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

* The Hunt For KSM: Inside The Pursuit and Takedown of The Real 9/11 Mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed … by Terry McDermott and Josh Meyer

Posted by DXer on March 17, 2012



Editorial Reviews (from

“On one level, McDermott and Meyer have given us a fact-filled inside account, in the voices of those on the job, of the failed decade-long American effort to find KSM before he could strike again. But there is a most important underlying message in this book — that the American intelligence community remains caught up in bureaucratic warfare and remains today incapable of working together…of sharing insights and information…even when all involved share the same goal. This, ultimately, is an account of an American tragedy.” (Seymour M. Hersh of The New Yorker )

“This chilling inside account of America’s cat-and-mouse pursuit of perhaps the world’s most heinous terrorist reads like a real-life episode of the show ’24.’ Political ineptitude has delayed KSM’s trial, keeping him hidden from the world. But now two intrepid reporters tell the story, unmasking not just a terrorist of historic dimensions, but also a country failing to adequately grapple with the challenge.” (Jane Mayer, author of The Dark Side )

“I couldn’t put this book down, a tick tock thriller about catching 9/11’s mastermind. In exquisite detail it tells a story of incompetence and failure, and ultimately brilliance and redemption. It shows how we failed, and how we finally succeeded after relearning the nuts and bolts of classic espionage.” (Robert Baer, bestselling author of See No Evil and Sleeping with the Devil )

“Terry McDermott and Josh Meyer have written a completely authoritative account of the man who organized the 9/11 attacks and the often-bungled hunt to find him. The Hunt for KSM is a deeply reported page-turner about the race to find the man who was the Chief
Operating Officer of Al-Qaeda.” (Peter Bergen, author of The Longest War )

“The Hunt for KSM is an important book, detailing one of most secretive and fractured investigations of our time. Fabulous reporting and great storytelling make it one of the best thrillers I’ve ever read. That it is all true and such a gripping story just makes the accomplishment of McDermott and Meyer even more astounding. I couldn’t put this one down and neither will you.” (Michael Connelly )


37 Responses to “* The Hunt For KSM: Inside The Pursuit and Takedown of The Real 9/11 Mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed … by Terry McDermott and Josh Meyer”

  1. DXer said

    A very positive review of Josh’s book today — noting that it reads like a thriller — in a special to the Los Angeles Times notes:

    “Investigators believe parts of KSM’s networks remain in place, waiting for another day. As McDermott and Meyer point out, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed’s hovering presence and the long uncertainty about what to do with him have become metaphors for our general anxiety concerning the war with Islamic terrorism. We wish it was over; we know it isn’t.

    Rayner is the author, most recently, of “A Bright and Guilty Place: Murder, Corruption, and L.A.’s Scandalous Coming of Age.”

    That raises once again the email correspondence on Aafia Siddiqui’s thumb drive involving US-based cell members.

  2. DXer said

    An eloquent essay today by the Hunt For KSM co-author:

    THURSDAY, MAY 3, 2012 02:45 PM EDT

    Hiding 9/11′s last secrets
    The military tribunal for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed means the American people will never know what drove him to terror

    It is also important with regard to Mohammed, who confessed to dozens of plots while being waterboarded 183 times, and has said he may plead guilty even before the trial begins. Few U.S. counterterrorism officials believe all of his often boastful confessions, and it is important for the public to hear what, exactly, evidence the government has with regard to what he did and didn’t do, and whom he might have been protecting. …

    The U.S. government has kept the details of what Mohammed did — and how and why he did it — hidden in its most classified files since his capture in Pakistan nine years ago. The government should set the record straight on that, because there is an important lesson to be learned from the largely untold tale of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: It isn’t some monolithic group like al-Qaida that poses a continuing threat, it’s the one intelligent and energetic person who can emerge from nowhere and orchestrate a 9/11 while the world focuses elsewhere. …

    Instead of limiting access to a few closed-circuit TVs, it should consider televising the proceedings. It should ensure that censorship is minimized, and used only to protect intelligence sources and methods, not to save the government from embarrassment. And it should let Mohammed and the others testify at length on their behalf if they so desire.

    By doing so, the Obama administration will be able to say it did its best to put on the kind of civilian trial it has wanted all along, and one with a similar outcome to that of the al Qaida members charged with blowing up two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998.

    Those of us who witnessed that trial in Manhattan in 2001 saw the defendants squirm in their chairs as prosecutors introduced mountains of evidence against them. We saw eyewitnesses point the finger at the accused, and surviving victims glare at them from the pews.

    We heard from the terrorists themselves, and learned a lot about why they did it, about how terrorist networks operate and about what might be done to stop people like them. And when the jury convicted them, there was no question that justice was done.

  3. DXer said

    Sept. 11 Terror Suspects Charged by U.S. Military Ahead of Trial

    The U.S. military charged five alleged conspirators in the Sept. 11 terror attacks led by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, pushing the case closer to trial after years of dispute over how they should be prosecuted.

    The charges referred to a military commission could lead to the death penalty, the Defense Department said today in an e- mailed statement. The five will be arraigned at the naval station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within 30 days after the appointment of a military judge.

    Today’s action revives military charges previously filed in May 2011 after a long-running dispute over whether the accused conspirators should be handled by military or civilian courts. The case was returned to the military system a year ago after President Barack Obama’s administration abandoned plans to try the case in federal court in New York.


    • DXer said

      The authors explain that the photo you so often see with the bedraggled fellow in front of the wall was staged.

      The CIA, according to the authors, was (understandably) troubled that the press about his capture was featuring KSM in a coat and tie.

      And so they asked that a photo suited to the purpose be taken.

  4. DXer said

    The real mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
    8:54 a.m.

    “Despite eventually being apprehended in Pakistan in 2003, Pellegrino was not allowed to interrogate KSM because both he and Besheer had been completely marginalized by the Bush administration’s decision to hand over interrogation to the C.I.A.

    From 2003 to 2007, KSM was taken to black sites for interrogation. He was water-boarded 183 times and tortured in numerous other ways. But Meyer explains that KSM quickly adapted to the hardship, “It became a game to him … he quickly determined the limits of what they were able to do … he would almost taunt his captors.”

    And Meyer isn’t so sure that KSM lost the battle, “I think history will have to be the judge of that … I would say the pendulum is pretty far on the side where he was holding operational information.”


    At p 238, the authors write:

    “One of hte alleged networks of foreign nationals linked to KSM “was engaged in development and operationalization of Al Qaeda’s anthrax capability,” the Pakistan report said.

  5. DXer said

    Excerpt from book –
    Inside the Mission to Catch Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

    APR 2 2012, 7:34 AM ET 2


    One of the prizes in the bin al-Shibh raid was a large suitcase that contained a virtual road map of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s life, including bank records and his neatly framed diploma from North Carolina A&T. That piece of paper became another battle in the turf war between FBI and CIA agents, with the FBI wanting to keep it as evidence and accusing a senior CIA officer of putting it on the wall of his Karachi office as some sort of trophy or conversation piece. The disagreement spoke volumes about the rapidly deteriorating relationship between the two U.S. agencies after CIA station chief Bob Grenier’s departure, a time when the CIA increasingly tried to keep its raids and seizures away from the FBI’s Jennifer Keenan, whose confrontations with the agency were growing ever more bitter.

    Grenier and Keenan had trusted one another and built a relationship, guarded as it was. The CIA veteran appreciated the value of keeping the FBI in the loop and bringing a law enforcement agent on each raid team, if for no other reason than to gather evidence for possible prosecutions. His replacement who we’ll call Vance, had a far less inclusive view of the role the FBI should play in the war on terror. Keenan’s difficulties were exacerbated by the fact that Reimann’s replacement as FBI legal attaché in June 2002, Chuck Riley, went along with the CIA’s plan. Riley operated from a position of some weakness, as he had virtually no counter-terrorism background; his last post had been in Sacramento, Calif.


    • “…a large suitcase that contained a virtual road map of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s life, including bank records and his neatly framed diploma from North Carolina A&T…”

      LOL! What better way to establish and confirm a “legend” for a terrorist operative upon their capture.

    • Of course, the CIA officer putting KSM’s purported diploma on his wall as a trophy speaks volumes as to the competency of “U.S. intelligence”, an oxymoron if there ever was one.

    • DXer said

      It would have been a simple matter for Laurie to go North Carolina or abroad to interview his past professors and fellow students but she never did (as far as I know). I haven’t seen her make the argument you make publicly in a half decade.

      I urged her to go to North Carolina in 2002. By all means, if she believed in the argument, she should have gone.

      If you believe in the argument, you should go.

  6. I think it’s important to note that the Amerithrax investigative summary says: ‘The list of individuals who received investigative scrutiny in the four years before genetic analysis permitted the Task Force to begin to focus its investigation on RMR-1029.’

    In other words, this person-of-interest was dismissed of possible involvement in the Anthrax mailings once the FBI had what it deemed to be an effective ‘DNA fingerprint’ by which to eliminate possible suspects. If the RMR-1029 could not plausibly be connected to a given suspect, they were dismissed from the Amerithrax investigation.

    However, as is pointed out on this site, the security at USAMRIID was notoriously lax up until 9/11 and, more importantly, 100 ml of the incriminating Ames strain sample apparently went missing from the RMR-1029 flask some time between May 1999 and February 2000:

    This means almost anyone could potentially have had access to the RMR-1029 strain of Anthrax. In fact, I would highlight that this Iraqi microbiologist would be more potentially suspect in the context of an enemy state-sponsor underhandedly stealing a sample of the Ames strain from USAMRIID for the explicit purpose of redirecting any U.S. investigation inwardly in the event of bioterrorism on American soil. In other words, since this person-of-interest would have been operating in a state-sponsored facet, he is more apt to be a culprit provided a sample of the RMR-1029 that was surreptitiously removed from Dr. Ivin’s sample collection in 1999-2000 by an operative for use by a terrorist network.

    As for dismissing the case proposed by Dr. Mylroie of Iraqi involvement in the WTC bombing in ’93 and, by logical reference, 9/11, the purported fingerprint matching controversy concerning Abdul Basit AKA Ramzi Yousef in the UK resolved in favor of their being two different identities according to published reports:

    This, matched with evidence that KSM is not the real KSM from Kuwait, buttresses the case that 9/11 and the Anthrax mailings were part of state-sponsored terrorist attacks against the U.S. that were geared to be wrongly attributed to al Qaeda and loose Islamic terrorist networks.

    This is consistent with what defectors have been warning the ‘former’-KGB is up to, i.e., strategic “Grey Terror” against the U.S.:

    This conclusion is undoubtedly and understandably unpalatable for most, but one should follow the evidence where ever it leads IMHO.

    • DXer said

      Two hardworking journalists, Terry McDermott and Josh Meyer, have addressed this issue of KSM’s family background in their new book.

      I’ll make a deal with you. I will read the links you provide — and you go to Barnes and Noble and read their chapter.

      You ipse dixit claim that “this person-of-interest would have been operating in a state-sponsored facet.”

      You are assuming your conclusion. The WTC 1993 plotters were all strong supporters of the Blind Sheik.

      OTOH, Ali Al-Timimi’s father worked at the Iraqi embassy.

      Under the logic of your reasoning, Saddam did not have access to virulent Ames, the former assistant to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card did. He had unfettered access to the largest microbiological repository in the world at ATCC, which had as a bacteriology section scientist the person who took the lead on the Amerithrax scientist. Ali shared a suite with the leading Ames scientists who invented a process by which to grow anthrax using silica in the growth media (such as FBI claims may have or appears to have been done). (When I asked last week, Yazid Suffaat declined to say whether he grew his anthrax in silica such as described in an article Zawahiri had; Sufaat’s lab tested positive for Ames strain of anthrax btw.)

      Ali’s father worked at the Iraqi embassy. It seems entirely reasonable to me that Iraq would not waste a slot at a small Iraqi embassy on a lawyer who was not a spy. I believe that ironically your (truly) great lead not pursued because it would have let to the conclusion that the White House really dropped the ball and permitted a gross and transparent infiltration of US biodefense.

      But you place too much stock on it falling on Saddam. If Saddam were behind WTC 1993, Ramzi Youssef would not have had his dire money problems.

      As it was, the person who came to bail out Moussaoui’s colleague in Minnesota’s credit card had to be used to fly Ramzi Youssef out.

      Moreover, the numbnut who returned for his $400 deposit for the blown up U-Haul would not have needed to have done so.

      • DXer said

        In 2001, four senior EIJ members went to northern Iraq and formed Ansar Al-Islam.

        The fact that someone is from Iraq and a salafist in no way indicated he was supporting Saddam’s regime or acting on its behalf.

        Indeed, the 100 agents who came here the week KSM was arrested were going after money directed to Salafist-Jihadis in Iraq — not Saddam.

        They were investigating an Amerithrax lead under the cover of OPERATION IMMINENT HORIZON. It related to a spin-off of the Ann Arbor charity for which Ali Al-Timimi was the lead speaker.

      • Saddam was a middle man IMHO.

        I believe the terrorism in Sept/Oct 2001 traces to Russian intelligence and a larger strategic plot to bring down the U.S. and world capitalist system:

        After all, ‘Communist’ apparatchiks surely gloated on 9/11 at the taking down of the Twin Towers, the ultimate symbols of Western ‘Capitalism’, and striking a blow against the Pentagon, an ultimate symbol of American ‘Imperialism’. That this was achieved underhandedly via Grey Terror would have been a special feather in their ushanka.

        You are missing the big picture IMHO (as is everyone else):

        That the truth is unthinkable has well served those engaging in prolonged strategic deception of the West. One of the primary strategic objectives is to vilify America in the Muslim world and isolate us on the world stage. This has been achieved by inciting the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq via 9/11 and by meshing these military ‘crusades’ with a steady stream of anti-American propaganda (the purported lack of WMDs in Iraq and “truther” movement being part of this effort – Google “Operation Sarindar”).

        Thus, if U.S. intelligence and the Bush Administration followed the evidence where it led, then they might have refrained from intervening in the Mideast and dealt directly with the primary offender – Moscow:

        “If you are serious about the global war, let us try and think strategically. The most important strategic target in that war is the Kremlin. That is not only the best way to start winning it, but, as far as I can see, the only way. Paraphrasing Alexander (Litvinenko), we can say it is impossible to destroy the international terrorism even in a century unless you disband the Russian secret services first.” – Pavel Stroilov, a Russian exile in London and the editor and translator of Alexander Litvinenko’s book, Allegations, The Putin-Osama Connection, FrontPage Magazine, 1/16/08

        Please note that I ran the Litvinenko Chronicles at the Final Phase forum before he was assassinated with Polonium tea in November 2006:

        I believe he was eliminated mainly for his revelations regarding the connection between Russia’s intelligence services and al Qaeda:

        “The right hand of bin Laden, the Number Two in ‘Al-Qaeda’, was trained at the secret base of the Russian secret services on Caucasus, the former Lieutenant Colonel of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Litvinenko told the Polish Rzeczpospolita newspaper.” – Alexander Litvinenko (Russian Secret Services’ Links With Al-Qaeda, 7/18/95,

        The problem I’m up against in seeking to tell the truth on these matters is that there is seemingly insurmountable subjective bias among everyone around me in that, if the case I’m proposing is correct, then the consequences are too grave to contemplate. Therefore, whatever rationale possible to believe otherwise is thought up by individuals, intelligence agencies and/or the U.S. government aided and abetted by misinformation from the “other side” engaging in our strategic deception. Thus, I can only explain the phenomenon I see around me in a clinical sense, i.e., that, yes indeed, global consciousness has taken shape, but at the current juncture the ‘mind of man’ is utterly deluded and insane. Certainly that a third world war is coming is a testament to just how far removed from reality our species has become.


        • DXer said

          Dr. Ayman Zawahiri and Atef were in charge of the anthrax mailings. They have had their agenda for many decades since before the assassination of Anwar Sadat. Dr. Ayman, according to one colleague of his released from a Cairo prison not long after 9/11, made 15 or so separate attempts to recruit scientists. Nothing that is not between his two ears is needed to understand means, motive, modus operandi and opportunity of the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings. This is a crime relating to true crime analysis rather than politics. At the end of the day, the way to work a true crime matter is to figure out who stood in front of that mailbox on the date of mailing and work backwards. One doesn’t start with one’s political worldview and then try to pierce the darkness shrouding the identity of the mailer. And one doesn’t start with the stock market charting — any more than one would start with quotes from scripture.

          I wouldn’t get up out of my armchair without proof of travel on those dates, motive, and friendship with Dr. Ayman Zawahiri and his colleagues from Cairo.

          The American press didn’t even report that the EIJ shura members and Blind Sheikh’s lawyer had expressly announced an intention to use anthrax to retaliate for the rendering of EIJ officials.

          The reason Amerithrax represents the greatest intelligence failure in the history of the United States — bigger than 911 — is precisely because it led to the invasion of Iraq and because it is ongoing.

        • How did Amerithrax lead to the invasion of Iraq? Is this projection of some sort? You seem to be misguided by an underlying political stance? Have you even read Dr. Mylroie’s book?

          I just reread chapter 5, “Ramzi Ahmed Yousef – Mysterious Mastermind”. It is one of the most compelling pieces of investigative journalism ever written given its implications, yet it is passed off as crackpot theory by the leftstream media because it points to truth people, for whatever reason, are unwilling to face.

          Apparently the same goes here as everywhere else. So be it. When the missiles fly and America is no more, then I presume some left in this world will recognize the colossal error of collective human reasoning (or lack thereof) underway. Until then, as usual, my sense is that I’m just whistling in the wind. I know Dr. Mylroie has felt the same way. She was ignored and 9/11 was the consequence. Ignoring what I’m pointing out will obviously result in far, far, far more catastrophic consequences, but I guess it is what it is.

        • DXer said

          Yes, I read Laurie’s books and I would be glad to read them again. And I’ll read the links you cite. I would ask that you read the chapter in the new book about KSM’s family. Then we will have read the same things to that extent.

          True crime analysis involves very concrete particulars — such as how the Ames strain was acquired. No state sponsorship was required to obtain Ames. The problem is precisely that there were any number of ways that it could be obtained.

          Moreover, no state sponsorship was required to weaponize Ames. (The authors of the article you rely on, Dani and Stuart, are both good friends of mine and so differences in opinion need not lead to testiness.) I’ve communicated with Stuart on this precise subject many hundreds, and thousands, of times without a cross word.

          If knowledge of a state was required, Yazid Sufaat had been part of the Malaysian Armed Forces biological program before they ratified the program in 1991. I’ve posed many substantive questions this past month to Yazid but for what we’ll call Fifth Amendment reasons, he declines to answer them and hasn’t taken up my offer of a game of Words With Friends. He fears neither imprisonment nor death — and is quite gracious and good humored under the circumstances. He is not sponsored by a State. Nor is Hambali, his supervisor.

          Moreover, convicted seditionist Ali, who was coordinating with Anwar Awlaqi, shared a suite with the leading Ames researchers and shared a maildrop with the co-inventors of a process that involved growing anthrax in silica, which is indicated by the forensics the FBI concluded. Now a real puzzler is that Ali’s father worked at the Iraqi embassy. Although Ali himself was schooled in Saudi Arabia by Bin Laden’s sheik al-Hawali, the fact that his dad worked at the Iraqi embassy is a real cause for serious thought. The fact that Ali had previously worked for Andrew Card is also. Some resident of Virginia should FOIA under the state FOIA statute Andrew Card’s reference letter for Ali if such exists.

          I may be mistaken but I think Vince Cannistraro agreed with Laurie’s interpretation. I don’t know what he thinks in light of the description of KSM’s family in the new book. And you can probe the sourcing to kick the tires.

          The transcript of the WTC 1993 trial is perhaps one of the best guide to background of the WTC 1993 bombers. Many pages were uploaded on Lynn Stewart’s website.

          Ali Al-Timimi’s numerous online talks are the best indication of his religious beliefs.

          And so when one appreciates that the crime didn’t involve any more than access to virulent Ames, drying to a powder etc. then one appreciates that knowledge of a state is not required. For example, Ayman Zawahiri’s scientist Rauf Ahmad, with whom I corresponded on more than one occasion, attended annual Porton Down conferences. He wrote Dr. Ayman that he had made some internet contacts and learned some processing tricks. He went to a lab with thousands of pathogens and told Dr. Ayman that he had achieved his targets. He was an employee of the Pakistan government. Was it state knowledge he had? Sure. State knowledge he obtained at a Porton Down conference. (Dr. Taha aka Dr. Germ, as I recall, also studied in England).

          If Dr. Ayman had backdoor help from Iraq, he would not have been relying on the likes of Rauf Ahmad and Yazid Sufaat.

          In terms of the factual evidence relating to WTC 1993, do you agree that Ramzi’s complaint was that he did not have money to bring down the tower? That the one bomber went back to U-Haul to pick up the $400 deposit? That is pretty lousy tradecraft by a state if an operation is not sufficiently funded.

          But the task at hand involves drawing GAO’s attention to evidence that is exculpatory of Dr. Ivins, not to debate politics or religion.

    • DXer said

      I read the first Wikileaks that cites many of the authoritative experts who state the view I share. (In comparing fingerprints, one doesn’t know whose fingerprints they are).

      Now in terms of judging correctly what “small facts” loom large, don’t distract from the phone records. Infusing true crime analysis is controversial issue such as the invasion of Iraq is the surest way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on this issue. The issue at bar relates to GAO’s review of FBI’s science on Amerithrax.

      The argument is this: Given an expert in subtilis whose area of research involved mutations resulting from nutritional starvation (see David Relman’s piece in SCIENCE), it was imperative that the Amerithrax Task Force pursue the lead of the genetically distinct subtilis and take samples at labs other than Dr. Ivins’ lab (where no match was found). Did they?

      Don’t burden that pristine argument with an argument about KSM’s family — especially until you read the new important book about KSM and his family.

      You and I disagree on politics but that should be irrelevant to the importance of those phone records tying the subtilis expert to Ramzi Yousef. We should be on the same page in all the ways that matter. I’m very politically liberal and think we have no business in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. I think war and killing is bad. I think the influence of money leads to a lot of bad things.

      I think we should have kicked OBL’s butt at the mountain where he was hiding and packed it up and gone home.

      And having failed to solve Amerithrax, I am expecting DC and NYC to be attacked in a mass anthrax attack.

  7. DXer said

    At page 238, it just quotes a Pakistani memo (vaguely described in fn. 5 to chapter “Betrayal”) on anthrax saying that with KSM’s capture they had disrupted plots that threatened the world — to include an operational network of foreign nationals involving the weaponization of anthrax.

    • DXer said

      Wow. This is an important historical account. I’m only 11 pages into it but keep putting it down to get coffee or water — reliving the images that these authors just put in my head. Whatever vagueness I highlighted this afternoon about the citation is not at all a characteristic of the book. It is highly specific in ways that make it authoritative (by reason of being subject to corroboration). The scenes of Zubaydah being carried on the stretcher (and dropped) — or his cell phone ringing in the sealed evidence bag at the hospital room — cry out to be a scene in a movie.

      • DXer said

        At page 246-247, the authors note in passing that the day before KSM was captured in bacteriologist Qadoos Khan’s house, KSM had met with Dr. Ayman Zawahiri. KSM had been with his nephew Aziz AlI (who is Ammar al-Baluchi) (Amar al-Baluchi, who along with Al-Hawsawi helped the hijackers get into the country, that Spring married Aafia Siddiqui in a courtyard ceremony; she had been staying at Ammar al-Balucchi’s family household).

        As to the owners of the house in Rawalpindi where they say KSM and al-Hawsawi was captured, the authors say “The husband was a scientist; the wife, Mahlaqa Khanum, was a politically active supporter of the Jemaat-e-Islamic, Pakistan’s largest religious political party and one that had suspicious ties to Pakistan militant groups and even Al Qaeda.”

        • DXer said

          This is the bacteriologist’s wife, the mother of Adil, who was sentenced to 10 years.

          [3314] Ahmed Abdul Qadus’ mother Mahlaqa Khanum.jpg

        • Thank you for the link to the picture, DXer. I’d never seen her before. This is also a fascinating thread.

          I’ll admit. I still can’t shake the chill in my spine, since first hearing that KSM was apprehended in a JI residence. It’s ominous enough that the residence was in a military cantonment — that’s SOP now, and I’m quite inured to it. But JI scares me.

          I’d respectfully suggest that JI is more than a “religious political party” with “suspicious ties” to terrorism. It’s deeply involved in nearly all aspects of South Asian terror, though usually at one remove. It’s also operationally linked to other regional movements. They’re a nasty bunch.

          In so far as we’re talking CBRs, I’d note that JI’s most famous son is none other than Dr. A.Q. Khan. The detonation of his first nuke was watched by a hotel full of Saudis, and he was happy to proliferate to the secular regime of Libya and the mullahs in Iran.

        • DXer said

          And to clarify, it was the son Adil, a major,who was sentenced to 10 years in connection with an alleged plot to assassinate Musharaff. It was a secret proceeding.

          I never heard what occurred in a proceeding against the father, the bacteriologist.

          I used to correspond with Geoffrey Iqbal, who represented on a pro bono (possibly self-appointed) basis both AQ Khan and Aafia Siddiqui. (He posted here once in connection with Aafia). Years ago Geoffrey had an art exhibition here. Aafia’s sister, Fowzia, did not appreciate his efforts but he is quite earnest and expressive. He in turn thought that Fowzia’s approach was misconceived.

          To maintain transparency, he would forward emails he received to dozens of. journalists which made it impossible to have a normal conversation about the threatened use of WMD.

        • DXer said

          Rather, the Al Qaeda website in 2001 expressly explained the code in a FAQ.

  8. Of course, one of the most laughable parts of the whole tale is that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed isn’t even Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – a Kuwaiti who likely was eliminated when Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990. KSM’s identity was then usurped by Baluchi terrorist masterminds to execute “Saddam’s Revenge” which included 9/11 and ultimately was feeding the strategic interests of Moscow.

    But, hey, who’s paying attention anyways. The West is so far gone from historical reality and the end-game strategies being pursued by its enemies that the only time the truth will become clear for all to see is when there’s bright flashes and mushroom clouds are rising over local cities and military targets. In the meantime, I guess I’m on my own.

    • DXer said


      Laurie Mylroie posited that theory. DNA testing debunked it. No?

      There were members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad in Iraq, for sure. And Saddam had a senior person, a spy, in Ansar Al-Islam.

      But hher theory was that KSM’s nephew, Ramzi Youssef, was not Ramzi Youssef.

      When people are in custody it is a simple matter to determine who is genetically linked to what family, isn’t it?

      But putting that aside, I think LM’s work on the phone records relating to the subtilis expert in touch with Ramzi Youssef’s phone — the phone of the WTC 1993 bombers — up to the minute the Blind Sheikh was arrested to be extremely important.

      • DXer said

        His work has long involved the development of mutations in the anthrax surrogate subtilis upon stress due to nutrient starvation.

        • I know. I was the one who discovered this and informed Laurie as well as the FBI:

          However, the FBI strangely did not follow this trail of evidence to its logical conclusion IMHO.

          When I went public with this info in November 2002 in anticipation of the Iraq War, there was a break-in at my former apartment (hours after posting the above article on the internet) and an attempt of either intimidation or possibly assassination. I then delivered the info I had to the entire U.S. Congress to make sure the person-of-interest was examined by our government. Yet, the Iraq-born microbiologist was never properly investigated by U.S. authorities as far as Laurie and myself could tell, although the executive summary from the Amerithrax investigation does indicate he was looked at:

          In the four years before genetic analysis permitted the Task Force to begin to focus its investigation on RMR-1029, the list of individuals who received investigative scrutiny included:

          * A foreign-born scientist with particular expertise working with a Bacillus anthracis simulant known as Bacillus subtilis, and against whom there were allegations that s/he had connections with several individuals affiliated with the al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Islam terrorist networks.

          Click to access amx-investigative-summary.pdf

        • DXer said

          I think it is a fascinating and important lead. Off-the-charts actually once you realize that the motive for the mailings was retaliation for the rendering of senior EIJ prisoners. After reading Laurie’s book and being in contact with you, I wrote Professor Al-Samarrai to ask him about possible reasons for the silicon signature but he didn’t respond. Then a couple years ago I wrote again asking about something else — but I forget what exactly.

          It is good that you took initiative given that somewhere I read — perhaps in a link you had — that he was later involved in some aerosol work for NYC. I’ve misplaced the link.

          The presentation of the lead by you and Laurie, IMO, was undermined by its association with the theory that Ramzi Youssef and KSM were not who they said that they were… Although I appreciate that President Bush and former CIA Director Woolsey took steps to run it down they did not find any DNA support for the theory. KSM did in fact attend North Carolina in 1984. I urged to Laurie that she at least had to go to North Carolina if she was going to make the argument.

          I don’t want to revisit the theory (and have not studied your current wbpage) until you have had a chance to read HUNT FOR KSM which goes into detail about KSM’s brothers, to include their time in Peshawar. I think a focus on Iraq was a part of the failure in intelligence analysis — and that if FBI Agent Frank Pellegrino had been able to question KSM, Amerithrax might not have been so badly botched. OTOH, as management I don’t see why Art Cummings did not order him to submit the questions.

          But the hugely strong WTC 1993 connection is a very dramatic lead, especially when combined with various other aspects, to include the unexplained forensic finding of subtilis. (On the subject of WTC 1993, note that Salameh’s conviction is before the Second Circuit again on the subject of a possible need for resentencing. He got 32 years but the government says there should be an enhancement for terrorism.)

          I suspect the FBI pursued the full range of possible lines of inquiry. You cannot possibly have a basis to suggest it “was never properly investigated” given the investigation was confidential. But yes, that reference in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary did refer to the lead you mention. And as plausible as an Ivins Theory may seem given all the factual mistakes and spinning in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary, it is very weak and not convincing when compared to the actual documentary evidence.

          One former counterterrorism analyst in another context was emphasizing the importance of motive and means. Until you understand the motive of the anthrax mailings by talking with people like Montasser Al-Zayat and Yazid Sufaat, then the nonsense about First Graders and sororities that passes as commentary is what one reads.

          My concern would be that the agents submitting the warrants in the Ivins case, with 18 months and 3 years respectively, may not have had the background of alternative leads. AUSA Lieber herself was new to the matter.

          When an Ivins Theory is viewed against certain other theories, it is weak indeed especially given the number of key mistakes that the FBI and AUSA made in the analysis. For example, the theory is premised on the claim he had no reason to be in the lab — a position the FBI could only maintain by cynically withholding all the documents relating to the experiments in early October with the rabbits.

    • DXer said

      The authors write:

      “In the 1980s, Peshawar became the rear-echelon headquarters for the Afghan resistance … While Mohammed was away in America, at college, his brothers — Zahed, Aref, and Abed — moved to Peshawar to support the jihad agains the Soviets.”

      Would you agree that DNA testing can readily determine them to be members of the same family?

      Let me understand what you are saying in light of The Hunt For KSM.

      Would you agree that KSM’s brothers include Abed Sheikh, Aref and Zahed Sheikh? Would you agree that DNA testing would show them to be siblings? And that many people in Peshawar in the 1980s knew them to be brothers? Including Vince Cannistraro? When did they first arrive in Peshawar relative to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait? Before? Right?

      Would you agree that KSM’s parents are Mohammed Ali Doustin Baluchi, and his mother is Halima? And that DNA testing would show them to be his parents?

      Would you agree that DNA testing would show KSM and Ramzi Youssef to be uncle and nephew? Who is the father of Ramzi Youssef? Would you agree that DNA testing would show them to be such?

      Would you agree that Ammar al-Baluchi (Ali Abdul Aziz Ali) is the nephew of KSM? Who is the father of Ammar al-Balucchi? Would you agree that DNA testing would show them to be such?

      • DXer said

        At page 33, note that he was jailed briefly while in Greensboro, North Carolina. Would you agree that fingerprints taken at the time would be determinative of the issue whether KSM at Guantanamo attended the colleges in North Carolina? Note that he attended AT&T along with another nephew, Abdul Karim.

        In light of what McDermott and Meyer detail, why is this still an issue?

        • Yes….this is huge and I was unaware of KSM’s arrest in 1984. Here’s an article:

          Looks like the arrest report was uploaded to Scribd and then scrubbed:

          See how that works?

          Now the trillion dollar question is, has the CIA compared the fingerprints from the 1984 NC arrest to the KSM in custody in Guantanamo?

          You have faith that our intelligence agencies are looking into this. Dr. Mylroie and I know better.

        • DXer said

          I don’t know anything about intelligence agencies. Why should Vince Cannistraro be allowed to go to work as a consultant for the Saudis?

        • So there’s three pieces of profound information already to be gleaned from the article on KSM’s arrest record at:

          1. “Last year, while working as a reporter in N.C., I obtained the (KSM police) record from Greensboro, N.C., authorities. Originally they said it would be impossible to find, but within a month the Greensboro Police Department tracked it down, saying nobody, not even the federal government, had yet requested it.”

          COMMENTARY: How is it that the feds did not request this police record? Obviously this suggests that U.S. intelligence agencies are not seeking to ascertain whether or not KSM is using a false identity since the police record should contain fingerprints from when KSM was a student in NC in the early 1980s which could thereafter be compared to fingerprints with KSM being held in Guantanamo.

          2. “And for anyone who wants to correct Wikipedia, which says Mohammed was either born on March 1, 1964, or April 14, 1965, the document below says he was born on April 24, 1965.”

          COMMENTARY: Really? So there was either an error in the 1984 police report or the other information being used to ascertain KSM’s identity have a key falsified piece of information: the 9/11 mastermind’s birth date. Again, shouldn’t this be of significant concern to U.S. authorities regarding determination of the apprehended suspect’s identity?

          3. The uploaded police record is missing.

          COMMENTARY: Why did the reporter remove this upload from The actual record obviously was of the essence to this young, novice reporter’s exclusive story. Why remove the key substantiating piece of information? If the Feds asked that the document be removed from public access, then what are they seeking to hide and why?

      • Yes. I would agree that DNA testing would establish this is truly a “family” (likely Baluchi – which could be corroborated by DNA), and this would be very significant. Does this nullify the hypothesis that Dr. Myrloie and I propose? No, since it simply means that an actual family of highly-trained Baluchi terrorists was matched with a family from Kuwait that was eliminated for purposes of identity theft when Iraq occupied the emirate in 1990/91. The real “smoking gun” evidence from such DNA comparisons would be if there is not a plausible family match-up between the purported relatives since this would strongly evince that these terrorist operatives are using false, hijacked identities.

        “But why Abdul Basit Karim? Here we come to one of the most intriguing and vital aspects of the case. Because there really was an Abdul Basit Karim, a Pakistani born in Kuwait, who later attended Swansea Institute, a technical school in Wales. After graduating in 1989 with a two-year degree in computer-aided electronic engineering, he returned to a job in Kuwait’s planning ministry. As Abdul Basit and his family were permanent residents of Kuwait, Kuwait’s Interior Ministry maintained files on them. But the files for Abdul Basit and his parents in Kuwait’s Interior Ministry have been tampered with. Key documents from the Kuwaiti files on Abdul Basit and his parents are missing. There should be copies of the front pages of the passports, including a picture, a notation of height, and so forth, but that material is gone. There is also information in the file that should not be there, especially a notation stating that Abdul Basit and his family left Kuwait for Iraq on August 26, 1990, transiting to Iran at Salamchah (a crossing point near Basra) on their way to Pakistani Baluchistan, where, according to the file, they now live.

        Who put that notation into Abdul Basit’s file and why? Consider the circumstances of the moment. The Kuwaiti government had ceased to exist, and Iraq was an occupation authority; bent on establishing control over a hostile population amid near-universal condemnation, as an American-led coalition threatened war. The situation was chaotic as hundreds of thousands of people were fleeing for their lives. While the citizens of Western countries were pawns in a high stakes game, held hostage by Iraq, little attention was paid to the multitude of Third World nationals bent on escape. It truly boggles the imagination to believe that under such circumstances an Iraqi bureaucrat was sitting calmly in Kuwait’s Interior Ministry taking down the flight plans–including the itinerary and final destination–of otherwise non-descript Baluchis fleeing Kuwait. Rather, it looks as if Iraqi intelligence put that information into Abdul Basit’s file to make it appear that he left Kuwait rather than died there, and that, like Ramzi Yousef, he too was Baluch.”

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