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Peace at any cost is a Prelude to War!

Al Qaida may have tried to kill Clinton
By Martin Arostegui
Published 2/4/2002 5:55 PM

KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Al Qaida may have tried to kill former
President Clinton, apparently while he was in office, and perhaps planned
further attempts on world leaders, United Press International has learned.

Specific references to Clinton were found among handwritten notes and
sketches of U.S. Secret Service protective methods recovered from the Shomali
compound near Kabul where al Qaida members received specialized training in
assassination and hostage taking.

"We have attempted to kill Clinton, but failed," documents in Arabic released
exclusively to United Press International Monday state. Although the text
indicates the attack was planned around some high-level conference or
international summit, it does not mention an exact date. Analysts in Kabul
believe the attempt was planned about two years ago.

Nor does the text reveal whether the plan was abandoned or had failed in some
other way.

An American security expert in Kabul believes Osama bin Laden's group may
have been thinking of a second attack on the former president, this time
during a golf tournament.

"The documents clearly list how presidential protective details are
structured, what they do and what vulnerabilities to look for," said J. Keith
Indema, an American adviser to the Afghan United Front also known as the
Northern Alliance, one of the members of the Afghan Interim Administration.
Indema has analyzed captured al Qaida records, including graphic terrorist
training video tapes recently aired on CBS' "60 Minutes" television program.

"Al Qaida studied the strong points and weak points of Secret Service
protection, concluding that streets and open areas are the best locations for
a presidential assassination," added the former member of the U.S. Army's
crack counter terrorist team, Delta Force. An al Qaida assassination manual
includes a study of U.S. presidential protection.

"Bodyguards always watch the crowd around the principal, instead of watching
him," said one passage that concluded a relaxed, open setting would be the
ideal environment for an attack. Another part of the text analyzes the
sequence of vehicles in presidential motorcades, noting the heavily armed
reaction teams go behind the presidential limousine.

"The terrorists could decide to take out the reaction team's vehicle first in
order to encircle the president's car," Indema said.

High-level assassinations using mock ups of city streets and golf courses
were among the operations most frequently practiced at the Shomali camp,
which was discovered virtually intact following the collapse of the Taliban
regime. The 4-square-mile compound, where al Qaida's most hardened teams
trained in urban guerrilla tactics borrowed from Israeli, British and
American special forces, was never hit by U.S. airstrikes because satellite
intelligence failed to spot it.

Indema observed al Qaida did not train with sniper rifles or silenced
weapons, preferring the shock effect of an ambush using heavy-duty weapons,
like rocket launchers and machine guns. Their preference for spectacular
assaults was demonstrated Sept. 11 when the terrorist network crashed
hijacked airliners into the New York World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

In one sequence of the al Qaida videos, the group conducts a mock assault on
a golf tournament, pulling weapons out of golf bags to fire on a group of

"This was very possibly a preparation for the attempt on Clinton, whose golf
weekends were well known" Indema said. There was no indication in the
available documents Clinton specifically was being targeted, however. At the
very least, Indema pointed out, the mock assault was indicative "of al
Qaida's understanding of the Western mind set. The group knows where our VIPs
tend to congregate and are most vulnerable."

Other security experts also noted al Qaida training exercises involved urban
hit- and-run ambushes using pickup trucks and motorcycles. One taped sequence
shows a two-man team on a motorcycle attacking a moving motorcade with
explosives while another team opens fire from the back of an open van.

A new tape Indema uncovered only days ago shows other secret al Qaida
training consisted of a mock raid on a simulated U.S. Embassy in which the
American flag is actually toppled and burned. The international military
force in Kabul has not yet released that tape.

The captured documents also included a codebook apparently used by al Qaida
leader Osama bin Laden to give instructions to his international network by
quoting select phrases from the Koran. For example, "Allah-u-Akbar" -- "God
is great" -- uttered at a certain point on a televised videotape, could mean
"lie low."

Although al Qaida may be dispersed and under too much pressure to mount a
major attack against President Bush or other Western leaders at the present
time, the network could be reorganizing into urban guerrilla cells around the
world. Terrorism experts said the group could revert to urban guerrilla
tactics, such as individual kidnappings, used in the past by such
organizations as Italy's Red Brigades or Spain's Basque separatist guerrillas.

In Afghanistan itself, the United States may claim its air war has eliminated
al Qaida's strongholds, but in reality, large remnants of the group are
hidden throughout the country, often with the assistance of local warlords.
Afghan officials also fear al Qaida could use its expertise at penetrating
VIP protection to strike closer to home, targeting Afghanistan's Interim
Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai or other members of Karzai's Cabinet.

Lacking any adequately trained national security service, Karzai relies on
the British Royal Marines counter-terrorist unit, the so-called Special Boat
Service, for his personal protection. The SBS team, which stays close to
Karzai around the clock, arrived in Kabul at the time of the interim
government's swearing in ceremony last December.

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