Al Qaeda changing, training, plotting
By CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson and Paul Cruickshank
July 31, 2009
Editor's note: This story is based on interrogation reports that form part of the prosecution case in the forthcoming trial of six Belgian citizens charged with participation in a terrorist group. Versions of those documents were obtained by CNN from the defense attorney of one of those suspects. The statement by Bryant Vinas was compiled from an interview he gave Belgian prosecutors in March 2009 in New York, and was confirmed by U.S. prosecutors as authentic. The statement by Walid Othmani was given to French investigators, and was authenticated by Belgian prosecutors.
(CNN) -- When Bryant Neal Vinas spoke at length with Belgian prosecutors last March, he provided a fascinating and sometimes frightening insight into al Qaeda's training -- and its agenda.
Vinas is a young American who was arrested in Pakistan late in 2008 after allegedly training with al Qaeda in the Afghan-Pakistan border area.
He was repatriated to the United States and in January pled guilty to charges of conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals, providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, and receiving military-type training from a foreign terrorist organization.
In notes made by FBI agents of interviews with Vinas, he admits he went to Pakistan to join al Qaeda and kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
But the terror group appeared to have other ideas for him. He volunteered to become a suicide bomber but was dissuaded at every turn. Read how al Qaeda is now operating
On Thanksgiving weekend last year, shortly after his arrest, much of the New York mass transit system including Penn Station was put on high alert. According to the Belgian prosecutor's document, Vinas had told al Qaeda's command everything he knew about the system.
In his interview with Belgian prosecutors Vinas stated that he met with several members of a Belgian-French group while training in the tribal areas of Pakistan.
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New Taliban code: Don't kill civilians, don't take ransom - Christian Science Monitor
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No Evidence Bin Laden in Pakistan’s Tribal Zone, Minister Says - Bloomberg
The Taliban's Winning Strategy in Afghanistan - Carnegie Endowment