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Top terrorist sighting raises no FBI interest

Adnan el-Shukrijumah

WASHINGTON – Two Americans believe they have spotted Adnan el-Shukrijumah, the al-Qaida operative identified as “the next Mohamed Atta” at a location near Bakersfield, Calif., but have been unable to get the FBI or Homeland Security to investigate.

An official report of the sighting of el-Shukrijumah or his “dead-ringer” was filed with an anti-terrorism unit in Kern County.

The local enforcement officers, including the county sheriff, reportedly neglected to conduct an investigation, despite the $5 million bounty on Shukrijumah’s head.

Several federal officials, including U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., when notified of the incident, opted to turn a blind eye to the situation, even though they were aware that the suspect in question has been described as the most dangerous al-Qaida agent on American soil.

The eyewitnesses, a husband and wife who wish to remain anonymous for security reasons, say they encountered el-Shukrijumah and other potential al-Qaida operatives, including Aafia Siddiqui, in a small caf? near Lake Isabella Sept. 7, 2005. They described him as small (approximately 5’4″), thin (about 130 pounds), and clean-shaven with a prominent nose, dark eyes and black hair. They noted that he appeared nervous and spoke English to his Middle Eastern companions without an accent.

They were able to identify the individual as Adnan el-Shukrijumah from a mug-shot that appeared on the front pages of newspapers throughout the country when he became the subject of a BOLO (Be-on-the-lookout) report that was issued jointly by FBI Director Robert Mueller and former Attorney General John Ashcroft at a national press conference March 21, 2004.

The couple became more convinced that the figure in question was the elusive terrorist after reading “The Al Qaeda Connection” by Paul L. Williams, a WND contributor and former FBI consultant.

Several weeks later, they spotted the suspects near the same location and managed to jot down their license numbers.

In compliance with the BOLO report, they made their way to the office of Sheriff Mack Wimbish in Kern County, where they say they filed an official report and were told the anti-terrorism unit would contact them in the immediate future.

But nothing happened.

They received neither a visit nor a phone call from anyone in the sheriff’s office.

Believing the matter to be of utmost urgency, they sent a letter to Williams at the address of his New York publisher. The letter dated Dec. 9, 2005, was not received by Williams, who lives in northeast Pennsylvania, until Feb. 9, 2006.

The letter, in part, reads:

“Mr. Williams:

“I don’t know whether to ‘thank you’ or ‘damn you’ for enlightenment about our total lack of national security – this being the conclusion after reading and re-reading ‘The Al Qaeda Connection.’

“Upon compiling as much pertinent information as possible [including license numbers], copies were delivered personally to Sheriff Mark Wimbish on Oct. 7, 2005 … and have had no response from Sheriff Wimbish [or] his anti-terrorism unit.

“Your chapter titled ‘Too Little, Too Late’ seems to sum up the deplorable state of those who are suppose to be protecting the USA, coupled with being ‘tolerant.’ …

“Bakersfield in Kern County is also this nation’s largest producer of crystal meth, with an alarming growth in numbers of Middle Eastern residents. Los Angeles is supposed to have the largest population of Persians (Iranians). …

“Reporting the terrorists was the right and responsible thing to do; however, we have now become fearful for our lives.”

Williams, upon contacting the witnesses and verifying their account, called Specter’s office. But, he says, no one from Specter’s office bothered to respond to his message even though he had stated the importance of the matter to national security.

Several days later, Williams says he made contact with Joe Ronsisvalle at the FBI in Birmingham and was told that Special Agent John Giacalone from the Philadelphia office would contact him within a matter of minutes.

Minutes passed into hours. Hours turned into days. Days turned into weeks. But neither Giacalone nor any agent in charge of the el-Shukrijumah case bothered to call Williams – not even to obtain the names of the witnesses or cursory information about the alleged sighting.

The lack of response, Williams says, is completely incongruous with the statements of Mueller and Ashcroft, the issuance of the BOLO, the posting of the $5 million reward, and the FBI’s continuous requests for any information regarding el-Shukrijumah.

In frustration, with the help of Jeff Epstein of the People’s Truth Forum, Williams made contact with Rep. Ileana Ross-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who suggested going to the media with the story rather than offering government assistance.

El-Shukijumah and the others mentioned in the BOLO remain at large. And, at this writing, the witnesses to the sighting have yet to be contacted by the FBI or any law enforcement official.

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