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November 28, 2004
FBI: Madrid, 9/11 Attacks Linked

The FBI has informed Spain that they have established direct links between the Madrid rail bombings and the 9/11 attacks that touched off the Western response to Islamofascist terror. The AP and ABC reports that the FBI has identified the al-Qaeda leader who helped plan and gave approval to both terrorist plans:

The FBI has told Spanish investigators that one of three men believed to have planned the Sept. 11 attacks from Spain in the summer of 2001 also gave the order to carry out the Madrid blasts, the newspaper ABC reported. ...

Investigators have long concluded that the Sept. 11 attacks were partially planned in Spain in July 2001. Hijacker Mohammed Atta, believed to have piloted one of the airliners that crashed into New York's World Trade Center, visited Spain two months before the attacks and met two men.

One was Ramzi bin al-Shaibah, who is being held by U.S. authorities, while the other was unidentified. ABC said investigators now believe that third man was the one who in December 2003 activated the Qaeda cell that carried out the March 11 attacks, which Spaniards call "our Sept. 11."

Not that this should surprise anyone, but one does have to question the effectiveness of Spanish cooperation in the war on terror if this third man still operated freely in Spain for thirty months after 9/11. The Aznar government provided the US strong political support for our actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, but it appears that they never took the necessary steps to investigate al-Qaeda on their own soil. This isn't just a Spanish issue, either; Germany has been singularly ineffective in capturing and trying AQ operatives, and France hasn't found anyone except their traditional home-grown terrorists, the ETA Basque separatists.

Spain takes the AQ threat more seriously now, of course, even if they have quailed at contributing to the eventual long-term solution of transforming Southwest Asia through democracy. This new information should wake the rest of Europe that al-Qaeda cannot be thought simply as an antagonist of America, but an enemy of Western civilization.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 28, 2004 10:06 AM

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Tracked on November 28, 2004 1:27 PM

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