Ohio trucker pleads guilty in terror case

| Monday, June 23, 2003

Iyman Faris, an Ohio truckdriver accused of plotting a terror attack on New York City's Brooklyn Bridge, has agreed to plead guilty to providing material support to a terrorist organization, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced June 19.

Ashcroft said Faris "appeared to be a hard-working truckdriver," but traveled to Pakistan, met with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, and "joined al Qaeda's jihad against America."

Under the plea agreement, Faris also will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization, according to documents unsealed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, VA.

The charges together carry as much as 20 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines.

Al Qaeda leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who is in U.S. custody, has told interrogators Faris was ordered to perform surveillance of the Brooklyn Bridge with the goal of cutting its cables, sources told CNN.

Ashcroft said Faris scouted potential terror targets from April 2002 to March 2003, and said he had provided al Qaeda with research on ultralight airplanes in early 2001. Ashcroft also said Faris gave al Qaeda material support, including "dealings involving cash, thousands of sleeping bags, plane tickets and cell phones."

He was also allegedly involved in a plot to drive a truck loaded with explosives onto an airport tarmac to blow up a plane, sources told CNN.

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