Investigating Ties Between Al Qaeda's Trojan Horse and Christmas Day Bomber
11:25 AM, Jan 4, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
There are at least two observations to be made based on Begg's response. First, Begg is trying to pin the blame for Awlaki's jihadist ways on America. This is Begg's standard, mendacious schtick. Begg claims that Awlaki "changed his position after his incarceration in Yemen, which seems to have included being interviewed by US intelligence agents." Got that? The implication is that Awlaki wasn't really a jihadist al Qaeda cleric until U.S. intelligence agents supposedly interrogated him (and probably "tortured" him). We don't even know that American agents ever interrogated Awlaki in Yemen, but even if they did this is an obvious lie. Awlaki's jihadist ways date back to before the September 11 attacks, when Awlaki was a "spiritual advisor" for at least two (maybe as many as four) of the 9/11 hijackers en route to their day of terror. Awlaki has an extensive terrorist dossier and it predates his time in Yemeni custody by years, so Begg's "Blame America" routine is once again an obvious fiction. Second, note that despite the fact that Begg denies remembering UFA he concedes that he spoke "five or six times" at the University College of London. Despite Begg's denial, this raises the possibility that Begg interacted with UFA on more than one occasion. Did Begg have substantive ties to UFA, up and beyond appearing at the "War on Terror Week" event? The Times (UK) reports that the "British arm of the investigation" into UFA's life is looking into "his connection to Cage Prisoners," which is Begg's organization. Indeed, investigators would be well-served to investigate further Begg's on-campus appearances and any other ties he may have to UFA.
Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.