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Detained Man May not Fit Al Qaeda Profile

Aired April 17, 2002 - 15:20   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.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: As the investigation of terrorism continues, so do the arrests, and the discovery of new documents. We are going to our Justice Department correspondent Kelli Arena in Washington D.C. with more on this. Kelli, what can you tell us?

KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, I am following up on the report you heard earlier from Susan Candiotti about an arrest that was made in North Carolina. Actually, it was a person being detained by the INS, his name is Issaya Nombo (ph). His name was found when there were raids done in Al Qaeda safe houses when investigators were looking for any and all clues that would lead them to anyone that maybe connected to the September 11th attacks.

We are told though by sources, that so far, there has been no link made between this man and al Qaeda or any terrorist organization. He was wanted for some criminal activity here in the United States, and is being held on INS violations. Now why was his name found in that safe house?

Well, one assumption investigators are working with is that some members of al Qaeda go through Web sites, and in this case, this man's name does appear on a public Web site, an aviation Web site and as al Qaeda recruiters go through those Web sites, they look for people that they think may be possible recruits, and one assumption is that the list that his name of was found on, was a list of possible recruits.

Now CNN has learned that this fellow is Roman Catholic, which does not fit the profile for what al Qaeda is looking for. He is from Tanzania, and so this very well may turn out to be nothing. He may be held on INS violations, but with no connection to terrorism. Of course the investigation is not closed, the book is not closed on this one, but we just wanted to take a little step back, and say that what sources are telling us, which is that so far, no connection to terrorism or al Qaeda have been made concerning Issaya Nombo. Kyra, back to you.

PHILLIPS: All right, thank you so much, Kelli, for panning that out for us. You are right, we do not want to jump the gun, Kelli Arena, our justice correspondent with the details on that story. We appreciate it.

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