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U.S. Long Underestimated Qaeda's Scope, Officials Say
The New York Times ^ | June 9, 2002 | JUDITH MILLER and DON VAN NATTA Jr.

Posted on 06/08/2002 1:38:38 PM PDT by sarcasm

WASHINGTON, June 7— A re-examination of years of terrorist plots and attacks around the world, including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, suggests that American intelligence agencies profoundly underestimated Al Qaeda's reach and aspirations for more than a decade as it grew from obscurity into a global terrorist threat, lawmakers and investigators said this week.

As Congressional investigators look back far beyond the series of signals missed before the Sept. 11 attacks, they are seeking answers to many questions about Al Qaeda that law enforcement and intelligence agencies still cannot answer themselves, officials said.

In particular, they said, Congressional investigators are trying to determine whether the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. overlooked a possible Qaeda connection to the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993. The United States has still not officially blamed Al Qaeda or Osama bin Laden for that operation.

Law enforcement officials acknowledged this week that they did not know how and when Al Qaeda was created, or whether it was connected to a tangled array of terrorism plots and plotters, including Abdul Hakim Murad, a Pakistani who told the police in the Philippines in 1995 of a plan to assassinate Pope John Paul II, blow up 12 American jetliners over Asia and fly a plane into C.I.A. headquarters.

But with the benefit of much hindsight, investigators are seeing potential clues that went virtually unnoticed almost a decade ago. In particular, they are looking closely at the man convicted of masterminding the 1993 attack, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, who in interviews with F.B.I. agents in the mid-90's seemed obsessed with the notion of hijacking airliners and attacking vulnerable targets, and who had clearly studied the inner workings of airport security.

Investigators have also determined that some of the bomb-making and survival manuals recovered after the 1993 bombing match those found in the investigation of later attacks that were connected to Al Qaeda.

Even in its earliest stages, the House-Senate inquiry has concluded that American intelligence agencies did not analyze and share the information and evidence that was collected about terrorists after the Central Intelligence Agency created its counterterrorism center in Langley, Va., in 1986. Lawmakers on the committee said they were astonished at the depth of the problems that have plagued the American intelligence community.

"If you tie the general warnings together, and you put all of the bombings and attacks of the 90's together, then combine it with last summer's failures, it should have, in my judgment, had the bells ringing, all the way up," said Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the senior Republican member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, in an interview on Thursday night. "But it didn't."

Senator Bob Graham, the chairman of the committee, criticized the "lack of aggressive follow-through for years" that he said left the nation vulnerable to the kind of attacks that brought down the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon. "We are trying to answer a cascade of questions about what the decision-making process was since 1986, what criteria were used to make judgments about what to do," Mr. Graham said.

United States intelligence and law enforcement officials now also say that more recent opportunities were not seized on quickly or forcefully enough. Among other events, they cite a Qaeda meeting in 2000 in Malaysia where two of the Sept. 11 hijackers and other members of the bin Laden network assembled.

Federal investigators say a crucial part of their task now is assembling a more thorough history of Al Qaeda and a more complete picture of earlier attacks, including much previously undisclosed information about possible links between events that happened many years ago and Sept. 11.

Several Arabic names and institutions emerged repeatedly in the government's counterterrorism inquiries throughout the last decade, officials say. But investigators often failed to understand whether, and precisely how, these seemingly far-flung Islamic militants, and the banks, charities and other institutions associated with them, were connected.

Michael A. Sheehan, the coordinator of the State Department's counterterrorism office during the Clinton administration, said that until the mid-1990's, Washington did not fully grasp that the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, which killed six people, was far from an isolated event. Rather, it was the first strike in what would become a series of such attacks by Islamic militants with increasingly global reach and breathtaking ambition.

"We really didn't see it until 1995 or '96," Mr. Sheehan said. "Until then, the intelligence and law enforcement communities kept insisting this was a lone cell operation," he added. "They really missed it initially."

This week, law enforcement officials identified Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a 37-year-old Qaeda leader, as having played an important operational role in the Sept. 11 attacks. His importance in the plot was confirmed by Abu Zubaydah, a captured Qaeda leader who is being debriefed by American authorities in southern Pakistan, although some officials have questioned how much Mr. Zubaydah knew of Mr. Mohammed's activities.

Mr. Mohammed may be a relative of Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, who coordinated the first bombing of the World Trade Center and a failed plot to simultaneously bomb a dozen American passenger jets over the Pacific in 1995. For investigators, his link to Mr. Yousef raises questions about whether there was a connection between the first attack on the trade center and the attacks that brought down its towers.

Other links between those two events have not yet been fully explored, law enforcement officials say.

Mr. bin Laden declared a holy war against American citizens in 1998, the year that two American embassies were bombed in East Africa, an operation that American officials say was the work of Al Qaeda. Mr. bin Laden was indicted that November for his role in those bombings. Lawmakers and investigators said the inquiry would look closely not only at lapses by investigators but also at the responses to the attacks by the government's highest officials, including the president.

A senior lawmaker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the scope of the inquiry had already widened to include government responses to other suspected Qaeda attacks against American interests abroad, like the 1998 embassy bombings and the attack on the destroyer Cole in Yemen in October 2000.

"I think as we look back at the failure of various people in high places — I'm speaking about the Clinton administration — to react against the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 — what did we do?" the lawmaker, a Republican, said. "An investigation. What happens when you don't do anything to destroy these people? They become emboldened, and that was exactly what happened."

Besides searching for system failures and assessing blame, the inquiry will compile recommendations for the new Department of Homeland Security, a cabinet-level agency proposed on Thursday night by President Bush that would combine 22 federal agencies to prevent attacks against the United States.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has turned over hundreds of thousands of documents to the joint committees, but while the bureau is helping in the Congressional investigation, it is not engaged in its own historical reassessment of terrorist attacks as it swings into its new mission to prevent future attacks, mainly by expanding its analytical capability.

Bureau officials say they are hopeful that their compilation of past memorandums — and perhaps overlooked clues — will help them improve the F.B.I.'s investigative and analytical ability.

"On any given event, there might be 20,000 dots to connect," one senior official said. "But only 10 are pertinent. We have to find those 10."

Rita Katz, a Washington-based terrorism analyst, noted, as did Congressional investigators, that many of the same names and groups have emerged in virtually every failed or successful plot by Islamic militants against Americans at home or abroad — Omar Abdul Rahman, the blind sheik; Ali Mohammed, the former Army sergeant who trained militants who trained future terrorists in Afghan camps for Mr. bin Laden; Wadih El-Hage, Mr. bin Laden's former personal secretary; and now Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who this past week was linked to Ramzi Yousef.

Early Tentacles
Al Qaeda's Roots
On U.S. Soil

Mr. bin Laden's name emerged in the F.B.I.'s investigation of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and was eventually included on a list of unindicted people who might be co-conspirators. But Al Qaeda was never mentioned in the trials of the people behind the bombing or a related plot to blow up New York bridges, tunnels and monuments.

Terrorism experts now say that some of the militants who were later linked to those plots, and to subsequent terrorist attacks aimed at Americans, initially appeared in the United States long before the 1993 bombing.

Government officials and analysts say the tentacles of what later became Al Qaeda first appeared in the United States as early as 1986 — the same year the C.I.A. established its counterterrorism center to enhance the sharing of information among the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the other agencies that collect and analyze intelligence information. This is the reason the Congressional committees have decided to extend their investigation back to 1986.

The organization that eventually evolved into Al Qaeda (the name means "the base" in Arabic) began as the Makhtab al Khadimat, the Office of Services, in Peshawar, Pakistan, according to federal prosecutors, trial testimony and terrorism analysts.

Ms. Katz says that the Makhtab's journal, Al Jihad (holy war), was initially distributed in the United States in 1986 by the Islamic Center of Tucson. The center was also listed at the time as the Office of Services' only American branch.

Two people later associated with the Tucson center — Wael Hamza Jalaidan, its director, and Wadih El-Hage — were eventually linked to Al Qaeda by the authorities. Last year, the government listed Mr. Jalaidan, who heads the Saudi-based World Muslim League, as a founder of Al Qaeda and its logistics chief. Mr. El-Hage was convicted more than a decade later in the 1998 conspiracy to bomb American embassies in Africa.

Investigators learned during the first World Trade Center case that one of the plotters had tried to buy weapons from Mr. El-Hage, who was then living in Dallas but spending much of his time in Afghanistan.

But law enforcement officials never translated the bomb manuals that were found in 1990 in the apartment of one of Mr. El-Hage's associates, El Sayyid A. Nosair, or analyzed the photographs of such potential targets as the World Trade Center and the Empire State Building, until after the 1993 trade center bombing.

With the emergence of Mr. Mohammed as a subject of the Sept. 11 investigation, investigators are looking closely again at the 1993 bombing.

After Mr. Yousef's arrest in Pakistan in 1995, investigators learned that he had spent much of the time between 1992 and 1995 in a guest house in Peshawar that Mr. bin Laden had financed.

Mr. Yousef's first interview by the F.B.I. also revealed that he was obsessed with hijackings and spectacular attacks, with the need to attack vulnerable targets, and with other key features of what would later become classic Qaeda operations.

In the interview, conducted in Islamabad in early 1995, Mr. Yousef explained that he had decided in 1992 to fly first class to the United States from Pakistan because first class passengers are subject to less scrutiny than other passengers. Some of the Sept. 11 hijackers also reserved first class seats.

He said he had chosen the World Trade Center as a target because he wanted to topple one tower into the other and cause a total of 250,000 deaths, the interview shows. It also shows that Mr. Yousef was a careful student of airport security. He talked about spending time watching television documentaries on airport screening and studying weapons, chemicals and containers that would not be detected by even the most sophisticated screening devices.


Further Links
Bombing Manuals
And Other Clues
Terrorism experts and United States officials say another link among the first World Trade Center bombing and subsequent Qaeda attacks is the manuals on bombings and other information on how to survive in enemy territory that were found on plotters of the 1993 bombing and later Al Qaeda strikes. They say the manuals found in the luggage of the trade center bombing conspirator who accompanied Mr. Yousef to New York in 1992, and in the London apartment of Khalid al-Fawaz, who was indicted in the 1998 embassy bombings, were virtually identical.

The main difference was that the manual found in Mr. Fawaz's apartment had some extra sections that were clearly added as Al Qaeda gained experience and training improved, said Ms. Katz, who has studied both in their original Arabic.

Although the F.B.I. has still not concluded that Mr. Yousef's subsequent plot to blow up 12 jetliners, devised in Manila in 1995, was sponsored by Al Qaeda, several militants who were linked to this plot intermingled with those involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and later conspiracies devised by Al Qaeda.

Mr. Mohammed, whom the government is seeking for his role in the Manila airline plot, is believed to be related to Mr. Yousef. Investigators say he played an important role in subsequent Qaeda plots, perhaps even the Sept. 11 attacks. Federal investigators say Mr. Mohammed may have been living in Germany at the same time Mohamed Atta and some of the other hijackers were living there.

In early 1995, the police in Manila investigated an explosion in an apartment that was occupied by two people linked to Ramzi Yousef, who was then a fugitive. Investigators discovered a laptop computer that contained details of a plot to blow up 12 American commercial jets as they flew from Asia to the United States.

One of the men who was arrested, Abdul Hakim Murad, has recently attracted the interest of Congressional investigators. Mr. Murad told the police in the Philippines that one of the ideas he had discussed with Mr. Yousef was hijacking a jet and crashing it into C.I.A. headquarters.

According to a Jan. 20, 1995, briefing report written by the Manila police, Mr. Murad said he came up with the idea during a conversation with Mr. Yousef. Mr. Murad told authorities, the report said, that "he will board any American commercial aircraft pretending to be an ordinary passenger. Then he will hijack said aircraft, control its cockpit and dive it at the C.I.A. headquarters. There will be no bomb or any explosive that he will use in its execution. It is simply a suicidal mission that he is very much willing to execute."

A Growing ReachA Shadowy Figure
Comes Into Focus

None of the country's intelligence agencies accurately perceived the threat posed by Al Qaeda until the mid-1990's, officials say. Osama bin Laden remained a shadowy figure who built a multinational terror network whose scope was largely undetected until 1998, when Al Qaeda bombed the embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The attacks, on Aug. 7, 1998, occurred within minutes of each other and killed 224 people, including 11 Americans. Several thousand people were wounded. American authorities say that top officials of the organization, including Mr. bin Laden, had selected the targets because they were believed to be vulnerable to attack by bomb-laden trucks.

Several Qaeda associates were convicted, but the authorities say others are still at large.

After the attacks on the embassies, the F.B.I. created an Osama bin Laden unit. A former senior F.B.I. official said that the bureau's knowledge of Al Qaeda was almost nonexistent until after the East Africa case. "I hate to say it," the former official said, "but the bureau was slow to come up to speed on bin Laden."

In December 1999, after the government issued a warning of possible terrorist strikes around the worldwide millennium celebration, an alert customs agent in Washington State noticed that a man named Ahmed Ressam was sweating profusely as he tried to enter the United States from Canada. The agent searched his trunk and found a large cache of explosives. Mr. Ressam later confessed to plotting to blow up Los Angeles International Airport on New Year's Eve.

Mr. Ressam was linked to the Qaeda network. But more recently, law enforcement officials said they had come to regard him as a freelancer because he had not cleared the airport plot with Al Qaeda's senior commanders. An official said that Mr. Ressam had intended to give Al Qaeda credit for the operation.

Even as law enforcement officials continue to debate whether Al Qaeda operatives were behind a number of the terrorist attacks of the 1990's, they say they agree that Osama bin Laden's followers were responsible for the October 2000 attack on the Navy destroyer Cole, shortly after the ship entered the Yemeni harbor at Aden.

By that time, investigators had grasped an important characteristic of Al Qaeda's operations. Important operatives had moved from one plot to the next, sometimes getting promotions to higher levels of responsibility. Investigators also believed that identifying and arresting those people responsible for the Cole would help prevent the next Al Qaeda operation.

As a result, these officials believe that given the warning signals available to the F.B.I. in the summer of 2001, investigators correctly concentrated on the Cole investigation, rather than turning their attention to the possibility of a domestic attack. Much of their effort centered on attempts to move investigative teams back into the country after they were removed in a dispute with the American ambassador over security measures for F.B.I. agents.

If the F.B.I. had remained at full strength, officials say, investigators might have more quickly identified Mr. Mohammed, the 37-year-old Kuwaiti who attended the meeting in Malaysia in January 2000 that was also attended by Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaq Alhazmi.

Several months after that meeting, both Mr. Midhar and Mr. Alhazmi attended flight school in San Diego. Their names were not added to a terrorist watch list by the C.I.A. until Aug. 23, 2001. The 19-month gap between the Malaysia meeting and the placement of their names on the list is a central area of inquiry for the Congressional panel.

By the time their names were added to the list, it was too late. The plot by four Qaeda cells to attack the World Trade Center and targets in Washington had reached its final stages. Mr. Midhar and Mr. Alhazmi were on board American Airlines Flight 77, which was crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11.


TOPICS: Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events
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1 posted on 06/08/2002 1:38:38 PM PDT by sarcasm
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To: sarcasm
That damn Clinton!!!!

Left this country wide opem!!!!!

2 posted on 06/08/2002 1:45:20 PM PDT by Dog
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To: sarcasm
The whole problem is that one really, really smart guy - a Sherlock Holmes - was missing or had no power to yank chains. Bureacracies are all very nice but in the end it takes one guy to put it all together.

Instead we got Dave Frasca. Oh, the FBI did get rid of the one guy who knew all about Al Queda. Brilliant of them.

3 posted on 06/08/2002 1:46:21 PM PDT by bloggerjohn
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To: sarcasm;CantHandleTheTruth;Clash of Civilizatio;clintonscandals;Espionage_list;FR Librarians...
OFFICIAL BUMP(TOPIC)LIST
4 posted on 06/08/2002 1:55:43 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: sarcasm
Thanks for posting this article
5 posted on 06/08/2002 2:15:58 PM PDT by flanew
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
bttt
6 posted on 06/08/2002 2:24:35 PM PDT by Fish out of Water
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

"Has that clinton "legacy" made you feel safer yet?"


7 posted on 06/08/2002 2:38:13 PM PDT by backhoe
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To: sarcasm
re-examination of years of terrorist plots and attacks around the world, including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, suggests that American intelligence agencies profoundly underestimated Al Qaeda's reach and aspirations for more than a decade as it grew from obscurity into a global terrorist threat, lawmakers and investigators said this week.

Any one with a brain should be able to see our defense overestimated Al Quaida's reach and power. We were expecting suitcase nukes and trucks bigger than those used in the middle east to blow up cities and buildings. We way overestimated their power. That is why we didn't think of 20 unarmed guys gettin on 4 planes with tourist class tickets and in possesion of legal to carry on box cutters as a threat. We didn't see airplane tickets and cardboard box openers as a successful means of an attack to kill thousands. We did not think they would be reduced to a bottom dollar, budget level, penny anti, terrorist attack. They were so reduced and we overestimated them.


8 posted on 06/08/2002 3:07:48 PM PDT by Common Tator
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To: sarcasm
U.S. Long Underestimated Qaeda's Scope, Officials Say

This really isn't a new philosophy. America usually waits until the enemy knocks us down before we get up and do something about it. Remember Dec. 7, 1941? I do.

9 posted on 06/08/2002 3:41:00 PM PDT by J Jay
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To: sarcasm
bump
10 posted on 06/08/2002 4:08:38 PM PDT by VOA
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To: VOA
Clinton bump!!!
11 posted on 06/08/2002 5:13:20 PM PDT by tet68
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To: tet68
Clinton bump!!!

tet68,
I'll go out on a limb (given your screen-name) and guess you might remember Nixon's
presidency and how it ended.

We need to start printing a variant of the bumpersticker that appeared in the
waning days of Nixon's second term...but apply it to the events leading up to 9-11:

CLINTON KNEW

My only fear is that about 75% of the populace wouldn't have a clue what this means.
12 posted on 06/08/2002 6:20:20 PM PDT by VOA
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To: VOA
Clinton Knew!

I'm for it. The weasel did know, but it didn't look like a winner for him
so he sloughed off the responsiblity, made a few ineffectual gestures,
and got a pass from the press and the "intellectual (liberal) elite".

"I tried" is just more form over substance, as I learned early in life
it don't mean shit and isn't even as good as, "No excuse SIR!"

13 posted on 06/08/2002 6:56:27 PM PDT by tet68
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To: sarcasm
Bumping for a later read, thanks!
14 posted on 06/08/2002 8:56:48 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
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To: Big Steve;deport;PhiKapMom;GUIDO;blackie;Howlin;StLouie1;Wait4Truth
A great and informative read! Check it out.
15 posted on 06/08/2002 9:28:31 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
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To: Lady In Blue
Thanks Lady !!

Freedom Is Worth Fighting For !!

Molon Labe !!

16 posted on 06/09/2002 9:28:53 AM PDT by blackie
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To: sarcasm; okcsubmariner; fred mertz; terrorwar; lion's cub
Thanks. Informative article. Little mention of the Clinton administration here, and no mention at all of OKC, for example, of Terry Nichols meeting with the Islamists in the Philippines. But it's going to be very hard to keep that from coming out.

By the way one of the planners of the '93 WTC bombing trained in '92 at the same camp near Khost in Afghanistan that Ressam later trained at. He then met Ramzi Yusef in Pakistan, I take it in the bin Laden-financed safe house that this article says Yusef was staying at. Then they flew together to the U.S., with bombing plans.

17 posted on 06/09/2002 9:52:34 AM PDT by aristeides
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To: aristeides;sarcasm;MizSterious;Plummz;a history buff;thinden...
"On any given event, there might be 20,000 dots to connect," one senior official said. "But only 10 are pertinent. We have to find those 10."


Not for commercial use. Solely to be used for the educational purposes of research and open discussion.

Tapes in Bombing Plot Show Informer and F.B.I. at Odds
By RALPH BLUMENTHAL
The New York Times
Section A; Page 1; Column 4; Metropolitan Desk
October 27, 1993, Wednesday, Late Edition - Final


The informer at the center of the Government's case in the plot to bomb New York City landmarks had a volatile relationship with his handlers, often quarreling with F.B.I. agents who used him to infiltrate a group of Muslim extremists who have been charged in the plot, according to transcripts of secretly taped conversations.


"You were informed. Everything is ready. The day and the time. Boom. Lock them up and that's that. That's why I feel so bad."
Transcripts of the hundreds of hours of tapes -- which were recorded by the informer, Emad A. Salem, without the knowledge of the F.B.I. -- were distributed to defense lawyers yesterday. Although Judge Michael B. Mukasey ordered the lawyers to keep them secret, a copy of the transcripts was made available to The New York Times.

The tapes offer a rare glimpse into the sensitive relationship between the confidential informer and the law-enforcement officals with whom he worked. They also reveal for the first time how Federal and police agents instructed him to "pump up" a suspect for information and negotiate a $1 million fee from the Government for his services.

Scattered through the hundreds of pages of transcripts are many instances in which the Government agents appear to encourage Mr. Salem to lead the suspects to incriminate themselves. Defense lawyers have long contended that the Government crossed a legal line, instructing Mr. Salem in a fishing expedition that became entrapment. Although the bulk of the transcripts does not appear to show the agents steering Mr. Salem toward improper or illegal conduct, whether they did so finally will be resolved in court.

Many New Details

Among the details included in the transcripts are the following:

*A reference by Mr. Salem to 12 possible bombs and hitherto unmentioned targets, including Grand Central Terminal, the Empire State Building and Times Square.

*A New York City police detective working with the F.B.I. told Mr. Salem, who was getting $500 a week from the Government, that if he wanted a $1 million informer's fee, he should press for $1.5 million and then negotiate.

*An unusual suggestion that some of the money sought by Mr. Salem was going to be put up by private individuals.

*A reference from Mr. Salem, in a conversation with an F.B.I. agent, to an argument between F.B.I. officials over whether Mr. Salem should remain an unidentified informer or surface as a witness to testify at trial.

*A major defendant in the World Trade Center trial was tipped off by a neighbor to an elaborate F.B.I. ruse to search the Brooklyn apartment of another suspect, Mahmud Abouhalima, and replace explosives in his apartment with false explosives supplied by the F.B.I.

*Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, a defendant in the second bombing case, was using a fax machine to command anti-Communist Muslim rebels, moving forces from Pakistan to Afghanistan and dealing with a code-named agent from Hamas, the militant Palestinian group, Mr. Salem told the F.B.I.

The transcripts cover Mr. Salem's dealings with the suspects and his work for the Government over a period of at least two years, going back to the trial in the killing of Rabbi Meir Kahane. Mr. Salem recorded the conversations with Government agents on his own, without the knowledge or consent of his contacts in the F.B.I., apparently to use as an insurance policy to hold the Government to its promises of money and protection.

Some of the most striking passages in the transcripts show Mr. Salem agonizing over what he suggests was the failure of the F.B.I., despite his information, to halt the Feb. 26 bombing of the trade center, in which six people were killed. Although Mr. Salem is not a witness in that case, he was working with the Government at that time.

"They told me that 'we want to set this,' " Mr. Salem said, referring to the bomb in a conversation on April 1 with John Anticev, one of the F.B.I. agents he reported to, and sometimes complained to others about. " 'What's the right place to put this?' "

Then he added, still speaking to the agent: "You were informed. Everything is ready. The day and the time. Boom. Lock them up and that's that. That's why I feel so bad."

Federal officials have acknowledged in the past that they dropped Mr. Salem as an informer sometime before the trade center bombing over what they said was his reluctance to wear a body recorder, as well as other disagreements. They said he never provided detailed information of the attack in advance but that they began using his services again after the bombing and credited him with foiling the related but separate plot to bomb the United Nations, Holland and Lincoln tunnels and the Federal building housing the F.B.I. in Manhattan.

The case is expected to come to trial next year, perhaps shortly after the end of the related trial of four men charged with bombing the World Trade Center. As the most important witness, Mr. Salem is expected to be called upon to verify tapes he made of conversations with suspects and testify on his dealings with them.

In several instances, the transcripts show Mr. Salem lecturing Federal agents on how to do their jobs, criticizing their surveillance and interview techniques. In one instance, he suggests that they tell a possible source that his phone was tapped, when in fact it was not, and that they confront the man and push him hard for information. "Don't give him a chance to think," Mr. Salem is quoted as saying. "If he will think it's, 'I want my lawyer.' Then bingo, you are gone."

Aid for Defense?

By creating the so-called bootleg tapes, Mr. Salem has given ammunition to defense lawyers who argue that he entrapped the 15 defendants charged with conspiring to bomb New York City landmarks.

In one instance that shows how Mr. Salem was prompted by Federal agents, Mr. Anticev is quoted as saying, "You know, pump, maybe kind of pump him up a little bit." The agent tells Mr. Salem to stress "the loyalty to his cousin." The target in that instance, Ibrahim A. Elgabrowny, is a cousin of the man who was charged with shooting Mr. Kahane and now a defendant in a plot to bomb New York City targets.

In another instance, Mr. Anticev is quoted as instructing Mr. Salem to press to learn whether Mr. Elgabrowny or his associates were hiding explosives. He is quoted as telling Mr. Salem not to worry about being exposed as the source of the information. "We'll just know where stuff exists and where it is," Mr. Anticev is quoted as saying. "And then we'll make our move."

"There's no danger, you know," he says later. "We can be sneaky and take our time."

Mr. Salem has dropped from sight since the June arrests, and an effort to get in touch with him through the witness protection program of the Federal Marshals Service was rejected. But a member of the defense team said he was spotted within the last month in Manhattan.

Mr. Salem, a 43-year-old former Egyptian Army officer and confidant of the radical Egyptian cleric, Mr. Abdel Rahman, surfaced as the Government's mole after a June 24 F.B.I. raid on a Queens garage that the Government said smashed an extremist Muslim plot to blow up the United Nations, Lincoln and Holland tunnels and the Manhattan Federal building housing the F.B.I., and to assassinate Senator Alfonse M. D'Amato and State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, among other targets.

The unauthorized tapes came to light immediately after the raid as Mr. Salem hurriedly evacuated his West Side Manhattan apartment and was quickly identified by associates of the sheik and by law-enforcement authorities as the "confidential informant" who had secretly gathered evidence, including many tape-recorded conversations, against those later charged as conspirators in the case.

Tapes Left Behind

In the belongings Mr. Salem left behind either carelessly or by design were cassettes of the tapes he had secretly recorded with the F.B.I.

Because these could shed light on the prosecution's evidence-gathering methods to the point of possible entrapment, defense lawyers convinced Judge Mukasey that they should gain access to this material as well as to Mr. Salem's authorized recordings, turned over earlier.

Even before he came in from the cold of his undercover role in June, the burly, bearded Mr. Salem was an enigmatic figure, a private investigator who supported himself as a jewelry designer, a security guard for the sheik who freely gave interviews to news reporters.

Officials in Cairo say he entered the Egyptian Army as a private and during an 18-year career fought in the 1973 war with Israel and was "pensioned out" as a senior officer while continuing a relationship with Egyptian military intelligence. His American wife, from whom he was divorced this year but to whom he is still close, told New York Newsday last week that he had recently sent a set of the bootleg tapes home to Egyptian authorities with a visiting relative.

In the United States for about six years, he lived most recently in a fifth-floor suite at the Bretton Hall residence hotel at 2350 Broadway.

A news reporter invited to interview him there shortly after the World Trade Center bombing found herself on camera as Mr. Salem insisted videotaping the encounter.

He showed her photographs of what he said was his sandbagged bunker in the 1973 war, the reviewing stand where former President Anwar el-Sadat was assassinated in 1981 and his grave site. He also showed pictures of people who had apparently been tortured: a woman with cigarette burns and a man confined in a cage.

He said that he prayed at the Abu Bakr mosque in Brooklyn and the al-Salaam mosque in Jersey City, where Sheik Omar often preached, and that he had known the cleric from Egypt. He said he was attracted by Mr. Rahman's aura of power and fearlessness.

Remembered as Benefactor

Associates in Jersey City said they remembered Mr. Salem as a generous benefactor of the mosques and of the sheik himself. He also collected money for the defense of El Sayyid A. Nosair, an Egyptian contractor charged in the 1990 assassination of the militant Jewish leader, Rabbi Meir Kahane. Mr. Nosair was acquitted of that killing but convicted of related assault and weapons charges. He is also one of the 15 defendants in the bombing conspiracy case.

Mr. Salem also had dealings with Mr.. Elgabrowny, a relative of Mr. Nosair for whom Mr. Salem said he helped obtain a pistol permit from the New York City Police Department.

Associates and lawyers of some of the defendants said that Mr. Salem appeared rather abruptly on the scene around the time of the Kahane killing and that they now suspect he was sent to infiltrate the circle around Mr. Nosair.


Not for commercial use. Solely to be used for the educational purposes of research and open discussion.

Tapes Depict Proposal to Thwart Bomb Used in Trade Center Blast
By RALPH BLUMENTHAL
The New York Times
Section A; Page 1; Column 4; Metropolitan Desk
October 28, 1993, Thursday, Late Edition - Final
Correction Appended


L aw-enforcement officials were told that terrorists were building a bomb that was eventually used to blow up the World Trade Center, and they planned to thwart the plotters by secretly substituting harmless powder for the explosives, an informer said after the blast.


"Do you deny," Mr. Salem says he told the other agent, "your supervisor is the main reason of bombing the World Trade Center?" Mr. Salem said Mr. Anticev did not deny it. "We was handling the case perfectly well until the supervisor came and messed it up, upside down."
The informer was to have helped the plotters build the bomb and supply the fake powder, but the plan was called off by an F.B.I. supervisor who had other ideas about how the informer, Emad A. Salem, should be used, the informer said.

The account, which is given in the transcript of hundreds of hours of tape recordings Mr. Salem secretly made of his talks with law-enforcement agents, portrays the authorities as in a far better position than previously known to foil the Feb. 26 bombing of New York City's tallest towers. The explosion left six people dead, more than 1,000 injured and damages in excess of half a billion dollars. Four men are now on trial in Manhattan Federal Court in that attack.

Mr. Salem, a 43-year-old former Egyptian army officer, was used by the Government to penetrate a circle of Muslim extremists now charged in two bombing cases: the World Trade Center attack and a foiled plot to destroy the United Nations, the Hudson River tunnels and other New York City landmarks. He is the crucial witness in the second bombing case, but his work for the Government was erratic, and for months before the trade center blast, he was feuding with the F.B.I.

Supervisor 'Messed It Up'

After the bombing, he resumed his undercover work. In an undated transcript of a conversation from that period, Mr. Salem recounts a talk he had had earlier with an agent about an unnamed F.B.I. supervisor who, he said, "came and messed it up."

"He requested to meet me in the hotel," Mr. Salem says of the supervisor. "He requested to make me to testify and if he didn't push for that, we'll be going building the bomb with a phony powder and grabbing the people who was involved in it. But since you, we didn't do that."

The transcript quotes Mr. Salem as saying that he wanted to complain to F.B.I. headquarters in Washington about the bureau's failure to stop the bombing, but was dissuaded by an agent identified as John Anticev.

"He said, I don't think that the New York people would like the things out of the New York office to go to Washington, D.C.," Mr. Salem said Mr. Anticev had told him.

Another agent, identified as Nancy Floyd, does not dispute Mr. Salem's account, but rather, appears to agree with it, saying of the New York people: "Well, of course not, because they don't want to get their butts chewed."

Mary Jo White, who, as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York is prosecuting defendants in two related bombing cases, declined yesterday to comment on the Salem allegations or any other aspect of the cases. An investigator close to the case who refused to be identified further said, "We wish he would have saved the world," but called Mr. Salem's claims "figments of his imagination."

The transcripts, which are stamped "draft" and compiled from 70 tapes recorded secretly during the last two years by Mr. Salem, were turned over to defense lawyers in the second bombing case by the Government on Tuesday under a judge's order barring lawyers from disseminating them. A large portion of the material was made available to The New York Times.

In a letter to Federal Judge Michael B. Mukasey, Andrew C. McCarthy, an assistant United States attorney, said that he had learned of the tapes while debriefing Mr. Salem and that the informer had then voluntarily turned them over. Other Salem tapes and transcripts were being withheld pending Government review, of "security and other issues," Mr. McCarthy said.

William M. Kunstler, a defense lawyer in the case, accused the Government this week of improper delay in handing over all the material. The transcripts he had seen, he said, "were filled with all sorts of Government misconduct." But citing the judge's order, he said he could not provide any details.

The transcripts do not make clear the extent to which Federal authorities knew that there was a plan to bomb the World Trade Center, merely that they knew that a bombing of some sort was being discussed. But Mr. Salem's evident anguish at not being able to thwart the trade center blast is a recurrent theme in the transcripts. In one of the first numbered tapes, Mr. Salem is quoted as telling agent Floyd: "Since the bomb went off I feel terrible. I feel bad. I feel here is people who don't listen."

Ms. Floyd seems to commiserate, saying, "hey, I mean it wasn't like you didn't try and I didn't try."

In an apparent reference to Mr. Salem's complaints about the supervisor, Agent Floyd adds, "You can't force people to do the right thing."

The investigator involved in the case who would not be quoted by name said that Mr. Salem may have been led to believe by the agents that they were blameless for any mistakes. It was a classic agent's tactic, he said, to "blame the boss for all that's bad and take credit for all the good things."

In another point in the transcripts, Mr. Salem recounts a conversation he said he had with Mr. Anticev, saying, "I said, 'Guys, now you saw this bomb went off and you both know that we could avoid that.' " At another point, Mr. Salem says, "You get paid, guys, to prevent problems like this from happening."

Mr. Salem talks of the plan to substitute harmless powder for explosives during another conversation with agent Floyd. In that conversation, he recalls a previous discussion with Mr. Anticev.

"Do you deny," Mr. Salem says he told the other agent, "your supervisor is the main reason of bombing the World Trade Center?" Mr. Salem said Mr. Anticev did not deny it. "We was handling the case perfectly well until the supervisor came and messed it up, upside down."

The transcripts reflect an effort to keep Mr. Salem as an intelligence asset who would not have to go public or testify.

A police detective working with the F.B.I., Louis Napoli, assures Mr. Salem in one conversation, "We can give you total immunity towards prosecution, towards, ah, ah, testifying." But he adds: "I still have to tell you that if you're the only game in town in regards to the information," then, he says, "you'll have to testify."

Studied for Signs of Illegality

The transcripts are being closely studied by lawyers looking for signs that Mr. Salem and the law enforcement officials, in their zeal to gather evidence, may have crossed the legal line into entrapment, a charge that defense counsel have already raised.

But the transcripts show that the officials were concerned that by associating with bombing defendants awaiting trial in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, Mr. Salem might have been accused of spying on the defense.

In an undated conversation, Mr. Anticev tries to explain the perils.

"We're not allowed to have any information regarding that," he tells Mr. Salem. "That could jeopardize, you know, if you go see a lawyer, ah, you know, with the defendant's friend or whatever like that, and you're talking about things we're not suppose to, ah, condone that. We're not supposed to make people do that for us. That's like sacred ground. You can't be privileged, ah, you can't know what's being talked about at all."

Mr. Salem seems to bridle. "I, I, I don't think that's right," he says.

The agent insists: "Yeah, but that's just a guideline. If that ever happened, ah, you can back and reported on the meeting between, ah, you know, Kunstler and Mohammad A. Elgabrown. Forget about it. I mean a lot of people ah the case can get thrown out. You understand?" The references were to the defense lawyer, Mr. Kunstler, and his client in the second bomb case, Ibrahim A. Elgabrowny.

Mr. Salem seems to reluctantly agree.

"They want you to have a hand in it," Mr. Anticev goes on, "but they're afraid that when you get that kind of, ah, too deep, like me, it's almost like, especially with all this legal stuff going on right now."

If it were just intelligence gathering, the agent says, "You can do anything you want. You could go crazy over there and have a good time. Do you know what I mean?"

The agent goes on: "But now that everything is going to court and there is legal stuff and it's just, it's just too hard. It's just too tricky, if, this, you know. And then there's the fact if you come by with the big information, he did this, ah, let me talk about this with the other people again."

"O.K.," Mr. Salem says. "All right. O.K."

CORRECTION-DATE: October 29, 1993, Friday

CORRECTION:

An article yesterday about accounts of a plot to build a bomb that was eventually exploded at the World Trade Center referred imprecisely in some copies to what Federal officials knew about the plan before the blast. Transcripts of tapes made secretly by an informant, Emad A. Salem, quote him as saying he warned the Government that a bomb was being built. But the transcripts do not make clear the extent to which the Federal authorities knew that the target was the World Trade Center.


18 posted on 06/09/2002 12:06:32 PM PDT by Wallaby
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To: aristeides;Betty Jo; OKCSubmariner;Alamo-Girl;Hamiltonian
If the '93 bombing was the work of Al Qaeda and Salem infiltrated the terrorists who carried out the '93 bombing, then Salem infiltrated Al Qaeda.


Not for commercial use. Solely to be used for the educational purposes of research and open discussion.

FBI & probers targeted Say terror sheik's Staten I. aide found homes
By GREG B. SMITH DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Daily News (New York)
NEWS; Pg. 6
April 23, 2002, Tuesday SPORTS FINAL EDITION


A Staten Island mailman who was a follower of the blind terror sheik tracked down confidential addresses of FBI agents and prosecutors pursuing Al Qaeda, according to court records and federal sources.


The FBI knew in early 1993, shortly after the World Trade Center bombing, that an FBI informant named Emad Salem told the bureau that Sattar said he obtained the unpublished home address of a lead agent in the sheik's investigation.
Ahmed Sattar, described by federal prosecutors as a point man for a major terror group in America, was spotted by one federal agent near his home. The agent moved his family from the area. Sattar also was put on the federal payroll, receiving thousands of dollars to be a paralegal for Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman during his 1995 terror trial, government officials said.

Even though federal investigators became suspicious of Sattar as early as 1993, he had the authority as a mailman to deliver and pick up express mail from Kennedy Airport, giving him access to restricted areas barred to the public.

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Sattar was reassigned to a post office in a remote section of Staten Island with no access to the airport.

The FBI arrested Sattar two weeks ago along with the sheik's lawyer Lynne Stewart and two others on charges of providing support to a terrorist group.

The charges contrast sharply with Sattar's image as a mild-mannered 15-year veteran of the Postal Service quietly raising four children with an American wife on Staten Island.

But a review of documents and interviews with federal officials reveal that for years, Sattar has been under suspicion for his activities on behalf of al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya, a particularly vicious terror group that slaughtered 58 tourists in 1997 at Luxor, Egypt.

Sattar's affiliation with terrorism surfaced in 1993, as the FBI zeroed in on the sheik's involvement in an al-Gama'at conspiracy to blow up New York landmarks such as the Holland Tunnel and the United Nations.

The English-speaking Sattar became the spokesman for the blind cleric.

The FBI knew in early 1993, shortly after the World Trade Center bombing, that an FBI informant named Emad Salem told the bureau that Sattar said he obtained the unpublished home address of a lead agent in the sheik's investigation.

Salem told the agent, John Anticev, who then recalled seeing Sattar in a postal uniform near his home. Fearing for his children's safety, Anticev moved, court records state.

Sattar also was investigated for obtaining the home address of other agents and prosecutors looking into the origins of Al Qaeda, a federal source told the Daily News.


Sattar also was investigated for obtaining the home address of other agents and prosecutors looking into the origins of Al Qaeda, a federal source told the Daily News.
Nevertheless, he was allowed to continue delivering mail to a facility inside a restricted section at Kennedy Airport.

Postal Inspector spokeswoman Pat Bossert confirmed that Sattar had access to Kennedy in picking up express mail, but insisted he did not have "special access" to other restricted areas.

She declined to discuss the FBI's investigation of Sattar's efforts to obtain addresses of agents and prosecutors.

'Cleaned up everything'

Investigators also discovered that Sattar was involved deeply with Trade Center bomber Mohammed Salameh. The informant Salem said Satter became agitated when he learned Salameh had been arrested.

"As soon as he had heard about Salameh's arrest, he had run home right away and 'cleaned up everything,' " Salem told the FBI.

Later, Sattar asked Salem "if there was a way to clean chemicals off the body so that no residue was left behind," according to court documents.

Sattar's wife, Lisa, doesn't believe the charges. She describes him as a quiet man, a devoted father who works two jobs to pay for their small rented apartment.

"Supposedly all this stuff went on from the home. It's highly unlikely," she said. "Our apartment is very small. I can hear him talking on the phone."


19 posted on 06/09/2002 12:25:18 PM PDT by Wallaby
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To: M Thatcher;Boyd;aristeides;rdavis84;thinden;T'wit;Askel5
Not for commercial use. Solely to be used for the educational purposes of research and open discussion.

TERROR CLUES IN '90 KILLING Feds missed hints of threat after Kahane assassination

BY MICHAEL DALY
Daily News (New York)
NEWS; Pg. 5
May 29, 2002, Wednesday SPORTS FINAL EDITION


At the northern edge of The Pit, Port Authority officers, city cops and firefighters were raking through the last of the debris, still finding fragments of bone.


"Shut up," the chief now said, by Norris' account. "You handle the murder. They handle the conspiracy.
At the opposite corner, ironworkers were preparing to cut the last erect piece of steel, a 36-foot-tall girder that had stood at the core of the south tower.

"Column 1001 B," said Lt. John Ryan, commander of the PA police recovery task force.

Ryan pointed out the evenly spaced rectangles where the exterior columns had been. The rectangles marked off an acre in ghostly gray dirt where the tower once stood. "There's one," Ryan said.

He pointed to a twin pattern of rectangles over by the final raking.

"There's the other," Ryan said.


Norris deduced that the agents knew much more about Nosair and his buddies than they were letting on. This reportedly included a 1990 phone intercept of Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman speaking to Nosair of "attacking big buildings, attack skyscrapers."
To look at these two desolate acres and then gaze up at the empty sky was to go vertiginous with loss. The mind stumbled back a dozen years to a meeting involving another lieutenant, Edward Norris of the NYPD, then the 30-year-old commander of the 17th Precinct detective squad.

The meeting was just across town, in a 13th-floor conference room at 1 Police Plaza. The matter at hand that November day in 1990 was the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane.

"Can you tell me this guy acted alone?" the then-chief of detectives is said to have asked.

By "this guy," the chief meant El Sayed A Nosair, who had been arrested after fleeing the Manhattan hotel ballroom where Kahane was shot.

"Absolutely not," Norris would recall saying. "We have two other people we think were involved."

The two had been in Nosair's New Jersey apartment when Norris' squad arrived to search it. Both were cab drivers and admitted being outside the hotel. Witnesses had seen Nosair jump into a cab immediately after the shooting and then hop out as if he had boarded the wrong one.

"Shut up," the chief now said, by Norris' account. "You handle the murder. They handle the conspiracy." By "they," the chief meant the FBI.


Another document reportedly bore the name of the organization that Osama Bin Laden had founded in 1988. "Al Qaeda."
"We have no evidence to indicate anyone else was involved," the FBI representative at the meeting said.

Norris departed as upset as any good cop would be, but nowhere near as upset as he was after the FBI arrived at his squad room with authorization from the chief of detectives to cart away two filing cabinets of papers his squad had found in Nosair's apartment.

Aside from numerous documents in Arabic, the cabinets contained a bomb manual, military training guides and an assassination list. There were also photos of New York landmarks, reportedly including the World Trade Center.

What followed was termed "a joint investigation," the true nature of which became apparent when Norris' detectives located a shooting range in Connecticut where Nosair and his buddies had trained.

"What do you want? The FBI was here two weeks ago," a man there is said to have told the detectives.

That meant the FBI had been there shortly after the shooting. Norris deduced that the agents knew much more about Nosair and his buddies than they were letting on. This reportedly included a 1990 phone intercept of Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman speaking to Nosair of "attacking big buildings, attack skyscrapers."

On Feb, 26, 1993, a bomb went off in the World Trade Center garage. The bombers included one of the cab drivers who had been at Nosair's apartment. Norris now asked a senior police official if the FBI had followed the bombers right up to the World Trade Center.

"I can't tell you, but you're not far off," the official said.

Three years after seizing Nosair's file cabinets, the FBI had not finished translating the Arabic documents. One proved to be a handwritten sermon by Rahman calling on his followers to attack America and "blow up their edifices." Another document reportedly bore the name of the organization that Osama Bin Laden had founded in 1988. "Al Qaeda."

A tape subsequently surfaced of the agents being chided by their chief informant in the case for not preventing the bombing.

"Put two and two together," Emad Salem told them. 'We want to help' Eight years later, the whole country is wondering whether putting two and two together could have prevented the death of 3,047 people. Norris had since become police commissioner of Baltimore, and as was reported here, he went before Congress to ask why the FBI continued to largely shut out the country's police from the fight against terrorism.

"The FBI has a total of 11,533 agents," Norris noted. "There are nearly 650,000 local law enforcement officers in the country. We want to help, and I think the nation needs us to help."

In recent days, Norris has become alarmed by the FBI's suggestion that more attacks are "inevitable." He is reminded of what people in New York once said about crime being unstoppable. He proposes that we use the same Compstat program against terror that worked so well against street crime.

"All it is is connecting the dots," Norris says. "You could attack this the way you attack robbers or rapists or anything else. Whatever comes, nuclear, anthrax, it has to be delivered by people. They live next door to other people, they use ATMs, they go eat somewhere, they rent cars, they get tickets. They're findable."


"Put two and two together," Emad Salem told them.
When reached for comment last evening, the FBI said it could not respond at that hour but would consider written questions submitted in the morning.

Meanwhile, the other lieutenant, John Ryan of the Port Authority recovery task force, was down at The Pit yesterday, watching them remove that final Column 1001 B from twin acres of dust.


20 posted on 06/09/2002 12:43:12 PM PDT by Wallaby
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To: Wallaby
If the '93 bombing was the work of Al Qaeda and Salem infiltrated the terrorists who carried out the '93 bombing, then Salem infiltrated Al Qaeda.

Good point. I forget whether it was the trial for the '93 WTC bombing or the trial a couple of years after of the blind sheikh and his accomplices for some further bombing plots that never got carried into action, but some of the defendants at one of those trials were black and Hispanic converts to Islam. Who says al Qaeda can't be infiltrated?

21 posted on 06/09/2002 3:14:44 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: VOA
Absolutely. But given the low voter turnout in the last few elections, "reaching" even a few percentage points of actual, legal, voters in a few states would make a huge difference.
22 posted on 06/09/2002 3:31:24 PM PDT by surely_you_jest
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To: Common Tator
I do not think that "we" underestimated Al Queda; that would mean that the Clintonistas thought about Al Queda at all. I do not think that the Clintonistas did so, other than as a convenient distraction from Monica. After the Gore attempt to steal the election, and its aftermath, Bush and company only had a few months to get smart. Maybe they (Bush, et al) had sufficient time, maybe they didn't. We'll never know. Given what went before, I am more than inclined to give Bush, et al, the benefit of the doubt on this point.

Beyond that, your post about Al Queda doing it "on the cheap" is the best brief description of this debacle, and the fundamental reason for that debacle, that I have seen anywhere. My compliments.

23 posted on 06/09/2002 3:48:17 PM PDT by surely_you_jest
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To: Wallaby
I don't care if el-queda, hamas, islamic jihad, or ali-bin-killin is behind any or all of this. It all boils down to the same group of western-hating/jew-hating/islamists. They are the enemy. They must all be expunged. We might have to paint with a very broad brush. If this is neccessary, so be it.
24 posted on 06/09/2002 3:55:02 PM PDT by Former Proud Canadian
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To: surely_you_jest
During the Clinton administration Pennsylvania Ave was closed in front of the White House and concrete devices were put up to protect the Capital Building and other govenment buildings. Lots of areas in Washington DC were blocked off for protection against terrorist attacks. Many of these anti terrorists defenses were done at the time of Desert Storm. There was much concern about Muslim Terrorist attacks on the USA as a result of the war in the Gulf.

These actions were all taken as a response to militant muslim threats, if not bin Laden directly. There were further protections installed after McVeigh. But those also involved Government buildings in Cities other than DC. The DC stuff was mostly done in reponse to the Muslim threat in 1991, and was explained as such at the time. But as I postulated we overestimated the attack. We were looking for suit case nukes, poisoned water systems, and huge trucks used as bombs.

From 1990 to 2001, Newsweek and Time did several stories on "Terrorism is coming to the USA, it is just a matter of time." 911 was not directly envisioned, but every foreign terroism attack anywhere in the world produced several stories with opinions about how long it would take terrorism to reach our shores. The stories always asked how long can the US escape terrorism and what the nature of the threat would be. They always talked of government plans to thwart it. The Democrats in the Sadam debate in 1991 talked a lot about terrorist retaliation. Even Perot made a big deal of it.

The Bush Sr. administration took steps to prevent attacks. Congress put in much tighter security in 1991. That was a response to Militant Muslim threats. Again we overestimated the type of attack. We prepared for car and truck bombs and biological weapons. Most if not all of the stories assumed Muslim terrorists. That is to be expected after we defeated Sadam. Many talked about government preparations. There was lots of talk and lots of speculation.

The first response to Timothy McVeigh was to have an Arab arrested as he landed in London. He was brought back to the USA in handcuffs. He had flown from Oklahoma to London shortly after the federal building was done in. He was the first suspect in the Oklahoma bombing. That had to mean the first suspects that came to the FBI's mind were militant Muslims.

You equate our governments lack of efforts to retaliate against the muslims attacks on us, with our governments attempts to prevent terrorist attacks against us. The two are not the same thing. Clinton was interested in preventing attacks, he was not interested in an American confict like NAM. The liberals (includeing Clinton) thought Afganistan would be a NAM like quagmire. Clinton had visions of LBJ's demise happening to him.

Clinton obviously didn't want himself tagged with another Viet Nam. But he was interested in preventing a major attack on the US. There would be nothing like a failed terrorist attack stopped by Billy Boy Clinton to make the old job ratings go up. In addition there were people in the FBI, CIA and the defense intelligence agencies that did in fact really want to protect us. There was the feeling that until we were hit the people would not stand for an effective defense.

The Secret Service people were certainly concerned for over 20 years. Actions were taken against car bombs, truck bombs, and other more convential and elaborate means of attack.

Clinton did not order any retaliation. But that did not mean that plans for protection and plans for retaliation were not made. They were. And plans for protection were implemented. I beleive they failed because they overestimated the attack the Muslims would make.

'tator

25 posted on 06/09/2002 4:46:04 PM PDT by Common Tator
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To: sarcasm; OKCSubmariner; Sal; thinden; rdavis84; Nita Nupress; MizSterious; Wallaby; BlueDogDemo
"We really didn't see it until 1995 or '96," Mr. Sheehan said. "Until then, the intelligence and law enforcement communities kept insisting this was a lone cell operation," he added. "They really missed it initially."

Super informative post. The NYT can't bring it upon themselves to call the 1995 Philippine connection Project Bojinka, because it might connect the dots to OKC.

Wallaby, thanks for your additions to this thread, but I'll have to try to digest them tomorrow.

26 posted on 06/09/2002 8:50:58 PM PDT by Fred Mertz
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To: nogbad; mitchell
ping
27 posted on 06/09/2002 9:09:52 PM PDT by keri
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To: aristeides
Do you remember the stories I posted from ME sources quoting Mubarak's allegations that the blind sheik got preferential treatment for US visas because he was CIA?
28 posted on 06/10/2002 8:41:19 AM PDT by Wallaby
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To: Wallaby
Yes, I remember. And now there's news of a Hispanic gang member from Chicago having met with top leaders of al Qaeda.
29 posted on 06/10/2002 8:47:16 AM PDT by aristeides
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To: Wallaby
Thanks for the flag Wallaby. (Always good to see you around.)
30 posted on 06/10/2002 10:32:42 PM PDT by Askel5
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To: Fred Mertz
"We really didn't see it until 1995 or '96," Mr. Sheehan said. "Until then, the intelligence and law enforcement communities kept insisting this was a lone cell operation," he added. "They really missed it initially."

When I first read this, I immediately thought of OKC. I figured he was throwing in the "or '96" part in order to diffuse the focus of their new understanding.

I still want to know the names of the unnamed supervisors. Who was Anticev's superior--the one who called off the use of fake powder and then somehow didn't stop the bombing? The Clintons have hidden behind the shield of incompetence throughout their reign. Everything was a bureaucratic SNAFU. I certainly can't prove it, but I suspect there was more than incompetence at work. Was Anticev's superior an EffUp or a mole? It matters. If he was a mole, was he a mole sneaked in with or without the knowledge of that incredibly anti-American administration? That matters too.

Was the unnamed supervisor also at work in allowing the "sting" operation at OKC to proceed? How much difference is there in the two operations? We have one name (Frasca) in the suppression of investigations that could have headed off 911. What are the other names? Are they the same in some or all of these "operations"? If they're not the same, are some of them mentors of the others? Whether they're FUs or moles, they have to be removed from their positions, and IMO a REAL investigation has to be performed to find out which/how many of them are moles.

31 posted on 06/11/2002 9:33:15 AM PDT by Sal
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To: Wallaby; sarcasm; SierraWasp; Grampa Dave; Peach; Howlin; Dog; Mo1; MEG33; backhoe; farmfriend; ...
Refreshment Time.

Was just digging thru the archives...
32 posted on 10/12/2004 11:52:41 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (A Proud member of Free Republic ~~The New Face of the Fourth Estate since 1996.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Amazing how the NY Slimes has forgotten about this article?


33 posted on 10/12/2004 2:13:03 PM PDT by Grampa Dave (When will the ABCNNBC BS lunatic libs stop Rathering to Americans? Answer: NEVER!)
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To: sarcasm
A re-examination of years of terrorist plots and attacks around the world, including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, suggests that American intelligence agencies profoundly underestimated Al Qaeda's reach and aspirations for more than a decade as it grew from obscurity into a global terrorist threat, lawmakers and investigators said this week.

And they apparently also overestimated Saddam's WMDs capabilities. But Bush was supposed to be able to figure out that they had overestimated Saddam after it had been revealed that they had underestimated al Qaeda?

Yeah, right...

34 posted on 10/12/2004 2:15:23 PM PDT by dirtboy (Kerry could have left 'Nam within a week if Purple Hearts were awarded for shots to the foot.)
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