[Cross-posted from European Tribune – where dissent is NOT troll rated!]
Every word Ali Soufan speaks makes sense, not a commonplace feature of today. Knows the facts on the ground, lived through the rise of Al Qaeda leadership and 9/11. Cutting through the political propaganda cluttering the minds of too many in the era of Artificial Intelligence and more fake news is produced by the MSM/social media and through state censorship making you believe an one-sided point of view. A continuous Operation Mockingbird by intelligence agencies, because that’s what they do with the billions of our money. Never mind phishing and hacking breaching government agencies, and personal accounts [Facebook teams up with Cambridge Analytica].
Some American teenagers dream of a glamorous career in the FBI, a chance to shoot guns and catch criminals, but the idea had not occurred to Ali Soufan.
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At least, not until The X Files. “Mulder and Scully were going round the world looking for aliens,” he says, laughing. It looked fun. Besides, he did not believe he would get in; he was just intrigued by the process. Why did he think they would not accept him? “Well, look at me; I don’t look like an FBI agent, at least I didn’t at the time.” He was an Arab-American and a bit of an intellectual. “I just felt that I wasn’t a law-enforcement guy, that wasn’t what I wanted to do in my life. But I went, I took all the tests.” They offered him a job. Soufan, who had just completed a master’s in foreign relations, thought he would return to academia if it did not work out.
It was 1997 and Soufan was in his mid-20s. Because of his background – he was born in Lebanon and spoke Arabic – he was assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which was focused on Palestinian and Iraqi groups. But he had become interested in Osama bin Laden while reading Arabic newspapers as a student and in 1998 wrote a memo on Bin Laden for his superiors. It made it all the way up to the head of the national security division, John O’Neill, who would become a mentor and friend (O’Neill later became head of security at the World Trade Center and was killed on 9/11). The FBI and the CIA were already monitoring Bin Laden but Soufan claims “they only looked at him as a financier of terrorism, not as a terrorist operative”.
Soufan, though, predicted that Bin Laden would be “a lot of trouble down the road … We had to take him seriously. [He was] trying to present himself as a former mujahid who fought against the Soviets and now he’s trying to bring all these mujahideen to do a reconstruction in the Muslim world. He was trying to open highways and farms and all these things. When you see these guys who have a lot of [fighting] experience – many of them cannot go home because they were wanted [in their countries] – and he’s forming some kind of Islamic army, I think, if you know a little bit of history, you know that’s not going to go well.”
Read on …
In his book, Anatomy of Terror, Soufan traces the evolution of terror organisations, from Bin Laden and 9/11 through the ill-advised “war on terror” to the destabilisation of the Middle East and the emergence of Islamic State and other jihadi groups.