National Insecurity Worsens
Paul L. Williams, Ph.D.
Think you’re safe on this anniversary of 9/11?
The man who has been commissioned by Osama bin Laden to spearhead the next attack on American soil remains free and clear – - thanks to the bungling of federal law enforcement officials.
FBI Director Robert Mueller has called Adnan el-Shukrujumah “the next Mohammed Atta” – - a nuclear technician and computer scientist, who represents “a clear and imminent danger to all Americans.”
Shukrujumah’s face appeared on the front pages of newspapers and every televised news outlet throughout the United States and Canada in March 2003, when 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammad was arrested in Pakistan. Mr. Muhammad told his captors that a nuclear nightmare was in store for the United States and that the designated commander of the attack was Adnan el-Shukrujumah.
A special office for information that might lead to his arrest – - replete with a 24 hour hotline – - was set up in Miami, Florida.
Federal investigators combed South and Central America with the hope of gleaning a scintilla of evidence that might shed light on Adnan’s whereabouts – - since his father Gulshair had been born in Guyana.
The feds even established an elaborate sting operation in Guyana, Trinidad, and New York (the JFK plot) to snag the elusive fugitive – - but the operation only resulted in the creation yet another terrorist organization south of the border.
The U.S. Justice Department placed a $5 million reward for any information leading to his arrest, and the same bounty for each of his alleged accomplices: Amer el-Maati, Jaber A. Elbaneh, Anas al-Liby, and Abderraouf Jdey.
But if a team of bounty hunters had managed to collar Adnan el-Shukrujumah and his terrorist cronies, they would have been hard-pressed to turn them over to law enforcement officials, let alone to collect the aggregate $25 million.
The FBI and other federal law enforcement officials, even after posting rewards, setting up hotlines, and issuing BOLOs (“Be-on-the-Lookout” alerts), neglected to issue criminal warrants for their arrest.
This oversight remains mind-boggling. Adnan el-Shukrujumah worked with Mohammad Atta and the other 9/11 operatives; he masterminded a plan to launch a nuclear attack on American soil; he attended al Qaeda gatherings in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including the Waziristan Summit of 2004; and he conspired with Jose Padilla and others to blow up bridges and infrastructures in New York City with radiological devices.
The search for Adnan el Shukrujumah remains littered with corpses, including that of prominent California businessman Farouk Razac.
Obtaining the necessary warrants would constitute the perfunctory matter of submitting a request to a federal judiciary.
Federal law enforcement officials explain this oversight by insisting that the issuance of a BOLO (Be-on-the-Lookout) and a warrant for Adnan as a material witness is all that is required to collar Adnan. They argue that suspected terrorists, under the guidelines of the Patriot Act, need not be fugitives, who have been indicted by grand juries in U. S. District Courts. This would be all well and good if Adnan was cornered within the U. S. But, if he was sitting in a café in Canada or Mexico, neither the BOLO nor the warrant as a material witness would have been sufficient to take him into custody and to extradite him to the U.S. for questioning.
“A material witness warrant has no weight at all in Canada,” explains a retired RCMP official who opts to remain anonymous “Our law enforcement officials cannot do anything unless there is a criminal offense that is extraditable.”
The failure to obtain arrest warrants remains coupled with other oversights of equally staggering proportions.
Several days after the BOLO was issued, Adnan was allegedly spotted at a Denny’s restaurant in Avon, Colo., where he ordered a chicken sandwich and a salad. Samuel Mac, the restaurant manager, described him as “demanding, rude and obnoxious.” Adnan reportedly told Mac he was from Iran and was driving from New York to the West Coast.
Upon calling the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., Mac said the agent who answered the telephone said he had to call the bureau’s Denver office and declined to take down any information.
When Mac called the Denver office of the FBI, he said he was shuttled to voice mail because “all the agents were busy.” It was five hours before a seemingly uninterested agent called the restaurant manager. This agent, according to Mac, took a few notes and said she would pass the information along to the field agents who were handling the case.
On October 31, 2006, members of a nationally known security group reportedly spotted Adnan el-Shukrijumah on the campus of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. They reported the sighting to the FBI and CSIS. At this writing, nearly three years later, they remain waiting for a response.
Similarly, a former Israeli intelligence official claims to have seen Shukrijumah on several occasions at a gas station in Toronto – - less than an hour’s drive from Hamilton. The Israeli says that he contacted FBI officials at four different locations only to be encountered by bureaucratic indifference. The sighting remains to be investigated.
Meanwhile eight years after 9/11, the American Muslim who was singled out to spearhead the “American Hiroshima” remains on the loose along and the next attack on U.S. soil looms as a certainty.