Skip to comments.Resentful west spurned Sudan's key terror files (Gobs of info offered on Terrorists)
Posted on 09/30/2001 3:50:21 AM PDT by Aerial
Security chiefs on both sides of the Atlantic repeatedly turned down the chance to acquire a vast intelligence database on Osama bin Laden and more than 200 leading members of his al-Qaeda terrorist network in the years leading up to the 11 September attacks, an Observer investigation has revealed.
They were offered thick files, with photographs and detailed biographies of many of his principal cadres, and vital information about al-Qaeda's financial interests in many parts of the globe.
On two separate occasions, they were given an opportunity to extradite or interview key bin Laden operatives who had been arrested in Africa because they appeared to be planning terrorist atrocities.
None of the offers, made regularly from the start of 1995, was taken up. One senior CIA source admitted last night: 'This represents the worst single intelligence failure in this whole terrible business. It is the key to the whole thing right now. It is reasonable to say that had we had this data we may have had a better chance of preventing the attacks.'
He said the blame for the failure lay in the 'irrational hatred' the Clinton administration felt for the source of the proffered intelligence - Sudan, where bin Laden and his leading followers were based from 1992-96. He added that after a slow thaw in relations which began last year, it was only now that the Sudanese information was being properly examined for the first time.
Last weekend, a key meeting took place in London between Walter Kansteiner, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, FBI and CIA representatives, and Yahia Hussien Baviker, the Sudanese intelligence deputy chief. However, although the intelligence channel between Sudan and the United States is now open, and the last UN sanctions against the African state have been removed, The Observer has evidence that a separate offer made by Sudanese agents in Britain to share intelligence with MI6 has been rejected. This follows four years of similar rebuffs.
'If someone from MI6 comes to us and declares himself, the next day he can be in Khartoum,' said a Sudanese government source. 'We have been saying this for years.'
Bin Laden and his cadres came to Sudan in 1992 because at that time it was one of the few Islamic countries where they did not need visas. He used his time there to build a lucrative web of legitimate businesses, and to seed a far-flung financial network - much of which was monitored by the Sudanese.
They also kept his followers under close surveillance. One US source who has seen the files on bin Laden's men in Khartoum said some were 'an inch and a half thick'.
They included photographs, and information on their families, backgrounds and contacts. Most were 'Afghan Arabs', Saudis, Yemenis and Egyptians who had fought with bin Laden against the Soviets in Afghanistan.
'We know them in detail,' said one Sudanese source. 'We know their leaders, how they implement their policies, how they plan for the future. We have tried to feed this information to American and British intelligence so they can learn how this thing can be tackled.'
In 1996, following intense pressure from Saudi Arabia and the US, Sudan agreed to expel bin Laden and up to 300 of his associates. Sudanese intelligence believed this to be a great mistake.
'There we could keep track of him, read his mail,' the source went on. 'Once we kicked him out and he went to ground in Afghanistan, he couldn't be tracked anywhere.'
The Observer has obtained a copy of a personal memo sent from Sudan to Louis Freeh, former director of the FBI, after the murderous 1998 attacks on American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. It announces the arrest of two named bin Laden operatives held the day after the bombings after they crossed the Sudanese border from Kenya. They had cited the manager of a Khartoum leather factory owned by bin Laden as a reference for their visas, and were held after they tried to rent a flat overlooking in the US embassy in Khartoum, where they were thought to be planning an attack.
US sources have confirmed that the FBI wished to arrange their immediate extradition. However, Clinton's Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, forbade it. She had classed Sudan as a 'terrorist state,' and three days later US missiles blasted the al-Shifa medicine factory in Khartoum.
The US wrongly claimed it was owned by bin Laden and making chemical weapons. In fact, it supplied 60 per cent of Sudan's medicines, and had contracts to make vaccines with the UN.
Even then, Sudan held the suspects for a further three weeks, hoping the US would both perform their extradition and take up the offer to examine their bin Laden database. Finally, the two men were deported to Pakistan. Their present whereabouts are unknown.
Last year the CIA and FBI, following four years of Sudanese entreaties, sent a joint investigative team to establish whether Sudan was in fact a sponsor of terrorism. Last May, it gave Sudan a clean bill of health. However, even then, it made no effort to examine the voluminous files on bin Laden.
I'm glad to see a Brit paper is now on top of the story.
Most were 'Afghan Arabs', Saudis, Yemenis and Egyptians who had fought with bin Laden against the Soviets in Afghanistan.
Hmmm.. You have to wonder if the pictures& names the FBI are showing us are the accurate. Some folks are saying their identities were stolen. Sigh. Yet another failure under the X42, Albright , Freeh, Reno cabal.
2) Is it possible that Americans will finally learn, after over 50 years of watching Democrats royally screw up foreign policy and military issues (Yalta, Korea, Vietnam, Iran, etc., etc.) that we'll learn to never, ever elect another Democrat to the White House? I remember arguing this to my friends in 1992 that Clinton would do something to screw us up, but was told, much like the media was saying then, that foreign policy didn't matter.
3) Will Americans ever realize the amount of damage that Clinton has done to our nation? I think that we'll be suffering from the repercussions for years to come. Remember, China is always looming in the background.
I think that Washington believed that bin Laden could still be "managed" through at least '98. Most likely, the attack on the pharmaceutical plant in Sudan and the cruise missile attack on the bases in Afghanistan were "warnings", rather than serious attempts to destroy bin Laden or his organization. Bin Laden was regarded as a useful tool for destablilizing Central Asia, the Caucauses and the Balkans. The pursuit of larger strategic goals was seen as more important than the risk of a direct attack on the US.
That's the famous Clinton "If they **** with me, I'll **** with them" attitude, that guided this country so "successfully" for eight years.
I have said it many times as have many others on this forum, the blame starts at the top and goes all the way to the bottom. We didn't get snookered, we got put to sleep because all our effort was spent warning ourselves and others, what electing such individuals to public office would mean to the safety of our rights and freedom.
Eight years of policy that allowed the enemy time to set us up. Eight years of a government that thought its citizens were the enemy, and eight years of citizens who knew absolutely that the government was the enemy. They were, but another enemy had time to press their advantage while our vigilance was directed at what the government was and was not doing.
The Constitution of the United States of America states, "The Congress shall have Power To provide for the common Defence and general welfare of the United States". While the two major political parties were doing battle with each other, the real enemy was freely entering our gates. The Congress failed in their responsibility to the American People.
I don't think I need to say any more althought much more could be said. Monday morning quarterbacking is a bit easier than prophecy.
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