Qaeda terrorist Khaled Sheikh Mohamed – (Handout/US District Court/EPA)
CAIRO – 19 July 2017: Qatar has been notorious of harboring terrorists affiliated with different militant groups including Al-Qaeda. Richard A. Clarke, the former national coordinator for security, infrastructure protection and counter-terrorism for the United States, wrote an article in Daily News on July 6 to tell the story of a 9/11 mastermind who was harbored by Qatar.
Clarke said that Qatar has been giving sanctuary to terrorists for 20 years. Among those is Khaled Sheikh Mohamed (KSM) who “had an unparalleled ability to organize large-scale terrorist attacks, something bin Laden lacked.”
KSM is a Pakistani who grew up in Kuwait and lived in North Carolina for four years to get his bachelor degree. He was implicated in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and the Bojinka plot to bomb U.S. airlines in the Pacific in 1995.
In 1996, a sealed federal indictment was released for KSM and was considered the most dangerous individual terrorist at large by U.S. security and intelligence agencies.
Clarke chaired an interagency committee called the Counter-terrorism Security Group (CSG) which had to make a decision on how to arrest the fugitive after he was found in Qatar holding a patronage job in the Water Department.
The committee concluded that the Qatari government would not arrest him and hand him over as he was mainly harbored by royal family and cabinet member who had strong ties with al-Qaeda.
However, the U.S. ambassador to Doha in Clinton’s administration was tasked by the White House to talk only to the Emir to ask for permission to only meet with the head of the Qatari security service to request that KSM would be arrested and handed over to the U.S.
During the ambassador’s meeting with the Emir, KSM disappeared and was never found in “tiny Doha.” Qatari officials deduced that that he must have “left” the country without identifying “how.”
KSM later organized the 9/11 attacks (2001), the touristic Bali island bombing in Indonesia (2002), the murder of the South Asia Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal Daniel Pearl (2002), and other terrorist attacks before his apprehension by U.S. officials and Pakistani officers in Pakistan in 2003.
“He is today in Guantanamo, Cuba, in the troubled U.S. military court system. Had the Qataris handed him over to us as requested in 1996, the world might have been a very different place,” Clarke concluded.
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