WASHINGTON – President Bush is courting Islamic support for a war on terrorism as a Pakistani delegation tries to resolve the standoff between the United States and Afghanistan's Taliban rulers over top suspect Usama bin Laden.
Bush planned to meet with King Abdullah II of Jordan on Friday to discuss how the nations can hunt down terrorists.
For the first time, the FBI said Thursday that some of the 19 hijackers that made suicide attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have been linked to bin Laden.
That revelation came with the public release of photographs of the suspected hijackers, even though authorities said they were not sure they had the suspected terrorists' real names.
"What we are currently doing is determining whether, when these individuals came to the United States, these were their real names or they changed their names for use with false identification in the United States," FBI Director Robert Mueller said. He urged anyone who recognized the men to contact the FBI.
Investigators, meanwhile, have found haunting documents that provide the most jarring insight yet into the mindset of the men who boarded the four doomed planes on Sept. 11.
Terrorists left behind texts in Arabic giving them step-by-step instructions for their suicide mission and preparing them spiritually for death, a law enforcement official said Friday.
Published accounts characterized the document as a mission guide that urged the hijackers to do such things as smile at their taxicab driver, "crave death" and "make sure no one is following you."
In Pakistan, a delegation of top Islamic leaders was to travel to Afghanistan on Friday or Saturday for talks with the Taliban, according to one of the parties involved.
The Taliban so far have refused the U.S. demand to surrender bin Laden, and Pakistan, the only country with diplomatic ties to Afghanistan, has repeatedly tried to persuade them to cooperate.
Ameer ul-Azeem, a spokesman for Pakistan's biggest religious party, Jamiat Ullema Islami, said the religious leaders — who have cordial relations with the Taliban — would try to persuade Afghanistan's government to hold indirect or direct talks with the United States.
At home, the Bush administration is moving to shift the way the nation works to thwart terrorist plots. Officials said Bush's new domestic anti-terrorism chief, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, will oversee as many as 100 employees and will have significant input on budgets for the 40-plus agencies involved in counterterrorism.
Bush also asked the nation's governors to post National Guard troops at airports Thursday as a first step to take federal control of airline security and coax Americans back into the skies.
"This nation will not live in fear,'' the president said.
Bush revealed a plan that envisions stationing 4,000-5,000 troops at the nation's 420 commercial airports for up to six months while the federal government prepares to step in. Also, many more in-flight air marshals would be trained and a federal agency would be set up to oversee the screening of passengers and luggage.
Two Air Force generals have been authorized to order the military to shoot down any civilian airliner that appears to be threatening U.S. cities, Pentagon officials said Thursday.
Seeking to reassure America's travelers of their safety, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said: "There are a lot of safeguards in place."
He said he had crafted the new rules of engagement for military pilots with Gen. Henry H. Shelton, who is retiring as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"The last thing in the world that one of them wants to do is engage a commercial aircraft," Shelton said. "And so don't get the impression that anyone who's flying around out there has a loose trigger finger."
The investigation into the attacks that killed more than 6,000 people has thwarted two terrorist schemes since Sept. 11 and gathered evidence suggesting collaborators had other plots to harm U.S. interests here and abroad, officials said.
Evidence seized in raids in the United States and in Europe included plans or materials for an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Paris and an attack with explosives on a military site in Brussels, Belgium, the officials said.
The officials, who work in law enforcement and intelligence, spoke only on condition of anonymity. They said about two dozen arrests have been made across Europe of people suspected of being involved in planning those attacks.
As the economy continues to buckle in the wake of the attacks, Democrats are pushing worker-relief legislation in talks with Republicans.
Lawmakers are haggling over an economic stimulus plan that would include extension of unemployment benefits, federal health insurance support and possibly a $1.50-an-hour minimum wage increase.
"To get our economy back on track, we need an economic stimulus that puts money directly in the hands of all workers," said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who is chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
The heightened awareness of trouble aboard America's jets prompted an airliner to return to Los Angeles on Thursday under escort by Air Force jet fighters.
A passenger allegedly uttered an anti-American threat on the plane during a confrontation with flight attendants.
The FBI identified the passenger as Javid Naghani, an Iranian citizen in the United States legally. He was in custody Thursday evening, being questioned by investigators, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Bosley.
Authorities would not describe the threat.