FBI knew about Al Qaeda terrorist attacks on US years before 9/11 - report
27 February 2014, 09:06
An informant working for the FBI had contact with terrorist leader Osama bin Laden eight years before the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, a newspaper reported Wednesday. An FBI mole inside the al-Qaeda terrorist network met with bin Laden and knew that he wanted to finance attacks, NBC news and The Washington Times reported.
The FBI informant had worked as a driver and a confidant of the radical Egyptian preacher Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind shiekh serving life in prison for the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center in New York.
Rahman allegedly told the informant 'If you need money, go directly to Osama and tell him that I sent you.'
According to the reports, neither Congress nor the 9/11 Commission knew about the mole despite extensive investigations into the attack, which killed nearly 3,000 people.
'It was the only source I know in the bureau where we had a source right in al Qaeda, directly involved,' Ed Curran, who was the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles office at the time, said at the court, according to excerpts of testimony published by the Washington Times.
Curran said the agent handling the source got the source to go overseas and meet with bin Laden, and that bin Laden told the source he had 'picked out' a Masonic Lodge in LA for an 'explosion.'
The existence of the mole was first disclosed during Curran's 2010 testimony in support of a lawsuit filed against the FBI by Bassem Youssef, an agent assigned to the terrorism squad in LA who had developed and run the mole. Youssef, the highest-ranked Arabic speaker in the bureau, accused the FBI of discriminating against him and passing him over for promotion to supervisor despite his skills. The Washington Times, the first media outlet to report on Curran's revelation about the mole, noted in its report that Curran was testifying before a virtually empty courtroom.
The 9/11 Commission made serious accusations against the FBI and the CIA.
Members of the September 11 commission, congressional intelligence committees and terrorism analysts told The Times they are floored that the information is just now emerging publicly and that it raises questions about what else Americans might not have been told about the origins of al Qaeda and its early interest in attacking the United States.
'I think it raises a lot of questions about why that information didn't become public and why the 9/11 Commission or the congressional intelligence committees weren't told about it,' said former Rep. Peter Hoekstra, Michigan Republican, who chaired the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from 2004 through 2007 when lawmakers dealt with the fallout from the 9/11 Commission's official report.
'This is just one more of these examples that will go into the conspiracy theorists' notebooks, who say the authorities are not telling us everything,' Mr. Hoekstra told The Times in an interview last week. 'That's bad for the intelligence community. It's bad for law enforcement and it's bad for government.'
It said during the administration of president George W. Bush and his predecessor, Bill Clinton, there were 10 missed opportunities to uncover plans for the attacks.
Bin Laden was killed in a raid by US special forces in 2011.
Alleged 9/11 plotters Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, Walid bin Attash, Mustafa al-Hawsawi and Ramzi Binalshibh have been held for years by the US.
Preparations are underway for their trial in a US military court set up at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Voice of Russia, dpa, the Washington Post, NBC News
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