CNN BREAKING NEWS
Software Company Raid, al Qaeda Connection?
Aired December 6, 2002 - 10:12 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Another top story this morning, questions about an al Qaeda connection to a software company near Boston.
Our Kelli Arena has been following this story for us, and she joins us now. She's on the phone, and she's got the very latest for us. She's been working the phones this morning.
Kelli -- what have you learned?
KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the company that we're talking about is Ptech. It is a software provider. And the headline here is the client list -- the U.S. Air Force, the FBI, NATO, the IRS, the Department of Energy, Federal Aviation Administration. This is a company that provided software to a variety of government agencies, and investigators are looking into whether or not the company was financed by an individual who is listed on the U.S. terror watch list, a man by the name of Yasin al-Qadi.
It is illegal, it has been illegal for some time, since September 11, for companies to do business with anyone on this watch list. And so, that's one prong of the investigation.
The other prong of the investigation is the FBI is looking into, according to sources, whether or not this company, through charitable donations, has aided the al Qaeda terrorist network. No definitive conclusions on any front at this time.
Search warrants were executed at midnight last night at the company's headquarters. Computers were downloaded. Investigators going through that forensic evidence as we speak.
But also on the flip side of that, you have several of these U.S. agencies that are going through their databases and going through the software that was provided to them by this company to make sure that that software hasn't been contaminated. There's no evidence -- I have to say -- our sources tell us there is absolutely no evidence that that is the case. But in a situation like this, obviously, there's a great deal of concern.
The White House, all along, according to one official, has been kept in the loop on what was happening, what was taking place. The counterterrorism group at the National Security Council is aware and is being apprised of this as it goes along. The investigation has been pretty active for a couple of weeks, we're told. But these things take time. So, 8it's not clear at this point whether there will be any definitive conclusions to this any time soon. Back to you.
HARRIS: Well, Kelli, one thing, let me ask you, I've also read this morning that this man, al-Qadi, also had some sort of personal and business ties to the Saudi royal family. Have you heard anything at all about that as well?
ARENA: Just that, exactly that, is that there are some ties to the Saudi royal family. But again, a lot of this is very complicated. Investigators are being very cautious about any direct links that they draw in terms of actual criminal activity. And that's what we have to be careful. When we get that for sure, you know, we'll get that to you as quickly as we can. Right now, there's a lot of speculation and a lot of relationships that are being investigated.
HARRIS: Gotcha. Understood. Kelli Arena on the phone with us from Washington -- thanks, Kelli. We'll let you get back to the phones and get back -- we'll check back with you later on.
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