July 2, 2006

Intelligence Briefing:
Revolution & Terrorism

Burying the July Fourth Massacre

Part 1: The White House vs. Israel

Ariel Sharon & George Bush
U.S. State Dept.
The Joke’s on Israel: Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President George Bush share a laugh at the White House one year after the LAX massacre. Bush continues to deny it was terrorism. (July 29, 2003).
On July fourth, 2002, Hesham Mohamed Hadayet entered the international terminal of Los Angeles International Airport with a message to deliver. He walked over to the ticket counter of El Al, Israel’s airline, at the far end of the terminal, pulled out a semiautomatic handgun, and began shooting randomly. Even while two El Al guards were tackling him, he was able to fire ten rounds and stab one guard with a knife before an Israeli undercover security officer shot him dead. Amidst two victims dead and seven injured, Hadayet’s message of pro-PLO terror was received loud and clear by Israelis.1

But not by the Bush Administration. Even though the nation’s first Independence Day celebration since the 9/11 attacks was taking place under an elevated terrorism alert, the perpetrator was an Arab, and the victims were Israeli and American Jews, the president and his advisors quickly dismissed any suggestion of terrorism.2

An Egyptian immigrant living in Irvine, California, Hadayet was carrying a fake driver’s license together with his real one during the assault, and was discovered to have a history of using aliases and fraud in overstaying his visa while managing to win legal residency. His trail of legal violations was so serious that Attorney General John Ashcroft subsequently ordered a review of thousands of other suspicious immigration cases for potential terrorist links.3 The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also told the press Hadayet had been on an FBI watch list. But under pressure from the White House, FBI spokesmen later denied that Hadayet had been on any watch list, and that the Bureau was instead pursuing the notion that he was a mentally disturbed individual who conducted the suicide attack for no particular reason.4

During Hadayet’s visa application process in the early 1990s, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) discovered that he had been a member of the radical Gama’a al-Islamiyya (the Islamic Group), an Egyptian-based terrorist organization. Hadayet had earlier admitted his connection, though he later denied it when trying to remain in America.5 The Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat reported that Hadayet may have met with Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the head of the Egyptian wing of the terrorist group Islamic Jihad, twice when Al-Zawahiri visited the U.S. during the 1990s.6 And employees who worked for his taxi service testified that he repeatedly expressed intense hatred against Israel.7 Yet with President Bush adamantly refusing to suggest terrorist motives, FBI officials ignored the INS evidence and publicly maintained they could find no evidence of connections to terrorist groups — and even flatly denied Hadayet was anti-Israel.8

Hadayet was no amateur. He went on his mission well prepared, armed with two fully loaded handguns, a 9-millimeter and a .45-caliber typically used in law enforcement or the military; he also had extra magazines loaded with bullets and a 6-inch knife. He clearly intended to go into full battle before his death, and the professional arrangement of his weapons in his pockets, set up for rapid reload and continued assault, led officials to admit “that he had experience using firearms.”9 But even as inside FBI sources admitted terrorism was on their minds, the FBI’s official posture fell into step with the White House, declaring the attack “an isolated incident” with no terrorist motives.10

Israeli authorities, from El Al Airlines up to Israel’s consul general in Los Angeles and its Transportation Minister, had no question this was a deliberate act of terrorism. Certainly the Israelis had experience with airport attacks. In 1972, a team from the Marxist Japanese Red Army attacked Israel’s crowded Lod Airport with machine guns, killing 26 and injuring 72 on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), an overtly Marxist wing of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO); in 1985, the PLO struck again at El Al counters at Rome and Vienna airports, using gunfire and grenades to kill 18 civilians.11

But political pressure from the Bush Administration turned every American agency and political official against Israel in denying terrorism. With White House spokesman Ari Fleischer leading the charge, the FBI was soon joined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), California Governor Gray Davis, Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn, and L.A. Police Department chief Martin Pomeroy in prematurely labeling Hadayet a lone nut with no terrorist connections — before any evidence had been gathered.12

Apparently eager to keep Americans from reacting against the PLO and its allies, U.S. officials still now maintain their official denial of terrorist organizing behind the July fourth massacre. However, mounting evidence indicates Hadayet was, in fact, a soldier on a mission assigned by Egyptian intelligence, which supervises PLO terrorism while its government receives billions of U.S. foreign aid dollars each year.

– Continued in Part 2 –


1. Weiss, K.R. & Landsberg, M., “Gunman kills two at LAX,” Los Angeles Times, July 5, 2002, pp. A1, A20; AP, “LA Airport gunman on FBI watchlist,” Sydney Morning Herald, www.smh.com.au, July 5, 2002; Blankstein, A. & Leovy, J., “FBI looks for motive in LAX attack,” Los Angeles Times, July 6, 2002, pp. A1, A16.

2. Weiss, K.R. & Landsberg, M., Op cit.; AP, “FBI alert on stadiums,” CBS News, www.cbsnews.com, July 4, 2002; Mathews, J. & Weinstein, H., “A matter for debate: Was this a terrorist attack?”, Los Angeles Times, July 6, 2002, p. A17.

3. Weiss, K.R. & Landsberg, M., Op cit.; McDonnell, P., Connell, R., & Mohan, G., “LAX gunman angled for visa,” Los Angeles Times, July 9, 2002, pp. B1, B11; Krikorian, G. & McDonnell, P.J., “Ashcroft orders review of asylum cases,” Los Angeles Times, Sept. 26, 2002, p. A22.

4. AP, “LA Airport gunman on FBI watchlist,” Op cit.; Gross, T., “LAX attack: the view from Israel,” National Review Online, July 10, 2002; “LAX gunman may have met with Bin Laden deputy,” Ha’aretz, www.haaretzdaily.com, July 7, 2002; Blankstein, A. & Leovy, J., Op cit..

5. Krikorian, G. & McDonnell, P.J., Op cit.

6. Gross, T., Op cit.; “LAX gunman may have met with Bin Laden deputy,” Ha’aretz, Op cit.

7. Dixon, R., Leonard, J., & Connell, R., “Those who knew LAX killer say personal agenda died with him,” Los Angeles Times, July 14, 2002, pp. A1, A26; Gross, T., Op cit.; “LAX gunman may have met with Bin Laden deputy,” Ha’aretz, Op cit.

8. Krikorian, G. & McDonnell, P.J., Op cit.; Mathews, J. & Weinstein, H., Op cit.

9. Blankstein, A. & Leovy, J., Op cit.

10. AP, “LA Airport gunman on FBI watchlist,” Op cit.

11. Sterling, C., The Terror Network, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York, 1981, pp. 125-126; Gross, T., Op cit.

12. AP, “LA Airport gunman on FBI watchlist,” Op cit.; Gross, T., Op cit.