KSM Trial Raises Questions For AA 587
The coming New York City federal trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, called KSM by antiterrorist experts all over the world, has once again raised the question of why American Airlines Flight 587, an Airbus A300, crashed into the intersection of Newport Avenue and Beach 131 Street on November 12, 2001.
Even several years after the crash, despite the ruling by the National Transportation Safety Board that the plane was brought down by the first officer's over-use of the rudder, many locals who watched the plane in the air that day believe that there was an explosion and fire on the fuselage of the plane before it lost its tail fin and augured into the streets of Belle Harbor.
What relationship does the trial of admitted terrorist mastermind KSM have with the crash of Flight 587?
KSM has already admitted to investigators that he sent shoe bomber Richard Reid on a failed mission to explode a trans-Atlantic jetliner with a shoe bomb, as well as an aborted operation to blow up 12 planes flying between the United States and Asian destinations in one day.
That is why he brings credibility to a statement by another convicted al Qaeda operative who says that Flight 587 was brought down by a second shoe bomber.
In September of 2004, three years after the World Trade Center attack and the crash of Flight 587, a respected Canadian newspaper, quoting a secret intelligence report, said that a shoe bomber may have brought down American Airlines Flight 587 in the streets of Belle Harbor in November of 2001.
According to a report in Canada's National Post, a captured al Qaeda operative has told intelligence officials in that nation that Abderraouf Jdey, a naturalized Canadian citizen, also known as Farouk the Tunisian, carried a shoe bomb onto the plane at John F. Kennedy Airport and committed an act of suicide to bring the aircraft down, killing all 260 aboard and five Rockaway residents on the ground.
The report says that the source of the information, captured al Qaeda operative Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, told investigators during five days of interrogation, that Jdey, whom he termed a "master of disguises," trained in Afghanistan with a number of the hijackers who destroyed the World Trade Center and crashed into the Pentagon.
Jdey reportedly recorded a "martyrdom video," in which he said that he was going to attack the United States, but was dropped from the 9/11 attack plans after returning to Canada in the summer of 2001. According to the report, he was to be used in a "second wave of attacks" on the United States.
Jabarah was reportedly tasked with overseeing a suicide bombing operation in Southeast Asia, but was caught and has pleaded guilty to terrorist charges in the United States.
Jabarah says that his information came from another well-known al Qaeda operative working directly with KSM, who said, "The New York crash was not an accident, but an operation."
The Canadian report says that Jdey used his Canadian passport to board the ill-fated flight, but passenger records show no such person boarding the plane.
In early 2002, after the 9/11 attacks, American intelligence officials and the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued an alert seeking Jdey's whereabouts in connection with the attacks. U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft announced in May that Jdey was one of seven "al-Qaeda associates" sought in connection with possible future terrorist threats against the United States.
Jabarah was arrested in Oman in December of 2001. He was extradited to Canada in 2002 and then handed over to American authorities.
He reportedly cooperated with American authorities until the attack on Iraq, after which he plotted to kill the man who was his contact with the FBI. He was then transferred to the Manhattan Correctional Center where he was held in solitary confinement for four years.
In January of 2008, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for his involvement in terrorist activities in the United States and abroad.
Jdey has not been seen since November of 2001, however.
Government sources told reporters in a prepared statement that "it is unlikely that Jdey had anything to do with the crash of American Airlines Flight 587," although those sources admit that they have been looking for him since May of 2002 with no sightings reported.