Saturday, August 1, 2009

New Information on a Changing, Adapting, and Committed Al Qaeda

When Bryant Neal Vinas spoke at length with Belgian prosecutors last March, he provided a fascinating and sometimes frightening insight into al Qaeda's training -- and its agenda.

Vinas is a young American who was arrested in Pakistan late in 2008 after allegedly training with al Qaeda in the Afghan-Pakistan border area. He was repatriated to the United States and in January pled guilty to charges of conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals, providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, and receiving military-type training from a foreign terrorist organization.

In notes made by FBI agents of interviews with Vinas, he admits he went to Pakistan to join al Qaeda and kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. But the terror group appeared to have other ideas for him. He volunteered to become a suicide bomber but was dissuaded at every turn.

On Thanksgiving weekend last year, shortly after his arrest, much of the New York mass transit system including Penn Station was put on high alert. According to the Belgian prosecutor's document, Vinas had told al Qaeda's command everything he knew about the system.

In his interview with Belgian prosecutors Vinas stated that he met with several members of a Belgian-French group while training in the tribal areas of Pakistan. One member of this group, a 25-year-old Frenchman called Walid Othmani, provided French interrogators with an account of his time in Pakistan after being arrested on his return to Europe.



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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