March 8, 2007

Lance - Triple Cross

Hat tip and thanks to Rodger at Curmudgeonly and Skeptical for posting video of the Peter Lance book-signing for "Triple Cross". I have watched all three parts of this over the last couple days, and it has me wondering why I didn't know more about Ali Mohamed than I did, both as a major player in the al Qaeda war on America, and also in terms of the details of his bizarre background. One reason I didn't is that the 9/11 Commission didn't tell me about him. It would have hit too close to home. His name doesn't roll off the tongue like a Zawahiri or a bin Laden or Zarqawi in terms its presence in the media, and it isn't automatically associated with 9/11, since his whereabouts have been unknown since 2001.

Lance thinks we ought to know about him, though. But really, after 9/11, why would Americans be interested in the story of a man who had been an officer in Egyptian army intelligence, but who cross-trained with Green Berets, then entered the United States, (six weeks later marrying a woman he met on the plane), got citizenship, joined the U.S. Army, went through elite Special Forces training at Fort Bragg, got a Top Secret security clearance, became an FBI informant and CIA "asset" for many years, all the while infiltrating and compromising U.S. intelligence agencies, stealing documents and intelligence, and using his position to serve Osama bin Laden; for example, taking time off to train the team of terrorists who, under Ramzi Yousef, bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, and also supplying bin Laden with surveillance photographs of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania before the catastrophic bombings for which he was later convicted?

I did not know, for example, that in 1986, this key al Qaeda spy and conspirator, tied to terrorist acts going back to the 1981 assassination of Anwar Sadat, had been an instructor at the elite John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School at Fort Bragg as a member in good standing of the United States military.

That might have been a compelling story for the American people to hear, even though it would have surely been humiliating and embarrassing for the Pentagon, the FBI, the CIA, and the entire Justice Department, that is if the 9/11 Commission had considered it important enough to look into. Lance is an Emmy-award winning journalist (it says here) and a good storyteller. He's also a self-taught expert on the bin Laden/Zawahiri war on America. The talk is long...two segments totaling about 100 minutes, plus a Q&A session. I don't consider any of it a waste.

This is not conspiracy theorizing by Lance, but rather a blistering indictment of the FBI, and secondarily the 9/11 Commission, by way of exhaustive investigative journalism. At least that's the sense one gets from Lance's encyclopedic mastery of the names and details of the drama. If he has a political agenda, it doesn't jump out at me in this two hours or so of monologue, that is, beyond trying to convey a sense of the systemic careerism and incompetence, the bureaucratic inertia, and the resistance to reform of the FBI and Justice Department, going back several administrations, obviously.

Lance calls Ali Mohamed the "Rosetta Stone" of the 9/11 attacks. He seems hopeful that the truth will eventually come out, and the 9/11 attacks will be re-investigated as the public increasingly demands it. I share his wish, but can't really match his hope. We have seen most of the 1990's bungling of the FBI and BATF successfully squelched for years.

In fact, this Ali Mohamed story recalls another FBI informant...Carol Howe, an undercover FBI "asset" who hung out at a white supremacist camp in Elohim City, OK frequented by Timothy McVeigh, and who rode in a car that cased the Murrah Building for possible attack, weeks before the OKC bombing. Prevented from testifying in the McVeigh trial about the "others unknown " in the bombing conspiracy, she just went away. Her reports to her BATF handler are in the public record, (see the Evans-Pritchard book, for starters.)

And then there's the bizarre contention of the OKC investigation, which we are still asked to swallow today....that John Doe #2, the Middle Eastern-looking companion of McVeigh, and the subject of an unprecedented national manhunt, simply ceased to exist a couple days after the OKC bombing. It's just another of the clumsy lies we have been told by our government relating to terrorist attacks on our country.

I have become largely convinced that we as a people do not demand to know the whole truth in these matters partly because we do not want to know the whole truth. If we did, we would have to confront some very uncomfortable realities, not least an out-of-control intelligence community. Shady intelligence "assets", whether we label them double agents or agents provocateurs like Andreas Strassmeir in the OKC case, and seemingly Ali Mohamed in the al Qaeda campaign, have been blurring the lines between the terrorists and the Feds. Not healthy for the country.

The video did the trick on me. I ordered the book immediately. It seems like it will be a logical follow-up and supplement to The Looming Tower, to which Lance refers a couple times, and which is must-reading for understanding the path to 9/11, in my opinion. My overriding feeling after reading "The Looming Tower" was one of anger and frustration at the many, many ways and times that 9/11 could have, and should have been prevented. Lance takes us right back there again.

Related:

cooperative research - Ali Mohamed (this site is an an incredible resource)

Wikipedia entry

Peter Lance Home

AlterNet - The Ali Mohamed - FBI Bungle

Posted by dan at March 8, 2007 9:39 PM