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SLUG: 2-280577 Terrorism/Investigation (L)









INTRO: Authorities have arrested one person and detained at least two others in connection with the investigation into Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. As V-O-A's Greg Flakus reports from Washington, this is now the largest criminal investigation in U-S history.

TEXT: Attorney General John Ashcroft says the investigation is making rapid progress, and -- in his word -- "developing a kind of clarity." He says investigators now have a much better idea of how the terrorists planned and carried out their suicide attacks. He says the four-thousand agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or F-B-I, who are working the case, are working on several fronts.


The F-B-I, together with very co-operative local and state officials and law enforcement agencies has processed thousands of leads. We are making the kinds of contacts and developing the information that allow us to describe this as proceeding with reasonable success.

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The first arrest in connection with the case came Friday when the F-B-I took into custody a man in New York on what is called a material witness warrant. This allows authorities to hold a person considered important to the case without actually charging him with a crime.

Reports indicate that the man, whose name has not been revealed, was detained at New York's John F Kennedy International Airport, after he was found to have a pilot's license that had been issued to another person.

Two men of Middle Eastern origin detained earlier this week have been flown to New York for questioning by the F-B-I in connection with the case. There are also reports that the F-B-I is seeking nine people suspected of involvement in the terrorist plot, who may have fled across the border to Mexico on Monday, just hours before the attacks.

On Friday, the F-B-I released the names of 19 people believed to have been the terrorists who died in the suicide attacks on Tuesday, in which four commercial airliners were hijacked for use as flying bombs. The F-B-I has also released a list of 100 names of people still at large who may have important information regarding the suspected terrorists and their plot. These names have been sent to other federal law enforcement agencies and to 18-thousand local police agencies. (signed).


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