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Combined report by Paul DeRienzo, Frank Morales and Chris Flash From newspaper _The_Shadow_ Oct. 1994/Jan. 1995 Issue
Two cassette tape recordings, obtained by SHADOW reporter Paul DiRienzo of telephone conversations between FBI informant Emad Salem and his Bureau contacts reveal secret U.S. Government complicity in the February 26, 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City in which six people were killed and more than a thousand were injured.
After careful deliberation, the SHADOW believes the question regarding the bombing boils down to the following: Did the FBI do the bombing, utilizing informant Salem as an "agent provocateur" or did it fail to prevent an independent Salem and his associates from doing it? The taped conversations obtained by the SHADOW seem to indicate the former:
FBI Informant Edam Salem: "...we was start already building the bomb which is went off in the World Trade Center. It was built by supervising supervision from the Bureau and the DA and we was all informed about it and we know that the bomb start to be built. By who? By your confidential informant. What a wonderful great case!"
Who is Emad Salem? FBI bomber, Arab double-agent or just greedy? Possibly a combination of all three. Salem is a former Egyptian Army officer who is currently the U.S. government's star witness against Egyptian cleric Dr. Omar Abdel Rahman, whom the FBI says was the ringleader in several bombing plots, including the World Trade Center. Shortly after the bombing at the Twin Towers (World Trade Center) the U.S. government moved to take Salem into the Witness Protection program.
According to the FBI, Salem was aware of the plot ostensibly because he had infiltrated Sheik Rahman and his associates. He was recruited as a government informant shortly after the 1991 assassination of of right- wing militant Rabbi Meir Kahane. As an associate of Rahman, Salem traveled in the cleric's inner circle, surreptitiously recording conversations, and selling his information to the Bureau. But unknown to his FBI handlers, Salem was also secretly recording his conversations with them, most likely to protect himself.
According to attorney Ron Kuby, after Salem was taken into the Witness Protection program on June 24, 1993, he told the feds about the more than 1,000 conversations he had recorded sometime between December, 1991 and June, 1993. Kuby says that while some of these tapes are not significant, others contain substantive dealings with Salem and his FBI handlers. Salem was actually bugging the FBI.
The World Trade Center bombing, along with subsequent alleged plots to bomb prominent targets in New York City, spawned a number of federal indictments and trials resulting in the conviction of more than a dozen men, all of Arabic descent. Salem's exposure as a government informant who had a year earlier infiltrated the group of men later charged in the bombing conspiracy caused many to wonder why he and the FBI failed to provide any warning of the pending World Trade Center bombing.
The answer now appears self-evident. According to William Kuntsler, attorney for Ibrahim El-Gabrowny, one of those accused in the larger bombing case, the entire conspiracy was the product of Salem, the government informant. Kuntsler's law partner Ronald Kuby told the SHADOW that within hours of the World Trade Center blast, Salem checked into a midtown hospital, complaining of a loud ringing in his ears. There is a growing belief that some of the four men charged and since convicted and jailed for the World Trade Center bombing, Mohammed Aboulihma, Mohammed Salameh, Nidal Ayyad and Ahmad Ajaj, may be innocent [victims] of a government frame-up.
Attorneys for those convicted have maintained that the government's case is circumstantial at best, with no evidence or motive linking the accused with the bombing. The FBI and federal prosecutors have not as yet responded to questions over the lack of warning of the attack on the Twin Towers, despite the strategic placement of their informant.
Two possible scenarios emerge. One: Salem is a rogue FBI informant who created the conspiracy to bomb the World Trade Center for the money his information about the plot (minus his role) would bring. An attorney for one of the convicted men told the SHADOW that Salem was an FBI informant from November of 1991 to the summer of 1992. The attorney says that the FBI became aware of the World Trade Center bombing plot through informant Salem during this period, but they refused to believe his information or pay Salem's exhorbitant fees. In fact, the feds claimed that they dropped Salem as an informant during the summer of 1992 after he refused or failed a lie detector test. This left Salem with a bombing plot but no one to sell it to.
According to the attorney, Salem let the plot that he hatched go forward and the World Trade Center was bombed so that he could get money and publicity. The attorney says that within 48 hours of the bombing, the FBI requested Salem to help them solve the case. Salem quickly pointed the fingers at the defendants, all followers of Sheik Rahman.
So, who did it? From the above point of view, Salem constructed the bomb plot with those whom he subsequently set up. The U.S. government and its FBI were innocent bystanders who failed to prevent the carnage due to their unwillingness to take Salem's claims seriously, despite his close collaboration with Bureau agents for the better part of a year.
The other scenario looks like this: Informant Salem organized the bomb plot with the "supervision" of the FBI and the District Attorney as part of a classic entrapment setup. He befriended certain individuals, possibly some of the defendants, convinced them that his intentions to bomb the World Trade Center were sincere, and convinced them to get involved. The bomb goes off. Greedy Salem, with his ears still ringing, sells out his accomplices while attempting to sell more information to the Bureau. In order to protect him and their relationship, the FBI sequesters Salem and utilizes him against the real target of the FBI, Sheik Rahman.
In one of the taped conversations between Salem and "Special Agent" John Anticev, Salem refers to him and the Bureau's involvement in making the bomb that blew up the World Trade Center. As Salem is pressing for money while emphasizing his value as a Bureau asset, the conversation moves in and out of references to the bombing and the FBI's knowledge of the bomb making:
FBI: But ah basically nothing has changed. I'm just telling you for my own sake that nothing, that this isn't a salary but you got paid regularly for good information. I mean the expenses were a little bit out of the ordinary and it was really questioned. Don't tell Nancy I told you this. (Nancy Floyd is another FBI agent who worked with Salem in his informant capacity. The second tape obtained by the SHADOW is of a telephone conversation between Salem and Floyd -Ed.)
SALEM: Well, I have to tell her of course.
FBI: Well then, if you have to, you have to.
SALEM: Yeah, I mean because the lady was being honest and I was being honest and everything was submitted with receipts and now it's questionable.
FBI: It's not questionable, it's like a little out of the' ordinary.
SALEM: Okay. I don't think it was. If that what you think guys, fine, but I don't think that because we was start already building the bomb which is went off in the World Trade Center. It was built by supervising supervision from the Bureau and the DA and we was all informed about it and we know what the bomb start to be built. By who? By your confidential informant. What a wonderful great case! And then he put his head in the sand I said "Oh, no, no, that's not true, he is son of a bitch." (Deep breath) Okay. It's built with a different way in another place and that's it.
FBI: No, don't make any rash decisions. I'm just trying to be as honest with you as I can.
SALEM: Of course, I appreciate that.
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