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Key 9/11 suspect interrogated by U.S., Pakistan

U.S., Pakistani officials interrogate top al-Qaeda suspect and accused Sept. 11 mastermind

American politicians continued to gush over the capture of the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks in Pakistan, as the suspect was interrogated at an undisclosed location.

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was arrested early Saturday during a raid on a house near Islamabad. U.S. authorities say he's a senior member of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network. He was on the FBI's Most Wanted list.

It was unclear Sunday where Mohammed was being held. Pakistan's interior minister said the suspect was being jointly interrogated by U.S. and local authorities. Some western experts on terrorism think he's being held at an American air base in Afghanistan.

Earlier reports suggested he had been handed over to U.S. authorities. Pakistan quickly denied the claim, and would not speculate on when he might be extradited.

A former CIA counter-terrorism chief, Vincent Cannistraro, doesn't think Mohammed will voluntarily divulge useful information about al-Qaeda. But authorities found various documents and computer files when they nabbed him that may prove extremely valuable, he said.

"He's a very tough character, and I doubt Khalid Shaikh Mohammed will be a willing collaborator," Cannistraro told CBC News on Sunday. But he "was the keeper of the keys to the al-Qaeda network," and may have been caught possessing clues about a number of other figures, including the whereabouts of bin Laden.

Like 'liberation of Paris'

American and Pakistani agents seized Mohammed during a joint raid. The U.S. called the arrest "extraordinarily significant." A Canadian expert on terrorist groups agreed, suggesting that authorities may be a lot closer to rounding up bin Laden himself.

On Saturday, White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer described Mohammed's arrest as "a wonderful blow to inflict on al-Qaeda."

On Sunday, top U.S. politicians echoed the remarks on TV talk shows.

"This is equal to the liberation of Paris in the Second World War," said Republican congressman Porter Goss of Florida, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, on the ABC program This Week.

"This is a giant step backward for the al-Qaeda," said Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. "Now their operations commander is simply out of operations," he told Fox News Sunday.

Despite the mood of celebration and optimism in Washington, some Taliban fugitives and supporters of al-Qaeda said Mohammed's capture would not stop attacks against the U.S. and its allies. Afghan rebels in Pakistan told various news agencies that plenty of other people are ready to take his place.

Mohammed is a Kuwaiti-born Pakistani national. He's accused of planning the Sept. 11 attack against the U.S., as well as picking the hijackers. He's also been linked to other deadly assaults, including the 2002 bombing of a synagogue in Tunisia that killed 19 people.

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