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Abu Zubaydah Captured

Aired April 1, 2002 - 14:18   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: We've had significant developments here. There was a raid and 50 people -- about 50 people were arrested in Pakistan with the help of the Pakistani police. One of them is now confirmed to be one of the highest-ranking -- now the highest ranking al Qaeda member U.S. custody. His name is Abu Zubaydah.

And we're going to go to CNN's Kelli Arena out in Virginia right now. She's our Justice Department correspondent. Kelli, this is pretty significant news.

KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is, Carol. A high-level U.S. government official has confirmed for CNN that he is indeed in U.S. hands, handed over by the Pakistani government.

Now, it was believed that Zubaydah is the operational head of al Qaeda. And we are told that -- big surprise, he is not cooperating with U.S. officials at this point. But it is quite a coup, because one would assume that he has information regarding any operations that are being planned by al Qaeda. He may also know where Osama bin Laden is located.

Again, I must emphasize that he's not cooperating, but this is one of the highest-ranking al Qaeda officials that the U.S. has in its custody. So yes, a very big development.

LIN: All right. And how are they expecting to extract any information from him if he's not cooperating? What method would they use?

ARENA: Well, you know, that remains to be seen. They have had people in custody, for example, Zacarias Moussaoui, who is facing the death penalty, and he has yet to cooperate. It's a very difficult challenge. You know, there's the challenge of not only locating and gaining custody of al Qaeda members, but it's getting them to talk. And unfortunately, the government has not had much success. There really is not much you can do, Carol, once you have them, if a person is not going to talk.

We saw some detainees that the U.S. has in custody in Guantanamo Bay going on hunger strikes, and the U.S. officials giving them intravenous nutrients to try to keep them healthy and get them to talk. And it just seems that nothing works. So that's anyone's guess, Carol.

LIN: All right, but he is in U.S. custody. Thank you very much, Kelli Arena, for breaking that news for us.

ARENA: You're welcome.

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