They want to make 9/11 just the prelude. From AP, :
WASHINGTON – An al-Qaida terror suspect detained in England was sent to the United States in early 2001 by the principal architect of the Sept. 11 suicide hijackings to perform surveillance on economic targets in New York, according to U.S. officials and government interviews with other captured terror suspects.
They said the suspect claimed he has associates in America, possibly in California.
Abu Eisa al-Hindi was arrested in a roundup last week in Britain along with 11 others.
The disclosure that al-Hindi also was known as Issa al-Britani provides tantalizing details that further link al-Hindi to recent Bush administration warnings about possible terror attacks against U.S. financial buildings in New York, Washington and Newark, N.J.
It also has spurred a furious investigation in New York and elsewhere to trace al-Hindi’s travels in the United States and to try to identify his associates during the American period.
“They’re looking pretty hard to find anyone in the United States who might be part of this network, but they haven’t found anyone so far who’s still here,” Vince Cannistraro, a former CIA counterterror chief, said Saturday.
The FBI believes al-Hindi may have had two collaborators helping perform the reconnaissance, said a high-ranking law enforcement official familiar with the investigation.
U.S. counterterror officials have said previously that they believe al-Hindi, known by dozens of aliases, was the author of documents describing surveillance at U.S. financial buildings during 2000 and 2001. The documents, written in fluent English, were found among a trove of papers, computer files, sketches and photographs recovered during mid-July raids in Pakistan.
The FBI and city detectives on a federal terrorism task force are looking for witnesses with information about al-Hindi’s time in New York, the law enforcement official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation.