Al Qaeda-Linked Jihadists Incited Cairo Protest
12:25 PM, Oct 26, 2012 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Of all the senior al Qaeda-associated jihadists who incited protesters, the most conspicuous is Musa. Since his release from prison, he has admitted that he was "one of the planners" of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat's assassination in 1981.
The Clinton administration's indictment of Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda members responsible for the Aug. 7, 1998 embassy bombings noted that al Qaeda has “functioned both on its own and through some of the terrorist organizations that operated under its umbrella.” The indictment then names the EIJ, headed by Ayman al Zawahiri, and the IG, which was headed by the Blind Sheikh and then Musa, as two groups that fall under al Qaeda's “umbrella.”
Musa was specifically named by Clinton-era federal prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in al Qaeda’s terror.
On Sept. 13, 2000, the FBI recorded a conversation between Musa and an Islamic Group member residing in the U.S. named Ahmed Sattar. An American court would later convict Sattar of passing messages from Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman to the sheikh’s followers.
Citing a senior U.S. attorney, the New York Daily News described the conversation between Musa and Sattar in an article published in April 2002. The pair “discussed planned terrorist attacks similar to Luxor” and Musa mentioned “a second Luxor.” They used the code word “weddings” to describe future operations. Additional conversations between Musa and Sattar are also documented in the U.S. government’s federal indictment of Sattar.
On Sept. 21, 2000, just over one week after the FBI recorded the conversation between Musa and Sattar, Al Jazeera aired the video showing Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri demanding the release of Sheikh Rahman. It is not clear when the video was recorded. Sitting between the two al Qaeda masters was Musa. “By God, we all have a duty toward” Rahman “to free him,” Musa said. Al Qaeda’s dynamic duo agreed.
Less than one month later, on October 10, 2000, al Qaeda bombed the USS Cole. Musa released a statement praising the attack. “Our officers and soldiers, and the sons of our people in Egypt, should learn the lesson of the U.S. destroyer in Aden,” Musa said, “they have the Suez Canal through which dozens of U.S. and Jewish ships pass.”
Musa continued to advocate for terrorism in the months that followed. “In early 2001,” the State Department reported in its Patterns of Global Terrorism for 2001, “IG leader Rifa’i Ahmad Taha Musa published a book in which he attempted to justify terrorist attacks that result in mass civilian casualties.”
Musa disappeared after authoring the book, but the CIA was on his trail.
In his autobiography, At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA, former Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet explains that Musa was tied to pre-9/11 terrorist plots against Americans.
Tenet writes that “intelligence assessments painted a picture of a plot to kidnap Americans in India, Turkey, and Indonesia.” The plot “was said to be the work of” Musa, who was “then living in Damascus.” Musa ended up in Syria after reportedly being “expelled from Iran,” but the Syrians arrested him after the U.S. provided a “tip” concerning his whereabouts. Other reports confirm that Musa was deported from Syria to Egypt.
Musa “had put out numerous fatwas against the United States in the several months prior to his arrest,” Tenet writes. He “was also close to the Blind Sheikh…who was linked to the 1993 bombing at the World Trade Center.” Citing Musa’s televised appearance with bin Laden and Zawahiri in September 2000, Tenet says the CIA “had a photograph of [Musa] seated righted between the two of them.”
“Talk about Toxic Trio,” Tenet writes, referring to bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri, and Musa.
Less than two weeks after the embassy protest in Cairo, Musa was interviewed by Asharq Al-Awsat. Musa was asked about the “the Anti-Islam film which insults the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and the subsequent attack on the American embassy in Cairo.” Musa did not comment on the embassy assault, but branded the film “a criminal act” and called on the Egyptian government to “sever diplomatic ties with the United States and expel the US ambassador, if only for a short period of time.”
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