Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, through quasi investigative reports, leaks, whistleblowers and numerous court documents, several key 9/11 operatives have been identified and confirmed as assets and or informants of the United States government. Further, all details of these operatives’ positions, functions and employment records have been sealed and protected as beyond top secret classified.
Whether it is Ali Mohamed’s employment with the United States Army and his connections with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or Anwar al-Awlaki on the payroll of the Bureau, or the landlord of two 9/11 hijackers in San Diego, who happened to be a highly valued long-term FBI informant, we are looking at incomplete profiles and missing crucial information. In each of these cases we are dealing with a government engaged in an extraordinary level of secrecy and protection. And with every single case, we are faced with the crucial why question.
While each case, individually, on its own, paints an extremely troubling picture with serious implications, we must delve into the cases as a whole, collectively, in order to see the larger theme and an even more telling story. Despite my extensive research I have not seen a report where the cases in question are presented and examined together-in one place. I believe putting together documentation like that would be a good starting point for an ongoing and evolving report that can take us further in our search for needed answers, and the truth.
I want to emphasize the importance of this being a starting point, and an ongoing and evolving report. What do I mean by that? We need your participation and input to take this report further. I know some of our readers have spent tremendous amounts of time writing about and analyzing the key figures in question. As you read this first report with background information and case summaries, you may think of other missing facts and documents. Please send us those missing pieces of information, but please make sure that your sources are legitimate and of positive reputation. We want to keep this ongoing report factual and bullet-proof.
Anwar Awlaki: An established FBI informant & Pentagon insider
On October 4, 2013, lawyers for Ali Al-Timimi, a Virginia man serving a life sentence for supporting jihad against the U.S., pushed to obtain more information from the federal government on evidence pertaining to the cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki’s recruitment as a U.S. government informant a decade ago. According to Al-Timimi’s defense lawyer, Jonathan Turley, recently-released FBI files suggest that Al-Awlaki may have been acting as an “asset” for some government agency. In response to Turley’s request for this crucial evidence government prosecutors insisted that they had no obligation to provide the detail of its dealings with Al-Awlaki:
“Mr. Turley has no right to know [whether the government] had an asset into Awlaki at that time. Mr. Turley has no right to know if Mr. Awlaki was an asset at that time!”
Leonie Brinkema, the presiding U.S. District Court Judge on the case, has not been inclined to grant motions filed by Muslim scholar Ali Al-Timimi seeking more details on the government’s relationship with Al-Awlaki. Further, Brinkema suggested that part of the answer to these concerns is so highly classified that she is the only person at the court who is allowed to see it, and that even a number of other personnel with “Top Secret” clearance were not allowed to see the documents pertaining to these concerns.
Even former FBI Director Robert Mueller does not deny the official working relationship between the Bureau and Awlaki:
FBI director does not deny al-Awlaki may have been government asset
Awlaki was born in the United States. He was raised in an affluent family, with a highly educated father who was a Fulbright scholar:
Al-Awlaki was born in the United States. His parents were from Yemen. His father did his graduate work at U.S. universities, receiving his doctorate at the University of Nebraska, and later working at the University of Minnesota (1975 to 1977).
Awlaki pursued higher education at prestigious U.S. universities as well:
Al-Awlaki earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University (1994). He also studied at San Diego State University, and worked on a doctorate degree in Human Resource Development at George Washington University Graduate School of Education & Human Development (2001).
Strangely, despite his preacher, aka Imam, positions, al-Awlaki never received any formal Islamic education. In fact, this is what other Islamic preachers said about him:
Some Muslim scholars said they did not understand al‑Awlaki’s popularity, because while he spoke fluent English and could therefore reach a large non-Arabic-speaking audience, he lacked formal Islamic training and study.
Awlaki’s upbringing and higher education took place here in the United States. His family was not Islamist or radicalized. He never went to Madrasas or Islamic preaching schools. So was he really radicalized? From documented facts and his history it seems as if he had later assumed the role of a radical Islamist. He was playing that role.
Now things get a bit more interesting: Awlaki spent a summer of his college years training with the Afghan Mujahideen. Why is this interesting? Because this summer training took place sometime between 1991 and 1994. We are not talking about the era when the Mujahideen fought the Soviets. No, this is not the ‘80s we are talking about. During this period there were no Taliban guys; Taliban had not yet been formed. The only Mujahideen in operation were the ones backed and directed by Pakistan’s ISI, with foreign participants mainly backed by Saudi Arabia:
Pakistan’s ruling military establishment was opposed to the new developments in neighboring Afghanistan. Afghanistan expert Neamatollah Nojumi writes, “[t]hese new political and military developments in Afghanistan forced the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI to organize a military plan with forces belonging to Hekmatyar’s Hezb-i Islami . . . This militaristic plan aimed to capture Kabul and was in full force when . . . the rest of the Mujahideen leaders in Pakistan agreed to the UN peace plan. On the eve of the successful implementation of the UN peace plan in Afghanistan the ISI, through Hekmatyar and non-Afghan volunteers, led hundreds of trucks loaded with weapons and fighters to the southern part of Kabul.”
When we delve in further, we see Awlaki’s main interest area:
In 1994 Awlaki began service as a part-time imam of the Denver Islamic Society, where he encouraged Saudis to fight in Chechnya against the Russians.
Let’s see. Who else would have interests in that region that would be against the Russian interests? Remember we are talking about the post-Soviet period here. So the relationship between Awlaki and the CIA-Pentagon cannot be written off as one of those overly used ‘well, that was during the Afghan-Soviet War when we aligned ourselves with one evil against another evil,’ lines. This was the era when we began competing with Russia over the resource-rich region. Chechens have been one of our main tools to sabotage Russian interests in this region. So basically, Awlaki was encouraging terror operations against our competitor, and that would make him someone who was suavely playing a radical Islamist role for our side and special interests.
So what happened next? Based on documented background, by 2000–2001 Awlaki had ties to and relationships with high-ranking FBI officials:
In 2001 Awlaki settled on the East Coast in the Washington Metropolitan Area where he served as imam at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque. This is where he led academic discussions and preaching frequented by FBI Director of Counter-Intelligence for the Middle East Gordon M. Snow.
This is the same man, who from very early on during the 9/11 investigation, was tied in many way to the supposed 9/11 terrorist attacks:
When police investigating the 9/11 attacks raided the Hamburg, Germany, apartment of Ramzi bin al-Shibh, they found the telephone number of al-Awlaki among bin al-Shibh’s personal contacts.
One detective later told the 9/11 Commission he believed al-Awlaki “was at the center of the 9/11 story.” And an FBI agent said, “if anyone had knowledge of the plot, it would have been” him, since “someone had to be in the U.S. and keep the hijackers spiritually focused”
Anwar al-Awlaki, a man who was born and highly educated in the United States, who fought on our side against our competitors’ interests, who was a regular figure in the Pentagon and the brass’ dinner companion, who was on the FBI’s payroll, who was highly valued in the US Congress, has been identified as one of the 9/11 culprits.
Ali Mohamed: A double agent for the CIA, FBI informant & Pentagon insider with the Green Berets
Ali Mohamed is well-known for his position as a CIA Agent, a man who was selected by Special Forces in the United States Army, a man who taught courses on Arabic culture at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, a man who trained anti-Soviet fighters en route to Afghanistan in early 80s, a man who FBI special agent Jack Cloonan called “bin Laden’s first trainer,” a man who was a major in the Egyptian army’s military intelligence unit, a man who used U.S. military information to train al-Qaeda and other Muslim militants, and to write al-Qaeda’s multivolume terrorist training guide, and also a major trainer for Al Qaeda terrorists, and bin Laden’s bodyguard, and a man who was charged with the 1998 bombings of the United States embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Are you dizzy yet? Let’s breakdown Ali Mohamed’s background, skills and resume:
Mohamed was a major in the Egyptian army’s military intelligence unit.
Mohamed enlisted in the U.S. Army and was selected by U.S. Army Special Forces, who sent him to Special Warfare School and encouraged him to pursue a doctorate in Islamic Studies and teach courses on the Middle East.
He was highly educated and spoke fluent English, French, and Hebrew in addition to his native Arabic.
In America he married an American woman from Santa Clara, California, and became a U.S. citizen.
While in the United States he helped train a number of Jihadis, such as El Sayyid Nosair and Mahmud Abouhalima, who assisted Ramzi Yousef in his 1993 attack on the World Trade Center.
In 1984, the CIA recruited him to be a junior intelligence officer.
The FBI publicly used Ali Mohamed as an informant
During the 1980s, Ali Mohamed was involved in the training of Anti-Soviet forces, which included members of the Mujahideen, Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and terrorist members responsible for the bombings of the two US embassies
In 1992, Ali Mohamed made at least 58 trips to Afghanistan as part of the training of terrorist cells while under the surveillance of the CIA.
In 1998, Mohamed was charged with the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In 2000, he pleaded guilty to five counts of conspiracy to kill nationals of the United States and to destroy U.S. property.
Just as in the case of Awlaki, all court sessions and documents, all reports and all investigations pertaining to Ali Mohamed are highly classified and not available to even those with TS clearance. Unlike Awlaki, who was fried and turned into ashes by a US drone, Mohamed was quietly jailed in a high-security prison and he has not been interviewed or seen by any outsiders.
Even more glaring than in the Awlaki case is the absence of any documents or historical connections in Ali Mohamed’s case that show even the slightest trace of Islamization or radicalization. None whatsoever. We have a man who was educated with incredible linguistic skills including fluency in English, Hebrew and French. A man who married an American woman. We have a man who was a Pentagon darling- a valued member of the U.S. Army’s Special Forces. A man who was recruited and watched by the CIA for over a decade. A man who worked as an FBI informant.
CIA trademark vs. FBI modus operandi
Despite the fact that the major emphasis with regard to the two above cases has been placed on the FBI and its relationship or connections with Mohamed and Al-Awlaki, their backgrounds, qualifications, world residency and travel patterns, and operational modes clearly establish them as CIA-Pentagon operatives rather than FBI assets-informants. No question about that.
Note- These standards don’t apply to regular CIA US Origin operatives (NOCs). Many of the operatives are from a lower-class background, mentally unstable, and without strong educational or linguistic capabilities. With agents such as Mohamed, we are talking about foreign military operations (Remember Gladio Operations)- Think of these characters as our generals and lt. generals for overseas paramilitary operations or home-front terror operations.
Let me recap trademark characteristics and qualifications:
● Upper and Upper Middle Class Upbringing in the Middle East
● Highly Educated- Either in the U.S. or UK; possess graduate degrees
● Linguistic Skills-Three Languages or more
● Extensive Travelling; Significant Travel Pattern
● Comfortable in Official or Formal settings: Pentagon, Congress, NGO Heads, etc.
● Social and or Skilled Communicator
● Military Training
Mohamed and Awlaki would Ace 85%+ of the above CIA sought qualifications. These men are way above the FBI’s pay-grade and playing field. Despite the emphasis and publicity on their roles and connections with the bureau (which is very possibly a method to redirect attention) they have ‘active’ CIA operative (not only asset or informant), I’m talking agent here, written all over their CV.
Another good example of a perfect CIA profile is Ayman al-Zawahiri—the real operator of the brand called al-Qaeda, despite other claims. Let me put it in illustrated bullet points to compare with the above general characteristic points:
● Ayman al-Zawahiri’s parents both came from prosperous families. Ayman’s father came from a large family of doctors and scholars. Mohammed Rabie became a surgeon and a medical professor at Cairo University. Ayman’s mother, Umayma Azzam, came from a wealthy, politically active clan.
● Zawahiri excelled in school. He became a doctor and in1978 earned a master’s degree in surgery.
● Zawahiri speaks three languages: Arabic, English and French.
● He served three years as a surgeon in the Egyptian Army.
● His early travel Pattern: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Switzerland, Sarajevo, Malaysia, Russia (Dagestan, Chechnya), Hong Kong, Bosnia, Azerbaijan, Albania.
● Highly Passionate and Radical Orator; Leadership & Organizing Skills: He became one of Egyptian Islamic Jihad’s leading organizers and recruiters.
No wonder he is referred to as al-Qaeda’s Brain. Compare him to bin Laden-who meets the qualifications sought by the CIA?
To further make the point, let me present a couple of FBI informant cases:
Abdussattar Shaikh (San Diego landlord): FBI informant
Abdussattar Shaikh is another mysterious and highly-protected person related and linked directly to two of the supposed 9/11 hijackers, Alhazmi and Almihdhar. All we have is the man’s name, home address in San Diego, that his native language is not Arabic, and that he housed two 9/11 hijackers, opened a bank account for them and prayed with them, and that other key hijackers such as Mohamed Atta were his regular visitors . . . yes, all that, and the fact that this man was the FBI’s longtime asset and informant.
Two of the Sept. 11 hijackers who lived in San Diego in 2000 rented a room from a man who reportedly worked as an undercover FBI informant, highlighting the lack of cooperation by the nation’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
Newsweek magazine reports that Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi lived with a “tested” undercover “asset” who had been working closely with the FBI office in San Diego.
While there, the FBI informant prayed with them and even helped one open a bank account. Alhazmi and Almihdhar took lessons at a flight school while living in San Diego.
The FBI refused to allow the 9/11 Congressional inquiry to interview either Shaikh or his FBI contact. The FBI refused to provide him to the pseudo Commission on 9/11. How could they refuse it? On what grounds? None cited.
Generally speaking, and based on bits and pieces of information leaked over time, Shaikh fits the general profile of an informant-asset operating on the FBI payroll:
● No significant educational background
● No particular linguistic abilities
● No militaristic background or training
● No unusual international background and travel history
The Iranian: Another longtime FBI informant
The following case is another typical FBI informant-asset profile:
In January 2011 we published a series of articles and documents pertaining to the case of Behrooz Sarshar, former FBI language specialist who held TS clearance and worked for the bureau for over ten years.
In February 2004, I accompanied Sarshar to the office of 9/11 commissioners where he was taken inside a SCIF (Secured Compartmentalized Intelligence Facility) and was interviewed for nearly two hours. He provided the commissioners with a documented and witnessed FBI case involving a longtime Iranian informant-asset. Several months prior to the September 11 attacks, the FBI asset had provided the bureau with detailed information on the coming attack:
According to previously published sources, in April 2001 Mr. Sarshar, in his position as FBI interpreter/translator, attended a meeting between a long-term, reliable FBI asset and two additional FBI agents from the Washington Field Office. That FBI asset told the two FBI agents that his sources in Afghanistan had information of an al-Qaeda plot to attack America in a suicide mission involving planes. It would appear that when Mr. Sarshar filed his reports within the Bureau, they were titled “Kamikaze Pilots.”
After leaving the FBI in 2002, Mr. Sarshar provided the same information to various congressional offices and investigators, such as staffers for the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senator Patrick Leahy. The Justice Department’s Inspector General also interviewed him.
Thus, we were shocked to find that Mr. Sarshar’s relevant information was missing from the “System Was Blinking Red” section of the 2004 Final Report issued by the 9/11 Commission. Now, six and a half years past the publication of the Final Report, the transcript of Mr. Sarshar’s interview has been released with all of its substance redacted. In light of the fact that the majority of his information does not meet the standard for classification, which is to protect “sources and methods,” it is unclear as to why that information was blocked. Covering up incompetence, or worse, malfeasance, is not a valid reason for classification.
In this particular case, the FBI prevented the informant-asset from providing his direct testimony to either the commission or Congress, and this, despite the asset’s willingness and consent to come forward with details of his pertinent information and how he’d obtained it.
This case also fits the typical FBI informant-asset profile. The informant is a much older individual, with no particularly interesting educational or linguistic qualifications (outside of Farsi he barely speaks English), no significant world trotting patterns, reclusive, shy . . .
Now that we have identified the US government two-track terrorist recruitment and management systems—CIA-backed & FBI-connected, the differences between the two camps, and the status and roles of those recruited—we must go back and ask the real question: How is it that these notorious 9/11 terror operatives and lower-grade facilitators happen to all be on the US government’s payroll, and that before, during and after the September 11 attacks? Whether it is the Pentagon Special Forces, the CIA, or the FBI, wouldn’t they all be considered the government’s men? And if that’s the case, whose attack did we suffer on September 11, 2001?
In addition to publishing Boiling Frogs, where this article originally appeared, Sibel Edmonds is the founder and president of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to aiding national security whistleblowers. She has appeared on national radio and TV as a commentator on matters related to whistleblowers, national security, and excessive secrecy & classification, and has been featured on CBS 60 Minutes, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and in the New York Times, Washington Post, Vanity Fair, The American Conservative, and others. Her book, ‘Shooting the Messenger,’ co-authored with Professor William Weaver is forthcoming from Kansas University Press.