USS Cole bombing

Khalid Almihdhar and His Connections to the USS Cole bombing

Why are the links between alleged Pentagon hijacker Khalid Almihdhar and the USS Cole bombing important? Because, according to recent revelations, officers at Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, protected Almihdhar and his partner Nawaf Alhazmi from the FBI in January 2000, and this protection seems to have continued after this. If the CIA had simply been allowing Almihdhar to operate to see what connections they might uncover, then the Cole bombing showed clearly that this policy had been a complete disaster—a terrorist under their protection participated in the murder of 17 US sailors. However, the CIA continued to protect Almihdhar even after the Cole bombing.

One of the main arguments used by British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a key speech on 4 October 2001 that held al-Qaeda responsible for 9/11 was that one of the 19 hijackers “has also been identified as playing key roles in both the East African Embassy attacks and the USS Cole attack.”