- The Washington Times - Friday, December 12, 2003

Federal law-enforcement authorities yesterday identified a Somali man arrested this week in Minneapolis on suspicion of associating with the al Qaeda terrorist network as a Canadian citizen and college student.

Mohammed A. Warsame, who was taken into custody on Tuesday on a material witness warrant, also has been tied to Zacarias Moussaoui, the suspected al Qaeda member who faces trial in Virginia on conspiracy charges in the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington, authorities said.

Mr. Warsame, according to authorities, is believed to have knowledge of Moussaoui’s activities in the Minneapolis area when the French Moroccan is suspected of seeking flying lessons prior to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune, which first reported the arrest, said it was unclear whether Mr. Warsame, 30, would be called as a witness in the pending Moussaoui trial.

Authorities also confirmed that Mr. Warsame is believed to have information on Moussaoui’s activities in an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan. Moussaoui was arrested before the September 11 attacks by FBI agents and held on immigration charges.

Mr. Warsame’s wife, Fartun Farah, 28, described her husband as a responsible man, telling the newspaper through a translator that “he is not a terrorist. He loves the United States just like his home country of Canada.”

Authorities said Mr. Warsame has been a student at Minneapolis Community Technical College for the past two years, where he was pursuing a career in computer sciences.

Moussaoui, 35, is the only person directly charged in the September 11 attacks that killed about 3,000 people. Some law-enforcement officials have described him as the intended “20th hijacker” had he not been in custody for immigration violations at the time.

He has acknowledged belonging to al Qaeda, but has denied any involvement in the September 11 conspiracy.

His trial has been delayed indefinitely while the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond rules on his right to question three al Qaeda operatives now being detained by the U.S. military. The government has refused to make the detainees available, saying Moussaoui’s access to the prisoners posed a threat to national security.

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