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Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Ressam provided detailed information on terror suspects

Seattle Times staff reporter

Ahmed Ressam, the Algerian convicted of planning a year 2000 terrorist attack on the U.S., has provided federal agents with detailed information on individuals "identified as significant players in al-Qaida and other terrorist networks," according to documents filed in court yesterday.

All told, the 37-year-old Ressam provided information on more than 100 people, according to documents his lawyers submitted in court in preparation for his sentencing later this month.

Ressam, who was arrested in Port Angeles on Dec. 14, 1999, with a car loaded with bomb-making material, was convicted in May 2001 of conspiracy to commit an act of international terrorism and eight other related counts.

Facing up to 130 years in prison for a plan to set off a powerful suitcase bomb at the Los Angeles International Airport, Ressam agreed to cooperate in exchange for a 27-year prison sentence.

His attorneys have said in the past that information from Ressam has proved so valuable, particularly since the Sept. 11 attacks, that he deserves additional time off his sentence.

Federal public defender Thomas Hillier, reached yesterday, declined to discuss the defense strategy for the April 27 sentencing.

However, defense documents filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Seattle lay out in general terms the scope of Ressam's cooperation. Sealed attachments detail that cooperation. The attachments were sealed to allow prosecutors time to decide what portions they believe should remain out of public view.

Telephone messages left at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle were not immediately returned yesterday evening.

The defense documents name only one individual Ressam has talked about — Abu Doha, the man Ressam claims led the Algerian section of the Afghan terrorist training. Doha, who lives in London, was indicted by a New York grand jury a month after the Sept. 11 attacks in connection with the millennium plot.

Between Ressam's conviction in May 2001 and April 2003, the documents say, he spent more than 200 hours in interviews and an additional 65 providing depositions or trial testimony. He has been interviewed by agents from Canada, Spain, Great Britain, Germany and Italy, the defense said.

While not mentioned specifically in the documents, Ressam provided U.S. prosecutors with key information in the prosecution of Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker and the only man indicted in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks. Ressam has told investigators that Moussaoui was at a training camp in Afghanistan while he was there, sources have previously confirmed.

Over months of interrogations, the documents state, Ressam gave agents information on everything from the location of other terrorist cells to individuals planning terrorist attacks. He provided an inside look at terrorist recruitment, codes, explosives, ideology and security, the documents claim.

"In short," it concludes, "he provided everything he knew."

Mike Carter: 206-464-3706 or mcarter@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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