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Florida FBI investigated Atta associate in spring 2001

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KJF Donating Member (792 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-12-06 02:36 AM
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Florida FBI investigated Atta associate in spring 2001
This is a simple story of the FBI initiating a terrorist plot to blow up Mount Rushmore, training the terrorists and, at the same time, letting an associate of Mohamed Atta (who now has a USD 5 million bounty on his head) slip through their fingers.

It starts in late 2000 when a spy wannabe called Howard Gilbert, who was really a Canadian Jew but posed as a convert to Islam called Sayif Ullah (in English: Sword of Allah), started attending the Darul Uloom mosque in Pembroke Pines, South Florida on behalf of the FBI, which paid him around USD 6,000 for his work. He was supposed to report on and infiltrate radical Islamist groups there, but it turns out he was just the sort of agent provocateur your mother always warned you about. He claimed to be a firearms expert and gave some sort of impassioned speech about the Palestinian struggle, after which a teenager called Imran Mandhai approached him and they formed a terrorist cell. They roped in a friend of Mandhai's called Shuyeb Mossa Jokhan, but the FBI wanted Gilbert to wear a wire and testify in court, which he refused to do (also asking for more money), as it would compromise his career as an exciting spy. Is this beginning to sound familiar yet?

Anyway, the FBI fired Gilbert and replaced him with another informer called Mohamed the bomb maker, who continued to string the the kids along. The FBI informers gave them a bomb-making manual, firearms instruction, hand-to-hand combat training and God knows what else. They plotted to blow up a few power stations, a National Guard armoury, Jewish business (to spark race riots) and the aforementioned Mount Rushmore. In 2002 the FBI got bored and decided to bring the kids in, Mandhai got twelve years and Jokhan got five. The ratio of FBI informers to actual plotters was 2:2 and it was the guys from the FBI who were making all the running, so maybe five years for Jokhan, who dropped out after less than four weeks, was a little on the harsh side.

Up to here it's just an everyday FBI sting, but the interesting thing is that the Darul Uloom was also attended by a guy called Adnan El Shukrijumah, who, it seems, was known to be fairly radical. His father, Gulshair El Shukrijumah was the imam at another South Florida mosque and had interpreted for the blind sheikh and known some of the other 1993 WTC plotters he even testified at the trial for the defence, as a character witness Clement Hampton-El (aka Dr. Rashid), who had attended El Shukrijumah's Brooklyn mosque (Brooklyn, eh?), before the El Shukrijumahs moved to Florida when the head of the family retired. The plotters approached junior as a person likely to be up for a spot of jihad, but he said no. It's not clear why he said no (because he's still at large), maybe he pegged Gilbert and Mohamed as likely FBI agents (Mohamed was apparently not very devout), maybe he realised that Mandhai was just a kid and would never accomplish anything, or maybe he was too busy plotting to anthrax the East Coast and helping Mohamed with the raid on Manhattan.

Now it turns out that Adnan El Shukrijumah was a major-league Al Qaeda operative. Check out the FBI's most wanted terrorists site, he's only three places behind the ubiquitous Abu Musab Al Zarqawi:
The price on his head is USD 5 million:
His nickname is Jafar the Pilot and he is supposed to have learned to fly, presumably somewhere in Asia as he does not have a US-recorded pilot's licence. After the bounty was announced he was seen all over the place: in Colorado, in Canada, buying a sandwich in Tampa, plotting to cross the US-Mexican border with the El Salvador narcomafia (the family is from Saudi, but his basic passport is Guyanese, where his father worked as a sort of missionary), plus the usual stuff with Elvis and Lord Lucan. However, at the time in spring 2001, the FBI (allegedly) didn't know this, they merely noted he had lied on his green card application regarding a prior arrest and filed his name.

Judging by most of the media reporting about him, even though Shukrijumah is often dubbed the next Atta, new Atta or Atta's successor, and they lived a couple of miles from each other in South Florida, it would seem he never actually knew Atta or any of the other hijackers. However, he did. There is a very strange story on pages 22-23 of Terrorist Travel (don't forget to read the endnote on pages 40-41) about how Atta and Shukrijumah were seen together at the Miami District Immigration Office on 2 May 2001. Briefly, Atta had wrongly received eight months' stay when he entered the US in January (should have been only six), but another person who he was with in Miami had (correctly) received six months; Shukrijumah went with them to try and get an additional two months for the other guy, but in the end the inspector ended up taking two months away from Atta (meaning he had to leave the US in July), after which Atta thanked her politely (!). The inspector was pretty sure the handsome one was Shukrijumah and also checked his immigration status (legal resident who had worked in south Florida), which matched Shukrijumah's.

Points to take away.
(1) If the FBI just arrested its own informers, we'd probably be a whole lot safer.
(2) So, in addition to having the same mailing address as the blind sheikh (and obtaining fake ID from an associate of the mailbox owner), the hijackers also knew his interpreter's son what sort of reading does this give on your coincidence-o-meter? Don't forget that, according to Colonel Shaffer's lawyer, at least one of Able Danger's charts, and possibly more, featured a photograph of Mohammed Atta and had him linked through associational activities to the blind Sheik and others operating in or around Brooklyn, New York.
Isn't the connection to Shukrijumah what a police officer would call a clue? Shouldn't it, like, have been investigated, by the FBI and the 9/11 Commission? Wouldn't it be a good idea to identify his co-conspirators in Florida and, say, bring them to justice? And yet it's buried in a single endnote to a subsidiary report...

Background links:

Terrorist Travel:

btw, My feeling is that the cropdusters were for El Shukrijumah.
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