The attorney general said the footage of the five men, four of whom have been tentatively identified, was found in the bombed out remains of a Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan.
During a press briefing today, Ashcroft showed the tapes without the sound, saying they “depict young men delivering what appear to be martyrdom messages from suicide terrorists.”
Ashcroft said the men could be anywhere in the world, but probably not in the United States. He called on people worldwide to help “identify, locate and incapacitate terrorists who are suspected of planning additional attacks against innocent civilians.”
The men are tentatively identified as Abd Al-Rahim, Muhammad Sa’id Ali Hasan, Ramzi Binalshibh and Khalid Ibn Muhammad Al-Juhani. A fifth man has not be identified.
Binalshibh has been named as a co-conspirator in the indictment against Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person charged thus far in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks at the Pentagon and World Trade Center.
Ashcroft said an analysis of the audio suggests “the men may be trained and prepared to commit future suicide terrorist acts.” According to the government, the men did not name specific targets.
The images depicted from the tapes range from one very subdued man to a man smiling and kissing his gun. The pictures and videos are available on the FBI web site:http://www.fbi.gov.
While the audio tracks have not been released to the public, Ashcroft said he does not believe they contain any hidden messages. The administration has previously requested that tapes from Osama bin Laden and other suspected terrorists not be played publicly in case they contain hidden messages to followers.
FBI Director Robert Mueller said he hoped the public will heed the call to report any information because “every piece of information is potentially valuable… The principle is simple — an informed and alert public works.”
The videos were found amidst rubble at the former home of Mohammad Atef, who was reportedly killed by a U.S. airstrike in November. He was believed to have been Osama bin Laden’s military chief and was indicted in the United States for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
FBI Director Robert Mueller said the video came “from a trove of valuable information” discovered within Afghanistan.