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Captured al-Qa'eda man was FBI spy
By David Rennie in Washington
(Filed: 23/06/2003)

The American al-Qa'eda operative unmasked last week as having planned to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge was first detained in March, and has been used by the FBI for months as a double agent, it was reported yesterday.

 
Iyman Faris

US authorities waited until last week to announce a plea bargain struck with Iyman Faris, a Pakistani-born lorry driver ordered to scout out terror targets, including the New York landmark.

They did not say that Faris, who was also ordered to study ultralight aircraft, and the possibility of derailing a train into a chemical storage facility in Washington, had been under FBI control for months.

Justice Department officials told Time magazine that Faris was secretly detained about two weeks after the dramatic capture on March 1 in Pakistan of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, al-Qa'eda's chief of operations.

Installed in a safe house in Virginia, Faris sent messages to his terrorist commanders by mobile phone and email. "He was sitting in the safe house making calls for us. It was a huge triumph," a senior Bush administration official told Time.

After pleading guilty to offering material support to al-Qa'eda, Faris will be sentenced in August. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

20 June 2003: Plot to destroy Brooklyn Bridge
22 May 2003: Al-Qa'eda 'getting ready to strike back'
2 March 2003: September 11 mastermind held
8 February 2003: Bush raises US alert over al-Qa'eda attack
7 October 2002: FBI watches hundreds of Muslims
11 September 2002: US on high alert for anniversary of September 11

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External links  
 
Federal Bureau of Investigation
 
Triple life of al-Qa'eda man [22 Jun '03] - Time Magazine
 
Office of the Attorney General - US Department of Justice
 
Department of Homeland Security - The White House
 
Brooklyn Bridge - Gary Feuerstein