Software firm raided in terror probe

Dec. 6, 2002 at 1:54 PM
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BOSTON, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- U.S. Customs agents early Friday raided a software company near Boston reportedly looking for possible links to Osama Bin Laden's al Qaida terrorist network.

Employees at Ptech Inc. reacted with shock upon learning of the raid and allegations that al Qaida may have had access to super secret government files through the company and its business with the FBI and other federal agencies, including the Navy, Air Force and NATO.

"I doubt it at all," said Ptech employee James Cerrato. "We have government projects, but I don't think there's anything there that would be of any issue."

As to company CEO Ossama Ziade, Cerrato said he didn't believe he had ties to terrorists.

"I don't think so. He's a U.S. citizen," Cerrato said. "I've known him for a number of years."

There were no arrests connected to the raid, and the company went on with business as usual during the day.

Ziade was not immediately available for comment.

One Ptech executive, Joe Johnson, spoke to reporters outside the company's facilities in Quincy, Mass.

"Are they sympathetic to 9/11? No, I don't think so at all," Johnson said. "They are all U.S. citizens."

ABC news reported that Ptech makes software and is allegedly secretly owned by Qassin al-Kadi, one of 12 Saudi businessmen accused of funneling millions of dollars to al Qaida.

The raid, the result of a lengthy investigation by the Customs service, was coordinated by the White House amid concerns the company was secretly owned and controlled by al Qaida activists or sympathizers, ABC News said.

Details about the case reportedly were being handled by the U.S. Attorney's office in Boston, but a call there for comment was not immediately returned.

Topics: Joe Johnson
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