Wadih El-Hage: Embassy Bomber Was Under US Surveillance Before Attacks

It will soon be the 10th anniversary of the African embassy bombings. I am planning to write a series of short pieces about the attacks, and how they could easily have been prevented. The first one is a summary of the 9/11 Timeline's chapter on one of the bombers, Wadih El-Hage.

Wadih El-Hage was an al-Qaeda operative involved in the 1998 East African embassy bombings, as well as serving as Osama bin Laden’s personal secretary. He was under investigation and known to both the FBI and CIA for years before the attacks, and this surveillance represented a missed opportunity to save over 200 lives. He was arrested after the bombings and sentenced to life in prison.

Linked to Blind Sheikh

El-Hage first came to the FBI’s attention in connection with the 1991 slaying of Mustafa Shalabi, an opponent of the “Blind Sheikh" in New York. The FBI also found he visited a radical Islamist murderer in prison and was connected to another murder, this time in Arizona, but did not take any action against him, apparently due to lack of evidence. The next year he opened a bank account in Vienna, Austria, presumably to help the Bosnian jihad, and was arrested for a traffic violation in Texas, together with a man connected to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. After the bombing, one of the arrested militants, Mahmud Abouhalima, told the FBI that El-Hage had supplied the group with weapons.

Continued here.