By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org
Six months after former Broward resident and suspected al Qaeda leader Adnan El Shukrijumah was reported killed by the Pakistan army, the FBI has not confirmed his death and continues to include him on its list of “Most Wanted Terrorists.”
Pakistani authorities have said the Saudi-born Shukrijumah was killed Dec. 6 during a helicopter gunship assault on a military compound in a mountainous region of northwest Pakistan near Afghanistan. His wife and four children were taken into custody, intelligence officials told Reuters.
“The United States government has not yet confirmed the death of El Shukrijumah. He will remain on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List until the time a confirmation is made,” the FBI’s Office of Public Affairs said in an email statement.
Asked to explain what problems the FBI has encountered in making a positive identification via DNA or other methods, the FBI replied, “The confirmation process is ongoing and, therefore, the FBI will not comment on it.”
Given the right conditions, the U.S. has the capability to make a rapid DNA identification.
The Washington Post, citing “black budget” documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, reported in August 2013 that within eight hours of Osama bin Laden’s death in Afghanistan at the hands of U.S. Navy Seals the Defense Intelligence Agency had analyzed DNA from bin Laden’s corpse and “provided a conclusive match” confirming his identity.
In April, CNN and other news outlets reported the FBI’s announcement that it had used DNA testing to confirm the death of another of its most wanted terrorists, Zulkifli bin Hir, a Malaysian bomb maker known as Marwan. Marwan, believed to be a senior member of the southeast Asian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, was killed Jan. 25 in a disastrous raid and 11-hour shootout with Philippines National Police that left 44 officers dead.
DNA, short for deoxyribonucleic acid, carries a person’s unique genetic information. Since, 1998, the FBI has operated the National DNA Index System, said to be the largest repository of known offender DNA records in the world.
DNA profiles are built from blood samples or skin cells found on items such as drinking glasses, chewing gum, envelopes and guns. The FBI uses its Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) software program to manage its database.
Authorities have described Shukrijumah, a former Miramar resident who grew up in the U.S. and attended Broward College, as al Qaeda’s chief of global operations. At the time of his reported death, he was a fugitive from a 2010 indictment in New York for his alleged role in plots to attack New York’s subway system and London’s Underground. The charges included conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction.
Shukrijumah, 39, had a $5 million bounty on his head at the time of his reported death. On April 19, the Voice of America posted a U.S. government “international public service announcement” reiterating the reward for information leading to Shukrijumah’s arrest.
Shukrijumah was also a key figure in the FBI’s once-secret Sarasota investigation of Abdulaziz and Anoud al-Hijji, a Saudi couple who moved abruptly out of their home about two weeks before the 9/11 attacks. Agents later found evidence that Shukrijumah and several 9/11 hijackers, including ringleader Mohamed Atta, had visited the al-Hijji’s upscale home in the gated community of Prestancia.
Anoud al-Hijji’s father, Esam Ghazzawi, an advisor to a member of the Saudi royal family, owned the home.
The FBI never disclosed the existence of its Sarasota investigation to Congress or the 9/11 Commission, according to former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, who co-chaired Congress’s Joint Inquiry into 9/11.
FBI officials acknowledged the investigation in September 2011 after FloridaBulldog.org, working with Irish journalist Anthony Summers, reported it. They also denied finding any connection to 9/11, but declined to explain that assertion.
FBI records later made public amid a Freedom of Information lawsuit by Broward Bulldog, Inc., operator of FloridaBulldog.org, contradicted that denial. For example, an FBI report dated April 16, 2002, said investigators determined that the Sarasota Saudis had “many connections to individuals associated with the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001.”
The FBI sought, without explanation, to disavow that report earlier this year, telling the 9/11 Review Commission that the report was “poorly written and wholly unsubstantiated.”
“When questioned later by others in the FBI, the special agent who wrote (it) was unable to provide any basis for the contents of the document or explain why he wrote it as he did,” the 9/11 Commission’s report says.
The agent was not identified and the FBI has refused to name him.
Fort Lauderdale U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch is presiding over the FOIA lawsuit and is currently reviewing for possible public release more than 80,000 pages of classified 9/11 records from the FBI’s Tampa Field Office that he ordered produced for his inspection last spring.
Miami attorney Thomas Julin, who represents the news organization, has asked Zloch to require the FBI to identify the agent and allow him to be questioned about the document he authored.
John / June 4, 2015 5:25 pm
Big thanks for solving the mystery of why Shukrijumah is still on the FBI’s Most Wanted list despite being removed from the Rewards for Justice list last January.
I would assume Shukrijumah is dead because Rewards for Justice only removes people from the list when they are confirmed dead or captured.
John / June 4, 2015 5:48 pm
By the way, that video you mentioned is old. The e-mail address shown in the video is no longer the Rewards for Justice website’s official e-mail. Also, VOA is obviously not part of the State Department.
John / June 4, 2015 5:53 pm
I mean official e-mail address. Thanks again for contacting the FBI.
Casey / June 9, 2015 3:30 pm
That U.S. government “international public service announcement” is old. It’s from 2012. Notice how the e-mail address in the video is different from the one in the website. The website changed its e-mail address last year. I wouldn’t reference the VOA in regards to terrorists’ fate.
John / June 10, 2015 11:37 am
Here’s proof that the public service announcement you mentioned is from 2012. Not 2015.
The State Department is certain he’s dead.
Martin / February 12, 2016 3:10 pm
Shukrijumah is deader than Elvis. The Pakistani Taliban even confirmed his death and beheaded a “spy” for “revealing” his location.
The FBI website is notorious for being out of date. They took a couple of years to remove Mohammed Atef, Ahmed Ghailani, Mustafa Fadhil, and Ahmed Mohammed Hamed Ali from their wanted list after they were killed/captured.
Martin / February 12, 2016 3:18 pm
Here’s a link to a description of a video about the “spy.” Scroll down.
Martin / February 16, 2016 5:24 pm
My apologies. This is the link.
Jason / September 4, 2016 1:05 pm
Al-Qaeda confirmed the death of Shukrijumah last July. They admitted he was killed in the raid, called him a “martyr” and even called his wife a widow.
I have no clue what else the FBI wants.