Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Transcript: Announcing Indictment of U.S. Citizen for Treason, Material Support Charges for Providing Aid, Comfort to Al Qaeda

10/11/2006 7:32:00 PM

To: National Desk

Contact: U.S. Department of Justice, 202-514-2008;
202-514-1888 (TDD); Web: http://WWW.USDOJ.GOV

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Transcript of
press conference announcing indictment of U.S. Citizen
for treason and material support charges for providing
aid and comfort to Al Qaeda:

4:10 P.M. EDT

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL McNULTY: Good afternoon. I'm
Paul McNulty, Deputy Attorney General. With me on
stage are Willie Hulon, Executive Assistant Director
of the FBI for National Security; Debra Wong Yang,
U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California;
and Joe D. Morton, Director of Diplomatic Security
Services for the U.S. Department of State.

Today in Santa Ana, California, a federal grand jury
issued an indictment against Adam Gadahn, also known
as Azzam al-Amriki, on charges of treason and
providing material support to a foreign terrorist
organization, namely, al Qaeda.

A charge of treason is exceptionally severe, and it is
not one we bring lightly. In fact, Mr. Gadahn is the
first person to be charged with treason against the
United States since the World War II era. But this is
the right case for this charge. I want to put his
actions into context to be perfectly clear on why we
have decided to make this extremely serious charge.

Adam Gadahn is an American citizen who made a choice.
He chose to join our enemy and to provide it with aid
and comfort by acting as a propagandist for al Qaeda.
Terrorists create fear and intimidation through
extreme violence. They want Americans to live and walk
in fear. They want to demoralize us. That's why
propaganda is so important to them, and why
facilitating that propaganda is such an egregious
crime.

According to the indictment, Mr. Gadahn appeared in a
series of al Qaeda videos broadcast in the United
States and elsewhere between October 2004 and
September 2006, just last month. In these videos, Mr.
Gadahn acknowledged that he had joined al Qaeda and
declared that "the streets of America shall run red
with blood. Casualties will be too many to count, and
the next wave of attacks may come at any moment."

The videotaped messages praised the terror attacks of
September 11, threatened violence against the families
of American soldiers and other civilians, and called
on American soldiers to join al Qaeda. In one message,
Mr. Gadahn described the September 11 attacks as "the
blessed raids on New York and Washington." And he said
of his terrorist confederates, "We love nothing better
than the heart of battle, the echo of explosions, and
the slitting of throats of the infidels."

Adam Gadahn is 28 years old, and his last known
address was Orange County, California. He is now a
fugitive, and is believed to be living overseas.

We are also announcing today that Mr. Gadahn is being
added to the FBI Most Wanted Terrorist list, and a
reward is being issued for information leading to his
arrest. Joe Morton will have more information on that
for you in just a moment.

Now, this investigation is a collaboration between the
United States Attorney's Office in the Central
District of California, led by Debra Yang, and the
Justice Department's Criminal Division under the
leadership of Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher.
Responsibility for the Criminal Division's work in
this prosecution has now been transferred to the
Department's newly created National Security Division.
I'd like to acknowledge the outstanding work and
deduction of the FBI in this case.

The crime of treason is perhaps the most serious
offense for which any person can be tried under our
constitution. It is not a crime only against the
American people, but against America itself. Today's
indictment should serve as notice that the United
States will protect itself against all enemies,
foreign and domestic. The Department of Justice will
use every tool at our disposal in our mission to
protect Americans. Betrayal of our country will bring
severe consequences.

I'd now like to call on the individuals on this stage
to make a brief statement, beginning with U.S.
Attorney Debra Yang.

MS. YANG: Good afternoon. The charges returned by the
federal grand jury in Santa Ana, California today
reflect the seriousness of the crimes committed by
Adam Gadahn and the commitment with which the United
States of America will pursue any individual who
actively endorses terrorism.

As demonstrated in the series of five videotapes that
are described in the indictment, Gadahn has become the
trusted ally and associate of al Qaeda's leaders,
serving as the terrorist group's spokesperson and
advocate. By aligning himself with al Qaeda, by moving
overseas to be closer to al Qaeda's base and
leadership, and by joining and advocating al Qaeda's
terrorist agenda, an agenda that includes the
overthrow of the United States government and the
murder of American citizens, Adam Gadahn has committed
treason against the United States of America.

The charges returned today by a federal grand jury
demonstrate that the criminal justice system will not
sit passively while a United States citizen engages in
such activities. Thank you.

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL McNULTY: Thank you, Debra.

Will Hulon is the Executive Assistant Director of the
FBI for National Security.

MR. HULON: Thank you, Paul. Good afternoon. Following
Adam Gadahn's indictment for treason and material
support to terrorism, he was added today to the FBI's
Most Wanted Terrorists list. Gadahn is considered a
high value target which puts him high on the FBI's
radar screen. This intense exposure limits Gadahn's
operational ability, but he still poses a different
kind of threat as a communicator for al Qaeda.

The FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement
partners and intelligence partners, sharing
information and coordinating investigations, as well
as investigating all leads provided by the public, to
locate Gadahn and to prevent future terrorist attacks.

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL McNULTY: And finally, Director
Joe Morton from the Diplomatic Security Service.

MR. MORTON: Thank you, Paul. Today the State
Department announces that our Rewards for Justice
program will pay up to $1 million for information
leading to the apprehension of Adam Gadahn, an
American believed to be a prominent member of the al
Qaeda organization.

Secretary Rice said recently, "We face an enemy that
wantonly kills civilians, not as collateral damage but
as target of their attacks. We as a civilized world
have an obligation to work on how we are going to
fight the war on terrorism and to come up with
solutions." Rewards for Justice is part of that
solution.

The Rewards program has been and will continue to be
one of the most valuable U.S. government assets in the
fight against international terrorism. Rewards for
Justice has paid more than $62 million to over 40
individuals whose information led to the prevention of
terrorist attacks against the United States or
conviction of terrorists attempting to carry out such
acts. The Rewards program has led directly to the
capture of Ramsey Yousef, as well the location of Uday
and Qusay Hussein in Iraq. It has also been an
effective tool in combating drug traffickers in
Colombia and terrorists in the Philippines.

Terrorism continues to threaten the security of all
people, and our determination to fight it is greater
than ever. We ask for your assistance. We encourage
anyone with information that may lead to Gadahn's
apprehension to contact the State Department's Rewards
for Justice Program.

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL McNULTY: I'll now be happy to
answer any questions you might have. Yes?

QUESTION: The indictment says that in a 2005 video, he
makes some that L.A. and Melbourne will be next. How
credible do you consider these threats?

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL McNULTY: I'm not in a position
to assess the credibility of those threats. I don't
have any information on that point.

QUESTION: Is there any evidence that Gadahn was
involved in actual plotting or execution of attacks,
or do you believe he was solely on the propaganda
videos?

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL McNULTY: To the best of my
knowledge, it's propaganda. I don't have any evidence,
or information, I should say, regarding involvement in
planning other attacks. If we did have that
information, I probably would not be able to provide
it in this way in this setting. But I'm not aware of
that investigation.

QUESTION: The constitution has quite a high threshold
of how to prove treason. It includes two witnesses
against the person. Do you have such witnesses? And
what other information do you have that these
statements that were made on these videotapes were not
coerced or were other people's words, or what other
witnesses do you have?

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL McNULTY: Well, you're right.
The charges of treason are very serious, and it is a
significant bar to get over in terms of bringing those
charges. We wouldn't be here announcing these charges
today if we weren't confident that we had the evidence
to support the elements of the offense that are
associated with the charge of treason. And as you
mentioned, the two-witness rule is one of the critical
elements of that charge.

It is our practice not to discuss at great length our
evidence at the time we announce charges. But I will
say that we are very confident about the satisfaction
of the standard of the two-witness rule, the least of
which the fact that these messages have been broadcast
into the United States on video repeatedly, and that a
number of individuals would be in a position to be
able to identify Adam Gadahn.

But again, we understand our burden. We have to meet a
burden that includes a number of elements in addition
to the two-witness rule to show that there has been
aid and comfort given to the enemy and adherence to
the enemy. And the elements will be met if and when we
have the opportunity to present our case in court.

QUESTION: Previous indictments against him have
remained sealed. This one obviously is not. I wonder
if you could explain to us your thinking in keeping
the previous indictments against him sealed and making
this one public.

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL McNULTY: Well, this case
involves a building of information and evidence
against the defendant. We had a videotape in October
of 2004; then one on September 11, 2005; then July 7,
2006, the anniversary of the London bombings; another
one in September; and then another one in September.
So there is a pattern here of more videos, and it has
been building up. We've had three this year.

In addition to that, the evidence has been getting
stronger. In the most recent videos, we have had
unmasking of the defendant, revealing identity,
strengthening the government's case. This has also
strengthened our ability in considering the treason
charge. In each video, we find ourselves in a position
of going back to the indictment and having to
essentially rewrite the indictment to add the
additional evidence that supports the treason charge.

When you take all of that and the building case of the
evidence coming in and the more recent videos,
combined with now in the last 30 days the decision to
have an up to $1 million award, and to put him on the
Most Wanted list, it creates a circumstance where it's
time now to get the message out in order to get this
person in our custody, perhaps to find the assistance
that we need, and also to send a message that this
kind of conduct will be met with the toughest charges
that we can bring to discourage anybody else who might
be tempted to respond to his invitation to betray
America and to join al Qaeda.

QUESTION: Do you believe every video leads you closer
to finding him if there are all kinds of things you
can look into background in his messages? And do you
believe he's in Pakistan?

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL McNULTY: I didn't mean to
suggest, if you heard anything in that way, that
something about the video leads us to understanding
more about him. I'm not in a position to say anything
about that. And I'm not sure -- let me check -- we
believe he's in Pakistan, but we're not positive of
it.

QUESTION: When the Agency and the FBI analyze these
videos, usually there's things that they see that
maybe, you know, the general public doesn't see. Do
you believe that every video may lead you a little
closer to finding him?

MR. HULON: Yes. Actually, any time we have an
opportunity to examine evidence or information, we're
looking for clues there. And as we look at these, we
do look for clues that would identify where this
person might be or give us some indications of, you
know, more evidence that would lead us to his
location.

QUESTION: The sealing of the earlier indictments and
the unsealing of the current indictment now is
undoubtedly going to fuel suspicions that the
announcement here was timed to influence an election
less than four weeks away in which national security
is going to be a big issue. I was wondering if you can
address that.

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL McNULTY: Well, I'll go back to
what I was saying to Terry, that the timing of this
case fits the circumstances we face. There would be no
good justification to delay this indictment when we
have seen the building nature of these videos, and the
fact that we have the award now. The award would not
do us much good if this was kept secret.

We felt that once we had the most recent video and now
a broader base of evidence, we had thoroughly analyzed
the nature of the treason charge, applied all the
facts in this case to the law in this area, we were in
a position to go to the grand jury and seek an
indictment. Once we went to the grand jury to seek
that indictment, and again having some incentive for
cooperation, that we wanted to get this word out as
soon as possible. That's in the best interests of the
American people to do that.

QUESTION: When exactly was the original indictment?

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL McNULTY: I'll come back to you
in a second.

QUESTION: If you don't have any information that he's
been involved in actual plots or actual attacks, what
kind of threat does this person actually represent? I
mean, you've had people who have actually been
involved in attacks in the past but have not faced
what he's facing now with this indictment. Can you
explain what kind of threat he represents?

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL McNULTY: We have an American
citizen here, and that's a distinction from other
cases where you might talk about individuals who have
been involved in attacks. We have an American citizen,
and element of the offense for treason.

The significance of the propaganda part should not be
underestimated. If you look at the cases in this area
going back to the World War II era, the broadcast
cases, which was a category of cases in itself, about
five of them, this is a very significant piece of the
way an enemy does business, to demoralize the troops,
to encourage the spread of fear. And in fact, when you
add terrorism to this equation, in contrast to the
World War II enemy, where terrorism by its nature
seeks to intimidate in order to affect government
policy, the propaganda portion is especially
significant. And the fact again we have a U.S. citizen
who has betrayed the country, according to the
charges, the allegations, and joined up with this
enemy to communicate that fear, it brings a lot of
different factors together and makes it suitable for
treason.

Did you have a follow-up?

QUESTION: Can you just clarify, when was the original
indictment? When was that first sealed indictment?

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL McNULTY: We're going to have
to get that for you. I don't think I know that off the
top of my head.

QUESTION: Do you believe he has no value for
intelligence, and is that why you're not considering
him an enemy combatant but instead a treasonous
criminal?

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL McNULTY: Well, I can't comment
on what value he might have in one setting or another.
But from the Department of Justice perspective, we
have enough evidence to bring the charges that we're
bringing today, and that's the consideration that this
represents. Yes?

QUESTION: When Attorney General Ashcroft and Director
Mueller announced this, they said that he was involved
in translations for al Qaeda. Is there information
that this was propaganda work, or was this documents
that they were seeking to translate for an attack
plan? Is there anything anybody can provide us?

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL McNULTY: I don't have any more
information on that. Do you have something on that?

MR. HULON: Actually, the original reporting that was
reported was that he was doing translations for al
Qaeda, which were the translations that he did for the
videos. And you could see that some of the text was in
Arabic and then some of the language was English. So
that's the explanation for the translations. It's
actually for the communications network.

QUESTION: How? Were there documents recovered overseas
in safe house or something?

MR. HULON: That was in regards to the videotapes that
were broadcast.

QUESTION: Are the videotapes the only evidence that
you have at this point?

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL McNULTY: Well, I will refer
you to the indictment, which lays out essentially
where we are on this. And it focuses on all the
information in the videotapes, yes.

QUESTION: Right. There's nothing other?

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL McNULTY: Nothing other than
those videotapes. That's right.

QUESTION: You mentioned this evidence as building over
a period of time. What was the tipping point in your
mind?

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL McNULTY: Well, right. I think
the fact that we had two broadcasts in September, so
within the past month, just over the past month. We're
one month today from the last video. We had two of
those videos. And the investigation took a real turn
with that because we again had the unveiling. We had
stronger support for the analysis that we were doing
in this case. And we came to a point where we could
make a final decision on whether or not we believe
that treason would be an appropriate charge. So these
last two videos combined, and in that frequency, led
us to believe that we need to move on this at this
point.

MODERATOR: We'll take one more question.

QUESTION: Paul, would you address the question of
what's going on in New York City before you leave, you
or Mr. Hulon? What evidence, if any, do you have that
there's any possible connection to terrorism? How much
deaths do you know about? What can you tell us about
what's going on?

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL McNULTY: Well, based upon the
information I received just before I walked into this
room, we still have no evidence to suggest that this
is connected to an act of terrorism. It appears to be
at this point, again based upon the evidence that
we're aware of, a very tragic aviation incident. And
there are investigators, including the FBI's JTTF and
the New York City police, on the scene gathering
evidence. And we'll continue to monitor the situation.

Thank you.

http://www.usnewswire.com/

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/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

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