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Al Qaeda bragged of infiltrating Emirates government, casting shadow on security of port deal

Published: March 2, 2006

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Al Qaeda bragged of infiltrating the United Arab Emirates government, according to a 2002 letter posted on a U.S. military site and discovered by ThinkProgress.

In the letter, dated in May or June of 2002 and translated by the U.S., al Qaeda declares that the Emirates is "committing acts of injustice" in order to "appease the Americans' wishes which include: spying, persecution and detainment." In return, the group says they have infiltrated the Emirate government. The letter can be seen here.

"You are well aware that we have infiltrated your security, censorship and monetary agencies along with other agencies that should not be mentioned," the authors write. "Therefore, we warn of the continuation of practicing such policies, which do not serve your interests and will only cost you many problems that will place you in an embarrassing state before your citizens."


"Our policies are not to operate in your homeland and/or tamper with your security because we are occupied with others which we consider are enemies of this nation," they continue. "If you compel us to do so, we are prepared to postpone our program for a short period and allocate some time for you."

It concludes by asking that the Emirates release all detainees "since [the] September incidents."

The claim that al Qaeda had infiltrated the UAE government seems to raise serious concern as to whether a U.S.-backed plan to turn over 21 ports to a company owned by the country's governing monarchs is sound.

During the initial 30-day review of the port deal, the Coast Guard warned of gaps in intelligence as regards the Arab firm, saying, "There are many intelligence gaps, concerning the potential for DPW or P&O assets to support terrorist operations, that precludes an overall threat assessment" of the potential merger.

"The breadth of the intelligence gaps also infer potential unknown threats against a large number of potential vulnerabilities," the half-page assessment added.

Another assessment by the General Accountability Office -- which has received scant attention -- concluded that the Committee for Foreign Investment, the arm of the Treasury Department that approves such deals, could not possibly conduct a thorough intelligence review in 30 days. It adds that the U.S. has put pressure for the reviews to be conducted faster.

“In complex cases in which national security concerns have been raised ... case documentation we reviewed revealed the significant pressures some agencies face to complete analysis within 23 days,” the GAO said in a 2005 report, noting that the Justice Department “shared our concern with respect to the time constraints imposed by the current process. Specifically, Justice stated that ‘gathering timely and fully vetted input from the intelligence community is critical to a thorough and comprehensive national security assessment. Any potential extension of the time available to the participants for the collection and analysis of that information would be helpful.'"

The GAO report was revealed by ROLL CALL in a relatively unnoticed piece by John Stanton.

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