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Monday, November 19, 2007

Hawsawi And Laptop As Possible Hub for Anthrax Planning

November 18th, 2007 by Ross E. Getman

On March 23, 2003, the Washington Post reported on documents allegedly discovered at the Abdul Qadoos Khan residence — on a seized laptop — relating to biochemical weapons. The documents indicated that Al Qaeda leaders may already have manufactured some of them. The documents at the Qadoos home reveal that Al Qaeda had a feasible production plan for anthrax. Confronted with scanned handwritten notes on the computer, Mohammed reportedly began to talk about Al Qaeda’s anthrax production program. KSM, however, denies that it was his computer — he says it was the computer of Mustafa Hawsawi, who was captured at the home the same day. In 2001, before departing for the UAE, Al-Hawsawi had worked in the Al Qaeda media center Al Sahab (Clouds) in Kandahar. (The letter containing the first anthrax went to the American Media in Florida had blue and pink clouds on it.)

Hawsawi worked under KSM who in turn worked for Zawahiri. Al-Hawsawi was a facilitator for the 9/11 attacks and its paymaster, working from the United Arab Emirates, sending thousands to Bin Al-Shibh in the summer of 2001. After 9/11, he returned to Afghanistan where he met separately with Bin Laden, Zawahiri and spokesman Abu Ghaith. KSM worked closely with al-Hawsawi and it would make perfect sense that the computer is actually al-Hawsawi’s. The fact that the anthrax spray drying documents were on that computer, however, and that he had worked under for Al Sahab in Kandahar in 2000, serves to suggest that the undated documents predated 9/11, particularly given that extremely virulent anthrax was later found in Kandahar. At the same time, it suggests that Al-Hawsawi has personal knowledge relevant to anthrax.

Hawsawi worked as a financial manager for Bin Laden when he was in Sudan. He was associated with Mahjoub, who was Bin Laden’s farm manager in Sudan. Mahjoub was the subject of the anthrax threat in January 2001 in Canada, upon announcement of his bail hearing. The day after Mahjoub’s bail was denied on October 5, 2001, the potent stuff was sent to US Senators Daschle and Leahy.

The Washington Post explained that “What the documents and debriefings show, the first official said, is that “KSM was involved in anthrax production, and [knew] quite a bit about it.” Al Qaeda had recruited competent scientists, including a Pakistani microbiologist who the officials declined to name. “The documents describe specific timelines for producing biochemical weapons and include a bar graph depicting the parallel processes that must take place between Days 1 and 31 of manufacture. Included are inventories of equipment and indications of readiness to grow seed stocks of pathogen in nutrient baths and then dry the resulting liquid slurry into a form suitable for aerosol dispersal.” The Washington Post story notes that U.S. officials said the evidence does not indicate whether al Qaeda completed manufacture. The documents are undated and unsigned and cryptic about essential details.

The unclassified memo below lists some of the contents of the computer that had the anthrax spraydrying docs.

In addition to establishing him as paymaster for the hijackers, Al-Hawsawi’s computer disks reportedly also included lists of contributors worldwide, to include bank account numbers and names of organizations that have helped finance terror attacks. In press accounts, one unnamed government official confirmed that the information has yielded the identities of about a dozen suspected terrorists in the US. Thus, when former CIA Director Tenet says the anthrax planning was done in parallel in 9/11 and compartmentalization was done at the highest levels of Al Qaeda, Hawsawi’s laptop may be a graphic illustration.

In his substituted testimony in the Moussaoui case, Al-Hawsawi says he became part of Al Qaeda’s media committee in Afghanistan in about July 2000, and KSM joined the committee in February 2001. Hawsawi lived at the media office. For about 4-5 months in 2000, Hawsawi worked as a secretary on al Qaeda’s media committee. Hawsawi’s role “was to copy compact discs and reprint articles for the brothers at the guesthouse in Qandahar. After 2000, Hawsawi worked at the direction of Sheikh Mohammed, transferring funds, and procuring goods.”

The first time that Hawsawi was asked to be come involved in operational activities was about March 2001, when he took his second trip to the UAE. Although Sheikh Mohammed did not use the word ‘operation,’ Sheikh Mohammed told Hawsawi that he would be purchasing items, receiving and possibly sending money, and possibly meeting individuals whom Hawsawi would contact or who would contact him. Sheikh Mohammed also told Hawsawi that his stay would be lengthy, so he should rent an apartment. Sheikh Mohammed said Hawsawi did not need cover because he was carrying a Saudi passport, and it was a common practice for a Saudi to rent an apartment in the UAE. In approximately August 2001, Hawsawi, with Sheikh Mohammed’s blessing, decided to take an English course.

Sheik Mohammed told Hawsawi that he would be in contact with individuals called ‘Abd Al-Rahman (Muhammad Atta) and the “Doctor” (Nawaf al-Hazmi). Atta called Hawsawi four times while in the US. Hawsawi says he was never in contact with Hani or Nawaf while in the US. On September 9, Ramzi bin Shibh told the date of the planned operation and urged that he return to Pakistan. He flew out on 9/11 and after a night in Karachi, flew on to Quetta.

Hawsawi stated repeatedly that he never conducted any activity of any type with or on behalf of Moussaoui and had no knowledge of who made Moussaoui’s travel arrangements. Documents, however, reportedly show that al-Hawsawi worked with the Dublin cell to finance Moussaoui’s international travel. Hamid Aich was an EIJ operative there who once had lived with Ressam, the so-called millennium bomber, in Canada.

The indictment of Zacarias Moussaoui named al-Hawsawi as an unindicted co-conspirator. Moussaou had tried to call KSM and Hawsawi as witnessses. That indictment reported that al-Hawsawi was born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Aug. 5, 1968. Hawsawi had left Kandahar for Dubai by late June 2001. The Zacarias indictment alleges that on September 11, 2001, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi then left the UAE for Pakistan.

Hawsawi has said that it was Qahtani who was to have been “the 20th hijacker” rather than Moussaoui. Qahtani, Hawsawi said, had trained extensively to be one of the “muscle hijackers.” Of Moussaoui, al-Hawsawi said he had seen Moussaoui at an al-Qaeda guesthouse in Kandahar, Afghanistan, sometime in the first half of 2001, but was not introduced to him and had not conducted any operations with him. At Moussaoui’s trial, the government pointed to FAA intelligence reports from the late 1990s and 2000 that noted that a hijacked airliner could be flown into a building or national landmark in the U.S., but viewed that scenario “as an option of last resort” given the motive of the attack was to free blind sheik Abdel Rahman. Flying a plane into a building would afford little time to negotiate.

Zacarias Moussaou reportedly was in Karachi with anthrax lab tech Yazid Sufaat on February 3, 2001 when they bought air tickets through a local travel agency for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They reportedly left on a flight for KL on February 8, 2001. Moussaoui began at the Norman, Oklahoma flight school on February 26, 2001. KSM says that Moussaoui’s inquiries about cropdusters may have related to Hambali and Sufaat’s work with anthrax.

Another reason not to underestimate Hawsawi’s possible role in an anthrax operation is his contact with al-Marri. Al-Marri, who entered the country on September 10, 2001, was researching chemicals in connection with a “second wave.” Al-Marri was also drafting emails to KSM. Although al-Marri denies being in contact with Hawsawi, phone records show otherwise. Email evidence also confirms messages drafted by al-Marri to KSM. The fascinating and groundbreaking article this year by Susan Schmidt of the Washington Post on al-Marri notes that al-Marri picked up $13,000 in cash from al-Hawsawi. Al-Marri made the mistake of opening the briefcase containing the money in bundles and peeling off a few hundred dollars to pay his bail after being stopped on a traffic charge a couple days after 9/11.

References to al-Hawsawi turned up in the Dublin, Ireland, office of a Saudi-backed charity suspected of having links to bin Laden upon a raid after 9/11 by Irish authorities. The fact that Hawsawi was in Dubai, United Arab Emirates as of late June 2001 — and this connection to the Dublin charity — may both be relevant in threading the anthrax needle.

Department of Defense
Office for the Administrative Review of the Detention of Enemy Combatants at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
08 February 2007

To: Personal Representative
From: OIC, CSRT (8 Feb 07)
Subject: Summary of Evidence for Combatant Status Review Tribunal - Al Hawsawi, Mustafa Ahmed

1. Under the provisions of the Deputy Secretary of Defense Memorandum, dated 14 July 2006, Implementation of Combatant Status Review Tribunal Proceduresfor Enemy Combatants Detained at US. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a Tribunal has been appointed to determine if the detainee is an enemy combatant.

2. An enemy combatant has been defined as “an individual who was part of or supporting the Taliban or al Qaida forces, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners. This includes any person who committed a belligerent act or has directly supported hostilities in aid of enemy armed forces.”

3. The following facts support the determination that the detainee is an enemy combatant.

a. On the morning of 11 September 200 1, four airliners traveling over the United States were hijacked. The flights hijacked were: American Airlines Flight 11, [[w:United Airlines Flight 175|United Airlines Flight 175, American Airlines Flight 77, and United Airlines Flight 93. At approximately 8:46 a.m., American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, resulting in the collapse of the tower at approximately 10:25 a.m. At approximately 9:05 a.m., United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center, resulting in the collapse of the tower at approximately 955 a.m. At approximately 9:37 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the southwest side of the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. At approximately 10:03 aim., United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Stoney Creek Township, Pennsylvania. These crashes and subsequent damage to the World Trade Center and the Pentagon resulted in the deaths of 2,972 persons in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

b. According to United Arab Emirates General Postal Authority records, the detainee opended a Post Office Box, number 19738, in Sharjah United Arab Emirates on 24 June 2001. He opened the Post Office Box under the name Mustafa Ahmed Al-Hawsawi, date of birth5 August 1968. He listed his home address as 103 Shaikh Sultan Bin Saqer Street, Al-Butheena, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. He listed his mobile phone as 050-5209905.

c. Recovered Western Union receipts show that on 8 September 2001, “9/11 hijacker” Mohamed Atta sent 2,860 United States dollars from Western Union, Safeway Store, 14100 Baltimore Avenue, Laurel, Maryland. The funds were received by the detainee at the Wall Street Exchange, Dubai, United Arab Emirates on 9 September 2001.

d. Recovered Western Union receipts show that on 8 September 2001, “9/11 hijacker” Waleed Al-Shehri sent 5,000 United States dollars from Western Union, Food Giant Store, 1009 Fairlawn St., Laurel Maryland. The funds were received by the detainee at the Wall Street Exchange, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, on 10 September 2001.

e. Recovered Western Union receipts show that on 9 September 2001, “9/11 hijacker” Waleed Al-Shehri sent 5,000 United States dollars from Western Union TravelEx #7201, Currency Booth Room 2250, Logan Airport, Boston, Massachusetts. The funds were received by the detainee at the Al-Ansari Exchange, Sharjah United Arab Emirates on 11 September 2001.

f. Recovered Western Union receipts show that on on 9 September 2001, “9/11 hijacker” Marwan Al-Shehhi sent 5,000 United States dollars from Western Union Greyhound Bus Terminal #0406, 700 Atlantic Ave, Boston Massachusetts. The funds were received by the detainee at the Al-Ansari Exchange, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates on 11 September 2001.

g. “9/11 hijacker” Mohammed Atta (Atta) sent the detainee a package with Fayez Banihammad’s Automated Teller Machine card and checkbook. One check was endorsed but not filled in, and split from the checkbook. The Federal Express receipt for this package was recovered from a trash receptacle located at a hotel utilized by Atta. The receipt indicated that the package was sent to the detainee’s Post Office box in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

h. On 11 September 2001, the detainee flew from Dubai, United Arab Emirates to Karachi, Pakistan via Pakistan International Airlines flight 212, according to United Arab Emirates immigration records.

i. A handwritten 19 page telephone and address book was found in a laptop computer case associated with the detainee. The address book contained contact information of numerous al Qaida operatives. The document was discovered where a senior al Qaida operative was captured.

j. A laptop computer hard-drive associated with the detainee contained al Qaida expense reports from February 2002 to April 2002.

k. A laptop computer hard-drive associated with the detainee contained detailed information for the families of al Qaida operatives.

l. A laptop computer hard-drive associated with the detainee contained detailed family information of 22 Yememi al Qaida operatives along with the the status of the operatives.

m. A laptop computer hard-drive associated with the detainee contained al Qaida expenditure data from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2002.

n. A laptop computer hard-drive associated with the detainee contained a list of al Qaida members who were killed or wounded.

o. A laptop computer hard-drive associated with the detainee contained al Qaida family allowance information from November 2002 to October 2003.

p. A laptop computer hard-drive associated with the detainee contained detailed al Qaida expense reports from January 2002 to December 2002.

q. A laptop computer hard-drive associated with the detainee contained detailed al Qaida United States dollars fund serial account information from 1 January 2002 to 15 May 2002.

r. A laptop computer hard-drive associated with the detainee contained detailed al Qaida expense information through various incoming and outgoing rupee, Euro, riyal and dirham fund transactions for the period of 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2002.

4. The detainee has the opportunity to contest his designation as an enemy combatant. The Tribunal will endeavor to arrange for the presence of any reasonably available witnesses or evidence that the detainee desires to call or introduce to prove that he is not an enemy combatant and that is deemed relevant to that issue. The Tribunal President will determine the reasonable availability and relevance of evidence or witnesses.

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