RealNews

Sting Hints at U.S. Tactics on Terror

When the Islamic cleric from Yemen stepped off a jetliner in Frankfurt in early January, everything went as promised. Waiting at the terminal was a helpful fellow countryman who showed him to a Mercedes and drove him to the airport’s Sheraton hotel, where a room had been booked. Sheik Mohammed Ali Hassan Moayad, 54, had come to Frankfurt to meet a wealthy American Muslim from New York said to be interested in donating funds to charities that Moayad oversaw in the Middle East. At the hotel, the man introduced himself as Said Sharif bin Turi and appeared to be an American-born convert to the faith. Over the next three days the two men sat down together several times to discuss money that the American might provide — $50,000 a month, and not all for charity. Some would go to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network, the American proposed. Then, on the morning of Jan. 10, as Moayad and two other Yemenis had just begun prayers in his room, German police burst in, put guns to their heads and quickly blindfolded them. “You are all terrorists!” someone shouted in Arabic, apparently a police interpreter. The rich American Muslim was in fact an undercover agent, a key figure in an elaborate transnational sting engineered by the FBI to lure Moayad from Yemen. The operation is described here based on court documents and interviews with lawyers, German officials and Yemeni diplomats. U.S. officials contend that the sting netted a major funder of al Qaeda and the militant Palestinian group Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas. According to sealed court documents obtained by The Washington Post, Moayad claimed in the talks at the hotel that he was one of bin Laden’s spiritual advisers and had supplied al Qaeda with money and recruits. Full Story

OODA Analyst

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