FBI terrorists among us: 1993 WTC Bombing; The mind-boggling role of the Bureau
There seems to be a rule: if a terror attack takes place and the FBI investigates it, things are never what they seem.
Federal attorney Andrew C McCarthy prosecuted the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing case. A review of his book, Willful Blindness, states:
“For the first time, McCarthy intimately reveals the real story behind the FBI’s inability to stop the first World Trade Center bombing even though the bureau had an undercover informant in the operation — the jihadists’ supposed bombmaker.
“In the first sentence of his hard-hitting account, the author sums up the lawyerly — but staggeringly incomprehensive — reason why the FBI pulled its informant out of the terrorist group even as plans were coming to a head on a major attack:
“’Think of the liability!’
“The first rule for government attorneys in counterintelligence in the 1990s was, McCarthy tells us, ‘Avoid accountable failure.’ Thus, when the situation demanded action, the feds copped a CYA posture, the first refuge of the bureaucrat.”
That’s a titanic accusation, coming from a former federal prosecutor.
Yes, the FBI had an informant inside the group that was planning the 1993 WTC bombing that eventually, on February 26, killed 6 people and injured 1042.
His name is Emad Salem, a former Egyptian Army officer. Present whereabouts unknown. Yanking Salem out of the group planning the Bombing was a devastating criminal act on the part of the FBI.
But there is more to the story.
On October 28, 1993, Ralph Blumenthal wrote a piece about Emad Salem for the New York Times: “Tapes Depict Proposal to Thwart Bomb Used in Trade Center Blast.” It began:
“Law-enforcement officials were told that terrorists were building a bomb that was eventually used to blow up the World Trade Center, and they planned to thwart the plotters by secretly substituting harmless powder for the explosives, an informer [Emad Salem] said after the blast.”
Continuing: “The informer was to have helped the plotters build the bomb and supply the fake powder, but the plan was called off by an F.B.I. supervisor who had other ideas about how the informer, Emad A. Salem, should be used, the informer [Emad] said.”
The FBI called the “plan” off, but left the planners to their own devices. No “harmless powder.” Instead, real explosives.
The Times article goes on: “The account, which is given in the transcript of hundreds of hours of tape recordings Mr. Salem secretly made of his talks with law-enforcement agents, portrays the authorities as in a far better position than previously known to foil the Feb. 26 bombing of New York City’s tallest towers.”
This is a shockingly strong opening for an article in the NY Times. It focuses on the testimony of the informant; it seems to take his side.
Several years after reporter Blumenthal wrote the above piece, I spoke with him and expressed my amazement at the revelations about the FBI—and wondered whether the Times had continued to investigate the scandal.
Blumenthal wasn’t pleased, to say the least. He said I misunderstood the article.
I mentioned the fact that Emad Salem wasn’t called as a prosecution witness in the 1993 WTC Bombing trial.
Of course, why would the Dept. of Justice bring Salem to the stand? Would they want him to blame the FBI for letting/abetting the Bombing?
Again, Blumenthal told me I “didn’t understand.” He became angry and that was the end of the conversation.
I remember thinking: Is there anything under the sun the FBI can be held accountable for…because letting the bomb plot go forward…what else do you need for a criminal prosecution of the Bureau?
Here is an excerpt from one of those tapes Emad Salem made when he was secretly bugging his own FBI handlers. On this phone call, he talks to his Bureau friend John. Others have claimed this is an agent named John Anticev. The conversation is taking place at some point after the 1993 WTC Bombing. The main topic is Salem’s fees for services rendered as an informant. He apparently wants more money. He also wants to make sure the Bureau will pay him what they’ve agreed to. During the conversation, Salem suddenly talks about the bomb. His English is broken, but his meaning is clear enough. When he finishes, his Bureau handler John just moves on without directly responding.
Salem: “…we was start already building the bomb which is went off in the World Trade Center. It was built by supervising supervision from the Bureau and the DA and we was all informed about it and we know that the bomb start to be built. By who? By your confidential informant. What a wonderful great case!”
According to Salem, there was a bomb, it was built under FBI and “DA” supervision, Salem himself built it, and it exploded.
Questions remain. Did Salem literally mean he built the bomb? Or was he claiming he successfully convinced others to build it? As a provocative agent for the FBI, did Salem foment the whole idea of the WTC attack and entrap those who were eventually convicted of the Bombing? Without his presence, would they have planned and carried out the assault? Was the truck bomb set off under the North Tower the only weapon? Were there other bombs? If so, who planted them?
But the role of the FBI is clear enough. They aided and abetted, and at the very least, permitted the 1993 attack on the Trade Towers.
The 1993, 1995 (Oklahoma), and 2001 bombings in the US were used to expand and justify the coercive power of the State over the population.
Needless to say, we are living with that legacy.
As well, we are living with a government which claims that people who question official scenarios are themselves potential terrorists.
As further evidence that terror attacks which the FBI investigates are not what they seem, the only accused bomber who got away in 1993 was Abdul Rahman Yasin.
A May 31, 2002, CBS News article comments on the fact that one of its “60 Minutes” stars, Lesley Stahl, had just interviewed Yasin in an Iraqi “facility.”
The article states, “Yasin was picked up by the FBI a few days after the [1993 WTC] bombing in an apartment in Jersey City, N.J., that he was sharing with his mother. He was so helpful and cooperative, giving the FBI names and addresses, that they released him…Yasin says he was even driven back home in an FBI car.”
Yasin flew to Iraq, lived for a year without interference, but then was placed in one of Saddam Hussein’s prisons.
The FBI released Yasin outright in the wake of the devastating WTC attack because he was so helpful?
If so, quite possibly, like Emad Salem, he was already on their payroll.
Finally, to complete the surreal picture, consider that Ralph Blumenthal’s shocking 1993 article in the NY Times about Salem, harmless powder, real explosives, the FBI pulling Salem out of the bomb plot and thus allowing it go forward…none of this prompted any major news outlet in America to launch its own investigation of these matters.
They simply parroted Blumenthal’s findings for a brief day, stepped back, and forgot about the whole business.
They moved on to other stories, other headlines, other distractions.
They let the FBI off the hook.
And the Department of Justice? They prosecuted no one at the FBI.
Pressing forward with an investigation, the NY Times could have made Watergate, by comparison, seem like a Sunday Boy Scout picnic. Over a period of months, they could have pried dozens of rats out of hiding places and gotten them to talk.
They could have expanded the scandal to tsunami proportions, and in the process, sold hundreds of millions newspapers.
But success, in those terms, isn’t part of the Times’ equation, or the equation of any major press outlet. They would rather shrink and drown in a sea of red ink.
They’re on the government and corporate team. They’re playing that game. Ultimately, they’re the “us” and everyone else is the “them”.
In this case, they had to stop the exposure, after letting Blumenthal off his leash for a day or two. They had to pull back and pretend nothing had happened.
The FBI wasn’t really guilty. Of course not, because if they were, the whole federal colossus might start to unravel, disintegrate, and fall into the Potomac.