Insights into the inner workings of Al Qaeda were revealed Tuesday by a former British Al Qaeda terrorist turned witness, during the trial of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law.
The Al Qaeda witness, Saajid Badat, testified by video in the New York trial of Suleiman Abu Ghaith. Arrested in 2003 for planning a shoe-bombing attack on an airplane, Badat had his potential life sentence reduced to six and a half years after agreeing to testify against the terror organization.
While testifying Tuesday, Badat revealed that his shoe-bombing plan came closer to fruition than expected; he flew from Pakistan to London, via the Netherlands, wearing the bomb in his shoes back in 2001, reports AFP.
However, a reunion with his parents following three years of terrorism training in Afghanistan led Badat to back out of the plan, according to which he was to fly to the US and bomb a domestic flight.
Even after backing out, Badat kept the bomb. "I hadn't relinquished my views so there may come a time when I would need it again," stated Badat in reference to his thinking at the time.
While planning the shoe-bombing in 2001, Badat had a one-on-one meeting with Al Qaeda leader bin Laden in the Afghan capital of Kabul.
"America is like a chain," Badat reports bin Laden told him, continuing "he drew out a chain and said if you break one link you'll break down the (American) economy." In addition, the arch-terrorist advised Badat to recite from the Koran if he ever felt scared about the suicide mission.
Poisoning "Clinton, Bush and Sharon"
Speaking about the time period before he was assigned the shoe-bombing mission, Badat revealed that during his training he met four to five Al Qaeda recruits of Western origin, hailing from Britain, Australia and France.
A highlight of the Al Qaeda training included the poisoning to death of a dog and rabbit. "The instructor would shout out this is Clinton, or Bush or Sharon," recalled Badat, referencing former US Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
The terror recruits were also given night drills shooting at targets named Clinton, Bush and Sharon.
While in Pakistan he admits researching potential Jewish targets in South Africa on the internet. In September of 2001, Badat traveled to Belgium to make contact in planning an attack that was later canceled.
Aside from pointing the finger at Abu Ghaith, Badat's testimony also held revelations against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11 bombing who is being held in Guantanamo Bay.
Mohammed had an almanac of skyscrapers in which the World Trade Center was crossed out, reports Badat. He added that Mohammed considered attacks on California, saying "it might be an idea to now target the West coast."