A long article in the LA Times tells us that Muslim convert Jack Roche, at least according to his lawyer, tried to tell Australian intelligence officials about Osama’s plans for 9/11 — but no one cared.
PERTH, Australia — When Jack Roche telephoned Australia’s intelligence agency in July 2000, he offered a tantalizing story: He had been to Afghanistan and ate lunch with Osama bin Laden. He had received training in explosives and plotted with Al Qaeda leaders to carry out a bombing in Australia.
A Muslim convert, Roche was prepared to become an informant, his attorney says, and provide information about Al Qaeda; its Southeast Asian affiliate, Jemaah Islamiah; and their goal of staging an attack in a Western country.
But at the time — 14 months before the Sept. 11 attacks — no one was interested.
It wasn’t until 2 1/2 years later that authorities decided to take Roche seriously and arrested him on terrorism charges. Last week he was sentenced to nine years in prison for conspiring with Al Qaeda leaders to blow up the Israeli Embassy in Canberra.
While many Australians applaud the country’s first conviction under new anti-terrorism laws, Roche’s case is a tale of intelligence failures that illustrates how poorly Western security officials understood the threat posed by Islamic extremism.
I wonder if they understand it any better now.