A new Israeli connection to the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 has recently been unveiled. Buried in a New York Times story on Feb. 19 was the eye-opening revelation that a Lebanese Muslim Arab who has been taken into custody by the Lebanon - which has accused him of being a spy for some 25 years for Israeli intelligence - just happens to be a cousin of one of the Muslims alleged to have been one of the 9-11 hijackers.

Although Ali al-Jarrah was - publicly - an outspoken proponent of the Palestinian cause, it now turns out that he was actually working as a paid asset of the Mossad for more than two decades, betraying his own nation and conducting spying operations against Palestinian groups and the pro-Palestinian party Hezbollah.

The New York Times, reporting on the al-Jarrah affair, revealed this: "It is not the family's first brush with notoriety. One of Mr. Jarrah's cousins, Ziad al-Jarrah, was among the 19 hijackers who carried out the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001." The Times added that the men were 20 years apart in age and "do not appear to have known each other well."

The gratuitous Times suggestion that the two cousins "do not appear to have known each other well" is intriguing, inasmuch as it is an admission that they did, in fact, know one another. And that could be very telling, for there are those who are now suggesting that the older cousin may indeed have recruited his younger cousin as an asset for Israeli intelligence.

The circumspect stance taken by the Times is no surprise, considering the fact that the Times is quite aware of the fact that there have been many sources - including American Free Press - which have alleged that the 9-11 conspiracy was infiltrated, if not controlled outright, by Israeli intelligence from the beginning.

If the younger al-Jarrah was indeed an Israeli asset inside the 9-11 conspiracy, this would not be the first time that a Muslim Arab was involved, acting as a Mossad agent, in an attack on the World Trade Center. As far back as August 3, 1993, investigative reporter Robert I. Friedman revealed in New York's Village Voice that Ahmad Ajaj, a 27-year-old West Bank Palestinian held in federal custody for conspiracy in the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, may have been a Mossad mole, according to Friedman's sources.

Ajaj was arrested at Kennedy Airport on Sept. 1, 1992, after he arrived on a Pakistani International flight from Peshawar carrying a forged Swedish passport and bombmaking manuals. He was taken into custody, and subsequently pleaded guilty to entering the country illegally.

Ajaj's traveling companion was Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, an Iraqi who law enforcement sources say was a "key player" in the first World Trade Center bombing.

And it should be noted that it was Ajaj who was the source of the famed "al Qaeda terrorist manual" that was widely touted by the FBI in the wake of the second World Trade Center attack in 2001. In addition, Ajaj's colleague - Ramzi Yousef - is the nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohamad, whom the U.S. government has said was the "mastermind" of the 9-11 attacks.

In this regard, it is also important to point out that, for many years even prior to the first attack on the World Trade Center, there were many figures in Islamic circles who believed that Mohamad and Yousef were actually undercover assets for Israel.

Although the FBI identified Ajaj as a senior intifada terrorist, with links to Hamas (the Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization), Kol Ha'ir, a respected Hebrew language weekly published in Jerusalem, said Ajaj was never involved in intifada activities or with Hamas or even the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Instead, according to Kol Ha'ir, Ajaj was actually a petty crook arrested in 1988 for counterfeiting U.S. dollars out of a base in East Jerusalem. Ajaj was convicted of the counterfeiting charges and then sentenced to two-and a- half years in prison.

According to Friedman, writing in The Village Voice: "It was during his prison stay that Mossad, Israel's CIA, apparently recruited him, say Israeli intelligence sources. By the time he was released after having served just one year, he had seemingly undergone a radical transformation."

Friedman reported that Ajaj had suddenly become a devout Muslim and an outspoken hard-line nationalist. Then, Ajaj was arrested for smuggling weapons into the West Bank, supposedly for Fatah al-Islam, a faction of the PLO.

But Friedman says this was actually a sham. Friedman's sources in Israeli intelligence say that the arrest and Ajaj's subsequent deportation were "staged by Mossad to establish his credentials as an intifada activist. Mossad allegedly 'tasked' Ajaj to infiltrate radical Palestinian groups operating outside Israel and to report back to Tel Aviv.

Israeli intelligence sources say that it is not unusual for Mossad to recruit from the ranks of common criminals.

After Ajaj's "deportation" from Israel, he showed up in Pakistan, where he turned up in the company of the anti-Soviet mujahideen rebels in Afghanistan. (Incidentally, Andrew Allen, a wealthy San Francisco character who likes to take on assignments for the CIA to prevent boredom, admitted under oath "running" supplies into Afghanistan. He was also instrumental in destroying Liberty Lobby and its newspaper, The Spotlight.)

This could indicate that Ajaj was working for the Mossad, for - according to Covert Action Information Bulletin (September 1987) - the funding and supply lines for the mujahideen were not only the "the second largest covert operation" in the CIA's history, but they were also, according to former Mossad operative Victor Ostrovsky (writing in The Other Side of Deception), under the direct supervision of the Mossad. Ostrovsky wrote:
It was a complex pipeline, since a large portion of the mujahideen's weapons were American-made and were supplied to the Muslim Brotherhood directly from Israel, using as carriers the Bedouin nomads who roamed the demilitarized zones in the Sinai. After Ajaj's ventures with the mujahideen, he popped up in New York and purported to befriend members of a small so-called "radical" clique surrounding the blind Sheikh Abdel-Rahman, who was accused of being the mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing.
On Feb. 26, 1993, the actual day of the World Trade Center bombing, Ajaj was "safe" in federal prison serving a six-month sentence for entering the country on a forged passport. Later, he was indicted for conspiracy in the WTC bombing.

According to Robert Friedman, "If Ajaj was recruited by Mossad, it is not known whether he continued to work for the Israeli spy agency after he was deported. One possibility, of course, is that upon leaving Israel and meeting radical Muslims close to the blind Egyptian sheikh, his loyalties shifted."

However, Friedman also reported another frightening possibility: "Another scenario is that he had advance knowledge of the World Trade Center bombing, which he shared with Mossad, and that Mossad, for whatever reason, kept the secret to itself. If true, U.S. intelligence sources speculate that Mossad might have decided to keep the information closely guarded so as not to compromise its undercover agent."