• United States



by Jon Surmacz

Records Show Man in LAX Plot Gave U.S. Key Terrorist Details

Apr 27, 20052 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Defense Calls for Leniency… Algerian expatriate Ahmed Ressam, who was arrested for taking a lead role in a foiled plan to detonate a suitcase bomb at Los Angeles International Airport, is scheduled to be sentenced today. U.S. District Judge John Coughenour has to weigh the prosecution’s evidence that Ressam planned to commit a “heinous” act, versus the defense argument that the defendant has played a valuable role in helping U.S. counterterrorism officials.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Ressam is credited with giving counterterrorism officials several leads, including the names and job descriptions of several terrorist leaders such as Abu Musab Zarqawi, Abu Doha and Zacarias Moussaoui. Ressam also provided information, prior to 9/11, about how Al Qaeda might attack the United States. That information was included in the infamous briefing paper titled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike U.S.“.

Prosecutors argue that although Ressam has been cooperative in the past, he has gone silent more recently and has stalled investigations of other potential terrorists. In a memo to the judge, prosecutors wrote: “Ressam’s solemn and intended goal was to wreak destruction – on lives, on structures and on the nation. His sentence should be an unfaltering response to that heinous goal.”

Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of more than 35 years. The defense suggests the sentence be no more than 12 years. Ressam was apprehended by U.S. Customs officials after he drove a rented Chevrolet off a ferry from Canada to Port Angeles, Wash. There were enough explosives hidden in the trunk of the vehicle to down a small building or kill hundreds of airport travelers, experts said.