Man faces trial on perjury charges for claiming he knew of plans for 9/11 attack

DETROIT (AP) - A man who told federal agents a month before Sept. 11, 2001, that an airplane attack was being planned on Washington is facing trial on perjury charges for allegedly lying to a grand jury.

Gussan Abraham Jarrar, 42, a Jordanian, told the Detroit Free Press in a jail interview that nobody would listen to his warning.

An FBI report acknowledges that Jarrar gave vague statements in August 2001, but said agents determined he had no real information and simply fabricated details of a nonexistent terrorist cell to liven up his jail stay.

"If they would have given me a chance, I would have found out what was going to happen," Jarrar told the newspaper.

According to the Aug. 30, 2001, FBI report, Jarrar predicted terrorists would "carry out a suicide plane bombing attack on the White House, Washington, D.C., sometime during the holiday season, 2001, possibly Thanksgiving and or Christmas."

"He either had knowledge or he's an amazing soothsayer," his lawyer, Donald Ferris, said.

FBI spokeswoman Dawn Clenney in Detroit said Jarrar wasted valuable FBI resources. Federal authorities spent months investigating his claims.

"He liked to talk," Monroe County Assistant Prosecutor Kenneth Swinkey said Tuesday. "He claimed he had a lot of information about criminal activity and literally took our sheriff's detectives for a ride."

At the time he talked to federal agents, Jarrar was being held on a drug charge.

Called before a grand jury in Detroit on Aug. 16, 2001, he testified that he and seven other men planned to blow up the Mackinac Bridge, the federal building in Detroit and the Cedar Point amusement park at Sandusky, Ohio. He claimed the group, called Whatever It Takes, was an anti-Israeli organization.

Jarrar said he learned of the planned Washington attack from documents he found in a briefcase in a vehicle he repaired for an associate of the group.

The grand jury said he lied about the existence of the group, falsely claimed he bought parts to make pipe bombs and fabricated a letter he claimed had been written by a member of the plot.

Each charge is punishable by five years in prison and Jarrar could be deported if he is convicted. His trial is scheduled for next week.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)