Monday, 15 June 2009

U.S. Attorney Tries to Kill Book Exposing Terrorism

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A major battle over censorship is igniting. Since October 2007, United States Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has been trying to kill a book that paints him in an unfavorable light. A new edition of TRIPLE CROSS: How Bin Laden's Master Spy Penetrated the CIA, the Green Berets, and the FBI by Peter Lance is due to be released on June 16, at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

In Triple Cross (Harper Collins), Peter Lance, a five-time Emmy award-winning investigative reporter, details the incredible story of how Ali Mohamed, al-Qaeda's master spy, managed to penetrate the deepest levels of the U.S. intelligence community and provide vital assistance to Osama bin Laden's terrorist operations for years prior to the 9/11 terror attacks — while on the U.S. government's payroll. A cover story on Ali Mohamed that appeared in The New American in November 2007 ("Unleashing a Terrorist") reports on the enormous multi-year investigative effort by Peter Lance to connect the dots, showing the important linkages that tie together several of the most important terrorist attacks on America: the 1990 assassination of Rabbi Meier Kahane; the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; and the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Ali Mohamed played a key role in all of these cases — and others besides.

Lance is one of the few investigative journalists from the mainstream media to delve into the abundant evidence (which The New American reported on extensively over a period of years) showing the connections of Ali Mohamed and convicted 1993 World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

In an October 2007 letter to Harper Collins, Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney for Illinois' northern district (and formerly assistant U.S. attorney in New York, where he headed a number of high-profile prosecutions), threatened to sue for defamation unless the publisher ceased publication and distribution, issued a public retraction of the book's allegations about Fitzpatrick, and agreed to refrain from publishing a scheduled updated edition of the book. Following an extensive, 18-month vetting of the evidence in Lance's book, Harper Collins decided to go ahead with publication of the updated version of Triple Cross. The legal correspondence between Patrick Fitzgerald and the legal counsel for Harper Collins can be accessed here.

In his most recent letter to Harper Collins (June 2, 2009), Fitzgerald reiterates his earlier charges that Triple Cross "is not a book whose falsehoods are a result of mere negligence or even recklessness. Nor is it a book whose inaccuracies can be fixed by a redaction of a few offending sentences. The book is a deliberate lie masquerading as truth." This is a very sweeping charge from a prosecutor whose professional office demands the use of precise legal language. Fitzpatrick's characterization of the entire book as a "deliberate lie" is especially troubling inasmuch as the author has a well-deserved reputation as a meticulous researcher, Lance's statements are well within the bounds of legally acceptable interpretation of established facts, and the book is extensively sourced with several hundred end notes and 30 pages of appendices reproducing dozens of government documents.

Triple Cross is a masterpiece of investigative journalism concerning some of the most important events in recent history impacting our national security, personal liberty, and the future of limited constitutional government. It is one of the most important books (if not the most important) published to date on the 9/11 terror attacks, especially because of Lance's ability to analyze and assimilate vast quantities of data and then present the "big picture" in a manner accessible to the non-expert. In refusing to cave in to the threats of Patrick Fitzgerald, Peter Lance and Harper Collins have performed an important civic duty. Ironically, Fitzgerald's heavy-handed efforts to squash the book may be backfiring; journalists and publishers spanning the political spectrum are speaking out against his attempt to use the intimidating power of his office for blatant censorship. The New American contacted Fitzgerald's office in Chicago for comment on this story but was informed that he was unavailable for comment. We were told that his media spokesman at the U.S. attorney's office, Randy Sanborn, would call back to answer our questions, but by the end of the day he still had not responded.

Related article: Unleashing a Terrorist