Secret Tape Shows Plot to Kidnap Kissinger in New York Bombing

Article excerpt

The man alleged to be the mastermind of a plot to bomb the United Nations said he was told to kidnap Henry A. Kissinger as trade bait to free those charged in the World Trade Center bombing, according to secretly taped conversations.

Several hundred pages of transcripts, reviewed by The Associated Press, give the clearest view yet of an alleged conspiracy that prosecutors say included the bombing. Fifteen men will stand trial in the conspiracy case in September.

Four men were convicted Friday in the bombing of the World Trade Center. They face up to life in prison without parole at their sentencing May 4.

The conversations were secretly recorded by Emad Salem, a government informer who is expected to be the prosecution's star witness in the coming trial. So far, lawyers in the case have filed about 500 pages of the roughly 1,000 pages of transcripts in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Several dozen pages had been leaked to news organizations.

According to transcripts:

A plot to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak outside the Waldorf Astoria Hotel was thwarted when the FBI learned of the plan.

Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, 55, a blind Egyptian cleric who prosecutors say inspired and authorized the conspirators, told the men "to inflict damage to the American Army."

Siddig Ibrahim Siddig Ali, said to be the mastermind, wanted to kill a man because he thought the man was an FBI informer. That man, Abdo Mohammed Haggag, is expected to testify against the other defendants.

Siddig Ali suggested sniper attacks on Jewish leaders in Manhattan, including state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who at one point had pushed to have El Sayyid A. Nosair retried in the killing of extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane. Nosair was convicted of related weapons charges and is charged in the plot to bomb the United Nations.

When the defendants were arrested in the trade-center case, Siddig Ali suggested to Salem that they could kill some FBI agents in retaliation. He also said that if the defendants were sentenced to life in prison, "We'll hit them with missiles, and we will take hostages."

William Kunstler, Siddig Ali's lawyer, said the defendants had been manipulated by Salem.

"These guys are hopped-up guys, Islamic fundamentalists," Kunstler said Sunday. "They have wild thoughts, no questions about it. But wild thoughts are not a crime."

The defendants in the conspiracy case were arrested June 24 during a raid on a garage where some of the men were found mixing chemicals, alleged to be for a bomb. …