By Stephen M. Silverman
September 18, 2001 08:06 AM

Accomplices of the hijackers who terrorized America last week may be at large in the United States, Attorney General John Ashcroft said on Monday as he pressed Congress to expand powers to wiretap telephones, conduct searches and seize assets. Ashcroft warned that the U.S. would face an “increased risk” after it launches a retaliatory strike in response to last week’s fatal attacks on American soil. “Associates of the hijackers that have ties to terrorist organizations may be a continuing presence in the United States,” Ashcroft told a news conference at FBI headquarters that was covered by Reuters. “We will call upon the Congress . . . to enact these important anti-terrorist measures this week,” Ashcroft said, also stating that the FBI has to date followed up on more than 7,700 phone calls and 47,000 potential leads received on its Web site (ifbccfbi.gov) about last Tuesday’s attacks. On CNN’s “Larry King Live,” Ashcroft said, “We’re beginning to develop an understanding of who these people were, who their associates were, how this attack was perpetrated and beginning to develop links of evidence that indicate the source of the design against the United States.”

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