Ashcroft - More than 480 have been detained in terrorist probe

Friday, September 28, 2001

Associated Press WriterWASHINGTON (AP) -- Authorities investigating the terrorist attacks have arrested or detained more than 480 people, Attorney General John Ashcroft said Friday.

Ashcroft disclosed the numbers after releasing a document left behind by the hijackers. He said it provided "a shocking and disturbing view into the mindsets" of those responsible.

FBI Director Robert Mueller made clear the investigation is focusing on more than one group associated with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network. "One should not focus on one individual, but on a series of networks across the world," he said.

Ashcroft added, "We have not ruled out the participation of other individuals and other organizations in this attack."

Mueller said investigators have had substantial cooperation from other countries in tracking the movements of the hijackers. He said authorities have began to put together a picture of how the attacks were planned and completed but "the picture is nowhere near fully painted."

Ashcroft said the document left behind by the hijackers contained instructions for before and during the flights as well as numerous religious references.

He said those references were "a stark reminder of how these hijackers grossly perverted the Islamic faith to justify their terroristic acts."

The FBI released photographs of the 19 suspected hijackers on Thursday, a move that was designed to bring in information from people who may have seen the men before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Ashcroft called the release of the photos part of a "national neighborhood watch," while Mueller acknowledged that questions remained about whether an accompanying list contained the true names of the 19.

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