1 Also spelled Ali Mohammed, Ali Muhammad, etc. His known aliases include: Abu Mohamed al-Amriki,. Abu Omar, Abu Osama, Ahmad Baha Adam, Ali
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Ali Mohamed: A Biographical Sketch Ali Mohamed in a U.S. Army training video produced at Fort Bragg, circa 1989 Early Life in Egypt Ali Mohamed ( )1, the only al-Qa™ida operative known to have successfully infiltrated U.S. military and law enforcem ent agencies, was born in Kafr El Sheikh, Lower Egypt, in 1952. His father was a career soldier in the Egyptian Army, and he was raised in a devout Muslim home. 2 Mohamed went to local public schools and occasionally helped his uncle herd goats in the northern Sinai during his teen years. Following in his father™s footsteps, Mohame d attended the Cairo Military Academy after his graduation from high school in 1970. 3 He was a good student and went on to attend university near his hometown, obtaining two bach elor™s degrees and a master™s degree in psychology from the University of Alexandria. 4 In addition to his native Arabic, in the course of his post-secondary education he learned English, Hebrew and French. He joined the Egyptian Army in about 1971, eventually rising to the rank of major. 5 Radicalization According to statements made to the FBI afte r his arrest, Mohamed id entified his turn to militancy as having occurred in 1966, when he was fourteen. 6 He was helping his uncle 1 Also spelled Ali Mohammed, Ali Muhammad, etc. His known aliases include: Abu Mohamed al-Amriki, Abu Omar, Abu Osama, Ahmad Baha Adam, Ali Abdelsaoud Mustafa, Ali Taymour, Ali Abdelsaoud Mustafa Mohamed, Ali Abualacoud Mohamed, Ali Nasser, Bakhboula, Bili Bili, Haydara, Jeff, Omar and Taymour (Berger, Ali Mohamed , 35; U.S.A. v. Ali Mohamed , plea hearing, p. 26). 2 Miller, et al., The Cell, p. 140. 3 Weiser and Risen, ﬁThe Masking of a Militant.ﬂ 4 Lance, Triple Cross , p. 10. According to his U.S. Army service records, Ali Mohamed graduated from the Cairo Military Academy in 1973 and earned a BA in psyc hology from the University of Alexandria in 1980 (Bergen, The Osama bin Laden I Know , p. 103). 5 Williams and McCormick, ﬁBin Laden™s man in Silicon Valley.ﬂ 6 Lance, Triple Cross, pp. 9f. (information from FBI Special Agent Jack Cloonan [ret.], who debriefed Mohamed numerous times both before and after the attacks of 9/11).
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herd goats in the Sinai when some of the liv estock wandered over the border into Israel, leading ultimately to a confrontation with Israeli border guards who, according to Mohamed, killed some of the goats and maimed his uncle™s feet with boiling water. It was from that experience that Mohamed formed a desire to take revenge upon what he perceived to be the enemies of Islam. Early 1970s-1984: Service in the Egyptian Army and Islamic Jihad Mohamed joined the Egyptian Army in 1971 and rose quickly to the rank of major. He worked as an intelligence officer in the E gyptian Special Forces, with duties including the recruitment and training of intelligence assets. He was also frequently assigned to protect Egyptian diplomats abroad, 7 and he volunteered for a numb er of clandestine special operations, including a raid on a Libyan prison.8 In 1981, while Islamist members of his Egyptian Army unit carried out the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in Cairo, Mohamed took part in a foreign officer training exercise at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; at the end of the four-month course he wa s given a diploma bearing a green beret. 9 At some point during this exercise Mohamed was approached by representatives of the CIA, who sought to recruit him as a foreign asset; the results of that meeting are unknown 10During the same year he joined the undergr ound Islamist terrorist organization that had assassinated Sadat, the Egyptian Islamic Ji had (EIJ), led by Ayman al-Zawahiri. . chief, the CIA began to significantly increase its efforts to recruit Middle Eastern Throughout this periodŒand, indeed, up until his arrestŒMohamed made no attempt to mask the ardor of his religious beliefs, openly performing the five daily prayers and freely expressing his Islamist political convictions. 11 According to a former Egyptian intelligence official, the Egyptian Army deemed Mohamed too religious and potentially radical and eventually discharged him in March of 1984.12 For the next eighteen months, on the orders of Zawahiri , Mohamed worked for the Egyptian national airline, EgyptAir, as a counterterrorism secur ity advisor, a position that enabled him to acquire sensitive information about air piracy countermeasures for the EIJ. 13 Mohamed™s next assignment from Zawahiri was to infiltrate a security agency of the U.S. government. 14 In early 1984, following the kidnapping of its Beirut station 7 Waldman, et al., ﬁThe Infiltrator.ﬂ 8 Lance, Triple Cross , p. 10 (information from retired FBI Special Agent Jack Cloonan). 9 Sullivan and Neff, ﬁAn al Qaeda operative at Fort Bragg.ﬂ 10 FBI Special Agent Daniel Coleman (ret.), intervie w with the author, 27 August 2007. Coleman, well known to have been one of the most well-informed pe ople about al-Qa™ida in the U.S. government in the late 1990s, also interrogated Mohamed on numerous occasions; between September of 1998 and October of 2000, during which time Mohamed was in U.S. custody, Coleman interviewed Mohamed on a near-weekly basis. 11 According to Special Agent Dan Coleman (ret.) , however, Mohamed showed little or no signs of religiosity while in U.S. custody; an ﬁincessant reader,ﬂ Mohamed did spend time reading the Qur™an and the Bible during this period, though Agent Coleman never knew him to pray or seek any special arrangements to accommodate Muslim practice (i.e., orientations for the five daily prayers, dietary restrictions, etc.). Coleman, interview with the author, 27 August 2007. 12 Waldman, et al., ﬁThe Infiltratorﬂ; Weiser and Risen, ﬁThe Masking of a Militant.ﬂ 13 Weiser, ﬁU.S. Ex-Sergeantﬂ; Lance, Triple Cross , p. 11. 14 Lance, Triple Cross , p. 12 (information from retired Special Agent Jack Cloonan).
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assets.15 Thus, when Mohamed Œ who had alread y been contacted by the CIA while at Fort Bragg in 1981 Œ approached the Cairo office of the CIA offering his services, the Cairo station chief sent out an Agency-wide cab le to see if there we re any operations intowhich Mohamed could be inserted. The B onn station responded, and Mohamed wa to Hamburg, Germany, to assist with an operation that attempte d to infiltrate a Hezbollah-linked mosque there run by a certain Imam Mohtashemi. He was not subjected to a polygraph. s sent urces he CIA tionship 985-1989: Service in the United States Army 16 Reporters at various news agencies were later told by anonymous sources in the CIA that Mohame d had immediately announced himself as a CIA plant to people at the Hamburg mosque but , due to the presence of an additional CIAasset there, the Agency quickly learned of his betrayal and dropped him. 17 These soalso indicate that Mohamed was subsequently placed on a State Department watch list intended to bar him from entering the United States. When it learned that Mohamed was seeking a visa in 1985, the CIA says that it warned other federal agencies at that time as well not to allow him entry. 18 Mohamed was allowed entry, however, and moved to t U.S. in September of 1985. 19 According to a 1995 Boston Globe report, his entry intothe country was made possible by ﬁclandestine CIA sponsorship.ﬂ20 Given that thewould approach Mohamed on at least one further occasion, it is clear that their experience with Mohamed in Hamburg did not decisively end the Agency™s relawith him. 1 early September of 1985, Mohamed boarded a TWA flight from Athens to New York, e In the last leg of his journey to the U.S. Seated next to him on the plane was Linda Lee Sanchez, a medical technician from Santa Clara, California, a single woman about ten years older than Mohamed. Six weeks later the two were married at the Chapel of the Bells in Reno, Nevada. Mohamed subsequent ly moved in to Sanchez™ condo in Santa Clara and sought employment in the burgeoni ng technology sector of Silicon Valley. Hgot temporary work as a security guard at a computer company and made an abortive attempt at starting a home computer comp any of his own. By the summer of 1986, 15 Weiser and Risen, ﬁThe Masking of a Militant.ﬂ William Buckley, the CIA station chief kidnapped by Hezbollah in March of 1984, died in captivity the following year. 16 Weiser and Risen, ﬁThe Masking of a Militantﬂ; Lance, Triple Cross , pp. 15f. (information from retired Special Agent Jack Cloonan). 17 Neff and Sullivan, ﬁAl-Qaeda terrorist duped FBI, armyﬂ; Weiser and Risen, ﬁThe Masking of a Militantﬂ; Jack Cloonan, quoted in Lance, Triple Cross , p. 16. 18 Weiser and Risen, ﬁThe Masking of a Militantﬂ; Williams and McCormick, ﬁAl Qaeda terrorist worked with FBI.ﬂ See also the entry for September 1985 in Cooperative Research, ﬁProfile: Ali Mohamed.ﬂ 19 Weiser, ﬁU.S. Ex-Sergeant.ﬂ 20 Quinn-Judge and Sennott, ﬁFigure Cited in Terrorism Caseﬂ; citing otherwise un-identified ﬁsenior officialsﬂ of the U.S. government, the report stated that Mohamed was given a visa waiver under a ﬁlittle known visa waiver program that allows the CIA and othe r security agencies to bring valuable agents into the country, bypassing the usual immigration formali ties.ﬂ While perhaps ﬁlittle known,ﬂ this authority was granted to the Director of National Intelligence by the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 and codified in 50 U.S.C. §403h, which st ates that if ﬁthe admission of a particular alien into the United States for permanent residence is in the interest of national s ecurity or essential to the furtherance of the national intelligence mission, such alien and his immediate family shall be admitted to the United States for permanent residence without regard to their inadmissi bility under the immigration or any other laws and regulations–.ﬂ Thanks to Dan Coleman for directing me to this federal law.
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Mohamed had applied for naturalized citizensh ip and was attending citizenship classwhile frequently taking short trips to South Asia to support the work of the EIJ there. Healso made contacts with the local Muslim community and began during this period his collaborative operational relationship with Khalid Abu al-Dhahab, a fellow member of the EIJ who moved to Santa Clara in 1987.es, resident alien, enlisted in the U.S. Army at s l , and g his g Mohamed expressed interest to his superiors in doing intelligence work; a CIA representative posted there met with 21 On August 15, 1986, Mohamed, still a a recruiting station in Oakland, using the name Ali Aboualacoud Mohamed. He did his basic training in A Company of the 4th Battalion at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.22 The thirty-four year old former Egyptian Special Forces major outperforme d the other recruitand was given an Army Achievement Medal. 23 He may even have set an Army record for the two-mile run, which he did in under ten minutes. 24 He went through jump schoo and qualified as an expert marksman on the M-16, rising quickly to the rank of E-4. Mohamed was then surprisingly posted to the Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he had trained as a foreign officer several years beforewas promoted to the rank of supply se rgeant to the Fifth Special Forces Group.25 Soon thereafter he was recruited by Lt. Colonel Steve Neely to provide classes on the Middle East to students at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center.26 In early 1989, he appeared in a series of training videos for the Special Warfare Center, frankly offerin militant Islamist perspective in round-table discussion forums on Middle Eastern issues. 27 Ali Mohamed, a man who had sworn allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri, was now serving in uniform alongside members of the Special Fo rces who would just three years later be deployed to hunt down al-Qa™ida in Afghanistan. At some point while stationed at Fort Brag 21 His name is often spelled Abu™l-Dahab as well. See the articles by Williams and McCormick listed in the sources, below. Mohamed met Abu al-Dhahab in Egypt in 1984, when both of them were members of the Egyptian Army, and convinced him to become a ﬁsleep erﬂ agent in the U.S. In seeking citizenship he married a woman introduced to him by Linda Sanchez, Mohamed™s wife. 22 ﬁFormer GI Pleads Guiltyﬂ; Service record of Ali Aboualacoud Mohamed, as excerpted in Bergen, The Osama bin Laden I Know , p. 103. 23 His service records also state that he was awarded an Army Commendation Medal, which is described by the Department of Defense as being awarded to a member of the Armed Forces who ﬁdistinguished himself/herself by heroism, meritorious achievement or meritorious service.ﬂ (http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Awards/ARCOM1.html). 24 According to FBI Special Agent Cloonan (ret.), apud Lance, Triple Cross , p. 33. 25 Mohamed™s military service record, apud Bergen, The Osama bin Laden I Know , p. 103, and U.S.A. v. Omar Abdel Rahman et al. , S(5) 93 Cr. 181 (MBM), closing remarks of defense attorney Roger Stavis, September 11, 1995, p. 19122, citing Mohamed™s service records. Fort Bragg is the headquarters of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command and hosts, am ong other special forces, the elite anti-terrorism unit known as Delta Force. 26 Colonel Norvell DeAtkine (ret.), who worked at th e JFK Special Warfare Center at the same time as Mohamed, testified that ﬁwe had him [Mohamed] do cross-cultural lectures for soldiers who were deploying to the Middle East, on basically how to work with Arabsﬂ ( U.S.A. v. Omar Abdel Rahman et al. , S(5) 93 Cr. 181 (MBM), testimony of Colonel Norvell Bonds DeAtkine, July 13, 1995, p. 14181) 27 According to the testimony of Col. DeAtkine, who was involved in the making of these training videos, the tapes were never used for instructional purposes at the Center, Col. DeAtkine having deemed them ﬁtoo boringﬂ ( U.S.A. v. Omar Abdel Rahman et al. , S(5) 93 Cr. 181 (MBM), testimony of Colonel Norvell Bonds DeAtkine, July 13, 1995, p. 14171). Portions of one of the videos can be seen in the National Geographic documentary Triple Cross ; a partial transcript of Mohamed™s statements in one of the videos is provided in Berger, Ali Mohamed , pp. 63ff.
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Med for about an hour and afterwards jo ked with an Army officer that Mohamed may have already been a ﬁspook.ﬂ ohame CIA orces to take part in a ienniathe lina hamed in tended to use a requested lier s idin he in 28 Though there is no available evidence that thengaged Mohamed as an asset at this time, hi s friends in the Muslim community back in California were under the impression that he was working for the Agency during this period in connection with the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan. 29 In the summer of 1988 Mohamed returned briefly to Egypt, this time in the uniform of a U.S. Army sergeant. He was sent with the Special F bl joint traini ng exercise in Egypt run by U.S. Central Command known as Operation Bright Star. 30 As Mohamed had been an officer in the Egyptian Army, returning to his native soil in the uniform of a foreign government was viewed by Egyptians as a treasonous act, and Mohamed wa s hurriedly sent back to North Caro by his American superiors after only three days. 31 Later that same year, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Anderson, Mohamed™s commanding officer at Fort Bragg, learned that Moleave to travel to Afghanistan and fight Soviet troops there.32 Mohamed had ear contacted Mustafa Shalabi, who was at that time running the Al-Kifah Refugee Service Center in Brooklyn, New York,33 and the latter transmitted a request from the mujah in Afghanistan that Mohamed co me and provide military training. 34 His leave papers indicated he was simply going to Paris and were therefore approved, but Anderson confronted Mohamed and ordered him not to go to Afghanistan. After Mohamed left Anderson prepared an intelligence report on Mohamed and sent it up the chain of command, but never heard anything back.35 Mohamed prepared a military plan before left and actually submitted it to his colleag ues for discussion. He also asked CaptaMichael Asimos for unclassified maps of Af ghanistan, which Mohamed claims he passed on to the mujahidin leader Ahmad Shah Massoud once he was in country. 36 After 28 Weiser and Risen, ﬁThe Masking of a Militant.ﬂ (ﬁSpookﬂ is slang for a foreign espionage agent.) The un-named Army officer quoted in the article says that hi s response to this was that, ﬁI just kind of laughed. one in the community knew he was working as a liaison between the CIA and many as seventeen countries. y the U.S. Special Forces; according to FBI Special l ort the mujahedinﬂ (Marshall, ﬁTerror ed 987 (Lance, Triple Cross , p. 43). The Al-Kifah Refugee Center was a hub in the also unanswered. Lt. Co l. Neely also submitted a report about Mohamed™s om How ridiculous that this guy [Mohamed] could possibly be a spook matriculating in this sort of bastion of special operations activity.ﬂ 29 Waldman, et al., ﬁThe Infiltratorﬂ; Dr. Ali Zaki, a close friend of Mohamed at that time, is quoted in the article as saying that, ﬁEvery the Afghan cause–.ﬂ 30 In 1988 Bright Star was a bilateral, American-Egyp tian military exercise; it currently involves as many as 78,000 troops from as 31 Daniel Coleman, interview with the author, 27 August 2007. It wasn™t the only time that an Arab securit service would express shock at Mohamed™s presence in Agent Jack Cloonan, a Jordanian military officer wh o visited the JFK Special Warfare Center during Mohamed™s tenure there ﬁwas flabbergasted when he saw Ali thereﬂ (Lance, Triple Cross , p. 45). 32 Neff and Sullivan, ﬁAl-Qaeda terrorist duped FBI, Army.ﬂ 33 The Al-Kifah Center, which included the Al-Far ooq Mosque, was at that time ﬁa place of pivota importance to Operation Cyclone, the American effort to supp ‚Blowback™ burns CIAﬂ). 34 Miller, et al., The Cell , p. 143. According to the 1999 confession of Khalid Abu al-Dhahab, Moham first contacted Shalabi in 1 EIJ™s network in the U.S. 35 Neff and Sullivan, ﬁAl-Qaeda terrorist duped FBI, Army.ﬂ Following Mohamed™s return Anderson submitted a second report, insubordinate Afghanistan trip, and likewise got no response (Miller, et al., The Cell , p. 143). 36 Neff and Sullivan, ﬁAl-Qaeda terror ist duped FBI, Armyﬂ; Lance, Triple Cross , p. 43 (information fr Jack Cloonan).
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spending around a month in Afghanistan, Mohamed returned to Fort Bragg. He™d c lost weight and had two Russian belts that he claimed to have taken off the bodies of Soviet soldiers he™d killed; he gave one of the belts to Lt. Col. Anderson as a gift. learly bers; ese y the l eased to it New go der training, Mohamed used these trips to pass stolen documents from the JFK Special Warfare Center to his EIJ contacts. Some time in 1989, Sayyid Nosair screened Mohamed™s training vi deos from Fort Bragg at the Al-Kifah 37 Beginning in the spring or early su mmer of 1989, Mohamed began making weekend trips from Fort Bragg to New Jersey and New York to meet with EIJ mem his main objectives were to provide military training to an EIJ cell and to pass along documents and other sensitive materials that he™d stolen from his Army post. 38 On thtrips he would often meet with Mustafa Sh alabi at the Al-Kifah office in Brooklyn and with Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the bli nd leader of the Egyptian al-Jama™a al-Islamiyya; 39 he stayed at the home of Sayyid Nosa ir during these trips and went balias ﬁAbu Omar.ﬂ The group that he pr ovided training to included Sayyid Nosair, Mahmoud Abouhalima, Khaled Ibrahim, Mohammad Salameh, Clement Rodney Hampton-El, Nidal Ayyad and Ibrahim El-Gabrowny. 40 Mohamed provided initia military training in areas such as navi gation, survival techniques and weapons identification in an apartment on Harrison Aven ue in Jersey City, New Jersey, lAbdel Aziz Hassan.41 Later, the group would meet at the El Salaam Mosque in Jersey City and drive in several cars to a shooting range for training in the use of AK-47s and other weapons.42 These exercises took place at five different shooting ranges in upstate New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.43 On each of the four Sundays between July 2 and July 23, 1989, the trainee group was followed and surveilled by a unfrom the Special Operations Group of the FBI™s New York Office as they proceeded to the Calverton Shooting Range on Long Island; the FBI secretly took dozens of photographs of the group firing off thousands of rounds, but soon thereafter the York Office closed its file on the group.44 One of its members, Sayyid Nosair, would on to assassinate Rabbi Meir Kahane, a right-wing Israeli politician and founder of a number of terrorist organizat ions, in a Manhattan hotel on 5 November 1990; the mur weapon was a .357 Magnum that Noasir had been photographed firing at the Calverton Shooting Range the year before. In addition to the military 37 Neff and Sullivan, ﬁAl-Qaeda terrorist duped FBI, Armyﬂ; Mohamed told both Lt. Col. Anderson and FBI Special Agent Jack Cloonan that he had planned and executed a surprise attack on a unit of Spetsnaz, or Soviet special forces, and had killed many of them (Lance, Triple Cross , p. 44). 38 Miller, et al., The Cell, pp. 143f.; Lance, Triple Cross , pp. 47ff. 39 According to Miller, et al., The Cell , p. 143f., Mohamed actually told Lt. Col. Neely at the JFK Special Warfare Center that he had renewed his association with Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman (whom he admitted knowing earlier in Egypt) during these trips. 40 Lance, Triple Cross , pp. 47f. All of these men were part of the cell that carried out the February 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and planned the so-called ﬁDay of Terrorﬂ attacks, which were to include the bombing of the FBI Building in Washington, D.C., the United Nations building and key points of the New York City -area infrastructure. 41 U.S.A. v. Omar Abdel Rahman et al. , S(5) 93 Cr. 181 (MBM), testimony of Khaled Ibrahim, July 13, 1995, pp. 14241f. 42 Ibid., pp. 14238ff. 43 Lance, Triple Cross , p. 48. 44 Ibid., p. 51.
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Upon his return to Santa Clara, Mohame d got a job as a security guard at the Sylvania plant in Mountain View, and registered a computer consulting firm as a h ome urces of unknown income, probably from al-Qa™ida. His salary om the Army would have been less than twenty thousand dollars a year, yet he owed ht rating gliders and helicoptersŒto Afghanistan to provide flight training at a camp th r Also in 1990, Mohamed began his efforts to infiltrate the FBI. He applied to the r; business; he frequented the An-Noor mosque in Santa Clara.54 He also began to worktogether again with Khalid Abu al-Dha hab, who had come to California in 1987 upon being encouraged by Mohamed, ﬁCome to America but be patient. There is a bigger plan.ﬂ55 Abu al-Dhahab established an EIJ (subsequently al-Qa™ida) communications hub in his apartment in Santa Clara, patc hing calls between leaders in Egypt and operatives all over the world and sending money, passports and forged documents to various points in the global jihadi network. 56 Upon Mohamed™s discharge and return to California, Abu al-Dhahab™s communications and money-and-documen t transfer station increased its activities signifi cantly. Abu al-Dhahab sent thousands of dollars given to him by Mohamed, which Abu al-Dhahab clai med came ultimately from Bin Ladin, to various parts of the world.57 There are other indications that, begi nning in 1989, Mohamed began to have a significant source or so fr the IRS $10,500 for the 1988 and 1989 tax years, and didn™t repay the debt for another five years.58 Such a tax burden proves that he was reporting to the IRS an income many times greater than what he received in Ar my Reserve benefits and part-time security guard work. In 1990, Mohamed sent Abu al-DhahabŒwho ha d earlier taken lessons at a fligschool in opeere. He was in Afghanistan for four months. 59 Abu al-Dhahab returned with a new task for the Santa Clara duo: recruit na turalized citizens of Middle Eastern descent for the jihad. 60 Bin Ladin was particularly keen to get access to U.S. passports and otheidentity documents. 61 Over the next two years, Mohamed would frequently travel to South Asia to provide a wide range of milita ry training at several al-Qa™ida camps in Afghanistan and ﬁguest housesﬂ in Pakistan. FBI offices in Charlotte, North Carolina, and San Francisco for a job as a translato 54 Williams and McCormick, ﬁBin Laden™s Man in Silicon Valleyﬂ; Williams and McCormick, ﬁTop bin Laden aide toured state.ﬂ 55 Martin and Berens, ﬁTerrorists evolved in U.S.ﬂ 56 Williams, ﬁBin Laden™s Bay Area recruiterﬂ; Martin and Berens, ﬁTerrorists evolved in U.S.ﬂ; Williams and McCormick, ﬁEx-Silicon valley resident plotted embassy attacks.ﬂ Abu al-Dhahab was arrested in Cairo in 1998 and his confession and statements at his 1999 trial, at which he was sentenced to 15 years in Egyptian prison, provided much of the information for these news reports. 57 Martin and Berens, ﬁTerrorists evolved in U.S.ﬂ 58 Lance, Triple Cross , p. 54. 59 Sachs and Kifner, ﬁEgyptian Raised Terror Funds in the U.S.ﬂ A friend remembers Abu al-Dhahab driving a station wagon with a hang glider in back into the An-Noor Mosque parking lot in Santa Clara, saying he intended to take it to Afghanistan; Abu al-D hahab later testified that there was a (never realized) plot at the time to use gliders to attack Egyptian prisons and free imprisoned EIJ leaders (Williams, ﬁBin Laden™s Bay Area recruiterﬂ). 60 Williams, ﬁBin Laden™s Bay Area recruiter.ﬂ 61 At his later trial in Cairo, Abu al-Dhahab claimed th at he and Mohamed were able to successfully recruit ten U.S. citizens of Middle Eastern descent during the early 1990s. He also revealed that he and Mohamed travelled to Afghanistan in the mid-1990s to be personally congratulated on this achievement by Bin Ladin; Williams, ﬁBin Laden™s Bay Area recruiter.ﬂ
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though turned down by both offices, at his interview in San Francisco he told the FBI about a local document-forgi ng ring with link62s to Hamas. Thus began Mohamed™s relation rge e -nd en who on hould be in ates. e bi ship as a criminal informant for the FBI, which would deepen in the following years despite growing evidence of his involvement in Islamist terrorism. One very la body of such evidence was seized from Sayyi d Nosair™s apartment by the NYPD and th FBI on 6 November 1990, the day after Nosair assassinated Meir Kahane. In the forty seven boxes of evidence taken from that ap artment were dozens of documents that Mohamed had smuggled out of Fort Bragg, incl uding copies of the training video with his picture plainly on the cover. Yet later that day, NYPD chief of detectives Joseph Borelli proclaimed that Nosair had ac ted as a ﬁlone deranged gunman,ﬂ and the investigation proceeded along those lines; the boxes of evidence were impounded a never even examined until after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. 63 In the spring of 1991, Mohamed was i nvolved in the bloody resolution of an internal dispute that had existed since the beginning of al-Qa™ida. Some of the m had led the mujahidin in Afghanistan against the Soviets in the 1980s were of the opinithat, following the victory over the Soviets, the next battlefield of the jihad s Palestine, while others felt the focus should be corrupt regimes in Muslim-majority st The former camp was represented most pr ominently by `Abdullah `Azzam, while Bin Ladin favored the latter approach (though he would subsequently identify the West as the primary target of jihad). `Azzam™s assa ssination in November of 1989 is thought by some to have been engineered by Bin Ladin because of this very dispute. 64 In any case, partisans of the two divergent views also existed in New Yor k, the stateside center of th jihad. Mustafa Shalabi, with whom Mohamed had frequent contact during his trips to the area from Fort Bragg, was a close associat e of `Azzam and shared his views on the primacy of the Palestinian conflict. Sh eikh Omar Abdel Rahman, long in outspoken struggle with Shalabi over a host of issues (not least of which was the fact the Shalabi controlled the money coming into Al-Kifah for the anti-Soviet jihad), was the leading proponent in New York of Bin Ladin™s view; as early as 1990 he declared that Shalawas no longer a Muslim. 65 Fearing for his life, Shalabi confided in Mohamed, who contacted Shalabi™s family in Egypt. Mohamed drove Shalabi™s wife to the airport and saw her onto a flight for Cairo, and represented himself to Shalabi as making plans to secure the latter™s escape as well. 66 During the night of February 26, however, while packing his belongings for his departure to Egypt, Shalabi was murdered in his apartment; he was beaten with a bat, stabbe d repeatedly and then shot in the head.67 62 Miller, et al., The Cell, p. 144. 63 Lance, Triple Cross , Ch. 6. Among Mohamed™s papers seized in the Nosair apartment raid was one in which explicit mention was made of al-Qa™ida; had it been noticed and translated, it would have given U.S. ness of the organi zation, a full six years before it eventually became nown excommunican t can (and should) be killed with impunity. ple Cross: Bin Laden™s Spy in Lance, was called in to be the ﬁfixerﬂ and clean up the apartment after the murder. Dan Coleman, law enforcement its earliest aware officially known. Mohamed would give another such opportunity in 1993, during his interview with Special Agent John Zent (see below). 64 See Benjamin and Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror , pp. 102ff. 65 Lance, Triple Cross , p. 66; Tabor, ﬁSlaying in Brooklyn Linked to Militants.ﬂ Such a declaration, k as takfir , carries the implication that the 66 Jack Cloonan, interview for National Geographic documentary TriAmerica. 67 Tabor, ﬁSlaying in Brooklyn Linked to Militantsﬂ; J TTF investigator Tommy Corrigan, quoted in Triple Cross , p. 67. Steven Emerson is quoted in Lance, Triple Cross , p. 67, stating that he believed Mohamed
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Police suspected that the slaying was ordered by Sheikh Abdel Rahman and carr by three of Mohamed™s trainees: Rodne y Hampton-El, Mahmoud Abouhalima and Mohammed Salameh. ied out in™s to Khartoum, Sudan. Ironically, some time in early 1991, el cs t to stan during 1991 and ‚92. Moham strict and not gentle,ﬂ ﬁa severe man, not very obs ervant,ﬂ who was foul-mouthed and ﬁnot a 68 The Bin Ladin loyalist Wadih el-Hage, who arrived in New York immediately before the murder took pl ace, took over direction of the Al-KifahCenter in Shalabi™s place. 69 Mohamed™s next assignment, in the summe r of 1991, was to assist in Bin Ladrelocation from Afghanistan Bin Ladin had called Shalabi in order to communicate his desire for Mohamed™s services in moving his entourage. 70 Mohamed called on two former associates, Essam Hafez Marzouk and Ihab Ali Nawawi, to assist him in the move. 71 Mohamed had Bin Ladin and a core group of more than two thousand lo yal mujahidin from the Arab world trav to Khartoum from Kabul via Peshawar and Karachi, Pakistan. 72 After providing logistiand security for this huge and costly operation, Mohamed stayed on in Khartoum to assis in the establishment of training camps; he also provided training at these camps in ﬁweapons, explosives, kidnapping, urban fighting, counterintelligenceﬂ and ﬁhow to set up cells.ﬂ73 He was also apparently commuting back to the U.S. during this period recruit operatives for al-Qa™ida at American mosques. 74 From this point on he would work increasingly frequently with al-Qa™ida™s Africa Corps. Mohamed also continued to provide trai ning to jihadi volunteers in surveillance and explosives at Bin Ladin™s camps in Afgha nistan and Pakied™s wife told acquaintances of theirs that her husband was in Afghanistan at thistime ﬁtraining people for a man named bin Ladenﬂ; 75 the latter was virtually unknown inthe U.S. at the time, and Linda Sanchez claims not to have had any idea who he was. One of Mohamed™s New York-cell trainees, Khal ed Ibrahim, testified to ﬁcoincidentallyﬂ meeting Mohamed at Kennedy International Airp ort as the latter returned to the U.S. from Pakistan in late 1991 or early 1992; M ohamed stayed a night at Ibrahim™s home and then left for California from the Newark Airport. 76 Some time in 1992, L™Houssaine Kherchtou was sent by al-Qa™ida commander A bu Hafs to be trained by Mohamed with a group of students that included Anas al-Liby, Saif al-Liby and other Libyans in an advanced course in surveillance; the training was held in Bin Ladin™s house in Hyatabad, a neighborhood in Peshawar, Pakistan. Kherchtou remembered Mohamed as ﬁvery however, points out that the apartment was not in fact ﬁfixedﬂ at all, that it was literally a bloody mess, and that at no point during the investigation of the murder was Mohamed suspected of direct involvement (interview with the author, 27 August 2007). 68 Tabor, ﬁInquiry into Slaying of Sheik™s Confidant Appears Open.ﬂ 69 Dan Coleman, interview with the author, 27 August 2007; Benjamin and Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror, p. 104. 70 Engelberg, ﬁOne Man and a Global Web of Violence.ﬂ 71 Lance, Triple Cross , p. 123. 72 Weiser, ﬁInformer™s Part in Terror Case is Detailed.ﬂ 73 Engelberg, ﬁOne Man and a Global Web of Violence.ﬂ 74 Weiser and Risen, ﬁThe Masking of a Militant.ﬂ 75 Williams and McCormick, ﬁBin Laden™s Man in Silicon Valley.ﬂ 76 U.S.A. v. Omar Abdel Rahman et al. , S(5) 93 Cr. 181 (MBM), testimony of Khaled Ibrahim, July 13, 1995, pp. 14281ff.
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