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

* Who knew who?

Posted by DXer on May 13, 2010

16 Responses to “* Who knew who?”

  1. DXer said

    FBI Agent Wade Ammerman, in para. 28 of an Affidavit in support of a search, note that when Bassem Khafagi was arrested, on February 4, 2003, “Ali al-Timimi and another individual deposited $10,000 and posted a $100,000 bond for Khafagi for his Michigan court case. The court documents [that Agent Ammerman obtained from the Clerk’s office of the Court in Alexandria]. The court documents bear a signature for Ali Al-Timimi and indicate his address as 4106 Meadowfield Court, Fairfax, VA 22033.

    Who was the other person who joined Ali in posting the bond? It was later that month that 100 agents came here the minute the townhouse at Meadowfield Court in Fairfax was raided.

    • DXer said

      In his affidavit, he notes (in para. 25): “On September 15, 2001, Khafagi abruptly abandoned IMG’s leased office premises on Wheeler Avenue in Alexandria, leaving no forwarding address, and abandoning substantial quantities of records in those premises as well as in the storage facility he had leased for IMG in Lorton. FBI agents subsequently examined the abandoned records, and found numerous Islamist articles espousing jihad against America, apparently being translated into Arabic for publication.

    • DXer said

      “Khafagi and al-Timimi

      23. Bassam Khafagi is a citizen of Egypt who has maintained various residences and operated business within the United States. Among his businesses is IMG, which publishes an Arabic newspaper and periodical which explicitly espouse Islamist views and support for violence against the United States and its allies. In or about December 2000, Khafagi leased office space for IMG at 3660-D Wheeler Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia and also commercial storage space in Lorton, Virginia.

      24. Khafagi operated businesses in Michigan that, between 1996 and 1998, engaged in financial transactions with Global Relief Foundation (“GRF”) a Chicago-based Islamic charity. In October 2002, GRF was designated under Executive Order 13224 as a terrorist organization for its financial support of Bin Laden, and its assets were frozen by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”). Khafagi’s involvement with GRF is noteworthy because of some of the transactions between GRF and Khafagi’s businesses involved the circular movement of money in a manner consistent with the laundering of money ultimately destined to support international terrorism. As a result of Khafagi’s suspicious financial transactions with GRF, I suspect that he helped GRF conceal the destination of the funds that it disbursed to support Bin Laden and al-Qaeda.”

      Attorney Nubani, who represents Al Qaeda spokesman Abu Ghayth and reportedly (from an early quote in the newspaper) thinks it is a religious duty to finance jihad, represented the head of GRF in his deportation proceeding.

      Mr. Nubani now joins Stanley Cohen in representing Al Qaeda spokesman Abu Ghayth. Mr. Nubani played a central role in arranging the representation and assets for the defense of the Virginia Paintball defendants, including Ali Al-Timimi.

      The CIA reportedly asked Mr. Khafagi about Al-Timimi’s Al-Qaeda connections before 9/11.

      It was reckless for Al-Timimi to be allowed to share a suite with the leading DARPA-funded Ames anthrax researchers.

    • DXer said

      Whose handwriting were all the documents in Arabic advocating jihad? Was it Ali Al-Timimi’s? Or was Is it Bassem Khafagi’s? At the time, it was reported that Mr. Khafagi’s personal papers were found being kept by Al-Timimi.

      Mr. Khafagi was:

      • Former community affairs director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations
      • Founder of the Islamic Assembly of North America

      “The former community affairs director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Bassem Khafagi was arrested in January 2003 on suspicion of aiding terrorists. Khafagi is also the founder of the Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA), a radical, Ann Arbor, Michigan-based organization. He pled guilty in a Detroit federal court to two counts of bank fraud and one count of visa fraud.”

      IANA, according to its Executive Director, received half its funding from the Saudi government. IANA’s lead Cairo-based writer was the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, later led by Ayman Zawahiri.

      Khafagi earned doctorate in civil engineering in 1993 at Michigan State University. Khafagi later lived in Ann Arbor, Mich., operating a business called International Media Group from his home. The Seattle Times, March 14, 2003. Its storage facility in Northern Virginia with the jihad materials was closed September 15, 2001.

      Khafagi became Community Relations Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations. (CAIR).

      The Muslim Brotherhood in 2012 announced that Khafagi was running for President of Egypt.

      In a March 14, 2012 interview with Al-Hekma TV and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) Bassem Khafagi was asked about his views on the United States.

      Watch video clip here courtesy of MEMRI:

      Khafagi said, “…When I first went to America — like many Islamists who went there — I loved Islamic preaching there. I loved the place I lived in, but I never loved the US, the infidel country.”

      I wrote in my article that the US constitutes a criminal element in this world. All my writings in recent years explain the unacceptable Western subjugation enterprise. I discussed the RAND report, which was read by most of the Muslim world’s elite. I was the first to write about this report and the first to translate it into Arabic. I was the first to expose the notion of “moderate Islam,” which is used as a means to canonize a “non-Islamic Islam.” I don’t know why they call it “moderation.” This “moderation” means violation [of the laws] of Islam.

      – See more at:

    • DXer said
      CAIR Official Arrested on Terrorism Suspicions
      By: Nicholas K. Geranios | Monday, March 17, 2003

      A second man with ties to the University of Idaho has been arrested by federal agents in a widening investigation of a suspected terrorist-related web in the Moscow, Idaho and Pullman area, an FBI source confirmed Friday.

      Former Idaho student Bassem K. Khafagi was arrested in January in a hotel near New York City’s LaGuardia Airport and was returned to Michigan to face bank fraud charges, the FBI source told The Associated Press.

      Khafagi and current University of Idaho student Sami Omar Al-Hussayen both are affiliated with the Islamic Assembly of North America, the FBI agent said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Al-Hussayen was arrested in late February, about a month after Khafagi, in the same investigation and is in custody in Boise, Idaho.

      Federal investigators allege the nonprofit IANA, which says it was formed to promote Islam, funneled money to activities supporting terrorism.

      “There is a very strong University of Idaho tie to that organization (IANA),” the FBI agent said.

      The arrest of Khafagi was first reported in The Spokesman-Review newspaper in Friday’s editions.

      Investigators also have identified a third former University of Idaho student, who now lives in Detroit, as an associate of IANA. He has not been charged and the FBI agent refused to disclose his name.

      The newspaper also reported that a former Washington State University student, Ismail Diab, who lived in the area as recently as last August, is being held as a material witness in the investigation. Washington State University officials could not confirm that Diab was a student at the Pullman school, which is eight miles from the University of Idaho campus.

      IANA is affiliated with Help the Needy, another nonprofit organization based in [Syracuse] New York, also under investigation by the FBI. Four Arab men are accused of raising $2.7 million for unnamed individuals in Iraq through Help the Needy.

      Khafagi and Al-Hussayen are being held for investigation of violating U.S. immigration laws while awaiting separate trials on federal fraud charges.

      Al-Hussayen, a Saudi national, is being held in Boise on charges of visa fraud and lying to federal agents.

      His attorneys and friends in Moscow dispute the government’s contention that Al-Hussayen has led a life on the fringes of terrorism.

      But federal investigators contend Al-Hussayen and IANA provided Web sites for two radical Saudi sheiks, Salman Al-Awdah and Safar al-Hawali, who have direct contact with Osama bin Laden. IANA operated more than a dozen Internet sites, many of them managed by Al-Hussayen.

      Khafagi, an Egyptian national, enrolled at the University of Idaho in 1986 and earned a master’s degree in civil engineering in August 1988, school officials say. His specialty was structural engineering.

      After getting his degree, Khafagi remained enrolled at the University of Idaho, working as a teaching assistant in engineering and taking postgraduate classes.

      He moved to East Lansing, Mich., and enrolled at Michigan State University in the fall of 1990, MSU records show. He received his doctorate in civil engineering, specializing in structural engineering, in 1993.

      At the time of his arrest, Khafagi was community affairs director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, based in Washington, D.C.

      Khafagi was a founding member of the Islamic Assembly of North America, which was incorporated in 1993, public records show.

  2. DXer said

    Ali Al-Timimi’s friend, Bassem Khafagi, is in the news again. Egyptian Presidential Candidate and Former CAIR Official Bassem Khafagy: ‘I Never Loved the US, the Infidel Country,” appeared in MEMRI, March 14, 2012.

    Following are excerpts from an interview with Egyptian presidential candidate Bassem Khafagy, which aired on Al-Hekma TV on March 14, 2012:…

    Interviewer : We are now hearing of billions being invested in Egypt by Iran. Do you accept such financial aid or investment in the economy of Egypt?

    Bassem Khafagy : I will first examine if there are – and I’m sure there are – ulterior motives, which undermine Egypt’s national security. I will not allow any threat to Egypt’s national security for the sake of billions, regardless of their source – be it the Zionist entity or anyone else. I want investments in Egypt to come from friends of Egypt. Any party that wants to declare its friendship with Egypt is welcome.

    Interviewer : The US, for example?

    Bassem Khafagy : The US has never declared its friendship with Egypt. It declared its friendship with Mubarak. But its entire conduct… Whoever finances and supports my main enemy in the region is no friend of mine.


    When I first went to America – like many Islamists who went there – I loved Islamic preaching there. I loved the place I lived in, but I never loved the US, the infidel country.


    I wrote in my article that the US constitutes a criminal element in this world. All my writings in recent years explain the unacceptable Western subjugation enterprise. I discussed the RAND report, which was read by most of the Muslim world’s elite. I was the first to write about this report and the first to translate it into Arabic. I was the first to expose the notion of “moderate Islam,” which is used as a means to canonize a “non-Islamic Islam.” I don’t know why they call it “moderation.” This “moderation” means violation [of the laws] of Islam.

    His personal papers were found in the home of Ali Al-Timimi, who shared a suite with the leading DARPA-funded Ames researchers. Another well-funded researcher was a former Zawahiri associate Tarek Hamouda, who was supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins — the fellow who in numerous patents that are online thanked Ivins accuser Patricia Fellows for her technical assistance.

    Tarek’s close, lifelong friend was Khaled Hamid, who served as CAIR-St. Louis.

    Khaled’s brother is my friend “Tariq”. He says he was recruited by Ayman Zawahiri to jihad but pulled out when they asked him to bury a security officer near the mosque. See his book INSIDE JIHAD.

    For folks who purport to be advancing a religion, these jihadis like Dr. Ayman do not take care to espouse moral values.

    Did Tarek Hamouda know Bassem Khafagi well?

    • DXer said

      In a court filing, Ali Al-Timimi’s counsel specifically emphasized that Bassem Khafagi had been questioned about “anthrax weapons suspect” Dr. Al-TImimi BEFORE 911 in Jordan, purportedly at the behest of American intelligence. He was specifically asked about Dr. Al-Timimi’s connection to Bin Laden prior to Dr. Al-TImimi’s arrest. He was later interviewed by the FBI about Dr. Al-Timimi. Clearly such early investigations go directly to the allegations of Dr. Al-TImimi’s connections to terrorists and Bin Laden.”

      Al-Timimi was a computational biologist who came to have an office 15 feet from the leading anthrax scientist and the former deputy commander of USAMRIID. A motion filed in early August 2008 seeking to unseal additional information in federal district court was denied. The ongoing proceedings are highly classified.

      Dr. Al-Timimi’s counsel summarizes:

      “we know Dr. Al-Timimi:
      * was interviewed in 1994 by the FBI and Secret Service regarding his ties to the perpetrators of
      the first World Trade Center bombing;
      * was referenced in the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing (”Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US”) as one of seventy individuals regarding whom the FBI is conducting full field investigations on a national basis;
      * was described to his brother by the FBI within days of the 9-11 attacks as an immediate suspect in the Al Qaeda conspiracy;
      * was contacted by the FBI only nine days after 9-11 and asked about the attacks and its perpetrators;
      * was considered an anthrax weapons suspect;
      * was described during his trial by FBI agent John Wyman as having “extensive ties” with the “broader al-Qaeda network”;
      * was described in the indictment and superseding indictment as being associated with terrorists seeking harm to the United States;
      * was a participant in dozens of international overseas calls to individuals known to have been under suspicion of Al-Qaeda ties like Al-Hawali; and
      * was associated with the long investigation of the Virginia Jihad Group.
      The conversation with [Bin Laden’s sheik] Al-Hawali on September 19, 2001 was central to the indictment and raised at trial. ***
      [911 imam] Anwar Al-Aulaqi goes directly to Dr. Al-Timimi’s state of mind and his role in the alleged conspiracy. The 9-11 Report indicates that Special Agent Ammerman interviewed Al-Aulaqi just before or shortly after his October 2002 visit to Dr. Al-Timimi’s home to discuss the
      attacks and his efforts to reach out to the U.S. government.
      [IANA head] Bassem Khafagi was questioned about Dr. Al-Timimi before 9-11 in Jordan, purportedly at the behest of American intelligence. [redacted ] He was specifically asked about Dr. Al-Timimi’s connection to Bin Laden prior to Dr. Al-Timimi’s arrest. He was later interviewed by the FBI about Dr. Al-Timimi. Clearly, such early investigations go directly to the allegations of Dr. Al-Timimi’s connections to terrorists and Bin Laden [redacted]”
      The letter attached as an exhibit notes that in March 2002 Al-Timimi spoke with Al-Hawali about assisting Moussaoui in his defense. Al-Hawali was Bin Laden’s sheik who was the subject of OBL’s “Declaration of War.” Moussaoui was the operative sent by Bin Laden to be part of a “second wave” who had been inquiring about crop dusters. The filing and the letter exhibit each copy defense co-counsel, the daughter of the lead prosecutor in Amerithrax. That prosecutor pled the Fifth Amendment concerning all the leaks hyping a “POI” of the other Amerithrax squad, Dr. Steve Hatfill. His daughter withdrew as Al-Timimi’s pro bono counsel on February 27, 2009.

      ‘Dr. Ali Al-Timimi’s Support Committee’ in an email to supporters dated April 5, 2005 explained: “This is a summary of the court proceedings that took place yesterday April 4th 2005. We will send a summary everyday inshallah. *** “In his opening statement, Defense attorney Edward B. MacMahon Jr. said that Al-Timimi was born and raised in Washington DC. He has a degree in Biology and he is also a computer scientist, and a mathematician. He worked for Andrew Card, who’s now the White House chief of staff, at the Transportation Department in the early 1990s.”

      • DXer said

        The animal geneticist and food processing researcher PhD, who his supervisor and good friend says was expert at mixing powders using silica, Ismal Diab, was arrested as a material witness at the time the 100 agents simultaneously questioned 100 people. I called him to ask him who he thought was responsible for the anthrax mailings but he said too much was going on to talk. I interpreted it as a reference to surveillance. If I ever see him in the grocery store, he would be a fascinating interview. Now that the Salafist-Jihadi supporters have gained power in Egypt, are being given billions by the United States, and have been cleared of all wrongdoing in connection of the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings by the United States Department of Justice, they are free to address these issues.

  3. DXer said

    In his autobiographical summary, he says that the FBI is not keen on the public knowing that he fought in Afghanistan in the early 1990s. He then lived and served in Denver as an imam. (The Ann Arbor charity, IANA, had its origin in Denver).

    Awlaqi writes:

    “So am I justified in my dislike of America? I believe if you ask Dr Ali Tamimi [lead IANA speaker and fellow Falls Church, VA imam], Dr Rafil Dhafir [IANA Vice-Chairman), Imam Jamil al Amin, Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, the Palestinian activists, and Humaidan al Turki they would all express similar sentiment. Probably not, because they are incarcerated in the lion’s den.”

  4. DXer said

    Former head of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Bob Graham writes in his new novel,

    “As Churchill said, “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.’ That certainly includes the precious truth of the Saudi undertaking. Anyone without the highest clearances, including Ms. Watson, has no need to know that truth or its attendant bodyguards.”

    In interviews, he says he is trying to educate the American public without running afoul of CIA censors.

    Bob Graham overlooks the fact, as explained by fellow novelist and national security advisor Richard Clarke, that most intelligence is open source.

    The government does such a good job of proving the sincerity of its confusion (see, e.g., the psychiatrists’ reliance on Ms. McLean as a key witness in profiling Dr. Ivins’ psychological troubles), that there is no reason to think its highly classified understanding is any sounder than its Ivins Theory. It’s just that if there were less compartmentalization and fewer secrets, a better analysis could be done.

    Some background to Bob Graham’s novel:

    The 2006 Arrest Of Falls Church “911 Imam” And Fellow Salafist Lecturer Awlaqi ( Awlaki )

    In March 2002, fellow Falls Church iman Anwar Aulaqi — known as the “911 imam” — suddenly left the US and went to Yemen, thus avoiding the inquiry the 9/11 Commission thought so important. (Eventually Aulaqi would be banned from entering both the UK and US because of his speeches on jihad, martyrdom and the like). Upon a return visit in Fall 2002, “Aulaqi attempted to get al Timimi to discuss issues related to the recruitment of young Muslims,” according to a court filing by
    Al-Timimi’s attorney at the time, Edward MacMahon. McMahon reports that those “entreaties were rejected.” After 18 months in prison in Yemen in 2006 and 2007, he was released over US objections, where he says he was subject to interrogation by the FBI. By 2010, when the United States announced that there was authorization to attempt to kill Anwar Aulaqi, he had long since gone into hiding after acknowledging his role in the Ft. Hood shooting and attempt to bring down an airliner flying into Detroit.

    Al-Timimi’s counsel explained in a court filing unsealed in April 2008: “]911 imam] Anwar Al-Aulaqi goes directly to Dr. Al-Timimi’s state of mind and his role in the alleged conspiracy. The 9-11 Report indicates that Special Agent Ammerman interviewed Al-Aulaqi just before or shortly after his October 2002 visit to Dr. Al-Timimi’s home to discuss the attacks and his efforts to reach out to the U.S. government.”

    Falls Church imam Awlaqi (Aulaqi), who met with hijacker Nawaf, reportedly was picked up in Yemen by Yemen security forces at the request of the CIA in the summer of 2006. British and US intelligence had him and others under surveillance. Al-Timimi would speak alongside fellow Falls Church imam Awlaqi (Aulaqi) at conferences such as the August 2001 London JIMAS and the August 2002 London JIMAS conference. They would speak on subjects such as signs before the day of judgment and the like. Dozens of their lectures are available online. Unnamed U.S. officials told the Washington Post in 2008 that “they have come to believe that Aulaqi worked with al-Qaida networks in the Persian Gulf after leaving Northern Virginia.” One official said: “There is good reason to believe Anwar Aulaqi has been involved in very serious terrorist activities since leaving the United States, including plotting attacks against America and our allies.” “Some believe that Aulaqi was the first person since the summit meeting in Malaysia with whom al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi shared their terrorist intentions and plans,” former Senate Intelligence committee chairman Bob Graham wrote in his 2004 book “Intelligence Matters.”

    Awlaqi was hired in early 2001 in an attempt by the mosque’s leaders to appeal to younger worshipers. Born in New Mexico and raised in Yemen, he had the total package. He was young, personable, fluent in English, eloquent and knowledgeable about Middle East politics. Hani Hanjour and Nawaf Al Hazmi worshiped at Aulaqi’s mosque for several weeks in spring 2001. The 9/11 commission noted that the two men apparently showed up because Nawaf Hazmi had developed a close relationship with Aulaqi in San Diego. In 2001, Awlaqi came to Falls Church from San Diego shortly before Nawaf did. Awlaqi told the FBI that he did not recall what Nawaf and he had discussed in San Diego and denied having contact with him in Falls Church.

    The travel agent right on the same floor as Al-Timimi’s Dar Arqam mosque organized trips to hajj in February 2001. San Francisco attorney Hal Smith was Aulaqi’s roommate. Mr. Smith tells me that he was very extreme in his views when speaking privately and not like his smooth public persona. “Aulaqi is deep into hardcore militant Islam. He is not a cleric who just says prayers and counsels people as some of his supporters have suggested.” Sami al-Hussayen uncle checked into the same Herndon, VA hotel, the Marriot Residence Inn, on the same night — September 10, 2001 as Hani Hanjour and Nawaf al-Hazmi, and another hijacker. Hussayen had a seizure during an FBI interview and although doctors found nothing wrong with him was allowed to return home. During his trip to the US, al-Hussayen had visited both “911 imam” Aulaqi and Ali Al-Timimi.

    The unclassified portion of a U.S. Department of Justice memorandum dated September 26, 2001 states

    “Aulaqi was familiar enough with Nawaf Alhazmi to describe some of Alhazmi’s personality traits. Aulaqi considered Alhazmi to be a loner who did not have a large circle of friends. Alhazmi was slow to enter into personal relationships and was always very soft spoken, a very calm and extremely nice person. Aulaqi did not see Alhazmi as a very religious person, based on the fact that Alhazmi never wore a beard and neglected to attend all five daily prayer sessions.”

    The Washington Post explains that “After leaving the United States in 2002, Aulaqi spent time in Britain, where he developed a following among young ultra-conservative Muslims through his lectures and audiotapes. His CD “The Hereafter” takes listeners on a tour of Paradise that describes “the mansions of Paradise,” “the women of Paradise,” and “the greatest of the pleasures of Paradise.” In London, after leaving the United States, he spoke at JIMAS and argued that in light of the rewards offered to martyrs in Jennah, or Paradise, Muslims should be eager to give his life in fighting the unbelievers. “Don’t think that the ones that die in the sake of Allah are dead — they are alive, and Allah is providing for them. So the shaheed is alive in the sense that his soul is in Jennah, and his soul is alive in Jennah.” He moved to Yemen, his family’s ancestral home, in 2004.” Before his arrest in Yemen in mid-2006, Aulaqi lectured at an
    Islamist university in San’a run by Abdul Majid al-Zindani, who fought with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and was designated a terrorist in 2004 by the United States and the United Nations.

    Law enforcement sources told the Post that Aulaqi was visited by Ziyad Khaleel, who the government has previously said purchased a satellite phone and batteries for bin Laden in the 1990s. The Post explains: “Khaleel was the U.S. fundraiser for Islamic American Relief Agency, a charity the U.S. Treasury has designated a financier of bin Laden and which listed Aulaqi’s charity as its Yemeni partner. A Washington Post article explained: “The FBI also learned that Aulaqi was visited in early 2000 by a close associate of Omar Abdel Rahman, the so-called Blind Sheik who was convicted of conspiracy in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and that he had ties to people raising money for the radical Palestinian movement Hamas, according to Congress and the 9/11 Commission report.”

    He now has been released and came to be at the center of a controversy concerning what the FBI should have known and shared about Hasan, the Ft. Hood shooter. The next month he was alleged to have been involved with the planned bombing of a airliner flying into Detroit. What did Awlaqi, detained in mid-2006 and held for a year and a half, tell questioners, if anything, about his fellow Falls Church imam and fellow Salafist conference lecturer Ali Al-Timimi?

  5. DXer said

    “The Straight Path”: Connecting the Dots

    Al-Timimi’s attorney explained in a court filing that unsealed in April 2008 that Ali “was a participant in dozens of international overseas calls to individuals known to have been under suspicion of Al-Qaeda ties like Al-Hawali” and “was described during his trial by FBI agent John Wyman as having ‘extensive ties’ with the ‘broader al-Qaeda network.” Al-Timimi was on an advisory board member of Assirat al-Mustaqueem (”The Straight Path”), an international Arabic language magazine. Assirat, produced in Pittsburgh beginning in 1991, was the creation of a group of North American muslims, many of whom were senior members of IANA. Its Advisory Committee included Bassem Khafagi and Ali Al-Timimi. As Al-Timimi’s counsel explained in a court filing unsealed in April 2008:

    “[IANA head] Bassem Khafagi was questioned about Dr. Al-Timimi before 9-11 in Jordan, purportedly at the behest of American intelligence. [redacted passage ] He was specifically asked about Dr. Al-Timimi’s connection to Bin Laden prior to Dr. Al-Timimi’s arrest. He was later interviewed by the FBI about Dr. Al-Timimi. Clearly, such early investigations go directly to the allegations of Dr. Al-Timimi’s connections to terrorists and Bin Laden.”

    Two staff members who wrote for Assirat then joined IANA’s staff when it folded in 2000. They had been members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and were activists in the movement. One of the former EIJ members, Gamal Sultan, was the editor of the quarterly IANA magazine in 2002. Mr. Sultan’s brother Mahmoud wrote for Assirat also. The most prominent writer was the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Kamal Habib. He led the Egyptian Islamic Jihad at the time of Anwar Sadat’s assassination when young doctor Zawahiri’s cell merged with a few other cells to form the EIJ. Two writers for Assirat in Pittsburgh had once shared a Portland, Oregon address with Al Qaeda member Wadih El-Hage. Wadih al Hage was Ali Mohammed’s friend and served as Bin Laden’s “personal secretary.”

    Kamal Habib had been a founding member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and had spent 10 years in jail for the assassination of Anwar Sadat. In the late 1970s, the cell run by the young doctor Zawahiri joined with three other groups to become Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) under Habib’s leadership. After a visit in 2000, Gamal Sultan said Pittsburgh was known as the “American Kandahar,” given its rolling hills. In Egypt he formed the Islah (“Reform”) party with Gamal Sultan. While contributing to Al Manar al Jadeed, the Ann Arbor-based IANA’s quarterly journal, the pair sought the blind sheik’s endorsement of their political party venture in March 1999. They were not seeking the official participation of organizations like the Egyptian Islamic Jihad or the Egyptian Islamic Group. They were just hoping the groups would not oppose it. The pair wanted members of the movement to be free to join in peaceful partisan activity. They were not deterred when the blind sheik responded that the project was pointless, at the same he withdrew his support for the cease-fire initiative that had been backed by the imprisoned leaders of the Egyptian Islamic Group.

    In early April 2001, Nawaf Alhazmi and Hani Hanjour rented an apartment in Falls Church, Virginia, for about a month, with the assistance of a man they met at the mosque. Nawaf Al-Hazmi had been at the January 2000 meeting at Yazid Sufaat’s Malaysian condominium in January 2000. Hijackers Nawaf and Hani Hanjour, a fellow pilot who was his friend from Saudi Arabia, attended sermons at the Dar al Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, where Al-Timimi was located until he established the nearby center. The FBI reports that at an imam named Awlawki who had recently also moved from San Diego had closed door meetings with hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar in 2000 while all three of them were living in San Diego. Police later found the phone number of the Falls Church mosque when they searched the apartment of 9/11 planner Ramzi bin al-Shibh in Germany. In his 2007 book, Center of the Storm, George Tenet noted that Ramzi bin al-Shibh had a CBRN role.

    Yusuf Wells, who was a fundraiser for the Benevolence International Foundation, visited Northern Virginia over the April 14-15, 2001 weekend. The previous month he had been at Iowa State University on a similar visit. On April 15, 2001, he was brought to a paintball game. In the second season, they had become more secretive after an inquiry by an FBI Special Agent was made in 2000 of one of the members about the games. Part of BIF fundraiser Wells’ job involved writing reports about his fund raising trips. In his April 15, 2001 report he writes:

    “I was taken on a trip to the woods where a group of twenty brothers get together to play Paintball. It is a very secret and elite group and as I understand it, it is an honor to be invited to come. The brothers are fully geared up in camouflage fatigues, facemasks, and state of the art paintball weaponry. They call it ‘training’ and are very serious about it. I knew at least 4 or 5 of them were ex US military, the rest varied.
    Most all of them young men between the ages of 17-35. I was asked by the amir of the group to give a talk after Thuhr prayer. I spoke about seeing the conditions of Muslims overseas while with BIF, and how the fire of Islam is still very much alive in the hearts of the people even in the midst of extreme oppression. I also stressed the idea of being balanced. That we should not just be jihadis and perfect our fighting skills, but we should also work to perfect our character and strengthen our knowledge of Islam. I also said that Muslims are not just book reading cowards either, and that they should be commended for forming such a group.
    Many were confused as to why I had been ‘trusted’ to join the group so quickly, but were comforted after my brief talk. Some offered to help me get presentations on their respective localities.”

    A man named Kwon recalled driving Al-Timimi home from the mosque September 11, 2001 after the terrorist attacks. He said Al-Timimi and another scholar argued, with Al-Timimi characterizing the attacks as a punishment of America from God. “He told me to gather some brothers, to have a contingency plan in case there were mass hostilities toward Muslims in America.” Kwon said Al-Timimi told the group that the effort to spread Islam in the United States was over and that the only other options open to them were to repent, leave the U.S. and join the mujahadeen —preparing to defend Afghanistan against the coming U.S. invasion.

    After 9/11, although a dinner that night was cancelled in light of the events of the day, Al-Timimi sought “to organize a plan in case of anti-Muslim backlash and to get the brothers together.” The group got together on September
    16. Al-Timimi when he came in told the group to turn of their phones, unplug the answering machine, and pull down the curtains. Al-Timimi told the group that Mullah Omar had called upon Muslims to defend Afghanistan. Al-Timimi read parts of the al-Uqla fatwa to the group and gave the fatwa to Khan with the instructions to burn it after he read it. Al Timimi said the duty to engage in jihad is “fard ayn” — an individual duty of all Muslims. Over a lunch with two of the group on September 19, Al-Timimi told them not to carry anything suspicious and if they were stopped on the way to Pakistan to ask for their mother and cry like a baby. He told them to carry a magazine. The next day the pair left for Pakistan. The group from the September 16 meeting met again in early October, and a number left for Pakistan immediately after that meeting.

    Al-Timimi’s lawyer explains that Al-Timimi was in telephone contact with Al-Hawali on September 16, 2001 and September 19, 2001:
    “The conversation with Al-Hawali on September 19, 2001 was central to the indictment and raised at trial. Al-Timimi called Dr. Hawali after the dinner with Kwon on September 16, 2001 and just two hours before he met with Kwon and Hassan for the last time on September 19, 2001.”

    Al-Timimi was urging the young men go defend the Taliban against the imminent US invasion. A recent open letter to Ayman Zawahiri from a senior Libyan jihadist, Bin-Uthman, now living in London, confirms that Ayman Zawahiri and Atef, at a several day meeting in Kandahar in the Summer of 2000, viewed WMD as a deterrent to the invasion of Afghanistan.

    Kwon, who had just become a U.S. citizen in August 2001, went to the mountain training camps of Lashkar-e-Taiba. The U.S. placed on its terrorist list in December 2001. Kwon practiced with a semi-automatic weapons and learned to fire a grenade launcher, but he was not able to join the Taliban. The border between Afghanistan and Pakistan closed as
    U.S. forces took control of Afghanistan shortly before Kwon completed his training. His trainers suggested that he instead go back to the United States and gather information for the holy warriors. Kwon told jurors at al-Timimi’s trial how he first heard Al-Timimi speak in 1997 at an Islamic Assembly of North America conference in Chicago and then found that Al-Timimi lectured locally near his home in Northern Virginia. “Russian Hell” — a jihad video that featured bloody clips of a Chechen Muslim rebel leader executing a Russian prisoner of war — was a favorite among the videos that the group exchanged and discussed. “They (the videos) motivated us. It was like they gave us inspiration,” Kwon told the jurors.

    In 2001, Al-Timimi kept the personal papers of IANA President Khafagi at his home for safekeeping. His taped audio lecturers were among the most popular at the charity Islamic Assembly of North America in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He knew its President, Khafagi, both through work with CAIR and IANA. The same nondescript office building at 360 S. Washington St. in Falls Church where Timimi used to lecture at Dar al Arqam housed the Muslim World League.

    Al Timimi was close to his former teacher Safar al Hawali, the dissident Saudi sheik whose writings hail what he calls the inevitable downfall of the West. (Under pressure from authorities after 9/11, Al Hawali has played a public role in mediating between Saudi militants and the government.) Al-Timimi sought to represent and explain the views of radical sheik Al-Hawali in a letter he sent to members of Congress on the first anniversary of the mailing to the US Senators Daschle and Leahy. The Hawali October 6, 2002 letter drafted by Al-Timimi was hand delivered to every member of the US Congress just before their vote authorizing the use of force against Iraq, warning of the disastrous consequences that would follow an invasion of Iraq. Dr. Timimi’s defense committee explained on their website:
    “Because Dr. Al-Timimi felt that he did not have enough stature to send a letter in his name on behalf of Muslims, he contacted Dr. Al-Hawali among others to send the letter. Dr. Al-Hawali agreed and sent a revised version which Dr. Al-Timimi then edited and had hand delivered to every member of Congress.”

    In addition to the October 6, 2002 letter, drafted by Al-Timimi, Hawali had sent a lengthy October 15, 2001 “Open Letter” to President Bush in which he had rejoiced in the 9/11 attacks. One Al-Hawali lecture, sought to be introduced in the prosecution of the IANA webmaster, applauded the killing of Jews and called for more killing, praised suicide bombings, and said of Israel that it’s time to “fight and expel this hated country that consists of those unclean, defiled, the cursed.”

    Bin Laden referred to Sheik al-Hawali in his 1996 Declaration of War on America. Prior to the 1998 embassy bombings, Ayman’s London cell sent letters to three different media outlets in Europe claiming responsibility for the bombings and referring to Hawali’s imprisonment. In two of the letters, the conditions laid out as to how the violence would stop were (1) release of Sheik al-Hawali (who along with another had been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia in 1994) and (2) the release of blind sheik Abdel Rahman (who had been imprisoned in connection with WTC 1993). Hawali was released in 1999 after he agreed to stop advocating against the Saudi regime.

    Al-Timimi sent out a February 1, 2003 email in Arabic containing an article that said:
    “There is no doubt Muslims were overjoyed because of the adversity that befell their greatest enemy. The Columbia crash made me feel, and God is the only One to know, that this is a strong signal that Western Supremacy (especially that of America) that began 500 years ago is coming to a quick end, God willing, as occurred to the shuttle.”

    As Ali later explained to NBC, “To have a space shuttle crash in Palestine, Texas, with a Texas president and an Israeli astronaut, somebody might say there’s a divine hand behind it.”

  6. DXer said

    As I recall, Kamal Habib graduated in 1979 #1 in his class at Cairo University, majoring in political science.

    The co-founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and lifelong friend of Dr. Ayman, Kamal was the lead writer for the Ann Arbor-based charity Islamic Assembly of North America.

    Amerithrax represents the greatest intelligence failure in the history of the United States.,9171,2063777,00.html

    To listen to Kamal Habib extol the democratic ideal is to slip into a parallel universe where down is up and black is white. This is, after all, the co-founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, who was jailed for years — some of them alongside his classmate from university Ayman al-Zawahiri, now al-Qaeda’s No. 2 — for allegedly helping organize the assassination of President Anwar Sadat. His democratic credentials are, at best, slim. And yet here’s Habib, on the fourth floor of Cairo’s Journalists’ Union, along with a few dozen men sporting long beards and Islamic garb, to discuss plans for a political party. “Most of these men are jihadists who were detained and tortured,” he says. Habib himself was released 20 years ago, and he has renounced the armed struggle. Now they all want to get into politics.

    Habib, 53, and his followers are Salafists, adherents of a particularly fundamentalist strain of Islam, and until recently they regarded democracy as un-Islamic. That changed, he says, when the Tahrir Square demonstrations brought down President Hosni Mubarak: “What we’d been trying to achieve for 40 years by force, the people managed to do in 18 days without the use of force.” (See pictures of the drama on Tahrir Square.)

    It’s tempting to view Habib’s embrace of peaceful, participatory politics as a triumph of democracy. On balance, it’s a good thing that he’s part of the process rather than outside it. For a relative newbie in politics, he’s already quite good in the art of the sound bite, and he has a catchy label for himself: “a modernist Salafist.”

    But the values he preaches sound anything but modern. He envisions an Egyptian society governed by a strict Islamic code, in which women stay at home, only a Muslim can be President and punishments are meted out in accordance with Islamic law. The gathering at the Journalists’ Union is “sort of a relaunch or revival of the Islamic Jihad movement,” Habib says. “From a closed ideological movement to a political force.” (See pictures of Mubarak: The Man Who Stayed Too Long.)

    That kind of language sends shivers down the spine of many a Tahrir Square revolutionary. Egyptians know too well the brute intolerance preached in Salafist schools across the Islamic world. There have already been reports of Salafist-inspired violence since Mubarak’s exit: women have been harassed in the street; shrines deemed heretical have been burned; extremists in rural central Egypt severed the ear of a Christian teacher they accused of renting an apartment to prostitutes. The Salafists, says Hisham Kassem, a prominent opposition newspaper publisher in the Mubarak era, “are being obnoxious in every way.”

    Read more:,9171,2063777,00.html#ixzz1IvWjf09W

  7. DXer said

    Catherine Herridge, the reporter holding up the email from Dr. Ivins about John’s making of the dried powder out of Ames from Flask 1029, reported recently on “Just What Is The Muslim Brotherhood?”

    She writes:

    “Among the brotherhood’s graduates: Al Qaeda’s number two leader, the Egyptian doctor Ayman al-Zawahiri who was imprisoned for three years on weapons charges following President Anwar Sadat’s assassination in 1981, Hamas, the terror network behind suicide bombings and rocket attacks in Israel, and the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, whose goal is the destruction of Israel.

    Walid Phares, who is a terrorism analyst for FOX News, has studied the Muslim Brotherhood. Phares says its history shows that the group is not secular and not moderate.

    “The Muslim Brotherhood is the mothership for the jihadi ideologies and thinking. And therefore one can say today’s Al Qaeda, and today many other jihadists, are off shoots of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

    Other analysts, including Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution argue that it may be impossible for the United States to resist dealing with the Brotherhood as a player in Egypt.

    “It’s not out there in the business of committing terrorist actions,” O’Hanlon pointed out. “Now, the question is — the question is what lurks beneath, ideologically and otherwise.” ”

    Read more:

  8. DXer said

  9. DXer said

    The former head of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Kamal Habib, was the lead writer for the Ann Arbor-based IANA. He and the other IANA writer Gamal Sultan proposed to the sheik that a reform political party be endorsed by the Egyptian Islamic Group. The blind sheik said no — that it would violate shariah to have the majority being able to override it. Montasser Al-Zayat and Mamdouh Ismail, who also were seeking to form a different party, accordingly deferred. It was then that Al-Zayat announced that Ayman Zawahiri was going to use anthrax to retaliate against the US for the rendering and mistreatment of senior jihadists.

    So while the DOJ does not know what Dr. Ivins’ motive would have been, and speculated about various possible motives, Dr. Ayman (through proxies) expressly announced his motivation.

    The televised scenes of secular, middle-class youngsters and Egyptians from all walks of life courageously and largely peacefully challenging the regime of President Hosni Mubarak have been transmitted onto tens of millions of television screens across the Arab world and have captured the imagination, providing vastly more attractive role models for young Arabs, whose hopes for too long have been strangled by political, economic and cultural sclerosis.

    While policymakers in Washington are understandably nervous about what happens next, this early Arab Spring has the potential to severely damage al Qaeda’s standing in the Arab world and deflate its claims to be the only vanguard for change in the Middle East; for energized Arab populations, never has the group seemed more irrelevant. The Obama administration should not let the moment get away.
    While Mubarak has over the years won plaudits in the West for crushing violent Islamist extremists in Egypt in the 1990s, his good relations with Israel, his role in the Palestinian peace process and his cooperation in the war on terrorism, the kleptocratic security state he and his new Vice President Omar Suleiman erected in Egypt unwittingly did more to create al Qaeda than to stifle it, and turned several of its leaders against the United States.

    Egyptians have played key leadership roles within al Qaeda since its foundation. Three in particular — Ayman al Zawahiri, Mohammed Atef, and Abu Ubaidah al-Banshiri — helped radicalize Osama Bin Laden, turning him against Arab regimes.

  10. DXer said

    Two years later in this article by the same expert, I still am not seeing a tie between Abu Khabab to anthrax rather than chemical weapons. The Zabadi program was as compartmented as the Amerithrax investigation. James Vandevelde at the November 29 conference explained that the bio people were the elite and kept compartmented from the chem people and Abu Khabab was just chem, wasn’t he?

    The blind sheik’s son mentioned in the article was involved in recruiting WMD specialists. He came to Ann Arbor in 1996 to speak alongside Ali Al-Timimi at an Ann Arbor IANA conference.

    The Al Qaeda Weapons Race Continues: Osama Bin Laden’s Infamous ‘Sorcerer’, Midhat Mursi Al Sayyid Umar, Comes Back from the Dead and Rekindles New Fears That Jihadists Are Pursuing Chemical, Biological and Radiological Weapons.
    The Middle East. Issue: 389. Publication Date: May 2008.

    by Ed Blanche

    THE EGYPTIAN KNOWN as Midhat Mursi Al Sayyid Umar was supposed to be dead, killed in a US missile strike on suspected terrorists in Pakistan’s turbulent northwestern tribal belt on 13 January, 2006. Pakistani generals claimed he was one of several senior Al Qaeda figures slain by Hellfire missiles fired from a Central Intelligence Agency Predator at a clandestine gathering in the village of Damadola near the Afghan border.

    But it seems that Mursi, a chemical engineer known as Osama bin Laden’s “sorcerer”, with a $5m US bounty on his head, is still alive and, the Americans believe, working in secret laboratories across the badlands of the tribal zone to develop chemical, biological and radiological weapons–and maybe even nuclear weapons–for Al Qaeda.

    US intelligence officials were never convinced that Mursi, alias Abu Khabab Al Masri, died in Damadola and now even Pakistani intelligence chiefs concede that he’s alive and kicking. The Americans say that electronic surveillance of known and suspected Al Qaeda figures in recent months has turned up conversations in which Mursi is mentioned in the present tense.

    However, they have not been able to pinpoint his whereabouts because he has gone deep underground and is believed to communicate only by courier. But from what they have been able to piece together, they believe the 45-year-old Mursi has revived the chemical and biological warfare (CBW) programme Al Qaeda had in Afghanistan before the US-led invasion in October 2001. At that time, the Egyptian headed a programme codenamed Project Al Zabadi (Arabic for ‘curdled milk’) at Al Qaeda’s Darunta training complex in the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan. According to the evidence the Americans have put together from electronic intercepts, informants, the interrogation of captured militants and tracking Al Qaeda’s financial networks, Mursi is concentrating on manufacturing cyanide, chlorine and other lethal poisons.


    Chris Quillen, a former CIA analyst who until he left the agency in 2006 specialised in Al Qaeda’s efforts to produce weapons of mass destruction (WMD), said earlier this year that Mursi and his people may have made major advances in their Pakistani hideouts. “I’m not saying the programmes are great and ready for an attack tomorrow,” he said. “But whatever they lost in the 2001 invasion, they’re back at that level at this point.”

    Mursi is believed to have served with the Egyptian Army as an ordnance expert before he became involved in Bin Laden’s Project Al Zabadi at the Darunta complex about 120km east of Kabul. He was considered one of Al Qaeda’s master bomb-makers and was highly regarded despite his oversized ego and argumentative disposition.

    Computer files on Project Zabadi uncovered by the coalition in Afghanistan in 2002 showed that Bin Laden gave Mursi a startup budget in May 1999 to get the project off the ground. Because he had to account for the money, he videotaped his experiments that included using what seemed to be hydrogen cyanide on dogs. The tapes were captured by US forces.

    Mursi also worked on developing a pathogen identified as Agent X, which terrorism experts believe is almost certainly anthrax, although US officials have long warned that Al Qaeda was seeking to produce botulinum toxin, smallpox, plague or ebola.

    At that time, according to US and western European intelligence agencies, Mursi headed a nine-member Al Qaeda committee that oversaw CBW development and possibly planning for any attacks using its deadly products. This group included some of Bin Laden’s top people, underlining the commitment of Al Qaeda Central to developing weapons of mass destruction. That commitment, US and European officials believe, has not diminished and it is likely that the committee has been reconstituted in Pakistan.

    The original committee included such people as Assadallah Abdul Rahman, a son of the blind Egyptian cleric Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, the iconic radical convicted of the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing in New York. The younger Rahman, who was in charge of procuring material for the programme, was captured in February 2003.

    Another member was Mustafa Setmariam Nassar, alias Abu Musab Al Suri, a veteran Al Qaeda figure with a $5m US bounty on his head. He was one of the network’s top strategists and ideologues who espoused global jihad and encouraged chemical warfare against the enemies of Islam.

    He worked closely with Mursi and was described by one counter-terrorism analyst as “the most dangerous terrorist you’ve never heard of”. The red-bearded Nassar, a dual citizen of Syria and Spain, was captured in Pakistan on 31 October, 2005. He was handed over to US agents several months later, a prize catch with intimate knowledge of Al Qaeda’s WMD programme.

    According to western CBW experts who examined Mursi’s Darunta operation following the dispersal of Al Qaeda by the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, he appeared to be experimenting rather than actually producing weapons-grade stocks at that time. The presumption is that he continued his efforts elsewhere when Al Qaeda was forced to free.

    Mursi went to the Pankisi Gorge region of Georgia with other Al Qaeda luminaries to find refuge with Chechen jihadis and began planning bioweapons attacks, largely employing North African personnel, according to US officials. The Russians have reported attempts by Islamist Chechen rebels to use chemical weapons.

    US officials say that these days Mursi is suspected of training special operatives in his lethal alchemy to carry out attacks in Europe. Western intelligence agencies have long believed Bin Laden hoped to unleash CBW attacks on the cities of the US and Europe to inflict the kind of mass casualties caused by the 9/11 suicide attacks.

    The US presidential commission that investigated the failure of US intelligence services to prevent 9/11, reported in March 2005 that these agencies had badly underestimated Al Qaeda’s efforts to develop chemical and biological weapons and still did not have a full understanding of the organisation’s capabilities.

    But if the reports of Mursi’s activities are anything to go by, that threat clearly remains. Europe’s intelligence services have warned that the likelihood of chemical or biological attacks is growing as Islamist extremists extend their cell network, increasingly comprised of veterans of the Iraq war, across the continent.

    There have been at least six Al Qaeda operations involving chemical weapons that have all been thwarted, including one reported plot to attack the New York subway system with cyanide that was supposedly scrapped by Al Qaeda itself. Jordanian authorities say they foiled a major chemical attack on Amman in 2004. Although there is some scepticism that the plot was as ambitious as the Jordanians claimed it was, it illustrated the kind of mass-casualty attack Al Qaeda sought to mount in the West.

    The plot to attack the New York subway with cyanide was supposedly scheduled for the spring of 2003, about the time the US-led invasion of Iraq took place. Whether there was any correlation between the two remains unclear.

    The plot was first reported in June 2006 in a book, The One Percent Doctrine by journalist Ron Suskind. He claimed Al Qaeda had successfully developed a portable device to disperse cyanide gas, which kills when it is inhaled. US security officials confirmed that a plot had been foiled, but gave no details.

    It was presumably modelled on the 20 March, 1995, attack on Tokyo’s subway by a little-known doomsday cult known as Aum Shinrikyo (Supreme Truth) with sarin, a lethal nerve gas developed by the Nazis in World War II. Twelve people were killed and more than 5,000 were injured, some permanently.

    Ayman Al Zawahiri, Bin Laden’s deputy and eminence grise who was apparently in charge of the plot, called off the attack 45 days before it was scheduled to be launched, possibly because it was not deemed apocalyptic enough to surpass the 9/11 carnage.

    Michael Scheuer, a former senior CIA officer who headed the unit tasked with tracking Bin Laden, wrote after the book was published: “This judgment seems to be on solid ground. Since declaring war on the United States in 1996, Osama bin Laden has repeatedly underscored his preferred method of operation … incrementally increase the pain that (Al Qaeda’s) attacks cause the United States until it forces Washington to change its polities toward Israel and the Muslim world.”

    Scheuer questioned that if thousands of people killed in the New York subway did not satisfy Bin Laden, what would? The answer, he surmised, “may well be the detonation of a nuclear weapon of some sort. While there is no definitive evidence that Al Qaeda has such a device, the group has a specialised unit–staffed by hard scientists and engineers–that has sought one since at least 1992, and events … suggest that such a possibility remains current.”

    In April 2004, Jordanian authorities claimed to have thwarted a major chemical attack in Amman masterminded by Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, then leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq. The Jordanian-born Zarqawi, a fierce opponent of the Hashemite monarchy, was killed in a US Air strike near Baghdad on 7 June, 2006.

    According to confessions made by several of the suspects on television–a practice used by Arab governments in which the prisoners’ statements are generally seen as carefully stage-managed–the group planned to use three trucks packed with explosives and 20 tons of toxic chemicals to attack the Dairat Al Mukhabarat, the hilltop headquarters of the General Intelligence Department (GID), on the outskirts of Amman; the prime minister’s office; and the US Embassy.

    According to King Abdullah II, the militants planned to decapitate the Jordanian government. Had the attack actually taken place it would have been the first terrorist CBW operation on that scale.

    Zarqawi was something of a maverick who did not always coordinate with Al Qaeda Central, so it is not known whether the Amman plot had been sanctioned by Bin Laden and his cohorts, or whether Mursi was involved. But it was the kind of spectacular that Bin Laden sought as a follow-up to 9/11.

    The Jordanians claimed that Zarqawi’s plot could have killed up to 80,000 people, mostly from a poisonous toxic cloud created by the bomb explosions. That projected death toll, nearly 30 times greater than the 9/11 carnage, was considered in many quarters to have been highly inflated for propaganda purposes by the Jordanian authorities.

    On 7 November, 2006, Dhiren Barot, an Indian-born Hindu who converted to Islam, was sentenced to life imprisonment at Woolwich Crown Court in London for plotting unprecedented carnage on both sides of the Atlantic, including detonating a “dirty bomb” laced with radioactive material to cause massive contamination in heavily populated urban centres. State prosecutor Edmund Lawson said Barot planned “to strike at the very heart of both America and Britain, and to cause the loss of human life on a massive scale”.

    Barot, who was arrested on 3 August, 2004, while having a haircut at his local barber in London, was considered Al Qaeda’s top operative in the United Kingdom. According to British intelligence, he was controlled by senior Al Qaeda figures in Pakistan’s tribal belt, including the alleged 9/11 mastermind Khaled Sheikh Mohammed before he was captured in Pakistan in March 2003.

    Barot, a former airline ticket clerk who contacted Al Qaeda in 1995, was convicted of planning to blow up major London hotels such as the Dorchester and the Savoy, and railway terminals such as Waterloo and King’s Cross.

    The most developed plot was one he called the “Gas Limos Project” which involved packing three limousines with explosives and gas cylinders and blowing them up in the basement car parks of the target buildings. He also planned to bomb iconic US buildings such as the New York Stock Exchange, The World Bank in Washington and the Prudential building in Newark, New Jersey.

    But Barot was also obsessed with constructing “dirty bombs”, known as radio-logical dispersal devices (RDDs). He and his seven-man cell planned to use one in London. The range and sophistication of his planning chilled British police when they decoded his meticulous computer files, which included research on “dirty bombs” hidden in files entitled “Brad Pitt” and “radioactive children”.

    In October 2004, the CIA said in a voluminous report that another Iraqi group, Jaish Al Mohammed (Mohammed’s Army), largely made up of former military and intelligence personnel from Saddam Hussein’s regime, hired two chemists to develop crude chemical or biological weapons. But in the seven months before the group, known as the Al Abud network, was uncovered in June 2004 it failed to produce even a rudimentary weapon.

    The exhaustive 960-page report was the work of Charles Duelfer, the CIA’s chief weapons investigator in Iraq and a former deputy chairman of the United Nations Special Commission that hunted down Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction in 1992-98.

    Duelfer’s report said the Iraq Survey Group, the largely CIA unit tasked with tracking down Saddam’s WMD programmes following the 2003 invasion, stumbled across the insurgent chemical and biological warfare operation in March 2004 after US troops raided a laboratory in Baghdad. They discovered an Iraqi chemist who had produced small quantities of ricin, made from castor beans and one of the deadliest known toxins.

    Duelfer said Jaish Al Mohammed had begun working on CBW in December 2003 in Fallujah, a city that became an insurgent stronghold, when it recruited “an inexperienced Baghdad chemist” to help them produce tabun, a lethal nerve agent. The CIA report said captured Jaish operatives told interrogators from Duelfer’s group that they planned to fill mortar shells and other munitions to use against the occupation forces.

    The chemist was not able to produce tabun, but the rebels filled nine mortar rounds with another poisonous mixture he concocted. Duelfer’s team deemed those shells useless as CBW weapons because the explosions on impact would incinerate the poison.

    The Al Abud network switched to working on mustard gas in early 2004, but again failed to produce a deployable weapon. However the scientists were able to produce ricin cake, which can be converted into ricin poison. Duelfer’s team concluded that the chemists could produce ricin in small quantities, but were “not capable of facilitating a mass-casualty ricin attack”. Still, ricin was involved in jihadist plots in London, Paris and Rome soon after. All were thwarted before they could be carried out.

    Duelfer noted that the insurgents’ efforts to produce rudimentary CBW capabilities caused great alarm in the US-led coalition because the group had been able to recruit scientists from Saddam’s secret weapons programmes and to fund their efforts. If the Al Abud network had not been rolled up, he maintained, “the consequences … could have been devastating to coalition forces”. The leaders and financiers of the network “remain at large and alleged chemical munitions remain unaccounted for”.

    The report concluded that Al Abud “was not the only group planning or attempting to produce CBW agents” and cautioned that the “availability of chemicals and materials dispersed throughout the country, and intellectual capital from the former WMD programmes increases the future threat to coalition forces.”

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