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Paul Williams, author of the new book, “The Al Qaeda Connection,” has stirred a national controversy with his reporting on the imminent nuclear terror threat posed by Osama bin Laden. In this exclusive dispatch, the second of a two-part series first published in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, he details how some of the nuclear devices intended to create an American Hiroshima got here.
Adnan el-Shukrijumah, a naturalized American citizen, has been singled out by Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri to serve as the field commander for the next attack on U.S. soil – the so called “American Hiroshima” – that would kill millions and bring an end to Western Civilization as we know it.
In the wake of Operation Enduring Freedom (the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan), CIA and military intelligence officials discovered the reoccurrence of el-Shukrijumah’s name in “pocket litter” – documents and scraps taken from prisoners and dead al-Qaida soldiers. The name did not trigger alarms until Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, al-Qaida’s military operations chief, was captured in Karachi, Pakistan March 1, 2003.
The plot revealed
After days of interrogation, coupled with severe sleep deprivation, Mohammed told U.S. officials that bin Laden was planning to create a “nuclear hell storm” in America. Unlike other attacks, the terrorist chief said, the chain of command for the nuclear attack answered directly to bin Laden, al-Zawahiri, and a mysterious scientist called “Dr. X.” Mohammed later admitted that “Dr. X” was Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani father of the Islamic bomb and the godfather of modern nuclear proliferation. He further confessed that the field commander for this operation was a naturalized American citizen whom he called “Jafer al-Tayyar” (“Jafer the Pilot”).
U.S. officials soon learned that “Jafer the Pilot” was an alias for Adnan el-Shukrijumah and that he and other al-Qaida operatives had been sent to McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, a facility that boasts a five-megawatt nuclear research reactor, the largest reactor of any educational facility in Canada. The mission of the operatives was to acquire training in nuclear technology and steal radioactive material for the construction of dirty nukes.
By the time Canadian officials became alerted to the situation, it was too late – el-Shukrijumah and his fellow terrorists already had crossed the border into Buffalo – where they remained sheltered by members of a local mosque. They didn’t leave Canada empty-handed, but reportedly brought with them over 180 pounds of nuclear waste (compliments of McMaster’s).
‘Demanding, rude and obnoxious’
On March 21, 2004, Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller issued a BOLO (“be-on-the-lookout”) alert for el-Shukrijumah and Amer el-Maati, along with Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman who received a biology degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and penned a doctoral thesis on neurological science at Brandeis University; Ahmed Kalfan Ghailani (aka “Foopie”), who took part in the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania; Adam Yahiye Gadahn (aka Adam Pearlman), a convert to Islam who grew up on a goat ranch in Riverside County, Calif.; and Abderraouf Jdey, the leader of the al-Qaida cell in Toronto.
Several days after the BOLO was issued, Adnan and Jdey were spotted at a Denny’s restaurant in Avon, Colo., where one ordered a chicken sandwich and a salad. The restaurant manager described them as “demanding, rude and obnoxious.”
The summit in Waziristan
Following the sighting in Colorado, the diminutive el-Shukrijumah, who stands 5-foot-4 and weighs less than 132 pounds, resurfaced at a terrorist summit in the lawless Waziristan Province of Pakistan in April 2004. The summit has been described by the FBI as a “pivotal planning session” in much the same manner as a 2000 meeting was held in Kuala Lumpur for the 9-11 attacks.
Attending the summit were Mohammed Babar, who has been charged with buying materials to build bombs for attacks in Great Britain, and al-Hindi, a Pakistani technician whose company contained plans for staging attacks at financial institutions in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C.
Shukrijumah south of the border
On May 27, 2004, el-Shukrijumah was spotted at an Internet caf? in Tegucigalpa, the hilly capital of Honduras, where he made calls to France, Canada and the U.S. He was described as badly dressed and bearded. At his table were Mara Salvatrucha leaders (jefes) from Panama, Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador.
From Tegucigalpa, he made his way north to Belize in British Honduras and, from Belize, to Mexico’s Quintana Roo State, south of Cancun.
El-Shukrijumah remained in Mexico for much of the summer of 2004. In late August, he was spotted in the northern Mexican province of Sonora near “terrorist alley,” the main passageway for illegal aliens, including OTMs (other than Mexicans) and “Special Interest Aliens” to the land of Mickey Mouse, MTV and George W. Bush. Alberti Chapetti of the U.S. Consulate in Nogales issued warnings about Adnan’s presence in the area along with the posting of a $5 million reward for tips leading to his arrest.
Nukes arrive in Mexico
Concern about el-Shukrijumah’s extended stay in Mexico was heightened in November 2004 with the arrest in Pakistan of Sharif al-Masri, a key al-Qaida operative. Al Masri, an Egyptian national jihadi with close ties to al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s No. 2 man, informed interrogators that al-Qaida had made arrangements to smuggle nuclear supplies and tactical nuclear weapons into Mexico. From Mexico, the weapons were to be transported across the border with the help of a Latino street gang. The gang was later identified as Mara Salvatrucha, and the plans had been finalized at the terrorist summit in Waziristan.
In response to this information, U.S. officials began monitoring all heavy trucks crossing the border, while Mexican officials pledged to keep close watch over flight schools and aviation facilities.
Such precautions may have been adopted too late. A Piper PA Pawnee crop duster was stolen from Ejido Queretaro near Mexicali Nov. 1, 2004. The plane’s tail number was XBCYP. The thieves, Mexican officials surmised, were either drug dealers or al-Qaida operatives, and clearly one was a highly trained pilot who met the description of Adnan el-Shukrijumah.