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Monday, August 28, 2006

Three reviews of tonight's documentary

From the New York Times:

About halfway through “Triple Cross: Bin Laden’s Spy in America,” tonight’s enlightening documentary about the Egyptian-born superspy Ali A. Mohamed on the National Geographic Channel, something bizarre happens. A retired Army officer, Robert Anderson, discusses working with Mr. Mohamed at Fort Bragg, N.C., in the late 1980’s. Those were the days when the handsome, audacious spy was cooling his heels in the United States Army.

“I said to him,” Lieutenant Colonel Anderson recalls. “ ‘You know, Anwar Sadat was not only a hero to Egypt, but he was also a hero to the United States, and the entire free world.’

“So his response to me was, ‘He was a traitor, and he had to die.’ ”

That’s when the penny should have dropped, but it didn’t. The bizarre part comes in voice-over. “Colonel Anderson,” says the matter-of-fact narrator, “allows Mohamed to remain in his unit, in spite of his misgivings.”

From the Hartford Courant:

According to the film, based in part on a book by Peter Lance, Mohamed helped stake out East African embassies bombed by al-Qaida in 1998, trained terrorists on the first World Trade Center attack in 1993 and came up with the idea of multiple hijacked aircraft striking major U.S. targets.

Later, in U.S. custody in 2000 and after pleading guilty to five counts of conspiracy to kill Americans and strike U.S. targets around the world, his information was the main source of the famously ignored "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." memo.

From Bloomberg:

Terrorism expert Steve Emerson, interviewed throughout the program, is awestruck by Mohamed's career.

``I've never seen a terrorist with such a storied background, with his connections to U.S. law enforcement and intelligence,'' he says. Emerson adds that Mohamed also revealed ``bureaucratic crevices'' between the CIA, FBI and military that were so big ``you could drive truck bombs through them.''

Mohamed is thought to be supplying information helpful to the U.S. government from an undisclosed prison cell, and at least one person thinks his final chapter has yet to be written.

David Runke, a defense attorney in the African embassies bombing case, says, ``I think the most likely thing that will happen is he'll be released, he'll be given a new name and a new identity, and he will pick up a life someplace.''