FBI officials recruited a mole with access to the man behind the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Osama bin Laden, several years before the tragedy at the World Trade Center, an agent told a federal grand jury in 2010.
Law enforcement sources told ABC News
that they were bewildered by the report, which was revealed during newly cited testimony for a years-old discrimination lawsuit against the FBI. The information was not disclosed to the 9/11 Commission and investigators in Congress.
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FBI agent Bassem Youssef testified to a federal grand jury in September 2010 that he began recruiting two sources from Los Angeles with ties to Omar Abdel, known as the "Blind Sheikh," in 1993. Abdel was the mastermind behind the original 1996 World Trade Center bombing.
Ed Curran, one of Youssef's superiors, testified in 2010 that information from one of the sources was ultimately sent to New York FBI agents to support their counterterrorism investigations.
"One source came back, had direct contact with Osama bin Laden," Curran said in his testimony, according to ABC News. "He had indicated to (Abdel) Rahman that he had a target picked out for an explosion in the Los Angeles area, I believe it was a Masonic lodge. (Abdel) Rahman went and told him to go get the money from Osama back in the Middle East."
Curran said that one of the sources met with bin Laden and was "right in al-Qaeda, directly involved."
A transcript of the 2010 deposition was posted on the National Whistleblowers Center's website
, but U.S. officials Wednesday said they could not confirm its accuracy.
The Washington Times reported Tuesday that 9/11 Commission members and terrorism analysts
said that they were surprised by the admission.
"I think it raises a lot of questions about why that information didn't become public and why the 9/11 Commission or the congressional intelligence committees weren't told about it," said former U.S. Rep Peter Hoekstra, who chaired the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from 2004 through 2007.
"This is just one more of these examples that will go into the conspiracy theorists' notebooks, who say the authorities are not telling us everything," he added.
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