News from the Counterterrorist Blog

Congress Continues to Voice Concern Over Saudi Oversight of Charities
Rep. Sue Kelly, who chairs the oversight subcommittee on the U.S. House Financial Services Committee and a special congressional task force on terrorist financing, wrote last week to President Bush with her continuing concerns over the oversight exercised by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over charities operating within and beyond Saudi Arabia. She raised instances of possible terrorist financing through accounts at Saudi banks (see my post on a pitch on Saudi TV for aid to suicide bombers’ families) and through charities, despite governmental assurances of new controls. This letter follows and complements the November 8 hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on the role of Saudi Arabia in the dissemination of anti-American and anti-Semitic propaganda. I’ve been told that at least one senior Member of Congress will use the specifics in Rep. Kelly’s letter during upcoming discussions with the Saudi government. You can see Rep. Kelly’s letter to the President below (large Acrobat file) – the first time that this letter has been published in full.Download saudi_letter_to_gwb.pdf
P.S. The Treasury Department still hasn’t released final regulations mandated four years ago under Section 312 of the USA PATRIOT Act to govern correspondent banking. I was privately told by senior Treasury officials two months ago that they would be released “very, very soon.” It’s safe to assume that political pressure on the Bush Administration by financial institutions and/or a select group of countries is responsible for the continued delays.
Al-Qaida Celebrates Oct. 2005 Hotel Bombings in Iraq as the “Battle of Badr al-Baghdad”
Al-Qaida’s Committee in Iraq (led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi) has released new documents and a video recording commemorating the October 24, 2005 suicide car bombings in Baghdad targeting the Sheraton Ishtar and Meridian Palestine Hotels–an attack known by Al-Qaida as “the Battle of Badr al-Baghdad.” According to Al-Qaida, “Shaykh Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s guidance… played a pivotal role in the successful execution of this attack. The Shaykh laid out explicit orders saying that we must execute an attack aimed at shaking the ground beneath the feet of our enemies—an attack that would leave him exhausted and confused… He was insistent about continuing the wave of spectacular operations.”
Al-Qaida also claimed that one of the suicide bombers responsible for the Oct. 2005 Baghdad hotel attack–Abu Naim al-Najdi (apparently from Saudi Arabia)–was encouraged on his mission by certain religious “visions” that he was experiencing:
“Abu Naim [al-Najdi]—the first martyr—envisioned himself leaving his house, with his sister asking, ‘Where are you going.’ [In his vision, Abu Naim] replied, ‘I’m going to teach America a lesson that it will never forget.’ He then boarded an airplane and when he observed the World Trade Center, he said to himself [in his vision], ‘I will crash this plane straight into the White House.’”
Needless to say, the consequences of pairing up a ruthless Al-Qaida commander like Zarqawi–who “insists” upon “spectacular operations” aimed at “shaking the ground beneath the feet of the infidels”–with equally fanatical footsoldiers who longingly dream of the day when they will have a chance to plow a commercial airliner into the White House are terrifying indeed.Click to view documents c/o Al-Qaida’s “Battle Series”: The “Badr al-Baghdad” BattleAl-Qaida video of the “Badr al-Baghdad” Battle

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