An Algerian man convicted in a plot to bomb millennium celebrations has told investigators he knew Zacarias Moussaoui from a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, a law enforcement official said.
Ahmed Ressam is cooperating with authorities in an effort to reduce a 130-year prison term for helping a convicted terrorist prepare to bomb Los Angeles International Airport around New Year's Eve 1999.
Ressam has told the FBI that he saw Moussaoui at a training camp they both attended a few years ago, the law enforcement official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, is charged with conspiracy to murder thousands in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks.
Ressam, 34, was arrested two years ago in Port Angeles, Wash., with a trunkload of explosives - apparently intending to bomb the airport, among other targets. He was convicted in April.
Mike Filipovic, Ressam's attorney in Seattle, could not be immediately reached for comment. Jerry Diskin, a government lawyer with the U.S. Attorney's office in Seattle who prosecuted Ressam, declined to comment.
In an indictment against Moussaoui, authorities allege he acted in a similar manner to the hijackers, including getting flight training, inquiring about crop dusting and having connections to the same Hamburg, Germany, terrorist cell frequented by hijacking ringleader Mohamed Atta.
The indictment also linked Moussaoui to Ramzi Binalshibh, an alleged member of the German cell who was roommates with Atta. The FBI believes Binalshibh was meant to be the 20th hijacker.
Binalshibh wired $14,000 to Moussaoui in August when Moussaoui was in Oklahoma. A few days later, Moussaoui paid $6,300 in cash for lessons on a 747 flight simulator. He was detained Aug. 17 on immigration charges after he aroused suspicions by saying he wanted training on landings and takeoffs and not on flying. He was in custody Sept. 11.
There was no evidence cited in the indictment establishing a direct connection between Moussaoui and any hijacker.
By Karen Gullo © MMI The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed