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Reports Tied UAE to bin Laden, Cole Bombing

Published: February 23, 2006


   As its ties to the U.S. war on terror are brought into the spotlight, more details about the ties between The United Arab Emirates and U.S. enemies abroad are being unearthed.

The AP recently reported that the Sept. 11 Commission report states U.S. intelligence believed that Osama bin Laden had visited an Afghan desert in 1999 near a hunting camp used by UAE officials.

According to the AP, commission sources claimed that:

"Bin Laden regularly went from his adjacent camp to the larger camp where he visited the Emiratis ... National technical intelligence confirmed the location and description of the larger camp and showed the nearby presence of an official aircraft of the United Arab Emirates."

Reacting to this information, White House counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke reportedly called the UAE to confront them about the government's reported contact with bin Laden, hoping to monitor the camp to launch a missile strike when bin Laden returned. Less than a week after the call, intelligence officials were "irate" to discover that the camp had been abandoned and dismantled.

But UAE ties to terrorism have received media scrutiny long before the ports contract uproar.

A September 14, 2001 report in The Guardian claimed that investigators had already linked some of the September 11 terrorists to the UAE. The only other country singled out in the Guardian report was Saudi Arabia. The UK news agency also noted that the nation was one of just three that recognized the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

State controlled television in the UAE confirmed that two 9/11 suspects had licenses issued by the state.

The Guardian also noted that one of the suspects in the bombing of the USS Cole claimed to have received telephone instructions for the bombing from a co-conspirator inside the UAE.

The United States continues to maintain a good relationship with the UAE, considered to be a partner in the war on terror.