HONG KONG – U.S. authorities believe computers seized during the arrest of Al Qaeda's alleged No. 3 man in Pakistan will give them better intelligence on terror funding flows, a top FBI official said Tuesday.
"I'm anticipating that we'll see a lot of good financial-related information and that will have a tremendous impact," said Dennis Lormel, chief of the FBI's terrorist financing operations section.
In a meeting with journalists at the U.S. Consulate General here, Lormel said U.S. authorities are carefully investigating everything they obtained in the arrest of the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
"We've got Mohammed's hard drive and his actual computers that he kept for business purposes," Lormel said.
Mohammed is now being held in U.S. custody in an undisclosed location.
Lormel said terrorist funding is not viewed as a major problem in Asia. But he added people who provide money to terror groups might turn more to the region after U.S. officials helped crack down on such funding in the United Arab Emirates.
"We've kind of shut them down in the U.A.E., so they are looking for other routes that they can transit their money through," Lormel said.
Lormel has been visiting with law enforcers in Hong Kong and neighboring Macau on a three-day visit that began Monday and said he will meet later with bankers.
Meanwhile, a Pakistani man arrested along with Mohammed was ordered kept in prison to allow authorities time to bring charges against him, Pakistani court officials said Tuesday.
Ahmed Abdul Qadus was ordered held an additional two weeks by the Anti-Terrorism Court in Rawalpindi, a city adjacent to the capital of Islamabad. Qadus was arrested March 1 along with Mohammed and a third man, alleged Al Qaeda financier Mustafa al-Hisawai. Qadus' family says he is innocent and denies that the two foreign Al Qaeda suspects were ever in their home.
Qadus is being held on charges of sheltering a religious extremist. He is scheduled to be brought to court again March 25, at which point his detention is likely to be extended.