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Homeland Security


American Truck Driver Linked to al-Qaida Plots
VOA News
19 Jun 2003, 18:44 UTC

U.S. justice officials say an American truck driver with ties to the al-Qaeda global terror network has pleaded guilty to felony charges involving plots to blow up an aircraft and to sabotage a bridge in New York City. Attorney General John Ashcroft Thursday, identified the truck driver as Iynman Faris of Columbus, the capital of the U.S. midwestern state of Ohio. He said Mr. Faris is an immigrant from Kashmir who used the cloak of American citizenship to travel undetected while visiting an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan and scouting sites for attacks in the United States.

In a news conference in Washington, Mr. Ashcroft said the truck driver has admitted to helping al-Qaida operatives obtain tools that could be used to take down a bridge and derail trains. According to the attorney general, Mr. Faris also admitted delivering cash and cellular phones to senior operatives and said he met personally with Osama bin Laden. Mr. Ashcroft did not identify the bridge, but published reports Thursday, say it was the Brooklyn Bridge.

The published reports also say Mr. Faris is believed to have received instructions directly from senior al-Qaida leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. He is now in custody outside the United States. They say Mr. Mohammed has provided U.S. interrogators with valuable information about the terrorist organization, including details about the plots in which Mr. Faris has been charged.

Officials said he was arrested May 1. In an agreement with the Justice Department kept secret until Thursday, he pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorists and conspiring to provide support. Officials say he is cooperating with investigators.

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