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Al Qaeda’s Hidden Roots

What we don’t care to know could hurt us again.

By By Laurie Mylroie

22 September 2006: Cyrus Nowrasteh, scriptwriter for ABC’s docudrama The Path to 9/11, defends the film’s controversial, invented scenes, noting that the first attack on the World Trade Center occurred one month after Bill Clinton took office, and eight years passed in which Clinton did little to thwart the growing menace. Nowrasteh makes a crucial point, but it is not necessary to resort to fiction. Our understanding of the terrorist attacks — going back to the 1993 Trade Center bombing — has become loaded with errors obscuring Clinton’s fecklessness. Correct those errors, which, unfortunately the film reproduces, and this essential point is far clearer.

The film links Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the 1993 bombing, to Osama bin Ladin. But, in fact, Yousef and bin Ladin had nothing to do with each other. Bin Laden is not indicted for the Trade Center bombing — intended to topple the towers and kill 250,000 people — despite an extensive effort to discover such links. Nor is that attack included in the military charges against Guantanamo Bay detainees, which outline al Qaeda’s conspiracy against America. Indeed, bin Laden was not indicted until June 1998, when he was charged with one count: “conspiracy to attack defense utilities of the United States.” The target is not identified, and no actual attack occurred.

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NOTE: Having had the privilege to talk with Dr. Mylroie and appear with her in a 2004 radio interview discussing matters pertaining to terrorism, I strongly urge everyone to read this article and carefully review the extremely insightful analysis of the author. Frequently, the question arises about the absence of a bin Laden indictment for his role in the 9/11 attacks. Quoting Dr. Mylroie, “This would help explain how a virtually unknown organization like al Qaeda managed to bomb two U.S. embassies nearly simultaneously and then carry out the most lethal single attack in U.S. history a mere three years later.”  –Douglas J. Hagmann, Founder & Director, Northeast Intelligence Network.

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