June 18, 2007, - 10:30 am
By Debbie Schlussel
**** UPDATE: Click on the links which go right to Scotland Yard’s files. The links in the second indented paragraph are especially interesting. They are the extensive Al-Qaeda reports on various New York sites and buildings. They are so extensive, with such confidential security details, that a lot of the reports are redacted. Still interesting to read though. These aren’t amateurs. ****
On Friday, London’s Scotland Yard released Al-Qaeda videos, maps, and plans for attack on New York’s financial district.
The materials were compiled by members of a terror cell run by Qaeda “general” Dhiren Barot. Seven members of his cell were convicted in the London bombing plot.
Although we already knew of the plot, the details of how extensive it was were never before made public. And the materials are important because they confirm plot details that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed revealed to the CIA under questioning. The videos put the lie to many on the far left–like Rosie O’Donnell– who claim that Mohammed only admitted to plots and detailed them because he was tortured, and that his admissions were fraudulent. They also put the lie to those who claimed that President Bush and then-DHS Secretary Tom Ridge fraudulently raised alert levels in New York City and made up reports about possible terrorist attacks. More from NBC News and WNBC reporter Jonathon Dienst:
As the 9-11 Commission Report stated, “KSM claims, at Bin Ladin’s direction in early 2001, he sent Britani (Barot’s alias) to the United States to case potential economic and “Jewish” targets in New York City.”
The map released Friday lays out the route Barot took around Lower Manhattan in April 2001, as he moved from location to location, shooting short videos of each site:
* New York Stock Exchange
* NYSE and surrounding area
* NYSE Visitor Center entrance
* NYPD officer in a police car
* Entrance to NYSE
* Liberty Plaza and North and South Towers of World Trade Center
* Fire Department New York station
* Nitrogen gas cylinders, which provide nitrogen for the New York subway system
In addition to the surveillance tapes, Barot kept specific notes about security in and around the targeted buildings:
* At Citicorp, for example, he mapped the best place to plant bombs, kept track of security personnel and times of heaviest pedestrian flow, and highlighted exact times and locations of when puppet shows for children are held in the building’s atrium;
* At the Stock Exchange, he had detailed information on the building itself. He timed traffic lights and patterns and mapped out detailed escape routes for bombers through subway and sewage tunnels;
* At the Prudential building, he had the exact location of the garage, timed traffic lights around the building and suggested driving and exploding an oil tanker through the lobby to bring down the building; and
* As previously released documents show, Barot planned to use gas-filled limousines as bombs. The document also refers to the Madrid bombings of March 11, 2004 as a “respectable project” that “deserved to be emulated.”
After Sept. 11 and the subsequent U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the plot fell apart, although one of Friday’s documents – a World Bank directory from 2003 – showed that at the very least, Barot hoped to carry out the attacks.
Even though we know they are always on the prowl for another attack on American soil, it’s still chilling to read the details. . . and to know that, someday (perhaps soon), someone else will have similar plans and won’t get caught.
Tags: Afghanistan, al-Qaeda, At Citicorp, Bush, Central Intelligence Agency, Fire Department New York, Fire Department New York station, gas cylinders, gas-filled limousines, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Jonathon Dienst, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Liberty Plaza, London, Madrid, NBC, New York, New York City, New York Stock Exchange, NYPD officer, oil tanker, police car, President, Prudential, Prudential building, Rosie O'Donnell, Scotland Yard, Secretary, South Towers of World Trade Center, then-DHS Secretary, Tom Ridge, United States, WNBC, WNBC reporter