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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Before 9/11: The 1993 WTC Bombing and Thwarted TERRSTOP Attacks

FBI superiors fired his source. Members of the cell were later found to be responsible for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

“They said if you won’t wear a wire, you’re fired. And in July of 1992, the source who was friends with the future bombers of the 1993 bombing was fired… Two months later, a guy by the name of Ramzi Yousef joins the group.”—Retired Agent John Anticev

Retired agent John Anticev served in the FBI for 28 years. During his early years in the Bureau, he was assigned to the FBI/NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in the New York Division.

In part one of this two-part episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Anticev reviews his investigation into the 1990 murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane and his operation of an FBI confidential source, Emad Salem, who infiltrated an operational cell of Egyptian Islamic radicals. The cell’s spiritual leader was Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, also known as the Blind Sheikh. While Anticev was out on sick leave recovering from a brain tumor, FBI superiors fired his source. Members of the cell were later found to be responsible for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

Listen to part one Episode 260: John Anticev – 1993 World Trade Center Bombing here.

In part two, Anticev continues his case review. After the 1993 World Trade Center attack, he re-engaged his source to penetrate a second operational terrorist cell preparing to attack the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, the United Nations, 26 Federal Plaza and other New York City landmarks. This time, the case, known as TERRSTOP, resulted in the prevention of major attacks, and identified links between the cell and a hostile intelligence service.

Listen to part two Episode 261: John Anticev – 1993 WTC Bombing, TERRSTOP, Informant Emad Salem here.

Anticev also talks about the stress and frustration he endured during the 6-year internal investigation into his and others’ handling of the source, who, unknown to Anticev, had secretly recorded many of their conversations.

You can also listen to these FBI Retired Case File Review episodes at Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, and Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams served 26 years as a Special Agent with the FBI. During most of her Bureau career she worked major economic fraud investigations and was amazed at the schemes and deceptions con-artist and corrupt corporate and public officials would devise to steal other people’s money. She notes that with a gun, they can steal hundreds. But with a lie, they can steal millions. Jerri often jokes that she is reliving her glory days by writing about the FBI. Her prior professional encounters with scams and schemers will provide plot lines for many years. During her FBI career, Jerri specialized in cases targeting major economic crime and corruption. Her investigation of a $350 million Ponzi scheme perpetrated against unsuspecting nonprofit organizations, high profiled philanthropists and beneficiary donors resulted in a 12-year prison sentence and multiple forfeitures; the international advance fee scam case she conducted resulted in a 14 year prison sentence and the forfeiture of the subject’s residence; and her major investigation of business-to-business telemarketing fraud, which included a long-term undercover operation, resulted in 16 search warrants, 25 convictions, and many multi-year prison terms. Jerri received numerous awards throughout her career, including four United States Attorney Awards for Distinguished Service, three of them for her work on the cases noted. Being interviewed and appearing on CNBC’s American Greed in the episode—Confessions of a Con Man—was a highlight of Jerri’s career. Toward the end of her federal law enforcement career, Jerri was appointed as the spokesperson for the Philadelphia Division of the FBI, taking on the responsibility of educating and informing the media and public about the Bureau. Post-FBI retirement, Jerri served as the spokesperson and Director of Media Relations for SEPTA, Philadelphia’s public transportation provider. Both positions often placed her in the spotlight in front of local and national news media.z Jerri is currently using her federal law enforcement experience and communication and media experience to host and produce a popular true crime and history podcast—FBI Retired Case File Review—where she interviews retired FBI agents about their high-profile cases and careers, corrects clichés and misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies, and reviews crime fiction. The podcast can be accessed on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast and other popular podcast apps. In her new book, FBI Myths and Misconceptions: A Manual for Armchair Detectives, she presents her top 20 clichés about the FBI. Each cliché has its own chapter, where she provides a reality check while breaking down the facts. Throughout the book, she includes quotes from retired agents about how the FBI actually works and reviews popular films and fiction featuring FBI agent characters. The entertaining companion book, FBI Word Search Puzzles: Fun for Armchair Detectives is also available. Jerri is under contract as a technical consultant for major TV networks and production companies wanting to create authentic FBI dramas and characters. Her crime novels—Pay to Play and Greedy Givers—feature a female FBI agent assigned to a Public Corruption and Fraud Squad in Philadelphia. Actual true crime FBI cases inspired the plotlines of both stories.

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