CASE CLOSED … what really happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks?

* from DXer … infiltration of U.S. biodefense? … Ayman Zawahari’s plan to use anthrax against U.S. targets

Posted by DXer on February 20, 2010


9 Responses to “* from DXer … infiltration of U.S. biodefense? … Ayman Zawahari’s plan to use anthrax against U.S. targets”

  1. DXer said

    Ayman’s plans to use anthrax against US targets had been announced.

    “Islamic Jihad Vows Revenge,” BBC News, August 7, 1998

    “Islamic Jihad ‘Confessions’ Described,” London Al-Sharq al-Awsat, (FBIS translation) March 3, 1999 [Ayman plans on using weaponized anthrax against US)

    “Bin-Laden Men Reportedly Possess Biological Weapons,” Al-Sharaq al-Awsat, March 6, 1999 (FBISFTS 19990306000273)

    “Counterterrorism Analysts Take Note of New Threats From Egyptian Terrorist Group,” ERRI Daily Intelligence Report, April 20, 1999 [Ayman plans on using weaponized anthrax against US)

    “US Said Interrogating Jihadist Over CBW,” Al-Hayat, April 21, 1999 [Ayman plans on using weaponized anthrax against US)

    “Islamist Lawyer on Bin Ladin, Groups,” Al-Sharq al-Awsat, July 12, 1999 FBIS-NES-1999-0712 [Ayman plans on using weaponized anthrax against US S in retaliation for detention of leaders)

    “Muslim Calls for Bio-Weapon Holy War.” Sunday Times , September 5, 1999 [Ayman plans on using weaponized anthrax against US \

    “Cleric Urges Osama to Launch Biological War Against West,” Hindustan Times, September 6, 1999

    Undated typed correspondence from Pakistan scientist Rauf Ahmad to Ayman Zawahiri (produced under FOIA) [Ayman plans on using weaponized anthrax against US)

    Undated handwritten correspondence from Pakistan scientist Rauf Ahmad to Ayman Zawahiri (and associated notes) (produced under FOIA) [Ayman plans on using weaponized anthrax against US)

    “Bacterial envelope mailed to minister,” Medicine Hat News, February 1, 2001 [Ayman plans on using weaponized anthrax against US in retaliation for detention of leaders)

    “Hoax highlights vulnerability to bioterrorism,” The Globe and Mail, February 2, 2001

    “Risk Assessment of anthrax threat letters,” Defence R&D Canada, September 2001

    FBI 302 Interview Statetment of Ali Al-Timimi shortly after 9/11 (not yet made public)

    “Chemical and Biological Weapons Pose Threat,” Associated Press, September 17, 2001

    “Officials Fear US Is Ill-Equipped to Deal With Biological or Chemical Terrorism,” Wall St. Journal, September 18, 2001

    “David Siegrist: The threat from biological terrorism,” CNN, September 20, 2001

    “Bioterrorism: Next Threat?”, Time Magazine, September 24, 2001

    “Crop-Dusters Thought to Interest Suspects,” Washington Post, September 24, 2001, A1

    “WHO warns of biowarfare threat,” MSNBC, September 24, 2001

  2. DXer said

    The father of anthrax letter suspect Adnan El-Shukrijumah was the blind sheik’s translator. Adnan and his father Gulshair left Brooklyn after the Blind Sheik’s arrest and the family settled in Florida.

    Later, a different Blind Sheik’s translator was at the center of legal charges involving the Blind Sheik’s lawyer, Lynn Stewart.

    Montasser Al-Zayat, the Blind Sheik lawyer in Egypt, had come to the US and helped with the defense of assassin and WTC 1993 conspirator Nosair.

    Attorney Montasser Al-Zayat announced that Dr. Zawahiri was going to use anthrax against US targets to retaliate for the imprisonment of the Blind Sheik and other senior EIJ leaders.

    Thus, the son of the blind sheik’s translator should have been of keen interest as candidate of mailing given his known association with Mohammed Atta. (They knew of that association in mid-September 2001 by reason of their informant in the mosque).

    In the spring of 1999, Dr. Ayman’s brother Mohammed was rendered. Ayman and Mohammed Zawahiri’s sister Heba taught microbiology to Tarek. Tarek was supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins and was provided technical assistance by Bruce’s accuser Patricia.

    Approvals for operations were routed through the Blind Sheik’s translator.

    In intercepted conversations between Abdel-Sattar (the Blind Sheik’s paralegal), Taha (the head of IG), and Montasser Al-Zayat, there was discussion of the need for another Luxor to attempt to free the Blind Sheik.

    Indeed, in planning 911, KSM had envisioned landing one of the planes and demanding the Sheik’s release.

    If you don’t understand the importance of the Blind Sheik, then it is not impossible to correctly profile 9/11 or the anthrax mailings.

    In early October 2001, there was no indication that the profilers in Quantico understood WTC 1993 or the announcement by the Blind Sheik that Dr. Zawahiri was going to use anthrax to retaliate for the imprisonment of the Blind Sheik and rendering of senior EIJ leaders.

    If they had, the FBI likely would have obtained the documents relating to the former Zawahiri’s associate’s research alongside Bruce Ivins with virulent Ames before March 2005. (It wasn’t like the work with the 4 morphs had suddenly pointed to the importance of Dr. Ivins’ Ames; he had always been known to have the largest supply of Ames and had Ames with and without the 4 morphs. The work with the morphs at most cut the field from, say 700 to about 200 or 300.

    If they had, the FBI likely would have focused on the importance of the subtilis contaminant and not dismissed as the result of dust or a sneeze. The subtilis expert had called Ramzi Yousef’s number right up to the time of the Blind Sheik’s arrest.

    If they had, the DOJ and FBI would not have withheld the documents that were exculpatory of Dr. Ivins and told fairy tales about the lyophilizer — and the DOJ would not have withheld the information and documents relating to Dr. Ivins’ work with the 52 rabbits that first week in October 2001.

    Withholding the exculpatory information and selectively presenting issues to the GAO constituted a thwarting of justice. It was CYA instincts allowed to run amok.

    In an attempt to prevent Abdel Rahman from committing
    8 crimes like those for which he was convicted, you will learn
    9 that beginning in April of 1997, the United States Government
    10 imposed what are known as special administrative measures, or
    11 SAMs for short. These are the prison restrictions that I
    12 mentioned to you earlier. These restrictions are the ones, the
    13 evidence will show, that these defendants conspired to evade.
    14 As a result, you will hear a lot about the special
    15 administrative measures during the course of this trial. The
    16 SAMs stated purpose is simple but critically important: To
    17 protect persons against the risk of death or serious bodily
    18 injury that could otherwise result if Abdel Rahman were free to
    19 communicate, send or receive terrorist information.
    20 Among other things, the SAMs allowed Abdel Rahman to
    21 call only his wife — those calls were monitored — and his
    22 attorneys. His nonlegal mail was screened by federal
    23 authorities. He was prohibited from communicating with any
    24 member of the media. And the attorneys were required to sign
    25 what are called affirmation agreements before being allowed

    1 access to him. The affirmations required: First, that the
    2 attorneys and their staff would fully abide by the SAMs before
    3 being allowed access to Abdel Rahman; second, that they would
    4 only be accompanied by translators for the purpose of
    5 communicating with inmate Abdel Rahman concerning legal
    6 matters; and, third, that they agree not to use their meetings,
    7 their correspondence, their phone calls, with Abdel Rahman to
    8 pass messages between third parties, including the media and
    9 Abdel Rahman. The evidence will show that Lynne Stewart signed
    10 several of these affirmations and then proceeded to completely
    11 disregard them.
    12 The Islamic Group. Let’s talk for a minute about the
    13 Islamic Group. That group is important to this case. As I
    14 have told you, Abdel Rahman was their spiritual leader, or
    15 emir. The Islamic Group has long been a foreign terrorist
    16 organization specifically designated by the United States
    17 Government, a fact that was known by each of these defendants.
    18 You will learn that by 1997 many of the Islamic
    19 members and leaders were in jail in Egypt. The group was weak.
    20 Many senior leaders of the organization had fled Egypt to avoid
    21 arrest. You will learn that in mid 1997, the Islamic Group in
    22 jail called for a unilateral cease fire, a tactical move by the
    23 group to try to convince the government of Egypt to let them
    24 out of jail. You will see it indicated here on the time line
    25 in the summer of 1997.

    1 You will learn that in the summer of 1997, after it
    2 was called for by the Islamic Group in jail, Abdel Rahman, even
    3 though subject to special administrative measures at the time,
    4 was able to get a message out of prison saying that he
    5 supported the cease fire. You will also learn, however, that
    6 Abdel Rahman had not abandoned his terrorist roots and become a
    7 man of peace. That fact will become crystal clear as the
    8 evidence in this case unfolds. You also learn that not all of
    9 the group’s leaders and members supported the cease fire.
    10 Let’s move to November of 1997. It is November 17,
    11 1997. It is the morning. The scene is one of Egypt’s most
    12 popular tourist attractions, the magnificent archeological
    13 ruins in the City of Luxor. Tour buses pull in and out of the
    14 site. Tourists are milling about, snapping photographs and
    15 soaking up the ancient history. In a heartbeat the serenity of
    16 this moment is shattered by the sounds of gun fire and
    17 screaming. Seemingly out of nowhere guns have appeared and
    18 have begun indiscriminately shooting tourists. Tourists are
    19 running everywhere trying to escape the carnage, some huddling
    20 together near the entrance of the temple, and with nowhere to
    21 run are massacred. A guard is shot in the head, a fleeing
    22 woman is shot from behind, a man pleads with one of the
    23 attackers, kill me and not my wife.
    24 In the end, dozens of tourists are dead. It was a
    25 brutal act of cold-blooded murder. The evidence will show that

    1 these defendants were aware of the fact that this massacre was
    2 conducted by members of the Islamic Group and, further, that
    3 the terrorist who carried out this attack did so in an effort
    4 to free Abdel Rahman from prison in the United States. In
    5 other words, the evidence will show that these defendants knew
    6 that Abdel Rahman inspired terrorism.

    7 You will also learn that one of the most senior
    8 leaders of the Islamic Group wrote a book in which he attempted
    9 to justify the killing of tourists in Egypt, a book in which he
    10 referred to the terrorists who carried out the Luxor massacre
    11 as martyrs, a book that he dedicated to Sheikh Abdel Rahman.
    12 His name is Rifa’i Ahmad Taha Musa, or Taha for short. He also
    13 goes by the alias Abu Yasir. You will hear a lot about this
    14 terrorist during the course of this trial. He was a friend of
    15 Sattar’s. In fact, you will learn that Sattar had Taha’s book.
    16 Let me give you what the evidence will show about
    17 Taha. The evidence will show that he is a ruthless terrorist
    18 leader. He is one of the most senior leaders of the Islamic
    19 Group. He is on the Shura Council of the Islamic Group, which
    20 is sort of like the terrorist organization’s board of
    21 directors.
    22 The evidence will show that at the time of the events
    23 in this case Taha was living in Afghanistan with Osama Bin
    24 Laden and Osama Bin Laden’s terrorist group, Al-Qaida. The
    25 evidence will show that Taha believes that Americans should be
    SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.
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    46MMSAT3 Opening – Mr. Morvillo
    1 murdered. The evidence will show, in fact, that in February of
    2 1998, an event depicted on the time line, that there was a
    3 fatwah issued by Osama Bin Laden that called on “every Muslim
    4 who believes in God and desires to be rewarded to follow God’s
    5 order to kill Americans and plunder their wealth wherever and
    6 whenever they find it.
    7 Taha also believes that Jewish people should be
    8 killed. In fact, he coauthored the kill the Jews fatwah with
    9 Sattar that I mentioned earlier. The evidence will show that
    10 Taha was one of the moat militant leaders of the Islamic Group.
    11 You will also learn that Taha absolutely opposed the cease
    12 fire. He wanted the Islamic Group to continue in its terrorist
    13 traditions, killing innocent people to accomplish its goals.
    14 As long as a cease fire was in place and Abdel Rahman was
    15 supporting it, Taha was in the minority. His murderous hands
    16 were tied.
    17 This is where the defendants come in. They were his
    18 only link to Abdel Rahman. Taha needed access to Abdel Rahman
    19 to convince him to end his support for the cease fire. And
    20 these defendants, the evidence will show, did not disappoint.
    21 You will learn that Sattar, Stewart, and Yousry repeatedly
    22 shuttled secret messages between Taha and Abdel Rahman,
    23 messages that led Abdel Rahman to end his support for the cease
    24 fire, messages that handed Taha the momentum that he needed to
    25 return the Islamic Group to the spilling of blood, messages
    SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.
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    2136
    46MMSAT3 Opening – Mr. Morvillo
    1 that never would have been passed between these two terrorists
    2 without the criminal determination of Sattar, Stewart, and
    3 Yousry, who the evidence will establish knew exactly what they
    4 were doing.
    5 Let’s talk about the message pipeline created by these
    6 defendants in early March of 1999, the last event on this time
    7 line. The defendants Stewart, and Yousry met with Abdel Rahman
    8 in a federal prison in Rochester, Minnesota. What happened
    9 during this meeting? Well, the defendants, all three of them,
    10 pass along a message from Islamic group members to Abdel Rahman
    11 asking his permission to form an Islamic Group political party
    12 in Egypt. How? Sattar got the messages from overseas to
    13 Yousry. Yousry in prison, Yousry presented it back to Sattar,
    14 Abdel Rahman responded. Yousry presented it back to Sattar and
    15 Sattar disseminated it overseas, a clear violation of the law.
    16 What was Abdel Rahman’s view on an Islamic Group
    17 political party? He flatly rejected the idea. In other words,
    18 we will prove to you that Abdel Rahman from prison and while
    19 subject to the SAMs, with the assistance of these defendants,
    20 directed the Islamic Group to remain outside the law, to remain
    21 a terrorist organization. During this same meeting Abdel
    22 Rahman also responded to a request, one brought into the prison
    23 by Yousry and Stewart from Taha asking Abdel Rahman to end the
    24 cease fire. Abdel Rahman stated in his response to Taha:
    25 “they, the Islamic Group prisoners in Egypt, are calling for
    SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.
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    2137
    46MMSAT3 Opening – Mr. Morvillo
    1 stopping the violence, and you, Taha, do not agree.”
    2 Exercising his leadership skills, Abdel Rahman
    3 responded that Taha should give the leaders in prison some more
    4 time, the ones who had proposed the cease fire. He said, maybe
    5 the government of Egypt promised them something that we are not
    6 aware of. But he concluded his message to Taha from prison
    7 under SAMs by saying: “No new agreement or charter and nothing
    8 should be done without my consultation or without my
    9 knowledge.”
    10 There you have it. The evidence will show that Abdel
    11 Rahman was giving orders to his terrorist followers from a
    12 federal prison in the United States courtesy of these
    13 defendants under SAMs, under prison restrictions designed to
    14 prevent exactly that conduct.

  3. DXer said

    Suleiman Abu Ghaith was the fellow who in June 2002 said that Al Qaeda was justified under the koran to use a bioweapon to kill 4 million. Prior to June 2002, there was no fatwa permitting a release that would cause mass casualty.

    A number of Al-Qaeda leaders have recently relocated from Iran to Yemen, including Abu Ghaith, a Kuwait newspaper reported on Wednesday. These Salafist-Jihadis do not seem to have been rehabilitated during their lengthy “house arrest” in Iran.

    Do Anwar Aulaqi’s recent pronouncements alter his father’s arguments about his son? (The senior Aulaqi has sued the President for the CIA’s aggressive targetting of his son).

  4. DXer said

    Két kiló anthrax: biológiai terror fenyegeti Washingtont
    Az FBI szerint elképzelhető, hogy egy tömegpusztító fegyverrel végrehajtott terrortámadás főpróbája volt a pénteken leleplezett akció.
    2010. október 31. 10:48

    A CNN hírtelevíziónak nyilatkozó szakértők emlékeztettek arra, hogy 2001 őszén szintén postai úton juttattak el két amerikai szenátor irodájába és több újságszerkesztőségbe anthrax-baktériumot. Akkor 22 ember fertőződött meg, és két postai alkalmazott bele is halt a fertőzésbe. A támadással az FBI egy amerikai mikorobiológust gyanúsított meg, ám a vizsgálatot nem tudták befejezni, mert Bruce Edwards Ivins 2008-ban öngyilkos lett.

    „Konfetti a Fehér Ház előtt”

    A tömegpusztító fegyverek elterjedésével foglalkozó amerikai kongresszusi bizottság nemrég közzétett jelentése szerint nőtt a valószínűsége annak, hogy szélsőséges csoportok ilyen eszközökkel terrortámadást kíséreljenek meg. „Amennyiben a nemzetközi közösség nem lép fel határozottan, 50 százaléknál nagyobb a valószínűsége annak, hogy 2013 vége előtt valahol a világon tömegpusztító fegyverekkel terrortámadást követnek el.” – figyelmeztetett a bizottság.

    Az al-Dzsazíra arab hírtelevízióban Abdallah Nafisi kuvaiti professzor felvázolt egy ilyen lehetséges forgatókönyvet: „Mindössze két kilogramm anthraxpor egy aktatáskában egy óra leforgása alatt 330 ezer embert ölhet meg, ha egy forgalmas helyen szórják szét. Ilyen mennyiséget könnyen lehet postai úton vagy a mexikói-amerikai határon található embercsempész-alagutakon át az Egyesült Állaokba juttatni. Nincs szükség repülőgépekre, nagyszabású összeesküvésekre: a Fehér Ház előtt kiszórt kis ’konfetti’ hatalmas sikert jelentene a terrorszervezetek számára.” – mondta Nafisi 2009 februárjában.

    Feldrótozott festékkazetták

    Az október 29-én elfogott két küldeményt nagy nemzetközi gyorspostai szolgáltatóknál adták fel Jemenben. Az irodai nyomtatókhoz használt festék kazettákat két chicagói zsinagógának címezték. A gyanús küldeményeket a brit és a dubai titkosszolgálat fedezte fel. A gondosan álcázott csomagokban ugyanolyan robbanóanyag volt, mint amilyennel tavaly karácsonykor egy nigériai állampolgárságú merénylő megpróbált felrobbantani egy Amerikába tartó utasszállító repülőgépet.

    A CNN-t Londonban úgy tájékoztatták, hogy a Dubajban elfogott küldemény nagyobb volt, mint az angliai; az egy bonyolultan feldrótozott nyomtatót tartalmazott. Az amerikai hatóságok egyébként nem találtak veszélyes csomagot azon a Dubaj érintésével Szanaából érkezett Emirates-gépen, amelyet pénteken két amerikai vadászgép kísért be a New York-i JFK reptérre. A UPS és a Federal Expess, a két amerikai csomagküldő szolgálat, amelyek révén a terroristák megpróbálták Chicagóba juttatni küldeményüket, bejelentette, hogy felfüggeszti jemeni szolgáltatását.

    Barack Obama amerikai elnök pénteken a Fehér Házban közölte, hogy a két, “valós terrorfenyegetést” jelentő küldemény mögött valószínűleg a jemeni al-Kaida áll. Obama hangsúlyozta, hogy kormánya erejét nem kímélve mindent elkövet majd a terrorszervezet és a terrorizmus legyőzése érdekében. A CNN egyik kommentárja szerint az amerikai időközi választások előtt négy nappal elrendelt terrorriadó segíthet a nemzetbiztonsági kérdésekben határozatlan vezetőnek tartott Barack Obama számára, hogy javítsa megítélését.

    Az amerikai kormány szerint az al-Kaidának az arábiai félszigeten tevékenykedő szervezete áll, amely 2009-ben a jemeni és a szaúdi szárny összeolvadásából jött létre. A szervezet jemeni vezetője, Nasszer al-Vahajsi Oszama bin Laden szoros szövetségese volt. Az Arab-félsziget al-Kaida szervezete volt a felelős azért a merényletkísérletért, amelyet 2009 karácsonyán követett el egy Detroitba tartó utasszállító gépen Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab nigériai állampolgár.

    Az al-Kaida merénylője 2009 augusztusában megpróbálta megölni Mohammed bin Najef herceget, a szaúdi királyság terrorelhárító szolgálatának vezetőjét. A jemeni al-Kaida egyébként már a 2001. szeptember 11-i terrortámadások előtt is aktív volt. 2000 októberében Ádenben egy robbantásos merényletben az amerikai Cole hadihajó 17 tengerészete vesztette életét. 2008-ban a szanaai amerikai követség közelében elkövetett robbantásoknak 16 halálos áldozata volt.

  5. DXer said

    In his book out Nov. 9, DECISION POINTS, the former President defends waterboarding noting that KSM revealed plans to attack the United States with anthrax. The President writes: “He disclosed plans to attack American targets with anthrax and “directed us to three people in the Al Qaeda biological weapons program.”

    I’m dubious, without details, that the claim is supported by the evidence. KSM was waterboarded in 2003. He identified three individuals — Yazid Sufaat, who I had identified as an anthrax lab tech in March 2002, and anthrax lab techs Barq and Wahdan. (The President does not name them but my friend interviewed them at Gitmo). One was Egyptian and one was Sudanese. Neither Barq nor Wahdan were particularly highly skilled.

    The President says they did not realize Yazid Sufaat’s role until after KSM was waterboarded. Some might think that proper analysis would have revealed that mistreatment of detainees was the MOTIVATION of the anthrax attacks — not something that avoided them. In any event, the President would have to acknowledge that Sufaat was in jail, having been captured in December 2001. Years later he was released and immediately went whereabouts unknown rejoining his former colleagues in the Pakistan tribal areas.

    Instead, while justifying waterboarding on these grounds, he is overlooking that the Salafist-Jihadi allowed unfettered access to the largest microbiological repository in the world (at ATCC on GMU campus) was Ali Al-Timimi, who had served as the White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card’s former assistant and had a letter of commendation from the White House for classified work for the Navy. Now the science effort for the FBI is led by Dr. Burans, who led the Navy biodefense effort and Dr. Bannan, who was the collections scientist at ATCC in the bacteriology division. While crediting their expertise and good faith, there are serious conflicts of interest presented that needed resolution.

    The NAS, if it does not comply with the document production under FACA and does not seek to avoid the effect of all conflicts of interest, will have been part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    US Attorney Jeffrey Taylor was a Bush Administration insider and so you were never going to hear this from him.

    The former President seems very well grounded otherwise and is taking a healthy non-political approach to life. We can all wish him well. But given his view is that history will get it right and “what does it matter, we’ll all be dead?”, he should be part of setting history right.

    Specifically, for example, the Administration cannot hide Barq and Wahdan from public view forever.

    I am not politically-minded. My focus as to waterboarding and “torture” relates to true crime analysis. For the Bush Administration, the FBI and CIA to not understand that claims of torture was the motivation of the anthrax mailings … was the root of the largest intelligence failure in the history of the United States.

    And Yazid Sufaat and Saif Adel and Ayman Zawahiri right now are working to take advantage of that failure.

    • DXer said

      For his part, KSM says that he talked about anthrax because he thought the USG knew (based on what he had read on the internet).

  6. DXer said

    Saif Adel is thought to be behind Yemen mailbombs plot. Tenet in his May 2007 book included Saif Adel as among “al-Qa’da’s leadership to the group’s highly compartmentalized chemical, biological, and nuclear networks.” I suggested that letter bombs were the modus operandi of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Saif Adel in 2002.

    http://cryptome.org/alqaeda-anthrax.htm

    For the intervening 9 years, he was under house arrest in Iran. But like Zawahiri, he is not a truth-teller and so knowing his involvement requires analysis absent a confession. We were only 17 minutes from detonation of the mailbomb on the plane? What’s the timing on anthrax now that Saif is back in the saddle?

    I reasoned that on understanding this issue of modus operandi, the key was that the Egyptian islamists sent letter bombs a few years before 911 to newspaper offices in New York City and Washington, D.C. in connection with the earlier bombing of the World Trade Center. The letter bombs were sent in connection with the treatment of the Egyptian islamists imprisoned for the earlier attack on the WTC. The apparent purpose of the letter bombs — which resulted in minimal casualty — was to send a message. (There was an outstanding $2 million reward now increased to up to $5 million under the Rewards For Justice program.)

    NPR set the scene. It was January 2, 1997, at 9:15 a.m. at the National Press Building in Washington, D.C. The employee of the Saudi-owned newspaper Al Hayat began to open a letter. It was a Christmas card — the kind that plays a musical tune. It was white envelope, five and a half inches by six and a half inches, with a computer-generated address label attached. It had foreign postage and a post mark — a post mark in Alexandria, Egypt. It looked suspiciously bulky, so he set it down and called the police. Minutes later they found a similar envelope. These were the first two of four letter bombs that would arrive at Al Hayat during the day.” A fifth letter bomb addressed to the paper was intercepted at a nearby post office. They all looked the same. Two similar letter bombs addressed to the “parole officer” (a position that does not exist) arrived at the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth. It seemed evident how some Grinch had spent the holidays in Alexandria, Egypt.

    Egyptian Saif Adel (Makawwi), thought to be in Iran, was involved in military planning. Adel was a colonel in the Egyptian Army’s Special Forces before joining Al Qaeda. He helped plan the 1998 attacks on the US embassies in Africa. He was also a planner in the attack on the USS Cole and has served as the liaison officer between Hezbollah and Al Qaeda. Adel assisted Atef, who had overall responsibility for Al Qaeda’s operations. Attorney Al-Zayyat has said, Makkawi had many times claimed responsibility for operations that were carried out inside Egypt but when the perpetrators were arrested, it would be al-Zawahiri’s name whose name they shouted loyalty to from the docks. Some would even say they did not know a person named Makkawi. After the letter al-Hayat letter bombs were sent in January 1997, Saif Adel (Makawwi) gave a statement denying responsibility on behalf of the Vanguards of Conquest. He got admonished by the unnamed but official spokesman for the Vanguards organization — chastising him as not being authorized to speak for the organization (or even being a member).

    On January 7, 1997 Col Muhammad Makkawi purporting to be speaking for the Egyptian Vanguards of Islamic Conquest said: “Those are messages of admonishment. There is no flirtation between us and the Americans in order for us to send them such alarming messages in such a manner.” Makkawi said that “the Vanguards of Conquest “are heavyweight and would not embark on such childish actions.” US press and political commentaries had hinted at the Vanguards of Conquest organization’s involvement in these attempts. In his statement to `Al-Hayat, Makkawi added “I am surprised that we in particular, and not other parties, should be accused of such an operation.”

    But then someone else credited with being the Vanguards official spokesman denounced Makkawi’s authority to speak for the group, referring to the January 5th statement it had made denying responsibility. This other claimed spokesman said “We welcome any Muslim who wants to join us, and if Makkawi wants to [join us], he will be welcomed to the Vanguards march, but through the organizational channels. But if words are not coupled with actions, we tell him: Fear God, and you can use a different name other than the Vanguards to speak on its behalf.” The spokesperson for the Vanguards of Conquest was Al-Sirri, based in London. He was part of a London cell.

    The FBI would not speculate as to who sent the letters or why. But this was your classic “duck that walks like a duck” situation. As NPR reported at the time, “analysts say that letter bombs are rarely sent in batches, and when they are it’s generally prompted by politics, not personal animus.” Al Hayat was a well respected and moderate newspaper. It was friendly to moderate Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt — just as, say NBC and CBS. That, without more, was accurately discerned by observers at the time as sufficient to make the newspaper outlet a target of the militant islamists. The newspaper, its editor explained, does not avoid criticizing militant islamists. The Al Hayat Editor-in-Chief explained: “We’ve been opposed to all extremists in the Arab world, especially the fundamentalists.” Mohammed Salameh, a central defendant in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was sent to Leavenworth in 1994. The other three Egyptian extremists convicted in the bombing were sent to prisons in California, Indiana and Colorado. Like the blind sheik, Abdel Rahman, Salameh had complained of his conditions and asked to be avenged. The Blind Sheik was particularly irked that the prison officials did not cut his fingernails.

    Rahman was convicted in 1995 of seditious conspiracy, bombing conspiracy, soliciting an attack on an U.S. military installation, and soliciting the murder of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. His followers were indicted for plotting to bomb bridges, tunnels and landmarks in New York for which Rahman allegedly had given his blessings. The mailing of deadly letters in connection with an earlier attack on the World Trade Center, was not merely the modus operandi of militant islamists, it was the group’s signature — it’s their calling card. Khaled Abu el-Dahab, a naturalized American, from Silicon Valley in a confession detailed in a state security document from Egypt’s defense ministry dated October 28, 1998, explained that he was trained to make booby-trapped letters to send to important people, as well as asked to enroll in American aviation schools to learn how to fly gliders and helicopters. (Aafia’s defense counsel Dawn Cardi’s comments about hang gliders appear seriously uninformed). Dahab was a friend of Ali Mohammed, a former special forces officer in the Egyptian army and former US Army Sergeant.

    Al Hayat reporters, editor and owner were not expressing an opinion — though the owner did lay out various possibilities (e.g., Iraq, Iran etc.). The owner of the paper had commanded Saudi forces during the Persian Gulf War, when Bin Laden was so upset about American troops on the Arabian peninsula. Moreover, al Hayat had recently opened up a Bureau in Jerusalem, giving it a dateline of Jerusalem rather than al Quds, which some thought blasphemous. But none of the possibilities would plausibly explain why the letter bomb was sent to Leavensworth where three of the WTC 1993 defendants were imprisoned, including Ramzi Yousef’s lieutenant who had asked that his mistreatment be avenged. (That was the criminal genius who returned to Ryder to reclaim his deposit after blowing up the truck at WTC). Egyptian security officials claimed that said that the letters were sent from outside of Egypt, the stamps were not available in Egypt, and that the postmark was not Alexandria as reported. Whatever the place of mailing, the sender likely was someone who was upset that KSM’s and Ramzi Yousef’s associates had been imprisoned, to include, most notably, the blind sheik. Whoever is responsible for the anthrax mailings, it is a very good bet that they are upset the blind sheik is detained. That should have been at the center of any classified profile of the crime relied upon by Jennifer at the CIA. And now, uh-oh, they likely are upset that anthrax lab tech Aafia Siddiqui is detained. Isn’t it time for embarrassment to the FBI to not be a consideration — isn’t the priority to get things right and keep the country safe?

    On December 31, 1996 Mohammed Youssef was in Egypt — having gone to Egypt months before. The al Hayat letter bombs related to the detention and alleged mistreatment of the blind sheikh and the WTC bombers were sent 10 days earlier — on the Day of Measures. In 2006, he was named as co-defendant with Hassoun, Daher, Padilla and Jayyousi. Youssef was born in Alexandria. Did authorities suspect the “Florida cell” of being involved in the al Hayat letter bombs? Kifah Jayyousi’s “Islam Report” over the years — distributed by Adham Hassoun in Florida and Kassem Daher in Canada — expressed outrage at detention/extradition due to terrorism law and also what he perceived as attacks on his religion by some newspapers. His headlines on the internet groups blazed “Just In! First Muslim Victim of New Terrorism Law!: US Agents Arrest Paralegal Of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman Without Charge Prepares To Hand Him To Egyptian Regime,” soc.religion.islam, dated April 27, 1996 and “Islam Report (Newspaper Attacks Our Religion! Act Now!,” soc.religion.islam, Apr. 16, 1996

    In connection with the January 1997 letter bombs, Ayman got the know-how to send sophisticated electronic letter bombs from Iraqi intelligence according to one item from the highly controversial Feith memo. In the al Hayat letter bombings, Ayman allowed the finger to be pointed at Libya. In the Amerithrax letters, he allowed the finger to be pointed to a United States biodefense insider. After Hatfill filled the role, Dr. Ivins took his place.

    After the Al Hayat letter bombs to newspapers in DC and NYC and people in symbolic positions, in January 1997, both the Blind Sheikh and his paralegal, Sattar, were quoted in separate articles in Al Hayat (in Arabic) denying that they or their supporters were responsible. The Blind Sheikh commented that al Hayat was fair and balanced in its coverage and his supporters would have no reason to “hit” them. Sattar noted that the bombs were mailed on December 20, one day before the brief in support of the blind sheik on appeal. He questioned whether someone (like the FBI) was trying to undermine the appeal’s prospects. The same sort of counterintuitive theory was raised in connection with the earlier letter bombing of newspapers to DC and New York City and people in symbolic positions. But that time it was Ahmed Abdel Sattar who noted that the bombs were mailed on December 20, 1996 one day before the brief in support of the blind sheik on appeal. He questioned whether someone (like the FBI) was trying to undermine the appeal’s prospects. This time, Mr. Sattar did not need any help making the argument with respect to the anthrax letters — numerous people with political agendas rushed to do it for him.

    In September 2006, in a Sahab Media production called “Knowledge is for acting,” there is a clip in which Al Quds editor Atwan refers to his visit with OBL in 1996 (see his 2006 book The Secret History of al Qaeda) and he says that Bin Laden was planning to attack America “and America prisons in particular.” That was an apparent reference to the Al Hayat letter bombs sent to newspapers and prisons in January 1997. There were recurrent references to Abdel-Rahman in the tape.

    Saif Adel, like Ayman Zawahiri, is not a truth-teller. Saif and Ayman think war is deception. So knowing that Adel is behind the Yemen mailbombs requires analysis — the same sort of analysis that was required but botched in the Amerithrax matter. But the suggestion that Saif favors low-level attacks — rather than a 9/11 — is only proper characterization if you think exploding planes in mid-air or mailing anthrax costing a $6 billion response is a low level attack. Moreover, while he opposed 9-11 at the Kandahar meeting in 2000 because of the response it would cause, we assume his thinking has not evolved at our peril. Above all, Saif is a pragmatist.

  7. DXer said

    To: Counterterrorism From: ___________ 10/04/2004

    _____________ believed that if someone wanted to, they could remove select agents from the hot areas by placing them in vials and then putting the vials in their pockets. _____________ never witnessed anyone removing any select agents from the hot areas but in ______opinion, such removal could be easily accomplished. __________ explained that the military technicians were strictly acountable for all the materials that they used in their experiments. The military personnel had to sign for all of the materials they used and account for them at the end of each day. All of the materials were turned in or documentation had to be provided that showed that they were destroyed.

    _______________________ the civilian lab technicians were not held to such high standards of __________ accountability for the materials they worked with. _____________ never heard anyone talking about removing any select agent from the lab. _________________ never heard anyone make any statement indicating that they were going to try to obtain a select agent to use it for some improper purpose. ___________ was not aware of any persons with the access and ability to create or handle dangerous biological weapons to express hostile attitudes toward any political organization, the media or others.

  8. DXer said

    Dr. Ivins provided the FBI the copy of the correspondence between the University of Michigan folks, that beforehand forwarded proof of their anthrax and plague vaccinations and then afterwards expressed thanks to Dr. Ivins for his help. I don’t have it front of me now but I believe a handwritten note on the fax providing the vaccinations contemplated a visit from April 27, 1998 – May 8, 1998. The research is explained in letters from University of Michigan. Dr. Hamouda’s and my common acquaintance, Dr. “Tawfik” Hamid, who has published on the experience in a fascinating book, says that Ayman Zawahiri would recruit at the Medical School on Fridays, in a room set aside for that purpose. EIJ military commander Mabruk had not yet been picked up and so the US would not be on notice of Zawahiri’s anthrax planning until Mabruk was captured in July 1998 and rendered to Cairo. Then Zawahiri’s intention to use anthrax to retaliate for the rendering of senior EIJ leaders, to include his brother, was not announced until the next spring. Ayman’s father was a pharmacology professor, his uncle was Dean and he had two sisters on the faculty, including pharmacology professor Heba. The family was well-regarded — Ayman had 40 doctors in his immediate family. The Egyptian Islamic Group came to quickly dominate the Medical School, such that an anatomy professor could not even carry on a class if it conflicted with recruitment efforts. With the millions thrown around by DARPA, vetting and intelligence analysis took a backseat to arcane technical studies.

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