Monday, August 21, 2006

National Geographic Announces TRIPLE CROSS: BIN LADEN′S SPY IN AMERICA

He Worked For The CIA, FBI And US Army, And Answered To Osama Bin Laden

National Geographic Channel Presents the True Story of TRIPLE CROSS: BIN LADEN′S SPY IN AMERICA

Master Spy Ali Mohamed Manipulated American Intelligence from Our Own Soil - Leading up to the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

This real-life epic plays out like a Tom Clancy thriller. On the road to 9/11, how did Ali A. Mohamed, a radical ex-Egyptian Army officer, survive inside the United States for more than 14 years as a mole for Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al Qaeda? This master spy convinced the CIA to hire him, worked for the FBI as an informant and even served in the U.S. Army, where he had access to sensitive information. But all the while, he was "triple crossing" U.S. officials, feeding critical details to al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, training terrorists in the United States and abroad, establishing terror cells in the United States and conspiring to kill Americans throughout the world.

On Monday, August 28, 2006, at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT, the National Geographic Channel (NGC) presents the two-hour world premiere of TRIPLE CROSS: BIN LADEN′S SPY IN AMERICA, the remarkable story of Ali Mohamed, a master spy and senior operative for al Qaeda working within the United States, but with terrorist tentacles that reached around the globe.

TRIPLE CROSS: BIN LADEN′S SPY IN AMERICA is part of three nights of specials on related themes, beginning with the updated version of the Emmy-nominated special Inside 9/11 on Sunday, August 27, and followed on Tuesday, August 29, by THE FINAL REPORT: OSAMA′S ESCAPE.

Based in part on the upcoming book Triple Cross, by Peter Lance, Ali Mohamed′s path of betrayals mirrors the growth of al Qaeda into a worldwide terrorist organization. The special connects the dots using expert insight from FBI, military and Justice Department officials, defense attorneys and journalists on the front lines, who together help reveal how one man exploited the pre-9/11 bureaucratic gaps in the U.S. intelligence community. And in one rare videotape, viewers will hear from Mohamed firsthand as he fields questions from American officers and defends his worldview of radical Islam.

Mohamed′s terrorist activities spanned nearly 15 years, each event alarming in its own right, but together creating a terrifying and treacherous picture. During part of this time, Mohamed was an informant for the FBI, providing just enough information to keep them interested in him as a source, but not so much that they would suspect him of being a terrorist. Ali Mohamed′s trail of terror includes:

* Scouting terrorist targets in East Africa for Bin Laden, including the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, Kenya which was struck by an al Qaeda truck bomb in 1998.

* Training members of the jihadist terror cell that executed the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.

* Helping to establish some of the first al Qaeda terror cells in the United States, including one on the West Coast.

* Training al Qaeda operatives on how to hijack passenger planes, including how to smuggle weapons through airport security.

* Using training manuals taken from Fort Bragg to train terrorists in the United States, Afghanistan and later in Sudan.

* Compiling a 180-page al Qaeda terrorist training manual, based in part on the stolen Fort Bragg documents.

* Making arrangements for a face-to-face meeting between Hezbollah leaders and Osama bin Laden.

* Coordinating bin Laden′s relocation from Afghanistan to Sudan.

* Training al Qaeda terrorists who operated in Somalia prior to the "Blackhawk Down" incident.

"The bureaucratic crevices inside the FBI, and certainly between the FBI, CIA and the Defense Department, were enormous. You could drive truck bombs through them and you could play off one against the other, but you had to be skilled," comments terrorism expert Steven Emerson in the special. "I′ve never seen a terrorist with such a storied background with his connections to U.S. law enforcement and intelligence."

Ali Mohamed first comes to the United States in 1981 as a 29-year-old Egyptian Army officer on a military exchange program at Fort Bragg, N.C., home to the Green Berets, Delta Force and the JFK Special Warfare Center. After returning to Egypt, he offers his services as an informant to the CIA, which sends him on a mission to infiltrate a mosque in Germany with suspected ties to Hezbollah. Within a week, Mohamed reveals his cover and the CIA responds by adding his name to an official watch list as a suspected terrorist.

Despite being listed as suspected terrorist, in 1985 Mohamed is able to enter the United States at Kennedy Airport. While on the plane, the good-looking 33-year-old bachelor catches the eye of a California woman whom he marries six weeks later, putting him in the express lane to becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen. One year later, despite having been named on a watch list, he is accepted into the U.S. Army.

"There is nothing more important for a terrorist group than to have a live agent... inside a military organization such as the U.S. military," comments Rohan Gunaratna, author of Inside Al Qaeda.

Promoted to sergeant, Mohamed ends up back at Fort Bragg, working to support a Special Forces unit. Mohamed immediately begins accumulating sensitive documents that he passes to his comrades in Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which later allied itself with al Qaeda. When a superior officer suspects Mohamed of being a radical Islamic extremist, he is not discharged, but instead is asked to educate other officers on Middle East culture and politics. During his Army service, he defies policy and takes leave to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. On returning to U.S. Army duty, he displays a Soviet war trophy, and his actions are reported, but no disciplinary action is taken. After three years of service, Mohamed returns to California to continue his deception. He also becomes a U.S. citizen.

In 1990, Mohamed meets with the FBI to offer his services as a translator, but during the interview he demonstrates that his connections and insight offer intelligence value and is instead accepted as an informant.

During the next few years, Mohamed uses his U.S. citizenship to maneuver between two worlds, traveling back and forth between the United States and al Qaeda′s outposts, where he trains operatives in terrorist skills, including the hijacking of passenger planes. In the United States, Mohamed helps establish a terror cell that conducts fund raising on the West Coast.

Finally arrested in 1998 after his connections to the embassy bombings in East Africa become known, Mohamed pleads guilty in 2000 to five counts of conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism, including the murder of Americans at home and abroad. Interrogations immediately after the attacks of 9/11 indicate his intimate knowledge of the terrorists′ methods. Currently in U.S. custody, his whereabouts and legal status are closely guarded secrets.

In addition to Emerson and Gunaratna, experts in the special who provide insight on Mohamed′s deception include John (Jack) Cloonan, 25-year FBI veteran who specifically handled the Mohamed case from 1996 to 2001; Lt. Col. Robert Anderson, Mohamed′s former supervisor at Fort Bragg; Tom Corrigan, former NYPD detective and member of the Joint Terrorist Task Force from 1985 to 2001; and Mary Jo White, former U.S. attorney who presided over the Mohamed case, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing cases and other major terror trials in the 1990s.

TRIPLE CROSS: BIN LADEN′S SPY IN AMERICA is produced for the National Geographic Channel by Towers Productions, Inc.