the webmaster notes they probably didn't have a stinking search warrent


Captured al-Qaida official's computer, cellphone searched

By Philip Shenon

New York Times

Nov. 23, 2002

WASHINGTON - Investigators believe a computer and cellphone that were in the possession of a newly captured senior al-Qaida leader contain clues that might help the United States thwart a new wave of terror attacks, American officials said Friday.

The official said that while the United States continued to interrogate the terrorist leader, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, electronics specialists were studying the phone's electronic memory and the hard drive of the computer for information about possible imminent attacks by the terror network in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere.

They would not say what information had been found so far, although they continued to express optimism that Nashiri would eventually disclose vital information about al-Qaida's plans and the whereabouts of the rest of its leaders, including Osama bin Laden.

American officials say Nashiri, a Saudi in his 30s who was born in Mecca, was al-Qaida's operations chief in the Persian Gulf and he was one of the architects of both the October 2000 bombing of the American destroyer Cole in Yemen, an attack that left 17 American sailors dead, and the 1998 American Embassy bombings in East Africa.

The officials said he was taken into custody earlier this week at an airport in a foreign country, but they would not name the country.

The officials said the United States had attempted to keep the name of the suspect secret until intelligence agencies could follow up on information from his initial interrogations.

At a news conference in Russia on Friday with President Vladimir Putin, President Bush confirmed the capture of Nashiri and hailed it as a sign of important progress in fighting terrorism.

"We did bring to justice a killer," he said in response to a reporter's question about the arrest.

He added that "the message is" that "we're making progress on the war against terrorists, that we're going to hunt them down one at a time, that it doesn't matter where they hide. As we work with our friends, we will find them and bring them to justice."

American officials have described Nashiri as the most important al-Qaida member to be taken into custody since the capture last March of Abu Zubaydah, a Palestinian described as the terror network's overall chief of operations.

Like Zubaydah, the officials said, Nashiri has been transferred to an American-run interrogation center at a secret location overseas.

The United States is optimistic, they said, that it disabled terrorist operations al-Qaida was running from Yemen.

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