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WPost: FBI Says Malaysia Was Site of Sept. 11 Planning
By Dan Eggen

3/2/2002 10:54 am Sun

[Rencana ini agak pendek tetapi BESAR maksudnya. Ia muncul setelah Rais Yatim merungut mahu menyaman Newsweek.... Sudah pasti pengarah FBI ini telah membaca reaksi Rais jika tidak dia tidak perlu memberi kata-dua. Malaysia sekarang perlu menyanggah sangkalan itu tetapi mampukah ia berbuat demikian? Amerika seperti sudah tidak sabar lagi mahukan sesuatu dari pemimpin Malaysia yang selalu bercakap besar. Pertelagahan Amerika Malaysia kali ini agak menarik kerana kedua-dua pihak tidak mampu menghadapi kekalahan..... - Editor]

Washington Post
1 February 2002

FBI Says Malaysia Was Site of Sept. 11 Planning

By Dan Eggen

Washington Post Staff Writer

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said yesterday that investigators believe the Sept. 11 terror attacks were planned in part by al Qaeda operatives in Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim nation whose connection to the plot has only recently emerged.

Mueller and other U.S. officials have indicated since shortly after Sept. 11 that much of the planning for the deadly jetliner assaults took place in Germany, where three of the hijackers lived, with help from operatives in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.

But Mueller said yesterday that some of the planning for Sept. 11 also occurred in Malaysia. It was the clearest signal yet from a U.S. official that the Asian nation is emerging as a focus of efforts to unravel the hijacking plot and thwart future attacks.

Other Bush administration officials said this week that investigators have found evidence that a retired Malaysian soldier, Yazid Sufaat, provided $35,000 in Kuala Lumpur in the fall of 2000 to Zacarias Moussaoui, a French national who was detained in Minnesota last August and who has been charged in Alexandria with conspiring with the Sept. 11 hijackers.

U.S. officials also believe Sufaat met with two of the Sept. 11 hijackers in January 2000, sources said. The United States is debating whether to extradite Sufaat, one of two dozen alleged Muslim extremists who have been detained by Malaysian police.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said this week that there was no Malaysian connection to the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mueller, in an hour-long meeting with reporters at FBI headquarters, echoed warnings from Attorney General John D. Ashcroft and other officials that "sleeper" al Qaeda operatives probably are still living under cover in the United States and may be preparing more attacks.

"Do I know for sure there are some in the United States? I would say I believe there are, but I can't say for sure," Mueller said. "We're doing everything we can to identify [terror suspects] and to make certain those who have the potential for committing future terrorist acts are addressed," he added.

Mueller also said that U.S. law enforcement officials remain on a "very high state of alert" and are "moving heaven and earth" to provide security for the Super Bowl and Winter Olympics.

In other remarks yesterday, Mueller said that FBI tests of an anthrax-laced letter mailed to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) have shown "promise," but that investigators are unlikely to identify a suspect in the near future. "It's the type of investigation that will take some time, but I'm confident that, in the end, we will identify who is responsible for this," he said.

The number of FBI agents dedicated to investigating the Sept. 11 attacks, which peaked at about 4,000, has dropped to about half that in recent weeks, Mueller said.

He said two to 10 FBI agents have been stationed in Kandahar and other parts of Afghanistan at any particular time, primarily to help U.S. forces and CIA officers interrogate al Qaeda prisoners. A shared computer system has been set up to allow the FBI, CIA and other U.S. agencies to code and analyze documents and other terrorist-related evidence found there, he said.