(WASHINGTON) — A convicted terrorist said that shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, Osama bin Laden told him that the next attack would strike a fatal blow to the American economy.
In a video testimony played in a New York court Monday, Saajid Badat, who was convicted in London of a December 2001 plot to blow up a U.S.-bound flight with a bomb in his shoes, recounted his meeting with the al Qaeda leader just after the 9/11 attacks.
“So he said the American economy is like a chain,” Badat said. “If you break one — one link of the chain, the whole economy will be brought down. So after [the] Sept. 11 attacks, this operation will ruin the aviation industry and in turn the whole economy will come down.”
By “this operation,” Badat was apparently referring to his own mission — the destruction of an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami just three months after 9/11. Badat backed out of the plot at the last minute, but another convicted terrorist, Richard Reid, attempted to go through with it on Dec. 22, 2001. The explosives hidden in his shoes, however, did not ignite and Reid was arrested.
Badat’s testimony came as part of the trial of Adis Medunjanin, who stands accused of plotting to attack New York’s subway system with suicide bombs in 2009. The admitted ringleader of that plot, Najibullah Zazi, broke down in tears on the stand last week while testifying against his comrade.
When asked then by the prosecutor if he still considered Medunjanin a good friend, Zazi began to cry, and said, “I love him.” Zazi’s tears became sobs when he was asked if he believed Medunjanin intended to carry out the suicide bombings. Zazi hung his head, and after a short pause, whispered, “yes.”
Officials previously told ABC News that documents recovered in the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden nearly a year ago showed that the terror leader grew increasingly frustrated with his organization’s inability to pull off other another attack on the scale of 9/11.
After it was revealed that bin Laden plotted to kill President Barack Obama and then-military commander David Petraeus, one national security official said bin Laden “clearly had bold ambitions to kill as many innocent people as possible. But al Qaeda’s capabilities did not match Bin Laden’s intent. Leading up to and since bin Laden’s death we know that al Qaeda’s capacity to pull off those types of complex attacks has been greatly diminished, and that Bin Laden himself spent much of his time brooding and providing guidance that often fell on deaf ears.”
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