New Charge Against Shoe Bomb Suspect
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The government will announce an indictment against alleged shoe bomber Richard Reid with an additional charge, law enforcement sources said Wednesday.
The London-born man accused of trying to light explosives hidden in his sneakers on a flight from Paris in December is being held in Plymouth, Mass., on charges of interfering with a flight crew.
One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the new charge would make clear that Reid was attempting to blow up the American Airlines jetliner on the flight scheduled to end in Miami. This official declined to be more specific.
Law enforcement sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said an indictment against Reid would be filed in Boston on Wednesday.
Reid’s court-appointed defense attorney, Tamar Birckhead, did not immediately return a call for comment. The U.S. attorney’s office in Boston refused to confirm that an indictment was imminent.
The indictment would come the day after the government filed a criminal complaint charging American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh with conspiring to kill Americans. Lindh fought alongside the Taliban and admitted in interviews with the FBI that he met Osama bin Laden and trained at terrorism camps in Afghanistan.
One U.S. official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Reid may be an al-Qaida target scout known as ``Abdul Ra’uff.″
Reid’s travels match those of an al-Qaida operative known as Abdul Ra’uff, which are listed in a computer obtained in Afghanistan by a Wall Street Journal reporter. The similarities in the two’s movements in Europe and the Middle East have led investigators to suspect they are the same person.
Reid is accused of trying to blow up the American Airlines flight on Dec. 22. He was overpowered by flight attendants and passengers as he allegedly tried to light a fuse protruding from his sneakers.
Reid converted to Islam while in prison for petty crimes. He later worshipped at the same south London mosque as Zacarias Moussaoui, charged with conspiracy in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
FBI agent Margaret G. Cronin testified in late December that Reid was carrying ``functioning improvised explosives, or, in layman’s terms, a homemade bomb.″
She said an explosives expert concluded that if the sneakers had been placed against an outside wall and detonated, they ``would have blown a hole in the fuselage.″ Reid was in a window seat.
Cronin said preliminary tests on Reid’s sneakers showed the presence of triacetone triperoxide, TATP, a highly volatile plastic explosive. She said she did not know if the explosive devices in Reid’s sneakers could have been detonated with a match, as Reid allegedly tried to do. The sneakers are undergoing further tests.
Reid is being held without bail in Plymouth, Mass., because he’s considered a risk to the public and likely to flee if released. If convicted of intimidation or assault of a flight crew, Reid could be sentenced to 20 years in prison.