March 15, 2015
Al Qaeda stockpiled weapons using covert CIA cash funneled to the murderous terrorist group by Afghan officials as part of a $5 million ransom for a hostage diplomat.
The U.S. intelligence agency remained clueless that some of its money went directly to the terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, The New York Times reported Saturday.
Afghan officials redirected the money to Al Qaeda from the monthly bags of cash delivered surreptitiously to the Afghan presidential palace, the Times reported.
The payoff allowed a reeling Al Qaeda to retrench and rebuild its weapons stockpile after a series of U.S. drone strikes wiped out the group’s top echelon.
A top Al Qaeda official also offered at one point to send some of the cash directly to World Trade Center attack mastermind Osama Bin Laden.
At the time of the spring 2010 ransom deal, the CIA was delivering as much as $1 million cash each month to officials in Afghanistan.
Those payments continued through 2014, according to the newspaper.
Letters discussing the 2010 payoffs were found during the raid one year later where Bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALs, ending a decade-long manhunt for the terrorist leader.
They were introduced as evidence by prosecutors at the Brooklyn Federal Court trial of Abid Naseer, convicted earlier this month of plotting to blow up a British shopping center.
“God blessed us with a good amount of money this month,” Al Qaeda official Atiyah Abd al-Rahman wrote in a June 2010 letter to Bin Laden.
“We have also designated a fair amount (of money) to strengthen the organization militarily by stockpiling good weapons,” al-Rahman wrote in a letter shortly after the first $2 million ransom installment was paid.
Afghan diplomat Abdul Farahi was released in November 2010 after the full $5 million was paid.
Details of the CIA contributions to the payoff came from interviews with Afghan and Western officials, along with the correspondence, the Times said.
The CIA declined to comment on the report.