A few months back, I traveled to London, where I interviewed a veritable who’s who of the city’s most notorious Islamic radicals and wanted terrorists (see my reports here, here and here). But perhaps my most fascinating interview on that trip was my lengthy conversation with a man who has actually renounced violent jihad—at least, of the “offensive” variety.
Noman Benotman is a former terrorist and one-time friend and associate of both Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. He was also a former commander of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group—which was dedicated to overthrowing the Qaddafi regime and setting up an Islamic state in Libya.
During our hour-plus conversation, Benotman shared fascinating insights into the mindsets of bin Laden and al-Zawahiri, including their views of the United States and their thought process in the run-up to the 9/11 attacks.
And Benotman would know: Just one year prior to the 9/11 attacks, he was one of 200 leading jihadists from around the world to be summoned to Afghanistan for a meeting with bin Laden in which an “upcoming major operation” against America was discussed.
To hear about that meeting and to get “inside the mind” of bin Laden from someone who knew him well, click on the viewer above.
The interview is also featured in the latest episode of my new show, “Stakelbeck on Terror.”