“This is the most dangerous man I have ever met.
We cannot let this man out on the street.”
—Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, 1997
In the years leading to the 9/11 attacks, no single agent of al Qaeda was more successful in compromising the U.S. intelligence community than Ali Mohamed. A former Egyptian army captain, Mohamed succeeded in infiltrating the CIA in Europe, the Green Berets at Fort Bragg, and the FBI in California—even as he helped to orchestrate the al Qaeda campaign of terror that culminated in 9/11. As investigative reporter Peter Lance demonstrates in this gripping narrative, senior U.S. law enforcement officials—including the now-celebrated U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who personally interviewed Mohamed long before he was brought to ground—were powerless to stop him. In the annals of espionage, few men have moved between the hunters and the hunted with as much audacity as Ali Mohamed. For almost two decades, the former Egyptian army commando succeeded in living a double life. Brazenly slipping past watch lists, he moved in and out of the U.S. with impunity, marrying an American woman, becoming a naturalized citizen, and posing as an FBI informant—all while acting as chief of security for Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri. Known to his fellow terrorists as Ali Amiriki, or “Ali the American,” Mohamed gained access to the most sensitive intelligence in the U.S. counterterrorism arsenal while brokering terror summits, planning bombing missions, and training jihadis in bomb building, assassination, the creation of sleeper cells, and other acts of espionage.Building on the investigation he first chronicled in his previous books, 1000 Years for Revenge and Cover Up, Lance uses Mohamed to trace the untold story of al Qaeda’s rise in the 1980s and 1990s. Incredibly, Mohamed, who remains in custodial witness protection today, has never been sentenced for his crimes. He exists under a veil of secrecy—a living witness to how the U.S. intelligence community was outflanked for years by the terror network. From his first appearance on the FBI’s radar in 1989—training Islamic extremists on Long Island—to his presence in the database of Operation Able Danger eighteen months before 9/11, this devious triple agent was the one terrorist they had to sweep under the rug. Filled with news-making revelations, Triple Cross exposes the incompetence and duplicity of the FBI and Justice Department before 9/11 . . . and raises serious questions about how many more secrets the Feds may still be hiding.
Tonight, Mike and Mark talk with Peter Lance, author of Triple Cross, about this incredible story.
Click HERE to download the Triple Cross Timeline in PDF format. (1.66 mb)
Peter Lance is a five-time Emmy-winning investigative reporter now working as a screenwriter and novelist. With a Masters Degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law, Lance spent the first 15 years of his career as a print reporter and network correspondent.
He began his career as a reporter for his hometown paper, The Newport, R.I. Daily News. There he won the coveted Sevellon Brown Award from the A.P. Managing Editors Association. Lance next moved to WNET, the PBS flagship in New York, where he won his first New York area Emmy and the Ohio State Award as a producer- reporter for Channel 13’s news magazine THE 51ST STATE.
Later, while working as a writer and producer for WABC-TV Lance won his second Emmy along with the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism prize for WILLOWBROOK: THE PEOPLE VS. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, an exposé on a notorious institution for the mentally retarded. He also was award The National Community Service Emmy for that same documentary.
While getting his law degree, Lance worked as a Trial Preparation Assistant in the office of the District Attorney for New York County. Moving to ABC News as a field producer in 1978, Lance won his fourth Emmy in 1980 for his investigation of an arson-for-profit ring in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago: “Arson and Profit.”
In 1981 Lance became Investigative Correspondent for ABC News. For his very first investigative piece on 20/20 Lance won his fifth Emmy for “Unnecessary Surgery,” an exposé of unnecessary surgery in an Arkansas hospital. He won two more Emmy nominations in 1982 for 20/20 investigative pieces on Formaldehyde “The Danger Within” and toxic waste: “Deadly Chemicals, Deadly Oil;” a piece that also won the National Headliner Award.
Over the next five years he covered hundreds of stories worldwide for ABC NEWS 20/20, NIGHTLINE, and WORLD NEWS TONIGHT.
He was a member of the first American crew into Indochina after the end of the Vietnam War. He chased rebel insurgents through the Plaine Des Jarres in Laos and members of the Gambino Family through the toxic wastelands of New Jersey. He tracked knife-happy surgeons in the Deep South and nuclear terrorists through the twisted streets of Antwerp. Then, in 1987, he took a break from non-fiction.
Lance came to L.A. and began working as a writer and story editor for Michael Mann on two of his acclaimed NBC series: CRIME STORY and MIAMI VICE.
In 1989 Lance became the co-executive producer and “show runner” on the fourth season of WISEGUY for CBS and in 1993 he co-created MISSING PERSONS, for ABC. In recent years, he has served as a writer and consulting producer on such series as JAG (NBC) and THE SENTINEL (UPN).
In 1997 Lance’s first novel FIRST DEGREE BURN became a national best seller, ranking No. 24 on The Ingram A-List The Top 50 Requested Titles in Mystery- Detective Fiction. The film-noir mystery features FDNY Fire Marshal Eddie Burke.
Later Lance adapted VEIL: THE SECRET WARS OF THE CIA, Bob Woodward’s best-seller on William Casey for HBO. For Showtime he wrote TERROR.NET, the story of Bradley Smith, the courageous Diplomatic Security agent responsible for helping to apprehend the world’s most notorious terrorists.
In the year 2000 Lance returned to investigative reporting with his best-selling non-fiction investigative biography: THE STINGRAY: Lethal Tactics of The Sole Survivor.
Following the 9/11 attacks Lance began investigating the origins of the FBI’s original probe of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Ahmed Yousef. After visiting Yousef’s former bomb factory in the Philippines, he came away with 100’s of pages of classified documents proving that Yousef had set the 9/11 plot into motion as early as 1994.
Lance then went back and examined the FBI’s original efforts to stop Yousef in 1992 as he built the first WTC device. The result is his acclaimed investigative book from Harper Collins 1000 YEARS FOR REVENGE.
Lance followed that book with COVER UP in 2004. In it he established evidence that federal officials entered into an “ends/means” decision in 1996 that buried a treasure trove of al Qaeda-related intelligence in order to preserve a series of Mafia-related cases in the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).
Lance presented probative evidence in the book that a senior Organized Crime Supervisory Special Agent in the FBI’s New York Office (NYO) may have been in a corrupt relationship with a Colombo Family killer. It was the FBI’s desire to prevent this potential scandal from tanking the mob cases, that led, Lance determined, to the al Qaeda evidence suppression.
A year after COVER UP’s publication the Brooklyn D.A. commenced a grant jury investigation inspired, in part, by Lance’s revelations about the Supervisory Special Agent: R. Lindley DeVecchio. On March 30th, 2006 DeVecchio was indicted on four counts of second degree murder stemming from that D.A.’s investigation.
In TRIPLE CROSS, the final book in Lance’s 9/11 investigative trilogy, he provides stunning evidence that senior FBI and Justice Dept. officials may have obstructed justice in their failure to monitor Ali A Mohamed, Osama bin Laden’s principal spy inside the United States.