Al Qaeda Member Pleads Guilty to Terror Charges
Posted: April 28, 2005
Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person to be tried in the U.S. for the September 11 terrorist attacks, has pleaded guilty in Alexandria, Virginia, to six terrorism-related conspiracy charges.
Moussaoui, who appeared at a hearing in U.S. District Court on April 22, entered a guilty plea on all six counts brought against him by U.S. prosecutors: conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries; conspiracy to commit aircraft piracy; conspiracy to destroy aircraft; conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction; conspiracy to murder U.S. government employees; and conspiracy to destroy U.S. government property.
In a statement, Moussaoui, an admitted Al Qaeda member, said Osama bin Laden chose him to crash a plane into the White House. "I came to the United States of America to be part, OK, of a conspiracy to use airplane as a weapon of mass destruction," he said.
While he did not admit being part of the September 11 plot, Moussaoui said he was preparing a plot for another day. Moussaoui said the goal of the plot was to free convicted terrorist mastermind Omar Abdel Rahman, who is serving a life sentence for conspiracy to blow up New York landmarks in 1993.
Justice Department officials have suggested that Moussaoui was directly involved in the September 11 plot. Moussaoui admitted lying to federal agents about his knowledge of the September 11 plot after being arrested on immigration charges in August 2001.
Moussaoui, a 36-year-old French citizen, drew the attention of authorities while taking flight lessons at a Minnesota flight school.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said prosecutors will seek the death penalty. "The fact that Moussaoui participated in this terrorist conspiracy is no longer in doubt," he said.