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Context of 'May 2001: Iranian Tells of Plot to Attack WTC'

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Peter Caram.Peter Caram. [Source: SRR Training]The New York Port Authority, which owns the World Trade Center, is aware of terrorism occurring around the world and that the WTC is vulnerable to attack. It has therefore created the Terrorist Intelligence Unit within its police department, headed by Detective Sergeant Peter Caram, to gather information about terrorist groups and assess the vulnerability of its numerous facilities to attack. On this day, Caram writes a memo to the assistant superintendent of the Port Authority Police Department, reporting that the FBI has uncovered a terrorist threat: Two supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini are allegedly planning to bomb the WTC in the near future. Although the attack never occurs, this is the first of numerous occasions during the 1980s where the WTC is considered a potential target for a terrorist attack. (Caram 2001, pp. 4-5; New York County Supreme Court 1/20/2004)

An Iranian in custody in New York City tells local police of a plot to attack the WTC. No more details are known. (Cameron 5/17/2002) Interestingly, an Iranian in prison in Germany will also warn of an attack on the WTC (see Early September 2001), but it is not known if the two cases are related.

An Iranian man known as Ali S. in a German jail awaiting deportation repeatedly phones US law enforcement to warn of an imminent attack on the WTC in early September. He calls it “an attack that will change the world.” After a month of badgering his prison guards, he is finally able to call the White House 14 times in the days before the attack. He then tries to send a fax to President Bush, but is denied permission hours before the 9/11 attacks. German police later confirm the calls. Prosecutors later will say Ali had no foreknowledge and his forebodings were just a strange coincidence. They will say he is mentally unstable. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur (Hamburg) 9/13/2001; Ananova 9/14/2001; Mackay 9/16/2001; Hunter 9/17/2001)

Recovery efforts end at the World Trade Center site. (Ibarguen 5/31/2002)

By this time, 358 New York City firefighters and paramedics are on sick leave or light-duty because they have the “World Trade Center cough” (see November 26, 2001). (Garrett and Ricks 9/10/2002)


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