The Moussaoui Testimony, the German BND chief, al Qaeda, Hamas and Israel
In a dramatic reversal of his previous testimony, Zacarias Moussaoui, a confessed al Qaeda member, admitted Monday, March 27 that he was part of the 9/11 plot along with the British would-be shoe-bomber Richard Reid. The only person charged in the Sept. 11 attacks on America, he told a federal district court in Alexandria, Va, that he and Reid were supposed to hijack a fifth plane and attack the White House.
This self-incrimination went even further than the prosecutors’ allegations and brought him closer to becoming the first al Qaeda adherent to be sentenced to death in America. It is up to the jury to decide between death and life imprisonment.
Moussaoui also admitted he had known the 19 suicide killers who crashed their hijacked planes into New York’s World Trade Center and met one of them at a training camp in Afghanistan.
Asked why had suddenly come forward to contradict all the testimony he had given in his interrogation and four-year trial, he shrugged.
The new Moussaoui testimony uncovered two astonishing new details, one of which has important applications to the Palestinian terror war against Israel:
1. He said he talked with an al Qaeda operative in 1999 about why the 1993 bombing at the World Trade Center failed to bring the towers down. This revelation sheds light on the long view al Qaeda’s takes in its operational planning and its patient adherence to its objectives.
In July 2000, debkafile – then new on the Internet – reported that that the 1993 New York Trade Center plotters had made calculations to determine precisely the placing of the bomb truck against one of the buttresses of the building in the underground parking area and the amount of explosives required. Osama bin Laden in person made the calculations in person. He intended the blast to force one of the towers to lean inward and crash the second one. This did not happen. Our counter-terror sources reported at the time that al Qaeda was bound to try again; its planners would not give up after one failure but would persevere in finding a more effective weapon for achieving its end of knocking the twin towers down: hijacked airliners piloted by suicidal fanatics.
And indeed, the fundamentalist group’s leaders spent eight years setting up the second attempt.
This is a valuable lesson for the future.
At a lecture he delivered in Berlin March 23 to a World Jewish Congress delegation, Germany’s BND intelligence chief Ernst Uhrlau said: “In the foreseeable future international terrorism will remain one of the most serious threats to our society. More than ever before, Israel and Europe as a single risk area are caught in the crosshairs of international terrorism.” Both Israel and Europe, he added, now faced less of a threat from non-religious militant organizations than from trans-national militant Islamist organizations.
This was a rare appearance for the German official. In fact, his frankness in expounding this dire threat to Israel is unmatched by any Western intelligence chief – or even an Israeli counterpart. Neither has any official of Ernst Uhrlau’s high rank ever put Israel and Europe together as living under the same dire threat as a prime target for al Qaeda.
Since planting its cells in the Gaza Strip, Al Qaeda has made no secret of its intention to launch attacks against Israel from the Palestinian territory evacuated by Israel eight months ago.
Moussaoui testified this week to the inflexibility of al Qaeda’s determination after fixing a target, however long it takes to set up. The trans-national Islamists must therefore be presumed to carry out its scheme, however long it takes – unless Israeli intelligence can forestall them.
2. The second disclosure in Moussaoui’s testimony to the federal court is that the British shoe bomber was his confederate in the plot to attack the White House. It is worth recalling that Richard Reid received his training for preparing explosives, concealing them in his sneakers and detonating them in the Gaza Strip between July and September. His instructor was a Hamas operative called Nabil Akal, in whose home he lodged.
The incoming Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya may tell the media he wants no more bloodshed and is seeking a permanent end to the Middle East conflict, but he is neither willing nor able to remove the Palestinian fundamentalist group from its integral position in the network of Islamic terrorism referred to by the Germany intelligence chief Urlau and attested to by Zacarias Moussaoui.