| Niaz Khan |
Defected from an al Qaeda plot to hijacker civilian airliners. Warned the FBI in 2000, but they were told by higher ups not to take him seriously.
Niaz Khan defected from Al Qaeda in 2000, and warned the FBI of their plans to attack civilian targets in the United States. The FBI were uninterested. Khan tells how he grew disillusioned with his gambling debts and his job as a waiter, how he was recruited to travel to Pakistan for training for jihad, outside a London gambling establishment, by a recruiter who offered to pay off his gambling debts. He describes being trained just outside Lahore in how to hijack planes. His trainers had mockups of Boeing aircraft for the training. He was then to travel to New York City, in April 2000, to join a cell intending to attack civilian targets in the USA. However, he described having cold feet, and failing to meet his contact at the airport. He described gambling away all his contingency money, and fearing punishment from his terrorist handlers, how he approached the New York FBI and warned them that al Qaeda was planning to hijack planes to attack civilian targets in the USA.
He was debriefed by the FBI for several weeks and although he passed two lie detector tests, the FBI ignored his evidence and sent him back to the UK, where he was interviewed by UK security officials, who also didn't show interest in his revalations.
The Guardian quoted Khan's reaction to watching the September 11 attacks:
“I could not believe my own eyes. It was like everything I had said, everything I had been told by al-Qaeda. I was in no doubt. Same plan. Perhaps someone from the training camp was on board one of those planes. Perhaps, if I had not run away, I would have been there.”
Niaz Khan
Khan was interviewed by NBC News in 2004, on national TV.