Al Qaeda Big Fingers Moussaoui

An al Qaeda leader in U.S. custody has linked suspected Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui directly to the alleged mastermind of the attacks, The Washington Post reports.

Ramzi Binalshibh told interrogators that Moussaoui met with Khalid Sheik Mohammad in Afghanistan in the winter of 2000, the Post reported Wednesday, citing unidentified sources familiar with the interrogation. Mohammed is believed to be al Qaeda's director of operations.

Mohammed provided Moussaoui with names of contacts in the United States, and Binalshibh gave him an e-mail address and wired him money to advance the plot, the Post said Binalshibh told interrogators.

Moussaoui's attempts to call Binalshibh as a defense witness in his conspiracy trial could be complicated by the admissions. Moussaoui has acknowledged in court that he is a member of al Qaeda but has denied being part of the Sept. 11 plot.

Binalshibh told investigators that he and Mohammed ultimately lost confidence in Moussaoui's discretion and decided to use him in the hijack plot only as a last resort, sources told the Post.

Binalshibh's disclosures are significant beyond the Moussaoui case because he is also revealing information about Mohammed, a top al Qaeda leader who is still at large, the Post said.

Binalshibh, a Yemeni, was captured in Pakistan two months ago. He lived with lead hijacker Mohamed Atta in Germany. He tried and failed to obtain a visa to enter the United States several times in what authorities have said may have been a bid to become one of the hijackers in the Sept. 11 plot.

He boasted of his role in supplying money and logistical support to the 19 hijackers in an interview he and Mohammed gave the al-Jazeera television network.