Attorney General Transcript News Conference - Identity of Suspected Terrorist Friday, January 25, 2002 DOJ Conference Center
ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: Good afternoon. Last Thursday, or a week ago yesterday, along with FBI Director Mueller, the Department of Justice released photographs and video of five suspected terrorists. Our initial analysis of the video indicated that the videotapes depicted young men delivering what appeared to be martyrdom messages from suicide terrorists.
As of last week, we had identified four of the individuals: Ramzi Binalshibh, Abd Al-Rahim, Muhammad Sa'id Ali Hasan, and Khalid Ibn Muhammad Al-Juhani. At that time, the identity of the fifth suspected terrorist remained unknown.
Over the last week, we've received hundreds of leads from conscientious citizens across the nation and around the world. With these leads and further analysis of evidence recovered from the rubble of Muhammad Atef's house in Afghanistan, we have gained additional information about the fifth suspected terrorist. The name of the fifth terrorist is Al Rauf bin al Habib bin Yousef al-Jiddi. Al- Jiddi, who is a Canadian citizen, was born in Tunisia and is 36 years of age. He has black hair; is approximately 5 feet 10 inches tall and may weigh approximately 220 pounds.
We identified al-Jiddi through discovery of a suicide letter found in the ruins of the Atef residence by the U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan.
The letter, which is still being fully analyzed, was recently translated. In addition, the Canadian government assisted us by identifying Al-Jiddi. We have also identified an associate who may be traveling with Al-Jiddi. His name is Faker Boussora. He is 37 years of age, is approximately five feet, eight inches and weighs approximately 160 to 170 pounds, has a round face and prominent ears.
We believe Boussora may also be involved in a martyrdom mission. Boussora is also a Canadian citizen, born in Tunisia. The FBI has alerted law enforcement authorities across the United States and is also working closely with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Both individuals should be considered extremely dangerous. Additionally, the FBI has provided law enforcement with the same pictures that you see to my left.
The photograph in the upper left is the picture you saw last week of Al-Jiddi, taken from the video. Below that picture is a photograph retouched by the FBI to show how Al-Jiddi may look with a Westernized appearance. The picture in the upper right was found with the 1999 suicide letter in the ruins of Atef's house in Afghanistan. Finally, the picture in the lower-right corner is of Faker Boussora, Al-Jiddi's associate.
Today I am also disclosing FBI-retouched photographs of the other four individuals seen on the videos recovered from Atef's residence in Afghanistan.
Again, these retouched photos show how these individuals may look with a Westernized appearance. We hope that by providing these photos to the media that citizens will be able to help law enforcement identify and apprehend these terrorists.
In particular, I would like to thank the Canadian government for providing significant assistance in the identification of Al-Jiddi. Today's announcement demonstrates the extraordinarily close and cooperative relationship that has been built between the United States and Canadian law enforcement.
Today's announcement is another example of the integrated effort we are pursuing to protect all people of all nations from cowardly acts of terrorism. It is a seamless effort that involves civil authorities, military authorities, intelligence resources, intelligence analysis, law enforcement, and the cooperation from foreign governments. As we discover more information, we will continue to share it with the international community to assist our efforts against terrorism.
Again, I want to advise the public to exercise vigilance and common sense in the face of the terrorism threat.
Anyone who believes that he or she knows the identity or whereabouts of al Al-Jiddi, Boussora, or the four other suspected terrorists -- anyone who knows or has information about them is urged to contact the nearest FBI office or visit the FBI's website, www.ifccfbi.gov, or contact the U.S. embassy or consulate in a foreign setting, if individuals are unable to contact the FBI.
I am grateful for the cooperation of both citizens and governments in helping us develop these tools of investigation.
I'd be pleased to answer your inquiries at this time. Yes?
Q Where did you obtain the picture of Boussora?
ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: I'm prepared to provide the picture and grateful that we have these resources. I'm not prepared to identify further.
Q The Canadian government helped you. Did they tell you any way that these two were linked? Can you tell us anything about that?
ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: I've provided the information that I'm able to provide you on that.
Q Do you have any information that you've developed since you originally put these out, that these people are still alive or that they may be in the United States?
ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: We do not know the whereabouts of these individuals. As a result, we are publicizing their photographs worldwide. It's my understanding that we have the cooperation not only of international news agencies in doing this -- and I released these photos with Larry King last Monday night and indicated at that time we would provide these additional enhanced images.
And we are expecting people like "America's Ten Most Wanted" and other shows of that nature to also publicize them.
Q Have you gotten any more information that they may have tried to enter the United States?
ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: We are not in possession of information giving us a location of these people.
Q When was the last time that Al-Jiddi was known to have been in Canada? And are you concerned that the suspects may have reached closer to the U.S. border?
ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: I really -- I really don't know the answer to that question. We will try to find out as much as we can about the whereabouts of these individuals as the investigation progresses.
Q You said you received hundreds of tips from people who have seen these people. Could you give us an idea of whether these are associates of them, who have known them, how these people knew these suspects?
ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: We have -- in terms of -- I can't catalogue all the tips that we received, but we received information that helped us make these identifications. And to say more, I can't.
Q Did the latest suicide letter give any indication of a planned attack? Do you have any further information that these men posed an imminent danger?
ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: Well, we think that individuals who make suicide videos and write suicide letters are dangerous individuals. They're individuals who have expressed their intention to hurt other people and to extinguish themselves in the process. And that's a way of signalling the intensity of their intent.
Q Was this letter -- the suicide letter written by Al-Jiddi or his associate here? Is he the author of the suicide --
ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: It's my understanding that he is the author of the letter and that the photograph on the upper right of the poster on the left was a photograph accompanying the letter when found.
Thank you very much.
Q Was Faker linked to a suicide note as well? Was there a suicide note by Faker?
ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: We believe that he may be an associate of this other individual, but we do not have information about a suicide letter from him.
STAFF: We'll have -- do you all have all the pictures?