China clinic gives ‘web addicts’ shock treatment

China clinic gives ‘web addicts’ shock treatment

12/21/2007 @ 11:17 am
Filed by David Edwards and Muriel Kane

Increasing affluence in China, combined with intense pressure on young people to succeed, has led to the appearance of large numbers of Internet dropouts.

Most of those affected are adolescent males who, according to IBN Live, lack self-confidence and have trouble coping with the pressure from their parents to do well at school, "which is why computer games, where success comes with such little effort, are so addictive."

There are many clinics offering cures, but the Internet Addiction Treatment Center in Daxing County, which combines military-style discipline with therapy and even low-voltage electric shocks, claims a particularly high success rate of 70%.

However, even the Daxing center has difficulty with the other 30% of referrals, who are often severely depressed and resistant to counseling. "Their souls are gone to the online world," said one psychologist.

Chinese officials estimate that 13% of Internet users under the age of 18 are addicts. There is little consensus in the West on whether Internet addition is real or how it should be defined, but the Chinese have no hesitation in comparing it with drugs and gambling and blame it for murders, suicides, and much juvenile crime. When one 30 year old man died of exhaustion earlier this year after playing online games for three straight days, Shanghai police began enforcing an age limit of 16 at all Internet cafes.

Korea, often described as the most wired country on earth, has also embraced the Chinese definition of Internet addiction and estimates that up to 30% of its own young people are at risk. Korea recently opened its first boot camp on the Chinese model, the Jump Up Internet Rescue School.

This video is from, broadcast on December 21, 2007.

U.S. : Afghan poppy production doubles

U.S. : Afghan poppy production doubles
Friday, November 28, 2003 Posted: 1:34 PM EST (1834 GMT)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan doubled between 2002 and 2003 to a level 36 times higher than in the last year of rule by the Taliban, according to White House figures released Friday.

The area planted with poppies, used to make heroin and morphine, was 152,000 acres in 2003, compared with 76,900 acres in 2002 and 4,210 acres in 2001, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said in a statement.

The Taliban was cracking down on poppy production in the year before the U.S. military drove the movement out of office in late 2001 in response to its friendship and cooperation with the al Qaeda organization of Osama bin Laden.

The new Afghan government, led by President Hamid Karzai, has not been able to impose its will in many areas of the country, which remain under the control of warlords.

The White House statement said, "A challenging security situation … has complicated significantly the task of implementing counternarcotics assistance programs and will continue to do so for the immediate future."

"Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is a major and growing problem. Drug cultivation and trafficking are undermining the rule of law and putting money in the pocket of terrorists," it added, quoting office director John Walters.

The U.S. figures differ significantly from those released a month ago by the United Nations, which estimated that poppy cultivation rose 8 percent in 2003, to 200,000 acres from 185,000 in 2002.

The White House said the United Nations used a different method, based a mixture of ground surveys and analysis of imagery from commercial satellites.

The U.S. estimates are based on a sample survey of Afghan agricultural regions conducted with specialized U.S. government satellite imaging systems, it added.

The United States and the United Nations also gave different estimates for Afghanistan’s opium production in 2003. The United Nations said it would rise 6 percent to 3,600 metric tons, while the White House said 2003 output would be 2,865 metric tons. The United States did not give a 2002 figure.

Opium production complicates the task of restoring central government authority in Afghanistan because it enables the warlords to run small armies and gives them an extra financial incentive to retain their autonomy.

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

U.S. Finds No Evidence of Alleged Concentration Camp in China

16 April 2006

U.S. Finds No Evidence of Alleged Concentration Camp in China

Repression of Falun Gong, reports of organ harvesting still worry officials

U.S. representatives have found no evidence to support allegations that a site in northeast China has been used as a concentration camp to jail Falun Gong practitioners and harvest their organs, according to the U.S. Department of State.

Officers and staff from the U.S. embassy in Beijing and the U.S. consulate in Shenyang have visited the area and the specific site on two separate occasions, the State Department said in a written response to a question taken at the April 14 daily press briefing.

"In these visits the officers were allowed to tour the entire facility and grounds and found no evidence that the site is being used for any function other than as a normal public hospital," the response said.

Independent of these specific allegations, the United States remains concerned over China’s repression of Falun Gong practitioners and by reports of organ harvesting, the State Department said.  The United States has raised both issues in its discussions with the Chinese government and in its annual report on human rights practices around the world. (See related article.)

According to the State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2005, Falun Gong blends aspects of Taoism, Buddhism and the meditation techniques and physical exercises of qigong — a traditional Chinese exercise discipline — with the teachings of Falun Gong leader Li Hongzhi. Despite the spiritual content of some of Li’s teachings, Falun Gong does not consider itself a religion and has no clergy or places of worship.

For more information on U.S. policies, see The United States and China.

The China section of the State Department’s 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and the China section of the State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2005 are available on the State Department Web site.

Following is the State Department response to the taken question:

(begin text)

Office of the Spokesman
April 14, 2006

Taken Question from 04-14-06 Daily Press Briefing

China:  Reports of Concentration Camp in Northeast China

Question:  What information can you provide regarding a reported concentration camp in China where Falun Gong practitioners were jailed and their organs harvested?

Answer:  We are aware of the allegations and have taken these charges seriously. The Department and our Embassy in Beijing, as well as our Consulate General in Shenyang, have actively sought to determine the facts of the matter.  Officers and staff from our Embassy in Beijing and Consulate in Shenyang have visited the area and the specific site mentioned in these reports on two separate occasions.   In these visits the officers were allowed to tour the entire facility and grounds and found no evidence that the site is being used for any function other than as a normal public hospital.

We have raised these reports with the Chinese government and urged it to investigate these allegations.  China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson has publicly denied there is any basis for the allegations.

Independent of these specific allegations, we remain concerned over China’s repression of Falun Gong practitioners.  We are also concerned by reports of organ harvesting.  We have raised these concerns both in our annual Human Rights Report and in discussions with the Chinese government, both in Washington and in Beijing.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

Sale of Human Organs in China

Sale of Human Organs in China

Michael E. Parmly, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Hearing Before the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, House International Relations
Washington, DC
June 27, 2001

Chairwoman Ros-Lehtinen and Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear at this important hearing to address the issue of the sale of human organs in China. The removal of organs from executed prisoners without proper permission from family members along with the trafficking in these organs is a serious, deeply disturbing subject that raises a number of profoundly important human rights issues. The State Department welcomes the opportunity to update the committee on our assessment of the problem and what the Department is doing to encourage China to put an end to this abhorrent practice.

As you know, reports of Chinese authorities removing organs from executed prisoners in China, without the consent of the prisoners or their families, are not new. The Hong Kong and London press carried the numerous reports as early as the mid-1980s, when the introduction of the drug Cyclosoporine-A made transplants a newly viable option for patients.

Our concern about such practices is also not new. We repeatedly raised this issue with high-level Chinese officials throughout the 1990s, pressing for changes in Chinese policy and practice, and urging changes in China’s legal and medical systems to ensure the protection of individual rights and the guarantee of due process. We have also covered the issue of organ harvesting in our annual human rights report on China to put the spotlight of international attention on this issue. We consider organ harvesting from executed prisoners, without permission from family members, to be an egregious human rights abuse that violates not only international human rights law, but also international medical ethical standards.

Unfortunately, despite our efforts, as well as those of human rights activists like Harry Wu, human rights organizations, and concerned medical professionals, the practice of harvesting organs from executed prisoners continues in China. The lack of transparency in the Chinese criminal justice system, the secrecy that surrounds prison executions, and the removal of organs make actual documentation of the practice impossible. However, the anecdotal and circumstantial evidence regarding the practice of removing organs from executed prisoners for sale to foreigners and wealthy Chinese is substantial, credible, and growing. It cannot be ignored. Credible sources include public statements by patients who have had transplants in China, doctors who have provided post-transplant care to these patients in the United States and elsewhere, and testimony by Chinese doctors and former officials who claim to have witnessed or taken part in such practices or to have seen incriminating evidence.

In the past, according to available evidence, the majority of patients receiving transplants in China came from other parts of Asia, including Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. A leading kidney specialist in Malaysia has estimated that over 1000 Malaysians alone have had kidney transplants in China. More recently, deeply troubling reports of Americans receiving transplants in China have been made public. American doctors, including Dr. Thomas Diflo, who will be testifying in a later panel, have reported seeing transplant patients from China in need of follow-up care. These patients have stated that they were informed by hospital personnel in China that the organs that they received came from executed prisoners.

The Department of State is also aware of reports that it cannot independently confirm, of other, even more egregious practices, such as removing organs from still-living prisoners, and scheduling executions to accommodate the need for particular organs. In addition, there are compelling first-hand reports that doctors, in violation of medical ethics codes, have performed medical procedures to prepare condemned prisoners for execution and organ removal. As former Assistant Secretary John Shattuck testified before this committee in 1998, our concern about the abhorrent practice of removing organs from executed prisoners without consent is compounded by our concerns about the lack of due process. According to Amnesty International there were 1,263 confirmed executions in 1999; according to another report 800 prisoners were executed in May 2001 alone as the government conducted another "strike hard" campaign against crime. A high court nominally reviews all death sentences, but as our Country Report on Human Rights Practices points out, and as a recent New York Times article graphically described, the time between arrest and execution is often days or even hours. Some prisoners are taken directly from the courtroom to the execution grounds. Appeals of sentences consistently result in confirmation of sentence.

The lack of meaningful consent further compounds our concerns about this practice. According to Article 3 of China’s Provisional Regulations on the Use of Executed Prisoners’ Corpses or Organs (1984), a corpse may be used for medical purposes if nobody claims the body or the family refuses to bury it; the prisoner voluntarily donates the body for use by medical facilities; or the inmate’s family consents to its use after death. The first category opens the door to abuse because families are often not notified of impending executions or are too far away or unable financially to make the trip to claim a relative’s body. Also, bodies are routinely cremated immediately after a sentence is carried out, making it impossible even for those families who are able to claim a family member’s remains to determine whether or not the body has been used for medical purposes.

Many have expressed the view that condemned prisoners and their families cannot make free and fully-voluntary decisions on organ donations because of the very nature of incarceration. In the United States, Federal Bureau of Prisons regulations do not allow organ donation by federal prisoners, unless the donation is to an immediate family member. Other countries have similarly strict laws and regulations regarding organ donations by prisoners.

Recent reports indicate that the phenomenon of organ trafficking has expanded beyond trafficking in the organs of executed prisoners. Our posts have reported increased numbers of Chinese media reports of organ harvesting from hospital cadavers by corrupt medical and hospital personnel, and the sale of organs by poor people for cash. This trade in human organs takes place openly, including on the Internet. Chinese web bulletin boards have reports of organs for sale and discussion of corruption in the "organ business." We are monitoring this trade closely and are raising our concerns with the Chinese government.

The lack of due process and consent, coupled with credible evidence of harvesting organs from executed prisoners and from hospital cadavers, raises serious human rights concerns. We, like Congress, are committed to press the Chinese authorities to take strong action to address human rights abuses wherever they occur. Despite the lack of transparency in China’s legal system, we are making every effort to determine the magnitude of the problem and how effectively Chinese authorities have implemented Article 3 of China’s Provisional Regulations on the Use of Executed Prisoners’ Corpses or Organs (1984) and other pertinent regulations governing the practice of organ donations, sale and transplants. We are also pressing the Chinese to enact and implement legislation or regulations that prohibit removing organs from executed prisoners. In the weeks and months ahead, we will step up our efforts to work with countries in the region, with allies, and other like-minded countries to put an end to organ trafficking. And, finally, we are committed to investigating and prosecuting to the fullest extent of our own law any criminal acts over which the United States has jurisdiction. While we will continue to press the Chinese on this issue, we recognize the enormous challenge we face. The complex social issues in China involving severe rural poverty, along with corruption among poorly paid prison and hospital administrators who harvest organs from prisoners and patients without their consent, play a large role in this issue.

During the course of the 1990s, in response to repeated inquiries and demarches by the State Department, our ambassadors to China and other Embassy and State Department officials, the Chinese have provided information on their official policy, including two documents on regulations promulgated on April 6, 1996, governing organ donation. The regulations provide that "the buying or selling of human tissues and organs is not allowed. The donation or exchange of human tissue and organs with organizations or individuals outside national borders is not allowed." However, the Chinese have not responded to our inquiries about the extent and scope of harvesting and trafficking in human organs and about Chinese authorities’ efforts to implement their own regulations.

We most recently discussed the issue of organ harvesting in Washington with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) International Organization Director and senior Chinese Embassy officials on June 26. I participated in the meeting and specifically mentioned that I would be testifying before this committee today and would have to say that the United States was appalled by the number of highly credible reports coming out of China about the removal of organs from executed prisoners and about trafficking in those organs. I noted that enforcement of Chinese regulations governing organ donations appeared to be woefully inadequate. Our interlocutors responded that such practices are illegal in China and that those who are found to engage in such practices are brought to justice. I responded by asking that Chinese authorities provide us with evidence of such prosecutions. We also raised the issue on June 14 in Beijing with the MFA Human Rights Division Director and here in Washington with the Chinese Embassy. We informed Chinese Embassy officials of the increased level of attention being focused on this issue in the United States and urged China to work intensively to ensure that its organ transplant policies are consistent with international standards. We also urged China to take steps to combat the actions of those who engage in such unconscionable acts, pointing out that they are a perversion of medical ethics and state power as well as an egregious human rights violation.

Assistant Foreign Minister Zhou Wenzhong was in Washington last week and we communicated to him the strong bipartisan support that the issue of human rights has in the United States. In the months ahead, we will continue to make clear our strong opposition to the repugnant practice of coercive organ harvesting and will press the Government of China to ensure its organ transplant policies and practices are in compliance with international human rights norms as well as international medical practices. We will urge them to enforce all regulations governing organ transplants, to prosecute those who violate existing regulations, and to pass and implement new legislation. We also will share the testimonies delivered here today with our Embassy in China and instruct our Embassy to raise the allegations made in them with the appropriate officials in China. They will be asking Chinese authorities for evidence that those who engage in the practices discussed here today are brought to justice. In the United States we will investigate and prosecute all violators over whom the United States has jurisdiction to the fullest extent of the law.

Thank you.


Released on June 27, 2001

FBI Aims For World’s Largest Biometrics Database

FBI aims for world’s largest biometrics database

Sat Dec 22, 2007 6:32am GMT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The FBI is embarking on a $1 billion (504 million pounds) project to build the world’s largest computer database of biometrics to give the U.S. government more ways to identify people at home and abroad, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

The FBI has already started compiling digital images of faces, fingerprints and palm patterns in its systems, the paper said.

In January, the agency — which focuses on violations of federal law, espionage by foreigners and terrorist activities — expects to award a 10-year contract to expand the amount and kinds of biometric information it receives, it said.

At an employer’s request, the FBI will also retain the fingerprints of employees who have undergone criminal background checks, the paper said.

If successful, the system, called Next Generation Identification, will collect the biometric information in one place for identification and forensic purposes, the Post said.

(Reporting by Rachelle Younglai; Editing by John O’Callaghan)

© Reuters 2007. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.

Communist China Penetrates NSA in Hawaii

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Article published Dec 21, 2007
China taps into U.S. spy operations

December 21, 2007

By Bill Gertz – China’s intelligence service gained access to a secret National Security Agency listening post in Hawaii through a Chinese-language translation service, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

The spy penetration was discovered several years ago as part of a major counterintelligence probe by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) that revealed an extensive program by China’s spy service to steal codes and other electronic intelligence secrets, and to recruit military and civilian personnel with access to them.

According to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, China’s Ministry of State Security, the main civilian spy service, carried out the operations by setting up a Chinese translation service in Hawaii that represented itself as a U.S.-origin company.

The ruse led to classified contracts with the Navy and NSA to translate some of the hundreds of thousands of intercepted communications gathered by NSA’s network of listening posts, aircraft and ships.

NCIS agents discovered that the translation service, which officials did not identify by name, had conducted contract work for the National Security Agency facility at Kunia, an underground electronic intelligence post some 15 miles northwest of Honolulu that conducts some of the U.S. intelligence community’s most sensitive work.

Kunia is both a processing center and a collection point for large amounts of Chinese- and other Asian-language communications, which are translated and used in classified intelligence reports on military and political developments.

Naval intelligence officials familiar with the Chinese spy penetration said the access to both "raw" and analyzed intelligence at Kunia caused significant damage by giving China’s government details on both the targets and the sources of U.S. spying operations. Such information would permit the Chinese to block the eavesdropping or to provide false and misleading "disinformation" to U.S. intelligence.

The officials did not say how long the Chinese operation lasted before being detected.

NCIS also discovered a major Chinese intelligence operation that sought to recruit Chinese Americans as spies, and to recruit Navy and civilian intelligence workers with access to Kunia’s secrets.

According to the officials, China’s program to recruit intelligence workers was discovered in 2005 after a Navy cryptographic technician was caught accepting a no-cost visit to China, paid for by Beijing’s government.

The case led to an NCIS probe that discovered other intelligence personnel, many of them nearing the ends of their careers, who were targeted by Chinese intelligence for recruitment.

The ethnic recruitment effort involved similar tactics. China’s intelligence service used intelligence officers and supporters to identify Chinese Americans with access to secrets who would be approached and offered free visits to China, often to meet relatives. The Chinese would then use the visit to attempt to recruit the Americans as spies.

Chinese-American ethnic groups in the past have denounced the U.S. government for singling out Asian Americans as spy targets, accusing counterintelligence officials of racism. But the Chinese recruitment program shows that Beijing actively seeks to develop spies through such ethnic targeting.

NSA and NCIS spokesmen declined to comment when asked about the Chinese intelligence-gathering operations in Hawaii.

I.C. Smith, a former FBI special agent, said both China’s civilian MSS and military spy service, known as "2 PLA" for the Second Department of the Chinese military, are targeting NSA.

"There can be no higher target for an intelligence service, and that includes China’s MSS and 2 PLA, than gaining access to an adversaries’ codes and electronic intelligence," he said, because it is the ultimate in "foreknowledge" advocated by ancient Chinese strategist Sun Tzu.

Getting U.S. electronic intelligence and codes would give China specific information on what is known and allow Beijing to take defensive measures "based on knowledge, not supposition," Mr. Smith said, adding that "it also allows for disinformation to be done with confidence and it basically gives the intelligence service every advantage over the enemy."

The NSA Hawaii operations center employs several thousand people and was recently expanded at a cost of more than $350 million. An NSA press release in August stated the expansion is "one facet of the agency’s efforts to evolve a global cryptologic enterprise that is resilient, agile and effective in prosecuting a dynamic threat environment."

The facility was singled out for criticism in the past by intelligence reform advocates because of its restrictive policies on information-sharing.

Bin Laden Comes Home to Roost

Bin Laden comes home to roost

His CIA ties are only the beginning of a woeful story

By Michael Moran

NEW YORK, Aug. 24, 1998 – At the CIA, it happens often enough to have a code name: Blowback. Simply defined, this is the term describing an agent, an operative or an operation that has turned on its creators. Osama bin Laden, our new public enemy Number 1, is the personification of blowback. And the fact that he is viewed as a hero by millions in the Islamic world proves again the old adage: Reap what you sow.

Befpre up click on my face and call me naive, let me concede some points. Yes, the West needed Josef Stalin to defeat Hitler. Yes, there were times during the Cold War when supporting one villain (Cambodia’s Lon Nol, for instance) would have been better than the alternative (Pol Pot). So yes, there are times when any nation must hold its nose and shake hands with the devil for the long-term good of the planet.

But just as surely, there are times when the United States, faced with such moral dilemmas, should have resisted the temptation to act. Arming a multi-national coalition of Islamic extremists in Afghanistan during the 1980s – well after the destruction of the Marine barracks in Beirut or the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 – was one of those times.


As anyone who has bothered to read this far certainly knows by now, bin Laden is the heir to Saudi construction fortune who, at least since the early 1990s, has used that money to finance countless attacks on U.S. interests and those of its Arab allies around the world.

As his unclassified CIA biography states, bin Laden left Saudi Arabia to fight the Soviet army in Afghanistan after Moscow’s invasion in 1979. By 1984, he was running a front organization known as Maktab al-Khidamar – the MAK – which funneled money, arms and fighters from the outside world into the Afghan war.

What the CIA bio conveniently fails to specify (in its unclassified form, at least) is that the MAK was nurtured by Pakistan’s state security services, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, the CIA’s primary conduit for conducting the covert war against Moscow’s occupation.

By no means was Osama bin Laden the leader of Afghanistan’s mujahedeen. His money gave him undue prominence in the Afghan struggle, but the vast majority of those who fought and died for Afghanistan’s freedom – like the Taliban regime that now holds sway over most of that tortured nation – were Afghan nationals.

Yet the CIA, concerned about the factionalism of Afghanistan made famous by Rudyard Kipling, found that Arab zealots who flocked to aid the Afghans were easier to “read” than the rivalry-ridden natives. While the Arab volunteers might well prove troublesome later, the agency reasoned, they at least were one-dimensionally anti-Soviet for now. So bin Laden, along with a small group of Islamic militants from Egypt, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria and Palestinian refugee camps all over the Middle East, became the “reliable” partners of the CIA in its war against Moscow.


Though he has come to represent all that went wrong with the CIA’s reckless strategy there, by the end of the Afghan war in 1989, bin Laden was still viewed by the agency as something of a dilettante – a rich Saudi boy gone to war and welcomed home by the Saudi monarchy he so hated as something of a hero.

In fact, while he returned to his family’s construction business, bin Laden had split from the relatively conventional MAK in 1988 and established a new group, al-Qaida, that included many of the more extreme MAK members he had met in Afghanistan.

Most of these Afghan vets, or Afghanis, as the Arabs who fought there became known, turned up later behind violent Islamic movements around the world. Among them: the GIA in Algeria, thought responsible for the massacres of tens of thousands of civilians; Egypt’s Gamat Ismalia, which has massacred western tourists repeatedly in recent years; Saudi Arabia Shiite militants, responsible for the Khobar Towers and Riyadh bombings of 1996.

Indeed, to this day, those involved in the decision to give the Afghan rebels access to a fortune in covert funding and top-level combat weaponry continue to defend that move in the context of the Cold War. Sen. Orrin Hatch, a senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee making those decisions, told my colleague Robert Windrem that he would make the same call again today even knowing what bin Laden would do subsequently. “It was worth it,” he said.

“Those were very important, pivotal matters that played an important role in the downfall of the Soviet Union,” he said.


It should be pointed out that the evidence of bin Laden’s connection to these activities is mostly classified, though its hard to imagine the CIA rushing to take credit for a Frankenstein’s monster like this.

It is also worth acknowledging that it is easier now to oppose the CIA’s Afghan adventures than it was when Hatch and company made them in the mid-1980s. After all, in 1998 we now know that far larger elements than Afghanistan were corroding the communist party’s grip on power in Moscow.

Even Hatch can’t be blamed completely. The CIA, ever mindful of the need to justify its “mission,” had conclusive evidence by the mid-1980s of the deepening crisis of infrastructure within the Soviet Union. The CIA, as its deputy director Robert Gates acknowledged under congressional questioning in 1992, had decided to keep that evidence from President Reagan and his top advisors and instead continued to grossly exaggerate Soviet military and technological capabilities in its annual “Soviet Military Power” report right up to 1990.

Given that context, a decision was made to provide America’s potential enemies with the arms, money – and most importantly – the knowledge of how to run a war of attrition violent and well-organized enough to humble a superpower.

That decision is coming home to roost.

International Editor Michael Moran writes a weekly column on foreign affairs.


© 2007

Sources: Hijackers’ ex-landlord was FBI informant

Sources: Hijackers’ ex-landlord was FBI informant

From Dana Bash, Kelli Arena and David Ensor

WASHINGTON (CNN) —A former landlord of two of the September 11 hijackers was an FBI informant at the time, knowledgeable sources confirm to CNN.

The two hijackers, Khalid Almidhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, lived in San Diego in the fall of 2000 and were taken in by a Muslim man after he met them at a local Islamic center. The landlord had been an informant for the FBI, supplying information about the Islamic terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah.

The revelation, first reported by Newsweek, focuses renewed attention on possible mistakes made by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence prior to September 11. Newsweek reported that the FBI informant lived in close quarters with the two future hijackers.

"The FBI concedes that a San Diego case agent appears to have been at least aware that Saudi visitors were renting rooms in the informant’s house," Newsweek reported.

Some members of the congressional committee investigating the intelligence failures and the September 11 attacks knew about the relationship between the landlord and the FBI, and the point will probably come up when the panel holds public hearings, expected later this month.

U.S. intelligence officials said that in January of 2000, when Almidhar and Alhazmi attended a meeting of known terrorists in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, that fact was communicated by the CIA to the FBI. Yet it was not until August 23, 2001, that the CIA warned the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to watch for the two men, and that they might try to enter the United States.

By that time, Almidhar and Alhazmi had been in the U.S. for more than 11 months.

The FBI contends the agency was never told about the two men before August 23 and says it can find no record of any such communication between CIA and FBI to show the information might have been overlooked. The FBI has maintained that position in its dealings with congressional investigators and has asked the CIA to document, if possible, having sent word earlier.

The San Diego landlord, reached by CNN on Monday, has refused comment.

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