Phone Call, Letter, Bomb Formula Tied to Trade Center Suspect
NEW YORK (AP) _ A man who once worked with a suspect in the World Trade Center bombing identified his coworker’s voice as the one that claimed responsibility for the blast in a taped telephone call to a newspaper hot line.
Sean O’Leary testified Thursday that the voice on the Daily News’ news tip line a day after the Feb. 26 bombing was that of defendant Nidal Ayyad of Maplewood, N.J.
Ayyad, 26, is one of four men on trial in the blast that killed six people and injured 1,000.
O’Leary, a senior research technician at AlliedSignal Inc., said he listened to the tape and recognized the voice as Ayyad’s, with whom he worked the night shift for three months at their company.
On the tape, played in the courtroom, the caller said: ″Hi. This is the Liberation Army. We conducted the explosion at the World Trade Center. You will get our demand by mail.″
O’Leary said he had not worked with Ayyad regularly for more than a year but that he was sure the voice on the tape belonged to the defendant.
Prosecutors also tried to link Ayyad to a letter sent to The New York Times claiming responsibility for the bombing.
Several days after the telephone message was left, the letter to the Times said the bombing was ″in response for the American political, economical, and military support to Israel the state of terrorism and to the rest of the dictator countries in the region.″
In his opening argument, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gilmore Childers said the letter was found on Ayyad’s computer discs at work.
It demanded the United States end all aid to Israel and get out of Middle East politics. If the demands were not met, the letter threatened that the fifth battalion in the Liberation Army would ″execute our missions against military and civilians targets in and out (of) the United States.″
It said more than 150 ″suicidal soldiers″ were ready to act.
Also Thursday, another co-worker of Ayyad at AlliedSignal in Morristown, N.J., testified that Ayyad named some of the bomb’s ingredients as the pair theorized a week after the bombing about how such an explosive would be made.
Joseph Bettano testified that Ayyad took a piece of scrap paper and ″wrote down a little formula″ that included nitrate and sulfuric acid, two alleged components of the bomb.