TERRORISM

2001

General

Materials presented chronologically.

Engelberg, Stephen. "Holy Warriors: One Man and a Global Web of Violence." New York Times, 14 Jan. 2001. [http://www.nytimes.com]

This is the first article in a New York Times series on terrorism. It focuses on Osama bin Laden and his group, Al Qaeda. According to a recent CIA analysis, bin Laden "operates about a dozen" camps in Afghanistan "that have trained as many as 5,000 militants, who in turn have created cells in 50 countries. Intelligence officials say the group is experimenting with chemical weapons, including nerve gas, at one of its camps."

Miller, Judith.

1. "Holy Warriors: Dissecting a Terror Plot From Boston to Amman." New York Times, 15 Jan. 2001. [http://www.nytimes.com]

This article traces a plot foiled by the Jordanians to kill "hundreds of Americans, Israelis and others who were visiting Jordan to celebrate the dawn of the millennium."

2. "Holy Warriors: Killing for the Glory of God, in a Land Far From Home." New York Times, 16 Jan. 2001. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"If the international terrorism that has haunted Americans for the last decade has a home, it is Afghanistan, the place that comes closest to the extremists' ideal of a state ruled by the strict code of Islamic law." The CIA "estimates that as many as 50,000 to 70,000 militants from 55 countries have trained [in Afghanistan] in recent years."

McNeil, Donald G., Jr. "Libyan Convicted by Scottish Court in '88 Pan Am Bombing." New York Times, 1 Feb. 2001. [http://www.nytimes.com]

On 31 January 2001, a Scottish court sitting at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands, "found a Libyan intelligence official [Abdelbaset Ali Mohmedal-Megrahi] guilty of murder in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988,... but did not convict the second defendant [Al Amin Khalifah Fhimah] and released him.... Megrahi ... was told [by the court] that a life sentence was mandatory under Scottish law, and that the court, 'in view of the horrendous nature of the crime,' wished him to serve 20 years before any parole consideration."

Weiser, Benjamin. "Ex-Aide to bin Laden Describes Terror Campaign Aimed at U.S." New York Times, 7 Feb. 2001. [http://www.nytimes.com]

Testifying on 6 February 2001 in the trial of four men charged with participating in a terrorist conspiracy led by Saudi exile Osama bin Laden, Jamal Ahmed Al-Fadl told "how he helped ... bin Laden move money and arms to terrorist groups in Africa and the Middle East."

Miller, Judith, and Sarah Lyall. "Hunting bin Laden's Allies, U.S. Extends Net to Europe." New York Times, 21 Feb. 2001. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"Spurred by growing international alarm about Osama bin Laden's militant networks, the police in Britain and Germany have recently arrested more than a dozen Islamic radicals. American officials say some of those arrested were plotting terrorist attacks in Europe and elsewhere."

Gerecht, Reuel Marc. "The Counterterrorist Myth." Atlantic Monthly, Jul.-Aug. 2001, 38-42. [http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2001/07/the-counterterrorist-myth/302263/]

"America's counterterrorism program in the Middle East and its environs is a myth.... In Pakistan, where the government's Inter-Services Intelligence Agency and the ruling army are competent and tough, the CIA can do little if these institutions are against it. And they are against it. Where the Taliban and Usama bin Ladin are concerned, Pakistan and the United States aren't allies.... Behind-the-lines counterterrorism operations are just too dangerous for CIA officers to participate in directly.... Unless one of bin Ladin's foot soldiers walks through the door of a U.S. consulate or embassy, the odds that a CIA counterterrorist officer will ever see one are extremely poor."

Gellman, Barton. "Sudan's Offer to Arrest Militant Fell Through After Saudis Said No." Washington Post, 3 Oct. 2001, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"The government of Sudan, employing a back channel direct from its president to the Central Intelligence Agency, offered in the early spring of 1996 to arrest Osama bin Laden and place him in Saudi custody, according to officials and former officials in all three countries.... Unable to persuade the Saudis to accept bin Laden, and lacking a case to indict him in U.S. courts at the time, the Clinton administration finally gave up on the capture."

Gellman, Barton. [Series of two articles]

1. "Broad Effort Launched After '98 Attacks." Washington Post, 19 Dec. 2001, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"Beginning on Aug. 7, 1998, the day that al Qaeda destroyed the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, [U.S. President Bill] Clinton directed a campaign of increasing scope and lethality against [Osama] bin Laden's network that carried through his final days in office.

"In addition to a secret 'finding' to authorize covert action,... Clinton signed three highly classified Memoranda of Notification expanding the available tools. In succession, the president authorized killing instead of capturing bin Laden, then added several of al Qaeda's senior lieutenants, and finally approved the shooting down of private civilian aircraft on which they flew.

"The Clinton administration ordered the Navy to maintain two Los Angeles-class attack submarines on permanent station in the nearest available waters, enabling the U.S. military to place Tomahawk cruise missiles on any target in Afghanistan within about six hours of receiving the order....

"The lines Clinton opted not to cross continued to define U.S. policy in his successor's first eight months. Clinton stopped short of using more decisive military instruments, including U.S. ground forces, and declined to expand the reach of the war to the Taliban regime that hosted bin Laden and his fighters after 1996."

2. "Struggles Inside the Government Defined Campaign." Washington Post, 20 Dec. 2001, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"By any measure available, Clinton left office having given greater priority to terrorism than any president before him. His government doubled counterterrorist spending across 40 departments and agencies.... Clinton devoted some of his highest-profile foreign policy speeches to terrorism, including two at the U.N. General Assembly. An interagency panel, the Counterterrorism Strategy Group, took on new weight in policy disputes.... And the foreign policy cabinet, by the time it left office, had been convening every two to three weeks to shape a covert and overt campaign against al Qaeda.

"But neither Clinton nor his administration treated terrorism as their top concern, because it was not. Without the overriding impetus provided by Sept. 11, the war on terror in the 1990s lost as many struggles inside government as it won. Steps to manage risk moved forward readily. Some of the harder initiatives, hurried through these past three months by President Bush, foundered then on money, bureaucratic turf, domestic politics and rival conceptions of national interest."

Woodward, Bob. "CIA Paid Afghans To Track Bin Laden: Team of 15 Recruits Operated Since 1998." Washington Post, 23 Dec. 2001, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"For four years prior to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the CIA paid a team of about 15 recruited Afghan agents to regularly track Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, according to well-placed sources. The team had mixed results, ranging from excellent to total failure. Once every month or so, the team pinpointed bin Laden's presence in a specific building, compound or training camp, and that location was then confirmed by the CIA through communications intelligence or satellite overhead photography.... The creation of the tracking team was part of a covert CIA operation to capture or kill bin Laden launched first by the Clinton administration and continued under President Bush."

 

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