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Washington Post Provides Further Analysis of Case Against Moussaoui

The Washington Post published an article in today's edition that provides more background on the case against Zacarias Moussaoui. The new information disclosed in this article includes the fact that lack of evidence of criminal activity at the time prohibited the FBI from searching a laptop computer that contained information about jetliners, crop-dusters and wind currents.

The article also says that classified French intelligence reports indicated that "Moussaoui had radical Islamic beliefs and identified a friend {of Moussaoui's} as having fought in Chechnya with an Algerian Muslim group that included a known bin Laden associate." But, this information was insufficient to charge him under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which requires evidence that the target is an agent of a foreign power, including organized terrorist groups such as Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network.

This article provides a good illustration of why suspected terrorists may need to be held by the U.S. Government without immediate criminal charges. It was obvious to investigators that Moussaoui was participating in some sort of organized conspiracy, but they did not have enough information to determine the nature of the conspiracy at the time. Unfortunately, after September 11 it became clear that he was involved in the coordinated terrorist attacks.

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