Moussaoui Linked to Terrorist Camp
By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 15, 2001; Page A22
Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian man convicted in a terrorist bombing plot, has provided key information to the Justice Department about the Sept. 11 hijackings, including identifying Zacarias Moussaoui as a fellow terrorist-in-training at an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan, officials said yesterday.
Ressam told U.S. investigators that he recognized Moussaoui from photos shown to him by U.S. authorities, and he said they attended the Khalden training camp together three years ago, sources said. Although French intelligence authorities had told their U.S. counterparts that Moussaoui was a suspected al Qaeda associate, the information was sketchy and lacked the details provided by Ressam, sources said.
Allegations about attendance at the camp formed a crucial part of an indictment handed up Tuesday against Moussaoui, the first person to be charged with conspiring in the Sept. 11 hijacking plot. Ressam's help in the case was first reported yesterday by the Seattle Times.
As a result of Ressam's cooperation since Sept. 11, Justice Department prosecutors are considering whether to recommend a further reduction in his sentence, officials said.
Ressam was convicted on terrorism charges earlier this year for planning to detonate a powerful suitcase bomb at Los Angeles International Airport on New Year's Eve 1999. He was stopped at the Canadian border in December of that year in Port Angeles, Wash., where officials discovered explosives in his car.
Ressam could be sentenced to up to 130 years in prison. He already provided information to authorities about three alleged associates in the millennium bombing plot.
Lawrence Lincoln, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Seattle, which prosecuted the Ressam case, declined to comment on Ressam's involvement in the Sept. 11 investigation. Federal public defender Thomas Hillier, whose office represents Ressam, did not return a telephone message left at his Seattle office yesterday.