2000 millennium attack plots

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The Year 2000 attack plots, also known as the Millennium Plot, were a series of terrorist attacks that were planned to occur on or near January 1, 2000, with the bombing of four sites in Jordan, the bombing of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and the bombing of the USS The Sullivans (DDG-68).[1] The first two plots were foiled by law enforcement agencies; the third failed after a boat filled with explosives sank before detonating.

Jordan bombing plot[edit]

In Jordan, members of al-Qaeda planned to bomb four sites: a fully booked Radisson hotel in Amman, Jordan; the border between Jordan and Israel; Mount Nebo, a Christian holy site; and a site on the Jordan River where John the Baptist is said to have baptized Jesus.[2] These locations were chosen to target tourists from the United States and Israel. The most active participant was a Bostonian taxi driver named Raed Hijazi.

On November 30, 1999, Jordanian intelligence intercepted a call between Abu Zubaydah, the leader of the plot, and Khadr Abu Hoshar, a Palestinian militant terrorist. In the conversation, Zubaydah stated, "The time for training is over." Sensing that the attack was imminent, Jordanian police arrested Hoshar and fifteen others on December 12, 1999.

The authorities put twenty eight suspects on trial. Twenty two of them were quickly found guilty. Six of them, including Hijazi, were sentenced to death. Abu Zubaydah was sentenced to death in absentia. Loa'i Mohammad Haj Bakr al-Saqa and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, were sentenced in absentia in 2002, for their part in the plot which included using poison gas during the bombing.[citation needed]

LAX bombing plot[edit]

Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian citizen living in Montreal, Quebec planned to bomb Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on New Year's Eve 1999/2000. He was arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Port Angeles, Washington, a U.S. port of entry, on December 14, 1999. Customs officials then found a cache of explosives that could have produced "a blast forty times greater than that of a devastating car bomb" and four timing devices hidden in the spare tire well in the trunk of the rented car in which he had traveled from Canada.[3][4] He and three other Algerians stood trial for the crime. Ressam began cooperating with investigators in 2001. He was initially sentenced to 22 years in prison, but in February 2010 an appellate court reversed and remanded the case based on procedural errors and recommended that his sentence be extended.[5]

USS The Sullivans attack plot[edit]

In Yemen, members of the group planned to bomb the USS The Sullivans (DDG-68) with a boat laden with explosives. Terrorists deployed a bomb-laden boat on January 3, 2000, but the over-loaded bomb boat sank before detonating.[6][7] Richard A. Clarke (former US National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism), in his book Against All Enemies, says that at the time, no law enforcement agency in the world knew about this plot.[8]


After the attack on The Sullivans failed, al-Qaeda tried the same type of attack a second time. They successfully bombed the USS Cole (DDG-67) on October 12, 2000.

On July 19, 2004, it was revealed that the U.S. Justice Department was investigating former National Security Advisor of the Clinton administration, Sandy Berger, for unauthorized removal of classified documents in October 2003 from a National Archives reading room prior to testifying before the 9/11 Commission. The documents were five classified copies of a single report commissioned from Richard Clarke, covering internal assessments of the Clinton administration's handling of the plots. An associate of Berger said Berger took one copy in September 2003 and four copies in October 2003.[9]

The Radisson SAS hotel in Amman was successfully bombed by terrorists in 2005.

While in prison, Ressam revealed that al-Qaeda sleeper cells existed within the United States. This information was included in the famous President's Daily Brief delivered to President George W. Bush on August 6, 2001, entitled Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US.

A 2011 NPR report claimed some of the people associated with this plot were imprisoned in a highly restrictive Communication Management Unit.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Planned Jan. 2000 Attacks Failed or Were Thwarted; Plot Targeted U.S., Jordan, American Warship, Official Says", Vernon Loeb, The Washington Post, December 24, 2000 (subscription required) (mirrored at [1])
  2. ^ "Amman Radisson Targeted in Foiled Millennium Attack". ABC News (American Broadcasting Company). November 9, 2005. Retrieved February 4, 2015. 
  3. ^ U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (February 2, 2010). "U.S. v. Ressam" (PDF). Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Complaint; U.S. v. Ressam" (PDF). NEFA Foundation. December 1999. Retrieved February 26, 2010. 
  5. ^ "'Millennium bomber' sentence overturned; feds seek longer one". CNN. February 2, 2010. Archived from the original on March 29, 2010. Retrieved April 21, 2010. 
  6. ^ Federal Bureau of Investigation (2004). "Terrorism 2000/2001 2004–306-694" (html). www.fbi.gov. United States Government Printing Office. Retrieved February 4, 2015.  (PDF version)
  7. ^ Piszkiewicz, Dennis (2003). Terrorism's war with America: A history (first ed.). Westport, Conn.: Praeger. p. 123. ISBN 0-275-97952-0. Retrieved February 4, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror" Richard A. Clarke. ISBN 0-7432-6823-7[page needed]
  9. ^ "Sandy Berger to plead guilty on documents charge". CNN. April 1, 2005. Retrieved May 23, 2010. 
  10. ^ DATA & GRAPHICS: Population Of The Communications Management Units, Margot Williams and Alyson Hurt, NPR, 3-3-11, retrieved 2011 03 04 from npr.org