|Wonder if this had anything to do with today's terror? Seems like maybe we were getting close to bin Laden:|
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, August 29, 2001; Page A18
NEW YORK, Aug. 28 -- A Manhattan federal grand jury has indicted an Algerian man on charges of serving as the link between alleged terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden and another Algerian convicted of trying to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on New Year's Eve 1999.
The indictment, issued Monday, accuses 37-year-old Abu Doha of meeting with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1998 to set up a cooperative relationship between bin Laden's terrorist network, Al Qaeda, and a group of terrorists funded by Doha. It also charges Doha with helping trainees from one camp in their attempt to bomb "an airport or other large facility" in the United States.
That group included Ahmed Ressam, who was convicted in April of plotting to bomb the Los Angeles airport or another Southern California airport. Border agents arrested Ressam in December 1999 as he tried to drive a rental car filled with homemade explosives across the border into Port Angeles, Wash. He faces up to 130 years in prison.
Last month, Ressam broke 18 months of silence and testified at the Manhattan trial of Mokhtar Haouari, who was convicted of participating in the bomb plot. In his trial testimony, Ressam identified Doha as another participant.
In July, officials arrested Doha in London. Monday's indictment lists eight counts, including conspiracy to commit terrorist acts and provide material support to terrorists, said Marvin Smilon, a spokesman for the United States attorney's office in Manhattan.
The indictment accuses Doha of speaking with Ressam at the Khalden terrorist training camp in Afghanistan about carrying out a bombing in the United States.
At the time, Doha allegedly offered Ressam the "money or means of travel to Algeria" after he successfully completed the bombing. Prosecutors point to a Nov. 8, 1999, telephone call between Doha and Ressam, during which the pair allegedly completed the agreement.
Doha also allegedly provided training and support for many young terrorists by raising money and running a training camp in Afghanistan "dedicated exclusively to training Algerian nationals in jihad operations."
At these camps, the indictment alleges, trainees learned "various methods to kill nationals of the United States and others." In his testimony at last month's trial, Ressam said that the camps offered training on topics including "how to blow up the infrastructure of a country" and "the manufacture of explosives."
Doha remains in custody in London and awaits extradition to New York. He faces life in prison if convicted of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction or conspiring to commit acts of terrorism.
© 2001 The Washington Post Company