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Report: Leaks to Media Forced Premature Arrest of Suspect With PM-Trade Center Bombing, Bjt

March 5, 1993

NEW YORK (AP) _ Leaks to a newspaper forced the premature arrest of a suspect in the World Trade Center bombing, The New York Times reported today.

After learning that Mohammed A. Salameh had rented the van believed to have held the bomb, federal agents placed him under surveillance Wednesday in the hope he would lead them to others involved in the attack, the Times said.

But on Thursday, New York Newsday, quoting unidentified sources, reported that federal agents had traced the van to a Ryder dealership in Jersey City, N.J.

Fearing the Newsday story would cause Salameh to flee, federal agents lured him back to the Ryder office Thursday morning by having a Ryder employee call to say he could collect his deposit on the van, the Times said, quoting unidentified investigators. He was arrested shortly after he left the office.

Newsday’s New York editor, Don Forst, said the FBI and city police knew by 6 p.m. Wednesday of the newspaper’s plans to publish the article and offered no objections. He also said no complaints were received after it appeared.

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