Tell us about Clinton’s ‘virtual obsession’ with OBL paired with his emperical revulsion at taking him in alive for questioning - which he was offered many times.
Yes, and note that while everyone focused on the July 2001 Presidential Daily Brief about the planned attacks, the CIA provided the same briefing to President Clinton on December 4, 1998. A copy has been provided in the 9/11 report but was overlooked by the media. The PDB explained that Islambouli, the brother of Sadat’s assassin was planning the attacks. Gertz has explained that Islambouli, a close friend of blind sheik Abdel-Rahman, was in a cell with KSM.
On July 4, 1993, United States Postal employee Ahmed Abdel Sattar spoke to the press about Abdel Rahman’s arrest and said “we haven’t decided the time or place, but our Muslim community will demonstrate its outrage at the arrest of the Sheik.” In the indictment of the Staten Island Post Office employee who worshipped in Brooklyn, the United States government alleged that following his arrest, Abdel Rahman, in a message to his followers recorded while he was in prison, urged: “Oh Muslims! Oh Muslims! ... It is a duty upon all the Muslims around the world to free the Sheikh, and to rescue him from his jail.” Referring to the United States, he implored, “Muslims everywhere, dismember their nation, tear them apart, ruin their economy, provoke their corporations, destroy their embassies, attack their interests, sink their ships, and shoot down their planes, kill them on land, at sea, and in the air. Kill them wherever you find them.” His list is a pretty concise summary of the terrorist actions taken over the next decade.
The tactic of lethal letters delivered by the US Post Office — although not mentioned in this list by Abdel-Rahman - - was not merely the modus operandi of the militant islamists inspired by Abdel-Rahman, it was their signature. The islamists sent letter bombs in late December 1996 from Alexandria, Egypt to newspaper offices in New York City and Washington, D.C. and people in symbolic positions. Musical Christmas cards apparently postmarked in Alexandria, Egypt on December 21, 1996 contained improvised explosive devices. The bombs were mailed on the Night of Decree or Night of Measures. The letters were sent in connection with the earlier bombing of the World Trade Center and the imprisonment of the blind sheik, Sheik Abdel Rahman. The former leader of the Egyptian Al-Gamaa al-Islamiya (”Islamic Group”), Abdel-Rahman was also a spiritual leader of Al Qaeda.
The letter bombs were sent in connection with the treatment of the Egyptian islamists imprisoned for the earlier attack on the WTC and a related plot. The purpose of the letter bombs — which resulted in minimal casualty — was to send a message. (There initially was an outstanding $2 million reward — under the rewards for justice program, the reward now is up to $5 million.) There was no claim of responsibility. There was no explanation. Once one had been received, the next ten, mailed on two separate dates, were easily collected. Sound familiar? Two bombs were also sent to Leavenworth, where a key WTC 1993 defendant was imprisoned, addressed to “Parole Officer.” (The position does not exist).
The FBI suspected the Vanguards of Conquest, a mysterious group led by Egyptian Islamic Jihad head Ayman Zawahiri. The group can be thought of as either the military wing of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad or perhaps just EIJ by another name. It is sometimes known as the New Jihad. Yassir Al-Sirri was the Egyptian Islamic Jihad/ Vanguards of Conquest publicist and worked out of his London-based home while on the public dole. Another group under suspicion for the mailings was the Egyptian Islamic Group. The blind sheik Abdel Rahman simultaneously was the spiritual leader of Al Qaeda, Egyptian Islamic Group and Egyptian Islamic Jihad/Vanguards of Conquest. The next month, on February 12, 1997, the Islamic Group, for its part, issued a statement: “The Islamic Group declares all American interests legitimate targets to its legitimate “jihad until the release of al prisoners, on top of whom is Abdel Rahman.”
Abdel-Rahman’s friend, Ayman Zawahiri, was head of Al Qaeda’s biochemical program and the blind sheik’s son. Mohammed was on Al Qaeda’s three- member WMD committee. Ayman named his biochem program Zabadi or “Curdled Milk.” The CIA has known of Zawahiri’s plans to use anthrax since July 1998, when the CIA seized a disc from Ayman Zawahiri’s right-hand, Ahmed Mabruk during his arrest outside a restaurant by the CIA in Baku, Azerbaijan. At the time, Mabruk was the head of Jihad’s military operations. Mabruk was handed over to Egyptian authorities. A close associate and former cellmate in Dagestan in 1996, Mabruk would be at Ayman’s side while Ayman would fall to his knees during trial and weep and invoke Allah. Their captors reportedly did not know the true identity of the prisoners. The CIA refused to give the FBI Mabruk’s laptop. FBI’s Bin Laden expert John ONeill, head of the FBIs New York office, tried to get around this by sending an agent to Azerbaijan to get copies of the computer files from the Azerbaijan government. The FBI finally got the files after O’Neill persuaded President Clinton to personally appeal to the president of Azerbaijan for the computer files. FBI Special Agent Dan Coleman would later describe the laptop as the “Rosetta Stone of Al Qaeda.” O’Neill died on 9/11 in his role as head of World Trade Center security. He died with the knowledge that Ayman Zawahiri planned to attack US targets with anthrax — and that Zawahiri does not make a threat that he does not intend to try to keep.