American Airlines 587 crashed soon after taking off from
Given the U.S. government’s record of preferring not to call a terrorist act by its rightful name – and especially its shameful reluctance to do so in the case of EgyptAir 990, brushing aside the truth in deference to Egyptian sensibilities – I have had my suspicions about the accidental nature of AA 587’s crash. When Al-Qaeda on a website in May 2004 claimed the plane’s fall as an attack, however, I paid it little attention, for just about anyone can claim just about anything on a website.
But now comes a wisp of evidence to suggest that AA 587’s demise was in fact not an accident but an operation carried out by Al-Qaeda. This information has a complex pedigree:
*It is recounted in a top secret Canadian Security Intelligence Service report written in May 2002 and made public on Aug. 27, 2004 by Stewart Bell in
*Its source is Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, a 22-year-old from
*Jabarah in turn is reporting on what he heard from Abu Abdelrahman (a Saudi Al-Qaeda member who worked for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of the organization’s highest ranking operatives). KSM’s information has usually turned out to be reliable.
So, the information that follows is not exactly rock-hard, but it is a real lead.
And this is it:
Jabarah claimed Jdey used his Canadian passport to board Flight 587 but Jdey was apparently a master of aliases (they include Abd Al-Rauf Bin Al-Habib Bin Yousef Al-Jiddi, Abderraouf Dey, A.
(1) The authorities should go carefully through security videotapes from
(2) AA 587’s crash preceded Richard Reid’s attempted bombing by over a month, so the heightened alert for shoe bombs was not yet in place when AA 587 went down.
(3) If AA 587 did go down in an act of suicide bombing, it means that there was at least one major terrorist success on the
(4) If it was terrorism, one has to wonder about the efficacy or purpose of violence that is so obscure it is interpreted as a transportation accident. Killing 265 people only has effect if it terrorizes; an accident is shrugged off as an impersonal tragedy. As in so many other cases, the purposes of these aggressive acts can only be guessed at. (August 27, 2004)
Daniel Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org) is director of the Middle East Forum and author of Miniatures (Transaction Publishers).