Mohammed Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, who Thursday, July 16, murdered four US Marines in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and wounded three people, was the third Muslim of Jordanian-Palestinian descent to perpetrate a massacre of American military or intelligence personnel in six years
debkafile’s intelligence and counter-terrorist experts point out that these acts of terror were the price that US army and intelligence agencies paid for relying on Jordan’s General Intelligence Directorate (Dairat al-Mukhabarat al-Amman) as a source of penetration agents for fighting Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and other radical Islamist organizations.
US investigators reported Saturday that Abdulazeez had visited Jordan four times in the last 10 years, and during one of those visits traveled to Yemen. There is no chance that the killer – a naturalized American citizen whose real name may be Mohammed Youssuf Said – could have traveled to Yemen on a Jordanian passport “under the radar” of Jordanian intelligence, which may also have succeeded in recruiting him. And there is no way that Jordan’s GID would not have tipped off US intelligence and counter-terrorist authorities.
It is obvious that US law enforcement agencies, who claim to have found “no evidence that he had any contact with militants or militant groups,” know a lot more about the killer’s background than they admit and are feeding out tidbits slowly.
This goes far to explain the unusual aspects of the Chattanooga attack. Within minutes of the shooting, hundreds of agents of the FBI and other agencies dealing with the war on terror were spread out at the scenes of the crime – the Navy recruiting center and the Navy reserve center 12 km away. On the scene with exceptional speed too was the Tennessee US Attorney who said at once that the attacks were being treated as an “act of domestic terrorism.”
But it is hard to understand how a Muslim, who wrote this message on his blog: “Life is short and bitter. And the opportunity to submit to Allah may pass you by “- managed to acquire an arsenal of deadly weapons, including at least two AK-47 automatic rifles and a handgun, which he used on his murderous rampage in Chattanooga. More weapons were found at his home.
It appears likely to debkafile’s intelligence experts that Abdulazeez or Said, whatever his name, exploited a “dead spot” in the cooperation between US and Jordanian intelligence services to coolly and thoroughly prepare his act of terror in Chattanooga. This opportunity and its timing, on the last day of Ramadan, may have been engineered by his handlers, whether a clandestine Islamic State operative in Jordan, or Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula-AQAP in Yemen.
His methods recalled the modus operandi employed by Al Qaeda in 2009, when Humam Khalil al-Balawi, a Jordanian physician, was recruited by the GID for a US Central Intelligence operation, which was to use his medical qualifications to penetrate Ayman Zawahiri’s close circle. Dr. Balawi succeeded in gaining the Al Qaeda leader’s confidence. But Zawahiri also managed to turn him round.
On Dec. 30, 2009, he arrived at the covert US base of Camp Chapman in southeast Afghanistan to deliver his report on the Al Qaeda leader’s plans, which was eagerly was awaited and destined to reach the desk of President Barack Obama.
Instead of handing over his report, the Jordanian doctor detonated the bomb vest strapped around his chest, killing himself and nine of the CIA agents standing around him.
A month earlier, on Nov. 9, 2009, Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, with whom the Tennessee killer shared the same Jordanian-Palestinian background, shot dead 13 American soldiers and injured 32 in a sudden attack at the US base of Fort Hood in Texas.
Abdulazeez clearly followed in the footsteps of both these forerunners.