U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement the capture of Ghaith was an example of the United States' resolve to get its enemies.
"No amount of distance or time will weaken our resolve to bring America's enemies to justice," Holder said. "To violent extremists who threaten the American people and seek to undermine our way of life, this arrest sends an unmistakable message: There is no corner of the world where you can escape from justice because we will do everything in our power to hold you accountable to the fullest extent of the law."
The indictment charges Ghaith with participating in a conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals. If convicted he could be sentenced to life in prison. Ghaith is to be arraigned Friday morning in New York before U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan. No trial date has been set.
The indictment unsealed in New York Thursday alleges Ghaith served alongside bin Laden, speaking on behalf of the terrorist organization and warning there would be more attacks similar to the ones that rocked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.
On the morning of Sept. 12, 2001, Ghaith, appeared with bin Laden and warned the United States and its allies a "great army is gathering against you" and called upon "the nation of Islam" to do battle against "the Jews, the Christians and the Americans."
Ghaith was captured in Jordan, U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said Thursday.
"I commend our CIA and FBI, our allies in Jordan, and President Obama for their capture of al-Qaida spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith," said King, a member of the Homeland Security Committee. "I trust he received a vigorous interrogation, and will face swift and certain justice."
U.S. officials confirmed Ghaith was in U.S. custody, but did not say exactly where he was being held, NBC News reported.
Ghaith was taken into custody last week in a joint operation of Turkey's National Intelligence Organization and the CIA, Today's Zaman reported Thursday.
The U.S. officials, speaking anonymously, told NBC News Turkish authorities had initially captured Ghaith in the Ankara area, where a court ruled he used a fake passport to enter the country illegally.
The Turkish government then deported Ghaith to his home country of Kuwait, but arranged for him to travel through Jordan, where U.S. authorities apprehended him, officials said.
Evan Kohlmann, a counter-terrorism analyst for NBC News, said Ghaith went off the grid after 2002.
"Nobody's heard a peep. Some people thought he was being held prisoner in Iran, others thought he might be dead," Kohlmann said. "The Iran thesis might be taking on more credibility now, especially given that he just showed up in Turkey seemingly right out of thin air.
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