Skip to comments.World Trade Center, 1993 Terrorist Attack (don't say it too loudly - Yousef had IRAQI passport)
Posted on 09/08/2006 10:14:11 PM PDT by doug from upland
The World Trade Center (WTC) bombing of 1993 has long since been overshadowed by the attack that brought the twin towers down on September 11, 2001. Yet, at the time it occurred, the attack loomed as large on the American landscape as the towers themselves once did on the Manhattan skyline. The attack killed six people and injured more than a thousand, the first casualties from foreign terrorists on U.S. soil. American authorities identified at least eight perpetrators, but questions remain as to the ultimate cause of the attack.
The attack and its aftermath. At 12:18 p.m. on Friday, February 26, 1993, an explosion rocked the second level of the parking basement beneath Trade Tower One. The explosive material, as investigators would later determine, was somewhere between 1,200 and 1,500 pounds (544680 kg) of urea nitrate, a homemade fertilizer-based explosive.
The blast ripped open a crater 150 feet (46 m) in diameter and five floors deep, rupturing sewer and water mains and cutting off electricity. Over the hours that followed, more than 50,000 people were evacuated from the Trade Center complex. A stunned nation soon grasped a fact larger than the incident itself: foreign-sponsored terrorismwhich had long plagued Western Europe and parts of the Middle East, Africa, and Asiahad come to the United States.
Investigation and cleanup begins. The first analysis team to arrive came from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), who soon brought in two examiners from the FBI Laboratory Explosives Unit. Over the week that followed, a team of more than 300 law-enforcement officers from various agencies throughout the country would sift through some 2,500 cubic yards (1,911 cubic meters) of debris weighing more than 6,800 tons (6,909 tonnes).
At the same time that this forensic investigation began, government authorities rushed to protect against physical, chemical, and biological hazards associated with the blast. The explosion had exposed raw sewage, asbestos, mineral wool, acid, and fumes from automobiles. Meanwhile, small electrical fires burned, and pieces of concrete and sharp metal hung threateningly from distended beams.
On Saturday, authorities installed seismographic equipment, cleared the area, and conducted a test run of an empty subway train. The results showed that with a few adjustments, the area could be rendered safe for the operation of the Port Authority Transportation system (PATH) on Monday, thus preventing a virtual shutdown of lower Manhattan. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration began taking steps to clean up biological and chemical debris.
Tracking the killers. Meanwhile, the forensic investigation expanded, with two chemists each from the FBI, ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms), and New York Police Department collecting and studying residue from the blast area. In the course of this work, investigators found a key piece of evidence: a 300-pound (136-kg) fragment of a vehicle that, based on the damage it had sustained, must have been at the very epicenter of the blast. Sewage contamination had rendered it unusable for residue analysis, but it bore something much better: a vehicle identification number (VIN).
This was not to be the first fortunate break for investigators. Authorities traced the vehicle to a Ryder truck rental facility in Jersey City, New Jersey, from which it had been reported stolen. On Monday, while FBI special agents were at the Jersey City facility to speak with personnel there, the Ryder clerk received a call from a man identified as Mohamed Salemeh. The latter demanded the return of his $400 deposit for the van in question, and the Ryder clerk arranged for him to return and collect the deposit on March 4, 1993. When Salemeh arrived, he was arrested.
A search of Salemeh's belongings led investigators to Nidal Ayad, a chemist working for the Allied Signal Corporation in New Jersey. Toll records and receipts helped lead to a safe house in Jersey City, New Jersey, where authorities found traces of nitroglycerine and urea nitrate. They also uncovered evidence that Salemeh and Ayad had obtained three tanks of compressed hydrogen gas, and in the course of searching a storage room rented by Salemeh, investigators found large caches of urea, sulfuric acid, and other chemicals used in making a bomb. On March 3, the New York Times received a letter claiming responsibility for the bombing, and subsequent investigation of DNA samples matched Ayad with the saliva on the envelope flap.
Convictionand continuing questions. The trail of investigation would eventually lead to Ramzi Yousef, who authorities believe was in the van that delivered the explosives to the WTC. With him was Eyad Ismoil. Also implicated in the bombing, along with Salemeh and Ayad, were Ahmad Ajaj, Mahmoud Abouhalima, and Abdul Rahman Yasin. On March 4, 1994, a jury found Salemeh, Ajaj, Abouhalima, and Ayad guilty on 38 counts, including murder and conspiracy, and the judge handed down multiple life sentences.
Yousef fled the country, and engaged in other terror plots before he was captured and brought to the United States from Pakistan in February 1995. He was sentenced to life plus 240 years. As of 2003, Yasin had not been captured, and was believed to be in Iraq. In October 1995, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, a blind Egyptian cleric who taught at mosques in Brooklyn and New Jersey, was sentenced to life imprisonment for masterminding the attack. But some observers wonder whether the roots of the 1993 WTC attack run much deeper.
The fact that Yousef is the nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a top figure in al-Qaeda, suggests a strong connection between the 1993 conspirators and the group who ultimately brought down the towers eight years later. After the September 2001, attack, it was the opinion of many investigators and analysts inside President George W. Bush's administration, that the perpetrators of that attack had a state sponsorIraq. A number of details, including the fact that Yousef was traveling on an Iraqi passport, as well as the date of the 1993 attackthe second anniversary of the U.S. liberation of Kuwait in the Persian Gulf Warfurthered suspicions of Iraqi involvement in the 1993 incident. Mohammed was later involved in masterminding the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, and was arrested in Rawalpindi, Pakistan on March 1, 2003.
I concur...this is not the end all be all that shows 100% Saddam knowledge of every detail of Al Qaida's operations in Iraq...that being said there were lots of mistakes made pre and post 9/11...I just hope we learn from them and get better..
What is it with this 9/11 thing all of a sudden? All I hear lately is "9/11 this and 9/11 that" ... I mean, here I was happily listening to Joan Baez music today, and all of a sudden everyone is talking about something called "9/11" ... I have no clue what they mean. Really! I was just so happy being a Moth fluttering about into a hot lightbulb that I didn't know that many of my ancestors also fluttered right into that same hot lightbulb so many days ago. My only memories are of this morning when I began fluttering about from my coccoon, and yesterday never existed.
This excerpt from an article in Friday's WSJ written about Interpol efforts to stop terrorists discusses falsified documents. There are 12 MILLION known lost or stolen passports worldwide. If you know the right people, it can't be too hard to get one of them...
In terms of the gaps in our security measures, the most glaring is the threat of terrorists entering the U.S. and other countries using falsified stolen passports. This fraud, the subject of a recent report issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, has been going on for too long. The GAO report -- buttressed by the findings of the 9/11 Commission -- is a catalogue of clandestine travel and planning. Stolen and lost passports are "prized travel documents among terrorists" and "officials acknowledge that an undetermined number of inadmissible aliens may have entered the U.S. using a lost or stolen passport."
For instance: Ramzi Yousef, mastermind behind the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, entered the U.S. using a stolen Iraqi passport. And even with the heightened security following 9/11, there are documented cases of foreigners entering the U.S. and many other countries using falsified stolen passports -- including some from the city that was home to an al Qaeda cell that helped plan the 9/11 attacks. It is cold comfort to the many airline passengers -- regularly, sometimes invasively inconvenienced by the current security regime -- to learn that five years after 9/11, we still don't require every passport to be screened against a global database of stolen passports.
Before 9/11 we had a valid excuse -- no such database existed. Over the last four years, however, Interpol has built a global database of Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD), which identifies a shocking 12 million stolen and lost passports, as well as the technology to allow officers to access this and other Interpol databases at airports, borders and other field points.
This new approach, launched in Switzerland at the end of last year, gets results. Each month, over 20,000 Swiss police officers conduct over 300,000 database searches. So far, the searches have detected on average over 100 people carrying documents that had been reported stolen or lost. Until other countries implement this border protection tool (as France has done at Charles de Gaulle Airport), there will remain another gaping hole in global security.
Yet the global community is not yet treating this as a high priority. Most likely it will take a major attack, like a terrorist using a stolen passport and armed with a biological weapon, before countries will treat this issue like they now treat the threat of liquids being carried on planes by passengers.
Well, that's true in the sense falsified passports are available to anyone who has the monetary means, nefarious contacts and evil reason to get a fake one.
Anyone can get an
Iraqi passport AK 47...and you don't even have to be in Iraq an NRA member ...
The Philippine government expelled two Iraqi diplomats after it was proven that they were tied to a terrorist bombing in the Philippines. One of the bombing victims was a U.S. Army advisor. These were not just Iraqi citizens - they were employees of the Iraqi government who represented Saddam Hussein.
Celebrate FREEDOM! Buy a Gun for 9/11 !!!
An Iraqi passport?
Iraq has always been a seedy waste of a land and with poor border controls and in truth, a passport is just a forum of I.D. - an internationally accepted means of I.D..
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