The informant continued:
"According to my guys, Bin Laden's group is planning a massive terrorist attack in the United States. The order has been issued. They are targeting major cities, big metropolitan cities; they think four or five cities; New York City, Chicago, Washington DC, and San Francisco; possibly Los Angeles or Las Vegas. They will use airplanes to carry out the attacks. They said that some of the individuals involved in carrying this out are already in the United States. They are here in the U.S.; living among us, and I believe some in US government already know about all of this (I assumed he meant the CIA or the White House).'
Tony, one of the agents asked "did they say when? Did they give any specific dates? Did they say how they were going to use airplanes; bombs or high jacking?'
The informant paused for a second:
"No specific dates; not any that they were aware of. However, they said the general timeframe was characterized as "very soon.' They think within the next two or three months.' He then added: "As far as how they are going to use the planes to attack; your guess is as good as mine. My bet, it will be bombs; planting bombs inside these planes, maybe the cargo, then have them blown up over the populated cities.'
The agents nodded and took extensive notes. I took my notes in Farsi; I usually did that, and later after returning to the office, sat down and translated them verbatim. We stood up and were ready to leave, when the informant urged us to report this immediately and act on it:
"If I were you guys, I'd take this extremely seriously. If I had the same position I had in SAVAK, I'd put all my men on this around the clock. I can vouch for my sources; their reliability. Make sure you put this in the hands of the top guys in Counterterrorism.'- Advertisement -
The agents nodded and thanked him for the information. We drove back in silence. After we parked the car, while walking to the elevators, the agents were discussing the best person, the top person; they should submit this warning to. They decided on Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Thomas Frields, who was in charge of the WFO Counterterrorism division and who used to lead the division that dealt with Iran's Hostage Crisis in 1980s. I reminded them that although the informant was Iranian, his sources were not; and that they were in Pakistan and Afghanistan; not in Iran; Bin Laden was not Iranian but a Saudi. They acknowledged that, but made the point that Frields was in charge of the Counterterrorism unit in the WFO.
Once we got to the office, I went straight to my cubicle and began translating the entire conversation verbatim and typing it into a formal report. The agents went to their section and filled out the necessary 302 forms. These forms, the 302s, are forms used by agents to report information gathered from the Bureau's assets and or informants. The agents, Tony and John, filled out two sets of 302 forms; one for the ongoing criminal case and the informants' information related to that; the other, on the warning, with the initial code name "Kamikaze Pilots,' as information related to Counterterrorism operations.
The agents called me up on my extension and asked me to escort them inside the language unit. I walked them over to my desk, where we sat, compared notes, and finalized and coordinated our report. They had me make several copies of the translation report for them to be submitted with their report. I took it upon myself to make a set of copies of their 302 forms for my own file; my own record. At the end of the day, around five o'clock, they submitted the 302 forms and my translation report. They submitted the warning report to SAC Frields; with a note, a yellow stick-up, on the top saying "VERY URGENT: Kamikaze Pilots'
Neither of us heard back from Frields or the Counterterrorism division. No one asked for any follow-ups or additional information. Two months went by. Around the end of June 2001, I accompanied the two agents to another meeting with the Iranian Informant. This time we met in (Location Details Deleted by S.E.).
After going over the target criminal investigation; now only "(Specific Date Deleted by S.E.), as we were ready to turn around and leave, he stopped us:
"What did you do with the information I gave you two months ago? Did you report it to your bosses?'- Advertisement -
The agents nodded. One of them said: "Yes; we sent it up. We submitted it to the top guy.'
The informant was animated now,
"Well; are they going to do something about it? Because, three days ago I heard back from one of those two sources; in Pakistan. He swore the attack was on its way; any time now; a month or two max.'