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French Knew Of Al Qaeda’s Hijack Plans In 2001

From a delighted Reuters:

Photo

French “knew in 2001 al Qaeda was planning hijack”

PARIS (Reuters) – French secret services produced nine reports between September 2000 and August 2001 looking at the al Qaeda threat to the United States, and knew it planned to hijack an aircraft, the French daily Le Monde said on Monday.

The newspaper said it had obtained 328 pages of classified documents that showed foreign agents had infiltrated Osama bin Laden’s network and were carefully tracking its moves.

One document prepared in January 2001 was entitled “Plan to hijack an aircraft by Islamic radicals,” and said the operation had been discussed in Kabul at the start of 2000 by al Qaeda, Taliban and Chechen militants.

The hijack was meant to happen between March and September 2000 but the planners put it back “because of differences of opinion, particularly over the date, objective and participants,” Le Monde said, citing the report.

The attacks on U.S. cities that eventually took place on September 11, 2001 killed almost 3,000 people.

Le Monde said the French report of January 2001 had been handed over to a CIA operative in Paris, but that no mention of it had ever been made in the official U.S. September 11 Commission, which produced its findings in July 2004.

The newspaper quoted a former senior official at France’s DGSE secret service agency as saying that, although France thought a hijack was being planned, the DGSE did not know that the plot involved flying aircraft into buildings.

“You have to remember that a plane hijack (in January 2001) did not have the same significance as it did after September 11. At the time, it implied forcing a plane to land at an airport and undertaking negotiations,” said Pierre-Antoine Lorenzi.

Le Monde said the documents showed the French believed bin Laden was still receiving help from family members and senior officials in Saudi Arabia ahead of September 11, 2001, despite attempts to clamp down on the network after al Qaeda’s attacks on U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998.

Of course they didn’t bother to inform the United States. (Apart from passing one of the nine reports on to a “CIA operative” rather than through regular intelligence channels.)

But why should they?

What have we ever done for them?

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Monday, April 16th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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