Today, my subject is the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. You will recall that in February, 1993, a truck bomb was detonated in the lower level of the World Trade Center's north tower. While the bomb had been intended to bring down both the north and south towers of the WTC and kill a quarter of a million people, it killed only 6 people, wounded about 1,000, and caused half a billion dollars in damage. We were told, ad nauseum, that some wildly evil Muslim extremists, bent on the destruction of the United States, were solely responsible for the bombing, and that they had planned on bombing other New York City landmarks as well. The FBI rather quickly ran down some information on a Ryder truck (it's so amazing that they always find those parts with id numbers!) and other leads and heroically caught the bad guys responsible for the bombing--several of the bombers were on trial only about 8 months after the bombing. [frantically wave the Stars and Stripes here]
Unfortunately for the FBI, a wild card was inserted in their patriotic narrative in the form of one Emad A. Salem, a former Egyptian military member and paid FBI informant, who emerged on the scene with the insane tale that he himself had infiltrated the bombers' cell, helped build the bomb with the knowledge and under the supervision of the FBI, and that the plan had been for him to ultimately make the bomb harmless by substituting inert material for the explosives, but he had been taken off the case by an FBI supervisor before he could do so.
Now, it's fairly clear that the government would want us to believe that Mr. Salem is either a nut or a liar, and of course, his story is not the official version of the events. But, interestingly, Mr. Salem had the advantage of hundreds of audiotapes of his conversations with members of the FBI (made without the knowledge of the agents) that seem to corroborate the more salient details of his crazy story, including that he had something to do with the building of the bomb, and that his involvement was known to and overseen by the FBI. Listen yourself. Most annoyingly for the government are the tapes with references by Salem to their prior knowledge of the bombing, and their unused opportunity to stop it.
From the New York Times, 10/27/93:
Some of the most striking passages in the transcripts show Mr. Salem agonizing over what he suggests was the failure of the F.B.I., despite his information, to halt the Feb. 26 bombing of the trade center, in which six people were killed. Although Mr. Salem is not a witness in that case, he was working with the Government at that time.
"They told me that 'we want to set this,' " Mr. Salem said, referring to the bomb in a conversation on April 1 with John Anticev, one of the F.B.I. agents he reported to, and sometimes complained to others about. " 'What's the right place to put this?' "
Then he added, still speaking to the agent: "You were informed. Everything is ready. The day and the time. Boom. Lock them up and that's that. That's why I feel so bad."
Mr. Salem, you're not the only one who should feel bad. We believed them.