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Burying the Mistakes of 9-11





Mega Fix


TWA Flight 800






Posted: August 31, 2006
© Jack Cashill

by Jack Cashill

This story I am about to tell centers on one Ali Mohamed, not to be confused with Muhammad Ali.  In addition to Mohamed, this story involves two intriguing people, investigate reporter Peter Lance, with whom I occasionally conspire, and Patrick Fitzgerald, the Plamegate prosecutor, whom I do not know although we attended the same New York City high school—he presumably at a less inspired time.

In the fall of 2005, producer Jonathan Tower optioned the research Peter Lance had been doing on his new investigative book, Triple Cross. The book deals with the FBI’s failure to stop Ali A. Mohamed, the infamous al Qaeda spy who had infiltrated the Bureau, the CIA and the Green Berets at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

For the proposed documentary, Lance wrote a ten-act treatment in which he outlined the two critical parts of the Ali Mohammed story.   The first part tells of Mohamed’s coming to America in 1985, his seduction of a California woman for the sake of marriage, his enlistment in the U.S. Army and his assignment to the JFK Special Warfare School at Fort Bragg. In his Army role, Mohamed was able to steal top-secret documents and send them to al Qaeda honcho, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri. 

On weekends, the ambitious Mohamed commuted to New York City where he helped train the clowns responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and those who plotted the “Day of Terror.”  This second plot would have destroyed the bridges and tunnels into Manhattan as well as the United Nations.  If Mohamed had known how many Americans would have seen the U.N. destruction as something of a silver lining, he likely would have dropped that part of the plan.

In 1991, the seemingly ubiquitous Mohamed helped move bin Laden and hundreds of al Qaeda terrorists from Afghanistan to Sudan and in his spare time wrote al Qaeda’s terror manuals. In 1993, he showed his affection for his adopted country by training the al Qaeda wannabes that downed two U.S. Blackhawk helicopters in Mogadishu.  While in Africa, the multi-tasking Mohamed took pictures of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, the which Osama bin Laden used to help guide the suicide truck bomb that would kill 200-plus poor souls in 1998.

This much, National Geographic showed in the documentary that aired on Monday, Triple Cross: Bin Laden’s Spy in America.   This much, however, was only half of Lance’s story. The un-shown half told the dispiriting saga of the FBI’s New York Office and the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) and how they allowed Mohamed to operate with impunity for years. These are the same two offices that dropped the ball—no, spiked the ball—on the TWA Flight 800 investigation and in the same time frame as well.

In his most eye-opening revelation, Lance contends that Patrick Fitzgerald of the SDNY office permitted Mohamed to remain free even after naming him as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Day of Terror case.  Lance also claims that Fitzgerald buried probative evidence of an al Qaeda cell operating in New York in 1996, the year of TWA Flight 800’s destruction.  If only Fitzgerald had shown the same vigilance in going after Osama as he did in going after Scooter Libby in the Valerie Plame case, this would be a much safer world.

Just as troubling, in the three years that the Feds did have Ali in custody before September 11, 2001, they failed to extract the 9/11 plot from him. Having actually lived with bin Laden and having trained his security detail, Mohamed knew the plot as well as Bin Laden did, and as the Feds knew, and as the president and Sandy Berger knew, that plot had been percolating since at least 1994 in Manila.

Within days of 9/11 the Feds interviewed Ali, then in the witness protection program.  When they demanded the details of the plot, Mohamed was entirely forthcoming.  He detailed how he had trained the would-be hijackers on smuggling box cutters, on finding seats, and on seizing the airlines.  Lance does not accuse the Feds of complicity, merely gross incompetence, but obviously that is not a story anyone wants told.  Not a word of it was heard in the two-hour documentary. 

In June, while writing the script for which he was to be the narrator, Lance learned that the National Geographic Channel and Towers Productions had knuckled under to Clinton-era alumni of the FBI's New York Office and the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York--notably, former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White herself.  Lance was denied the transcripts of their on-camera interviews and was essentially shut out of all post-production work.  

As narrator, National Geographic went with Jack Cloonan, one of the very Feds that Lance’s research had found negligent. “It was like doing Schindler’s List from Hitler’s perspective,” says Lance. 

More problematic still is that the Feds who covered-up al Qaeda intelligence in 1996 remain in senior positions at Justice.  Fitzgerald is well enough known. Valerie Caproni, who supported Fitzgerald’s 1996 evidence burial and who engineered the 1996 TWA Flight 800 misdirection, is now the FBI’s general counsel.

When Lance’s book comes out, he will have the opportunity to set the record straight, but books, as I can tell you from experience. have only as much impact as the major media let them have.




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