April 25th, 2012
12:33 AM ET

Operative details al Qaeda plans to hit planes in wake of 9/11

By CNN Terrorism Analyst Paul Cruickshank

Within weeks of the September 11, 2001, attacks, Osama bin Laden was planning follow-up operations to bring down airliners in the United States and south-east Asia, according to a convicted al Qaeda operative testifying in a terror trial in New York.

Saajid Badat was speaking via a video deposition from the United Kingdom, where he is serving a jail sentence for his role in plotting to blow up a U.S. bound aircraft in December 2001.

It's the first time that an al Qaeda operative has provided such detail about plans to bring down airliners in the wake of 9/11.

Badat testified that a few weeks after the 9/11 attacks, he met with Abu Hafs al Masri, then bin Laden's right hand man, in the Jalalabad-Kabul area in Afghanistan.

"Abu Hafs asked me to take an explosive device onboard an airplane, a domestic airline [in the United States] and then detonate it," Badat testified. He was then called to meet bin Laden himself.

"It was just the two of us in the room and he explained to me his justification for the mission," said Badat.

"He said that the American economy is like a chain. If you break one link of the chain, the whole economy will be brought down. So after September 11th attacks, this operation will ruin the aviation industry and in turn the whole economy will come down," he added.

Badat was then told to pick up two explosive shoes from an al Qaeda bomb-maker named Fathi. The explosives, he said, were concealed in the soles.

The idea was for him and Richard Reid, a British operative who came to be known as the "Shoe Bomber," to blow up different planes simultaneously.

Reid tried to blow up an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami on December 22, 2001.

Before leaving Afghanistan in late November, Badat said he and Reid met with 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

"It was as if he was giving me final orders," Badat testified.

"He just gave us advice on how to interact with each other, how to contact each other," he said, adding that the communication between him and Reid was to be via e-mail.

When Badat arrived in the United Kingdom in December he said he got cold feet, fearing going through with the operation and the possible implications for his family. He described how he dismantled the shoe bomb he had brought with him and stored it in his parents' house.

On December 14, 2001, he e-mailed his Pakistani handler to tell him he was backing out.

Badat now feels he and others were manipulated by al Qaeda's top leadership.

During his video deposition he stated he was ready to testify against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other top leaders to expose the hollowness of what he called their "bulls**t cause."

Badat, who joined al Qaeda in Afghanistan in 2000, was testifying at the trial in New York of Adis Medunjanin, an American of Bosnian descent charged with involvement in a plot to explode bombs on the subway in September 2009. Though the two never met, Badat met at least one al Qaeda member Medunjanin is alleged to have encountered.

Badat also revealed that he and Reid left Afghanistan for Pakistan with a group of Malaysians militants.

"I learned that they had a group ready to perform a similar hijacking to 9/11," Badat testified.

According to a 9/11 Commission report, al Qaeda initially planned to hijack a dozen airliners in South East Asia at the same time as in the United States, but bin Laden scrapped the south-east Asian portion of the plan.

The new revelations suggest that al Qaeda's south-east Asian plan was revived after 9/11.

A senior U.S. counter-terrorism official told CNN al Qaeda planned to hijack aircraft in south-east Asia using militants who had begun training in flight schools in the region, but the plan was never carried through.

The official said Khalid Sheikh Mohammed orchestrated the post 9/11 south-east Asia hijacking plot and was assisted by Walid bin Attash, a Yemeni al Qaeda terrorist also now being held in Guantanamo Bay.

Two Jemaah Islamiya operatives resonsible for the 2002 Bali bombings – Hambali (real name: Riduan Isamuddin) and Ali Ghufron (real name: Huda bin Abdul Haq) – are also suspected of having had a role in the plot, according to the official.

Badat recalled how a few months before the 9/11 attacks, he was instructed to "collect intelligence on various Jewish locations in South Africa to be viewed as potential targets."

Badat said he researched potential targets on the Internet and put together a report. But despite being tasked to travel to South Africa, he never took the trip.

Days before 9/11, Badat was dispatched to Belgium to meet with Nizar Trabelsi, a Tunisian then planning a terrorist operation who also met bin Laden in Afghanistan.

Trabelsi was arrested two days after the terrorist attacks on the United States and later admitted to plotting an attack on the Klein Brogel NATO base in Belgium.

He is currently in prison in Belgium and fighting an extradition request to face terrorism charges in the United States.

Badat described meeting several times in Afghanistan with Adnan Shukrijumah, an American al Qaeda operative. At the time he knew the American as "Jaffar." Shukrijumah, he stated, never had any knowledge of the shoe bombing plot.

U.S. authorities allege that Shukrijumah helped orchestrate the 2009 plot to attack New York subways and met Medunjanin in a camp in South Waziristan in September 2008. They say Shukrijumah has emerged as a senior operational planner for the network and is still believed to be at large in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

Badat also shed light on how his motivations for traveling to Afghanistan to fight Jihad in 1999 when he was just 19. He testified that he became involved in a militant circle in London and became friends with a man called Babar Ahmad.

"He introduced me to a different dimension to Islam that hadn't been explained to me or shown to me...We're talking about actually taking up arms in the name of Islam," Badat testified.

Ahmad is set to be extradited to the United States to face charges related to a militant website that he ran, including materially supporting terrorists, after a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights earlier this month.

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  21. WhoIsIsrael?

    It is just a name of nation likes a flag by the word to unite or to separate.
    You cannot rule cannot live cannot manage this entire earth by just one man without more men to lead men.
    If there is just one man on this earth then you are alone.
    How can you be the number 1 leader above all humans without humans?
    To be the number 1 on this earth you need the other countries need all the recent 8 billions people to support you with your people.
    Very short minded if a human wants to be the 1 leader king that is Nothing just for arrogant status the selfish ambition ego with the old book story to tell about selfish ambition.
    How do people think they can rule this earth while their humans lives depend on oxygen water and organic elements from this nature?
    You need the recent 8 billions people with this nature to support you to be a world leader.
    So Don't be arrogant blinded by the useless ambition just for a selfish status by ego imagination.

    April 30, 2012 at 1:11 am | Reply
  22. neutral

    When i go to heaven, i am going to shit on DAVIDS head

    April 25, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Reply
  23. Alex Povolotski

    Nothing chilling. Just calculated. Never underestimate your adversary.

    April 25, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  24. Babak from LA

    How does that work? How do you tell someone to take a flight, take a bomb with you and blow it up!!! I just can't wrap my brian around it.... If I could learn just a little bit of that, may be I could use it to run a more susccesful bussiness.... I can't get my driver to drive an extra mile, or my customer reps to handle one more customer and get paid overtime for it ... How does one get that kind of commitment out of an average person ... Interesting! (please don't get me worng I still think they are nuts!)

    April 25, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Reply
    • zamedine

      I'm pretty sure that if you were offering your drivers 72 virgins in Paradise and the knowledge that they'd be remembered as martyr heroes by everyone; and they whole heartedly believed you, they'd willingly do it. Terrorist groups, like cults, usually recruit the poor and ignorant as their foot soldiers, specifically targeting young men whose chances of achieving any kind of 'real life' success (marriage, wealth, the respect of others) are low. They may also offer incentives like protection for the would be terrorist's family. Other easy recruits are spiritually confused 'seekers', who are often the children of immigrants, who feel dissatisfied with their lives in, typically, Western countries. It doesn't take a lot to convince someone who is frustrated with and disappointed by their circumstances, and has little social acceptance in the wider community to follow you if you promise them a chance to be a big hero who 'everyone' will look up to. I'm not saying that this applies to every single terrorist, especially not the higher ups, but generally it would be pretty true, look at someone like Ajmal Kasab (the surviving Mumbai shooter) or Umar Farooq AbdulMutallib (the underwear bomber), even Anwar al-Awlaki was a second generation immigrant.

      And it's not just extremist Islam that uses these sorts of tactics, cults, other fringe religious groups, some political parties, militias and even some militaries all use similar methods.

      April 25, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Reply
      • ,,,,,,,,,

        aaaaahhhhhhhhhh.....the old '72 virgins' bullshit. That the best you can do?

        April 25, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
  25. Kay

    And hail to the inventor of the world's first terrorism.

    June 30, 1924. Dutch Jew Jacob Israël de Haan was assassinated by Avraham Tehomi on the orders of Haganah leader Yitzhak Ben-Zvi[29] for his anti-Zionist political activities and contacts with Arab leaders.

    1937–1939 The Irgun conducted a campaign of violence against Palestinian Arab civilians resulting in the deaths of at least 250.

    November 6, 1944 Lehi assassinated British minister Lord Moyne in Cairo

    1944–1945 The killings of several suspected collaborators with the Haganah and the British mandate government during the Hunting Season.

    July 26, 1946 The bombing of British administrative headquarters at the King David Hotel, killing 91 people

    1946 Railways and British military airfields were attacked several times.

    October 31, 1946 The bombing by the Irgun of the British Embassy in Rome.

    July 25, 1947 The Sergeants affair: When death sentences were passed on two Irgun members, the Irgun kidnapped Sgt. Clifford Martin and Sgt. Mervyn Paice and threatened to kill them in retaliation if the sentences were carried out. When the threat was ignored, the hostages were murdered. Afterwards, their bodies were taken to an orange grove and left hanging by the neck from trees. An Improvised Explosive Device was set.

    December 1947 – March 1948 Numerous attacks on Palestinian Arabs in the context of Civil War after the vote of the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine

    January 5–6, 1948 The Semiramis Hotel bombing, carried out by the Haganah resulted in the deaths of 24 to 26 people

    April 1948 the Deir Yassin massacre carried out by the Irgun and Lehi, killed between 107 and 120 Palestinian villagers

    September 17, 1948, Lehi assassination of the United Nations mediator Count Bernadotte, negotiator of the release of about 31,000 prisoners including thousands of Jews from German concentration camps during World War II whom Lehi accused of a pro-Arab stance during the cease-fire negotiations.

    April 25, 2012 at 10:19 am | Reply
    • Clinton

      You're sighting actions of people over 60 years ago as justification for Al Quaeda's actions? That's a bit of a stretch there guy... If you're opposed to what these Jewish folks did, then why aren't you on here blasting what Al Quaeda is doing, they're evil, they kill people and claim that God wants them to do it... they commit suicide and say that it's an act of Martyrdom, it's not. Suicide is a sin, just like killing someone is a sin, and if you don't even believe in God, Any decent human being can tell you it's wrong. These are un-defendable actions by extremists that deserve to be rooted out and destroyed and they are being destroyed... History will never view these people as Martyrs or good men, instead they will forever be viewed as Evil Villains that the world had to annihilate in order to regain peace.

      April 25, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Reply
      • SC

        Well said, I couldn't have put it better.

        April 25, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
      • Prometheus

        Shut the fuckkkkk up you god freak...

        Only a certain kind of man submits to another man. And they shouldn't be talking....

        Talk about the post, and not your antithesical suppositions...

        April 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
      • Joseph

        Israel needs to be the focus here.

        We are facing destruction from Iran, but you still stuff burgers in your fat American faces…


        Have you forgotten what happened to us in WW2???

        If you Americans withdraw support, I’m quite sure my nation will take you down with us. The Jews are sick of taking shittt.

        Read the bible, the Jews are Chosen. You owe us your support.

        April 25, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
      • saifullah

        Martyr is in front of Allah(swt) but not in your fake history as the Quran says:(and that He may take martyrs from among you) those who would be killed in Allah's cause and gladly offer their lives seeking His pleasure.

        April 25, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
      • ,,,,,,,,,

        Hey Clinton – god doesn't exist. Have a nice day killing your fellow man, hypocrite.

        April 25, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • getridofyourbeliefs

      When will people realize that these problems come from religion, not just certain beliefs? Imagine a world in which people don´t believe in mythical figures that were created thousands of years ago, which were written by men, for men, and then lost in translation in thousands of different languages. They are all stories probably written like the Grimm Fairy Tales, to HELP people learn from others mistakes, not cause war and death. Take the red pill, and see how deep the rabbit hole really is!

      April 25, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Reply
  26. Hahahahahaha

    Who's Al Kinda? Haahahahahah

    April 25, 2012 at 10:10 am | Reply
  27. Dumbeldore3000

    And we all know how it ends. Bin Laden's rotten corpse is being eaten by fish at the bottom of the sea with bullet holes in his head; Al Qaeda has no more resources and is getting persecuted left and right, and can't plan attacks as it is busy defending itself in the rat holes it still holds, and Jihad is basically relegated to some lost sh*theads here and there making a bit of noise, with decreasing media interest. And that is the end of Al Qaeda.

    April 25, 2012 at 10:02 am | Reply
  28. Deadmuslim

    See their offensive islamic fashion just like the primitive terrorists costumes to make wars Not Neutral at public. Do muslims feel holy by their offensive islamic costumes? Surely all human beings make Discrimination because islam is the terrorist religion.

    April 25, 2012 at 9:27 am | Reply
    • Joseph

      Yes, the more Muslims dead, the safer holy Israel will become.

      It's no crime to kill goy..

      April 25, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Reply
      • saifullah

        who told you, you are safe, the Muslim army is on the way

        April 25, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
      • neutral

        shut up joseph, you relgion got raped up the arse durung the "kristal night", fucking hate, hate jews.

        btw when i go to heaven, i am going to SHIT

        April 25, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • saifullah

      we are coming to get you, becoz every where in the world the Muslim youth have waken up,

      April 25, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Reply
    • Killarab

      Soon an airplane are flying to hit The burj Hotel as they did to us by their arabian terrorists.
      The arabian babylon towers will be fallen as foretold by their own islamic story.

      April 26, 2012 at 5:34 am | Reply
  29. Carm

    Why can't us freaks & norms just get along?

    April 25, 2012 at 8:47 am | Reply
    • Pinko

      What? And spoil all the fun?

      April 25, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Reply
  30. Lars

    this guy is not incarcerated, Daily Telegraph says he is out early

    April 25, 2012 at 8:02 am | Reply
    • Lars

      Daily Mail that is

      April 25, 2012 at 8:03 am | Reply
  31. Ferd of Aragon


    April 25, 2012 at 7:48 am | Reply
    • islamTerrorist

      All human beings Gladly make Discrimination to Punish islam because islam is terrorist religion

      April 25, 2012 at 9:32 am | Reply
      • Joseph

        Indeed it is.

        With Islam destroyed by the house of David, and their children's heads being Kosher broken on the Wall, we can turn our fury against Europe.

        Israel will rule earth, it is written.

        April 25, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  32. michaelfury

    Did Badat explain how "al Qaeda" managed to confiscate the black boxes from GZ?


    April 25, 2012 at 7:46 am | Reply
  33. BombMosques

    Just need a little bomb in the mic to kill the islamic clerics heads.
    The loudspeaker products have been sent to kill muslims to fall noisy mosques as foretold by islam itself.
    All muslim regions in arabian lands will be the hell battle fields for experiments to test the new super weapons.
    Bomb mecca when muslims start to pray to send muslims go to heaven by death.

    April 25, 2012 at 7:44 am | Reply
    • Killarab

      The airplane are flying to hit The burj Hotel as they did to USA by their arabian terrorists.
      The arabian babylon towers will be fallen as foretold by their own islamic story.

      April 26, 2012 at 5:36 am | Reply
  34. michaelfury

    Did Badat explain how they managed to demolish Building 7?


    April 25, 2012 at 7:43 am | Reply
  35. Brian

    These people from Pakistan and the Taliban should all be put out to sea with a school of great white sharks. They are all jealous of the western world.
    I look at them and shake my head, disgusting, stenching and horrible people. Karma will get you Al qaeda....

    April 25, 2012 at 7:39 am | Reply
    • Pinko

      Racist much?

      April 25, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Reply
  36. MazeAndBlue

    This is why we continue to hunt down these cold blooded monsters. Whatever country they are hiding in the sand. We will never forget. Duck you fools!!!! Obama2012!!!!

    April 25, 2012 at 7:35 am | Reply
    • Renato Storni

      And you really believe that these guys are responsible for the attack. Your own government did it and you still blind. Go for some research through your own country's specialists to learn about controlled explosion.

      April 25, 2012 at 7:41 am | Reply
      • nx3pde

        If you believe so,that's because your psychiatrist made the wrong diagnosis or you forgot to take your pills.

        April 25, 2012 at 10:24 am |
  37. michaelfury

    "According to a 9/11 Commission report", which "operative" pulled off this part of the operation?


    April 25, 2012 at 7:32 am | Reply
  38. greencook

    After his usefulness is one, he should be executed.

    April 25, 2012 at 6:23 am | Reply
  39. greencook

    After his usefulness is done, he should be executed.

    April 25, 2012 at 6:22 am | Reply
  40. JAN CZech

    He said that the American economy is like a chain. If you break one link of the chain, the whole economy will be brought down. So after September 11th attacks, this operation will ruin the aviation industry and in turn the whole economy will come down,"
    Funny, they think this...in real world, theyr attacks actually helped us economy. From my point of view; when I see nation to raise and invade two countries, it means its industrialy strong so I would invest there! Americans dont be sad there are people like me around the world who understand your causes and reasons. And shame on anyone who attacs civilians for any causes – ethnic, economic, filosofic!

    April 25, 2012 at 6:06 am | Reply
    • Overlord

      9/11 attack started biggest weapon race after the cold war which many countries started buying/stocking weapons again.As USA is the biggest weapon producer,most countries around the world bought more weapons from USA which made the USA even richer.

      April 26, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Reply
  41. shadoof Omphile


    April 25, 2012 at 5:36 am | Reply
  42. Jeremy Landes

    So glad to read that he got "cold feet" before detonating his shoe bombs.

    April 25, 2012 at 4:12 am | Reply
  43. government cheese

    Today the Obama administration said the war on terror is over. I hope these guys got the memo.

    April 25, 2012 at 4:08 am | Reply
  44. Prometheus



    Who is scared of the big bad terrorists??

    Are you willing to trade freedom, for a little temporary saftey??

    If so, you deserve neither freedom, or safety.

    Stand up to your corrupt goverment.

    We can win.

    April 25, 2012 at 2:54 am | Reply
    • LiberalNN

      This is CNN's job my friend. Fear mongering and distracting us is what they are paid to do.

      April 25, 2012 at 5:05 am | Reply
    • herbivore

      Oh my, sounds like someone had a bad day at his mosque. Before you start running your mouth, try learning how to spell English. By the way, before choosing a nom de plume like Prometheus, read your history. Zeus totally greased him. Find out why clown. Try watching Aljezeera. CNN is far above your cognitive skills.

      April 25, 2012 at 5:51 am | Reply
      • End_the Fed

        CNN is far above your cognitive skills? Only for those with a room temperature IQ. Those are as rare as an honest politician. Or a generous international Bankster. Wake up before they enslave you! It's not too late!!

        April 25, 2012 at 6:49 am |
      • Prometheus

        You pathetic fuckkkk....

        How did you find time to type in between fucckkking your dog, and watching fox news??

        Die, filth...

        April 25, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
      • Pinko

        Al Jazeera is far superior to CNN, or any other major North American network.

        April 25, 2012 at 4:57 pm |

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