Who bombed USS Cole?

US warship USS Cole was bombed in the Yemeni port of Aden on this day 17 years ago.

Published: 12th October 2017 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th October 2017 02:14 AM   |  A+A-

US warship USS Cole was bombed in the Yemeni port of Aden on this day 17 years ago. Seventeen American sailors lost their lives in the suicide attack that almost sank the massive ship

Money to a mystery man

By the end of October 2000, the Yemeni authorities had arrested a man named Fahd al-Quso, writes Lawrence Wright in The Looming Tower. Quso had admitted that he and one of the suicide bombers had delivered money to “Khallad”

Bin Laden’s errand boy

Ali Soufan, a Lebanese-American FBI agent was in charge of the USS Cole bombing probe. His source from Afghanistan had described a fighter named Khallad with a metal leg who was in charge of a guesthouse in Kandahar. He called Khallad, Osama bin Laden’s “errand boy”. “That was the first real link between the Cole bombing and al-Qaeda,” Wright adds in his Pulitzer-winning book. Khallad was the mastermind behind the Cole bombing and was also part of the failed attempt to blow up USS The Sullivans in the Aden harbour

Connection to 9/11

Quso had also told Soufan he was supposed to meet Khallad in Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. So the FBI agent sent an official request to the CIA asking if they had any information about Khallad or any al-Qaeda meeting in the region. But the agency did not respond

There was in fact a meeting in Kuala Lumpur in January that year and the CIA knew about it. The four men who had originally been selected for the 9/11 operation went to the city and among them were two Yemenis who adopted the name Khallad. “The meeting was not wiretapped, so the opportunity to discover the plots that culminated in the bombing of the USS Cole and the 9/11 attack was lost”

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