agents raid software firm
The Borneo Post - Sunday, 8 December, 2002
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Massachusetts: US federal agents yesterday raided a software company which
counted the FBI and other government agencies on its client list, but
played down reports of a terrorist link to the firm.
from US Customs, the FBI, the Secret Service and local state police
carried out the pre-dawn raid on the offices of PTech Inc.
in Quincy, Massachusetts.
search was conducted in connection with an ongoing financial crime
investigation," Massachusetts US Attorney Michael Sullivan said in a
characterisations of this as a terrorist investigation are
premature," Sullivan said. PTech provides software to a host of
government agencies, including the FBI, the Federal Aviation
Administration, the air force, navy and the Department of Energy.
reports quoting anonymous law enforcement sources had said the raid was
sparked by information that PTech was financed by a Saudi millionaire,
Hassan Al-Qadi, who is on the US terrorist watch list.
companies are prohibited from knowingly doing business with anyone on the
law enforcement sources said an investigation was also underway into
whether PTech officials were involved in a charitable organisation that
sends money to the Middle East and whether some of those funds may have
been diverted to the alQaeda network.
once headed the Muslim charitable organization called the Muwafaq
Foundation. He has repeatedly denied any connection with al-Qaeda or
its leader, Osama bin Laden.
main concern, the sources said, was that the software provided to
government departments by PTech might in some way be compromised or
the White House said government agencies that used software from PTech had
found no cause for concern in the computer applications.
products that were supplied by this company to the government all fell in
the non-classified area, none of it involved any classified products used
by the government," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.
material has been reviewed by the appropriate government agencies,"
he said. They have detected absolutely nothing in their reports to
the White House that would lead to any concern about any of the products
purchased from this company," Johnson told reporters.
of PTech's vice presidents, Joe Johnson, said the raid was not wholly
unexpected given the sensitivity of the company's client list.
no great surprise. We live in different times right now," he told
reporters. "We do have people here who are Muslim.
"They are American citizens. We fully expected this. "I
don't think it's any different than when you go to the airport today, and
you have to go through additional security," said the spokesman.
"We just have to try and get through it." PTech was launched in 1994 by chairman and CEO Oussama Ziade, chief product officer James Cerrato and vice president and chief scientist Hussein Ibrahim.-AFP