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Background: Tracking Terror

September 16, 2002 at 12:00 AM EDT

MARGARET WARNER: This weekend saw two major developments in the anti- terror campaign. On Friday came news of the arrest of a senior al-Qaida operative and a dozen other militants in Karachi, Pakistan. Today that operative, Ramzi Binalshibh, was transferred to U.S. custody, along with four other al-Qaida suspects. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld spoke today about the significance of the arrests.

DONALD RUMSFELD: Each of these things you read about in the newspaper from time to time, not only is what it is, but it is a part of that broader pressure, and the difficulties that are being imposed on terrorist networks around the world. And it ought to be thought of in that context. It’s important.

REPORTER: Would this capture also perhaps provide the U.S. with some valuable information, do you think?

DONALD RUMSFELD: An awful lot of the ones we pick up do; they provide it by whatever they have in or around them, the people that were with them, what they say, what they don’t say, how they handle themselves. No, we’ve gathered an awful lot of information that’s made life an awful lot more difficult for an awful lot of folks.

MARGARET WARNER: On Saturday, in a federal courthouse in Lackawanna, New York, five young Americans of Yemeni descent were charged with providing “material support” for al-Qaida. A sixth man arrested over the weekend in Bahrain was arraigned on similar charges today. On Saturday, Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson outlined the charges against them.

LARRY THOMPSON: According to the complaint, two members of the al-Qaida- trained Buffalo cell have confirmed that they and six of their associates attended the al-Faruq training camp near Kandahar in June of 2001. At the Faruq camp, the complaint charges, these individuals received weapons training, including the training in the use of Russian assault rifles, handguns, and long-range rifles. While they were at the camp, Osama bin Laden visited and delivered a speech, instructing the approximately 200 trainees in anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiment, as well as al-Qaida doctrine.