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The 1993 World Trade Center Bombing: Decoys, Aliases and NeoConspiracy Theories

Steven Gaal

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The 1993 World Trade Center Bombing: Decoys, Aliases and NeoConspiracy Theories



Like so many major terrorist attacks, the World Trade Center (WTC) bombing of February 1993 occurred shortly after the US presidential election. The incoming Bill Clinton was confronted with a new menace: Islamic terror had for the first time carried out a major strike on US soil. The first new president after the end of the Cold War and the previous president’s announcement of a ‘new world order’ was within weeks given a stark reminder that with the Soviet Union out of the way the US still faced a clear and present danger.

Of course, I speak rhetorically. Six people died in the blast, and while it was tragic for their bereaved families and painful for the over 1000 people injured, the bark was worse than the bite in this attack. The bomb built by Ramzi Yousef shocked many, and managed to destroy a surprisingly large amount of the underground parking garage at the WTC, but given that the idea was to topple one tower into the other potentially killing 250,000 people, it was a miserable failure. Nonetheless, the bombing remains the subject of much conjecture, some well evidenced and some not, and served to implant the idea in the American and Western consciousness of Islamic terrorists attacking the WTC.

The Blind Sheikh

The first major port of call in any investigation of the bombing, or telling of the story, is the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel Rahman. He was the leader of the Egyptian Islamic Group (IG, or al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya), at the time perhaps the largest overtly militant Islamic group in the country. The crackdown following the assassination of Anwar Sadat had produced in typically polarising fashion a backlash in favour of Islamic radicalism. That this happened at the same time as the extremely well-funded NATO effort to use radical Islam as a weapon against the Soviet Union is no coincidence.

Towards the end of the 1980s, as the Soviet-Afghan war was coming to its inevitable conclusion, the Blind Sheikh escaped from house arrest in Egypt and paid several visits to the US. Specifically, he fostered a following at the Al-Kifah Refugee Centre at the Al Farooq moseque in New York. Al-Kifah was the local branch of the Maktab Al-Khidamat or Services Office for the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, and was central to the process by which young men were recruited, moved around the world for training and ultimately deployed against the Soviets.

The CIA has remained tight-lipped about their involvement in Al-Kifah but given the timing of its development, its location and the fact that their agents posing as consular officials arranged the visas that allowed the Blind Sheikh to enter the US, it is obvious that they were at the least happy about Rahman’s growing influence there. In April and May 1989 US officials secretly met with followers of the Blind Sheikh in Egypt, including a lawyer representing the group. The cables recording these meetings were signed by Frank Wisner — the US ambassador to Egypt and the son of the veteran of CIA black ops. A year later the Blind Sheikh moved to New York permanently.

Six months after that El Sayyid Nosair, a follower of Rahman, assassinated prominent rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the Jewish Defence League and a former FBI informant. A few weeks later the State Department revoked all of the Blind Sheikh’s visas, but nothing else happened to him. Nosair was arrested but the investigation didn’t reach into the question of what was going on at the Al-Kifah. Rahman was never arrested or deported.

A couple of months later the Emir of the Farooq mosque Mustafa Shalabi was murdered, almost 2 years to the day prior to the WTC bombing. Rahman effectively took over the mosque and the Al-Kifah center at that point. Meanwhile, notorious triple agent Ali Mohamed had been providing training sessions in intelligence and paramilitary operations to those who frequented the mosque, including Nosair. He also trained virtually the entire group involved in and ultimately convicted for the WTC bombing.

The Decoy

It is at this point in the story that the alternative explanations of the bombing focus on one Emad Salem — a former Egyptian army officer recruited as an informant by the FBI. He had infiltrated the Al-Kifah and the circle around the Blind Sheikh and was provided regular intelligence on what they were doing. However, what almost every alternative theory about WTC93 gets wrong is that they claim Salem built the bomb that was used, usually based on a few seconds of audio of Salem talking to one of his FBI handlers, John Anticev.

In reality, Salem was fired by the FBI in bizarre circumstances in the summer of 1992. He didn’t build the bomb – terrorists do not build a bomb and then wait around for six months before using it. Exactly why Salem was fired is not clear, but when his original handler Nancy Floyd started asking questions the FBI leaked stories to the press that she was sleeping with Salem and ultimately subjected her to a career-damaging internal affairs investigation. As a result, six months before the bombing the FBI lost their eyes and ears inside the Blind Sheikh’s group.

After the bombing, Salem was re-recruited by the FBI to infiltrate the Al-Kifah once more, which he did. At that point he was paid a large sum of money to act as a sting operator, encouraging the Blind Sheikh to make incriminating statements that Salem secretly recorded, and encouraging Rahman’s followers to develop plans for terrorists attacks that they were then arrested for, and prosecuted and convicted. The recordings of Salem talking with Anticev come from this period, spring-summer 1993. When the FBI swooped in the summer of ’93, they arrested the Blind Sheikh and most of the group around him, and Salem’s evidence became the basis of the prosecution case.

At this point the State Department, having revoked the Blind Sheikh’s visas 2 1/2 years earlier in late 1990 but done nothing to him in the meantime, carried out a Office of the Inspector General (OIG) investigation of the decision to grant him the visas in the first place. This involved trying to see the files in Cairo from the period when CIA agents were granting the visas, but the papertrail from the State Department is heavily redacted and it appears the 1993 OIG investigation never actually got to see the Cairo files. Ultimately the OIG concluded that they didn’t know whether the decisions to grant the visas was correct because they couldn’t definitely say what was known at the time. No one got blamed, everyone kept their jobs, it was business as usual.

With Salem functioning as something of a decoy in this story, the question remains: who did build the bomb used in the WTC?


According to the official story, and his own extended confession, and much of the evidence, the real bomb-maker was Ramzi Yousef, born Abdul Basit but also known as Dr Paul Vijay, Dr Adel Sabah, Muhammud Azan, Rashid Rashid, Kamal Ibraham among many other pseudonyms. Ramzi arrived in New York in September 1992, following six months training in Afghanistan in explosives. He conveniently turned up just after Emad Salem had been removed from watching the Al-Kifah. Trained in Britain in electrical engineering, Yousef was smart and capable and found in the Al-Kifah a willing reception committee for his plan to blow up something in New York.


That said, it wasn’t plain sailing. In particular, Mohammed Salameh (convicted in the first of the three WTC trials) was a complete moron, managing to crash a car loaded with chemicals for making the bomb which resulted in Yousef ending up in hospital. He also forgot to give Yousef the planned early morning wake-up call on the day of the bombing. Nonetheless, this relatively ragtag group who were inspired by CIA asset the Blind Sheikh and trained by triple agent Ali Mohamed managed to pull off the bombing.

However, that is far from the end of the story. For one thing the damage to the WTC was considerable — several floors were partly destroyed, including a 5000 square foot hole on one floor. This suggests that the truck bomb may not have been the only explosive used at the WTC, that as in Oklahoma City there is a case for the prosecution case being true but being only part of the story. What is certain is that there was no trace of the main explosive charge found in the rubble of the WTC explosion, and that the FBI explosives examiner David Williams essentially guessed at what explosive was used, and then modified his guesses to fit the prosecution evidence, and he repeatedly gave untrue testimony against Salameh et al in the 1994 trial.

Due to the whistle blowing efforts of Fred Whitehurst the Department of Justice OIG carried out an investigation into the crime lab, including Williams role in the WTC investigation which concluded that, ‘Williams gave inaccurate and incomplete testimony and testified to invalid opinions that appear tailored to the most incriminating result.’ While not all of Whitehurst’s complaints were upheld, it does put a few cracks in the official WTC bombing story.

For another, who was Ramzi Yousef? This international man of mystery was certainly not particularly religious, and enjoyed B-girls and brothels on his travels around the world. He may well have been trained by Ali Mohamed, who according to multiple testimonies from trainees was in the same area of Afghanistan as Yousef for much of 1992. When Yousef left New York on the evening of the WTC bombing he spent the next two years on the run from the FBI, travelling all over Asia carrying out various acts of terrorism before being brought to ground in February 1995. How did he manage this?

It appears he had help from the ISI. Simon Reeve’s remarkably prescient and accurate book The New Jackals, based on an extraordinary degree of access to the security services around the case only a year or two after Yousef had been convicted, records several instances of this. When Yousef landed in Pakistan in May 1992 his fake Iraqi passport had the wrong seal on the visa, and yet he was waived through. Similarly, when he and Ahmed Ajaj first entered the US on badly faked passports, Ajaj was arrested but Yousef was not, despite it being clear they were travelling together. When Yousef’s Pakistani immigration records were checked as part of the WTC investigation, much of the paperwork had disappeared. The implication is that someone was clearing a path for him.

NeoConspiracy Theories

Another misdirection in this story is the theory propounded by NeoConservative mouthpiece Laurie Mylroie, who claimed that Yousef was in fact an Iraqi spy. Prior to the Iraq invasion of Kuwait, Yousef (then known as Abdul Basit) and his family lived in Kuwait, though ethnically they were Baluchi. This is why another of Yousef’s pseudonyms, given to the FBI when he signed a waiver of his miranda rights, was Adam Baloch. Due to discrepancies in official records on Yousef/Basit, Mylroie claimed that the invading Iraqi army killed Basit and his family and replaced him with a spy using the Basit/Yousef identity. Who was between 4 and 6 inches taller and has never mentioned anything about being an Iraqi secret agent even though he’s now languishing in solitary confinment serving prison sentences amounting to hundreds of years and therefore has nothing to lose.

Mylroie has been widely criticised for this rather ridiculous theory, but she was still hired in 2005 to write a History of Al Qaeda for the Pentagon, and paid $75,000 for her trouble. She once again put forth the theory that Iraq and Al Qaeda were closely related, that Yousef was an Iraqi spy, that Iraq bombed the WTC. The problem was that following the NATO invasion of Iraq in 2003 a lot of Iraqi government files were seized, and they were published alongside two Pentagon studies in 2006-2008.

One file in particular is an audio recording and a transcript of a meeting between Saddam and his ministers where they discuss the WTC bombing. There was no mention of Yousef, no hint of Iraqi involvement in the attack, nothing that would substantiate Mylroie’s daft and misguiding allegations, and quite a lot that contradicts her. For one thing, one of the conspirators named Abdul Yasin fled to Iraq after the bombing but he was arrested by the Iraq authorities in 1994 and held until at least 2002, though he has not been heard from since then.

In the meeting, Saddam expressed how important it was that Yasin remain alive in custody, and not be killed or commit suicide. Hussein did try to use Yasin as a bargaining chip with the Americans, but this always failed. Saddam also discussed how it was possible that the American, Israeli or Saudi governments were really behind the WTC blast, and how the Iraq government should find ways to exploit the bombing through propaganda. It was a remarkably explicit conversation, and yet nothing in any way backed up Mylroie’s contentions.

So what the hell happened?

With this concrete example of the story (or legend) of Ramzi Yousef being used to bolster a politically useful myth we are left to wonder what else in his story is not true. After his arrest he provided extensive confessions, all of which fits in with most of the prosecution case against the WTC accused. He even had a proffer session, recorded in an FBI 302, with the State’s Attorney’s office in New York where he outlined how he built and delivered the bomb. It seems that he did actually bomb the WTC, though exactly why he did that, and why those who helped him did so remains something of a mystery.

That the WTC bombing in 1993 has been used to substantiate the Al Qaeda myth, and in particular the Iraq-Al Qaeda fantasy, does show that there is a degree of spook theatre to all of this. The FBI were blindsided for reasons that have never been adequately explained, in largely the same way as happened in the run up to 9/11. Whatismore, the 9/11 Commission’s records at the National Archives are woefully incomplete on the subject of the Blind Sheikh, with over 200 pages of CIA and State Department material withdrawn for National Security reasons. The 9/11 Commission barely even acknowledged Ali Mohamed’s existence, let alone the importance of a triple agent who was close friends with Ayman Zawahiri and was so trusted by Bin Laden that he trained Osama’s bodyguards.

With a cover-up now lasting 20 years (20 years tomorrow at the time of writing) it is difficult to know exactly what happened and why the WTC was bombed in February 1993. Nonetheless there is abundant material available on the case, which I have sought to whittle down to the key source material in the WTC93 Document Collection, a free e-book comprising nearly 250 pages of material and featuring an introduction explaining the relevance of each document. There is no smoking gun, though it is interesting that in recent days a story has hit the headlines that Ramzi Yousef is suing for an explanation of why he is still subject to ‘special administration measures’, such as not being allowed to communicate with other people. Unsurprisingly the news coverage has portrayed Yousef solely as an inhuman bomber who deserves to be treated inhumanely and has ignored the bigger picture, and maybe that was the point all along.

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No citations how compelling! Interesting that he refutes many of the more outlandish CTs regarding the bombing.






++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ BLACKJADE BOONDOCKS SITE PART 1


Member of Egyptian Terror Group Goes to Washington

Jun 21, 2012 7:52 PM EDT

[by Eli Lake]

Terrorists aren’t supposed to get visas. But Hani Nour Eldin was apparently invited to D.C. this week to meet with top officials. Did no one Google him?

It was supposed to be a routine meeting for Egyptian legislators in Washington, an opportunity for senior Obama administration officials to meet with new members of Egypt’s parliament and exchange ideas on the future of relations between the two countries.

Instead, the visit this week looks like it’s turning into a political fiasco. Included in the delegation of Egyptian lawmakers was Hani Nour Eldin, who, in addition to being a newly elected member of parliament, is a member of the Gamaa Islamiya, or the Egyptian Islamic Group—a U.S.-designated terrorist organization. The group was banned under former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, and is now a recognized Islamist political party. Its spiritual leader, Omar Abdel Rahman—also known as the “blind sheik”—was convicted in 1995 of plotting attacks on New York City landmarks and transportation centers, and is serving a life sentence in a North Carolina federal prison.

Eldin, according to his Facebook page, was born in 1968 and resides in Suez, near the canal that unites the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea. He was arrested in 1993 on terrorism charges after members of Gamaa Islamiya got into a shoot out with Egyptian security officials at a mosque. He has proclaimed his innocence in the shooting and says he was arrested because of his political activism against Mubarak.

In an interview, Eldin confirmed he is a member of Gamaa Islamiya. By U.S. law, that means he would be denied a visa to enter the country. Nonetheless, he says, he got a visa from the State Department. A State Department spokesman said, “We have no information suggesting that he or anyone else in the delegation is a member of the Egyptian Islamic Group.”

Eldin said in the interview that he is not a terrorist. "I have taken the American visa from the embassy as a member of the parliament representing a political party that has been elected and is a legitimate party," he said. "I was personally not involved in any violent action or terrorism against the United States or any other country. The years I spent in prison were under the regime of Mubarak, these were political charges and there was no judicial basis for them."

In his meetings with senior Obama administration officials, Eldin says, he asked Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough about transferring Abdel-Rahman to an Egyptian prison. He said his request was declined. “When I raised this issue in the White House I was told it was not in their authority and all judicial issues relating to sentences must be discussed with the Department of Justice,” he says. Transferring Abdel-Rahman, says Eldin, “would be a gift to the revolution.” McDonough didn’t reply to requests for comment made Thursday afternoon.

In addition to being convicted of planning the 1993 World Trade Center attack, Abdel-Rahman is also a cause celebre for radical Islamic fundamentalists, including al Qaeda, who have at times demanded his release.

Juan Zarate, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former deputy national security adviser for counter-terrorism under President George W. Bush, said it looked like the Obama administration made a mistake by allowing Eldin to visit the U.S. "The United States has to walk a fine line when engaging extremists who are now entering the political process amidst revolution,” he said.

Samuel Tadros, an Egyptian citizen and research fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington D.C. who specializes in Egyptian politics was surprised that Eldin would receive a visa. “It would have taken the State Department five seconds to Google his name in Arabic and realize he is a member of a designated terrorist organization,” he said.

Eldin is a member of parliament for the Building and Development party in Egypt, which some Egypt watchers say is an arm of Gamaa Islamiya.

While in Washington, Eldin also visited the Wilson Center, a think tank that specializes in foreign policy issues. A State Department spokesman said the delegation was “invited to Washington by the Wilson Center. I refer you to the Wilson Center for any additional information on their visit.”

A spokesman for the Wilson Center, however, said the delegation was selected by the State Department. “We can’t speak to the background of Eldin,” said Drew Sample the media relations coordinator for the Wilson Center. “The Wilson Center was one of the places on the delegation’s Washington visit. We did not invite these people, the State Department arranged the visit.”

************************************************************ ***


"Eldin confirmed he is a member of Gamaa Islamiya"? And "its spiritual leader, Omar Abdel Rahman" is "also known as the 'blind sheik'"? But "Samuel Tadros, an Egyptian citizen and research fellow at the Hudson Institute...was surprised that Eldin would receive a visa"? Tadros said: "It would have taken the State Department five seconds to Google his name in Arabic and realize he is a member of a designated terrorist organization"? Anybody could have Googled his name in English and got this information. Judging from what I saw on the Google news website about Hani Nour Eldin's White House visit, I would say that the US "mainstream" media seems to have a case of collective amnesia. If anyone bothered to do a Google search under "Omar Abdel Rahman visa," Eldin's visa would not be such a "surprise" or some big mystery. When I Googled "Omar Abdel Rahman visa," I found plenty of reports like this:

C.I.A. Officers Played Role In Sheik Visas, New York Times, July 22, 1993: "Central Intelligence Agency officers reviewed all seven applications made by Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman to enter the United States between 1986 and 1990 and only once turned him down because of his connections to terrorism, Government officials said today.... In each case, they said, the C.I.A. employees were reviewing the applications in assigned roles as consular officers in United States embassies.."

Officials from the Clinton administration said that these visas were issued to Rahman by "mistake," or that this was just an oversight. According to AFP, Obama's State Dept defended Hani Nour Eldin's visa as an attempt "to reach out to new faces in a fast-changing region." Interestingly, critics of the Obama administration did not say that the State Dept intended to bring somebody from Gamaa Islamiyya to the White House. So King is actually covering for the Obama administration in this case:

"Representative Peter King, a Republican who heads the House Committee on Homeland Security and has chaired controversial hearings on Islamic radicalism in the United States, has demanded answers over Eldin's visa.

In a letter Sunday to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, King said that there could be legitimate reasons to issue a visa to a member of a designated terrorist group, such as to advance peace negotiations.

'However, the nature of Eldin's visit suggests an absence of full vetting rather than a policy choice, or perhaps a breakdown in the screening missions of and coordination among our Federal agencies,' King said."

Well, if the CIA just gave Rahman a visa by "mistake," the CIA must have got very "lucky" at just the right times, especially after their "valuable asset" showed up in Brooklyn. The CIA's Jihad:

"In April, 1985, more than five years after the Soviet tanks first rolled into Afghanistan, President Ronald Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 166, a secret order that called for the CIA to expel the Russians ‘by all means available.’ Over the next decade, the U.S. spent $10 billion to arm and train the mujaheddin....

[Abdullah] Azzam was considered a prime asset because of his close connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, Saudi intelligence, and the Muslim World League....

By the time the Soviets finally withdrew from Afghanistan, in February, 1989, the U.S.-backed mujaheddin had inflicted a terrible toll, killing tens of thousands of Soviet soldiers and draining tens of billions of rubles, helping to precipitate the collapse of the Soviet Union. But still the CIA was not satisfied; it was also determined to topple the puppet government the Soviets left behind in Kabul. And so when Azzam was assassinated by a car bomb in Peshawar in November, 1989, the agency turned for help to one of Azzam’s closest spiritual kin, Sheikh [Omar] Abdel Rahman.

Shiekh Omar Abdel Rahman commands an almost deified adoration and respect in certain Islamic circles. It was his 1980 fatwa – religious decree – condemning Anwar Sadat for making peace with Israel that is widely believed to be responsible for Sadat’s assassination a year later. (Rahman was subsequently tried but acquitted.)...

As a reward for his services, the CIA gave the sheikh a one-year visa to the United States in May, 1990 – even though he was on a State Department terrorism watch list that should have barred him from the country.

After a public outcry in the wake of the World Trade Centre bombing, a State Department representative discovered that Rahman had, in fact, received four United States visas dating back to December 15, 1986. All were given to him by CIA agents acting as consular officers at American embassies in Khartoum and Cairo. The CIA officers claimed they didn’t know the sheikh was one of the most notorious political figures in the Middle East and a militant on the State Department’s list of undesirables. The agent in Khartoum said that when the sheikh walked in the computers were down and the Sudanese clerk didn’t bother to check the microfiche file.

Says one top New York investigator: ‘Left with the choice between pleading stupidity or else admitting deceit, the CIA went with stupidity.’....

The sheikh [Rahman] arrived in Brooklyn at a fortuitous time for the CIA. In the wake of the Soviet Union’s retreat from Afghanistan, Congress had slashed the amount of covert aid going to the mujaheddin. The international network of Arab-financed support groups became even more vital to the CIA, including the string of jihad offices that had been set up across America with the help of Saudi and American intelligence. To drum up support, the agency paved the way for veterans of the Afghan conflict to visit the centres and tell their inspirational war stories; in return, the centres collected millions of dollars for the rebels at a time when they needed it most.

There were jihad offices in Jersey City, Atlanta and Dallas, but the most important was the one in Brooklyn, called Alkifah [Refugee Center] – Arabic for ‘the struggle.’ That storefront became the de facto headquarters of the sheikh...."

This is another article, which I found when I Googled "Omar Abdel-Rahman visa." This shows that the CIA was cultivating an international network of intelligence assets among Rahman's followers in al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya (The Islamic Group) and Egyptian Islamic Jihad [EIJ] or Al-Jihad, who were too extremist offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood: U.S. Secretly Met With Followers of Blind Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman Before Controversial Visa Application. In 1989, US officials met with both groups, who both saw Rahman as their "main spiritual guide." Thus for more reasons than one, since the overthrow of Mubarak, Rahman's family and followers have stood in front of the US embassy in Cairo demanding his release. Not too long after the Soviet-backed Afghan government collapsed, US strategists and intelligence agencies found more jobs for Rahman's followers. In 1992, the Bosnian war started when Warren Zimmerman, U.S. Ambassador in Belgrade, "persuade[d] Izetbegovic to renege on the agreement" with Serb and Croatian leaders "promising him all political, diplomatic and military aid if he agreed to do so." So Izetbegovic "stationed his green-berreted snipers on the roofs of central Sarajevo, reneged on the agreement, appealed for support in the Moslem world." Rahman's al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya and the Alkifah network were conveniently available for this purpose. Bosnia begins deportations

[Jan. 9, 2008] "A police source close to the anti-terror investigations told ISA Consulting that most of the Algerian fighters came to Bosnia in mid-1992 through the Algeria based Armed Islamic Group (GIA), via Croatian capital Zagreb - though the Bosnian Security Ministry has no evidence that Mimun himself was member of the group. The source also said that some Algerian nationals arrived in Bosnia through the Egyptian militant group Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya.

The source said GIA had sent some high-ranking officials to Zagreb, where they set up a charity front called Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK) or Al-Kifah - a center used for the logistical operations of infiltrating Bosnia.

Western media quoted several unnamed intelligence officials as saying that MAK was founded in the mid-1980s by Osama bin Laden to raise funds for recruiting foreign fighters for the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan.

Al-Kifah also had branches in Pakistan and New York, and offices in 32 US cities. The New York branch was shut down right after the 1993 WTC bombing after an investigation proved that all of the bombers were connected to that office.

Later on, at least six members of the Al-Kifah Zagreb office, including its head, Kamar Eddine Kherbane, were arrested throughout the world on various charges, including weapons smuggling, plotting terror attacks and membership in militant groups, including GIA, Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya and al-Qaida."

Well, the Brooklyn branch of the Alkifah Refugee Center was not really "shut down." After the 1993 WTC attack, operations were moved from Brooklyn to the Boston branch, which was renamed Care International. The "director of the Boston branch of al-Kifah Refugee Center," Emadeddin Muntasser, "founded and incorporated Care in Massachusetts." According to Care International's financial records, "from August 1993 to June 1995, Muntasser wired close to $167,000 in the name of Care or al-Kifah to the Human Service Office (another name for MAK) in Bosnia." Then when did the CIA break off their ties with their "valuable asset"? Or were these ties never completely severed? Documents from the Jose Padilla case show that Rahman's followers were in contact with him at the prison during the Bosnian war. FBI probe that snared Padilla began in 1993:

"Kifah Wael Jayyousi...was a 'supporter and follower' of [Omar Abdel] Rahman, frequently talking with the jailed sheik by telephone in 1994 and 1995, according to the FBI. Shortly after Rahman's arrest, Jayyousi had founded the American Islamic Group, which published the Islam Report. This newsletter carried news about the sheik and details glorifying the exploits of jihadists around the world.

"Jayyousi would update the sheik with jihad news, many times reading accounts and statements issued directly by terrorist organizations" in Jordan and Egypt, FBI agent John T. Kavanaugh said in an affidavit.

Jayyousi, who lived in San Diego, Detroit, Baltimore and Egypt during the probe, also allegedly used the Islam Report to raise money for Muslim extremists through nonprofit organizations used as cover: Save Bosnia Now, later changed to American Worldwide Relief. This purported charity had offices around the world, including San Diego, Bosnia, Germany and Croatia....

Hassoun was originally arrested on an immigration violation in 2002 and later indicted in the terrorism case. But he had been under FBI investigation since a January 1993 telephone call between Hassoun and Rahman, the blind sheik, according to court papers."

I don't know if Rahman's followers were in direct contact with him at the prison during the Kosovo war. But the indictment states that the defendants, Jose Padilla, Adham Amin Hassoun, Kifah Wael Jayyousi, and Mohamed Hesham Youssef, "followed and supported Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman." From July 1998 through April 1999, the defendants were using the Global Relief Foundation to transfer funds to the "mujahideen" in Kosovo. How about that! This falls within the time frame of just before and during NATO's War of Aggression in Yugoslavia, when the CIA, German BND, NATO special forces, and "Bin Laden's Al Qa'ida" were all training, arming, and bankrolling the Kosovo Liberation Army! The Global Relief Foundation [GRF] was another charity front for MAK or Alkifah. GRF attorneys seemed outraged that the US government was not more grateful for their client's services. U.S. Labels Muslim Charity as Terrorist Group, October 19, 2002:

"Lawyers for Global Relief and its co-founder, Rabih Haddad, denounced the government's action as anti-Muslim and McCarthyist. They focused on one piece of evidence Treasury cited to assert Global Relief is tied to al Qaeda -- that Haddad was a member of a bin Laden organization in the 1980s that preceded al Qaeda and that helped recruit guerrillas fighting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

'The United States also supported that organization [Makhtab al-Khidamat] then,' said the foundation's Maryland-based attorney, Roger Simmons. 'None of this was illegal at the time, and it's Orwellian now to say it is. This is revisionist history.'....

In a statement released yesterday, Treasury pointed out that Global Relief for years promoted tapes and writings of Makhtab al-Khidamat's other co-founder, Abdullah Azzam, a Palestinian scholar killed in a car bombing in 1989. 'His words are jewels,' one foundation publication said. 'He produced a new theory for saving the [islamic] nation from disgrace.'"

Azzam was the CIA's "prime asset" during the "Soviet invasion of Afghanistan." Of course, the US did support MAK [or MK or Alkifah] at this time and also during the Bosnian war.

Jose Padilla's testimony could be damning to the US intelligence establishment. Jose Padilla was imprisoned as an "enemy combatant" for three years, which kept him out of the reach of law enforcement investigators and the courts. Then the Bush administration released him from "enemy combatant" status and allowed the indictment against him to proceed, in order to avoid a confrontation with the Supreme Court. According to this and other accounts, Terror suspect was terrorized in a Navy brig, during Padilla's imprisonment as an "enemy combatant," his captors drugged him and tortured him "to break him mentally." Statements do change sometimes when statements have to be made under oath. The indictment contained no references to a "dirty bomb." Instead, Padilla was charged "as a conspirator in some 1990s Islamic extremist plots in Bosnia, Kosovo and Chechnya." Obviously he had some "co-conspirators" in high places in Washington!

More recently, Arab Spring and the overthrow of Mubarak was made in the USA, via the Freedom House and NED: The Protest Movement in Egypt: "Dictators" do not Dictate, They Obey Orders. After Mubarak was gone, Rahman's followers became stronger in Egypt during NATO's war against Qaddafi in Libya last year. How al-Qaeda got to rule in Tripoli:

"Muammar Gaddafi's fortress of Bab-al-Aziziyah was essentially invaded and conquered last week by Belhaj's men - who were at the forefront of a militia of Berbers from the mountains southwest of Tripoli. The militia is the so-called Tripoli Brigade, trained in secret for two months by US Special Forces. This turned out to be the rebels' most effective militia in six months of tribal/civil war....

Abdelhakim Belhaj, aka Abu Abdallah al-Sadek, is a Libyan jihadi. Born in May 1966, he honed his skills with the mujahideen in the 1980s anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan.

He's the founder of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and its de facto emir - with Khaled Chrif and Sami Saadi as his deputies. After the Taliban took power in Kabul in 1996, the LIFG kept two training camps in Afghanistan; one of them, 30 kilometers north of Kabul - run by Abu Yahya - was strictly for al-Qaeda-linked jihadis...."

It sure seems like it was convenient for the US and NATO to have Rahman's followers next door in Egypt, with the history of operational ties between the LIFG and Al-Gama`at al-Islamiyya. Dossier: Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG):

"In addition to receiving military training from Al-Qaida instructors, LIFG recruits were also indoctrinated in Afghanistan by influential jihadist clerics such as Al-Qaida cofounder Dr. Abdullah Azzam, whose jihadist writings were later posted on the LIFG’s Internet website.20 Indicating the extent of that indoctrination, the LIFG website also contained audio and video recordings of Bin Laden himself, imprisoned Egyptian jihad leader Shaykh Omar Abdel Rahman, the El-Mudzahid Brigade in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Shaykh Mohammed al-Mohaisany—a prominent Saudi cleric who was detained by Saudi security forces following September 11, 2001.....

Like other regional Islamist movements, the LIFG also found kinship with arguably the most dominant force among Afghan-trained extremists in North Africa: the Egyptian terrorist organization Al-Gama`at al-Islamiyya. By the mid-1990s, supporters of Al-Gama`at in Europe and North America began distributing news updates regarding LIFG operations targeting the “apostate” Libyan regime.33 Likewise, according to Al-Qaida deputy commander Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, LIFG propaganda magazines published corresponding statements received from representatives of Al-Gama`at al-Islamiyya.34 The LIFG has been a particularly vocal ally of Al-Gama`at al-Islamiyya’s imprisoned spiritual leader, the blind Shaykh Omar Abdel Rahman...."

I strongly suspect that Rahman's followers did contribute to NATO's and the CIA's operations with the LIFG last year. Very interesting that this one slipped out in reports like this Al-Libi death a major blow for al Qaeda: In May 2012, "a previously unknown jihadist outfit calling itself the Imprisoned Omar Abdel Rahman Brigades claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on the Red Cross in Benghazi."

"Eldin...was arrested in 1993 on terrorism charges after members of Gamaa Islamiya got into a shoot out with Egyptian security officials at a mosque"? What was happening in 1993? That was during the Bosnian war. Even when Mubarak was receiving billions of dollars in US military aid, US intelligence was maintaining a relationship with his mortal enemies.

"Eldin is a member of parliament for the Building and Development party in Egypt, which some Egypt watchers say is an arm of Gamaa Islamiya"? This came out June 12, 2011: Omar Abdel Rahman’s family to establish political party:

"Members of the family of Omar Abdel Rahman, the jailed spiritual leader of the Jama'a Islamiya [Gama'a Islamiya], have announced that they plan to establish a new party called the Reform and Justice Party and that Abdel Rahman will be an honorary chairman.

Abdel Rahman’s son Amar said the Jama'a Islamiya made the decision to establish the party in order to further Abdel Rahman’s legal case, especially since he was a supporter of political and party work.

Amar went on to say that Abdel Rahman was one of the biggest supporters of public works, but that he was forced to approve the decisions made by the Jama'a’s Shura Council, which banned political and party work at that time.

Amar added that the Jama'a had begun taking the necessary steps to establish a satellite television station, to be called 'A Word of Truth.' The name is the same as the title of Abdel Rahman’s book, which he wrote during his trial. Amar said the channel would express moderate Islamic views and would be mainly concerned with Abdel Rahman’s case and the demand that he be released.

According to Amar, the channel’s main theme will be defending victims of injustice, and that it would be an Arabic channel with some English-language programs."

Rahman's clan does seem to understand the art of PR and political compromise, by claiming to represent "moderate Islamic views." I don't know what happened to this "Reform and Justice Party." I don't know if this was renamed the "Building and Development Party." Both seem to have the same agenda. The latter seems to be more inclusive without the Rahmans in prominent official positions. Building and Development Party:

"The Building and Development Party...is an Islamist political party in Egypt. It was initiated by the Jama'a al-Islamiya ("Islamic Group") and is seen as the political wing of the movement.[1][2] The party was established on 20 June 2011,[3] following the 2011 Egyptian revolution, and officially endorsed by the Supreme Administrative Court on 10 October 2011.[4] The party is chaired by Nasr Abdel Salam.[5] The Building and Development Party has participated in the Egyptian parliamentary election, 2011–2012 as part of the Alliance for Egypt (dubbed as the "Islamist Bloc"), led by the Salafist Al-Nour Party.[6]

According to its manifesto, the party stands for a representative democracy with institutions guided by the principles of the Sharia, while rejecting any form of theocracy. Moreover, it favours a free economy and questions the size of the public sector.[7] Among the party's ranks is Abbud al-Zumar, who was imprisoned for nearly twenty years for involvement in the assassination of the Egyptian president Anwar Sadat."

Aboud al-Zumar "is a former Egyptian intelligence officer and a founding member and first emir of the Islamic Jihad group which gunned down Sadat during a military parade in 1981. He was succeeded by Ayman al-Zawahiri, with the Islamic Jihad group later merging with Al Qaeda. Al-Zumar is a member of the Egyptian Islamic Group’s [Al-Gamaa al-Islamiya] Shura Council. The Islamic Group renounced violence in the 1990s and is today part of the Egyptian political landscape, having formed the Building and Development Party. The Building and Development Party has 16 MPs."

Rahman's kids will naturally have a lot of prestige among the Al-Gamaa al-Islamiya hierarchy, going back to the days of the anti-Soviet jihad. In October 2011, this group released this statement: Dr. Omar [the Blind Sheikh] "had sent a number of his sons to the Afghan Jihad in the days of the Russian occupation, and all of them returned with the exception of Ahmed, who was killed today." For reasons that I stated here, 3 Egyptians killed in recent Predator strike in North Waziristan, the timing of this announcement that Ahmed Omar Abdul Rahman was killed in a CIA drone attack in North Waziristan leads me to doubt that he was the target in this attack. At any rate, I haven't found anything that indicates that the Rahman family is opposed to this Building and Development Party for any reason.

"In his meetings with senior Obama administration officials, Eldin says, he asked Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough about transferring Abdel-Rahman to an Egyptian prison. He said his request was declined"? And Eldin said that this "would be a gift to the revolution"? According to AP, June 22, 2012, Hani Nour Eldin and his delegation met "with Denis McDonough, President Barack Obama's deputy national security adviser, and William Burns, the deputy secretary of state." William Burns was also Under Secretary of State during the Bush administration. In July 2008, he met with Iranian envoy Saeed Jalili and EU foreign envoy Javier Solana in Switzerland to talk about Iran's nuclear program. According to the article, which I posted at the beginning of this thread, Eldin said this regarding the transfer of Omar Abdel-Rahman "to an Egyptian prison":

"When I raised this issue in the White House I was told it was not in their authority and all judicial issues relating to sentences must be discussed with the Department of Justice."

Assuming that this account is accurate, the Obama administration did not say an outright "no" to this request for Rahman's transfer to a prison in Egypt. At least theoretically, McDonough or Burns could forward this request to the DOJ. Other followers of Rahman have demanded his release. When Eldin said that Rahman's transfer to an Egyptian prison would be a "gift to the revolution," this was evidently a reference to the "revolution," which overthrew Mubarak. I have noticed that in many reports, Rahman's clan or followers claim that Rahman was imprisoned in US because of pressure from Mubarak. After the US, by proxy, got rid of Mubarak's regime, in May 2011, this report came out: Egypt Demands Repatriation of the Blind Sheikh:

"The Egyptian government reportedly has asked the United States to release the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel-Rahman, and send him back to Egypt, according to the Open Source Center, a government clearinghouse of publicly available foreign intelligence....

But his continued imprisonment could spur anger in Egypt and other Islamic states, said his son, Abdallah Abdel-Rahman. Keeping his father in custody would show that the United States did not seek to combat terrorism, but rather sought war on Islam.

He asked Egyptian officials to make a similar request, and an official at the Egyptian Ministry of Justice indicated that had been done. The official recommended Abdallah Abdel-Rahman make his own request to the U.S. government for his father's repatriation since the two countries have no joint agreement for the exchange of prisoners.

Last month, hundreds of Gama'a members protested near the U.S. embassy in Cairo demanding Abdel-Rahman's release."

This is the US embassy in Cairo, where Rahman had received some of his visas from "CIA agents acting as consular officers" about 20-25 years ago. My guess is that after the election, President Obama or President Romney will agree to some compromise, maybe sending him back to Egypt for "house arrest," with a public pledge that Sheikh Rahman will not support terrorism or something like that. Rahman is known to be a diabetic and advanced in years. If he is close to death, he may be sent back to Egypt, in order to avoid any rumors of foul play connected with his death in an American prison. If the CIA finds another job for Rahman and his followers to do, such as with the jihad against Assad in Syria, Rahman could do more to "inspire" his followers if he was back in Egypt, instead of just arranging for somebody to put his messages on Facebook or Twitter.

"A State Department spokesman said the delegation was 'invited to Washington by the Wilson Center. I refer you to the Wilson Center for any additional information on their visit'"? And "Drew Sample the media relations coordinator for the Wilson Center" said: "The Wilson Center was one of the places on the delegation’s Washington visit. We did not invite these people, the State Department arranged the visit"? The Wilson Center claims to have "Independent Research, Open Dialogue & Actionable Ideas." However, their website says: "The Board of Trustees, led by Chairman Joseph B. Gildenhorn, are appointed to six-year terms by the president of the United States. Trustees serve on various committees including executive, audit and finance, development, investment, fellowship, and investment policy." It sounds like the Wilson Center makes decisions to give the administration some "deniability." But ultimately it is the responsibility of the State Dept to issue visas. But I wonder if Eldin and maybe others in his delegation also got visas from a "CIA agent," who was "acting as a consular officer" at the US embassy in Cairo?

[NOTE: re: Dossier: Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG): The NEFA Foundation website seems to be down right now. I hope they get it fixed soon! -- "BlackJade"]

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To: LSJohn

I don't take it as "an absolute" that Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman was 100 percent guilty of every US charge against him. I also don't buy Rahman's story that he was just "a cleric who prayed in a mosque," that he "did not speak," and his statement that "I did not give orders. I have nothing to do with anything." I think that the truth lies somewhere in between everything that the prosecutors said and his claim of total innocence. In Peshawar, "CIA and Special Forces officers" called Rahman their "valuable asset," and he received four visas from "CIA agents acting as consular officers" because Rahman had a strong influence with his followers. He was deemed to be a gifted orator, with a reputation as the "spiritual leader" of Gamaa Islamiya and this Alkifah group in Brooklyn. He was also a dynamic recruiter and fund-raiser for the jihad against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the Soviet-backed puppet regime, and later against the Bosnian Serbs. Thus he was not just another "cleric" who prayed with his followers at a mosque.

As to the 1993 WTC, there's no question that, through informant Emad Salem, the FBI was directing and supervising the operation. The FBI depended on this band of Rahman's followers, based at the Alkifah Refugee Center in Brooklyn, to carry out this plot. Rahman, the "spirtual leader" or "spiritual guide" for this group was the glue that held the group together and motivated them. Thus I would say that the FBI was the "mastermind," with Rahman, Ramzi Yousef, Ali Mohamed, and others as "co-conspirators." I don't believe that Rahman and the others were "framed." They were part of this conspiracy, which was directed by the FBI through Salem. Ali Mohamed also had received a visa as a CIA "asset." He also was "a sergeant in the U. S. Special Forces at Fort Bragg, and a former officer in the Egyptian Army," who provided Rahman's Brooklyn followers with paramilitary training. Ali Mohamed also became an FBI informant. FBI informant Emad Salem seems to be from a similar background. He served as an "Egyptian army officer." He "claimed to have fought as a sniper in the Yom Kippur War of 1973." He may have worked for Egyptian intelligence at one time. I don't know about that. But I don't buy Lynne Stewart's claim that Salem was a spy for Mubarak's regime, who "manipulated" the FBI into going after Rahman. The FBI knew that Rahman was a protected US intelligence asset, which is why the FBI stuck to the "lone gunman" story in the Kahane case. THE CIA AND THE SHEIK:

"'Why aren't we going after the sheikh [Abdel Rahman]?' demanded the [FBI contract employee] undercover man.

'It's hands-off,' answered the [FBI] agent.

'Why?' asked the operative.

'It was no accident that the sheikh got a visa and that he's still in the country,' replied the agent, visibly upset. 'He's here under the banner of national security, the State Department, the NSA [National Security Agency], and the CIA.' The agent pointed out that the sheikh had been granted a tourist visa, and later a green card, despite the fact that he was on a State Department terrorist watch list that should have barred him from the country. He's an untouchable, concluded the agent. 'I haven't seen the lone-gunman theory advocated [so forcefully] since John F.


Sheikh Abdel Rahman left Egypt in 1990, in the wake of a series of bloody clashes between his militant fundamentalist group, Al Gamaat al Islamia, and the secular Egyptian government. The sheikh traveled to Pakistan, where he met with representatives of the Afghan mujahedeen, who were providing training for his underground terrorist group in Egypt, the very same mujahedeen who were receiving financial aid and training from the CIA in the war to rid Afghanistan of the Soviet Army. Even after the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan in February 1989, the U.S. and the Saudis continued to aid the mujahedeen through Pakistan until December 1990, in an attempt to topple the Afghan government."

Lynne Stewart, who calls herself a "civil liberties" attorney defending unpopular clients, also seems to be covering for her client's CIA ties. The CIA's Jihad:

"Sheikh Rahman’s lawyer, Lynne Stewart, says her client denies ever working for the CIA. 'Just because the CIA and I were on the same side in Afghanistan doesn’t mean we were allies,' Stewart says he told her.

But according to Professor Rubin, not long after the sheikh was arrested, a source asked Robert Oakley, former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, how the U.S. would respond if the sheikh disclosed he had worked for the CIA. Oakley laughed, saying it would never happen, because the admission would ruin the sheikh’s credibility with his militant followers."

According to AP, May 29, 1993, Rahman's immigration attorney, Barbara Nelson, also said that Rahman "has said he never worked for the CIA." Of course, Rahman would deny that he had any relationship with the CIA for the reasons stated by Oakley. I would also expect the CIA to deny any relationship with Rahman. Mubarak reportedly said this about Rahman: "The sheik has been a CIA agent since his days in Afghanistan. He still earns a salary.... The visa he got was not issued by mistake. It is because of the services he did." Mubarak also said that "The FBI wants Abdel-Rahman out of the country, while the CIA wants him to stay." What Mubarak said about Rahman makes more sense, in light of Rahman's history.

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To: LSJohn

LSJohn wrote on Sun, 01 July 2012 17:09


What Mubarak said about Rahman makes more sense, in light of Rahman's history.

Mubarak cannot be considered credible in assertions about Rahman. Rahman was known far and wide for advocating Mubarak's overthrow, and was jailed without charges in Egypt once for a year, and was twice charged with capital crimes for which he was acquitted by Egyptian courts. Almost everything you have presented as evidence of Rahman's activities can be seen as pro-U.S. Many who knew him but were NOT his followers have said Mubarak would be a far more likely target than the U.S. Like Usama, Rahman taught that intentionally harming innocents or their property is not permitted in Islam.

I can't say he's innocent, but can't assume him guilty either. We KNOW that the people who charged him here are not credible, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Rahman may have said that "intentionally harming innocents or their property" was not acceptable in Islam. So the Pentagon says that US drone attacks don't target civilians and that civilians are just "collateral damage." Just about everybody denies that they are targeting civilians. I don't take these claims at face value.

If by "pro-U.S.," you mean official sources or those who defend the US government's position, most of my information has not come from "pro-U.S." sources. I don't find Rahman's statement "I did not speak.... I did not give orders. I have nothing to do with anything" to be any more credible that the statements of the prosecutors. Emad Salem was part of this group of Rahman's followers in Brooklyn. Reports like this from Robert I Friedman, not exactly a US government source, explained why the CIA brought Rahman to Brooklyn, because of Rahman's influence with his followers: "Shiekh Omar Abdel Rahman commands an almost deified adoration and respect in certain Islamic circles....By all accounts, Rahman was brilliant at inspiring the faithful."

As to Mubarak, I was referring specifically to this statement that he made about Rahman in May 1993, which came from a Mubarak interview in the Egyptian media: "The sheik has been a CIA agent since his days in Afghanistan. He still earns a salary.... The visa he got was not issued by mistake. It is because of the services he did." I do find it hard to believe that Rahman got 4 visas from "CIA agents acting as consular officers at American embassies in Khartoum and Cairo" by accident or because somebody forgot to "check the microfiche file." If the CIA thought that it was that important to bring him to Brooklyn, it's logical that the CIA would help pay for his expenses. So Rahman shows up in Brooklyn to inspire his followers to recruit and keep donations going to the mujahideen in Afghanistan. And after the fall of the Soviet empire, Rahman & his followers moved on to Bosnia, as I said in my comments at the beginning of this thread.

Rahman did want to overthrow Mubarak. So did his followers in Gamaa Islamiyya (The Islamic Group) and Egyptian Islamic Jihad [EIJ]. U.S. Secretly Met With Followers of Blind Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman Before Controversial Visa Application. In 1989, US officials met with both groups at the US embassy in Cairo, and both organizations saw Rahman as their "main spiritual guide." Even when Mubarak was receiving billions of dollars in US aid, US intelligence was building up an international network of assets in Gamaa and EIJ, two radical offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood. Mubarak would have reasons to be concerned about these US ties with his mortal enemies, and it makes sense that by 1993, he would blow this whistle on the CIA's relations with Rahman. On this thread, Convicted Militant Seeks Retrial in ’95 Case, I provided links and sources on a meeting in the 1990's between Abu Mohamed al-Amriki and Ayman al-Zawahiri. Bin Laden Puppetmasters Smoked Out In Balkans:

"The $50 million offer was accompanied with the assurance that the United States would not interfere with an 'Islamist' takeover of Egypt, and allegedly proposed a {modus vivendi} between U.S. forces and the 'Islamists' in the Balkans."

As I said on that thread, the biographical data on Al-Amriki matches that of CIA asset Ali Mohamed, a member of Rahman's group at Alkifah in Brooklyn. Documents from the 1998 US embassy bombings trial show that the conspirators called Ali Mohamed "Abu Mohamed al-Amriki' or "Mohamed the American."

Very interesting that last year, through the NED and Freedom House, the US did get rid of Mubarak. This led to the growing power of the Muslim Brotherhood, but in Egypt's elections, the Muslim Brotherhood did not plan to have a candidate for president. As I said here, The Muslim Brotherhood comes to America, after a meeting with Senators John McCain & Lindsey Graham, Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders changed their position and decided to run Khairat al-Shater as a candidate. McCain is chairman of the International Republican Institute, a branch of the NED, and Lindsey Graham is on the IRI Board. Another Muslim Brotherhood candidate won the election. And President-elect Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood promised "to work for the release of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman." We'll see what happens. Maybe after the 2012 US presidential election, Rahman will return to Egypt under "house arrest" or some other arrangement.

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Gamaa Islamiya Update:

In my comments at the beginning of this thread, I wondered if the CIA, or more precisely the US "intelligence community," was going to find another job for Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman and his followers to do, such as going to fight the jihad against Assad in Syria. Yeah, that's the way it looks. Jama'a al-Islamiya: Dozens of jihadis to join Syrian rebels within days:

[August 26, 2012] "Assem Abdel Maged, media official at Jama'a al-Islamiya [Gamaa Islamiya], has said that a group of jihadis are ready to travel to Syria within days to join the rebels in an attempt to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Abdel Maged told Al-Masry Al-Youm that other groups had previously fought overseas, including in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Mohamed al-Zawahiri, brother of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, denied rumors that he had taken up arms in Syria.

'I did not and will not travel to Syria, and I have no intention to leave Egypt now to start with,' he said. 'All that has been said about me traveling with jihadis to Syria is absolutely not true.'

Magdy Salem, leader of Tala'e al-Fateh (Vanguards of Islamic Conquest), one of the jihadi movements that split from the Egyptian Islamic Jihad movement, said that his movement has not officially called for its members to travel to Syria.

'The participation of jihadis in the liberation of Syria is not a general trend in the jihad movement,' he said. 'Everyone is not doing enough to support Syria, but whoever decides to travel there, his decision is individual and has nothing to do with us.'

Informed sources said that the jihadis will fight with the Free Syrian Army, and denied any rift between them.

The source pointed out that a number of members of jihad organizations are in Syria with the rebels, after they fought with the Libyan rebels who revolted against Muammar Qadhafi and contributed to his fall.

According to the source, Egyptian jihadis will get together with other Arab fighters in one of the neighboring countries and will wait until they are provided with the needed weapons to enter the country."

I am sure that plenty of jihadis are with the Free Syrian Army. Did those "Egyptian jihadis" and "Arab fighters" get their arms at a base in Turkey, where French & British special forces are training the Free Syrian Army with the CIA & US special forces providing "communications assistance"? And, of course, even the US "mainstream" press now admits this: C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition:

"A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers.

The weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the officials said."

"Mohamed al-Zawahiri, brother of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri," doesn't have to leave Egypt, in order to recruit jihadis to fight in Syria or to go back to work for the Saudi-based International Islamic Relief Organisation [iIRO]. The Al Rajhi Bank patriarch, Sulaiman Abdul Aziz Al Rajhi, was a "Board member" of the IIRO. Very interesting to see that recently This Al-Rajhi Bank "announced a donation of SR 5 million" to "the campaign in support of Syrians facing oppression under the regime of Bashar Assad." Also note that:

"Abdullah Al-Turki, secretary-general of the Muslim World League, urged international charitable organizations and NGOs to support the Syrians who are facing the worst form of oppression under Bashar Assad’s regime."

International Islamic Relief Organisation [iIRO] just happens to be the "relief department of the Muslim World League." In the late 1990's, the IIRO was banksrolling "volunteers who enlist in the Liberation Army of Kosovo," which was generally known as the Kosovo Liberation Army [KLA or UCK]. And one of the IIRO's "employees" in Albania, was Mohamed al-Zawahiri, who became "a chief of the guerrilla’s special forces." Indeed, when the CIA was training the KLA on bases in Albania:

"One of the leaders of an elite KLA unit was Muhammed al-Zawahiri, the brother of Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, a leader in an Egyptian Jihad organization and a military commander of Osama bin Laden.... During the 'honeymoon' period between the CIA and Jihad holy warriors, Fatos Klosi, the head of SHIK, said he had reliable information that four groups of Jihad warriors from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Algiers, Tunisia and Sudan were in northern Albania and fighting with the KLA."

This must be one of the longest "honeymoons" in human history. First it was in Afghanistan to fight the Soviet army, then in the Balkans in the 1990's, then last year in Libya, and now the CIA and their jihadis are in Syria.

Mohamed al-Zawahiri does have a fascinating history. On this thread, Egypt orders retrial of brother of new al-Qaeda leader, I explained how he was "sentenced to death in absentia" by Mubarak's police state in 1998, during the timeframe when he was employed by the IIRO and when he was a commander of that "elite KLA unit." In April 1999, he was "renditioned" to Egypt by the CIA with a group of "Returnees from Albania." But remarkably this death sentence was never carried out, although he was said to have remained in Mubarak's prisons from 1999 through March 2012, when he was released by the new Egyptian government, who had replaced Mubarak, after the US staged that "Arab Spring" operation in early 2011. Actually he was released for a brief time in March 2011, then "re-arrested" until his release in March 2012. But for five of his previous 13 years in detention, "from 1999 to 2004, he had seemed to disappear." In October 2001, Russian and Macedonian sources caught someone identified as "Zaiman Zawahiri," Ayman al-Zawahiri's brother, running a training camp in the US-occupied sector of Kosovo. His trainees were headed for the jihad in Macedonia. "Zaiman" may be another Zawahiri brother or this may be a name that Mohamed Al-Zawahiri was using. It is not unprecedented for the CIA to find another job for US intelligence assets, who have been "renditioned" or sent to Guantanamo. For instance, LIFG founder Abdelhakim Belhaj was used in CIA, MI6, and NATO operations to get rid of Qaddafi. Abdurahman Khadr admitted he was on the CIA's payroll when he was in Bosnia and other places, during the timeframe when he was supposedly still in Guantanamo.

At any rate, recently "rumors" may have circulated that Mohamed Al-Zawahiri "had taken up arms in Syria" because of his history in Albania and Kosovo. This Free Syrian Army resembles the KLA before NATO's War of Aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999, when the CIA and special forces from the US, France, and Britain were training the KLA, which included "Bin Laden's Al Qa'ida."

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To: LSJohn

I don't take it as "an absolute" that Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman was 100 percent guilty of every US charge against him. I also don't buy Rahman's story that he was just "a cleric who prayed in a mosque," that he "did not speak," and his statement that "I did not give orders. I have nothing to do with anything." I think that the truth lies somewhere in between everything that the prosecutors said and his claim of total innocence. In Peshawar, "CIA and Special Forces officers" called Rahman their "valuable asset," and he received four visas from "CIA agents acting as consular officers" because Rahman had a strong influence with his followers. He was deemed to be a gifted orator, with a reputation as the "spiritual leader" of Gamaa Islamiya and this Alkifah group in Brooklyn. He was also a dynamic recruiter and fund-raiser for the jihad against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the Soviet-backed puppet regime, and later against the Bosnian Serbs. Thus he was not just another "cleric" who prayed with his followers at a mosque.

So do you have any evidence the CIA knew Rahman would target the US when they arranged for his visas? The rest is irrelevant.

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So do you have any evidence the CIA knew Rahman would target the US when they arranged for his visas? The rest is irrelevant. // end Colby


http://www.historyco...ar_abdul_rahman (I have only posted a small portion of this important link PLEASE VISIT AND READ THE WHOLE LINK<VERY WORTH WHILE)


February 16, 1989-December 1990: CIA Continues to Work with ‘Blind Sheikh’ and Supports Mujaheddin Despite Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Although the Soviets withdraw from Afghanistan in February 1989 (see February 15, 1989), the CIA continues to support the mujaheddin because the Soviet-allied Communist government stays in power in Kabul. Apparently, the CIA and the Saudi government continue to fund the mujaheddin at least until December 1990, although it could be longer because the Communist government remains in power in Kabul until 1992. The “Blind Sheikh,” Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman, reportedly has been working with the CIA in the 1980s to help unite the mujaheddin factions fighting each other (see Late 1980s). The Village Voice will later report that according to a “very high-ranking Egyptian official,” Abdul-Rahman continues to work with the CIA after moving to Brooklyn in July 1990 (see July 1990). He “work closely with the CIA, helping to channel a steady flow of money, men, and guns to mujaheddin bases in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” But despite working with the CIA, Abdul-Rahman still considers the US the “Great Satan” and does not try to hide this. In one radio broadcast, he says that “Americans are descendants of apes and pigs who have been feeding from the dining tables of the Zionists, Communism, and colonialism.” Matti Steinberg, an expert on Islamic fundamentalism, says that Abdul-Rahman’s “long-term goal is to weaken US society and to show Arab rulers that the US is not an invulnerable superpower.” The Egyptian official will later complain, “We begged America not to coddle the sheikh.” [Village Voice, 3/30/1993]

(April 25-May 1989): US Holds Secret Meetings with Egyptian Terror Group Headed by ‘Blind Sheikh’

Members of Egyptian militant group Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, whose spiritual head is the ‘Blind Sheikh,’ Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman, hold a series of secret meetings with US officials at the American embassy in Cairo. The meetings are initiated by Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, which wants to co-operate with the US, because it thinks the US is co-operating with and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. At the meetings, representatives of the group tell the US:

Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya has between 150,000 and 200,000 members;

One of the representatives at the meetings sat on Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya’s shura, or leadership council, between 1981 and 1988. The 11 members of the group’s shura are named at the meetings, as is its operational commander;

Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya thinks highly of Saudi Arabian King Fahd, but believes he should take a stronger line against Iran. However, Abdul-Rahman met an Iranian delegation in Pakistan in autumn 1988;

The group will not attack US diplomats;

Abdul-Rahman travels to the US yearly, and also travels to Britain;

The group is not as secret and violent as represented by the Egyptian government and has undergone a “change in thinking,” becoming concerned about its radical and violent image.

Embassy officials are skeptical about some of the claims, as the group’s representatives reveal more than the officials think is prudent. One year after the meetings, Abdul-Rahman will be issued a US visa by a CIA officer and move to the US (see July 1990). [uS Embassy in Cairo, 4/25/1989 ; US Embassy in Cairo, 5/3/1989 ]

July 1990: ’Blind Sheikh’ Enters US Despite Being on Terrorist Watch List, Takes Over Al-Kifah

Despite being on a US terrorist watch list for three years, radical Muslim leader Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman enters the US on a “much-disputed” tourist visa issued by an undercover CIA agent. [Village Voice, 3/30/1993; Atlantic Monthly, 5/1996; Lance, 2003, pp. 42] Abdul-Rahman was heavily involved with the CIA and Pakistani ISI efforts to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan, and became famous traveling all over the world for five years recruiting new fighters for the Afghan war. The CIA gave him visas to come to the US starting in 1986 (see December 15, 1986-1989) . However, he never hid his prime goals to overthrow the governments of the US and Egypt. [Atlantic Monthly, 5/1996] FBI agent Tommy Corrigan will later say that prior to Abdul-Rahman’s arrival, “terrorism for all intents and purposes didn’t exist in the United States. But [his] arrival in 1990 really stoke the flames of terrorism in this country. This was a major-league ballplayer in what at the time was a minor-league ballpark. He was… looked up to worldwide. A mentor to bin Laden, he was involved with the MAK over in Pakistan.”

(and the CIA didnt know he was a major terror instigator ??? , GAAL)

The charity front Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK) is also known as Al-Kifah, and it has a branch in Brooklyn known as the Al-Kifah Refugee Center. The head of that branch, Mustafa Shalabi, picks up Abdul-Rahman at the airport when he first arrives and finds an apartment for him. Abdul-Rahman soon begins preaching at Al Farouq mosque, which is in the same building as the Al-Kifah office, plus two other locals mosques, Abu Bakr and Al Salaam. [Lance, 2006, pp. 53] He quickly turns Al-Kifah into his “de facto headquarters.” [Atlantic Monthly, 5/1996] He is “infamous throughout the Arab world for his alleged role in the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat.” Abdul-Rahman immediately begins setting up a militant Islamic network in the US. [Village Voice, 3/30/1993] He is believed to have befriended bin Laden while in Afghanistan, and bin Laden secretly pays Abdul-Rahman’s US living expenses. [Atlantic Monthly, 5/1996; ABC News, 8/16/2002] For the next two years, Abdul-Rahman will continue to exit and reenter the US without being stopped or deported, even though he is still on the watch list (see Late October 1990-October 1992).


Edited by Steven Gaal
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However, he never hid his prime goals to overthrow the governments of the US and Egypt. [Atlantic Monthly, 5/1996]

Please quote the relevant excerpt from the Atlantic Monthly article.

FBI agent Tommy Corrigan will later say that prior to Abdul-ahman’s arrival, “terrorism for all intents and purposes didn’t exist in the United States. But [his] arrival in 1990 really stoke the flames of terrorism in this country. This was a major-league ballplayer in what at the time was a minor-league ballpark. He was… looked up to worldwide. A mentor to bin Laden, he was involved with the MAK over in Pakistan.”

(and the CIA didnt know he was a major terror instigator ??? , GAAL)

Huh?? So they were supposed to have crystal balls and have known what he would do after he arrived when they gave him his visa? And please point to an up-tic in terrorism in the US following his arrival that could be attributed to him.

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Huh?? So they were supposed to have crystal balls and have known what he would do after he arrived when they gave him his visa? // end Colby


February 16, 1989-December 1990: CIA Continues to Work with ‘Blind Sheikh’ and Supports Mujaheddin Despite Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan

In one radio broadcast, he says that “Americans are descendants of apes and pigs who have been feeding from the dining tables of the Zionists, Communism, and colonialism.”


Your sooooo right . APES AND PIGS dont use crystal balls very well.(Ya wonder why I previously posted the above in RED ??)

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Huh?? So they were supposed to have crystal balls and have known what he would do after he arrived when they gave him his visa? // end Colby


February 16, 1989-December 1990: CIA Continues to Work with ‘Blind Sheikh’ and Supports Mujaheddin Despite Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan

In one radio broadcast, he says that “Americans are descendants of apes and pigs who have been feeding from the dining tables of the Zionists, Communism, and colonialism.”


Your sooooo right . APES AND PIGS dont use crystal balls very well.(Ya wonder why I previously posted the above in RED ??)

LOL your snide tone would be obnoxious rather than risible if you...:

a) hadn't made a 1st grade grammatical error in the process. ('your' vs. 'you're'

B) weren't so consistently wrong. You're [sic LOL] blunders are due to your sloppiness, some times you post stuff you haven't bothered to read so one can't expect you to actually check the sources cited by your sources. I have repeatedly caught you out on the same error; but you never learn. Learning from one's mistakes is a sign of intelligence. From the March 30, 1993 Village Voice article cited by the Timeline '"Americans," said the sheikh on a recent Arabic-language radio broadcast, "are descendants of apes and pigs who have been feeding from the dining tables of the Zionists, Communism, and colonialism."' Pretty obviously “recent” would have been well after the issuance of his visa 4 years earlier or even his entrance into the US 3 years earlier; and why would the author have bothered to have described it as an “Arabic-language radio broadcast” if it had been made while the sheik was still in Egypt?

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[From _The Village Voice_, March 30, 1993]


The Agency Coddled Omar Abdel Rahman, Allowing

Him to Operate in the U.S.

Now This Unholy Alliance Has Blown Up in Our Faces.

By Robert I. Friedman

"They were talking all the time about targeting American symbols," says the

FBI undercover informant, "the Empire State Building, the Statue of

Liberty. A few of the guys came to the mosque to pray and go home. But

others gathered to conspire in small groups, talking in deep, low voices.

They see the U.S. as an imperialist power, the Big Satan, the root of all

the evil in the world."

The FBI operative, Mamdouh Zaki Zakhary, monitored the radical activities

at the El Salaam Mosque in Jersey City, which was the headquarters of the

terrorist cell that allegedly planned and carried our the of the World

Trade Center on February 26. Zakhary, a heavily bearded Coptic Christian

from Egypt who owned an import-export firm in Jersey City, spent a year and

a half spying on the local Arab American community and the mosque,

beginning January 10, 1990. During this time, he watched the first two men

arrested in connection with the bombing. Mohammed Salameh and Ibraham

Elgabrowny, as well as the spiritual leader who may have inspired them, the

fiery blind fundamentalist cleric Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who is infamous

throughout the Arab world for his alleged role in the assassination of

Egyptian president Anwar el-Sadat.

"The only thing they want is to establish an Islamic world," Zakhary told

The Village Voice during an interview from his home in Alexandria, Egypt.

"They will do anything to achieve it. You have to understand their desire

to strike out, to avenge anything that hurts Islam. I asked Elgabrowny,

'Why do you stay here [in Brooklyn]?' And he told me, I want to earn their

dollars so that I can stab them in the back."

Zakhary reported the group's subversive activities in regular meetings with

his FBI handler, Special Agent Kenneth Strange. But Zakhary, who was not

able to penetrate the cell's inner circle, had no advance warning that

there was a plan to commit one of the most sensational acts of foreign

terrorism on American soil before the bombing of the World Trade Center:

the assassination of the controversial right-wing Zionist leader Rabbi Meir


On November 5, 1990, El Sayyid Nosair, a pudgy, bearded 34-year-old

Egyptian American and a core member of the El Salaam Mosque, calmly walked

up to the podium of a conference room in the Halloran House, a midtown

Manhattan hotel, after Kahane had finished, a one-hour speech. Moments

later, Kahane was shot once in the throat at point-blank range with a .357

magnum, and Nosair bolted outside. During a running gun battle down

Lexington Avenue, Nosair was wounded by an off-duty postal inspector and

finally captured by New York City police.

"At first, no one knew who Nosair was," recalls Zakhary, "so when I heard

about it I called the FBI and identified him,' I told them he was a member

of the mosque and that he was very close with the sheikh [Abdel Rahman]. I

told them that, four days before, I saw with my own eyes the sheikh meeting

with Nosair at a Lebanese restaurant on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. It was

7 p.m. There was Nosair, the sheikh, a person escorting the sheikh, and

another person I don't know. They were deep in conversation."

Shortly after police arrested Nosair they found startling evidence that the

Kahane killing was just the first in a planned spree. Scrawled on a bank

calendar in Nosair's home was a "hit list" that included the names of a

U.S. representative, two federal judges, and a former assistant U.S.

Attorney. Local police searching Nosair's Cliffside Park, New Jersey, home

discovered a trove of terrorist paraphernalia: bombmaking manuals, AK-47

cartridges, a stolen New York State license plate, and a bullet-riddled

target board. There were also a number of passports and driver's licenses

under various names, as well as articles about the assassination of Anwar


But despite Zakhary's reports, Nosair's hit list, and the suspicious cache

at his home, the authorities seemed to be downplaying all signs of a

terrorist conspiracy. Within 12 hours of the shooting, New York City chief

of detectives Joseph Borrelli declared the Kahane assassination was the

work of a "lone gunman." Borrelli added, '"There was nothing found [at

Nosair's house] that would stir your imagination."

One New York City detective close to the investigation told me that the

case was handled like a routine homicide. "They [the NYPD] wanted to make

it as simple as possible," said the detective. "It was treated as a

homicide at the precinct level. The higher-ups didn't want to take it

further. The police department stated that they got the gunman and that

was it. We're not equipped to investigate international terrorism."

But the FBI is. On the eve of Nosair's trial, a frustrated federal

investigator told me that he didn't believe Nosair had acted alone.

"There's nothing to prove that Nosair took it upon himself to [kill

Kahane]. There are many conspiracy theories. We hit a lot of dry wells."

Yet the federal agent said that the NYPD had jurisdiction in the case and

that the FBI's investigation was "superficial."

What investigators would have found if they had done their job thoroughly

is that Sheikh Abdel Rahman and El Sayyid Nosair were at the heart of a

far-flung terrorist conspiracy. A magnet for the angry and dispossessed of

the Muslim world, Abdel Rahman, through his violent preaching, has been

linked to dozens of terrorist incidents in Egypt and now to the attack on

the World Trade Center. an act he says he deplores.

In the aftermath of the bombing, many are wondering why there wasn't a

comprehensive, wide-ranging investigation of Meir Kahane's murder. One

possible explanation is offered by a counterterrorism expert for the FBI.

At a meeting in a Denny's coffee shop in Los Angeles a week after the

Kahane assassination, the 20-year veteran field agent met with one of his

top undercover operatives, a burly 33-year-old FBI contract employee who

had been a premier bomber for a domestic terrorist group before being

"turned" and becoming a government informant.

"Why aren't we going after the sheikh [Abdel Rahman]?" demanded the

undercover man.

"It's hands-off," answered the agent.

"Why?" asked the operative.

"It was no accident that the sheikh got a visa and that he's still in the

country," replied the agent, visibly upset. "He's here under the banner of

national security, the State Department, the NSA [National Security

Agency], and the CIA." The agent pointed out that the sheikh had been

granted a tourist visa, and later a green card, despite the fact that he

was on a State Department terrorist watch-list that should have barred him

from the country. He's an untouchable, concluded the agent. "I haven't

seen the lone-gunman theory advocated [so forcefully] since John F.


Why might the U.S. government protect a militant sheikh linked to numerous

acts of terrorism?(Cause the demonic DOD/MIC wants war !!!)

Sheikh Abdel Rahman left Egypt in 1990, in the wake of a series of bloody

clashes between his militant fundamentalist group, Al Gamaat al Islamia,

and the secular Egyptian government. The sheikh traveled to Pakistan, where

he met with representatives of the Afghan mujahedeen, who were providing

training for his underground terrorist group in Egypt, the very same

mujahedeen who were receiving financial aid and training from the CIA in

the war to rid Afghanistan of the Soviet Army. Even after the Soviets

pulled out of Afghanistan in February 1989, the U.S. and the Saudis

continued to aid the mujahedeen through Pakistan until December 1990, in an

attempt to topple the Afghan government.

According to a very high-ranking Egyptian official, when the sheikh moved

to Brooklyn in May 1990, he worked closely with the CIA, helping to channel

a steady flow of money, men, and guns to mujahedeen bases in Afghanistan

and Pakistan. The camps became a mecca for disaffected youth from across

the Muslim world.

Of course, the mujahedeen's agenda was not exactly the same as the CIA's.

While Abdel Rahman was perfectly happy to accept CIA help to chase the

godless Russians out of Afghanistan, it didn't stop him from teaching his

recruits his revolutionary agenda. The camps, says the high-ranking

Egyptian official, were "schools for jihad," or holy war. The sacred

mission was to be waged on two fronts. In the Middle East, his holy

warriors were to overthrow secular, pro-Western Arab regimes and replace

them with austere Islamic theocracies. The main target was Egypt, the

largest and most powerful nation in the Arab world. The sheikh believes,

the high-ranking Egyptian official says, "that if you take Egypt, you take

all the Middle East." Mamdouh Zaki Zakhary concurs: "Abdel Rahman

repeatedly preached that Egypt is the hand of Satan, and that you have to

cut off the hand of Satan immediately."

The Great Satan itself, of course, is America, a state that, in the eyes of

the sheikh and his supporters, has routinely committed atrocities against

the Muslim world. (previous SAID BEFORE BROADCAST./ YOUR SOOOOO RIGHT)

SAYING ANTI-AMERICAN THEMED diatribes before , then this below. SNIDE ? Show respect for your teacher.)

"Americans," said the sheikh on a recent Arabic-language

radio broadcast, "are descendants of apes and pigs who have been feeding

from the dining tables of the Zionists, Communism, and colonialism." He

advocates the destabilization of the U.S. by violent attacks on its symbols

of prestige and power, while proselytizing among African Americans and

other disenfranchised minorities. Abdel Rahman's "long-term goal is to

weaken U.S. society and to show Arab rulers that the U.S. is not an

invulnerable superpower," says Matti Steinberg, an expert on Islamic

fundamentalism at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

According to Western intelligence sources, Abdel Rahman has 10,000 fanatic

disciples in Egypt and several hundred in America. But, as far as anyone

knows, he never issues them direct orders. "He talks about the importance

of jihad in the U.S. without being concrete," says Matti Steinberg. "It's a

form of spiritual brainwashing called Dawa. All it takes is a few angry

people to understand his message." A high-ranking Egyptian official agrees:

"This man is instigating violence in a very clever way. You can't really

hope to establish a direct link" between the sheikh and the World Trade

Center bombing.

Just four months before the bombing, Egyptian intelligence officials warned

the U.S. that the sheikh's principal mosques in America, the El Salaam

Mosque and the El Farouq Masjid Mosque in Brooklyn, were "hotbeds of

terrorist activity," and that the fiery blind Muslim preacher was plotting

a new round of terrorist attacks in Egypt. "There were many, many contacts

between Cairo and Washington," says the official.

The FBI received a violent reminder of the sheikh's agenda on November 12,

1992, when a terrorist hit squad linked to Abdel Rahman machine-gunned a

busload of Western tourists in Egypt, injuring five Germans. In the last

year, three Western tourists have been killed in Egypt and at least two

dozen have been wounded, crippling the country's $2.5 billion tourist

industry. When asked on an Arabic-language radio show in Washington, D.C.,

about terrorist attacks on foreign tourists, the sheikh replied, "Force is

used with tourists. But tourists should use good manners. Tourism is not

nightclubs, alcohol, gambling, fornicating. They should stay away from

this behavior, the spread of AIDS and corruption with which they have

filled Egypt."

Some three months after the attack on the tourist bus, a rental van packed

with a witches' brew of sulfuric acid, nitric acid, and urea exploded in

the subbasement of the World Trade Center, killing six people and injuring

more than 1000. "If they had found the exact architectural Achilles' heel

[of the World Trade Center]," says an explosives expert who works for the

FBI, "on if the bomb had been a little bit bigger, not much more, 500

pounds more, I think it would have brought her down. It's really scary."

As Americans reeled from the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, the

first rumors that swept the country centered on an unidentified Serbian

terrorist group. The theory was abandoned only after a sharpeyed

investigator from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and a New

York City cop who were combing through the rubble found a tiny metal

fragment with the identification number of the van rented by Mohammed

Salameh. "It was a miracle that it wasn't destroyed," says the explosives

expert. If it had been, the FBI might have been tracking Serbians for

weeks in stead of Sheikh Abdel Rahman and hi labyrintine web of local Arab


Lost in the press avalanche about the World Trade Center bombing was the

new that on the same day terrorists linked to Abdel Rahman had detonated a

bomb packed with rusty nails in the Wadi el-Ni cafŠ, a fashionable

restaurant in Cairo, killing two tourists and two Egyptians, and wounding

16. "They wanted to show the Egyptian authorities that they could operate

in the heart of the nation's capital; says the high-ranking Egyptian-

government official, who adds bitterly, "We begged America not to coddle

the sheikh."Jack Blum, a widely respected former special investigator for the Senate

Foreign Relations subcommittee, puts it bluntly The CIA trained the

mujahedeen in terrorism, then dumped them in 1990 as part of an agreement

with Moscow, leaving behind a ragtag army of anti-Western Muslim extremists

burning to vent their rage on their former patrons, America. "One of the

big problems here is that many suspects in the World Trade Center bombing

were associated with the mujahedeen," says Blum. "And there are components

of our government that are absolutely disinterested in following that path

because it leads back to people we supported in the Afghan war." The first

suspect arrested in the World Trade Center bombing was Mohammed Salameh, a

25-year-old Palestinian with a thick black beard and a degree from a

Jordanian university in the shariah, Islamic religious law. On February

23, he rented the Ryder van that was packed with explosives and detonated

underneath the World Trade Center. When it was revealed that he had

returned four times to claim a $400 refund for the vehicle, which he claims

was stolen the night before the bombing, many assumed he was either a patsy

or the stupidest terrorist in history. What was forgotten, of course, was

that the odds against identifying the van were astronomical.

"He's not a clever man, but he's not a stupid man," says Zakhary, the FBI

undercover operative who met Salameh at the El Salaam Mosque. "He's an

ordinary man, a working man. I think that, for him, the bombing was coming

from his heart, not his brain."

The seeds of Salameh's discontent were sown in Bidya, a dusty, nondescript

farming village of 6000 Palestinian Arabs near the Nablus-Tel Aviv Highway,

on the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The squat, ramshackle, cinder-block

homes line unpaved streets that are strewn with garbage. Indoor plumbing is

rare, and the town doesn't have a single telephone. The gray concrete walls

of Bidya's four schools are covered with pro-PLO graffiti and fierce

tirades against Israel.

Bidya is a glaring contrast to nearby Ariel, the gleaming suburban

settlement of 15,000 secular Jews that was built on land expropriated from

Bidya and other nearby Palestinian villages in the mid 1970s. Ariel has the

look and feel of an American Sunbelt suburb in the midst of a boom. At the

mall in the heart of town, shops sell everything from falafel for $ 1.50 to

expensive clothes. A large outdoor swimming pool attracts suntanned Jewish

settlers, who moved to this West Bank outpost for its front yards and

scenic vistas.

Bidya has a long history of violence and rebellion. In 1936, when

Palestinian Arabs began a three-year revolt against the British Mandatory

authorities then ruling Palestine and the Jewish minority who were

struggling for statehood, Bidya became a staging base for fedayeen, or

Palestinian guerrillas. The British Army was far more brutal putting down

the revolt than the Israeli Army has been during the intifada. British

planes strafed Arab villages, thousands of Palestinians were herded into

concentration camps, and authorities passed emergency laws that made the

possession of a gun or even a bullet a crime punishable by death. More

than 10,000 Palestinians were killed in the fighting; Bidya suffered

hundreds of casualties.

After Israel's 1948 War of Independence, the Jordanian Arab Legion occupied

the West Bank, and Bidya spearheaded Palestinian opposition to Jordan's

King Hussein, a Hashemite originally from Saudi Arabia who treated West

Bank Palestinians with high-handed contempt. In 1959, 15 high-ranking

officials of the Jordanian military, including a leading notable from

Bidya, plotted King Hussein's assassination. But the Jordanian mukhabarut

(secret police) discovered the scheme, and the plotters were sentenced to

death. Mohammed Salameh was born in Bidya in September 1967, just three

months after it was occupied by Israeli troops in the June 1967 Six Day

War. "When the Israelis came to our village' says Osama Odeh, a distant

cousin of Salameh, "they made a gentlemen's agreement with my father and

uncle, who is a lawyer. 'We know your Family is very nationalistic and

won't accept occupation,' they said, 'so if the fedayeen come to Bidya, you

can feed them so long as you then tell them to go. We will give you money

for your new school and build roads and sewers."'

But from the onset of Israeli rule, Bidya's residents waged a fierce

guerrilla war against the Israeli occupation, and Mohammed Salameh's family

was in the forefront of that opposition. Salameh's maternal grandfather,

one of Bidya's largest landowners, was active in the 1936 Arab Rebellion

and later joined the PLO. He was arrested in the early 1980s for membership

in the PLO, and, in spite of his advanced age, was imprisoned by the

Israelis and allegedly tortured. He died soon after his release. Salameh's

uncle spent 18 years in prison for a PLO attack on Israeli civilians. Odeh

told me that Salameh's "hate" comes from the "injustice" of the Israeli

occupation, his uncle's and grandfather's imprisonment, and Ariel's rapid

expansion. "Ariel," says Odeh, "is growing, and sucking the red blood of

our land."

When I last journeyed to Bidya, in the fall of 1990, the main entrance was

blocked by a knot of heavily armed Israeli soldiers in riot gear. "A

shooting took place," explained a soldier, who looked no more than 18. "The

road is closed. If you go in, we will shoot you."

Earlier in the day, students had gathered in the center of Bidya, shouting

anti-Israeli slogans under a huge banner that read FATAH AND HAMAS

TOGETHER. (Hamas is the large Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist group

dedicated to Israel's destruction.) Then hundreds of Palestinian youth

marched to the Nablus-Tel Aviv Highway, where young boys and girls began to

throw stones at Israeli cars. Soldiers raced to the scene and fired into

the air, trying to disperse the demonstrators. Several armed Jewish

settlers got out of their cars and fanned out among the almond trees that

line the side of the road and started shooting. Akhlam Abed, a 13-year-old

girl, was killed. She was Bidya's first casualty of the intifada.

In the wake of Israel's lightning victory in the June 1967 Six Day War,

Salameh's parents left Bidya for a squalid shantytown on the outskirts of

Amman, Jordan, forfeiting their home and possessions, as did tens of

thousands of Palestinians. Like all Palestinian youth, Salameh passionately

followed the course of the intifada, the Palestinian uprising that began in

the Gaza Strip in December 1987 and quickly spread to every Arab town,

village, and refugee camp in the Occupied Territories. Every day Jordanian

television broadcast images of Palestinian boys, their faces swathed in

black-and-white-checkered kaffiyehs, their eyes unafraid, hurling

pomegranate-sized stones at Israeli troops brandishing automatic weapons.

The children of the "stone revolution," as they are called, gave

Palestinians around the world a collective sense of pride and


Salameh, one of 11 brothers and sisters, was an indifferent student with a

poor self-image. According to Odeh, he became a devout Muslim in his

teens. Salameh's parents have expressed surprise about his alleged role in

the World Trade Center bombing. "The Jews, this is from the Jews, who have

done this and blamed my son," Salameh's mother, Aysha, told The New York


Aysha might well blame Sheikh Abdel Rahman for leading her wayward son down

the combustible path of Islamic fundamentalism. Salameh, who received a

tourist visa from the American consulate in Amman in December 1987, moved

to New Jersey, where he worked at menial jobs, constantly changing

addresses. He met Abdel Rahman not long after the sheikh arrived in

Brooklyn; he was captivated by the sheikh's call for jihad and the downfall

of America, becoming his sometime gofer, according to one U.S. law-

enforcement source. Salameh quickly fell into a circle of like-minded

Muslims, including Nidal Ayyad, a chemical engineer of Palestinian descent

who allegedly concocted the World Trade Center bomb.

In Egypt, Abdel Rahman's name lives in infamy for his role in the October

6, 1981, assassination of Anwar Sadat, who was cut down in a hail of

grenade and automatic-weapons fire while he reviewed a military parade. In

1980, Abdel Rahman had issued a fatwa, or religious decree, that called

Sadat an infidel for turning his back on Islam and for making peace with

Israel. This made Sadat a prime target for assassination, an act eventually

executed by the operational arm of Abdel Rahman's organization, Al Gamaat

al Islamia, which had penetrated the Egyptian army and security services.

(a long history of peaceful thought,YUP)

During a tumultuous trial in which the defendants publicly charged they had

been tortured by police interrogators, the sheikh was acquitted. The

sheikh, who continued to agitate against the Egyptian government while his

followers carried on a campaign of lethal bombings, was imprisoned for

three months in 1985, for one month in 1986, and for four months in 1989.

He finally left his homeland in 1990, saying, "It was too much for me."

(Too much heat in Egypt for him. BUT DOD/MIC thought he was perfect detonator to start terrorism in US , for later world wide so-called terror WAR $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$)

After brief stays in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, the sheikh slipped into

Pakistan, where he forged operational links with mujahedeen strongman

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the head of a radical Afghan Islamic fundamentalist

army that was being covertly backed by the CIA. According to Stephen Van

Evera, an affiliate of Harvard's Center for Science and International

Affairs, Hekmatyar "strongly chastised the United States and its 'immoral'

society, even while Washington lavished him with aid." In Hekmatyar's

guerrilla training camps, American advisers taught everything from using

explosives to shooting down enemy planes with shoulder-held Stinger


The mujahedeen base camps in Peshawar were also places where militant

Muslims were caught up in the spirit of the two supreme moments in recent

Islamic history: the revolution in Iran, which transformed the country into

a self-righteous bastion of zealous fundamentalism, and the Afghan war.

"Iran symbolizes the rise of the Islamic state," says the Egyptian

official, "and the Afghan war was a real battlefield for these people to

acquire the stamina and capabilities to wage war." And since these two

events were successful, the militants "decided to pursue this march and

spread their revolutionary message to other countries."

In America, Abdel Rahman raised funds and recruits for the mujahedeen, many

oF them first-generation Muslim immigrants. His mosques in Jersey City and

Brooklyn also attracted fundamentalists expelled from the Gulf Emirates

after the Gulf War. But many Muslims repudiate his radical preachings.

Mosques across the country closed their doors to the rabble-rousing blind

man. Local Muslims grew even more wary in March 1991 when Mustafa Shalabi,

a 39-year-old Egyptian electrical contractor living in Brooklyn, was found

lying face down on his kitchen floor in his pajamas. He had been shot once

at close range near the left ear and stabbed in the back and stomach.

Police sources say Shalabi had been running guns to the Afghan rebels, as

well as raising money for the legal defense of El Sayyid Nosair before his

trial on charges of assassinating Rabbi Meir Kahane. Earlier, Shalabi had

helped Abdel Rahman find an apartment in Brooklyn. Police speculate that

Abdel Rahman had Shalabi murdered for pocketing some of the money. Shalabi

"had a lot of enemies," says a police source. "There was also a lot of

intrigue and infighting at his mosque in Brooklyn."

Shalabi worshipped at the El Farouq Masjid Mosque, located in a bleak

storefront building at 554 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. The Friday sermons

were delivered by Abdel Rahman, until the directors of the mosque expelled

him soon after Kahane's assassination.

The sheikh then moved entirely to the El Salaam Mosque in Jersey City. The

founder of the mosque is Sultan Ibraham El Gawli, a wealthy 55-year-old

Egyptian businessman who was convicted by a federal jury in July 1986 for

conspiring to export 150 pounds of C-4 plastic explosives to Israel for use

by the PLO in a Christmas bombing. El Gawli, who sports a full, white Santa

Claus beard, served 18 months in prison before returning to Jersey City.

He often marched in front of the courthouse during Nosair's trial, carrying

banners with fierce anti-Israel slogans. "It's no crime praying together,

is it?" El Gawli asked me when I questioned him about his friendship with


It was the infiltrator Mamdouh Zaki Zakhary who helped U.S. Customs set up

the sting operation that netted El Gawli. Zakhary , a frail man afflicted

with blindness in one eye and a large goiter on his neck, wore a wire into

El Galwi's office at a travel agency he owned, Sultan Travel, recording

five incriminating conversations. "There were some references on the tapes

about doing it [transporting the explosives] for God," recalls Kevin

McCarthy, the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted El Gawli.

"Sultan El Gawli was the brains behind the terror cell at the mosque," says

Zakhary . "There were lots of meetings in his office. He also got foreign

money from the PLO and Iran. Many times he entertained and was visited by

officials from Saudi Arabia, the PLO, and Iran."

"I always thought the El Gawli case was just scratching the surface of what

was really going on [in the El Salaam Mosque]," admits a federal official

who worked on the case. "First, El Gawli himself was this businessman who

seemed to be trying to do things for the money, not for any grander scheme.

And secondly, since Mamdouh was a [Coptic Christian], I thought he wouldn't

have access to the real inner world of whatever was going on in the mosque.

At the same time, I didn't have any indications that there was more stuff

going on in the mosque."

After testifying as the key witness in a Camden, New Jersey, courthouse,

Zakhary entered a federal witness-protection program. At first, he and his

new bride lived in New Orleans, before he became convinced the PLO was

stalking him. He moved throughout the Southwest, driving the federal

marshals responsible for him crazy with complaints about the program.

Homesick and desperate for cash, Zakhary offered to return to Jersey City

to spy on the Arab American community and the El Salaam Mosque, this time

for the FBI, under the code name Mubarak. He stayed away from the mosque

itself except for three visits gathering what information he could --

through friends and acquaintances.'

"I didn't know Salameh very well," says Zakhary, who was better acquainted

with Ibraham Elgabrowny, a cousin of both El Gawli and El Sayyid Nosair.

"Elgabrowny was a very extreme fundamentalist. He belonged to the Muslim

Brotherhood in Egypt. In 1985, when the TWA plane was hijacked to Beirut,

Elgabrowny said he was very happy. He said, 'lf I was the kidnapper, I

would start executing passengers right now."'

In 1991, a year and a half after he began to work for the FBI, Zakhary

reported to his handler that he had overheard a plot to assassinate the two

U.S. senators from New York, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Alfonse D'Amato.

When incredulous FBI agents hooked him up to a lie detector, Zakhary failed

the test. He blames the result on prescription medication he was taking at

the time because of an automobile accident. The FBI did not believe him and

terminated his employment.

"Mamdouh [Zakhary] is an honest man with very good intentions," Richard

Kennan, a U.S. Customs agent, told the Israeli newspaper Ma ariv. "[He]

prevented a mass terror attack on Christmas 1985. Unfortunately, he didn't

understand the American system. He was confused. I'm very sorry about

what happened to him. We tried to get him asylum in the U.S., but his

behavior didn't help." The U.S. has had a long and tortured history with

the Islamic world. While most Americans see Muslims as the aggressors,

Muslims view the West the same way. In fact, the U.S. and the Islamic world

have been trading acts of terrorism for years. In 1986, Libyan-backed

terrorists bombed the La Belle discotheque in Berlin, killing two American

servicemen. In response, the U.S. bombed Libya, killing 36 civilians and

wounding 92. On July 3, 1988, during the Iran-Iraq war, the U.S.S.

Vincennes accidentally shot down an Iranian passenger plane over the Gulf,

killing 290 people. Six months afterward, Pan Am 103 disintegrated in a

shower of fire and debris over Lockerbie, Scotland. No one claimed credit,

but it is widely believed in intelligence circles that the Pan Am bombing

was Iran's revenge.

The U.S.-funded attack that killed the greatest number of innocent

civilians took place on March 8, 1985, when the U.S. tried to liquidate

what it believed was the very symbol of international terrorism:

fundamentalist Muslim leader Sheikh Mohammed Fadlallah, the head of

Hizbollah, the Party of God. On October 23, 1983, Fadlallah had sent a

suicide bomber barreling into the Marine compound in Beirut, killing 241

Marines. CIA director William Casey contracted out the job of retaliation

to Saudi intelligence, which sent a car packed with explosives into a

Beirut slum near Fadlallah's headquarters. A city block was devastated and

more than 90 people were buried under the rubble.

Because of the persistent fear of Arab terror during the Gulf War, Arab

Americans say they have been unfairly targeted for special surveillance by

federal agencies. Actually, there has been little evidence of Arab

terrorism on American soil. The PLO raises money and spreads propaganda in

the U.S., but has refrained from attacking targets here -- although it has

staged murderous assaults against Americans abroad. Ironically, the week

the World Trade Center was bombed, a PLO official was being tried in a

Brooklyn federal court for planting powerful time bombs in rented cars

parked outside two Israeli banks in Manhattan and the El Al terminal at

Kennedy Airport in 1973.

Most Americans would be surprised to learn, however, that the terrorist

group that led the hit parade through much of the 1980s was the Jewish

Defense League, Rabbi Meir Kahane's fanatical right-wing Zionist

organization. By 1985, the JDL was ranked by the FBI as the most lethal

domestic terrorist group in America, overtaking the Aryan Nation, the

American Nazi Party, and the Puerto Rican Revolution. The JDL has been

linked to dozens of bombings and at least two assassinations, including the

widely admired regional director of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination

Committee, Alex Odeh.

For years the Brooklyn-born Kahane had been calling for the expulsion of

all Arabs from Israel. After moving to Jerusalem, he established the Kach

Party and was elected to Israel's parliament in 1984. He drafted a slew of

bills that were never passed, including one that would have made it a crime

punishable by two years in prison for a Jew to have sex with an Arab.

Israel's High Court banned Kahane from running for reelection in 1988 on

the grounds that his party was racist and antidemocratic.

It seems certain now that Kahane's fanatical ideas made him the target of

terrorism himself. On November 5, 1990, he gave the last speech of his

life. "My whole life has been ideas which eventually were taken up by

other people and succeeded," said Kahane in his characteristic stutter, an

impediment since childhood. "Today Jewish defense is an accepted thing. A

patrol in a neighborhood is an accepted thing." But patrols were no longer

adequate to defend Jews in a country that was becoming increasingly anti-

Semitic, Kahane warned. He urged his Jewish audience to move to Israel

before a new Holocaust engulfed them in America. "They hate us with a

passion out there," thundered Kahane, "with a virulence that's frightening

to see."

Following Kahane's speech, El Sayyid Nosair approached the podium wearing a

black yarmulke, as if to ask a question. Moments later, Kahane was dead.

In the irony of ironies, the FBI put the New York branch of the Kach Party

under surveillance to prevent it from avenging their slain leader. The FBI

failed, however, to monitor activities at the radical mosques.

I interviewed Nosair for The Village Voice in a tiny detention cell on

Rikers Island on the eve of his trial. Nosair, who was wearing a white

tunic and a white skullcap with the words ALLAH WILL BE VICTORIOUS knitted

in bold blue Arabic calligraphy across the front, began our 90-minute talk

by handing me a number of pamphlets showing why Islam was the true path. "I

started to practice my religion as much as I can since I came to the United

States," said Nosair. "Of course, I read a lot. I read about different

religions -- Christianity, Judaism -- I studied all these religions that

led me to believe that Islam is the true way of life.

"You face many different doors" in America, continued Nosair, who had

immigrated to Pittsburgh from Egypt on July 14, 1981. The true path is

behind one door, he explained, while evil lurks behind the others. "Because

I believe that Islam is the true way of life, I began to preach Islam, to

prove to people from their own [religious] books that Islam is the correct

way of life." Islam, he told me, is encoded in each of us at birth. Each

person is created in submission to Allah. We pervert nature, he said, when

we embrace Judaism or Christianity. "Judaism has a lot of materialistic

rituals with a minimum of spiritual rituals, and that's why Allah sent

Islam to mankind," Nosair said. Judaism is an abomination, he explained,

not because of race or blood (the Arabs too are Semites), but because the

Jews refuse to accept Mohammed as the Prophet.

I asked Nosair if the Koran says there is such a thing as a just killing.

"Of course, there has to be," he replied. "We have to have an Islamic

state -- that's why we try to preach Islam to everybody."

Nosair admitted he is a big "celebrity" in the Muslim world, where he is

credited with killing Kahane. When Nosair's wife, Caren, a blue-eyed Irish

Catholic convert to Islam, and three children traveled to Egypt a year

after Kahane's murder, they were met at the airport by government officials

and driven through Cairo in a motorcade. Caren's chaperone was none other

than Nosair's cousin, Ibraham Elgabrowny.

Elgabrowny had helped raise more than $250,000 for Nosair's legal defense.

The trial turned out to be one of the most shocking in New York history.

The Manhattan D.A.'s case against Nosair was as narrowly focused as the

investigation had been. The prosecution didn't present any of the evidence

police found in Nosair's apartment suggesting his terrorist connections'

and never offered the jury an explanation of Nosair's motive, despite the

fact that Manhattan Assistant District Attorney William Greenbaum knew that

Nosair was bragging to fellow inmates at Rikers Island that "Allah chose me

to kill the big Jew." At least one inmate reported Nosair's confession to

the D.A.'s office, according to sources close to the investigation. After

close questioning that included a lie-detector test, the inmate was deemed

highly credible by the D.A. But in a catastrophic miscalculation, Greenbaum

decided not to put the inmate on the stand.

The D.A. believed there was ample evidence to convict Nosair without

delving into his motive, which would have led the trial into the swamp of

Kahane's radical ideas, 50 years of Arab-Israeli enmity, and the internal

politics of Israel and Egypt. What looked to every observer like an open-

and-shut case ended with Nosair's stunning acquittal; he was, however,

sentenced to 22 years for related charges.

"In this case the result is so jarring that has tempted people to talk

about taking the law into their own hands," former U.S. Attorney Rudolph

Giuliani wrote to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Otto Obermaier after the verdict.

Giuliani recommended that the FBI reopen the Nosair investigation. The

Justice Department refused, and the case dimmed from public memory until

the World Trade Center was bombed.

The authorities are just now reopening the Kahane investigation. It is

possible that Nosair will be tried in federal court for violating Kahane's

civil rights, much as the police in the Rodney King case are now being

tried. A new investigation may find that the bombers of the World Trade

Center were also Kahane's killers. The connections seem strong. Both

Elgabrowny and Salameh visited Nosair in Attica. And federal agents found

forged Nicaraguan passports made out to Nosair and his family in

Elgabrowny's Brooklyn brownstone. Attica officials are currently

investigating whether an escape was being planned.

Another suspect in the case, Mahmud Abouhalima, a New York City taxi driver

and an associate of both Nosair and Salameh, fled the U.S., reportedly for

Egypt. Investigators believe he may now be in Pakistan, where he had

trained with the mujahedeen and later fought in the Afghan war.

Investigators are also looking for links between the bombing suspects and

Mir Aimal Kansi, who is being sought for the slaying of two CIA employees

in front of the agency's Virginia headquarters. According to a federal

prosecutor, Kansi had told his roommate that he was going to commit a

violent act to protest what he perceived as Western mistreatment of


This much is certain: Just 12 hours after Kahane's killing, the government

was espousing the lone-gunman theory and Nosair's terrorist connections

were ignored. Had the investigation into the assassination of Rabbi Meir

Kahane been vigorously pursued, the World Trade Center bombing may never

have happened.


Late 1980s and After: CIA Blocks Investigations into Al-Qaeda’s ‘Operational Headquarters’ in US

In the late 1980s, Osama bin Laden and his mentor Abdullah Azzam are running a charity front called Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK)/Al-Kifah in Peshawar, Pakistan, and it has an important branch in Brooklyn, New York, called the Al-Kifah Refugee Center that is sending money and recruits to fight in Afghanistan. The CIA apparently helps the Al-Kifah Brooklyn office send up to 200 people from the US to fight in Afghanistan (see 1986-1993). Many of them are US citizens. Zalmay Khalilzad, a State Department Afghan specialist who will go on to become a prominent neoconservative, will later deny knowing of any Arab-Americans fighting with the mujaheddin. But one anonymous Congressional aide will recall occasional mentions of Al-Kifah Refugee Center or its head Mustafa Shalabi by some of the most radical mujaheddin. He will say: “Among that cabal, the extreme militant fringes, Shalabi was known.… [T]hey were asking to talk to him so he could organize some particular assistance.” The Neutrality Act prevents US citizens from fighting against countries not at war with the US, but the New York Times will note, “Yet there is no sign that a criminal investigation ever took place even though federal agents had come across broad hints about the center’s activities when they investigated the [Meir] Kahane assassination [in 1990] (see November 5, 1990) and the slaying of Mr. Shalabi [in 1991]” (see (February 28, 1991)). Kahane’s assassin, El Sayyid Nosair, was one of Shalabi’s assistants. [April 1993-Mid-2003). Robert I. Friedman, writing for New York magazine, will comment, “[W]hen the fanatical fervor [the CIA] whipped up leads to unintended consequences—the assassination of a Jewish militant leader in Manhattan, the bombing of the World Trade Center, a terror conspiracy to blow up the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels and other Manhattan landmarks—[the CIA tried] to discourage local law enforcement agencies and the FBI from looking into the matter too deeply.” After Nosair assassinates Kahane, the FBI tells District Attorney Robert Morgenthau that Nosair was a lone gunman, not part of a broader conspiracy. However, the FBI had truckloads of evidence connecting to Al-Kifah strongly suggesting otherwise that it does not closely investigate. The FBI also blocks him from tying Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman to the WTC bombing (see After February 26, 1993). Morgenthau will later speculate the CIA may have encouraged the FBI not to pursue any other leads. “The FBI lied to me,” he will say. “They’re supposed to untangle terrorist connections, but they can’t be trusted to do the job.” [New York Magazine, 3/17/1995] Counterterrorism expert Steven Emerson will call Al-Kifah “al-Qaeda’s operational headquarters in the United States.” [Emerson, 2006, pp. 436] In 1994, a secret internal CIA report will conclude that the agency is “partially culpable” for the WTC bombing because of its support for radicals connected to Al-Kifah. One CIA source will say, “By giving these people the funding that we did, a situation was created in which it could be safely argued that we bombed the World Trade Center” (see January 24, 1994). But even after 1994 there is little evidence that the links from Al-Kifah were carefully explored by any US government agency. For instance, the government will not freeze Al-Kifah’s funds until shortly after 9/11, long after it ceased to exist (see September 24, 2001).




November 5, 1990 and After: US Promotes Lone Gunman Theory in Kahane Assassination, Hiding Evidence of Al-Qaeda Links

US government agencies cover up evidence of a conspiracy in the wake of El Sayyid Nosair’s assassination of controversial right-wing Zionist leader Rabbi Meir Kahane (see November 5, 1990). Nosair is captured a few blocks from the murder site after a police shoot-out. An FBI informant says he saw Nosair meeting with Muslim leader Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman a few days before the attack, and evidence indicating a wider plot with additional targets is quickly found. [Village Voice, 3/30/1993] Later that night, police arrive at Nosair’s house and find a pair of Middle Eastern men named Mahmud Abouhalima and Mohammed Salameh there. They are taken in for questioning. Additionally, police collect a total of 47 boxes of evidence from Nosair’s house, including: [Lance, 2003, pp. 34-35]

Thousands of rounds of ammunition.

Maps and drawings of New York City landmarks, including the World Trade Center.

Documents in Arabic containing bomb making formulas, details of an Islamic militant cell, and mentions of the term “al-Qaeda.”

Recorded sermons by Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman in which he encourages his followers to “destroy the edifices of capitalism” and destroy “the enemies of Allah” by “destroying their… high world buildings.”

Tape-recorded phone conversations of Nosair reporting to Abdul-Rahman about paramilitary training, and even discussing bomb-making manuals.

Videotaped talks that Ali Mohamed delivered at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Top secret manuals also from Fort Bragg. There are even classified documents belonging to the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Commander in Chief of the Army’s Central Command. These manuals and documents had clearly come from Mohamed, who completed military service at Fort Bragg the year before and frequently stayed in Nosair’s house.

A detailed and top secret plan for Operation Bright Star, a special operations training exercise simulating an attack on Baluchistan, a part of Pakistan between Afghanistan and the Arabian Sea. [Raleigh News and Observer, 10/21/2001; Raleigh News and Observer, 11/13/2001; Wall Street Journal, 11/26/2001; ABC News, 8/16/2002; Lance, 2003, pp. 34-35]

Also within hours, two investigators will connect Nosair with surveillance photographs of Mohamed giving weapons training to Nosair, Abouhalima, Salameh, and others at a shooting range the year before (see July 1989). [Lance, 2003, pp. 34-35] But, ignoring all of this evidence, still later that evening, Joseph Borelli, the New York police department’s chief detective, will publicly declare the assassination the work of a “lone deranged gunman.” He will further state, “I’m strongly convinced that he acted alone.… He didn’t seem to be part of a conspiracy or any terrorist organization.” The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry will later conclude, “The [New York Police Department] and the District Attorney’s office… reportedly wanted the appearance of speedy justice and a quick resolution to a volatile situation. By arresting Nosair, they felt they had accomplished both.” [Village Voice, 3/30/1993; Lance, 2003, pp. 34-36] Abouhalima and Salameh are released, only to be later convicted for participating in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Investigators will later find in Nosair’s possessions a formula for a bomb almost identical to one used in the WTC bombing. [New York Magazine, 3/17/1995] As one FBI agent will later put it, “The fact is that in 1990, myself and my detectives, we had in our office in handcuffs, the people who blew up the World Trade Center in ‘93. We were told to release them.” The 47 boxes of evidence collected at Nosair’s house that evening are stored away, inaccessible to prosecutors and investigators. The documents found will not be translated until after the World Trade Center bombing. Nosair will later be acquitted of Kahane’s murder (though he will be convicted of lesser charges), as investigators will continue to ignore all evidence that could suggest Nosair did not act alone (see December 7, 1991). [ABC News, 8/16/2002; Lance, 2003, pp. 34-37] District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who prosecuted the case, will later speculate the CIA may have encouraged the FBI not to pursue any other leads. Nosair worked at the Al-Kifah Refugee Center which was closely tied to covert CIA operations in Afghanistan (see Late 1980s and After). [New York Magazine, 3/17/1995]


December 7, 1991: US Still Refuses to Investigate Possible Conspiracy in Murder of Jewish Rabbi

El-Sayyid Nosair is acquitted of killing Meir Kahane (see November 5, 1990), leader of the Jewish Defense League, but convicted of firearms offenses connected with his shooting of two witnesses during his attempt to flee. The judge will declare that the acquittal verdict “defie reason” and sentence Nosair to 22 years by applying maximum sentences to his convictions on the other charges. [Village Voice, 3/30/1993; Independent, 11/1/1998; Lance, 2003, pp. 65] The prosecution of Nosair was hobbled by the US government’s absolute refusal to acknowledge the possibility that the murder was anything other than the work of a “lone deranged gunman” despite information gained during the course of the investigation provided by an FBI operative that he had “very close” ties to the radical imam Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman. Many boxes of evidence that could have sealed Nosair’s guilt on the murder charge and also shown evidence of a larger conspiracy were not allowed as evidence. [Village Voice, 3/30/1993; Miller, Stone, and Mitchell, 2002, pp. 44-46] A portion of Nosair’s defense fund is paid for by bin Laden, but this will not be discovered until some time later. [ABC News, 8/16/2002] District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who prosecuted the case, will later speculate the CIA may have encouraged the FBI not to pursue any other leads. Nosair worked at the Al-Kifah Refugee Center which was closely tied to covert CIA operations in Afghanistan (see Late 1980s and After). [New York Magazine, 3/17/1995]

After February 26, 1993: CIA Obstructs FBI Investigation of ‘Blind Sheikh’ in 1993 WTC Bombing

After the 1993 WTC bombing (see February 26, 1993), New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau’s investigators search El Sayyid Nosair’s belongings (see November 5, 1990 and After) and find a bomb formula which was quite similar to the bomb used to attack the WTC. This discovery would link Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman’s group to the bombing. The belongings also include a taped plea from Abdul-Rahman to destroy “the towers that constitute the pillars” of the civilization of “enemies of God.” Some suspect this is a reference to the WTC. But the FBI refuses to acknowledge and follow up on the bomb formula or other leads from Nosair. Morgenthau later concludes that the CIA may have pressured the FBI to back off from evidence which led to Abdul-Rahman, as well as blocking other investigative leads (see Late 1980s and After). [New York Times, 11/21/1994; New York Magazine, 3/17/1995]

Edited by Steven Gaal
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[From _The Village Voice_, March 30, 1993]


The Agency Coddled Omar Abdel Rahman, Allowing

Him to Operate in the U.S.

Now This Unholy Alliance Has Blown Up in Our Faces.

By Robert I. Friedman

"They were talking all the time about targeting American symbols," says the

FBI undercover informant, "the Empire State Building, the Statue of

Liberty. A few of the guys came to the mosque to pray and go home. But

others gathered to conspire in small groups, talking in deep, low voices.

They see the U.S. as an imperialist power, the Big Satan, the root of all

the evil in the world."

The mosque was the one in Jersey City, so if the informant heard Rahman this was from after was in the country.

"It was no accident that the sheikh got a visa and that he's still in the country," replied the agent, visibly upset. "He's here under the banner of national security, the State Department, the NSA [National Security Agency], and the CIA." The agent pointed out that the sheikh had been granted a tourist visa, and later a green card, despite the fact that he was on a State Department terrorist watch-list that should have barred him from the country. He's an untouchable, concluded the agent. "I haven't seen the lone-gunman theory advocated [so forcefully] since John F. Kennedy."

These are the 3 year-old supposed recollections of the LA area domestic bomber turned informant, the reference to the NSA doesn't even make sense since it deals with signals intelligence, might it have been (if anything) NSC? How would this guy have inside information regaring the Kahane case? And what evidence was there linking Rahman to Nossir at the time? According to the VV author it was the NYPD that didn't want to pry any deeper.

Why might the U.S. government protect a militant sheikh linked to numerous

acts of terrorism?(Cause the demonic DOD/MIC wants war !!!)

What exactly did “the demonic DOD/MIC” have to do with this wasn't this supposed to be a CIA op? In any case the bombing didn't even lead to an retaliatory attack let alone war. The notion that Rahman was “untouchable” was contradicted by his arrest in 1993 sentencing to life without chance of parole, you'd think if he had some dirty deal with the USG he would have said something over the last 20 years.

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These are the 3 year-old supposed recollections of the LA area domestic bomber turned informant, the reference to the NSA doesn't even make sense since it deals with signals intelligence, might it have been (if anything) NSC? How would this guy have inside information regaring the Kahane case? And what evidence was there linking Rahman to Nossir at the time? According to the VV author it was the NYPD that didn't want to pry any deeper. //end Colby


The incredible selective memory of LEN COLBY. 1996 ....1996 ......1996


Abu Zubaydah is part of the very beginning of Al-Qaeda. British,French,CIA,NSA all monitor him. Only a clown dosent think him Al-Qaeda. It appears that Western intelligence agencies had been monitoring Zubaida’s calls as far back as 1996 (see (Mid-1996) and October 1998 and After).

Late 1980s: Afghan Training Camps Forge Future Boston Al-Qaeda Cell

Four men, Mohamad Kamal Elzahabi, Nabil al-Marabh, Raed Hijazi, and Bassam Kanj, meet each other in an Afghanistan training camp. All four of them take part in fighting against the Soviets. This is according to testimony by Elzahabi in 2004 (see April 16, 2004-June 25, 2004). Elzahabi will claim that while there, he met Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, later famous for allegedly attacking US soldiers in Iraq, and al-Qaeda leaders Abu Zubaida and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. This appears to be the genesis of a Boston al-Qaeda sleeper cell that will play vital roles in 9/11 and other al-Qaeda plots. The four men go their separate ways in subsequent years, but by 1998 all of them will be working as taxi drivers in Boston (see June 1995-Early 1999). [boston Globe, 6/27/2004]

Late 1980s: US Intelligence Already Investigating Abu Zubaida and California Al-Qaeda Operative

Khalil Deek. [source: Ali Jarekji / Reuters]In 2007, the New Yorker magazine will note, “American intelligence officials had been investigating [Khalil] Deek and [Abu] Zubaida’s activities since at least the late eighties,” but it will not explain why. Deek is a Palestinian and naturalized US citizen living in California for most of the 1990s who will later reportedly mastermind several al-Qaeda bomb plots. [New Yorker, 1/22/2007] Abu Zubaida, the nom de guerre of Saudi-born Palestinian Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein (also spelled Zein al-Abideen Muhammad Hassan) [Washington Post, 4/22/2009] , joins the Palestinian uprising in 1987, when he is only sixteen years old. He then goes to Afghanistan, presumably joins with bin Laden, and fights there before the war ends in 1989. [suskind, 2006, pp. 95] Between 1988 and 1996, Deek is apparently involved with the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a US-based charity which the US government will later call a “front group” for the Palestinian militant group Hamas. The IAP is closely tied to the Holy Land Foundation, established near Dallas, Texas, in 1989 (see 1989), and it appears the foundation was investigated from very early on. Deek is living in Dallas that year. [Orange County Weekly, 5/31/2001] Palestinian militant activity through organizations like the IAP may explain why these two are investigated at this time, and/or the two may have engaged in other activities. Counterterrorism expert Rita Katz will later claim that the Jordanian government “knew about Deek since the early 1990s. They had a lot of interest in him. They really considered him a major terrorist figure.” [Orange County Weekly, 6/17/2004] Deek and Zubaida will later work together on a number of operations, for instance using the honey trade to ship drugs and weapons (see May 2000), and masterminding a millennium bomb plot in Jordan. [New Yorker, 1/22/2007]

1994: Al-Qaeda Helps Form Militant Training Camps in Philippines

MILF forces on parade in Camp Abubakar, February 1999. [source: Romeo Gacad / AFP / Getty Images]The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a large Philippine militant group, sets up a major training camp with al-Qaeda help. According to Philippine investigators, a sprawling complex and set of camps known as Camp Abubakar is built this year in a remote part of the southern island of Mindanao. One camp within the complex called Camp Palestine trains Arabs exclusively. Another is Camp Hodeibia, and is used by Jemaah Islamiyah, the al-Qaeda-linked group based in Indonesia. [Ressa, 2003] Al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida is said to send al-Qaeda operative Omar al-Faruq with one other al-Qaeda camp instructor to help recruit and train in these camps. Al-Faruq will remain the head of al-Qaeda’s operations in Southeast Asia until his capture in 2002 (see June 5, 2002). [Time, 9/15/2002; CNN, 10/28/2002] Philipppine officials will claim that over the next few years Camp Abubakar continues to grow and over twenty other MILF camps are used and supported by al-Qaeda operatives (see February 1999). The Philippine military will raze Camp Abubakar during a brief offensive against the MILF in 2000, but the camp will be quickly rebuilt and still be used to train foreign militants. [Ressa, 2003] The Philippine government has had a series of negotiations, cease fires, and peace treaties with the MILF. The MILF has generally denied ties to al-Qaeda, but in 1999 the head of the MILF will say his group had received non-military aid from bin Laden (see February 1999). In 2003, President Bush will pledge $30 million to MILF regions of the Philippines to promote a new peace treaty with the group. [Asia Times, 10/30/2003]

Mid 1995-Spring 1996: French Agent Penetrates Afghan Camps, Meets Top Al-Qaeda Managers

al-Qaeda Afghan training camp. [source: Al Jazeera]A French intelligence asset called Omar Nasiri, who has previously informed on a Groupe Islamique Armé (GIA) cell in Brussels (see Mid 1994-March 2, 1995), is given the task of penetrating the network of militant camps in Afghanistan. He flies to Pakistan and soon is in contact with the al-Qaeda network. He is sent to Peshawar, where he meets al-Qaeda leaders Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi and Abu Zubaida. From there he is then taken to al-Libi’s Khaldan camp inside Afghanistan, where he receives physical and weapons training, as well as religious instruction. The training also includes blocks on explosives, tactics, hand-to-hand combat, surveillance, and kidnapping, and is at least partially derived from US army manuals. While at the camp he is told by Kashmiri militants that they have been trained by the Pakistani army (see (Mid 1995-Spring 1996)) and he uses money given to him by French intelligence to purchase weapons for al-Qaeda (see (Late 1995-Spring 1996)). After several months of training at Khaldan and Darunta camps, he returns to Europe via Peshawar. In Peshawar he again meets Abu Zubaida, who gives Nasiri a phone number where he can be reached and asks him to send money from Europe. Upon returning to Europe, Nasiri contacts his handler at French intelligence and tells him about the camps. [Nasiri, 2006, pp. 101-244, 253-7]

June 1996: Bin Laden Meets with Pakistani Military Leaders

Mushaf Ali Mir. [source: Paknews.com]According to controversial author Gerald Posner, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida meet with senior members of Pakistan’s military, including Mushaf Ali Mir, who becomes chief of Pakistan’s air force in 2000. Bin Laden moved to Afghanistan the month before, and the Pakistanis offer him protection if he allies with the Taliban. The alliance will prove successful, and bin Laden will call it “blessed by the Saudis,” who are already giving money to both the Taliban and al-Qaeda. [Posner, 2003, pp. 105-06; Time, 8/31/2003] Perhaps not coincidentally, this meeting comes only one month after a deal was reportedly made that reaffirmed Saudi support for al-Qaeda. Bin Laden is initially based in Jalalabad, which is free of Taliban control, but after the deal, he moves his base to Kandahar, which is the center of Taliban power. [Asia Times, 9/17/2003]

(Mid-1996): French and British Intelligence Listen in on Al-Qaeda Communications, Asset Relays Messages for Al-Qaeda

Omar Nasiri, who informs on al-Qaeda for the British intelligence service MI6 and the French service Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DSGE), makes contact with al-Qaeda logistics manager Abu Zubaida using a telephone bugged by MI6. Nasiri met Abu Zubaida in Pakistan (see Mid 1995-Spring 1996). Usually, when Nasiri calls the number, he talks to one of Abu Zubaida’s associates, but sometimes he talks to Abu Zubaida himself. The phone is used to relay messages between Abu Zubaida in Pakistan and al-Qaeda representatives in London, in particular leading imam Abu Qatada. The French will apparently make great use of this information (see October 1998 and After). [Nasiri, 2006, pp. 270-1, 273, 281]

(Mid-1996 and After): French and British Intelligence Send Al-Qaeda $3,000

The British intelligence service MI6 and the French service Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE) send al-Qaeda $3,000 though one of their assets, Omar Nasiri, who has penetrated al-Qaeda’s camps in Afghanistan and its network in London (see Mid 1995-Spring 1996 and Summer 1996-August 1998). The money is sent to al-Qaeda logistics manager Abu Zubaida, whose phone calls they are listening to with Nasiri’s help (see (Mid-1996)). The money is wired to a Pakistani bank account whose number Abu Zubaida has given to Nasiri in three instalments of $1,000. At first, the British and French do not want to send the money, but Nasiri tells them it is essential for his cover and that Zubaida expects it, so they provide it. [Nasiri, 2006, pp. 271-3]

May 22, 1997: Spanish Intelligence Learns Madrid Cell Is Sending Recuits to Al-Qaeda Training Camps, Takes No Action

Spanish intelligence has been monitoring an al-Qaeda cell based in Madrid led by Barakat Yarkas (see 1995 and After), and they are aware that a leader of the cell named Chej Salah left Spain in late 1995 and moved to Peshawar, Pakistan. He serves there as an al-Qaeda talent scout, sending the most promising recruits to a training camp in Afghanistan. Yarkas’s cell is recruiting youths in Spanish mosques to join al-Qaeda. On May 22, 1997, the Spanish monitor a phone call in which Salah tells Yarkas that the recruits he is sending are being taken care of by al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida. Despite such knowledge, the Spanish government will not arrest any members of the Madrid cell until after 9/11. This is according to a book by Jose María Irujo, lead investigative journalist for the Spanish newspaper El Pais. [irujo, 2005, pp. 23-40]

1998-2001: Pakistani ISI Allegedly Protects Al-Qaeda Leader Zubaida from Capture

By 1997, al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida is living in Peshawar, Pakistan, near the border to Afghanistan. He runs an al-Qaeda guest house there called the House of Martyrs, where all foreign recruits are interviewed before being sent to Afghanistan. As a result, Zubaida soon knows the names of thousands of al-Qaeda recruits. [Rashid, 2008, pp. 224-225] In 2006, author Gerald Posner will write that beginning in 1998, Pakistan receives several requests from US intelligence to track down Zubaida. Beginning by October 1998, the US and other countries have been monitoring Zubaida’s phone calls (see October 1998 and After), and will continue to do so through the 9/11 attacks (see Early September 2001 and October 8, 2001). But according to Posner, “Pakistan’s agency, the ISI, had claimed to have made several failed attempts, but few in the US believe they did more before September 11 than file away the request and possibly at times even warn Zubaida of the Americans’ interest.” [Posner, 2003, pp. 184] In 2008, Pakistani journalist and regional expert Ahmed Rashid will repeat the gist of Posner’s allegations, and further explain that Zubaida directly worked with the ISI. Some of the militants he directs to al-Qaeda camps are militants sent by the ISI to fight in Kashmir, a region disputed between India and Pakistan. Presumably, handing Zubaida to the US could hinder Pakistan’s covert war against India in Kashmir. [Rashid, 2008, pp. 224-225] After Zubaida is arrested in 2002, he allegedly will divulge that he has personal contacts with high-ranking officials in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia (see Early April 2002).

1998-December 11, 1999: Key Al-Qaeda Operative Working with Zubaida Allegedly Monitored in Pakistan

Khalil Deek, an al-Qaeda operative living in California for most of the 1990s, moves to Peshawar, Pakistan, around this time. Al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida is also operating from the same town and is a close associate of Deek. In fact, US intelligence have been investigating the two of them since the late 1980s (see Late 1980s). It appears Deek is under surveillance by this time. The Wall Street Journal will claim, “US intelligence officials had tracked the onetime California resident for years before they had tied him, [in December 1999], to [an] alleged Jordanian plot.” [Wall Street Journal, 3/8/2000] A 2005 book by counterterrorism expert Jean-Charles Brisard will similarly relate that by the spring of 1999, “For several months the Jordanian government, with the help of the American FBI, had been stepping up pressure on [Pakistan] to arrest [Deek].” [brisard, 2005, pp. 65] Deek lives in a rented villa surrounded by high walls. He runs a small computer school and repair shop. He helps encrypt al-Qaeda’s Internet communications. He exports drums of local honey to the Middle East. Deek and Zubaida apparently use the honey to hide the shipment of drugs and weapons (see May 2000). [Wall Street Journal, 3/8/2000; Orange County Weekly, 6/15/2006] Deek also creates an electronic version of an al-Qaeda terrorist manual known as the Encyclopedia of Afghan Jihad. [9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004] “US authorities say his house near the Afghan border also served as a way station for recruits heading in and out of terrorist training camps in Afghanistan.” [Wall Street Journal, 3/8/2000] Zubaida also screens recruits and directs them to training camps in Afghanistan. Deek and Zubaida share a Peshawar bank account. [Orange County Weekly, 6/15/2006] It appears that Western intelligence agencies are monitoring Zubaida’s phone calls from 1998, if not earlier (see October 1998 and After and (Mid-1996)). Deek will be arrested on December 11, 1999, quickly deported to Jordan, and then released in 2001 (see December 11, 1999). It will later be alleged that Deek was a mole for the Jordanian government all along (see Shortly After December 11, 1999).

: Taliban and Saudis Meet and Purportedly Make a Deal

Taliban officials allegedly meet with Prince Turki al-Faisal, head of Saudi intelligence, to continue talks concerning the Taliban’s ouster of bin Laden from Afghanistan. Reports on the location of this meeting, and the deal under discussion differ. According to some reports, including documents exposed in a later lawsuit, this meeting takes place in Kandahar. Those present include Prince Turki al-Faisal, head of Saudi Arabian intelligence, Taliban leaders, senior officers from the ISI, and bin Laden. According to these reports, Saudi Arabia agrees to give the Taliban and Pakistan “several hundred millions” of dollars, and in return, bin Laden promises no attacks against Saudi Arabia. The Saudis also agree to ensure that requests for the extradition of al-Qaeda members will be blocked and promise to block demands by other countries to close down bin Laden’s Afghan training camps. Saudi Arabia had previously given money to the Taliban and bribe money to bin Laden, but this ups the ante. [sunday Times (London), 8/25/2002] A few weeks after the meeting, Prince Turki sends 400 new pickup trucks to the Taliban. At least $200 million follow. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/23/2001; New York Post, 8/25/2002] Controversial author Gerald Posner gives a similar account said to come from high US government officials, and adds that al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida also attends the meeting. [Posner, 2003, pp. 189-90] Note that reports of this meeting seemingly contradict reports of a meeting the month before between Turki and the Taliban, in which the Taliban agreed to get rid of bin Laden (see June 1998).

October 1998 and After: Multiple Countries Monitor Zubaida’s Phone Calls

Counterterrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna will later write that after the US embassy bombings (see 10:35-10:39 a.m., August 7, 1998), surveillance of al-Qaeda is stepped up around the world. “One intelligence officer attached to the French embassy in Islamabad, [Pakistan], urged his counterparts in foreign missions in Pakistan to detail the recipients of phone calls made by… al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida, then living in Peshawar, to individuals in their various countries.” As a result, “several governments [launch] investigations of their own.” [Gunaratna, 2003, pp. 245] A close associate of Zubaida in Peshawar at this time is Khalil Deek, who is actually a mole for the Jordanian government (see 1998-December 11, 1999). One such investigation is launched by the Philippine government on October 16, 1998, after being asked by French intelligence to gather intelligence on people in the Philippines in contact with Zubaida. Code named CoPlan Pink Poppy, the investigation reveals connections between al-Qaeda and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a Philippine militant group. On December 16, 1999, Abdesselem Boulanouar and Zoheir Djalili, two French Algerians belonging to the Algerian al-Qaeda affiliate the Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC), are arrested due to information learned from monitoring Zubaida’s calls to the Philippines. Boulanouar is arrested at an airport carrying a terrorist training manual he admitted writing for the MILF. Both men also are arrested carrying explosive devices. French intelligence says Boulanouar had ties to Ahmed Ressam (see December 14, 1999), and like Ressam, may have been planning to carry out attacks at the turn of the millennium. He will be deported to France and imprisoned on terrorism related charges. CoPlan Pink Poppy will be canceled in 2000 for lack of funds. [Gulf News, 3/14/2000; Ressa, 2003, pp. 132-133; Gunaratna, 2003, pp. 245] However, while details are murky, it appears other governments continue to monitor Zubaida’s calls. Around the same time as the Philippines arrests, one militant in Jordan is even arrested while still in the middle of a phone call to Zubaida (see November 30, 1999). US intelligence will remain intensely focused on Zubaida before 9/11 (see Late March-Early April 2001 and May 30, 2001), and just days before 9/11 the NSA will monitor calls Zubaida is making to the US (see Early September 2001). It appears his calls will continue to be monitored after 9/11 as well (see October 8, 2001).

Late 1998 and After: US Intelligence Still Monitors Bin Laden’s Calls after He Stops Using His Satellite Phone

Shortly after an August 1998 US missile strike on Afghanistan (see August 20, 1998), bin Laden stops using his satellite phone, correctly deciding that it was being monitored by US intelligence (see Late August 1998). According to counterterrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna, al-Qaeda quickly “developed a system to deceive those monitoring his calls. [but] Western security and intelligence agencies were soon able to monitor the new system, which was based on transferring international calls within safe houses in Pakistan to make them seem like domestic calls.” Other al-Qaeda leaders such as Abu Zubaida will be frequently monitored as they make calls using this new system (see October 1998 and After). Gunaratna later claims to have learned this from a confidential source in a “communications monitoring agency” in Western Europe. [Gunaratna, 2003, pp. 15-16, 3291] It is not known how long it took until al-Qaeda realized this new system was compromised, but there are accounts of bin Laden and Zubaida’s calls being monitored days before 9/11 (see Early September 2001, September 9, 2001, and Early September 2001).

Late 1999-2000: Alleged CIA Informant Said to Train Six 9/11 Hijackers in Turkey

Majed Moqed. [source: US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division]In 2007, the London Times will report that imprisoned al-Qaeda leader Luai Sakra claims that he trained six of the 9/11 hijackers in Turkey. Sakra allegedly had links to the CIA and Syrian intelligence before 9/11 (see 2000 and September 10, 2001) and also allegedly was in contact with 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta before 9/11 (see September 2000-July 24, 2001). According to Sakra’s account, Sakra established a training and support network for radical militants in Turkey in the mid-1990s. In the Yalova mountain resort area between the cities of Bursa and Istanbul, he trained many militants heading to fight in Chechnya and elsewhere. Sakra worked with al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida to provide forged documents enabling trainees to travel to Afghanistan and elsewhere after their training was over. According to Sakra’s lawyer, in late 1999, 9/11 hijackers Ahmed Alghamdi, Hamza Alghamdi, Saeed Alghamdi, and Nawaf Alhazmi undertook Sakra’s training program. They had been planning to go to fight in Chechnya, but Sakra recommended them to Zubaida and they went to Zubaida’s training camp in Afghanistan instead. Hijackers Majed Moqed and Satam Al Suqami also later trained with Sakra in Turkey. Sakra alleges Moqed and Al Suqami were hand-picked by al-Qaeda leaders for the 9/11 plot. Sakra claims that at one point the entire group were arrested by police in Yalova, Turkey, after their presence raised suspicions. They were interrogated for a day but released because no evidence of wrongdoing could be shown. [London Times, 11/25/2007] In early 2006, Sakra made the claim that he had helped some of the 9/11 hijackers near Bursa, but he did not give specifics. [Washington Post, 2/20/2006] While Sakra’s account cannot be corroborated, it does fit with details given in the 9/11 Commission’s final report. According to that report, after 9/11, captured al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash claimed that a number of militants trying to go to Chechnya in 1999 were unable to get there and stayed at al-Qaeda guesthouses in Turkey instead, where they were to wait to make another attempt to enter Chechnya in the summer of 2000, but they ended up going to Afghanistan instead. Bin Attash mentions nine hijackers who may have been trying to get to Chechnya in this fashion, including all the ones mentioned by Sakra. [9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 233] The 9/11 Commission report also mentions that most of the “muscle” hijackers trained at the Al Farooq camp, except for Al Suqami and Moqed, who trained at the Khaldan camp. [9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 234] Also, in early 2008, an FBI document will be released that shows Al Suqami spent almost six months in Turkey, helping to corroborate Sakra’s claims (see Late 1999-2000).

November 30, 1999: Jordan Thwarts Al-Qaeda Connected Millennium Plot

On December 5, 1999, a Jordanian raid discovers 71 vats of bomb making chemicals in this residence. [source: Judith Miller]Jordanian officials successfully uncover an al-Qaeda plot to blow up the Radisson Hotel in Amman, Jordan, and other sites on January 1, 2000. [PBS Frontline, 10/3/2002] The Jordanian government intercepts a call between al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida and a suspected Jordanian terrorist named Abu Hoshar. Zubaida says, “The training is over.” [New York Times, 1/15/2001] Zubaida also says, “The grooms are ready for the big wedding.” [seattle Times, 6/23/2002] This call reflects an extremely poor code system, because the FBI had already determined in the wake of the 1998 US embassy bombings that “wedding” was the al-Qaeda code word for bomb. [Miller, Stone, and Mitchell, 2002, pp. 214] Furthermore, it appears al-Qaeda fails to later change the system, because the code-name for the 9/11 attack is also “The Big Wedding.” [Chicago Tribune, 9/5/2002] Jordan arrests Hoshar while he’s still on the phone talking to Zubaida. In the next few days, 27 other suspects are charged. A Jordanian military court will initially convict 22 of them for participating in planned attacks, sentencing six of them to death, although there will be numerous appeals (see April 2000 and After). In addition to bombing the Radisson Hotel around the start of the millennium, the plan calls for suicide bombings on two border crossings with Israel and a Christian baptism site. Further attacks in Jordan are planned for later. The plotters had already stockpiled the equivalent of 16 tons of TNT, enough to flatten “entire neighborhoods.” [New York Times, 1/15/2001] Key alleged plotters include:

Raed Hijazi, a US citizen who is part of a Boston al-Qaeda cell (see June 1995-Early 1999). He will be arrested and convicted in late 2000 (see September 2000 and October 2000). [New York Times, 1/15/2001]

Khalid Deek, who is also a US citizen and part of an Anaheim, California al-Qaeda cell. He will be arrested in Pakistan and deported to Jordan, but strangely he will released without going to trial.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He will later be a notorious figure in the Iraq war starting in 2003. [Washington Post, 10/3/2004]

Luai Sakra. The Washington Post will later say he “played a role” in the plot, though he is never charged for it. Sakra apparently is a CIA informant before 9/11, perhaps starting in 2000 (see 2000). [Washington Post, 2/20/2006]

The Jordanian government will also later claim that the Al Taqwa Bank in Switzerland helped finance the network of operatives who planned the attack. The bank will be shut down shortly after 9/11 (see November 7, 2001). [Newsweek, 4/12/2004]

December 11, 1999: US Citizen, Alleged Mastermind of Jordanian Bomb Plot, Is Arrested but Never Charged

Khalil Deek. [source: Tawfiq Deek]Khalil Deek is arrested by police in Peshawar, Pakistan, and immediately extradited to Jordan. The Jordanian government requested the arrest after tying Deek to a millennium plot to blow up hotels in Jordan that had been broken up a few days ago (see November 30, 1999). [Orange County Weekly, 6/15/2006] Deek is a naturalized US citizen who has been part of a California al-Qaeda sleeper cell for most of the 1990s. He had been investigated by US authorities since the late 1980s (see Late 1980s, March 1993-1996, and December 14-25, 1999) but was never arrested. Deek’s computer is confiscated when he is arrested, and computer files reveal the targets of the Jordanian plot. [Cooley, 2002, pp. 33] According to contemporary press accounts, Deek, who was running a computer repair shop in Peshawar, Pakistan, had helped encrypt al-Qaeda’s Internet communications and smuggled recruits to al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. Some reports identify him as a former mujaheddin fighter, a US Army veteran, and a close associate of Osama bin Laden. Articles also claim he worked closely with al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida on the Jordanian plot and other things (see May 2000, Late 1980s, and 1998-December 11, 1999). [Orange County Weekly, 6/15/2006] CNN says Deek “is believed to be the mastermind” of the Jordanian plot. [CNN, 12/17/1999] But, unlike the rest of the defendants in the Jordanian case, Deek is transferred from a maximum-security prison to a minimum-security one. He alone is not charged. He will be released in May 2001 (see May 2001). [Orange County Weekly, 6/15/2006] It will later be alleged that Deek was a Jordanian intelligence mole (see Shortly After December 11, 1999).

2000: Saeed Sheikh Works with Al-Qaeda, Establishes Dubai Base

After his released from an Indian prison at the end of 1999 (see December 24-31, 1999), Saeed Sheikh stays in Kandahar, Afghanistan, for several days and meets with Taliban leader Mullah Omar. He also meets with bin Laden, who is said to call Saeed “my special son.” [Vanity Fair, 8/2002] Saeed soon has a falling out with Pakistani militant leader Maulana Masood Azhar and draws closer to al-Qaeda. Based mostly in Karachi, Pakistan, he reports to al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida. Saeed is said to “soon [become] a key figure, especially in terms of fund-raising.” [Gunaratna, 2003, pp. 286] He regularly travels to Afghanistan and helps train new al-Qaeda recruits in training camps there. [New York Times, 2/25/2002; India Today, 2/25/2002; National Post, 2/26/2002; Guardian, 7/16/2002] Saeed helps train some of the 9/11 hijackers, presumably in Afghanistan as well. [Daily Telegraph, 9/30/2001] He also helps al-Qaeda develop a secure web-based communications system. His work is generally so impressive that there is talk he could one day succeed bin Laden. [Daily Telegraph, 7/16/2002; Vanity Fair, 8/2002] Saeed forged a relationship while in Indian prison with Aftab Ansari, a Pakistani gangster who has fled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (see November 1994-December 1999). Thanks to this connection, Sheikh is able to establish an al-Qaeda base for himself in Dubai, UAE. [Gunaratna, 2003, pp. 286] Numerous 9/11 hijackers will later move through Dubai and some of the money sent to Mohamed Atta in 2001 will come from Sheikh and Ansari through Dubai (see Early August 2001). [Guardian, 2/9/2002] At the same time Saeed is strengthening his al-Qaeda ties, he is also openly working with the Pakistani ISI (see January 1, 2000-September 11, 2001).

2000: Al-Qaeda Operative Allegedly Turns Informant for CIA and Other Intelligence Agencies

Al-Qaeda operative Luai Sakra apparently begins working as an informant for the CIA, Syrian intelligence, and Turkish intelligence. Sakra, a young Syrian whose parents were Turkish, attended the Khaldan training camp in Afghanistan in 1997. He developed a bond with Abu Zubaida, the al-Qaeda leader who was logistics manager for the camp. Zubaida will later be captured and interrogated by the CIA and will reportedly confirm a link with Sakra. Zubaida tasked Sakra with building up an al-Qaeda network in Turkey. In 1999, the Syrian government began hunting him for his role in a revolt in a Lebanon refugee camp. [Der Spiegel (Hamburg), 8/24/2005] The Turkish newspaper Zaman will report shortly after his capture in 2005, “Sakra has been sought by the secret services since 2000.” The CIA interrogated him twice in 2000. “Following the interrogation, the CIA offered him employment. He also received a large sum of money by the CIA. However the CIA eventually lost contact with him. Following this development, in 2000 the CIA passed intelligence about Sakra through a classified notice to Turkey, calling for the Turkish (intelligence) to capture him. [They] caught Sakra in Turkey and interrogated him.” [Zaman, 8/14/2005] Sakra was then apparently let go again. He will then move Germany and assist some of the 9/11 hijackers (see September 2000-July 24, 2001), then reveal details about the 9/11 attacks to Syrian intelligence the day before 9/11 (see September 10, 2001). He also will later claim to have trained some 9/11 hijackers in Turkey starting in late 1999 (see Late 1999-2000). In 2007, former CIA Director George Tenet will write in his book “At the Center of the Storm” that “a source we were jointly running with a Middle Eastern country went to see his foreign handler and basically told him something big was about to go down.” [Tenet, 2007, pp. 160] This is very likely a reference to Sakra, since no one else comes close to matching the description of telling a Middle Eastern government about the 9/11 attacks one day in advance, not to mention working as an informant for the CIA at the same time. Tenet’s revelation strongly supports the notion that Sakra in fact accepted the CIA’s offers in 2000 and had been working with the CIA and other intelligence agencies at least through 9/11.

January 2000: Musharraf Unwiling to Act on Zubaida, Who Is Living Openly in Pakistan

Karl Inderfurth. [source: Harikrishna Katragadda Mint]Assistant Secretary of State Karl Inderfurth, accompanied by State Department counterterrorism expert Michael Sheehan, visits Pakistan, shortly after Pervez Musharraf took power in a coup (see October 12, 1999). Inderfurth meets with Musharraf, and is disappointed with Musharraf’s reluctance to take any action against al-Qaeda or the Taliban. Al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida is living openly in the Pakistani town of Peshawar, and the previous month was implicated in an attempted bomb plot in Jordan (see November 30, 1999). A number of intelligence agencies are monitoring Zubaida’s communications (see October 1998 and After), and one of his top aides, Khalil Deek, appears to be a Jordanian intelligence mole (see Shortly After December 11, 1999). There are allegations that the Pakistani ISI intelligence agency has been protecting Zubaida (see 1998-2001). Musharraf indicates to Inderfurth that he is unwilling to act on US intelligence about Zubaida. [Levy and Scott-Clark, 2007, pp. 295] US ambassador to Pakistan William Milam will later say: “The Pakistanis told us they could not find him, even though everyone knew where he was. The ISI just turned a blind eye to his activities.” In fact, there is evidence Zubaida was working with the ISI, helping them vet and train militants to later fight in the disputed region of Kashmir (see 1998-2001). [Rashid, 2008, pp. 48] Musharraf also tells Inderfurth that he is unwilling to support any program to capture Osama bin Laden, as his predecessor, Nawaz Sharif, had been willing to do (see October 1999). And asked to pressure the Taliban, Musharraf sends ISI Director Lieutenant General Mahmood Ahmed to meet Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Mahmood is well known to be a supporter of the Taliban, so his visit is considered an empty gesture. [Levy and Scott-Clark, 2007, pp. 295] Robert Einhorn, a specialist on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Clinton administration, does not go on the trip. Inderfurth will later say Einhorn’s absence showed a lack of interest by the administration in non-proliferation: “The fact that Mike [sheehan] was included and Bob left out showed our priorities at that time. Our agenda was counterterrorism, al-Qaeda, and democracy. We had somehow divorced these from the nuclear threat and A. Q. Khan.” [Levy and Scott-Clark, 2007, pp. 292]

: Suspicious Behavior of Flight School Student Leads to Arizona FBI Investigation

Zacaria Soubra. [source: Public domain]In early April 2000, Arizona FBI agent Ken Williams gets a tip that makes him suspicious that some flight students might be Islamic militants. Williams will begin an investigation based on this tip that will lead to his “Phoenix memo” warning about suspect Middle Easterners training in Arizona flight schools (see July 10, 2001) [New York Times, 6/19/2002] It appears that Lebanese flight school student Zacaria Soubra has been seen at a shooting range with Abu Mujahid, a white American Muslim who had fought in the Balkans and the Middle East. [Los Angeles Times, 10/28/2001; Arizona Monthly, 11/2004] Abu Mujahid appears to match Aukai Collins, a white American Muslim who had fought in the Balkans and the Middle East, who also goes by the name Abu Mujahid, and is an FBI informant spying on the Muslim community in the area at the time (see 1998). Collins also claims to have been the informant referred to in the Phoenix memo, which again suggests that Collins was the one at the shooting range with Soubra. [salon, 10/17/2002] On April 7, Williams appears at Soubra’s apartment and interviews him. Soubra acts defiant, and tells Williams that he considers the US government and military legitimate targets of Islam. He has photographs of bin Laden on the walls. Williams runs a check on the license plate of Soubra’s car and discovers the car is actually owned by a suspected militant with explosives and car bomb training in Afghanistan who had been held for attempting to enter an airplane cockpit the year before (see November 1999-August 2001). [Graham and Nussbaum, 2004, pp. 43-44] On April 17, Williams starts a formal investigation into Soubra. [Arizona Republic, 7/24/2003] Williams will be reassigned to work on an arson case and will not be able to get back to work on the Soubra investigation until June 2001 (see April 2000-June 2001). He will release the Phoenix memo one month later. After 9/11, some US officials will suspect Soubra had ties to terrorism. For instance, in 2003, an unnamed official will claim, “Soubra was involved in terrorist-supporting activities, facilitating shelter and employment for people… involved with al-Qaeda.” For a time, he and hijacker Hani Hanjour attend the same mosque, though there is no evidence they ever meet. Soubra’s roommate at the time of Williams’ interview is Ghassan al-Sharbi. In 2002, al-Sharbi will be arrested in Pakistan with al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida. While Williams will focus on Soubra, al-Sharbi will also be a target of his memo. [Los Angeles Times, 1/24/2003] In 2004, Soubra will be deported to Lebanon after being held for two years. He will deny any connection to Hanjour or terrorism. [Arizona Republic, 5/2/2004] Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, the leader of the British militant group Al-Muhajiroun, will later admit that Soubra was the leader of Al-Muhajiroun’s branch in Arizona. [Time, 5/27/2002]

May 2000: CIA Details Al-Qaeda Using Honey Trade to Move Drugs and Weapons, but No Action Taken Until After 9/11

A secret CIA report details al-Qaeda’s use of the honey trade to generate income and secretly move weapons, drugs, and operatives around the world. The CIA had been gathering information and monitoring some honey stores for almost two years before the study. Bin Laden is believed to control a number of retail honey shops in various countries, especially in Sudan, Yemen, and Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda leaders Abu Zubaida and Khalil Deek, an American citizen, are said to be particularly tied to the honey trade. One US official will later say, “The smell and consistency of the honey makes it easy to hide weapons and drugs in the shipments. Inspectors don’t want to inspect that product. It’s too messy.” But although a number of companies dealing in honey are tied to al-Qaeda (and sometimes to Islamic Jihad), the US will not make any move to freeze the assets of these companies until after 9/11. [New York Times, 10/11/2001] Counterterrorism expert Steven Emerson will later claim Deek was “running an underground railroad in the Middle East for terrorists, shuttling them to different countries,” which would fit with his alleged role in the honey network. [LA Weekly, 9/15/2005]

Late March-Early April 2001: CIA Warns Al-Qaeda Leader Zubaida Planning an Attack

The CIA issues repeated warnings that al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida may be planning an attack for the near future. One report cites a source indicating an attack on Israel, Saudi Arabia, or India. At this time, the CIA believes Zubaida was a major figure in the Millennium plots (see May 30, 2001). Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke relays these reports to National Security Adviser Rice. She is also briefed on Zubaida’s activities and the CIA’s efforts to locate him. [9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 255; US District Court of Eastern Virginia, 5/4/2006, pp. 1 ]

April 19-20, 2001: President Bush Warned ‘Bin Laden Planning Multiple Operations’

On April 19, 2001, the interagency Counterterrorism Security Group (CSG) chaired by counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke discusses recent reports that al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida is planning an attack. The next day, a Senior Executive Intelligence Brief (SEIB) with the title “Bin Laden Planning Multiple Operations” is sent to top White House officials. The New York Times will later report that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were among those who received this warning. Since SEIBs are usually based on previous days’ President Daily Briefings, President Bush probably learned about this report on April 19 (see January 20-September 10, 2001). [New York Times, 4/18/2004; 9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 255; US District Court of Eastern Virginia, 5/4/2006, pp. 2 ]

May 2001: Report Warns of Al-Qaeda Infiltration from Canada

US intelligence obtains information that al-Qaeda is planning to infiltrate the US from Canada and carry out an operation using high explosives. The report does not say exactly where, when, or how an attack might occur. Two months later, the information is shared with the FBI, the INS, the US Customs Service, and the State Department, and it will be shared with President Bush in August. [uS Congress, 9/18/2002; Washington Post, 9/19/2002] This information could come from captured al-Qaeda operative Ahmed Ressam, who warns around this month that al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida has been seeking Canadian passports as part of a plot to attack the US, possibly by planting explosives in several US cities (see May 30, 2001 and May 2001). [Calgary Herald, 4/3/2002]

Entity Tags: US Customs Service, George W. Bush, US Department of State, US Immigration and Naturalization Service, Ahmed Ressam, Al-Qaeda, Abu Zubaida, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

May 2001: CIA Learns Bin Laden Associates Are Heading to US, Preparing for Martyrdom

The Washington Post will later report, “In May 2001, the CIA learned supporters of bin Laden were planning to infiltrate the United States; that seven were on their way to the United States, Canada and Britain; that his key operatives ‘were disappearing while others were preparing for martyrdom,’ and that bin Laden associates ‘were planning attacks in the United States with explosives.’” [uS Congress, 9/18/2002; Washington Post, 9/19/2002] This information may be related to a warning given by captured al-Qaeda operative Ahmed Ressam this month that al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida is seeking Canadian passports for himself and five other top militants in order to plant explosives in US cities (see May 30, 2001 and May 2001). [Calgary Herald, 4/3/2002] It is not known if the seven traveling to the US, Canada, and Britain refer to any of the 9/11 hijackers, but 11 of the hijackers travel to the US in May and June (see April 23-June 29, 2001), stopping in Britain along the way (see January-June 2001). Investigators will later say that they are not sure if the aliases Zubaida wanted on the Canadian passports could have been used by some of the 9/11 hijackers. [Calgary Herald, 4/3/2002]

Entity Tags: Abu Zubaida, Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Central Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Ressam

Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

May 2001: President Bush, Who Has Yet to Take Any Action Against Al-Qaeda, Is Tired of ‘Swatting at Flies’

It is claimed that after a routine briefing by CIA Director Tenet to President Bush regarding the hunt for al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida, Bush complains to National Security Adviser Rice that he is tired of “swatting at flies” and wants a comprehensive plan for attacking terrorism. Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke already has such a plan, but it has been mired in bureaucratic deadlock since January. After this, progress remains slow. [Time, 8/4/2002; 9/11 Commission, 3/24/2004] According to Vanity Fair, when 9/11 commissioner Bob Kerrey asked Rice in 2004 exactly what flies Bush swatted before 9/11, “she fumbled embarrassingly for an answer.” [Vanity Fair, 11/2004]

Entity Tags: Richard A. Clarke, Condoleezza Rice, Abu Zubaida, George W. Bush, George J. Tenet

Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

May 29, 2001: Counterterrorism ‘Tsar’ Clarke Asks for More to Be Done to Stop Expected Al-Qaeda Attacks

Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke suggests to National Security Adviser Rice that she ask CIA Director George Tenet what more the US can do to stop al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida from launching “a series of major terrorist attacks.” It is believed these attacks will probably be directed at Israeli targets, but possibly on US facilities. Clarke writes to Rice and her deputy, Stephen Hadley, “When these attacks occur, as they likely will, we will wonder what more we could have done to stop them.” [9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 256]

Entity Tags: George J. Tenet, Richard A. Clarke, Abu Zubaida, Stephen J. Hadley, Condoleezza Rice

Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

May 30, 2001: FBI Is Warned of Major Al-Qaeda Operation in the US Involving Hijackings, Explosives, and/or New York City

Ahmed Ressam as pictured in his Canadian passport. [source: FBI]Ahmed Ressam is convicted in the spring of 2001 for attempting to bomb the Los Angeles International Airport (see December 14, 1999). Facing the likelihood of life in prison, he starts cooperating with authorities in an attempt to reduce his sentence. On this day, he details his experiences in al-Qaeda training camps and his many dealings with top al-Qaeda deputy Abu Zubaida. According to FBI notes from Ressam’s interrogation, Zubaida asked Ressam to send him six original Canadian passports to help Zubaida “get people to America” (see May 2001 and May 2001). Zubaida “wanted an operation in the US” and talked about the need to get explosives into the US for this operation, but Ressam makes it clear this was a separate plot from the one he was involved with. Notes from this day further explain that Ressam doesn’t know if any explosives made it into the US because once an operation is initiated, operators are not supposed to talk about it to anyone. [Calgary Herald, 4/3/2002; Newsweek, 4/28/2005] Zubaida told this to Ressam in 1999, but also indicated that he is willing to wait a year or more to make sure the plot comes to fruition successfully. [Tenet, 2007, pp. 146]

Similarity to 9/11 Attacks - There’s no concrete evidence that Ressam knows any detail of the 9/11 attacks. [Newsweek, 4/28/2005] However, Fox News will later report that roughly around this time Ressam testifies “that attack plans, including hijackings and attacks on New York City targets, [are] ongoing.” [Fox News, 5/17/2002] Questioned shortly after 9/11, Ressam will point out that given what he’s already told his US interrogators, the 9/11 attacks should not be surprising. He notes that he’d described how Zubaida talked “generally of big operations in [the] US with big impact, needing great preparation, great perseverance, and willingness to die.” Ressam had told of “plans to get people hired at airports, of blowing up airports, and airplanes.” [Newsweek, 4/28/2005]

Sharing the Warning - The CIA learns of this warning in June. [Tenet, 2007, pp. 146] Ressam will repeat some of this in a public trial in July (see July 8, 2001). Apparently, the FBI also waits until July to share the information from this debriefing with most other intelligence agencies, the INS, Customs Service, and the State Department. Ressam’s warnings will first be mentioned to Bush in his now famous August 6, 2001 briefing (see August 6, 2001), but as Newsweek will note, “The information from Ressam that was contained in [bush’s] PDB [is] watered down and seem far more bland than what the Algerian terrorist was actually telling the FBI.” Zubaida’s second plot will be boiled down to one sentence in the PDB: “Ressam also said that in 1998 Abu Zubaida was planning his own US attack.” [Newsweek, 4/28/2005]

May 30, 2001: CIA Leaders Warn National Security Adviser Rice about Expected Al-Qaeda Attack

During a regularly scheduled weekly meeting between National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and CIA Director George Tenet, CIA official Richard Blee describes a “truly frightening” list of warning signs of an upcoming terrorist attack. He says that al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida is working on attack plans. CIA leaders John McLaughlin and Cofer Black are also present at this meeting, as is counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke and Mary McCarthy, a CIA officer serving as National Security Council senior director. [Tenet, 2007, pp. 145] Just the day before, Clarke suggested that Tenet and Rice discuss what could be done to stop Zubaida from launching “a series of major terrorist attacks,” so presumably this discussion is in response to that (see May 29, 2001). Tenet will later recall: “Some intelligence suggested that [Zubaida’s] plans were ready to be executed; others suggested they would not be ready for six months. The primary target appeared to be in Israel, but other US assets around the world were at risk.” Rice asks about taking the offensive against al-Qaeda and asks how bad the threat is. Black estimates it to be a seven on a one-to-10 scale, with the millennium threat at the start of 2000 ranking an eight in comparison. Clarke tells her that adequate warning notices have been issued to the appropriate US entities. [Tenet, 2007, pp. 145-146]

July 10, 2001: FBI Agent Sends Memo Warning that Unusual Number of Muslim Extremists Are Learning to Fly in Arizona

FBI agent Ken Williams. [source: FBI]Phoenix, Arizona, FBI agent Ken Williams sends a memorandum warning about suspicious activities involving a group of Middle Eastern men taking flight training lessons in Arizona. The memo is titled: “Zakaria Mustapha Soubra; IT-OTHER (Islamic Army of the Caucasus),” because it focuses on Zakaria Soubra, a Lebanese flight student in Prescott, Arizona, and his connection with a terror group in Chechnya that has ties to al-Qaeda. It is subtitled: “Osama bin Laden and Al-Muhjiroun supporters attending civil aviation universities/colleges in Arizona.” [Fortune, 5/22/2002; Arizona Republic, 7/24/2003] Williams’ memo is based on an investigation of Sorba that Williams had begun in 2000 (see April 2000), but he had trouble pursuing because of the low priority the Arizona FBI office gave terror investigations (see April 2000-June 2001). Additionally, Williams had been alerted to suspicions about radical militants and aircraft at least three other times (see October 1996; 1998; November 1999-August 2001). In the memo, Williams does the following:

Names nine other suspect students from Pakistan, India, Kenya, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. [Die Zeit (Hamburg), 10/1/2002] Hijacker Hani Hanjour, attending flight school in Arizona in early 2001 and probably continuing into the summer of 2001 (see Summer 2001), is not one of the students, but, as explained below, it seems two of the students know him. [uS Congress, 7/24/2003, pp. 135 ; Washington Post, 7/25/2003]

Notes that he interviewed some of these students, and heard some of them make hostile comments about the US. Additionally, he noticed that they were suspiciously well informed about security measures at US airports. [Die Zeit (Hamburg), 10/1/2002]

Notes an increasing, “inordinate number of individuals of investigative interest” taking flight lessons in Arizona. [Die Zeit (Hamburg), 10/1/2002; US Congress, 7/24/2003, pp. 135 ]

Suspects that some of the ten people he has investigated are connected to al-Qaeda. [uS Congress, 7/24/2003, pp. 135 ] One person on the list, Ghassan al Sharbi, will be arrested in Pakistan in March 2002 with al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida (see March 28, 2002). Al Sharbi attended a flight school in Prescott, Arizona. He also apparently attended the training camps in Afghanistan and swore loyalty to bin Laden in the summer of 2001. He apparently knows Hani Hanjour in Arizona (see October 1996-Late April 1999). He also is the roommate of Soubra, the main target of the memo. [Los Angeles Times, 1/24/2003; 9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 521]

Discovers that one of them was communicating through an intermediary with Abu Zubaida. This apparently is a reference to Hamed al Sulami, who had been telephoning a Saudi imam known to be Zubaida’s spiritual advisor. Al Sulami is an acquaintance of Hanjour in Arizona (see October 1996-Late April 1999). [Mercury News (San Jose), 5/23/2002; 9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 520-521, 529]

Discusses connections between several of the students and a radical group called Al-Muhajiroun. [Mercury News (San Jose), 5/23/2002] This group supported bin Laden, and issued a fatwa, or call to arms, that included airports on a list of acceptable terror targets. [Associated Press, 5/22/2002] Soubra, the main focus of the memo, is a member of Al-Muhajiroun and an outspoken radical. He met with Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, the leader of Al-Muhajiroun in Britain, and started an Arizona chapter of the organization. After 9/11, some US officials will suspect that Soubra has ties to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. He will be held two years, then deported to Lebanon in 2004. [Los Angeles Times, 10/28/2001; Los Angeles Times, 1/24/2003; Arizona Republic, 5/2/2004; Arizona Monthly, 11/2004] Though Williams doesn’t include it in his memo, in the summer of 1998, Bakri publicized a fax sent by bin Laden to him that listed al-Qaeda’s four objectives in fighting the US. The first objective was “bring down their airliners.” (see Summer 1998). [Los Angeles Times, 10/28/2001]

Warns of a possible “effort by Osama bin Laden to send students to the US to attend civil aviation universities and colleges” [Fortune, 5/22/2002] , so they can later hijack aircraft. [Die Zeit (Hamburg), 10/1/2002]

Recommends that the “FBI should accumulate a listing of civil aviation universities and colleges around the country. FBI field offices with these types of schools in their area should establish appropriate liaison. FBI [headquarters] should discuss this matter with other elements of the US intelligence community and task the community for any information that supports Phoenix’s suspicions.” [Arizona Republic, 7/24/2003] (The FBI has already done this, but because of poor FBI communications, Williams is not aware of the report.)

Recommends that the FBI ask the State Department to provide visa data on flight school students from Middle Eastern countries, which will facilitate FBI tracking efforts. [New York Times, 5/4/2002]

The memo is addressed to the following FBI Agents:

Dave Frasca, chief of the Radical Fundamentalist Unit (RFU) at FBI headquarters;

Elizabeth Harvey Matson, Mark Connor and Fred Stremmel, Intelligence Operations Specialists in the RFU;

Rod Middleton, acting chief of the Usama bin Laden Unit (UBLU);

Jennifer Maitner, an Intelligence Operations Specialist in the UBLU;

Jack Cloonan, an agent on the New York FBI’s bin Laden unit, the I-49 squad; (see January 1996 and Spring 2000).

Michael S. Butsch, an agent on another New York FBI squad dealing with other Sunni terrorists. [Federal Bureau of Investigation, 7/10/2001 ; US Congress, 7/24/2003, pp. 135 ]

However, the memo is not uploaded into the FBI’s information system until the end of the month and is apparently not received by all these people (see July 27, 2001 and after). Williams also shares some concerns with the CIA (see (July 27, 2001)). [Mercury News (San Jose), 5/23/2002] One anonymous government official who has seen the memo says, “This was as actionable a memo as could have been written by anyone.” [insight, 5/27/2002] However, the memo is merely marked “routine,” rather than “urgent.” It is generally ignored, not shared with other FBI offices, and the recommendations are not taken. One colleague in New York replies at the time that the memo is “speculative and not very significant.” [Die Zeit (Hamburg), 10/1/2002; US Congress, 7/24/2003, pp. 135 ] Williams is unaware of many FBI investigations and leads that could have given weight to his memo. Authorities later claim that Williams was only pursuing a hunch, but one familiar with classified information says, “This was not a vague hunch. He was doing a case on these guys.” [Mercury News (San Jose), 5/23/2002]

August 6, 2001: Bush Receives Briefing Titled ‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US’

President Bush at his Crawford, Texas, ranch on August 6, 2001. Advisors wait with classified briefings. [source: White House]President Bush receives a classified presidential daily briefing (PDB) at his Crawford, Texas ranch indicating that Osama bin Laden might be planning to hijack commercial airliners. The PDB provided to him is entitled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.” The entire briefing focuses on the possibility of terrorist attacks inside the US. [New York Times, 5/15/2002; Newsweek, 5/27/2002] The analysts who drafted the briefing will say that they drafted it on the CIA’s initiative (see July 13, 2004), whereas in 2004 Bush will state that he requested a briefing on the topic due to threats relating to a conference in Genoa, Italy, in July 2001, where Western intelligence agencies believed Osama bin Laden was involved in a plot to crash an airplane into a building to kill Bush and other leaders (see April 13, 2004). The analysts will later explain that they saw it as an opportunity to convey that the threat of an al-Qaeda attack in the US was both current and serious. [9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 260] The existence of this briefing is kept secret, until it is leaked in May 2002, causing a storm of controversy (see May 15, 2002). While National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice will claim the memo is only one and a half pages long, other accounts state it is 11 1/2 pages instead of the usual two or three. [New York Times, 5/15/2002; Newsweek, 5/27/2002; Die Zeit (Hamburg), 10/1/2002] A page and a half of the contents will be released on April 10, 2004; this reportedly is the full content of the briefing. [Washington Post, 4/10/2004] The briefing, as released, states as follows (note that the spelling of certain words are corrected and links have been added):

Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate bin Laden since 1997 has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the US (see December 1, 1998). Bin Laden implied in US television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and “bring the fighting to America” (see May 26, 1998).

After US missile strikes on his base in Afghanistan in 1998, bin Laden told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington, according to a -REDACTED-service (see December 21, 1998).

An Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) operative told -REDACTED- service at the same time that bin Laden was planning to exploit the operative’s access to the US to mount a terrorist strike.

The millennium plotting in Canada in 1999 may have been part of bin Laden’s first serious attempt to implement a terrorist strike in the US. Convicted plotter Ahmed Ressam has told the FBI that he conceived the idea to attack Los Angeles International Airport himself (see December 14, 1999), but that bin Laden lieutenant Abu Zubaida encouraged him and helped facilitate the operation. Ressam also said that in 1998 Abu Zubaida was planning his own US attack (see Late March-Early April 2001 and May 30, 2001).

Ressam says bin Laden was aware of the Los Angeles operation.

Although bin Laden has not succeeded, his attacks against the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 (see 10:35-10:39 a.m., August 7, 1998) demonstrate that he prepares operations years in advance and is not deterred by setbacks. Bin Laden associates surveyed our embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam as early as 1993 (see Late 1993-Late 1994), and some members of the Nairobi cell planning the bombings were arrested and deported in 1997.

Al-Qaeda members—including some who are US citizens—have resided in or traveled to the US for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks (see January 25, 2001). Two al-Qaeda members found guilty in the conspiracy to bomb our embassies in East Africa were US citizens (see September 15, 1998), and a senior EIJ member lived in California in the mid-1990s (see November 1989 and September 10, 1998).

A clandestine source said in 1998 that a bin Laden cell in New York was recruiting Muslim-American youth for attacks (see October-November 1998).

“We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a [REDACTED] service in 1998 saying that bin Laden wanted to hijack a US aircraft to gain the release of ‘Blind Sheikh’ Omar Abdul-Rahman and other US-held extremists” (see 1998, December 4, 1998, and May 23, 2001). [9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 223] According to the Washington Post, this information came from a British service. [Washington Post, 5/18/2002]

Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York (see May 30, 2001).

The FBI is conducting approximately 70 full-field investigations throughout the US that it considers bin Laden-related (see August 6, 2001). CIA and the FBI are investigating a call to our embassy in the UAE in May saying that a group or bin Laden supporters was in the US planning attacks with explosives (see May 16-17, 2001). [9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 223]

In retrospect, the briefing is remarkable for the many warnings that apparently are not included (see for instance, from the summer of 2001 prior to August alone: May 2001, June 2001, June 12, 2001, June 19, 2001, Late Summer 2001, July 2001, July 16, 2001, Late July 2001, Late July 2001, Summer 2001, June 30-July 1, 2001, July 10, 2001, and Early August 2001). According to one account, after the PDB has been given to him, Bush tells the CIA briefer, “You’ve covered your ass now” (see August 6, 2001). Incredibly, the New York Times later reports that after being given the briefing, Bush “[breaks] off from work early and [spends] most of the day fishing.” [New York Times, 5/25/2002] In 2002 and again in 2004, National Security Adviser Rice will incorrectly claim under oath that the briefing only contained historical information from 1998 and before (see May 16, 2002 and April 8, 2004).

Two apparent associates of the al-Qaeda cell in Hamburg, Germany, Ismail Bin Murabit (a.k.a. Ismail Ben Mrabete) and Labed Ahmed (a.k.a. Ahmed Taleb), purchase tickets to fly to Pakistan on September 3, 2001. They will be joined on that flight by cell member Said Bahaji (see September 3-5, 2001). All three will disappear into Afghanistan thereafter. It is later discovered that Ahmed had been in e-mail contact with al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida. [Chicago Tribune, 2/25/2003] Note that these purchases occur one day before Zacarias Moussaoui’s arrest in Minnesota, suggesting the date for the 9/11 attacks was set before his arrest (see August 16, 2001).

August 24, 2001: Foreign Intelligence Warns US of Al-Qaeda Plot to Attack within US

The 9/11 Commission later will note that at this time, an unnamed foreign intelligence “service report that [al-Qaeda deputy leader] Abu Zubaida [is] considering mounting terrorist attacks in the United States, after postponing possible operations in Europe. No targets, timing or method of attack [are] provided.” Newsweek will suggest that most or all of this information may have come from a US debriefing of al-Qaeda bomber Ahmed Ressam in May 2001 (see May 30, 2001). Newsweek will note that it is a common occurrence for foreign intelligence agencies to “simply rereport to the CIA what it had originally learned from the FBI through separate channels.” Still, even “the multiple channels for Ressam’s warnings [do] little to change thinking within the FBI or CIA…” [Newsweek, 4/28/2005; US District Court of Eastern Virginia, 5/4/2006, pp. 6 ] However, it is possible the information could be more than a mirror of what Ressam said, since a number of Western intelligence agencies are monitoring Zubaida’s phone calls before 9/11 (see October 1998 and After).

2001: NSA Intercepts Phone Calls from Al-Qaeda Leader Zubaida to the US

The NSA intercepts “multiple phone calls from Abu Zubaida, bin Laden’s chief of operations, to the United States.” The timing and information contained in these intercepted phone calls has not been disclosed. [ABC News, 2/18/2002] In 2007, author and former CIA officer Robert Baer will comment that “apparently, when Abu Zubaida was captured, telephone records, including calls to the United States, were found in the house he was living in. The calls stopped on September 10, and resumed on September 16 (see September 16, 2001 and After). There’s nothing in the 9/11 Commission report about any of this, and I have no idea whether the leads were run down, the evidence lost or destroyed.” [Time, 12/7/2007] US intelligence had just been warned about a week earlier that Zubaida may be planning an attack on the US (see August 24, 2001). Zubaida’s exact position within al-Qaeda is disputed; he will be captured in 2002 (see March 28, 2002). It appears that a number of Western intelligence agencies were monitoring Zubaida’s calls since at least late 1998 (see October 1998 and After), and continue monitoring his calls in the weeks after 9/11 (see October 8, 2001).

September 10, 2001: NSA Intercepts: ‘The Match Begins Tomorrow’ and ‘Tomorrow Is Zero Hour’

At least two messages in Arabic are intercepted by the NSA. One states, “The match is about to begin” and the other states, “Tomorrow is zero hour.” Later reports translate the first message as, “The match begins tomorrow.” [Reuters, 9/9/2002] The messages were sent between someone in Saudi Arabia and someone in Afghanistan. The NSA will claim that they are not translated until September 12, and that even if they had been translated in time, “they gave no clues that authorities could have acted on.” [ABC News, 6/7/2002; Reuters, 6/19/2002] Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Bob Graham will later confirm that the messages were from al-Qaeda sources—a location or phone number—that made them a high priority, but that they were not from bin Laden or one of his top commanders. [Graham and Nussbaum, 2004, pp. 139] On the morning of September 12, 2001, the CIA will tell President Bush that a recently intercepted message from al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida referred to the 9/11 attacks as “zero hour,” but it is not clear if this is the same message or a different message (see September 12, 2001). These messages turn out to be only two of about 30 pre-9/11 communications from suspected al-Qaeda operatives or other militants referring to an imminent event. An anonymous official will say of these messages, including the “Tomorrow is zero hour” message: “You can’t dismiss any of them, but it does not tell you tomorrow is the day.” [Reuters, 9/9/2002] There will be a later attempt to explain the messages away by suggesting they referred to the killing of Afghan opposition leader Ahmed Shah Massoud the day before (see September 9, 2001). [Reuters, 10/17/2002]

to President Bush Lays Out Evidence of Bin Laden Responsibility for Attacks

Mike Morell. [source: Public domain]CIA Director George Tenet arrives at the White House to give the president his daily intelligence briefing. With him is Mike Morell, the president’s regular CIA briefer. They meet with Bush at 8 a.m. in the Oval Office, joined by Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. The Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) on this day is about ten to twelve pages long, and a further twelve pages includes full reports from case officers, the Directorate of Intelligence, and the National Security Agency. The PDB includes a review of the available intelligence tracing the previous day’s attacks back to Osama bin Laden and his top al-Qaeda associates. Among the evidence presented:

Several reports identify Capitol Hill and the White House as intended targets of the attacks.

One report says a bin Laden associate incorrectly “gave thanks for the explosion in the Congress building.”

A key figure in the al-Qaeda charity front the Wafa Humanitarian Organization had initially claimed that “The White House has been destroyed,” but then had to correct himself.

A report shows that al-Qaeda members in Afghanistan had said at 9:53 a.m. the previous day that the attackers were following through with “the doctor’s program” (see 9:53 a.m. September 11, 2001). This is thought to be a reference to the second-ranking member of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian physician often referred to as “the Doctor.”

The CIA and the FBI have evidence connecting at least three of the alleged hijackers to Osama bin Laden and his training camps in Afghanistan. Hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, and Salem Alhazmi were quickly linked to al-Qaeda on the day of 9/11, as two of them were on a US watch list even before 9/11 (see 9:53 p.m. September 11, 2001). The attacks were also consistent with intelligence reports throughout the summer that indicated bin Laden was planning “spectacular attacks” against US targets.

A report out of Kandahar, Afghanistan shows the attacks were “the results of two years’ planning.”

Another report says the attacks were “the beginning of the wrath.”

A key piece of evidence involves Abu Zubaida, who has been identified as the chief field commander for the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen. A supposedly reliable report received after the 9/11 attacks stated that Zubaida had referred to September 11 as “zero hour.” It is not known is an intercepted message from before 9/11 saying “tomorrow is zero hour,” or some other message (see September 10, 2001).

According to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, “For Tenet, the evidence on bin Laden was conclusive—game, set, match.” Though Tenet, along with Rice and other officials, has already spent several months working on a plan to vastly expand covert action in Afghanistan and worldwide, he tells Bush that an even more extensive plan will soon be presented for approval, and this will be very expensive. The president tells him, “Whatever it takes.” [Woodward, 2002, pp. 39-41; Washington Post, 1/28/2002; Kessler, 2003, pp. 231-233; Tenet, 2007, pp. 165] Bush will approve Tenet’s plan by the following Monday (see September 17, 2001).

Entity Tags: Nawaf Alhazmi, Salem Alhazmi, Michael J. Morell, Osama bin Laden, Khalid Almihdhar, George J. Tenet, Wafa Humanitarian Organization, Abu Zubaida, George W. Bush, Al-Qaeda, Condoleezza Rice, Central Intelligence Agency, Richard (“Dick”) Cheney

September 16, 2001 and After: Zubaida Continues Making Calls to US

In 2007, former CIA officer Robert Baer will comment in Time magazine, “[A]pparently, when [al-Qaeda leader] Abu Zubaida was captured, telephone records, including calls to the United States, were found in the house he was living in. The calls stopped on September 10, and resumed on September 16. There’s nothing in the 9/11 Commission report about any of this, and I have no idea whether the leads were run down, the evidence lost or destroyed.” [Time, 12/7/2007] In fact, it seems likely the calls were monitored at the time by US intelligence and not just discovered after Zubaida’s capture in 2002. For instance, it has been reported elsewhere that Zubaida’s calls to the US in the week before 9/11 were being monitored by US intelligence (see Early September 2001) and 70 calls Zubaida made to operatives in Bosnia were monitored in the weeks just after 9/11 (see October 8, 2001). These calls to the US after 9/11 would suggest that al-Qaeda continues to have operatives there, but there have been no reports of any genuine al-Qaeda operatives arrested in the US in the weeks and months after 9/11 except for Nabil al-Marabh arrested on September 19, 2001 (see September 19, 2001).

October 8, 2001: US Still Monitoring Zubaida’s Phone Calls; Bosnian Plot Possibly Foiled

Bensayah Belkacem at Guantanamo. [source: US Defense Department]US intelligence intercepts numerous phone calls between Abu Zubaida and other al-Qaeda leaders and Bensayah Belkacem, an operative living in Bosnia. The New York Times will later report that shortly after 9/11, “American intelligence agencies, working closely with the government of neighboring Croatia, listened in as Mr. Belkacem and others discussed plans for attacks.” One US official says, “He was apparently on the phone constantly to Afghanistan, with Zubaida and others. There were dozens of calls to Afghanistan.” Belkacem, an Algerian, had moved to Bosnia to fight in the early 1990s war there, then obtained Bosnian citizenship and settled in Zenica, working for an Islamic charity. [New York Times, 1/23/2002] On October 8, 2001, Bosnian police detain Belkacem. While searching his home, they find a piece of note listing the name “Abu Zubeida” and Zubaida’s phone number. [Washington Post, 8/21/2006] It is later revealed that Belkacem made 70 calls to Zubaida between 9/11 and his arrest and more calls before then. He had repeatedly sought a visa to leave Bosnia for Germany just before 9/11. Phone transcripts show Zubaida and Belkacem discussed procuring passports. [Time, 11/12/2001] A US official will later claim that it was believed Zubaida was in Afghanistan with bin Laden at the time of Belkacem’s arrest. [New York Times, 1/23/2002] It has not been explained why this knowledge was not used to capture or kill Zubaida and/or bin Laden. It appears that Western intelligence agencies had been monitoring Zubaida’s calls as far back as 1996 (see (Mid-1996) and October 1998 and After). Belkacem and five of his associates will be renditioned to Guantanamo Bay prison in 2002 and remain imprisoned there (see January 18, 2002).

Late 2001-Early 2002: Pakistani Militant Group Helps Al-Qeada Operatives Escape into Pakistan

After US forces conquer Kandahar, Afghanistan, in early December 2001, al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida gets Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) to help al-Qaeda operatives escape from Afghanistan to Pakistan. LeT has already given operatives safe houses in the Pakistani cities of Peshawar and Muzaffarabad, trained them there, and helped them travel to Afghanistan to fight US troops. This is according to US government documents leaked by the nonprofit whistleblower group Wikileaks in 2011. These documents provide some details:

In 2002, three suspected al-Qaeda operatives are arrested in a safe house in Lahore, Pakistan, run by a LeT member. This person had been helping al-Qaeda operatives and their families move to Lahore. Pakistani officials transfer the three al-Qaeda suspects to US custody, but they release the LeT member. [Express Tribune, 5/12/2011]

On December 11, 2001, a Saudi named Abdul Aziz al-Matrafi is arrested by police at the Lahore airport. Al-Matrafi is the director of the Wafa Humanitarian Organization, a non-profit organization that the US officially designated an al-Qaeda front in late September 2001 (see September 24, 2001). Al-Matrafi had been staying at an LeT linked non-profit in Lahore, and LeT provided him with a visa and exit paperwork to leave Pakistan. Al-Matrafi is handed over to US custody several days later, and he will eventually be sent to the US-run prison in Guantanamo. [uS Department of Defense, 10/25/2007; Express Tribune, 5/12/2011]

A Saudi named Jabir Hasan Mohammad al-Qahtani, a suspected al-Qaeda operative who also works for the Wafa Humanitarian Organization, is captured in Kabul, Afghanistan, in mid-November 2001. He is discovered to possess 16 $100 bills. He will later be transferred to the Guantanamo prison. An intelligence analyst will later note: “There were individuals passing out $100 notes to al-Qaeda fighters fleeing Afghanistan for Pakistan. This may have been a part of the help that LeT provided al-Qaeda members.” [uS Department of Defense, 2/11/2005; Express Tribune, 5/12/2011]

When al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida is captured in Faisalabad, Pakistan, on March 28, 2002 (see March 28, 2002), more than 30 other suspected al-Qaeda operatives are arrested at the same time. These arrests take place in two safe houses in Faisalabad run by LeT. The safe houses are apparently run by Hamidullah Khan Niazi, an educational professor and head of the LeT in Faisalabad. Niazi’s house is raided at the same time, and he and 11 others are arrested. According to media reports shortly after the raid, electronic intercepts show that Niazi’s home phone was used by Lashkar-e-Toiba members to help al-Qaeda. However, Niazi and the others at his house are released several days later. [Observer, 4/7/2002; New York Times, 4/14/2002; US Department of Defense, 11/11/2008] But The Observer reports that local police nevertheless say Niazi’s “apparent links to Zubaida are evidence that Pakistan’s militant Islamic fringe is providing key assistance to al-Qaeda as it tries to regroup.” [Observer, 4/7/2002]

In 2003, the London Times will report, “US intelligence says [Lashkar-e-Toiba] smuggled [Zubaida] out of Afghanistan, taking advantage of the fact that police never stop their distinctive Landcruisers, which have tinted windows and Free Kashmir numberplates.” [London Times, 3/30/2003]

As some of the examples above indicate, al-Qaeda operatives are often taken into US custody while LeT members are often let go, even though the US names LeT a terrorist group in December 2001 (see December 20, 2001). This may be due to ties between LeT and the ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence agency. For instance, a 2009 diplomatic cable by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will note continued links between the ISI and LeT (see December 2009).

2002: European Intelligence Agencies Monitor Al-Qaeda Relocating in Pakistan

In September 2002, shortly after the arrest of al-Qaeda leader Ramzi bin al-Shibh in Karachi, Pakistan (see September 11, 2002), the New York Times will report: “Even before Mr. bin al-Shibh’s arrest, European officials warned that al-Qaeda appeared to have shifted much of its operations in Pakistan to Karachi. A year ago, 90 percent of communications and other links between suspected al-Qaeda members in Europe and individuals in Pakistan were traced to the city of Peshawar, near the Afghan border, a European law enforcement official said. As of this spring, roughly half of intercepted communications and other links were being traced to Karachi.” A European diplomat comments, “Obviously the brains and money for the terrorists have shifted from Peshawar to Karachi.” [New York Times, 9/15/2002] Presumably many of the communications to Peshawar involve al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida, considered a key communications hub and who has been monitored by a number of intelligence agencies, including the French, since at least 1998 (see October 1998 and After). Zubaida moves from his long-time base in Peshawar to the Pakistani city of Faisalabad after 9/11 and is captured there in March 2002 (see March 28, 2002). Al-Qaeda leaders Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh are interviewed in Karachi around June 2002, a fact that is quickly shared with US intelligence (see June 14, 2002 and Shortly After).

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It was no accident that the sheikh got a visa and that he's still in the country," replied the agent, visibly upset. "He's here under the banner of national security, the State Department, the NSA %5BNational Security Agency%5D, and the CIA." The agent pointed out that the sheikh had been granted a tourist visa, and later a green card, despite the fact that he was on a State Department terrorist watch-list that should have barred him from the country. He's an untouchable, concluded the agent. "I haven't seen the lone-gunman theory advocated %5Bso forcefully%5D since John F. Kennedy."

These are the 3 year-old supposed recollections of the LA area domestic bomber turned informant, the reference to the NSA doesn't even make sense since it deals with signals intelligence, might it have been (if anything) NSC? How would this guy have inside information regaring the Kahane case? // end COLBY



Edited by Steven Gaal
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Before September 11, 2001: FBI Squad Builds Antenna to Listen in on KSM’s Phone Calls

I-49, a squad of FBI agents and Justice Department prosecutors that began focusing on bin Laden in 1996 (see January 1996), is upset that the NSA is not sharing its monitoring of the phone calls of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM). The squad builds their own antenna in Madagascar specifically to intercept KSM’s calls. [Wright, 2006, pp. 344] It has not been revealed when this antenna was built or what was learned from this surveillance. However, there have been media reports that the NSA monitored some phone calls between KSM and Mohamed Atta in the summer of 2001 (see Summer 2001). Further, US intelligence monitored a call between KSM and Atta a day before 9/11 that was the final go-ahead for the attacks (see September 10, 2001). So presumably the I-49 squad should have known about these calls as well if this antenna did what it was designed to do.

Edited by Steven Gaal
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