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FBI Had Direct Link to Bin Laden—in 1993

CaptureThe FBI had a human source in direct contact with Osama bin Laden in 1993 and discovered that he was eager to finance terror attacks on the United States, according to little-noticed testimony in a court case several years back.

The testimony, just reported by the Washington Times, underlines how poorly we understand the degree to which the federal government was interacting with Osama bin Laden and monitoring the activities of a network that came to be widely known as Al Qaeda.

The information, which emerged during an obscure employment dispute case filed by an agent, was provided by Edward J. Curran, who had been a top official in the Bureau’s Los Angeles office. “It was the only source I know in the bureau where we had a source right in al Qaeda, directly involved,” Curran told a nearly empty courtroom in 2010.

The source was credible enough that the Bureau was able to use his information to prevent an attack on a Los Angeles Masonic temple at the time.

Several former lawmakers involved with 9/11 reviews told the newspaper they were unaware of the FBI-Al Qaeda connection.

“I think it raises a lot of questions about why that information didn’t become public and why the 9/11 Commission or the congressional intelligence committees weren’t told about it,” said former Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), who chaired the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the aftermath of the 9/11 report.

The Commission’s former executive director, Philip Zelikow, now a history professor at the University of Virginia, characterized the panel’s limited appetite for a long view of the events culminating on September 11, 2001. Of the 1993 time frame when the FBI apparently had its source into bin Laden’s outfit, he said,  “We did not delve as deeply in this period because it was so distant from the plotting that led directly to the 9/11 attack.”

The notion that what was happening in 1993 had little to do with the 2001 attacks, however, is questionable. It was in 1993 that plotters who had been trained in Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan detonated a truck bomb beneath the North Tower of the World Trade Center in a plot that failed to bring the towers down. The alleged financier of that early attack, Khaled Sheikh Mohamed, is credited with coming up with the subsequent idea of crashing a plane into CIA headquarters and later conceptualizing the 9/11 attacks for Al Qaeda. Furthermore, an FBI informant, Emad Salem, was deeply involved with the 1993 plotters while apprising his Bureau handlers.

FBI Hotline to Osama

According to Curran’s testimony, the agent developed a source who was connected to Omar Abdel-Rahman, the so-called “Blind Sheik” credited with the 1993 Trade Center bombing. Even more significantly, the source went overseas and personally met with bin Laden. He was described as “very in tight, close,” to bin Laden’s leadership team.

While with bin Laden, the source learned that the Saudi had picked out a target for a bombing in the LA area—which is believed to have been a Masonic lodge. The FBI supervisor said the source also knew all about California-based cells.

The general thrust of Curran’s testimony was borne out by documents.

In a particularly revealing moment, Curran explained how the Al Qaeda source was pressured to cooperate, including by working with the source’s wife from an arranged marriage to first deport the source and then let him come back in return for betraying his comrades.

FBI Defaults to Not Remembering

The FBI, which has not in memory admitted to having withheld information from elected officials, predictably told The Washington Times that it could not document whether or not it had briefed the 9/11 Commission about the 1993 asset or plot. One question might be: Why not? Does it not keep records on briefings to government officials? The Times does not appear to have asked this of the Bureau, but did note its standard, highly qualified disclaimer, quoting Assistant Director Michael P. Kortan:

“The FBI made all relevant information available to the 9/11 Commission and the joint intelligence community inquiry. Throughout both of these reviews, the FBI shared pertinent documents and knowledgeable personnel in order to present all known information to commission and inquiry personnel.”

Of course, as Zelikow’s analysis underlines, words like “relevant” and “pertinent” are highly subjective and can be used to exclude crucial evidence that would fundamentally alter our understanding of major events.

In fact, the FBI clearly withheld the information about its Al Qaeda asset. Stephen Kohn, attorney for the FBI agent who filed the discrimination suit, Bassem Yousef, and who has represented numerous important FBI whistleblowers, said the information might never have come out through normal channels. Even his client did not reveal the Al Qaeda angle because it was classified—it only emerged in the legal proceedings.

“I was shocked when it came out, and I was frustrated because the FBI had censored that information clearly to hide it from the public,” said Kohn, who has represented some of the FBI’s most famous whistleblowers over the years.

“There was absolutely no reason for that to be kept secret,” he told The Washington Times. “In some respects, it was kind of demeaning for the FBI because they had kept secret one of the most significant triumphs in the war on terror all so they wouldn’t have to give credit to Bassem for the work he had done. As a result, none of the bureau got the credit it was due for what was a spectacular counterterrorism triumph.”

What Kohn seems to have missed—or perhaps could not say as it is not in his narrow purview as an attorney representing clients, is that it is hardly likely that the FBI withheld information about a source in Osama bin Laden’s inner circle and had to keep its successes quiet just to best one agent in a job dispute.

Indeed, had the FBI revealed what has only emerged now, everything would be different. For one thing, the 9/11 commission would not have been able to pooh-pooh notions that the 2001 attack had domestic roots going back years.

Growing Questions about the FBI

This is hardly the first instance in which the FBI has been involved in controversial or unexplained interactions with terrorists, alleged terrorists, or potential witnesses—and failed to properly brief elected officials with purported responsibility for providing oversight of security matters on behalf of the public. In addition to the harassment and shooting of potential Boston bombing case witnesses, there is the suppression of information about an FBI investigation into Saudi-9/11 ties out of Florida, and of information concerning the targeting of Occupy movement leaders by snipers.

Former Congressman Hoekstra, clearly alarmed by the latest revelation, nonetheless resorted to pro forma, cautious language and failed to raise larger questions about the FBI and who is in control of the powerful agency. “This is just one more of these examples that will go into the conspiracy theorists’ notebooks, who say the authorities are not telling us everything,”  Hoekstra told The Times. “That’s bad for the intelligence community. It’s bad for law enforcement and it’s bad for government.”

To be sure, though, it is difficult in this matter, as in others involving the Bureau, to sort out willfulness from incompetence.  Bassem’s discrimination case stemmed from the FBI blocking Bassem from his job as a top anti-terrorism officer because superiors worried that he was a Muslim of dubious loyalties. In fact, Bassem was and is Christian.

If the FBI truly did not know that, then it deserves a whole other level of scrutiny.

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  • Sarastro92

    Good report.

    Just to fill in a little more on this theme of FBI ties to al Qaeda, some of which is known, some obscure

    1) FBI Informant (Abdussattar Shaikh ) met up with Saudi operatives and two key 9/11 hijackers shortly after their LAX arrival in Jan 2000 to arrange housing and all sorts of other support and logistics for the attackers. The FBI prevented Congressional Investigators and the 9/11 Commission access to Shaikh

    2) Emad Salem’s role in organizing the WTC bombing was widely publicized after the attack. According to Salem The FBI failed to substitute fake explosives for the real thing. So the Bureau was in on this from the start. In fact it was the FBI-CIA that imported many of the terrorists into the US over State Dept and Immigration objections. A lot of Salem’s testimony is credible since he recorded 100 of transcripts with FBI handlers who confirmed his story and expressed their own chagrin that the attack was permitted by the Burea.

    Here’s a great report from Dan Rather … but all the major mdia covered this story

    3) Furthermore, one of the Saudi 9/11 handlers, Osama Basnan was an active fundraising for the Blind Shaikh. Apparently he was free to operate for years by the FBI.

    4) of course the FBI did impede any interference by field agents who stumbled upon the hijackers in flight training

    5) Richard Clarke notes the CIA DID finally inform the FBI that al Q personnel were roaming around the US about 1 Sept 2001. The Bureau did absolutely nothing.

    6) The FBI lied about knowing the Tsarnaev brothers very well.

  • http://www.911Blogger.com/ Orangutan.

    Look up the concept of False Flag Terrorism and the history of Operation Gladio and the Strategy of Tension.

    Listen to this interview about a Sandy Hook whistleblower: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6roDPt1WYYY

    The FBI has a long history of domestic terrorism. Let’s get to the bottom of all of it.

    • russbaker

      See our Guidelines above, please, re embedding videos.

      • http://www.911Blogger.com/ Orangutan.

        Thanks Russ. I didn’t embed the video. I just posted a YouTube link and the website automatically turned it into an embedded video. Is it your preference to not have users share YouTube links on your site?

        • russbaker

          Looks like our site software was automatically turning links into embedded video screens. We’ve altered that formula for now, so you may continue to post relevant links.

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  • Emad Salem

    How was the World Trade Center bombed in 1993,I was there UNDERCOVER and I was the blind sheik’s bodyguard

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  • http://www.911Blogger.com/ Orangutan.

    FBI was involved in the Murrah Building Bombing in 1995 as well. Google the documentary “A Noble Lie: Oklahoma City 1995″ for a full synopsis of that event. We need to put a stop to this false flag terrorism before it gets any more out of hand. Historically we have seen these tactics on display through Operation Gladio and the Strategy of Tension. We can stop it by exposing it.

  • nofuntown

    more interagency politics costing innocent lives

  • john

    Considering that over 20 of 25 or so Terrorist attacks in the US which were “thwarted” by the FBI had FBI involved with the perpetrators early in the planning. It’s actually possible the Boston bombings were not even done by those being blamed for them.

    Orangutan (commenter below) claims the FBI was involved in the Burrah Building in 1995. I have done some research into that also. I found a link with dozens of Newsreporters discussing the bombs which were found IN THE BUILDING. These news stories seemed disappear once the supposed perpetrators were discovered.

    So far there are many Boston Bombing questions which have yet to be answered. See here: http://www.infowars.com/17-unanswered-questions-about-the-boston-marathon-bombing-the-media-is-afraid-to-ask/

    I am of the belief that, If we want to decrease the number of potential terrorist incidents in the US. we merely need to rid ourselves of the FBI.

  • Klaatu Fabrice Aquinas

    I don’t think I would be trusting the Washington Times anymore than I would trust Debka or Haaretz.

    The truth about Col. Tim Osman and other related “stuff.”

    http://www.veteranstoday.com/?s=directive+166&x=0&y=0

  • Betty Johnson

    We have been tied to Al Qaeda since the 1980s when we got involved in the Afghan war. We supported the Taliban against the Soviets. The Taliban eventually allied with Al Qaeda.
    We tend to blindly support supposed “allies” only to find them turning against us a few years later. In reality, we don’t have any allies, just friends of convenience.

  • OCCUPY FEARRINGTON

    Isn’t Al Qaeda simply a list on a computer? Didn’t the BBC prove Al Qaeda was the USA’s invisible “blame blotter,” for anything that happened?

  • Patricia Zimmerman

    I appreciate the discussion below. Thanks for it. We should never forget building 7 either. As far as I know, it takes at least a few weeks to plan a controlled demolition.

    I am sure they are all laughing at us for believing anything they tell us. I don’t know how they keep a straight face before the cameras.

    I just saw a very interesting interview of a former Homeland Security agent named Julia Davis. (link below) When she was working for DHS, she noticed a security breach at the border. After she reported the breech, DHS turned on her and began calling her a terrorist and a whistleblower. They sent teams of armed men to her home one day and essentially killed her father (he had a heart attack while they were there and they denied him medical attention on purpose). Her next door neighbor, a 25 year old man, who videotaped them at her home, later died mysteriously on his couch one night. Her close friend, a well-known actress, and her friend’s husband were later poisoned. It is believed there is a connection between Ms. Davis’ actions (and knowledge) as a conscientious DHS employee and these deaths.

    Julia Davis and her husband, a Hollywood producer, made an acclaimed documentary about this that includes extensive documentation of these events.

    Clearly, the security breach was intentional. Ms. Davis unwittingly walked into another 9/11-style plot when she exposed it.

    You can search on “Alex Jones interviews Julia Davis DHS” to find the interview. I think this story says it all.

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  • mlnw

    Russ, you really need to talk to Lynne Stewart who is now free from prison about the case against Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman to the extent she can talk about her client and his alleged guilt. My guess is he had very little to do with it, but was silenced to keep Mubarak happy.

  • disqus_iNSHgOse0O

    FYI – there was a NY Times report back in 1993 that the plotters of the first Trade Center bombing were infiltrated by the FBI and one of the infiltrators was in a position to stop the attack but was not ordered to do so. For some reason that starting report apparently did not get much attention; I never heared of any follow-up to that.

  • http://proudprimate.com Proud Primate

    The story that appeared in the NYT about the innocent Emad Salem, who secretly recorded his conversations with his handlers as he complained about being told that the powder he was instructing the patsies (“i pazzi”) how to make the bomb with was or would be inert, and then at the last minute, the agent-in-charge “decided not to” and the explosion took place — is this one by Ralph Blumenthal
    http://www.nytimes.com/1993/10/28/nyregion/tapes-depict-proposal-to-thwart-bomb-used-in-trade-center-blast.html

    It’s like — huh? We pay these Feds to bomb the World Trade Center?

  • Fullblad

    This supposed FBI information sounds like creating a story line in the run up to blaming the Sauds for 9/11, as even as we’re here reading at WWW the Anglo-Amer financial estate is stealing all the Saudi allocated gold accounts wherever they can be found outside of Arabia. The CIA had human contact with bin Laden in July or August of 01, and perhaps shortly after in October as a lone westerner visited bin Laden in hospital. This from Peter Dale Scott’s 9/11 book.

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