On November 9th, a call came into BBC’s Newsnight desk in London, from a US intelligence agent via a “clean” phone. The spook confirmed that, beginning as early as 1995, the CIA and other US spy agencies were told to stand down from investigating the bin Laden family in both the US and in France. The deliberate self-blinding included pulling agents away from the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), based just outside Washington DC, the kids-for-jihad group run by a man the FBI called, “ABL” – Abdullah Bin Laden, Osama’s brother.
Why would my own government spike an investigation that might have saved lives in New York in 2001 and in Boston in 2013?
Several insiders repeated the same story: US agencies ended the investigation of the bin Laden-terrorist-Chechen-jihad connection out of fear of exposing uncomfortable facts. US intelligence had turned a blind eye to the Abdullah bin Laden organisation because our own government was more than happy that our Saudi allies were sending jihadis to Afghanistan, then, via WAMY, helping Muslims to fight in Bosnia then, later, giving the Russians grief in Chechnya. The problem is that terrorists are like homing pigeons – they come home to roost.
As Joe Trento of the National Security News Service, who helped me on the investigation, said, “It would be unseemly if [someone] were arrested by the FBI and word got back that he’d once been on the payroll of the CIA… What we’re talking about is blow-back. What we’re talking about is embarrassing, career-destroying blow-back for intelligence officials.”
It’s utterly unlikely the young Boston bombers were on the CIA payroll, but it’s more than likely the elder brother’s connections in Dagestan could be traced back to US-protected killers of years past.
I’m not suggesting that we increase the KGB-style spying programme on Americans, Muslims or anyone else. Nor do we need new restrictions on the internet, nor should we take off our shoes and throw away our Red Bulls at the airport check-in. What we need is The Truth.
If journalists had gotten their hands on those “SECRET” memos before September 11th, maybe we could have saved lives. Maybe we could have exposed the jihad factories preying on impressionable kids.
(And, by the way, it would be nice if US/UK media would explain that Chechens are not unreasonably upset. Between 1994 and 1996, Russian tanks and artillery slaughtered 200,000 Chechen men, women and lots of children. However, avenging Chechen deaths by murdering an eight-year-old and two students in Boston is wrong, it’s evil to the core, it’s haram.)