A Lebanon-native who pretended to be an Islamic extremist at the behest of American authorities claims that the FBI took him off the trail of alleged 9/11 plotter Mohammed Atta right as a window of opportunity opened to catch him.
Were it not for the FBI’s action, the informant says he is “one million percent positive” the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks could have been prevented.
The claims are part of an ABC News report, set to air on Thursday’s editions of World News Tonight and Nightline.
An advance story published on ABC’s Web site notes:
- [36-year-old Elie] Assaad, who posed as ‘Mohammed’ – a personal representative of Osama bin Laden, says he’s a “million percent positive” the 9/11 attacks could have been stopped if the FBI had gone after Atta and Shukrujumah. But because Atta and his men were suspicious of the FBI undercover operative, and secretive, Assaad says his FBI agent handlers sent him after the easier target – two wannabe terrorists whose cases were easy to crack and who were both eventually convicted and sent to prison.
“I was right, I was a hundred percent right,” Assaad says of his suspicions. He says that when he learned that Atta was one of the 9/11 hijackers, when the FBI asked if he could identify any of the attackers, he was “very upset, angry” and cried.
The network also notes criticism of Assaad by defense attorneys for men who they say he entrapped.
But the informant dismisses the knocks to his credibility. “When you are working undercover, your job is to lie,” he told ABC.
This video is from ABC’s Nightline, broadcast Sept. 10, 2009