He may well prove to be right about his own fate. Al-Qaida, an organization that never exceeded a few hundred men even at its height, was never the vast threat claimed by the White House and U. At least a score of other anti-American groups are active from Morocco to Indonesia, the North African Salafist groups being among the most dangerous. No wonder anti-American foes are popping up faster than they can be counted. Much of the legal evidence cited so far by the U. Interestingly, much of the "evidence" about Iraq came from another convicted embezzler, Ahmad Chalabi.
There is little doubt al-Qaida was behind the bombings of U.
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As for the Taliban, the U. The White House should show the world proof of its claims about al-Qaida and bin Laden. Doing so would convince millions of people who regard him as a hero that he was indeed a cold-blooded murderer. But eliminating bin Laden, and proclaiming victory in the war on terrorism, will certainly keep Bush in office.
But this strategy has a dangerous flipside. If, before November elections, al-Qaida finally manages to stage a devastating attack on the U. Luckily for the U. So optimism is not yet in order. Wie mit Hilfe von Handys Terroristen gejagt werden. Da ich von der Technik keine Ahnung, lest lieber selber. A Swiss company once sold such Subscriber Identity Module cards without asking buyers for identification, making its cards a favorite with criminals.
But investigators were able to match the numbers with terror suspects and track some down in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and several countries in Europe. Switzerland is ending anonymous card sales on July 1. Investigators, suspicious that the call was a signal between terrorists, followed the trail first to one terror suspect, then to others, and eventually to terror cells on three continents. What tied them together was a computer chip smaller than a fingernail.
But before the investigation wound down in recent weeks, its global net caught dozens of suspected Qaeda members and disrupted at least three planned attacks in Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, according to counterterrorism and intelligence officials in Europe and the United States. The investigation helped narrow the search for one of the most wanted men in the world, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who is accused of being the mastermind of the Sept.
American authorities arrested Mr. Mohammed in Pakistan last March. For two years, investigators now say, they were able to track the conversations and movements of several Qaeda leaders and dozens of operatives after determining that the suspects favored a particular brand of cellphone chip.
The chips carry prepaid minutes and allow phone use around the world. Investigators said they believed that the chips, made by Swisscom of Switzerland, were popular with terrorists because they could buy the chips without giving their names.
Even without personal information, the authorities were able to conduct routine monitoring of phone conversations. A half dozen senior officials in the United States and Europe agreed to talk in detail about the previously undisclosed investigation because, they said, it was completed. We now believe that Al Qaeda has figured out that we were monitoring them through these phones. Cellphones have played a major role in the constant jousting between terrorists and intelligence agencies. In their requests for more investigative powers, Attorney General John Ashcroft and other officials have repeatedly cited the importance of monitoring portable phones.
Each success by investigators seems to drive terrorists either to more advanced — or to more primitive — communications.
During the American bombing of Tora Bora in Afghanistan in December , American authorities reported hearing Osama bin Laden speaking to his associates on a satellite phone. Since then, Mr. In the German authorities broke up a cell after monitoring calls by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who has been linked by some top American officials to Al Qaeda, in which he could be heard ordering attacks on Jewish targets in Germany. Since then, investigators say, Mr. Zarqawi has been more cautious. Nick Pratt, a counterterrorism expert and professor at the George C.
It was one such brief cellphone call that set off the Mont Blanc investigation.
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From Germany, Mr. The two men did not speak during the call, counterterrorism officials said. Instead, the call was intended to alert Mr. Mohammed of a Qaeda suicide bombing mission at a synagogue in Tunisia, which took place that day, according to two senior officials.
The attack killed 21 people, mostly German tourists. Through electronic surveillance, the German authorities traced the call to Mr. Two weeks after the Tunisian bombing, the German police searched Mr.
The German police had been monitoring Mr. Ganczarski because he had been seen in the company of militants at a mosque in Duisburg, and last June the French police arrested him in Paris. For months the Swiss, working closely with counterparts in the United States and Pakistan, used this information in an effort to track Mr.
By monitoring the cellphone traffic, they were able to get a fix on Mr. Mohammed, but the investigators did not know his specific location, officials said. Once Swiss agents had established that Mr. Mohammed was in Karachi, the American and Pakistani security services took over the hunt with the aid of technology at the United States National Security Agency, said two senior European intelligence officials.
But it took months for them to actually find Mr. Mohammed was a victim of his own sloppiness, said a senior European intelligence official. He was meticulous about changing cellphones, but apparently he kept using the same SIM card. In the end, the authorities were led directly to Mr.
Mohammed by a C. Tenet, said in a speech last month. A senior American intelligence official said this week that the capture of Mr.
„Es wird kein Halleluja ausbrechen“
Mohammed "was entirely the result of excellent human operations. Mohammed last March, "we opened a big bottle of Champagne," a senior intelligence official said. Among Mr. The authorities noticed that many of Mr. Last April, using the phone numbers, officials in Jakarta broke up a terror cell connected to Mr. Mohammed, officials said. After the suicide bombings of three housing compounds in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on May 12, the Saudi authorities used the phone numbers to track down two "live sleeper cells.
Meanwhile, the Swiss had used Mr. The message: "The big guy is coming.
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He will be here soon. A Swisscom chip was in the phone.
But in July, the man believed to be "the big guy," Abdullah Oweis, who was born in Saudi Arabia, was arrested in Qatar. He was a major facilitator. Some are suspected of helping with the suicide bombings of the housing compounds in Riyadh, which killed 35 people, including 8 Americans. Later, European authorities discovered that Mr. Mohammed had contacted a company in Geneva that sells Swisscom phone cards.