JUSTICE DEPARTMENT NEGLECTS TO OBTAIN ARREST WARRANT FOR LEADING AL QAEDA OPERATIVE
F.B.I. OVERSIGHT “MIND-BOGGLING”
U.S. officials believe that Adnan Shukrijumah, a top al-Qaeda figure, helped plot last year’s attempt to bomb the New York City subway system, according to the Associated Press.
Shukrijumah met with one of the would-be suicide bombers, unnamed current and former officials told AP. The Justice Department has named him in a draft indictment but not yet filed it. Some officials said they were concerned that the notoriety might impede efforts to collar him.
Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan immigrant who worked as an airport shuttle driver in Denver, pleaded guilty in February to conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and providing material support to a terrorist organization. The plot called for Zazi and two friends to detonate backpack bombs on subway trains during rush hour near the Grand Central and Times Square stations last September. Zazi said the plot was a response to the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan.
FBI Director Robert Mueller has called Adnan el-Shukrijumah “the next Mohammed Atta,” adding that he represents “a clear and imminent danger to all Americans.”
Shukrijumah’s face has appeared on the front pages of newspapers and every televised news outlet throughout the United States and Canada.
A special office for information that might lead to his arrest — replete with a 24 hour hotline — has been set up in Miami, Florida.
Federal investigators have combed South and Central America with the hope of gleaning a scintilla of evidence that might shed light on his whereabouts. They even established an elaborate sting operation in Guyana, Trinidad, and New York (the JFK plot) to snag the elusive fugitive — but the operation only resulted in the creation of a virulent terrorist organization south of the border.
The Justice Department has placed a $5 million reward for any information leading to Adnan’s apprehension, and the same bounty for each of his alleged accomplices: Amer el-Maati, Jaber A. Elbaneh, Anas al-Liby, and Abderraouf Jdey.
But, Family Security Matters has learned, the U.S. Department of Justice, even after posting rewards, setting up hotlines, and issuing BOLOs (“Be-on-the-Lookout” alerts) has failed to issue criminal warrants for their arrest.
This oversight is mind-boggling. Adnan el-Shukrijumah has worked with Mohammad Atta and the other 9/11 operatives; he has masterminded a plan to launch a nuclear attack on American soil; he has attended leading al Qaeda gatherings, including the Waziristan Summit of 2004; he has conspired with Jose Padilla and others to blow up bridges and infrastructures in New York City.
The search for his present whereabouts is littered with corpses, including that of prominent Guyanese businessman Farouk Razac. Obtaining the necessary warrants would constitute the perfunctory matter of submitting a request to a federal judiciary.
But the basic procedural step of obtaining an arrest warrant was not undertaken by the U.S. Attorney General or any other official within the Justice Department.
Federal law enforcement officials explain this oversight by insisting that the issuance of a BOLO (Be-on-the-Lookout) and a warrant for el Shukrijumah as a material witness is all that is required to collar him.
They point out that suspected terrorists, under the guidelines of the Patriot Act, need not be fugitives who have been indicted by grand juries in U.S. District Courts. This is all well and good if Adnan if cornered within the U.S.
But, if he is sitting in a café in Canada or Mexico, neither the BOLO nor the warrant as a material witness will be sufficient to take him into custody and to extradite him for questioning by the FBI or Homeland Security.
“A material witness warrant has no weight at all in Canada,” explains a retired RCMP official who opts to remain anonymous “Our law enforcement officials cannot do anything unless there is a criminal offense that is extraditable.”
The failure to obtain arrest warrants remains coupled with other oversights of equally staggering proportions. On October 31, 2006, members of a well-known security company spotted Adnan el-Shukrijumah on the campus of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
They dutifully reported the sighting to the FBI and CSIS. They remain waiting for a response.
Similarly, a former Israeli intelligence official claims to have seen Shukrijumah on several occasions at a gas station in Toronto — less than an hour’s drive from Hamilton. The Israeli says that he contacted FBI officials at four different locations only to be encountered by bureaucratic indifference. The sighting remains to be investigated.
On January 25, 2007, a witness reported to Canadian and US officials that Adnan was living in an apartment complex in southern Ontario and that he made daily visits to the regional airport.
This tip also went unheeded despite concerns the witnesses expressed about their safety.
The F.B.I. has posted a $5 million reward for any information that will lead to el Shukrijumah’s arrest.
It is doubtful that anyone will collect it.