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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

John Ashcroft Announces Terrorism Guilty Pleas

Aired October 16, 2003 - 15:21   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN ANCHOR: We want to take you now to Attorney General John Ashcroft, who is live at the Justice Department, announcing that two members of a Portland, Oregon, terror cell with links to al Qaeda pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy.
The plea agreement in federal court in Portland calls for the two defendants to receive 18 years behind bars. With today's pleas, all six Portland-area Muslims in custody in the case have confessed to some charges. The government charges that five of the six were planning to travel to Afghanistan to help the Taliban in fighting against U.S. forces.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Certain citizens in our own country decided deliberately to fight for the enemy.

During this time, as laid out in the plea agreements, defendants Battle and Ford met with co-defendants Ahmed and Mohamed Bilal, Hawash and al Saoub in the Portland area. And they agreed that they would travel overseas to fight in Afghanistan against the armed forces of the United States.

CROWLEY: Once again, Attorney General John Ashcroft announcing that two members of a Portland, Oregon, terror cell have pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy.

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