Friday, April 09, 2010

What was that Qatari diplomat up to on the flight to Denver?

SHARYL ATTKISSON, CBS CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, officials confirm to CBS News that 27-year-old Mohammed Al-Madadi of Qatar was on his way to visit an al-Qaeda operative serving time in a Colorado prison. That operative is Ali Al-Marri, arrested after 9/11. U.S. officials say the planned visit between the diplomat Al-Madadi, and the imprisoned al Qaeda member was just a routine case of a diplomat checking on a countryman. The visit never happened because Al-Madadi sparked a terrorism scare on his flight to Denver last night. Officials say he lit a cigarette in the first-class lavatory. When the flight attendant smelled smoke and asked what he was doing, he replied, I was just lighting my shoe on fire, apparently referring to the 2001 shoe bomber, and went back to his seat, refusing to turn over his lighter. Federal Air Marshals on the flight got involved and the pilot declared an emergency.

Also from CBS:

...Last February, 2009, as the Supreme Court neared hear oral arguments about al-Marri's case, the Obama Administration reversed the executive branch's course - ending the policy of indefinite detention without charges of "enemy combatants" on U.S. soil, and transferred al-Marri back to the civilian system.

Last April, 2009, al-Marri pleaded guilty to providing material support for terrorism. He admitted to credit card fraud, plus:

- Training in al Qaeda military camps in Afghanistan between 1998-2001.

- Meeting chief Sept. 11 planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and agreeing to be deployed to the U.S. by Sept. 10, 2001 (the day he entered the country with his family).

-Meeting in Dubai, UAE, with Sept. 11 financier Mustafa al-Hawsawi and receiving $10,000 from him.

-Researching, while in America in the fall of 2001, the use of chemical weapons, where to get chemicals such as sulfuric acid and precursors for cyanide gas, and potential targets such as dams and tunnels.

-Establishing a fictitious business using a false name using stolen Social Security number (ostensibly to purchase the chemicals, which never occurred).

-Communicating in code with five different e-mail accounts, referring to himself as "Abdo" and to KSM as "Muk." (FBI investigators learned from their pre-CIA torturing interviews of Abu Zubaydah in 2002 that KSM was known to all as "Muktar," and that he/KSM/Muktar had been the primary planner of 9/11).

-Adopting the nomme de guerre "Abdul-Rahman al-Qatari" and providing al-Qaeda with his family contact information in case he was killed or "martyred" during an al-Qaeda mission.

Al-Marri's wife and five children now live in Saudi Arabia, as do a number of his siblings....

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