CIA agent Edit

From Peter Dale Scott:

In 1990 CIA influenced the evolution of the al-Kifah Center into a site for future terrorism by enabling the Egyptian jihadist leader Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman to come to Brooklyn and take it over: "Even though he'd been on a U.S. terrorism Watch List for three years, the Sheikh was granted a visa [actually a second visa, a multiple-entry visa in 1990] to enter America. This was another blunder on the part of U.S. intelligence... Later, the CIA would try to blame his admission on a corrupt case officer... But the State Department later determined that, although he was on the list of 'undesirables,' the Sheikh obtained three sanctioned visas from CIA agents [sic, that is, officers] posing as State Department officials at the U.S. embassy in Khartoum." [1]

A U.S. official argued forcefully that Rahman was an "untouchable" being protected by no fewer than three agencies: "'It was no accident that the sheikh got a visa and that he's still in the country,' replied the agent, visibly upset. 'He's here under the banner of national security, the State Department, the NSA [National Security Agency], and the CIA.' The agent pointed out that the sheikh had been granted a tourist visa, and later a green card, despite the fact that he was on a State Department terrorist watch-list that should have barred him from the country. He's an untouchable, concluded the agent. 'I haven't seen the lone-gunman theory advanced [so forcefully] since John F. Kennedy.'" [2]

Analysis of Laurie Mylroie Edit

From Laurie Mylroie: [3]

This notion—that one man and his fanatical followers are responsible for major attacks on the United States--when applied to Shaykh Omar and the terrorism attributed to him is demonstrably false. This is particularly significant, because our understanding of the early terrorism attributed to the blind cleric, including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, set the stage for understanding subsequent acts of terrorism in a similar fashion.The erroneous, widely-held view regarding Shaykh Omar comes from a misunderstanding of the charges against him and a lack of attention to the court records.An FBI undercover operation emerged after the February 26, 1993, bombing of the World Trade Center, with an Egyptian informant, Emad Salem, acting as agent provocateur. A Sudanese émigré, Siddig Ali, proposed a bombing plot to Salem, which grew to encompass the United Nations, New York’s Federal building, and other targets.The individuals involved in this plot were not very competent. The expertise tomake the bombs, such that it was, came from the FBI informant. He directed the conspirators to buy fertilizer for their ANFO bombs, and they returned from a Manhattan garden store with $150 worth of Scotts Super Turf Builder. That material does not have enough ammonium nitrate to produce an explosive, as an FBI agent testified during thetrial.The conspirators in this plot were arrested on the morning of June 24, 1993, when the FBI had sufficient evidence against them, including video of their mixing what they believed to be explosives. Meanwhile, Shaykh Omar had come to public attention following the Trade Center bombing. As head of Egypt’s largest Islamic terrorist group,he was banned from entry into the United States. He had recently been ordered deported, but was free, as he appealed that order. The FBI tried to get Shaykh Omar in its undercover operation, but he was not really interested in attacking New York. He wanted to kill the president of Egypt and seize power there. Thus, Shaykh Omar was not arrested with the other conspirators.Following revelation of this second bombing plot, New York politicians complained of the dangers Shaykh Omar posed. He was soon detained on the ironic grounds that he posed a flight risk, as he appealed his deportation. Once imprisoned, Shaykh Omar began to suggest he might accept deportation, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan had meanwhile developed a subtle legal strategy for indicting and convicting him. The FBI opposed that indictment (it wanted to deport him), but Attorney General Janet Reno made the decision to proceed.Seditious conspiracy was a key charge against the blind cleric, “Conspiracy to Wage A War of Urban Terrorism,” and this has contributed to a major confusion.

The prosecution postulated that a “Jihad Organization” had emerged in New York and Shaykh Omar was one of its principal leaders. The “Jihad Organization” was a legal construction developed solely for the purpose of this trial. A number of violent acts were attributed to the “Jihad Organization,” of which the Trade Center bombing was the most lethal.Once a conspiracy is found to exist, all members of the conspiracy are legally responsible for all actions of all other conspirators, whether they know about those actions in advance or even whether they know the individuals who commit them. Thus,the prosecution told the jury, “I am not going to stand up here and tell you that defendant [Shaykh Omar] Abdel Rahman picked up the phone, called overseas and ordered Ramzi Yousef to show up.” However, Yousef “came from the same channel, the same group of people involved with jihad, the same jihad, and the same enemy, America” as Shaykh Omar and the other defendants. Thus, Ramzi Yousef was said to be a member of the “Jihad Organization.” Heneed never have met or spoken with Shaykh Omar. And he could be a highly-trained foreign intelligence agent who penetrated and used the Islamic militants for his own purposes. But that would be completely and entirely irrelevant to the question of the guilt or innocence of Shaykh Omar et al. That may sound strange, but that, in fact, is entirely consistent with U.S. federal laws.There is also a crucial legal distinction between a “count” and an “overt act.” A count is a crime charged against a defendant, about which a jury decides guilty or innocent. An overt act is an action taken in furtherance of a conspiracy. Often overt acts are not crimes in themselves, and therefore, not charged as counts. The World Trade Center bombing is an overt act in the conspiracy attributed to Shaykh Omar et al,, but it isnot charged as a substantive count, because other people not Shaykh Omar or the other defendants in his trial carried out that attack. This is the official U.S. position. As the prosecuting U.S. Attorney explained, “No defendant in the Rahman trial was charged with executing the World Trade Center bombing. The bombing was charged as an overt act of the conspiracy count in the Rahman case, and none of the Rahman defendants are named in that overt act.”

The widespread misunderstanding that Shaykh Omar was behind the Trade Center bombing comes from this legal proceeding. This confusion has been compounded because a number of those involved in this case misrepresent it. FBI director, Louis Freeh, testifying before the 9/11 Commission, for example, did not correct the impression that Shaykh Omar was behind the Trade Center bombing, and he portrayed the second bombing conspiracy--the FBI undercover operation--as being akin to the Trade Center bombing, claiming that the FBI had thwarted a plot that would have caused massive destruction. That is simply not true, as the court record makes clear.Criminal trials do not generally address state sponsorship. This point cannot be over-emphasized. The focus of a trial is to determine the guilt or innocence of individual defendants, according to very formal, well-established procedures. Thus, it is also irrelevant to the case of Shaykh Omar et al. whether or not a terrorist state was involved the Trade Center bombing (senior figures in New York FBI, the lead investigative agency, believed Iraq was behind the attack.)Two intelligence agents posted to Sudan’s U.N. mission became involved in the second bombing plot. That is clear from the trial transcript. They had extensive contacts with the ringleader (Siddig Ali) and a Sudanese intelligence agent was to provide the diplomatic plates to get the bomb-laden vehicle into the U.N. parking garage. The two Sudanese agents were never indicted, however, because the judgment was made that Sudan would not agree to lift their diplomatic immunity. Their involvement is likewise irrelevant to the guilt or innocence of Shaykh Omar et al.The notion that one man and his fanatical devotees are solely responsible for major terrorist attacks against the United States has its origins in a misunderstanding of a legal proceeding, in which the key national security question regarding the potential involvement of a foreign intelligence agency in those attacks was completely irrelevant.

References Edit

  1. Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11, p.141, citing Peter Lance, 1000 Years For Revenge, 42; citing New York Times, 12/16/90; Los Angeles Times, 2/11/96.
  2. Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11, p.141, citing Robert I. Friedman, The CIA and the Sheik, The Village Voice, 1993 March 30,
  3. Laurie Mylroie, History of al-Qaeda,
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