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The New York Sun ^ | September 3, 2003 | COLIN MINER , staff reporter

Posted on 09/03/2003 7:28:00 PM PDT by Matchett-PI

Family of Famed Terror Expert Accuses Saddam, Bin Laden

Iraq played a major role in the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon - providing Al Qaeda with money, training, and material support, according to a suit filed by the family of the man described as America's foremost expert on terrorism.

John O'Neill, a flamboyant former top agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was killed in the attack on the trade center, where he had started working as the Port Authority's chief of security two weeks earlier.

The 70-page complaint alleges connections between Iraq and Al Qaeda dating back to the 1990s, when it says Iraq began actively supporting Al Qaeda operations by providing intelligence, training, weapons, supplies, passports, travel documents, and financial support.

"Al Qaeda, backed by Iraq, carried out the September 11th terror attacks with the financial and logistical support of numerous individuals and organizations," the complaint says. "These individuals and organizations provided Al Qaeda with the means to recruit, train, and employ thousands of terrorists."

One of those "thousands," according to the suit, was September 11 ringleader Mohammed Atta, who,"through his close connections to Iraqi intelligence and his activities as a conduit of information and funding, became an agent of the Iraqi Intelligence Agency."

O'Neill's estate charges that Atta not only met with an Iraqi intelligence agent, but also met several times with Iraq's former ambassador to Turkey, Farouk al-Hijazi. According to the suit, cooperation between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein goes back more than 10 years to a 1992 visit to Baghdad by Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and a top aide to Osama bin Laden.

During that visit, Dr. Zawahiri met with Saddam, according to an Iraqi intelligence veteran quoted in the complaint, which states that Mr. bin Laden sent Dr. Zawahiri back in 1998 for more strategy sessions with Saddam and his top aides, including the vice president of Iraq,Taha Yassin Ramadan.

During that visit, Dr. Zawahiri also toured a potential site for a new headquarters for Mr. bin Laden and Al Qaeda and went to an Iraqi military base and nuclear and chemical weapons facility near al-Fallujah.

Around that time, according to the complaint, two other of Mr. bin Laden 's top aides met with Qusay Hussein, Saddam's younger son, and Mr. bin Laden also visited Baghdad, spending time at the Al-Rashid hotel.

The complaint - citing documents seized from the bombed headquarters of the Iraqi intelligence agency - charges that the purpose of the meetings "was to establish a relationship between Baghdad and Al Qaeda based on their mutual hatred of America and Saudi Arabia."

The following year, after the bombing of the American embassies in Africa and an American retaliation strike in Afghanistan, Qusay allegedly sent Mr. Hijazi to Afghanistan to meet with Mr. bin Laden.

Mr. Hijazi reportedly offered "an open-ended commitment to joint operations against America and its 'moderate' Arab allies in exchange for an absolute guarantee that Mr. bin Laden,Al Qaeda, and their allies would not attempt to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq."

To demonstrate Iraq's commitment to Mr. bin Laden and Al Qaeda, Mr. Hijazi allegedly presented Mr. bin Laden with a pack of blank, official Yemeni passports, supplied to Iraqi Intelligence from their Yemeni contacts.

Mr. Hijazi's meeting with Mr. bin Laden, the complaint charges "was followed by a contingent of Iraqi intelligence officials who provided additional training and instruction to bin Laden and Al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan."

Iraq, according to O'Neill's estate, also used the Arab TV station Al Jazeera as a conduit to pass messages between Saddam and Mr. bin Laden.

The complaint, filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., refers to documents captured by American forces in Iraq that identify Al Jazeera employees who "received substantial funding from the Iraqi regime in exchange for acting as liaisons between Iraq and Al Qaeda."

Iraq also provided Al Qaeda with financial support by siphoning off money from the United Nations-administered food for oil program, according to the complaint.

"Revenues from the sale of Iraqi oil under the United Nation's food-for-oil program were laundered to help finance Al Qaeda," according to the complaint, which adds that the laundering activity was undertaken with the knowledge of Iraqi officials including Oday Hussein, Saddam's eldest son.

The complaint, which seeks more than $1 billion, accuses the Republic of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and Al Jazeera, among other parties, with wrongful death, conspiracy, and eight other counts.

This is not the first suit charging an Al-Qaeda-Iraq link. In May, the administrators of the estates of two people who perished when the World Trade Center towers collapsed were awarded $104 million in damages from the state of Iraq, Osama bin Laden, and Al Qaeda; they have yet to collect a penny.

While the judge in that case ruled that the families had proved a link - albeit "barely"- not everyone sees the connection. "From the point of view of intelligence information on September 11, there is no evidence to substantiate that," a Reagan-era director of National Security Council Intelligence, Vincent Cannistraro, said of the claims in the O'Neill suit. "It's incumbent on them to produce some evidence."

For those who have tried to draw a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda, this new lawsuit could offer new ammunition.

"Iraq was the major state sponsor of terrorism in the 1990s," said Laurie Mylroie, author of "Bush vs. the Beltway: How the CIA and the State Department Tried To Stop the War on Terror."

"They're absolutely right about that, and it's very important."

Lawyers for the O'Neill family say they will deliver on what they charge in the suit. "This could have easily been a seven-paragraph complaint," said one of the lawyers, Joshua Ambush. "But we felt we needed to detail what we know, to show that this is real. And we have the documents to back it all up."

Before heading to the Port Authority, O'Neill had spent 25 years at the FBI where - beginning with the 1995 capture of Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the first attack on the trade center - he became the nation's foremost expert on Islamic terrorism.

He also developed the reputation of being a maverick not afraid to speak his mind.

During the investigation into the bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, O'Neill told then-FBI director Louis Freeh that the Saudis were "blowing smoke up your ass" after he concluded the Saudi government was being less than cooperative.

He also was not one to shy away from controversy.

Despite having a wife and kids, O'Neill also made a separate life with a woman he met while an agent in Chicago. When he was made assistant special agent in charge of counterterrorism and national security and assigned to New York City, she joined him there - as did his family.

In New York, he was almost the cliché of the man about town, frequenting Elaine's and entertaining everyone from reporters to visiting law enforcement officials from around the world.

In 1996, he gave his most famous speech, warning America about bin Laden, saying, "We see the intent is for a large number of casualties."

TOPICS: Announcements; Editorial; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 911; alqaedaandiraq; iraq; johnoneill; mylroie; oneill; waronterror
The law suit can be found at:
1 posted on 09/03/2003 7:28:01 PM PDT by Matchett-PI
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To: Matchett-PI
This is interesting. I wonder why it wasn't all over the nightlynews.
2 posted on 09/03/2003 7:44:38 PM PDT by PoisedWoman (Fed up with the CORRUPT liberal media)
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To: Matchett-PI
If Tom Daschle ever finds out about this, he'll be deeply saddened.
3 posted on 09/03/2003 7:50:56 PM PDT by b4its2late (I am a nobody, and nobody is perfect; therefore, I am perfect.)
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To: PoisedWoman; oldglory; sheikdetailfeather; Luke FReeman; gonzo; Seeking the truth; MinuteGal
"I wonder why it wasn't all over the nightlynews."

Shhhhhhh ... we don't want to embarrass the terrorists and their DemocRAT apologists.

4 posted on 09/03/2003 7:51:47 PM PDT by Matchett-PI (Why do America's enemies desperately want DemocRATS back in power?)
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To: b4its2late
"If Tom Daschle ever finds out about this, he'll be deeply saddened."

Looks like he already heard about it. Hahahaha

5 posted on 09/03/2003 8:17:41 PM PDT by Matchett-PI (Why do America's enemies desperately want DemocRATS back in power?)
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To: Matchett-PI
6 posted on 09/03/2003 9:14:27 PM PDT by Tymesup
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Comment #7 Removed by Moderator

To: Matchett-PI
Is this the same O'Neill the Democrats believe knew too much about the Bush administration's cozying-up to the Saudis?
8 posted on 09/03/2003 9:24:09 PM PDT by Filibuster_60
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To: Matchett-PI
9 posted on 09/03/2003 10:12:14 PM PDT by Irish Eyes
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To: PoisedWoman
This is interesting. I wonder why it wasn't all over the nightlynews.

The Dems and the Liberal media were pinning their hopes on President Bush BEING WRONG about Iraq! How else could they possibly win in 2004 what with the Economy improving?

The recent story about the Saudi Princes supporting al Queda in Iraq and then mysteriously dying was interesting too (The article mentioned them and the Pakistan connection to al Queda in Iraq). But you didn't hear about that on the nightly news either!!

It wouldn't be PRUDENT for the upcoming Presidential election if they told of all the successes now would it? There are so many things that NEVER get told. I could go on and on....

10 posted on 09/03/2003 10:20:36 PM PDT by Vets_Husband_and_Wife (CNN: where " WE report what WE decide!!")
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To: Filibuster_60
"Is this the same O'Neill the Democrats believe knew too much about the Bush administration's cozying-up to the Saudis?"

Like The Nation, The NY Times, and other left-wing rags and media outlets, the terminology you used is deliberately designed to inflame the useful idiots who rely on them for "the news".

In fact, that exact "take" can be found on DU and all the rest of the anti-American/hate America first, anti-war, globalization, internationalist, peacenik, environmentalist wacko, Marxist, Socialist, Commie, and UN-promoting web sites.

These pro-DemocRAT web sites are easy to locate on google if one merely types in the phrase you used.

It's easy to tell where you spend a lot of your time. Hahahahaha

11 posted on 09/04/2003 7:21:33 AM PDT by Matchett-PI (Why do America's enemies desperately want DemocRATS back in power?)
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To: Matchett-PI
Apparently you don't suspect there's any cover-up for the Saudis on Bush's part, that it's all partisan wrangling? I'm hoping it's not true, only I think a significant minority of Americans backed the invasion of Iraq only because they thought Iraqi nationals were well-represented among the 9/11 hijackers, when in fact nearly 80% of them came from our "friend" and "ally" Saudi Arabia, and even today our troops in Iraq are getting harassed by extremists from that nation.
12 posted on 09/04/2003 3:17:52 PM PDT by Filibuster_60
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To: Matchett-PI
Filibuster_60 Since Apr 21, 2003

Seems you have "outed" him Matchett!

13 posted on 09/04/2003 7:17:38 PM PDT by sausageseller
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