An al Qaeda operative and one-time New York City travel agent sought to use his expertise in shipping to smuggle biological and nuclear weapons into the United States in ocean containers, according to leaked documents disclosed by Wikileaks.
The documents identify the suspect as Saifullah Paracha, a 63-year-old Pakistani businessman who worked in New York and is now held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.
The file on Paracha, whose son is serving a 30-year prison term in the U.S. on terrorism-related charges, identifies him as a member of a small group that supported Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the planner behind the September 11 terror attacks. Paracha was part of an al Qaeda terror network that sought to launch new attacks in the United States after September 11, according to reports on the Wikileaks documents by The New York Times.
Paracha had worked in the export-import business and offered to smuggle explosives in ocean containers carrying clothing shipments, according to the documents.
U.S. investigators say he told al Qaeda planners "how explosive materials could be smuggled into the U.S.," according to a document identified by Wikileaks as a secret dossier on Paracha.
"Detainee offered his assistance with the shipment of explosives into the U.S. and advised (al Qaeda) on shipping and port security," the dossier said. "With his knowledge of international shipping, business connections and stature within Pakistan, detainee was an extremely valuable asset to al Qaeda and its operations."
According to the file, investigators said Paracha was concerned detectors installed at ports around the United States "would make it difficult to smuggle radioactive materials into the country."
Paracha's role in al Qaeda planning has been reported on before, but the new documents paint a detailed picture of his alleged actions, including money laundering and work to create and release al Qaeda videos, and his close relationships with the inner circle of the terror group's planning.
He was arrested in 2003 in Thailand after his son, Uzair, gave authorities information about Paracha's activities.