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Conspiracy

United States V. Mohamed

Even before the SEPTEMBER 11TH ATTACKS against the United States in 2001, the country and the world were well aware of the activities of Osama bin Laden and the terrorist network known as al Qaeda. In October 2000, 48-year-old Ali A. Mohamed pled guilty in federal court in New York to five counts of conspiracy, including conspiring to kill U.S. nationals; conspiring to murder, kidnap, and maim outside the United States; conspiring to murder in general; and conspiring to destroy U.S. buildings and property. The charges stemmed from the August 7,

An artist's rendition of Ali Mohamed (second from left) as he stands before U.S. District Judge Leonard B. Sand. In October 2000, Mohamed pleaded guilty to five counts of conspiracy related to the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
AP/WIDE WORLD PHOTOS

1998, TERRORISM at U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. More than 200 people, including 12 American citizens, were killed in the attacks, and more than 5,000 were injured.

The case attracted national and international attention because Mohamed was a former U.S. Army officer and because he implicated bin Laden in the bombings. Mohamed, a native Egyptian, served briefly with the CIA in 1984, until the agency determined that Mohamed had revealed his assignment to Middle East terrorists. In 1985, Mohamed moved to the California, seeking to become a U.S. citizen. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned to the Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, where the Army trains its Special Forces. Mohamed was trained as a paratrooper and achieved the rank of sergeant before being honorably discharged in 1989. Upon his discharge, he renewed his contacts with the Egyptian "Islamic Jihad," a radical group he had secretly associated with since the early 1980s. In 1991 he was recruited by al Qaeda to serve several missions directly related to bin Laden's terrorist activities.

In 1993, bin Laden asked Mohamed to scout possible sites in Kenya to target for terrorist attacks. Mohamed, then a naturalized U.S. citizen, took photographs and drew diagrams of the U.S. embassy in Nairobi. He personally delivered these to bin Laden, who planned the attack that occurred about five years later. Mohamed became a suspect when one of his aliases turned up at the Nairobi bombing site. After reaching a plea bargain agreement with federal prosecutors, Mohamed implicated bin Laden in the attacks. At the time, prosecutors said it was the first time that a close associate of bin Laden had implicated the reputed terrorist in open court. Mohamed faces a prison term for an unspecified number of years. Less than one year after he gave his testimony, the United States suffered terrorist attacks on its own soil, as al Qaeda operatives destroyed the World Trade Center in New York City and seriously damaged the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

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