November 5, 1990: First bin Laden-Related Terror Attack on US; Evidence of Larger Conspiracy Is Found and Ignored
Egyptian-American El Sayyid Nosair assassinates controversial right-wing Zionist leader Rabbi Meir Kahane. Kahane’s organization, the Jewish Defense League, was linked to dozens of bombings and is ranked by the FBI as the most lethal domestic militant group in the US at the time. Nosair is captured after a police shoot-out. An FBI informant says he saw Nosair meeting with Muslim leader Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman a few days before the attack, and evidence indicating a wider plot with additional targets is found. [Village Voice, 3/30/1993]
Later that night, police arrive at Nosair’s house and find a pair of Middle Eastern men named Mahmud Abouhalima and Mohammed Salameh there. They are taken in for questioning. Additionally, police collect a total of 47 boxes of evidence from Nosair’s house, including: [Lance, 2003, pp. 34-35]
*Thousands of rounds of ammunition.
* Maps and drawings of New York City landmarks, including the World Trade Center.
* Documents in Arabic containing bomb making formulas, details of an Islamic militant cell, and mentions of the term “al-Qaeda.”
*Recorded sermons by Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman in which he encourages his followers to “destroy the edifices of capitalism” and destroy “the enemies of Allah” by “destroying their … high world buildings.”
*Tape-recorded phone conversations of Nosair reporting to Abdul-Rahman about paramilitary training, and even discussing bomb-making manuals.
* Videotaped talks that Ali Mohamed delivered at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
* Top secret manuals also from Fort Bragg. There are even classified documents belonging to the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Commander in Chief of the Army’s Central Command.
These manuals and documents had clearly come from Mohamed, who completed military service at Fort Bragg the year before and frequently stayed in Nosair’s house.
* A detailed and top secret plan for Operation Bright Star, a special operations training exercise simulating an attack on Baluchistan, a part of Pakistan between Afghanistan and the Arabian Sea. [Lance, 2003, pp. 34-35; ABC News, 8/16/2002; Wall Street Journal, 11/26/2001; Raleigh News and Observer, 10/21/2001; Raleigh News and Observer, 11/13/2001]
Also within hours, two investigators will connect Nosair with surveillance photographs of Mohamed giving weapons training to Nosair, Abouhalima, Salameh, and others at a shooting range the year before (see July 1989). [Lance, 2003, pp. 34-35]
But, ignoring all of this evidence, still later that evening, Joseph Borelli, the New York police department’s chief detective, will publicly declare the assassination the work of a “lone deranged gunman.” He will further state, “I’m strongly convinced that he acted alone. … He didn’t seem to be part of a conspiracy or any terrorist organization.”
The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry will later conclude, “The [New York Police Department] and the District Attorney’s office … reportedly wanted the appearance of speedy justice and a quick resolution to a volatile situation. By arresting Nosair, they felt they had accomplished both.” [Village Voice, 3/30/1993; Lance, 2003, pp. 34-36]
Abouhalima and Salameh are released, only to be later convicted for participating in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
As one FBI agent will later put it, “The fact is that in 1990, myself and my detectives, we had in our office in handcuffs, the people who blew up the World Trade Center in ’93. We were told to release them.”
The 47 boxes of evidence collected at Nosair’s house that evening are stored away, inaccessible to prosecutors and investigators. The documents found will not be translated until after the World Trade Center bombing.
Nosair will later be acquitted of Kahane’s murder (though he will be convicted of lesser charges), as investigators will continue to ignore all evidence that could suggest Nosair did not act alone (see December 7, 1991). [ABC News, 8/16/2002; Lance, 2003, pp. 34-37]