Emad Salem

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Person.png Emad Salem  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(soldier, informant)
FBI informant and key witness in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing

Emad Salem is an FBI informant, who was a key witness in the trial of Ramzi Yousef, Abdul Hakim Murad and Wali Khan Amin Shah, who were convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. If his taped phone conversations hadn't been leaked to the press, he would have been charged as a co-conspirator.

FBI informant

Emad Salem was a key witness in the second and major trial of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. At the request of the FBI, he infiltrated a group of potential terrorists during the trial of El Sayyid Nosair for the assassination of Meir Kahane in 1992. He had recently worked as a security guard at the Bergdorf Goodman department store, and an engineer at a Best Western hotel in New York.[1]

The group appears to be involved in the preparation of the World Trade Center bombing of 1993[2]. In May and June 1993, after the attack, Salem recorded many hours discussion with several members of the terrorist cell who remained on American soil[3]. He agrees to testify in court in exchange for one million dollars,[4][5]. More than 900 pages of transcripts of Salem's discussions and returns with the FBI are put under seal by the judge in the second trial of the World Trade Center bombing, but they get leaked to The New York Times[6]. They provide important information on the links between the various members of the terrorist cell[7].

In tapes made after the bombings, Salem alleged that an unnamed FBI supervisor knew about the bombing plot, but declined to move forward on a plan that would have used a "phony powder" to fool the conspirators into believing that they were working with genuine explosives. Federal authorities denied Salem's view of events and the New York Times concluded that the tapes "do not make clear the extent to which Federal authorities knew that there was a plan to bomb the World Trade Center, merely that they knew that a bombing of some sort was being discussed." The defense of the members of the terrorist cell uses the transcript of discussions between Salem and his FBI official to develop the hypothesis that the FBI had information about the plan of the attack.

If it hadn't been for the recordings, Emad would have been charged as a co-conspirator. It was recordings that were never provided to the New York Times that prevented the FBI from charging Emad.[8]


An Egyptian army officer, Salem claimed to have fought as a sniper in the Yom Kippur War of 1973. He held 17 Israeli soldiers as prisoners of War respecting their rights under international law. All POWs were ultimately returned unharmed to Israel.[9]

In 1995, Salem testified that he left Cairo for New York in 1987, leaving behind his wife, two children and a 17-year career in the military in Egypt. After his arrival in the United States, he married Barbara Rogers, an American whom he met thanks to her cousin. His testimony lasts a month[10]. He indicates that Omar Abdel Rahman suggested that he kill Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Detroit in 1993[11]. He also confesses numerous lies throughout his career, notably to the FBI agents who recruited him and to his second wife[12] . In July 1993, he was placed under the United States federal witness protection program[13] and changed his place of residence regularly[14].