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U.S. Exposes Al-Quaeda Sleepr Cells From New York To Florida To L.A. & UPI ^ | November 1, 2002 | UPI

Posted on 10/31/2002 8:20:53 PM PST by Red Jones

U.S. Exposes al-Qaeda Sleeper Cells From New York to Florida to L.A. Wires Friday, Nov. 1, 2002 WASHINGTON – Local and federal law enforcement officials are using sophisticated infiltration and disinformation campaigns to expose and neutralize al-Qaeda sleeper cells operating in the United States, U.S. intelligence officials tell United Press International. FBI officials say that al-Qaeda cells are embedded in most U.S. cities with sizable Islamic communities. New York, Detroit, New Jersey, Los Angeles, the Virginia area, Florida and cities in North Carolina such as Charlotte are all believed to contain cells and their supporters, usually living in run-down sections of urban areas or towns, these officials say.

"Information indicates that quite a few al-Qaeda cells have been established within the continental United States," an FBI official said. "The cells are up and active."

There have been recent electronic intercepts of communications between groups that show they are in the United States and "talking to each other."

In a review of U.S. operations, UPI was briefed on the al-Qaeda investigations by several current and former intelligence officers, all of whom asked not to be identified by name.

According to former CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency officials, the terrorists choose seedy neighborhoods because "in a place like that, you are invisible. People don't care about you, they don't want to look at you and don't look at you," as one put it.

The terrorists tend to dress poorly as well. "If you're going to blow up something, you don't walk down a street in a nice suit and tie. If you dress like that, there is the assumption you should have somewhere to go and not be seen loitering around," he said.


A former very senior U.S. intelligence official explained, "The members of cells don't think of themselves as raiding parties, but as the front end of an invasion.

"If they can attack, blow things up and disrupt society, they believe there will be mass defections to Islam and society will collapse. They can then set up an Islamic state."

The cells, these sources said, are made up of U.S.-born Muslims and well as young male Muslims from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf nations, Yemen, Somalia and Indonesia, among others. Most are thought to have entered the country some time ago, singly or in pairs, and to be deeply entrenched in their communities, working or running small businesses that could act as a cover for their activities.

Good Muslims Help Root Out the Bad

To root them out, the FBI has been busy developing a network of informers in Muslim neighborhoods – everyone from a nightclub owner, waiters in restaurants, gym owners, motel proprietors, lawyers, or merchants – each with his own contribution to make to the growing file of intelligence on the suspected cells, according to a federal law enforcement official.

U.S. law enforcement agencies believe that intelligence is their chief tool in the war on terror, according to a very senior former Pentagon intelligence official.

"Intelligence is really just a giant research operation where you rely on huge archival files," he said. "It's the most effective weapon you've got."

The next and best weapon in the war against the cells is infiltration. According to a longtime covert operations specialist, law enforcement is using agents who are Arabs and fluent in Arabic who then look for ways to get inside the community where the cell members worship.

Their next goal: "to find about the social structure: where do they worship, where do they entertain, what do they talk about?" he said. If it is known where they socialize and there is probable cause, police might be able to place microphones on the premises, he said. The goal is to identify and eliminate leaders, a former CIA official said.

'Like Gladiators'

As the FBI and other law enforcement agencies gain knowledge, any rivalries between group members can be exploited, using disinformation to convince some cell members that others are informers or traitors. One FBI official explained that the purpose is to "disrupt" hostile organizations and that FBI tactics go back to 1956 when the FBI established its COINTELPRO (counter-intelligence program.) This official said that the program pitted one group, or even members of a single group, against each other "like gladiators in ancient Rome."

The program was used successfully against such groups as Black Panthers and Ku Klux Klan, he said.

According to several former U.S. intelligence operatives, the most urgent task is to create a fictitious source of information, a "straw man," a person who doesn't exist, according to the longtime U.S. covert operations specialist.

Using straw men works on the theory that anxiety makes people more susceptible to suggestion. "The cell members know they are doing something illegal and expect to be caught and believe that everybody is a spy," he said.

As a key device to disseminate disinformation, the FBI and other law enforcement officials are using pro-al-Qaeda Web sites and Web chat rooms, U.S. government officials said.

An FBI official confirmed this, adding that what the FBI agent does is go to a city, use a public library's computer and create a onetime Hot Mail account. The FBI agent will then enter the chatroom conversation, producing the name of a cell member and labeling him as disloyal, perhaps as an informer for the U.S. government. The agent then flies to another city, and opens another account, and using the name of a different but equally fictional person, enters the chat room "to support and endorse his own story," a longtime undercover operative said.

"It's wonderful mechanism to use. I've done it," the specialist said. A former CIA official pointed out that similar campaigns used by the French against nationalist rebels in Algeria in the 1950s resulted in internecine conflict within the movement, including leaders turning against and killing each other.

FBI officials said that they used phony Black Panther sources to place incendiary information in the hand of Jewish Defense League, which then retaliated against the Panthers.

The (supposedly) phony information, that the Black Panthers were anti-Semitic, was leaked to the newspapers, damaging their appeal and reputation, the FBI official said.

The FBI itself carefully crafts these interventions before planting them with informants, to ensure maximum embarrassment and disruption of the targeted extremist group, U.S. officials said.

Thousands of al-Qaeda Terrorists in the U.S.

According to a half-dozen serving and retired federal officials, secret federal intelligence reports put the numbers of al-Qaeda operatives, trained in Afghanistan or elsewhere, at between 2,000 and 5,000 in the United States.

The estimates are based on immigration and census data, plus numbers of terrorists trained in Afghanistan by Osama bin Laden. "They are only conjectural probabilities," said an FBI source.

Former senior counterterrorism official Larry Johnson told UPI he thinks al-Qaeda cell members in the United States may number "around 2,000."

Johnson doesn't underestimate the danger, but noted that some skills taught cell members by training in Afghan camps are "perishable. Skills grow dull."

But the intelligence challenge has become urgent and more dangerous because U.S. military operations in Afghanistan have dispersed the leadership of al-Qaeda worldwide. As a result, the command and control structure have become much looser and cells have been "given more autonomy," a federal law enforcement official said.

The large numbers of al-Qaeda terrorists in America raise a question: Why were authorities so quick to rule out the involvement in al-Qaeda of Beltway sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad, an anti-U.S. Muslim extremist?

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: alquaeda; jihadinamerica; terrorism
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1 posted on 10/31/2002 8:20:53 PM PST by Red Jones
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To: Red Jones
I wonder how much of this is actually true? Or is it a feel-good press release?

The FBI hasn't had an awful lot of luck in the past working with Muslim informers.
2 posted on 10/31/2002 8:25:18 PM PST by Cicero
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To: Red Jones
Why were authorities so quick to rule out the involvement in al-Qaeda of Beltway sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad, an anti-U.S. Muslim extremist?

Possibly because he's affiliated with some othere organization, he's a freelancer, or they don't want to reveal how much they know. Or they really are ignorant. Pick one or more of the above.

3 posted on 10/31/2002 8:29:03 PM PST by js1138
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To: Cicero

OK, I know these sorts of graphics don't really move the conversation along, but what else is there to say? We've basically - for no compelling reasons whatsoever - immigrated our very own Gaza Strip and West Bank into our midst. What the heck are we doing??

4 posted on 10/31/2002 8:31:15 PM PST by RodgerD
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To: Red Jones
Interesting post Red. Could it be that our intellengence community is starting to get it's act together?
5 posted on 10/31/2002 8:32:23 PM PST by TailspinJim
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To: RodgerD
The fighting Taliban is a weekly broadcast of the Al Jazerra sports network. The program features two Taliban fighters in robes, with turbans, and larger than normal boxing gloves. Very big boxing gloves, the producers wanted to add to the comical nature of these heretical, sordid fools as they fight each other. The two fighters sit in opposite corners and pray during the one minute breaks as their cornermen work on and assist them. Their ringside cornermen use blessed holy water to wipe down and clean up the fighters. Each fighter must have a beard at least eight inches long and must be able to mutter "Allah be to praise, or praise to Allah, Allah's at the bar," or words of that nature.

This week's fighters are Washama min Laundra, and Omar Sheiki Goldenstein, (whose mother was Muslim and father was Jewish.) Omar chose the Islamic fundamentalist religion because it thought it would get him in tighter with the foxy Muslim chicks in their softly colored burkas; he preferred his indecorous relations with the covered. He felt that Jewish chicks had bad attitudes and he is not partial to the extended proboscis.

Washama is the district champion in his local mendassa outside of Madagascar and he drives a donkey-pulled Mercedes bodied fivver. His wife Bridget works for Brown and Root of Sudan. They have four children, three by her previous marriages. He works out in his robes and turban in his village. His robes and turban get really sweaty, and he smells bad always. He uses his hand and his cloak to wipe is ass, blow his nose, and wipe oil on his AK 47. He always stinks, but no one notices because his entire terrorist brethren smell equally rancid. He chose boxing as a career because he enjoys fighting, but prefers beating and killing those unable to defend themselves.

The fight goes like this: Ring announcer, "LET'S GET READY TO JIHAD, (thunderous rumblings), praise be to God." As the crowd goes casual and some fans pass out from lack of nutrition, he announces, "In this corner, The Allotollah of rock and rolla, the sheik of shame, the Mountain where God pissed, WASHAMA MIN LAUNDRA." More generous applause. "And in this corner, the horny OMAR CHEEKY SHEEKY GOLDENSTEIN, shame of the Dunkin Sunkin providence, known to have shagged 35 bitches wearing mini burkas. Let's give him a big, praise to be him."

Both fighters bow to each other and simultaneously relay "May God be with you." The cornermen are Salaam Zeeaffe Ragdul for Washama and Surfi Muhammad Mulang for Omar. Both corner men are equipped with healing waters and magic potions. Not much to curb the flow of blood as it darkens the flowing robe garments. If I hadn't seen it I would not have believed the interest in these Taliban fools fighting. These Iron Mike Abdulla's were a couple of foolas. Falling around tripping over their robes, flailing away, sweat, spit, and drool in their beards. The strangest thing was the appearance of Don King at ringside. Mr. King's entourage kept all of the local terrorists away from Mr. King. Praise be to Don King, the real God.

Round one, the referee had the fighters touch gloves and come out fighting. Omar lands the first punch to Wahama's chin. Washama did not have a mouthpiece because Infidels manufactured the only ones available; so he lost his bottom middle tooth. While spitting up blood he mumbles, "Praise be to Allah." Omar saw his opportunity and stepped forward and punches Washama in the stomach with a solid right hand, and says, "May God be with you." Washama double over in pain and stutters in broken breath, "God is gre..." Omar punches Washama in the back of the head and Washama falls to the mat. Omar steps back and says, "May God be with you." As the referee turns to the timekeeper to check the time, Omar steps forward and kicks Washama squarely in the spleen while shouting, "Praise be to Allah." Round one ends as Washama struggles to his feet and stumbles to collapse on his stool in the corner. Salaam goes to work on Washama; he pulls up the bottom of Washama's cloak and wipes his brow. Washama hyperventiling mumbles, "Praise Allah, I must kill this man, he strikes with the power of goat." Salaam, reminds Washama to, "Work the body, punch through the robes, God be with you."

The Budweiser girls walk the ring showing round 2. Each of the Budweiser girls is wearing skintight skimpy bathing suits showing copious amount of leg and cheek. Omar Cheeky already making plans for shagging the Budweiser chicks, while Washama makes plans for stoning them. Just then a bomb goes off in the snack bar. Turns out some idiot wrapped in TNT walked up to the popcorn maker, shouted, "Allah akbar" double clicked the clacker and blew himself all over the coke machine, popcorn maker and snickers counter. "Great," thought the customers, "nothing left but the dill pickle counter. This sucks." The maintenance crew wiped up what was left of the terrorist suicide bomber and reopened the snack bar by the next round. Some pieces of hair and skin were later found in the bottom of popcorn bags.

Round two finds a rejuvenated Washama going on the offensive. At once he struck Omar with a combination of lefts, rights, and uppercuts. With each blow the salutation, "May God be with you." Omar's turban fell over his eyes and he began swinging wildly, he struck the referee on the shoulder. Omar's turban became tangled with his long sleeves of his robe and Omar could not strike beyond his elbow. Omar's waterman produced an AK47 from under his robe and shoots at Washama. He misses wide but the burst took out a couple in the fourth row and the beer guy walking up and down the isle. Four Chechnya mercenaries grab the shooter, trounce him and wrestle the AK47 from him then shoot him with his own weapon.

Mr. Washama was getting crushed in the first couple of rounds. With each exchange of blows the fighters would say to each other, "May God be with you." Another solid punch and "May God be with you." Turbans loosened and fell into each of to the fighter's eyes. Washama was devious, while mumbling "May God be with you" in the clinches he rapidly rabbit punched Omar in the back of head. The fans broke after each round to perform prayers, but were soon back for more of the fighting Taliban fools, engaged in their Jihad for a prize purse. Approximately at 1:40 of round three the leather strap on Washama's Birkenstock sandals broke. The referee broke up the fighters until Washama could borrow another sandal from his brother on row four middle isle seat.

Both Taliban fighters stood toe to toe and slugged it out. The tops of their robes are now soaked with sweat and their turbans are unraveling over their shoulders. With each punch come hurried mumbles of "May God be with you." Washama throws a punch and his glove goes flying off and lands against the timers larger official clock. Both looked stunned for an instant but Omar gets in a solid right to Washama's temple before the referee stops the action to fix the equipment. Washama falls like a flying safe. As he is dragged off, Omar untangles himself from his robe and turban and kicks Washama in the throat. Washama's eyes practically bulge out of his head as his breath is shut off. He notices a big piece of bloody phlegm on his robe and wonders if it his or Omar's. The bell to end the round sounds and the Taliban fighters stumble back to their corners. Each of their cornermen greets them with, "Good round for you brother, may God be with you." Saleem takes a piece of tape and closes off his nose as Washama smells so bad it stings Saleems nose. In Omar's corner, Surfi, says, "Dude, may God be with you. Are you OK man, he really laid you out, you wanna drink or something. Oh, dude check it out here come those infidel beer babes, too much!! Maybe we could score some herb and link up with those bitches." Omar, says, "Fool, may God be with you, I'm getting my ass kicked, grab me some holy water. Wipe the blood from my turban." The bell for round three sounds and Omar takes a big breath and returns to do battle with the fatuous Washama.

More of the same, as two fools flail arms, sweat, blood, unraveled turban, and too long robes into a bloody foolish mess. The western journalists are laughing so hard they are doubled over and the Islamic fundamentalist's are placing side bets. Washama, sees his reflection on Don King's watch, and thinks "Praise be to..." but before he can complete the thought Omar lands a crushing blow to Washama's testicles. Would have crippled most, but Washama's are so small it does no damage. "Ring." The round count girls come out in traditional Islamic fundamental burkas complete with long robes and covered faces. The crowd begins booing and throwing wadded up programs, beer cans, paper cups and hotdogs. Suddenly the girls in the ring stop walking around, and begin stripping out of their burkas, the Budweiser girls step from the flowing burka robes in their tight form fitting bathing suits. One of the women steps from burka in a thong bathing suit and the Islamic fundamentalists in the audience begin chanting, "Praise God and dental floss." Seems strange to this reporter because it is apparent that none of these people have any idea of dental hygiene.

Washama min Laundra suddenly rises up and piercingly utters, "God is great," and just as quickly falls back onto his stool. His cornerman massages his swollen neck and the bell for the fourth round rings. Washama rises up his cornerman removes the stool just as Washama falls backwards and lands with a thud on the floor. Omar seizing the opportunity rushes across the ring and ignobly begins pounding on Washama, with each blow he cries, "May God be with you." Washama's mind surrenders to a labyrinth of sonorous colors as he is beaten unconscious. As Omar pounds the daylights out of Washama he is mentally asking for forgiveness from both the Talmud and the Quran. His personal opinion is that some obscure functionary wrote both, but he wants to ensure he is theologically covered. As Washama tumbles over into mental blackness and surrenders to the floor, Omar suddenly quite idyll strolls over to his corner while blowing kisses to the babes in the burkas at the ringside seats. He brushes the sweat, spit, drool and blood out of his beard, and begins thinking how cool it would be to have a tattoo. "A tattoo, yeah, maybe Allah on one arm and Irving Stone (one of his father's friends) on the other arm," he thinks.

Sex pops back into Omar's mind as he imagines each of the women at the fight tonight were freemartins. Horny, and happy, he can't wait to wear the sixty-five pound champion's belt around his sticky, bloody, sweaty and torn cloak. "Oh, no, Ramadan starts this week, figures, ahhh, figures" he thinks to himself. "I'm gonna party with some of the Budweiser babes and some burka chicks; yeah, drink a few brewskis and eat some fatted calves or, what the heck, maybe some ham and bacon."

Washama is dragged out of the ring and loaded on a stretcher for the trip to the recovery room. Once in the back room and given the opportunity to recover he begins to regain his senses. Still seeing double and seized with tunnel vision he notices a stranger enter the room. The stranger approaches with a note pad as if he wants Washama's autograph, Washama reaches for the note pad, just as the stranger screams, "Allah, aha, God is God." The stranger throws open his jacket and Washama can see the stranger is covered with Infidel created composition four (C4). The stranger as if by magic is suddenly carrying an activation device. He rushes to grab Washama and wraps his arms around him while squeezing the detonator. Washama's last thoughts were, "Great, first I get my ass kicked and now this moron is ......." Boom!!

Out in the hallway Omar is surprised by the explosion in Washama's room. He says to himself, "Man, it sucks to be him, 'God is great.'" Next thing, find some babes.

And that is the report from this week's Taliban Fighters, brought to you by our good friends at Martin Marietta and the Post cereal company.

6 posted on 10/31/2002 8:32:43 PM PST by philetus
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To: Red Jones
>A former very senior U.S. intelligence official explained, "The members of cells don't think of themselves as raiding parties, but as the front end of an invasion.
7 posted on 10/31/2002 8:33:25 PM PST by Dialup Llama
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To: Cicero
MEMO TO FBI: HELLO -- Every Mosque is a "sleeper-cell"!!
8 posted on 10/31/2002 8:33:47 PM PST by F16Fighter
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To: Dialup Llama
"The members of cells don't think of themselves as raiding parties, but as the front end of an invasion. "If they can attack, blow things up and disrupt society, they believe there will be mass defections to Islam and society will collapse. They can then set up an Islamic state."

I'd say they're delusional.

9 posted on 10/31/2002 8:36:27 PM PST by demlosers
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To: Cicero
It sounds like something some reporter cobbled together because he was too lazy to get a real story... or cobbled together to tell his extremist friends to stay unified.

The (supposedly) phony information, that the Black Panthers were anti-Semitic, was leaked to the newspapers, damaging their appeal and reputation, the FBI official said.

The above excerpt is just plain silly- no one needs the FBI to plant a story about the Black Panthers being antisemitic- everyone already knows the group is antisemitic and so forth - there are plenty of articles already out there and so such an article wouldn't be 'phony.'

Of course, there is some truth in the whole story - it is useful to use one group member against another and one group against another- this works extremely well with paranoid people. It's tried on Freerepublic all the time by different 'interest groups,' and works marvelously well on single-issue individuals, people who can't see the big picture.

10 posted on 10/31/2002 8:37:19 PM PST by piasa
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To: Cicero
This makes me wonder how much is intended to simply cause discomfort in the al-Qaeda cells which could lead to mistakes and/or defection. At the least, Muslim communities will become nervous and suspicious of behavior by individuals or small groups that would attract the attention of our law enforcement agencies.
11 posted on 10/31/2002 8:44:14 PM PST by toddst
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To: RodgerD
12 posted on 10/31/2002 8:56:09 PM PST by timestax
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To: philetus
"If they can attack, blow things up and disrupt society, they believe there will be mass defections to Islam and society will collapse. They can then set up an Islamic state."

If you believe that the so called "moderate" muslims are turning on the immoderate ones and that the immoderate ones are the only ones with designs on taking over the US you are living in dreamland.. they will say what ever it takes to keep the American public from taking up arms and throwing their sorry asses out of America... and our failure to do so while we still could have will be our biggest regret not too long down the road...imo

13 posted on 10/31/2002 9:01:56 PM PST by joesnuffy
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To: RodgerD
It is not what we are doing, it is what is being done to us.
14 posted on 10/31/2002 9:07:46 PM PST by MissAmericanPie
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To: Red Jones
Good Muslims Help Root Out the 2. Remember the fbi muslim agent who refused to wear a wire because muslims don't tape muslims?
15 posted on 10/31/2002 9:17:04 PM PST by RWG
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To: Red Jones
Warning : Psy Op in progress.
16 posted on 10/31/2002 9:19:17 PM PST by lawdog
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To: F16Fighter
Exactly. Some might find this article comforting. I find it stupid as all hell. The FBI/CIA/NSA/INS all are a cluster f-ck.
17 posted on 10/31/2002 9:26:10 PM PST by My Favorite Headache
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To: lawdog
Al Qaeda members are not going to recruit in the states. This is pointless to try and "get in with them" here in the states. Al Qaeda members go to another country and are trained there for the better part of their training. Then they are given orders,codes, and means to live by and then when they are ordered to act...they do it. The government has years before they can put a dent in this. This war is just beginning and this article is junk. No offense to the original poster.
18 posted on 10/31/2002 9:28:17 PM PST by My Favorite Headache
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To: My Favorite Headache
They didn't mention your town. 8^\
19 posted on 10/31/2002 9:31:48 PM PST by hellinahandcart
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To: Red Jones
Why were authorities so quick to rule out the involvement in al-Qaeda of Beltway sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad, an anti-U.S. Muslim extremist?

I believe I heard today that they were looking into this.

20 posted on 10/31/2002 9:33:26 PM PST by TexKat
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