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Homeland Security

Shaikh Saiid al-Masri

Al-Qaeda Financial Chief

ImportanceVery High
RoleFinancial Chief5
SupervisorOsama bin Laden
AffiliationAl-Qaeda majlis al shura3
AffiliationAl-Qaeda Finance Committee
Alias(es)Mustafa Muhammad Ahmad1,2
Alternate Spelling(s)Sheik Sayyid el Masry, Shaykh Sai'id, Sheikh Saeed al Masri
Possibly the same asSaad al-Sharif6
Place of BirthEgypt1
Narrative and Notes
  • Shaikh Saiid has been associated with al-Qaeda since at least the early 1990s.
  • Shaikh Saiid al-Masri is said to have opposed the Sept. 11 attacks within the al-Qaeda organization. He argued al-Qaida should honor Taliban leader Mullah Omar's wishes to attack Jews, not the United States, and that he feared the U.S. response to such an attack.
  • He served as a member of al-Qaeda's shura council and economic and legal committees, according testimony government witnesses Jamal Ahmed al-Fadl and L'Houssaine Kherchtou during the 1998 embassy bombings trial.
  • He worked in al-Qaida's office on McNimr Street in Khartoum, Sudan, starting on June 9, 1993, according to al-Fadl.
  • In Sunday, Shaikh Saiid al-Masri managed al-Qaeda's payroll and paid al-Qaeda members, including al-Fadl, their salaries. He paid al-Fadl $300 a month. Al-Fadl aided al-Masri until he was replaced by Abu Dijana al-Yemeni and Abdallah Lubnani.
  • Shaikh Saiid told Khertchou there wasn't enough money to pay $500 to cover his wife's caesarean section. Khertchou described his reaction in court "if I had a gun I would shoot him at that time."3,4,5
  • A minority within U.S. intelligence believes Shaikh Saiid and another figure, Saad al-Sharif, are the same person.6
  • Very little has been made public about this highly sought al-Qaeda figure, making him a favorite among a group of Internet conspiracy theorists who have confused him with other jihadists with similar names. Early, inaccurate reports about the paymaster of the Sept. 11 attacks are partially to blame: Shortly After Sept. 11, the FBI learned the partial name of one of the financiers of the attacks: "Mustafa Ahmed." Investigators speculated to reporters that he was the same as Shaikh Saiid al-Masri, because of al-Masri's known alias: Mustafa Muhammad Ahmad.
  • But it was later determined they were not the same: The 9-11 "Mustafa Ahmed" was Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi, a Saudi who served as moneyhandler for Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. Al-Hisawi is in U.S. custody; Shaikh Sayyid is still at large.
  • Again owing to the similarities in name, Shaikh Saiid al-Masri is further confused with a third figure, Ahmad Omar Saeed Shaikh, a British man of Pakistani origins who has been charged in connection with the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.
  • These theories have gained significant traction on the Internet but have none within reliable sectors of U.S. counterterrorism services.
    1 U.N. Press Release AFG/150, Oct. 8, 2001.
    2 President Bush's Executive Order 13224, Sept. 23, 2001.
    3 Jamal al-Fadl testimony, United States vs. Osama bin Laden et al, trial transcript, Day 2, Feb. 6, 2001.
    4 L'Houssaine Khertchou, USA v. bin Laden et al transcripts, Days 8 and 9.
    5 The 9-11 Commission Final Report, July 22, 2004, Chapter 7.4, and footnote 182.
    6 Source interview with author.
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