The Secrets of Iran’s Links to 911: an Interview with Kenneth Timmerman
by Jerry Gordon and Rod Bryant (October 2017)
Whatever, John McSweeney, 2017
The 17th anniversary of 9/11 brought fresh controversies of the possible links of Iran to this Al Qaeda jihadist attack on America perpetrated by 19 Muslim terrorists from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Yemen. They hijacked four airliners—Flights 11 and 175 from Boston’s Logan Airport that were deliberately flown into and destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. Flight 77 that originated from Dulles Airport in Virginia was flown into the Pentagon. Flight 93 that originated at Newark Airport in New Jersey, whose passengers overpowered the hijackers forcing the aircraft to crash in Shanksville, Pennsylvania instead of intended targets, The US Capitol and White House in Washington, DC. 2, 977 were killed in these attacks. More than 6,000 were injured, including brave first responders, police and fire personnel.
On this 17th anniversary of 9/11 President Donald and First Lady Melania Trump dedicated a memorial to the heroes of Flight 93 at Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It is a 93 foot tower with 40 wind chimes—representing the 40 passengers. Other commemorations occurred at the memorial to the 184 killed at the Pentagon dedicated by President Bush on September 11, 2008. The tolling of a bell and reading the names of the victims occurred at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in lower Manhattan, at the site of the former World Trade Center destroyed in the attack. It was, dedicated on May 15, 2014 by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former President Obama.
To address the Iran connections to 9/11 Jerry Gordon and Rod Bryant, co-hosts of Israel News Talk Radio—Beyond the Matrix (INTR-BTM), held an interview with Kenneth Timmerman. Timmerman is a veteran Iran watcher, noted investigative journalist and author of both non-fiction and novels such as ISIS Begins. See our August 2018 interview with Timmerman.
Timmerman was the lead investigator for plaintiffs in the 2011 New York Southern District Federal Court landmark “9/11-Iran links” case: Fiona Havlish et al., v. Sheik Usamah bin-Muhammad bin-Laden et al. The case was brought on behalf of Ms. Havlish’s husband who was lost on the 101st floor of a World Trade Center tower on September 11, 2001. Other 9/11 victims’ surviving families and loved ones were included as co-plaintiffs.
This interview with Timmerman endeavors to answer questions raised in a recent Reuters report about a New America think-tank study by Ms. Nelly Lahoud. She is a purported Al Qaeda expert on the staff of Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Security. Lahoud alleges that the Bin Laden files captured in the Abbottabad compound don't reveal Iran links in perpetrating the 9/11 attacks.
Both the Kenneth Timmerman evidentiary affidavits filed in Havlish et.al. New York Federal court trial and the Bin Laden files released in November 2017 by then CIA Director Mike Pompeo, now Secretary of State, attest to the extensive links between Tehran and the perpetrators of 9/11. Timmerman reveals in this interview that Iranian intelligence had advance information on the date of the actual 9/11 attack.
Timmerman conducted interviews with defectors from Iran’s intelligence service that revealed active participation of both Hezbollah’s terrorist mastermind Imad Mughniyah and Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force in training and transport of the 9/11 Sunni perpetrators. Timmerman also discusses how a joint US-Israeli Mossad operation took out Mughniyah in a bombing of his vehicle in Damascus in 2008. Mughniyeh was responsible for planning and executing the 1983 Marine Barracks bombing in Beirut, the 1992 Buenos Aires Israeli Embassy bombing, the 1994 Buenos Aires AMIA Jewish Center bombing, the 1996 Khobar Towers truck bombing in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia and 1998 US East Africa Embassies bombings.
Timmerman indicated that much of the information is still classified and there should be an effort to have it declassified and released. He ascribes the failure to stop the fateful attack that brilliant late summer day in New York to the politicization within the Intelligence Community.
The New York Southern District Federal Court judge in the 9/11-Links case handed down upwards of $10 billion in two awards made to the certified class of 9/11 claimants in 2012 and 2015.
In May 2018, a default judgment was entered by the New York Federal Court Judge in the Havlish et. al. case under a 2016 Supreme Court ruling against Iran which was not contested. The total of court awards is more than $10 billion.
A day before the 17th commemoration, September 10, 2018, a Washington, DC federal court entered a default judgment against the government of Iran demanding payment of $104.7 million to the surviving families of US military personnel killed in the 1996 Dhahran, Saudi Arabia Khobar Towers truck bombing.
A possible source of 9/11 victims’ compensation are the holdings and assets of The Alavi Foundation, a sanctioned charity front for Iran in the US. The Foundation has extensive properties in New York, Maryland, Virginia, Texas and California. These properties include a skyscraper at 650 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. They have yet to be seized and liquefied given stays on forfeiture made by the Second US Circuit of Appeals in November 2017.
Timmerman also discusses Ambassador John Bolton’s Plan for Iran, published prior to his appointment as National Security Adviser. The plan that included forcing Iran to make payments under the 9/11-Iran Links case awards as a condition for negotiations.
What follows is an excerpt from the interview with Timmerman.
Rod: You were an expert witness for the 9/11 Iran-Links trials. What did the trial record reveal about Hezbollah and Iran’s connection to the 9/11 perpetrators?
Ken: This story remains one of the biggest best kept secrets of the September 11th attacks. Very few people in America know that the Iranian regime played a direct material role in the conspiracy to hit America on 9/11. Even the United States government has been in denial over that for a number of years. They are coming around to changing their tune. You saw just the very briefest of mentions of Iran’s role in the 9/11 Commission Report, on pages 240, 241 and 242. They mentioned that a senior Hezbollah operative accompanied eight to ten of the ‘muscle’ hijackers on repeated trips to Iran before the attacks. The Commission Report said this subject requires further investigation by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government never did that investigation. I did along with my partners for the Havlish, et.al. vs. the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Jerry: What did the New York Federal Court Judge rule in the 9/11 Iran Links case in terms of awards to compensate the victims’ survivors?
Ken: There were two awards, the first in 2012 and the second in 2015 based on my evidence - the depositions taken by me and the lead attorney in the case, Timothy Fleming. The first judgment was six billion dollars. The second was a bit over four billion. We have not collected on those judgments directly from Iran yet but I can tell you that the Iranians are worried. There is a well-advanced case in New York against the Alavi Foundation, which owns an eight hundred million dollar building at 650 Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street owned by the regime in Iran. They forfeited it to the U.S. Government and it has been officially turned over to the 9/11 Iran judgment holders—the victims of the Beirut Bombing in 1983, the victims in the Dhahran Bombing in 1996 in Saudi Arabia, also done by Iran. Collectively, the claimants own the building. However, we haven't been able to finalize it yet as the Iranian regime keeps on appealing hoping they get to keep it.
Jerry: Did the Obama administration fail to seize these Iranian assets you just discussed to compensate the 9/11 plaintiff awards?
Ken: They did award compensation for the 9/11 attacks right away to all of the victims on various scales and some of those awards were not very big. Interestingly, the Obama Justice Department actually was very helpful in the New York case. The forfeiture occurred at the tail end of the Bush administration and then the Obama Justice Department proceeded to the Supreme Court and got the forfeiture upheld so that those assets will go in part to the 9/11 victims. Beyond that obviously the Obama people were very pro-Iran and they wanted this all to go away. They couldn't stop the Justice Department from proceeding. However, they provided little assistance to locate Iranian government assets around the world which was part of the 2016 Supreme Court ruling and implementing legislation. The government was supposed to help claimants who have judgments against the Islamic Republic of Iran because of their terrorist operations, but so far they have not.
Jerry: Ken there were some interesting background stories about the 9/11 Iran-links case. Can you fill us in on them?
Ken: Our investigation started at the very tail end of the 9/11 Commission in 2004. I introduced the attorneys to a series of defectors from Iranian intelligence including two of them that warned the United States Government ahead of time about the 9/11 attacks. One of them walked into the U.S. Embassy in Baku, asked to meet with the CIA and told the CIA there was going to a massive attack on America involving commercial airliners. That while the Iranian regime was behind it there wouldn’t be a single Iranian fingerprint anywhere because Arabs would carry it out. Moreover, the attack would be carried out against Washington D.C. and New York. That it would take place on the 20th of the Persian calendar. The CIA interviewer looked through his conversion calendar to find that it was the 10th of September. The CIA blew him off by suggesting that he come back when he had more information. I remain convinced to this day that is the reason why the CIA in particular, even more so than the FBI, never wanted to lift the seal on its files about what it knew about 9/11 before the attacks took place. You see something would happen in the 9/11 Commission Report footnotes but they knew an awful lot. They knew that Imad Mughniyeh, at that time was the terrorist with the most American blood on his hands. He planned the bombing that killed two hundred and forty-two Marines in Beirut and the murder of the CIA Station chief in Lebanon. He was involved in the Embassy Bombings in Africa in 1998. Imad Mughniyeh was on our radar screen, perhaps one of the most tracked people in the world. The NSA discovered that he was on these planes picking up other tracked terrorists, known Al Qaeda members, taking them to Tehran and then bringing them back. However, as the 9/11 Commission concludes in that very brief highly edited passage all of this must have been just an extraordinary coincidence.
Jerry: Imad Mughniyeh was prior to the Bin Laden episode probably the most notorious terrorist on the FBI most wanted list. Who eventually took him out?
Ken: There was no doubt that it was a joint US/Israeli operation. That is thanks to the reporting by Ynet.com intelligence expert Ronen Bergman in Israel who has a new book out on the subject of “targeted assassinations” by Mossad and other security units, Rise and Kill First. The Americans didn't want to engage in a targeted assassination so they allowed the Israelis to do that. However, the Israelis didn't have the real time signal intelligence to be able to track Mughniyeh. The American's tracked him to locate him in a place where they could kill him with a special car bomb placed in the back of his Mitsubishi Pajero SUV when nobody else was around. At one point they had him standing next to Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force. The Americans said, "oh my gosh we can't do that. You are going to have collateral damage". They called off the assassination. So they waited until they had Mughniyeh all by himself in his Mitsubishi SUV after attending a celebration of the Iranian revolution at the Embassy in Damascus on February 12, 2008 and then puff on he met his maker.
Jerry: You are an expert on what was never revealed about the efforts on the part of Iran and others. What can you tell us?
Ken: Before we actually got into court it took us seven years on the ground chasing down these Iranian defectors and videotaping their stories with court reporters. We had one defector in Paris we brought in. We went over his story for three days before we put him in front of the cameras. That morning he chickened out and didn't show up down in the lobby. Our team was getting a little worried. I went up to his room and there he was lugging his suitcase about to put on his jacket and run out of the hotel. I looked at him and I said what the heck do you think you are doing? He says, "oh I'm out of here, I can't do this in front of the cameras and all the rest” I said, "yes you can. Put on your pants and get the heck downstairs. We are all waiting for you and you are going to tell your story. We have listened to your story for three days, it's a great story, it's true, you know it, we know it, and we know this is history. Get your pants on" and he did.
Rod: Who was he afraid of?
Ken: He was afraid of the Iranian regime and they all had good reason to be afraid of the Iranian regime. We had another defector; he had been a witness in a number of these cases. He was the former head of MOIS Iranian Intelligence West European Operations in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. He defected in 1994 because they were going after him. Yet he had information from a trusted source who was still in the organization several weeks before the 9/11 attacks. It was a coded message saying that the regime had activated a contingency plan called in English “Satan in the fire” and the defector knew what that meant. The plan was to use Boeing jet liners effectively as fuel air missiles against U.S. buildings. Thus the coded message was the Al Qaeda attack plan was now activated. He went to the U.S. Embassy in Germany and tried to get a hearing with the Ambassador. The CIA wouldn't talk to him, nobody would talk to him. They called the German police to take him away and he said but there is going to be an attack. At one point he was so outraged he went out into the street and started shouting in public, "there is going to be an attack, there is going to be an attack". He was arrested and it went very badly. Things happened to him. Our government was deaf, dumb and blind because of our own willful refusal to accept the truth that we were going to be attacked by Muslim terrorists with the help of the Iranian regime.
Rod: John Bolton before he was appointed a President Trump’s National Security Advisor published a plan regarding these long delayed payments of the 9/11 Iran Links case awards. What did he propose?
Ken: The so-called Bolton Plan was sent as an open letter to the White House in 2017 because then National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster blocked Bolton from meeting the President of the United States. He published his plan, I signed onto it along with other National Security figures. Bolton proposed that the U.S. Government require Iran to satisfy the outstanding terrorism judgments against it including those held by the 9/11 victims. Now Bolton is in a very different position. He is the National Security Advisor. I have not spoken with him about this subject but he took a very public hard line about it and I'm extremely appreciative.
Listen to the Israel News Talk Radio—Beyond the Matrix interview with Kenneth Timmerman
Jerome B Gordon is a Senior Vice President of the New English Review and author of The West Speaks, NER Press 2012. Mr. Gordon is a former US Army intelligence officer who served during the Viet Nam era. He was the co-host and co-producer of weekly The Lisa Benson Show for National Security that aired out of KKNT960 in Phoenix Arizona from 2013 to 2016. He is co-host and co-producer of the Middle East Round Table periodic series on 1330amWEBY, Northwest Florida Talk Radio, Pensacola, Florida.
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