US Finishes Probe Of
911 Financing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Investigators following the money trail in the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States have traced more than $325,000 via credit card receipts, ATM withdrawals and other transactions connected to the 19 suspected hijackers, The Washington Post reported on Monday.
The newspaper said the money was transferred to the hijacking teams from associates in the United Arab Emirates and a handful of other countries including Pakistan and Germany. Investigators believe the rest of the expenditures for the $500,000 operation were made in cash, the report said.
The Post said the central financial figure in the investigation has been identified by U.S. prosecutors as Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, a fugitive believed to be al Qaeda's finance chief.
Al-Hawsawi allegedly transferred most of the money used to pay for the hijackers' pilot training, living expenses and airline tickets in the United States, law enforcement officials told the newspaper. The report said al-Hawsawi disappeared in Karachi, Pakistan shortly before the attacks.
The Post said investigators were still uncertain about the origins of the $500,000 used to plan and carry out the Sept. 11 attacks. But it cited U.S. intelligence officials as saying Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network has raised money through a variety of means, including credit card fraud, diamond trafficking and the sale of honey.
Bin Laden and his al Qaeda network have been blamed for the attacks using hijacked airliners in which about 3,000 people were killed.
Officials told the Post that the financial probe also turned up a number of important patterns in the suspected hijackers' spending that could provide warning signs of other plots. Investigators declined to describe those patterns, but told the newspaper that major U.S. banks are cooperating in efforts to search for them elsewhere in the financial system.
The Post said the findings by investigators at the U.S. Treasury Department, U.S. Justice Department, FBI and other federal agencies concluded the first phase of the government's effort to map the financial backing for the Sept. 11 plot.
Authorities now have turned their attention to the global web of individuals and organizations suspected of providing money and financial cover for al Qaeda, the newspaper said.
"In terms of the 19 or 20 individuals and the money they spent in the United States, we've wound down pretty well in terms of identifying the records we're going to identify," a senior Justice Department official told the Post. "In terms of a more global investigation, and putting together a more comprehensive profile of what happened in Germany and elsewhere, we're just getting started."

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