Skip to comments.Imad Mughniyah, the Al Qaeda terrorist in the shadows
Posted on 04/29/2002 4:07:20 AM PDT by dennisw
Imad Mughniyah, the terrorist in the shadows
See No Evil The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA?s War on Terrorism by Robert Baer
Crown. 284 pp. $25.95
Reviewed by Kenneth R. Timmerman
ROBERT Baer, a CIA officer for 22 years, resigned from the agency in disgust in late 1997. He has now written an important memoir detailing how the CIA lost the war against terror well before the murderous plans of the September 11 bombers were even conceived. The key to failure, Baer contends, was the agency?s systematic unwillingness and inability to engage in the difficult and frequently dangerous work of recruiting foreign sources. With its upper ranks increasingly reliant on satellite and other forms of electronic surveillance and afraid of taking risks in the field, officers posted abroad were not assigned to gather human intelligence aggressively. ?In practical terms,? writes Baer, ?the CIA had taken itself out of the business of spying.?
This harsh judgment from a self-described CIA ?foot soldier? comes at a critical moment, for in the war against terror, the agency has now been given dramatic new missions?and bundles of new money. Unless major changes are made in the way it does business, the CIA will not be up to the task at hand.
Baer is no novice operative, still wet under the collar, who quit after finding CIA field culture incompatible with his style of life. He was a seasoned case officer, i.e., a recruiter of foreign agents, informers, and the like, whose two decades of overseas assignments began in India during the tough cold-war days of the 1970?s and included postings to Syria, Sudan, Beirut, Paris, Tajikistan, and northern Iraq; in the last-named of these, he became the U.S. coordinator of Iraqi opposition fighters seeking to overthrow Saddam Hussein. For much of his career, Baer was assigned to the CIA?s counterterrorism center, where he acquired a wealth of firsthand experience with the problem we now all face.
Along the way, Baer also acquired a wealth of firsthand experience with the CIA?s often dysfunctional culture. Posted to Syria in 1983, he recruited a source within a Palestinian terrorist group who disclosed the whereabouts of a new office of the highly secretive Abu Nidal organization, a splinter group of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) that was responsible for terrorist acts in almost two dozen countries around the world. But when Baer proposed bugging the office, his superior looked at him ?wide-eyed,? objecting that Washington would never approve. Baer?s time in Damascus, he suggested, would be better spent making contacts at a cocktail party at the Australian embassy. Baer pressed the matter, but the station chief proceeded to polish his wing tips: ?When the buffing rag came out, I knew the conversation was over.?
Though Baer ranges widely, See No Evil could be subtitled ?Unfinished Business,? the business in question being his relentless investigation of the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut in 1983. This terrorist act, he shows convincingly, continues to have direct repercussions on our situation today, and to it he devotes a great deal of attention here.
The destruction of the embassy occurred just as Beirut was poised for recovery from a seven-year orgy of bloodletting. Yasir Arafat?s PLO, a chief player in the internecine conflict, had been forced by Israel to withdraw from Lebanon six months earlier; U.S., French, British, and Italian peacekeeping troops had arrived, and were welcomed as liberators. For the first time since the civil war began in 1975, the warring Christian and Muslim sides were reunited, and it was possible once again to walk across the ?Green Line? separating the city without fear of being shot.
The April 18, 1983 explosion at the American embassy, the work of a suicide bomber who took 61 people with him, shattered the fragile peace. A dark chain of events was set in motion that led to more bombings, the murder of the CIA station chief William F. Buckley some time after he was taken hostage in 1984, the murder of U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Richard Higgins in 1988, and the kidnapping of some three dozen Western civilians.
Baer, posted to Beirut in 1986, became deeply immersed in the study of the terrorist violence flaring up around him. Although a number of basic questions about the embassy blast three years earlier still lay unresolved, one thing was clear from the evidence: the hand behind that bombing had also organized the taking of foreign hostages in Lebanon and the murder of Buckley. The bombing thus held the key to all the subsequent attacks.
The CIA had been able to identify the proximate planner of the bombing: a Lebanese Muslim by the name of Imad Mughniyah. But this figure was a puzzle in himself, a twenty-year-old who had seemingly burst out of nowhere to become a terrorist mastermind. Although Baer was able to discover that Mughniyah had been brought up in a poor neighborhood in Beirut?s southern suburbs, after that the trail went cold. Nor had any of Baer?s predecessors in Beirut pursued him further.
Baer proceeded to try to piece together a fuller portrait. It emerged that, at the age of fourteen or fifteen, Mughniyah had joined Arafat?s elite Force 17 security unit, where he had appeared to be little more than ?a low-level bang man, one of dozens who spent their days and nights sniping at Christians across the Green Line.? How did someone with such an unprepossessing background come to build an organization capable of carrying out well-funded and highly sophisticated terrorist operations? It seems he had help.
One of Baer?s agents disclosed that, in plotting the embassy bombing, Mughniyah had relied upon a Persian Gulf-based cell of sleeper agents belonging to Arafat?s armed Fatah organization. The Fatah men had served as go-betweens to Hizbullah, the terrorist group active in Lebanon under the control of the mullahs in Tehran. Digging deeper, Baer uncovered a web of ties between the PLO and the Islamic Republic of Iran, including a secret 1972 agreement between Arafat and Ayatollah Khomeini that provided for the training of Iranian fighters at Fatah terrorist camps in Lebanon. Among the future leaders of Iran who went through Fatah training were Mustafa Chamran, the first commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and Ahmad Khomeini, Ayatollah Khomeini?s son.
Another key piece of the puzzle fell into place for Baer as he analyzed the attempted assassination of former Iranian Prime Minister Shahpour Bakhtiar in Paris in 1980. The would-be assassin, Anis Naccache, was a leftist and a recent Christian convert to the Sunni brand of Islam. ?At first his participation in the crime made no sense at all,? writes Baer. ?Why would a Lebanese Sunni attempt to kill an ex-Iranian prime minister?? But Arafat was known to have an efficient network in Paris, and the evidence suggested that he had activated it on behalf of the Iranians.
In short, writes Baer, ?Arafat had put his entire worldwide terrorist network at Iran?s disposal.? Having been forced out of Beirut in 1982 by the Israelis, he had ?handed it over lock, stock, and barrel to the Iranians for safekeeping.? The complicity of each of them in the embassy bombing, and of both of them together, could not have been clearer.
The ties forged in the early 80?s have remained strong in the years since then, Baer shows. Either separately or together, the PLO and Iran have been deeply implicated in many terrorist actions for which neither has ever been called to account. In particular, they circulated between them the funds used by the terrorists who, in December 1988, planted the bomb aboard Pan Am 103, which crashed over Lockerbie, Scotland?an act for which, up to now, the United States has blamed Libya alone. According to Baer, Iran also established training camps for the Hizbullah terrorists who blew up Saudi national-guard barracks in Riyadh in 1995 and the U.S. Marine Khobar Tower barracks in Dhahran in 1996, attacks that have been generally ascribed to Osama bin Laden.
?As I looked at the evidence in front of me,? Baer concludes, ?the Islamic Republic of Iran had declared a secret war against the United States, and the United States had chosen to ignore it.? Yet Baer had no success in interesting his superiors in what he had uncovered, and I can well understand why. As a Paris- and Beirut-based reporter trying to interest editors in similar facts at roughly the same time, I had no more success than he. I still have pictures, given to me from this period by an Iranian photographer, of Ahmad Khomeini dressed in his clerical robes and shouldering an RPG-7 rocket at a Palestinian camp in Lebanon. But deep connections between the secular Marxist PLO of Yasir Arafat and the theocratic fundamentalist Iran of Ayatollah Khomeini were considered simply too bizarre to be credible.
The whole world now has reason to know just how wrong was this piece of establishment wisdom. Only two weeks after See No Evil arrived in the bookstores, Israel intercepted the Karine-A, a vessel laden with weapons of terror that had been dispatched from Iran and was destined for Yasir Arafat?s Palestinian Authority. But will events like this force a reappraisal of the joint Iranian and PLO role in sponsoring terror across the board? And will such a reappraisal take place in agencies like the CIA that have long resisted it? Given the tepid or hostile response of much of the foreign-policy elite to President Bush?s characterization of Iran as part of an ?axis of evil,? one cannot be too hopeful.
As for Yasir Arafat and Imad Mughniyah, the former, despite having American blood on his hands, went on to win a Nobel Peace Prize and still traffics regularly in terrorism. The latter is believed to be alive and well and plotting in Lebanon. Not long after September 11, he was placed on the FBI?s ?Most Wanted Terrorists? list.
KENNETH R. TIMMERMAN is a senior writer with Insight magazine and a contributor to the Reader?s Digest. He has published four books on intelligence matters, terrorism, and the arms trade.
Insight Magazine - 12/1001
Issue date: 12/31/01
He has blown up U.S. embassies and car-bombed a U.S. military barracks. He has hijacked U.S. commercial airliners and murdered Americans. He has kidnapped and tortured a top CIA officer and vowed through terror to drive the United States from his country. Do you know who he is?
If you guessed Osama bin Laden, you're wrong. The correct answer is Imad Fayez Mugniyeh (pronounced MOOG-NEE-YEH), a Lebanese Shiite long considered one of the world's most ruthless and elusive killers. The CIA has been tracking him since 1984 when he masterminded the kidnapping in Beirut of CIA station chief William Buckley, apparently on orders from Iran. Now evidence is beginning to mount that Mugniyeh has deep ties to bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network and may have been directly involved in planning the Sept. 11 attacks.
"We know Mugniyeh has a relationship to bin Laden. We know that," one U.S. official tells Insight. "Did he have a role in planning the outrages of September 11? We can't rule it out. Hezbollah is part of bin Laden's International Islamic Front for Jihad on the Jews and Crusaders, and Mugniyeh is the head of Hezbollah's special-operations branch."
Twice the United States spotted Mugniyeh on international flights and sought to have him arrested. In 1986, he was leaving Charles de Gaulle Airport after several days of secret negotiations with the French government. Although the CIA provided a copy of the passport he was using, the French declined to stop him.
Nine years later, he was flying back to Beirut from Khartoum after a meeting with bin Laden in the Sudan. The United States arranged for his Middle East Airways plane to make an unscheduled stopover in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, but the Saudi authorities refused to force him to leave the plane.
Neither the French nor the Saudis wanted him on their hands.
"Imad Mugniyeh is one of the most demonic of the militant Islamic leaders," says Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia. "He appears to serve as a bridge between the 1980s, when the violence was primarily Shiite, and today, when it is primarily Sunni."
Mugniyeh and his Iranian backers are Shiite Muslims; bin Laden and his followers are Sunnis. Most terrorism analysts and Islamic scholars insist that the two Muslim sects are on less-friendly terms than Catholics and Protestants in Belfast. But when it comes to terrorism, they are dead wrong.
The eldest of four children, Mugniyeh was born in the village of Tir Dibba in the mountains above the Lebanese coastal city of Tyre on July 12, 1962. His father, Sheik Muhammad Jawad Mugniyeh, was praised as "one of Shia Lebanon's best jurists" by American Islamic scholar Fouad Ajami.
As a high-school dropout, Mugniyeh was recruited by Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction and later joined the elite Force 17, Arafat's personal security service.
Once the Palestinians were kicked out of Lebanon in 1983, Mugniyeh and his two brothers, Fuad and Jihad, joined a new organization set up by Iran called Hezbollah (Party of God). Its goal was to drive the Western powers out of Lebanon.
Imad Mugniyeh became Hezbollah's star recruit, reporting directly to Ali Akbar Mohtashemi-Pour, Iran's ambassador to Syria. His terrorist pedigree began with a bang when he organized the April 18, 1983, bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut that killed 63 people, including Robert Ames, the CIA's top Middle East operations officer, and many of his best agents.
In October 1983, Mugniyeh was back at work. This time, with Iranian and Syrian help, he plotted the twin suicide truck-bomb attacks in Beirut that took the lives of 242 U.S. Marines and 58 French troops.
For many years Mugniyeh's personal involvement in those early bombings remained obscure. It wasn't until he kidnapped the new CIA station chief to Beirut, William Buckley, in April 1984 that the U.S. intelligence community began to get a fix on him.
David Jacobsen was one of a dozen Americans and Frenchmen kidnapped in Beirut in the 1980s by Mugniyeh and his pro-Iranian militiamen. At one point he shared a cell with Buckley at an undisclosed location and remembers his ordeal well. "I was chained to the floor; I was blindfolded. The person at my feet, I later learned, was Terry Anderson, and the person at the head was Bill Buckley."
Mugniyeh's guards tried to keep them from speaking to one another. "One of the chilling moments for me and for Terry Anderson was to hear Bill Buckley cough," says Jacobsen. "He was very, very sick. He was delirious. I heard him say, 'I don't know what happened to my body; it was so strong 30 days ago.'"
The CIA now believes that Buckley was tortured to death by Mugniyeh personally, who extracted whatever secrets he could and then murdered him.
Buckley was honored by CIA director William H. Webster at a posthumous ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on May 13, 1988, and a star in his honor was carved into the wall of CIA headquarters &emdash; the 51st.
Mugniyeh burst onto the international scene with the brash June 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847 from Greece to Beirut, where he held 39 Americans hostage for 17 days. Wearing a ski mask, Mugniyeh prowled the aisles of the aircraft looking for U.S. military personnel and discovered U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem. He tortured and shot Stethem, then dumped his body out on the runway in full view of international TV cameras. Later, the FBI was able to identify Mugniyeh's fingerprints in the rear lavatory of the aircraft and indicted him for Stethem's murder.
Mugniyeh also murdered for personal reasons, including the release of a family member. The man who initiated him in the art of bomb-making was his brother-in-law, Mustapha Badr-el-Din, whose crippled legs prevented him from joining a Beirut militia. Badr-el-Din plied his trade by designing the bombs used in a series of devastating attacks against Kuwait. He was arrested and sentenced to death for his crimes by the Kuwaiti government.
In April 1988, Mugniyeh orchestrated the hijacking of a Kuwait Airlines flight to Bangkok. On board were three members of the Kuwaiti royal family. In exchange for their freedom, Mugniyeh demanded the release of his brother-in-law and 16 other Shiite prisoners in Kuwait, known collectively as the "Ad-Dawaa 17."
The plane made a three-day stopover in the eastern Iranian city of Mashad, where some sources believe Mugniyeh personally boarded the aircraft and brought on additional hijackers and weapons. Next, they flew to Cyprus, where two Kuwaiti passengers were murdered and dumped onto the runway in a stunning replay of the TWA hijacking three years earlier. They ended up in Algiers, where negotiators from the Iranian and Algerian governments, as well as Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization, arranged safe passage for all the hijackers.
Intelligence officials believe Mugniyeh is seeking personal vengeance on the United States and Israel for the deaths of his brothers, which explains in part his willingness to lend his expertise to operations organized by other groups. Mugniyeh's brothers were killed in retaliatory attacks in Lebanon believed to have been carried out by Israeli and U.S. operatives.
"Bin Laden is a schoolboy in comparison with Mugniyeh," an Israeli-intelligence officer told Jane's Foreign Report recently. "The guy is a genius, someone who refined the art of terrorism to its utmost level. We studied him and reached the conclusion that he is a clinical psychopath motivated by uncontrollable psychological reasons, which we have given up trying to understand. The killing of his two brothers by the Americans only inflamed his strong motivation."
His brother, Jihad Mugniyeh, died in 1985 when a car bomb intended for Hezbollah leader Sheik Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah killed 75 people outside Fadlallah's home in Beirut. Hezbollah blamed the CIA for the attack. His other brother, Fuad Mugniyeh, died in December 1994 when another car bomb exploded near the mosque where Fadlallah preached his weekly sermon, directly outside of a shop owned by Fuad. The car-bomb attack reportedly was ordered by Israel in reprisal for the bombing of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires earlier that year which killed 86.
In the 1990s Mugniyeh shifted focus from Lebanon and the Persian Gulf to launch a series of dramatic international operations. On March 17, 1992, a Hezbollah strike team leveled the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 persons and wounding 242. Hezbollah said the attack was intended to avenge the killing of Lebanese Hezbollah leader Sheik Abbas Musawi, whose convoy was obliterated by Israeli helicopter gunships in South Lebanon one month earlier.
Next was the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) community-center bombing in July 1994. Investigating Judge Juan Jose Galeano told Insight recently, "There was lots of Iranian diplomatic activity just before the attack which remains unexplained. They all got out before the bomb went off."
U.S. and Israeli intelligence sources believe Mugniyeh was involved in the planning of the AMIA attack and may have parachuted into Argentina on an Iranian service passport at the last minute to activate sleeper networks and handle logistics for the bomb. "Hezbollah claimed responsibility for that attack," a State Department counterterrorism analyst tells Insight, "and Mugniyeh heads the terror wing of that organization."
Army reserve Brig. Gen. Shimon Shapira, previously a senior military-intelligence officer who tracked Mugniyeh's career, told Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman: "This man isn't working alone. All his power comes from his reliance on the Iranian intelligence service. None of his operations could have been executed without their infrastructure. This infrastructure is very wide, ranging from embassies [and] commerce delegations to all other Iranian state activities. No one is overstating Mugniyeh's work because it represents the whole of Hezbollah."
In 1996, Mugniyeh wanted to hit another commercial airliner, this time from El Al. The name on the expertly forged British passport used by Mugniyeh's operative was Andrew Jonathan Neumann. El Al's much-vaunted security failed to notice anything suspicious about him or to detect the kilogram of military-grade RDX explosive he was carrying when he entered Israel in April 1996 on a Swissair flight from Zurich.
Neumann wasn't British. He was a Lebanese Shiite named Hussein Mohammad Mikdad. Luckily for his intended victims, he failed Bomb-making 101. While mixing his deadly brew in an East Jerusalem hotel room, Mikdad blew off his lower body. From his hospital bed he said he had been trained in Iran to become "a heroic human flying bomb," detonating the explosive while traveling on an El Al flight departing from Tel Aviv. "The operation was a special gift" to Israel from Imad Mugniyeh, he said.
Before Sept. 11, the Israelis were picking up numerous signs that Mugniyeh was planning new operations aimed at Israel and the United States. A top Israeli military-intelligence official, Maj. Gen. Amos Malka, went on Israeli television in June to warn that "bin Laden has tried, will try to reach us and may even reach us here in Israel." He described recent attempts by bin Laden to establish terrorist cells in Gaza and the West Bank and said bin Laden's group was "planning an attack on U.S. and Israeli interests within the next few weeks." Mugniyeh was believed to be involved in several of these infiltration attempts.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has fingered bin Laden, Mugniyeh and Iran for helping to train Chechen rebels who fight against the Russian government. Speaking in Germany just 10 days after the Sept. 11 attacks, Putin said he had given specific information to the United States on Arab fighters in Chechnya whom Mugniyeh had trained.
"As a rule, activities of terrorists are very coordinated," he said. "For example, on one Arab mercenary in Chechnya we found instructions for flying a Boeing."
Jane's reported in October that for the last two years Iraqi intelligence officers were shuttling between Baghdad and Afghanistan, meeting with bin Laden, Mugniyeh and bin Laden deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri. Top U.S. officials were briefed on these ties on Oct. 26, Insight reported ("Iran Cosponsors Al-Qaeda Terrorism," Dec. 3).
Bin Laden first met Mugniyeh in 1993, according to his former chief of security, Ali Mohammad. In a plea agreement entered on Oct. 20, 2000, in the Southern District of New York for his involvement in the U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa, Mohammad acknowledges that he "arranged security" for the meeting that took place while bin Laden was living in the Sudan.
Mohammad said Mugniyeh's Hezbollah group "provided explosives training for al-Qaeda and al-Jihad," the two groups most closely tied to bin Laden. "Iran supplied Egyptian Jihad with weapons. Iran also used Hezbollah to supply explosives that were disguised to look like rocks."
An earlier affidavit by FBI Agent Daniel Coleman, based on information provided former members of al-Qaeda, reported that bin Laden personally exhorted his followers to "put aside [their] differences with Shiite Muslim terrorist organizations, including the government of Iran and its affiliated terrorist group Hezbollah, to cooperate against the perceived common enemy, the United States and its allies."
Mugniyeh and Iran go way back, and their close association disturbs some analysts at the U.S. State Department, which is trying to rehabilitate the regime of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. "There is no evidence that Mugniyeh was one of the planners of the Sept. 11 attacks," a State Department official tells Insight. "In fact, there is evidence to the contrary."
Separating Mugniyeh from bin Laden, Iran and Saddam Hussein's Iraq &emdash; with whom bin Laden has formed increasingly close ties during the last six years &emdash; has become an important goal for the professional diplomats, who are seeking to limit the U.S. war on terrorism to a renegade Saudi and his band of merry men holed up in Afghanistan. But, for FBI investigators and U.S. intelligence analysts, the evidence is piling up of a consortium of groups and states that defy commonly accepted boundaries. "Call it a terrorism clearinghouse," one government analyst tells Insight.
Kenneth R. Timmerman is a senior writer for Insight magazine.
If you want on or off me Israel/MidEast/Islamic Jihad ping list please let me know. Via Freepmail is best way.............
Another reason to loathe the French and the Saudi's!!!
People, We need to put the lights out in every Redundant Socialist bureaucracy in Washington, DC., and Put ALL the savings into B2's ,Predators, and CIA recruiters and Tear the Wahhabi death cult apart. IN SAUDI Arabia, IRAN, and Iraq. This information stinks on liquid helium!!!
The French are beneath contempt. Next time we should not ask permission. We should forcibly arrest the terrorist goon when he's on the ground, take him away at gunpoint, and fire for effect on the French if they try to interfere.
This is war. We do what we have to do.
CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT AIRCRAFT PIRACY, TO COMMIT HOSTAGE TAKING, TO COMMIT AIR PIRACY RESULTING IN MURDER, TO INTERFERE WITH A FLIGHT CREW, TO PLACE A DESTRUCTIVE DEVICE ABOARD AN AIRCRAFT, TO HAVE EXPLOSIVE DEVICES ABOUT THE PERSON ON AN AIRCRAFT, AND TO ASSAULT PASSENGERS AND CREW; AIR PIRACY RESULTING IN MURDER; AIR PIRACY; HOSTAGE TAKING; INTERFERENCE WITH FLIGHT CREW; AND PLACING EXPLOSIVES ABOARD AIRCRAFT; PLACING DESTRUCTIVE DEVICE ABOARD AIRCRAFT; ASSAULT ABOARD AIRCRAFT WITH INTENT TO HIJACK WITH A DANGEROUS WEAPON AND RESULTING IN SERIOUS BODILY INJURY; AIDING AND ABETTING
IMAD FAYEZ MUGNIYAH
Date of Birth Used: 1962
Place of Birth: Lebanon Eyes: Unknown
Weight: 145 to 150 pounds
Scars and Marks: None known
Remarks: Mugniyah is the alleged head of the security apparatus for the terrorist organization, Lebanese Hizballah. He is thought to be in Lebanon.
Imad Fayez Mugniyah was indicted for his role in planning and participation in the June 14, 1985, hijacking of a commercial airliner which resulted in the assault on various passengers and crew members, and the murder of one U.S. citizen.
The Rewards For Justice Program, United States Department of State, is offering a reward of up to $25 million for information leading directly to the apprehension and/or conviction of Imad Fayez Mugniyah.
SHOULD BE CONSIDERED ARMED AND DANGEROUS
IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION CONCERNING THIS PERSON, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL FBI OFFICE OR THE NEAREST AMERICAN EMBASSY OR CONSULATE.
Feds Unveil "Most Wanted" Suspected Terrorist List
By REBECCA CARR / Cox Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON --President Bush opened "a new line of attack" on terrorism Wednesday, unveiling a "most wanted list" of 22 suspected terrorists.
The top of the White House's chart came as no surprise: Osama bin Laden, named by the president as the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
"Terrorists try to operate in the shadows, they try to hide," Bush said. "But we're going to shine the light of justice on them. Terrorism has a face and today we expose it for the world to see."
MOST WANTED TERROR SUSPECTS
The White House released the names Wednesday of 22 suspected terrorists involved in five separate incidents against American targets dating back to 1985.
* Hijacking of TWA Flight 847 on June 14, 1985. Details: The plane, enroute from Athens to Rome, was hijacked and a U.S. Navy diver was tortured and murdered. Indicted Suspects:
Imad Fayez Mugniyah, head of the security apparatus for the Lebanese Hezbollah, believed to be in Lebanon.
Hasan Izz-Al-Din, member of the Hezbollah, believed to be in Lebanon.
Ali Atwa, member of the Hezbollah, believed to be in Lebanon.
* World Trade Center bombing on February 26, 1993.
Details: A bomb exploded the World Trade Center's underground parking garage, killing six people and injuring hundreds.
Abudl Rahman Yasin, believed to have connections to Iran and Iraq
* Plot to bomb 12 American jumbo jets flying Asian-Pacific routes in January 1995.
Details: U.S. intelligence officers learned about the plot, which originated in Manila to bomb 12 commercial jets. In December, 1994, The conspirators staged a test on a Philippines airliner using a fraction of the explosives that they planned to use, resulting in the death of a Japanese national.
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
* Khobar Towers Bombing on June 25, 1996
Details: A tanker truck blew up outside a U.S. military housing complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The explosion killed 19 U.S. Airforce personnel and wounded 280 others.
Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Mughassil
Ali Saed Bin Ali El-Hoori
Ibrahim Salih Mohammed Al-Yacoub
Abedelkarim Hussein Mohamed Al-Nasser
* Bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania on August 7, 1998
Details: Large motor vehicles carrying bombs blew up outside the American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. More than 200 people were killed including 11 U.S. nationals in Kenya. There were heavy casualties among the residents of both cities.
Osama bin Laden
Fazul Abdullah Mohammed
Mustafa Mohamed Fadhil
Fahid Mohammed Ally Msalam
Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani
Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan
Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah
Ahmed Mohammed Hamed Ali
Mushin Musa Matwalli Atwah
About half of the list of suspects have ties to bin Laden's al-Qaida network of terror, including the two closest confidants of the wealthy Saudi exile.
For example, the list includes Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri, a physician and founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, best known for assassinating Anwar Sadat in 1981. Terrorism experts say that he is the driving force behind bin Laden's organization.
And the list includes Muhammad Atef, a trusted lieutenant in al-Qaida and another member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad believed to be living in Afghanistan. His daughter married bin Laden's son earlier this year.
Al-Zawahiri and Atef were indicted by a federal grand jury in New York for allegedly orchestrating the deadly bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
The list of names will be circulated throughout the world and displayed on the TV show, "America's Most Wanted" on a date yet to be determined.
The State Department's Rewards for Justice program will pay up to $5 million for tips that lead to the capture and prosecution of any of the men on the list. Congress recently added another $20 million to that fund, which has paid out $8.5 million in 22 different terrorist incidents or aborted plots.
"To defeat terrorists, we must identify them, we must find them and we must seize them wherever they are in the world doing their evil deeds," said Secretary of State Colin Powell, who appeared with the president, Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller.
Some of the 22 suspected terrorists are connected to the 19 suicidal hijackers who steered four commercial planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in rural Pennsylvania.
Mohammed Atta, the suspected pilot of the plane that first tore into the World Trade Center, was a member of the same Egyptian terrorist group as Atef and al-Zawahiri.
"They have blood on their hands from September 11 and from other acts against America," Powell said.
The terrorist list is modeled after the FBI's Most Wanted List. The FBI has captured 94 percent of the 467 dangerous criminals it has placed on the list since it was created 50 years ago, Mueller said.
Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, convicted of being the lead planner of the plot to blow up the World Trade Center on Feb. 26, 1993, was apprehended overseas through the FBI's fugitive list.
"With this new program we are spotlighting those who attack freedom itself: terrorists who hide in the shadows and whisper their plots in the dark corners of the world," Mueller said.
So far, the Justice Department has arrested or detained 655 people for questioning in the investigation. Of that number, 165 are being held for immigration violations. Investigators are still seeking 202 others it would like to interview.
Authorities have arrested or detained dozens more in some 23 countries. And 111 countries are changing their banking regulations to stop the flow of money to terrorist groups throughout the world.
Terrorism experts generally agree that the list of wanted terrorists released Wednesday is a good place to start. Not only are key members of bin Laden's organization on the list, they point out, but the list also includes members of other terror networks worth hunting down.
For example, three of the suspects wanted in connection to the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 on June 14,1985 are believed to be members of the terrorist group Lebanese Hezbollah.
Imad Fayez Mugniyah, Hasan Izz-Al-Din and Ali Atwa were all indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly torturing and murdering a U.S. Navy diver and dumping his body on the tarmac of the Beirut International Airport.
And Abdul Rahman Yasin, another suspect in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, is believed to have connections to Iran and Iraq. Yousef and Yasin came to the United States with the intention of pulling off the attack. Money flowed from Iran and Germany into the accounts of two of the bombers.
"It is a big mistake to focus solely on bin Laden and not Iraq," said Laurie Mylroie, author of "A Study of Revenge," a book about Saddam Hussein.
Part of the trouble in hunting down terrorists is that their organizations are diffuse, with ties to other organizations throughout the world, said Ian O. Lesser, an expert in counterterrorism at RAND, a nonprofit public policy institution based in California
The trend among terrorist groups is to use "amateurs" enlisted for specific acts of terror, Lesser said. These are people who may not have a long-standing history with a particular group or its top layer of leaders, he said.
As for a connection between bin Laden and another country like Iraq, Lesser said it would not be unexpected.
"It would not be surprising if there was a link to Iraq down the line," Lesser said. And Iraq is not the only country under suspicion for helping bin Laden. There are questions about the involvement of Libya, Syria and Iran, he said.
"But the list is a reasonable list of culprits to start with," Lesser said. "Undoubtedly, the net is going to have to be cast much broader than that."
The list shows that al-Qaida is more of a super-agency of terror with as many as 30 different affiliates, said Michael S. Swetnam, founder of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies in Virginia and an author of a book about bin Laden.
"This is a good start, but there are many more groups to look at," Swetnam said.
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