Albany Senior High School 1993 World Trade Center Bombing by Samuel Barnaby
1993 World Trade Center bombing
The 1993 World Trade Center Bombing happened on Friday 26th of February. It happened when a truck bomb created by Ramzi Yousef and Abdul Rahman Yasin dentonated in a car park beneath the North Tower of the World Trade Center, what the two intended was for the truck bomb to nock the North Tower into the South Tower when it exploded killing thousands of people, it failed to do that but it did manage to kill about six people and injure more than one thousand others, it also opened a thirty meter wide whole through four sublevels of the North Tower. The attack was planned by Ramzi Yousef, Mahmud Abouhalima, Mohammed A. Salameh, Nidal A. Ayyad, Abdul Rahman Yasin and Ahmed Ajaj. Khaled Sheikh Mohammed who was Yousef's uncle and who also helped plan the September 11 attacks in 2001 gave the group financing. Mahmud Abouhalima, Ahmed Ajaj, Nidal A. Ayyad and Mohammed A. Salameh were later convicted in March 1994 of carrying out the bombing of the World Trade Center, these charges included conspiracy, explosive destruction of property and interstate transportation of explosives. Ramzi Yousef and Eyad Ismoil were later convicted in 1997 4 years after the attacks. Some interesting facts about Eyad Ismoil is that he got sentenced to 240 years in prison, fined $250,000 and he had to pay $10,000,000 in restitution. The names of the six people that were killed are Monica Smith age 35, Robert (Bob) Kirkpatrick age 61, Bill Macko age 47, Stephen Knapp age 48, John DiGiovanni age 45 and Wilfredo Mercado age 37.
Planning of the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing
Ramzi Yousef who was born as Abdul Basit Mahmoud Abdul Karim in Kuwait spent time at an Al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan before starting to plan a bombing attack within the United States of America in 1991. His uncle Khalid Shaikh Mohammed who is now considered the principal architect of the September 11 attacks in 2001 gave him advice and tips about making the bomb over the phone, his uncle also funded him with a $1,400 wire transfer. On September 1st 1992 Ramzi Yousef arrived illegally in the United States with his co conspirator Ahmed Ajaj from Pakistan. Ajaj tried to enter the country with a fake swedish passport but failed because it had been altered and when officials at John F. Kennedy International Airport put Ajaj through secondary inspection they found bomb making instructions and other materials in his luggage, after that they arrested him. Yousef tried to enter with a fake Iraqi passport and tried to claim political asylum, he was allowed into the United States but was given a hearing date. Yousef set up residence on Nicole Pickett Avenue in Jersey City, New Jersey after that he traveled arround New York and New Jersey, then called a a blind Sheikh called Omar Abdel Rahman via cellphone. After being introduced to his fellow conspirators by Abdel Rahman at the Al-Farooq Mosque in Brooklyn New York hec stated making the 680kg urea nitrate–hydrogen gas enhanced bomb that he would use to attack the North Tower in the hope of nocking over the South Tower killing thousands of people.
Ramzi Yousef's view of the Attack
Steve Coll a journalest said that Ramzi Yousef had mailed letters to various New York newspapers right before his attack on the world trade center, in the letter he said he was a belonged to 'Liberation Army, Fifth Battalion', he made three demands in these letters: an end to all US aid to Israel, an end to US diplomatic relations with Israel, and a pledge by the United States to end interference "with any of the Middle East countries' interior affairs." Yousef said that if his demands were not met the attack on the World Trade Center would just be the first of such attacks, he tried to justifie the attack by saying "the terrorism that Israel practices (which America supports) must be faced with a similar one."
The 1993 World Trade Center Bombing
Ramzi Yousef and his friend Eyad Ismoil from Jordan drove a yellow Ryder van that they had hired into Lower Manhattan and pulled into the public car park beneath the World Trade Center at around noon on February 26th. Yousef and Ismoil got out of the van and then Yousef lit the 20 foot fuse of the bomb and fled. Twelve minutes later at 12:17 pm the bomb exploded in the public car park beneath the World Trade Center, it opened up a 30 meter wide whole through four sublevels of concreate and initial news reports thought that a main transformer had blown. Some of the effects of the explosion was that it cut off the World Trade Centers main electrical power line wich then knocked out the emergency lighting system as well, as a result of the explosion it caused smoke to rise up to the 93rd floors of both the North and South towers of the World Trade Center, this included the stairwells as well because they had not been pressurized when the buildings had been bilt. Hundreds of people got trapped in elevators when the buildings lost power including 17 kindergartners who were on their way down from the South Tower observation deck, they were trapped between the 35th and 36th floors for five hours. All together 1042 people were injured and six people were killed, they were Monica Smith age 35, Robert (Bob) Kirkpatrick, age 61, Bill Macko, age 47, Stephen Knapp, age 48, John DiGiovanni, age 45 and Wilfredo Mercado, age 37. Yousef's plan was to park the van in the right place so that when the bomb exploded the North tower would fall on to the South tower collapsing them both, but his plan failed because it only damaged the car park underneath the World Trade Center. It is thought that if Yousef had parked the van closer to the WTC's poured concrete foundations his plan might have succeeded, Ramzi Yousef escaped to Pakistan several hours after the bomb exploded. Yousef's fellow conspirator Mahmud Abouhalima later stated that their original plan was to attack the United Nations headquarters earlier in the morning, Author Simon Reeve theorized that something must have gone wrong such as Yousef encountering to much security so then the target was changed to the World Trade Center.
Investigations of the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing
Eventhough the cause of the explosion was not originaly known and with some people suspecting that a main transformer had blown, agents as well as bomb technicians from the ATF, FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and the NYPD (New York City Police Department) all quickly responded to the scene of the explosion. Days after the explosion investigators started serveying the damage and looking for clues about what happened and who did it. A bomb technician found some internal component fragments from the vechicle that had delivered the 590kg (1,310-pound) bomb while combing through the public car park underneath the World Trade center, investigators also found a vechicle identification number (VIN) which was found on a piece of axle from the van, this was the crucial infomation that led them to a Ryder truck rental outlet in Jersey City. It was determind that the vechicle had been rented by Mohammad Salameh who was one of Ramzi Yousef's co-conspirators. The vechicle was reported stolen by Salameh who then returned on the 4th of March 1993 to get his deposit back, this was when he was arrested by the authorities. His arrest led police to the apartment of Abdul Rahman Yasin in Jersey City, New Jersey which Yasin was sharing with his mother, his apartment was in the same building as Ramzi Yousef's. Later Yasin was taken by the FBI to their Newark field office in Newark, New Jersey, he was then released. He flew back to Iraq, via Amman, Jordan. later on Yasin was indicated for the attack and in 2001 he was placed on the initial list of the FBI most wanted terrorists, he still remains on this list even in 2012.It was because of the capture of Salameh and Yasin that authorities found Ramzi Yousefs apartment in which they found bomb-making materials and a business card from Mohammed Jamal Khalifa. Khalifa was arrested on the 14th of December 1994 and was then deported to Jordan by the INS on May 5, 1995. In 2002 it was made public that Yasin who was the only person involving the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 who had never been caught by U.S. authorites, was being held as a prisoner on the outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq , he had been there since 1994. After being interviewed by Journalest Leslie Stahl for a segment on the TV program 60 minutes on the 23rd of May 2002 Yasin was never heard from again.
Aftermath of the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing
The 1993 World Trade Center Bombing claimed the following victims: Monica Smith age 35, Robert (Bob) Kirkpatrick, age 61, Bill Macko, age 47, Stephen Knapp, age 48, John DiGiovanni, age 45 and Wilfredo Mercado, age 37. A granite memorial fountain was set up honoring the victims of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, it was designed by Elyn Zimmerman and it was dedicated in 1995 on Austin J. Tobin Plaza, this was directly above the site of the explosion in 1993, it had on it the six names of the victims as well as an inscription that read "On February 26, 1993, a bomb set by terrorists exploded below this site. This horrible act of violence killed innocent people, injured thousands, and made victims of us all." unfortunately the fountain was destroyed with the rest of the World Trade Center during the September 11 2001 attacks eight years later, they did recover a fragment of the fountain which said "John D", this was John DiGiovanni, it was later incorperated into a temporary memorial that was designed by architect Jacqueline Hanley from the Port Authority erected on the Liberty Street side of the site following the September 11 2001 attacks. This memorial was visible across a fence barrier but was not open to the public. The six victims of the bombing in 1993 were later memorialized on the tenth anniversary of the September 11 2001 attacks at the North Pool, on Panel N-73 of the National 9/11 Memorial.
During the trial for the attacks it was revealed by the FBI that they had an informant who was a former Egyptian Army officer called Emad Salem. Salem claims that he had informed the FBI of the plot as early as the 6th of February, 1992. He initially believed that it was going to be a sting operation and claimed that the FBI's original plan was for him to to supply Ramzi Yousef and his fellow conspirators with a harmless powder instead of actual explosive to build their bomb, but that the FBI decided to use him for other purposes instead. Salem also secretly recorded hundreds of hours of phone conversations with his FBI handelers.
U.S. Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) involvement
Diplomatic Security Service special agents actually found and arrested Ramzi Yousef eventhough the FBI received all the credit for it. Special agents Bill Miller and Jeff Riner were given a tip by one of Yousef's associates about his location. They arrested Yousef in coordination with the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). As a result of this happening the New York Port Authority was to govern as the main security for the World Trade Center buildings, all packages were to be scanned at the various checkpoints and then sent up to the proper address. After Ramzi Yousef got arrested it is alleged that he said to investigators "this is only the beginning."
Allegations of Iraqi involvement
In October 2001 in a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) interview,former CIA Director James Woolsey claimed that Ramzi Yousef had been working for Iraqi intelligence, he also suggested that the grand jury investigation had turned up evidence that pointed to Iraq that the Justice department just brushed aside. Neil Herman who had headed the FBI investigation noted that and said "The one glaring connection that can't be overlooked is Yasin. We pursued that on every level, traced him to a relative and a location, and we made overtures to get him back." however he also said that Abdul Rahman Yasin's presence in Baghdad did not mean that Iraq had sponsored the attack, Herman said "We looked at that rather extensively. There were no ties to the Iraqi government." Peter L. Bergen a CNN terrorism analyst wrote "In sum, by the mid-'90s, the Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York, the F.B.I., the U.S. Attorney's office in the Southern District of New York, the C.I.A., the N.S.C., and the State Department had all found no evidence implicating the Iraqi government in the first Trade Center attack."
Claims of direct Iraqi involvement also came from Laurie Mylroie of the American Enterprise Institute, these claims were rejected by other exsperts. Peter Bergen has called her a "crackpot" who also claimed that "Saddam was not only behind the '93 Trade Center attack, but also every anti-American terrorist incident of the past decade, from the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania to the leveling of the federal building in Oklahoma City to September 11 itself." Daniel Benjamin who was a a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote that "The most knowledgeable analysts and investigators at the CIA and at the FBI believe that their work conclusively disproves Mylroie's claims." Dr. Robert Leiken from the Nixon Center commented on the lack of evidence that was in her work, he said "Laurie has discovered Saddam's hand in every major attack on US interests since the Persian Gulf War, including U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and even the federal building in Oklahoma City. These allegations have all been definitively refuted by the FBI, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and other investigatory bodies...."
In March 2008 the Pentagon released its study of 600,000 documents that were captured in Iraq after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Pentagons study found no direct connection between Saddam's Iraq and al Qaeda Mylroie denied that this was proof of Saddam not being involved, she claimed that "one common purpose of such meetings was to develop cover stories for whatever Iraq sought to conceal."
Since the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the chaotic evacuation which followed it, the World Trade Center and many of the companies inside revamped their emergency procedures, especially with regard to the evacuation of the North and South Towers of the WTC, these policies helped play a role in the evacuation of the buildings during the September 11 2001 attacks which destroyed bothe the North and South towers of the World Trade Center. Also a new Siemens MXL fire alarm system was installed to replace the old outdated one.
The victims of the 1993 World Trade center bombing that were not killed sued the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for damages that had been caused. A decision was made in 2006 that assigned liability for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing to the Port Authority. It declared that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was 68% responsible and the terrorists were only 32% responsible. During January 2008 the Port Authority asked a five-judge panel of the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan to throw the decision that assigned them the liability for the 1993 WTC bombing. They described the jury's decision as "bizarre". On the 29th of April 2008 a New York State Appeals Court unanimously upheld the jury's verdict. Under New York State law once a defendant is more than 50% at fault he/she/it can be held fully financially liable.
It was argued that the problem with the appointment of responsibility in the case is not the Jury's verdict but actually is New York's tort-reform-produced state apportionment law. Traditionaly the courts do not compare intentional and negligent fault. The Restatement Third of Torts: Apportionment of Liability recommends a rule to prevent juries from having to make comparisons like the terrorist-Port Authority comparison in this case. However, if a jurisdiction does compare these intentional and negligent torts, courts' second-best position is to do what the NYS Appeals Court did—to uphold all jury apportionments, even those that assign greater, or perhaps far greater, responsibility to negligent than intentional parties.