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
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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