- The Washington Times - Friday, December 27, 2002

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Most terrorist organizers that the U.S. government has identified as players in the September 11 attacks remain beyond the reach of the worldwide effort to hunt al Qaeda.
Some still at large are top lieutenants of Osama bin Laden. Others are midlevel financiers who paid for the hijackers' movements and training. Others are thought to be low-level logistical aides who may hold key information about how the attacks were put together.
Many had contacts with the 19 suicide hijackers, particularly with the cell based in Hamburg, Germany, that included Mohamed Atta and two of the other hijacker pilots. Only a few are dead or in custody.
Whether they could regroup to pull off another massive attack is not known. U.S. counterterrorism officials say al Qaeda has been heavily disrupted by the war on terrorism, but acknowledge that numerous senior figures of the terror network, and many of their followers, remain at large.
"You're dealing with individuals in a worldwide conspiracy, where individuals can hide within various societies," said Daniel Mulvenna, a former Canadian domestic intelligence officer and terrorism expert. "I think you have to say on balance, [U.S. counterterrorism agencies] have done rather well. Did they get into every nook and cranny and get every individual who provided logistical support? No. Are they getting there? Yes."
Some key players in the attacks that the government has identified:
Khalid Shaik Mohammed: Still at large is the man U.S. authorities have pinpointed as the mastermind of the attacks. Since September 11, he has risen to be al Qaeda's top operational planner, U.S. officials say. A Kuwaiti with Pakistani roots, Mohammed is thought to be in Pakistan.
Ramzi Binalshibh: A would-be hijacker who couldn't get into the United States, he became an aide to Mohammed and a key moneyman for the attacks. He was captured in Karachi on Sept. 11, 2002.
Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi: A key financier of the attacks, who remains at large, he was last reported in Pakistan. Investigations of financial activity in the United Arab Emirates, where al-Hisawi was based, connected him to Mohammed, Binalshibh and at least three hijackers, including Atta, all in mid-2001.
Ali Abdul Aziz Ali: Another financier, he sent money to Atta and two other hijackers in 2000. He is at large.
Mohammed Atef: Atef was bin Laden's top operations man until he was killed by a joint military and CIA airstrike in Kabul in November 2001. The CIA says he hand-picked many of the hijackers in late 1999.
Tawfiq Attash Khallad: Another top bin Laden lieutenant and a key planner in the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, Khallad met two eventual hijackers in Malaysia in 2000. He is suspected of helping plan the September 11 attacks. He is at large.
Abu Zubaydah: Officials say they think al Qaeda's top coordinator of terrorist cells was involved in the attacks, but they have never laid out his precise role. He has given interrogators information that contradicts statements by Mohammed and Binalshibh, particularly about the target of the hijacked plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. Mohammed and Binalshibh said it was the Capitol; Zubaydah said it was the White House. U.S. officials said they're not sure what to believe.
Zacarias Moussaoui: Binalshibh told interrogators that Moussaoui was a backup pilot for September 11. Moussaoui, arrested by the FBI before the attacks, says he is an al Qaeda member but was not part of the September 11 plot.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide