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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
03SANAA2700
2003-11-12 13:21:00
SECRET//NOFORN
Embassy Sanaa
Cable title:  

FBI DIRECTOR'S 11/5/03 MEETING WITH YEMENI

Tags:   PTER  PREL  IZ  YM  COUNTER  TERRORISM 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 SANAA 002700 

SIPDIS

NOFORN

DEPARTMENT FOR NEA, NEA/ARP, NEA/EX, S/CT, CA, DS/DSS,
CENTCOM FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/12/2013
TAGS: PTER PREL IZ YM COUNTER TERRORISM
SUBJECT: FBI DIRECTOR'S 11/5/03 MEETING WITH YEMENI
PRESIDENT SALEH

REF: SANAA 1256

Classified By: CTC AUSTIN G. GILREATH, for reasons 1.5 (b) and (d).

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 SANAA 002700

SIPDIS

NOFORN

DEPARTMENT FOR NEA, NEA/ARP, NEA/EX, S/CT, CA, DS/DSS,
CENTCOM FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/12/2013
TAGS: PTER PREL IZ YM COUNTER TERRORISM
SUBJECT: FBI DIRECTOR'S 11/5/03 MEETING WITH YEMENI
PRESIDENT SALEH

REF: SANAA 1256

Classified By: CTC AUSTIN G. GILREATH, for reasons 1.5 (b) and (d).


1. (S/NF) Summary: On 5 November 2003, FBI Director
Mueller, accompanied by Ambassador, met with ROYG President
Saleh in Sanaa. The Director pressed Saleh on the urgent
need to arrest al-Qa'ida members at large in Yemen; expressed
concerns over the ROYG's release of arrestees who may be
associated with terrorism; and cautioned Saleh of the
apparent financing and recruitment of Yemenis to go and fight
against coalition forces in Iraq. Saleh told the Director
that ROYG security forces were committed to the Global War On
Terrorism and were doing everything possible to be good
partners with America. Saleh further complained that the USG
was putting undue pressure on him without providing the
necessary tools (financing and technical support) to
accomplish the mission. The Director was firm in his
insistence that Yemen's CT performance must improve,
particularly in regards to the sharing of intelligence. End
summary.


2. (C) On the evening of 5 November 2003, the FBI Director,
the Ambassador, FBI CT Director John Pistol, Staff Assistant
Jonothan Soloman, and Embassy FBI representative Carlos
Fernandez attended a 40-minute meeting with President Saleh
at the Presidential Palace. Minister of Interior Rashad
al-Alimi, and Political Security Organization Director BG
Ghalib Qamish also attended the meeting, as well as a sidebar
meeting with the American contingent before President Saleh's
entrance. Qamish and Alimi provided the Director a written
request for future CT support.

--------------

YEMEN'S CT PERFORMANCE MUST IMPROVE

--------------


3. (S/NF) After initial pleasantries, the Director raised
three issues: that the USG wanted to assist the ROYG in
pursuing and arresting al-Qa,ida members at large in Yemen;
that there were serious concerns in Washington surrounding
the reported impending release of detained radicals who had

supposedly promised not to conduct operations in or against
Yemen; and that the USG had information indicating an effort
by some elements in Yemen to recruit or conduct fund-raising
for Yemenis to travel to Iraq to conduct terrorist operations
against coalition forces. The Director said that he was
concerned and desired increased cooperation to jointly
develop intelligence on terrorists located in Yemen and
elsewhere.


4. (S/NF) The Director told Saleh that he saw many
similarities in the current conditions of USG-ROYG CT
cooperation and conditions between the USG and Saudi Arabia
prior to the 12 May 2003 terrorist attacks in the Kingdom.
He went on to describe the significant improvement in
cooperation (for example, the capture of Swift Sword) that
followed the attacks and stated that he wanted to see that
same level of cooperation and partnership in Yemen.


5. (C) President Saleh responded that he and his government
shared common concerns in the CT arena with the USG, but that
it was placing pressure on the ROYG without providing
necessary financial and technical support. He stated that
the ROYG was fully committed to the GWOT, but that the ROYG
would not take orders from the USG. Saleh said that the ROYG
was not afraid of the USG like other countries in the region
were, and would not be &intimidated into8 participating as
a partner in the GWOT. Saleh criticized the anti-Yemen
position held in Washington, and said that those
decision-makers were relying on false information delivered
by the Embassy and various agencies.


6. (S/NF) President Saleh said that the Embassy was relying
on weak intelligence and that this would harm the joint
relationship. As an example, Saleh cited the reported
release of Hadi Dulqam. Saleh said that there was no truth
to this and that the Director needed to trust him and his
security apparatus in this matter. In this way, by the
Director trusting what Saleh (or one of his representatives)
directly said and not what the Embassy said, the relationship
could improve. Saleh said that he wanted to be a partner
like Pakistan or Egypt, with commensurate support and trust.
The Director countered that such trust only comes with time
and positive experience.

--------------

THE RELEASE ISSUE

--------------


7. (C) Saleh said that the Ramadan 2003 release of
detainees was a very contentious issue and that no conclusion
had yet been reached regarding its implementation due to
lingering security concerns. Saleh said that the number of
candidates for release had been pared down from an initial
152 last month to the current figure of 92, and that the
number would likely further be reduced. Saleh said that of
the group of 34 who were released during Ramadan in 2002,
some had returned to the Hitat Camp and were re-arrested --
but he added that all releasees were subject to continual
surveillance by ROYG security forces to ensure they did not
carry out any further attacks.

--------------

KHALID ABDUL NABI

--------------


8. (S/NF) Saleh said that during June 2003, while he was in
Germany, Khalid Abdul Nabi was involved in an attack on a
Yemeni medical team deployed in the Abyan region. Saleh said
that following the attack Abdul Nabi surrendered himself, and
his 40 soldiers, to the Presidential Diwan and that Saleh
had personal discussions with Abdul Nabi. Based on Abdul
Nabi,s promise not to conduct another attack in Yemen, Saleh
released him and told the Director that he (Saleh) could
offer a 75% guarantee that Abdul Nabi would not conduct
another attack.

--------------

ABU ASIM AL-MAKKI

--------------


9. (S/NF) The Director told Saleh that many senior
officials in Washington are frustrated with the ROYG,s
continuing failure to capture al-Makki. Saleh responded
vigorously that he was prepared to use tanks if necessary to
destroy al-Makki. Saleh insisted that the ROYG did not know
al-Makki,s current location and that if the USG had any
targeting data (even partial information) the ROYG was
prepared to conduct operation to kill al-Makki. Saleh said
that circa 2 November 2003 he had dispatched an emissary to
negotiate the surrender of al-Makki (no further information).
Saleh further criticized the USG by stating that it had
failed over a period of years to capture Usama bin Laden, but
still raised inappropriate expectations for the ROYG in its
pursuit of al-Makki. Saleh said he believed the last known
location for al-Makki was in the al-Jouf region. The
Ambassador corrected Saleh and said the embassy had reason to
believe he was in the Hadda District of Sanaa. BG Qamish
concurred with this assessment.

--------------

HOW TO IMPROVE FBI/ROYG COOPERATION

--------------


10. (C) The Director finished the meeting by requesting
ROYG commitment to expand existing FBI-Yemeni cooperation in
three issues. First, to extend the sharing of fingerprinting
and DNA-mapping information to detainees currently in Yemeni
custody. Second, to allow for the participating of FBI
specialists in the ROYG,s efforts to hunt down fugitives.
Lastly, to expand the exchange of intelligence and to allow
FBI officials to participate in the interrogation of
terrorist suspects. Saleh deferred on these issues, but
nominally accepted FBI assistance in cases of the USS COLE
escapees Fadl al-Quso and Jamal al-Badawi. He added the ROYG
security forces had arrested hundreds of suspects who
remained in Yemeni jails, but that many of these individuals
were merely suspects and had not committed a crime.
Accordingly, Embassy requests for personal data on them (and
grouping them in with proven criminals/terrorists) were
inappropriate and there would be no sharing of such data
because merely planning to commit a crime was no the same
thing as actually committing it.
MISENHEIMER