Former U.S. consular officer in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Mike Springmann could not have been more timely with his new book, “Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts that Rocked the World.” As demands grow for the Obama administration to release the 28 missing pages from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on 9/11 intelligence failures, Springmann’s book serves as a unique preface and epilogue to the Senate report. In fact, Springmann’s description of the pipeline that provided U.S. visas to Saudi and other Wahhabist radicals provides for the reader what is, according to intelligence insiders, identified as a key finding in the “missing” 28 pages.
The release of “Visas for Al Qaeda” also comes after the so-called “20th hijacker,” Zacarias Moussaoui, has confirmed what many independent observers and researchers of 9/11 have already concluded: that the House of Saudi directly financed the attack and Al Qaeda.
As Springmann succinctly states: “The War on Terror is far more complicated than good versus evil. Al-Qaeda operatives are indeed ruthless and fanatical, but how did they come by their advanced training and international presence? Unfortunately, the answer lies in a secret US training and visa program with roots in the Cold War.
“As the US trained Islamic operatives to fight Soviet forces in Afghanistan, and later allowed those same operatives to move from the Balkans to the Middle East, bumbling CIA strategists unwittingly armed and inspired the men who would become al-Qaeda’s leadership.”
As the diplomat responsible for approving visas for Saudi nationals at the Jeddah consulate general, Springmann soon found himself butting heads with “official cover” CIA officers using their diplomatic status to not only mask their espionage activities, but worse, their aiding and abetting terrorists who would later help carry out the 9/11 attack. Springmann shines the much-needed sunshine of disinfectant on CIA operatives like Eric Qualkenbush, the CIA base chief in Jeddah; Jay Frere, the U.S, Consul General in Jeddah; and Henry Ensher, the so-called “political officer” at the consulate. Political officers, as the leaked State Department cables show, often double as CIA officers.
Springmann’s unmasks the diplomatic world of “official cover” CIA agents who use their diplomatic privileges to carry out espionage. From embassy political and economic officers to the old U.S. Information Agency, Springmann names the names of the agents.
The reader will also discover how pro-Israelis in the State Department routinely “disappeared” documents pursued under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) because they were too embarrassing to certain parties. To undermine the FOIA, State created a category of “Non-Existent Records” with the help of U.S. Judge for the District of Columbia Reggie Walton.
Springmann details how the Jeddah diplomatic mission served as a major recruiting center for the Arab Afghan Legion that fought the Soviets in Afghanistan. It was from these ranks that Al Qaeda was created and, after that, the present-day scourge known as the Islamic State or Daesh.
Consider the ramifications of what Springmann reveals about the alleged frontline Al Qaeda perpetrators and their actions in the Balkans where they were, in effect, supported by the CIA and U.S. military: “Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, alleged mastermind behind those events, had fought in Afghanistan (after studying in the United States) and then went on to the Bosnian war in 1992. In addition, two more of the September 11, 2001, hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, both Saudis, had gained combat experience in Bosnia. Still more connections came from Mohammed Haydar Zammar, who supposedly helped Mohammed Atta with planning the attacks. He had served with Bosnian army mujahideen units.
“Ramzi Binalshibh, friends with Atta and Zammar, had also fought in Bosnia.”
NATO, the CIA, and European Union all supported the Bosnians in their war against rump Yugoslavia, which consisted of Serbia and Montenegro. This fact made Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda army field allies of the United States in Bosnia and Kosovo. During his trial for “war crimes” in The Hague, Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic tried to inform the world about the Al Qaeda presence in Muslim-dominated regions of the former Yugoslavia but his words fell on deaf ears. Milosevic died under suspicious circumstances in his prison cell in The Hague.
Springmann also takes the reader through an all-too-familiar tale of government retribution for truth-telling that was experienced by a number of honest and well-intentioned U.S. government employees before and after 9/11. Perhaps the only thing the federal government excels at is the art of retaliating against whistleblowers. Few government truth-tellers have ever said they came out of a whistleblowing situation better off than they were before they sounded the klaxon about fraud, waste, abuse, and rampant corruption.
“Visas for Al Qaeda” is one of those books that, after reading, one can only put it down while shaking their head in disbelief. However, the ramifications of what took place in Jeddah have had a devastating effect on many countries around the world. In addition to the United States being in a post-constitutional era, civil war was brought down on Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen. Springmann’s book provides yet another detailed look into the history of the CIA’s vast misdeeds and criminal activity and the State Department’s inherent incompetence and corruption.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).