Tuesday, 19 August 2014

CIA used Anwar al-Awlaki’s desire for a third wife to track and kill him | Homeland Security News Wire

Anwar al-Awlaki
Anwar al-Awlaki, a New Mexico-born jihadist preacher and one of the leaders of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQIP), grew impatient with his two wives, and wanted to a marry a third one. A Danish Islamist who was close to Awlaki – but who was, in a fact, a CIA agent – agreed to help Awlaki find a third wife, and found a Croatian woman who converted to Islam, and who was attracted to Awlaki from pictures she saw. The woman, and the expensive gifts the Danish agent bought the couple, helped the CIA track the elusive terrorist, and he was killed on 30 September 2011 with Hellfire missiles launched at his convoy from two CIA Predator drones operating in Yemen.

Today, young Europeans who regularly visit Yemen and Syria are often suspected of aiding terrorism, forcing security officials in Europe to track their whereabouts. In September 2009, Morten Storm, a young Danish national-turned-Islamic jihadist flew to Yemen at the request of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born jihadi preacher who was one of the leaders of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. During the visit, Awlaki told Storm, “the Americans want me dead.” “They are putting pressure on the (Yemeni) government all the time.” He discussed spending eighteen months in prison between 2006 and 2007 for kidnapping charges. “I was in solitary confinement for the first nine months,” Awlaki said. “The only contact I had with humanity was my guards, and the cell was 3 meters long. It was underground. There were times when I thought the isolation and claustrophobia would drive me insane.”

Now that he was out of prison, Awlaki wanted Storm to help send Western Muslims to Yemen to learn how to launch attacks in their home countries. Storm agreed to help Awlaki, but failed to inform him that he — Storm — was now working as a double agent for Western intelligence agencies.

According to the New York Post, Storm first met Awlaki in 2005 in Yemen. At the time, the troubled Danish national sought to find refuge in jihadist rhetoric. By 2006, PET, Danish intelligence agency, noticed Storm’s frequent travels between Europe and the Middle East, and upon discovering his involvement with terror networks, convinced Storm to act as a double agent. For $1,800 a month, Storm provided information on his militant associates. Soon the CIA, MI5, MI6, began training Storm and using him to get closer to Awlaki.

In 2008 Awlaki confided in Storm that he was searching for a third wife because of his dissatisfaction with his current two wives. Storm used the opportunity to recruit Irene, also known as Aminah, a 32-year-old blond Croatian, who had converted to Islam and appeared to like Awlaki from a picture Storm showed her.

Storm informed his intelligence handlers of the opportunity to use Aminah to get to Awlaki. In his just-published book, Agent Storm: My Life Inside Al Qaeda and the CIA, Storm writes that his handlers were beginning to get worried that he was getting in too deep for an untrained civilian, and eventually ended their work with him. Before ending the working relationship, however, the CIA offered Storm $4,000 a month with a $250,000 bonus if he helped arrange the marriage of Aminah and Awlaki.

In his book, Storm noted that the CIA was interested in killing Awlaki for several reasons, including his link to the 2009 Fort Hood massacre.

After weeks of communicating with Aminah, Awlaki arranged for her to travel to Yemen. “Lust had gotten the better of him,” Storm wrote. By 2010, Aminah had obtained a Yemeni visa, per Awlaki’s instructions. “The embassy apparently thought there was nothing out of the ordinary in a Croatian blonde going to Yemen to learn Arabic,” he added. In June 2010, Aminah married Awlaki and the CIA paid Storm his bonus, but cut off ties with him, hoping that Aminah would unknowingly lead the agency to Awlaki through her bugged suitcases.

By April 2011, the CIA had lost all leads on Awlaki and soon offered Storm $5 million if he led them back to Awlaki. Back then, Awlaki was linked to an attempt to smuggle bomb-laden laser printers on FedEx and UPS planes.

On his last trip to Yemen to visit Awlaki, from 27 July to 17 August 2011, Storm delivered designer dresses, expensive chocolates, lingerie, a fridge, and Dolce & Gabbana perfumes, all items requested by Awlaki and Aminah, as they were difficult to find in Yemen. Storm delivered the items to Awlaki through a courier, and included in the package a bugged USB storage device which contained information on ricin – information Awlaki wanted so his organization could use the material in terror attacks in the United States. Now the CIA was able to track Awlaki after months of poor intelligence.

On 30 September 2011, two Predator drones operating in Yemen fired Hellfire missiles at Awlaki’s convoy. Aminah survived the attack but Awlaki was killed. Storm says the CIA never paid him his $5 million reward for leading them to Awlaki. The CIA claims it had tracked Awlaki through the courier.

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