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After September 11, 2001: Russian-Born Businessman Provides US Intelligence with Information about Al-Qaeda

Felix Sater, a Russian-born businessman, works as a spy for American intelligence and provides it with valuable information about al-Qaeda. [BuzzFeed News, 3/12/2018] Sater started working for US intelligence around 1997 and since then has been assisting the CIA, the FBI, and other agencies. He has obtained information on al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, including five of bin Laden’s personal satellite telephone numbers (see (1997-September 11, 2001)). [US Department of Justice, 8/27/2009 pdf file; Politico, 5/16/2019; ABC News, 8/23/2019] But he doubles his efforts after the 9/11 attacks, he will later state. [US Congress. House, 12/2017] His handlers urge him to find any relevant information and, at the direction of the FBI, he heads to the Middle East to collect intelligence on key leaders in al-Qaeda. He then gathers much information during his travels there. [BuzzFeed News, 3/12/2018] His activities include:
bullet Turning the personal secretary of Mullah Omar, the head of Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban, into a source. This man then provides copies of al-Qaeda passports and information on jihadi escape routes, as well the locations of al-Qaeda training camps, fighters, and weapons caches.
bullet Providing the names of al-Qaeda operatives.
bullet Providing details of American companies that are fronts for al-Qaeda.
bullet Providing details of the financial networks behind the 9/11 attackers and other al-Qaeda members around the world.
bullet Identifying a New Mexico company believed to be laundering terrorism funds in the US. [US Congress. House, 12/2017; BuzzFeed News, 3/12/2018]
bullet Providing information regarding the whereabouts of bin Laden. [US Department of Justice, 8/27/2009 pdf file]
bullet Providing details of a potential assassination plot against President Bush.
bullet Providing details of a potential assassination attempt on Secretary of State Colin Powell, including information regarding specific plans by al-Qaeda fighters to bring his plane down when he is visiting Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. [US Congress. House, 12/2017]
bullet Reporting on the results of US bombings in Afghanistan. [US Department of Justice, 8/27/2009 pdf file; US Congress. House, 12/2017; BuzzFeed News, 3/12/2018]
bullet Providing information regarding which tribal structures might be coerced into abandoning the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and switching their allegiance to the Northern Alliance or other US-supported groups in Afghanistan. [US Congress. House, 12/2017]
Sater is “an exemplary cooperator who worked diligently to further the aims of the missions to which he was assigned,” according to the agents who supervise his activities. He provides a “massive amount of assistance” in defense of the US, and his intelligence work “significantly enhanced and potentially saved the lives of hundreds if not thousands of military personnel, before and during military operations carried out in hostile countries,” he will state. He also assists US intelligence in areas besides the war on terror, such as North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, Russian organized crime, La Cosa Nostra organized crime families, international cyber criminals, and financial fraud. [US Department of Justice, 8/27/2009 pdf file; US Congress. House, 12/2017; BuzzFeed News, 3/12/2018] He becomes known after the 2016 US presidential election for his business ties to then President Donald Trump. [CBS News, 11/29/2018; Hill, 5/16/2019; ABC News, 8/23/2019]

Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Colin Powell, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Al-Qaeda, George W. Bush, Felix Sater, Osama bin Laden

Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

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