidence leading back from the Sept. 11 attacks to bin Laden and his group, evidence that has already been made available to U.S. allies around the world.
So far, no one has been charged directly in the hijacking of four airliners and the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
However, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are holding nearly 700 people, largely of Middle Eastern origin, who have been caught up in the largest investigation in U.S. history.
Most of those arrested or detained are being held on relatively minor charges. More than 125 are being held because of improprieties in their immigration status.
At least six others are being held on "material witness" warrants issued by a U.S. judge, though the Justice Department will not say exactly how many. FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III described them as "a handful of people" during a news conference Tuesday.
"Material witness" warrants by law can only be obtained against someone who has direct knowledge of a crime, and whose detention is crucial to obtaining that knowledge. Early on in the investigation, Justice Department officials said some of those being held as material witnesses were cooperating in the probe.
Besides the Sept. 11 attacks, bin Laden and his organization are suspects in the suicide bombing of the USS Cole as it refueled in the port of Aden, Yemen, last year.
Bin Laden and 16 of his associates have been indicted in the August 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed more than 200 people.

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