Intell Face-off Part II:
The CIA’s Greatest Intelligence Failure

by Anthony C Heaford

al Qaeda is a location, not the organisation. 

I visited al Qaeda in 1997, on the last day of a business trip to Yemen. I was taken there against my will, to a secluded collection of buildings one mile outside of the town. This two minute video shows that journey: 

al-Qaeda al-Askariya - the Base [of] the Military

A military base was established by the Sultan of Egypt and Syria (Saladin) on this location over 800-years ago by an invading army led by his brother in 1174 A.D. Locals continued to refer to the area as “The Military Base” or "al-Qaeda al-Askariya” long after the soldiers had left and when a town was established there some 200-years later they kept the name, only shortening it to “al Qaeda” - the Base.

So what does an ancient town in Yemen have to do with a terrorist entity of the same name, founded in Afghanistan in 1988? On September 26 1997 I was taken to al Qaeda town after I had described a plan exactly like the one executed on September 11 2001. I know this, but I can’t prove it and I accept it is very shaky testimony to be discount the CIA’s assertions with. I hope the evidence I’ve collated below will give weight to my assertion that the CIA has deliberately and consistently lied about their knowledge of and involvement with the terrorist entities now known as al Qaeda.

al-Qaeda - the Base

The CIA first publicly identified “al Qaeda” in a "Osama bin Laden fact sheet published by the State Department on August 14 1996 State Department press release, saying:

"Bin Laden gained prominence during the Afghan war for his role in financing the recruitment, transportation, and training of Arab nationals who volunteered to fight alongside the Afghan mujahedin. By 1985, Bin Laden had drawn on his family's wealth plus donations received from sympathetic merchant families in the Gulf region, to organize the Islamic Salvation Foundation, or al-Qaeda, for this purpose."

that “al Qaeda” is the name

It was the CIA who first identified a group led by Osama bin Laden

al Qaeda, or “the Base” is a 600-year old town in the highlands of southwest Yemen, its name originating some 200-years before when the location was used as a military base by the armies of Saladin, around 1175. 

The first recorded use of the words "al Qaeda" is in notes from a meeting held in Afghanistan in August 1988. It was between Osama bin Laden and Mohammed Loay Bayazid “regarding the establishment of a new military group”  consisting of: 

·      a general camp

·      a special camp

·      a base (Qaeda)

It is noted that Bayazid is assigned to produce a staged plan and time-frame for the above. He also notes: 

“All this [the Afghan/Soviet War] to start a new fruit from below zero”


“Initial estimates, within six month of the Base, 314 brothers will be trained and ready"

Although I didn’t realise it at the time, I now know my unscheduled meeting besides al Qaeda town was with al Qaeda, the terrorist group. 

This assertion of an incontrovertible link between al Qaeda town and the terrorist group known by the same name contradicts the CIA’s assertion of no link, a fake news assertion that they have planted in journals such as Newsweek (2015) and the New York Times magazine (2017).

How does a 600-year old town in Yemen become connected with a terrorist organisation that began in Afghanistan in 1988? Badluck and its proximity to the multi-billion dollar business empire called the HSA Group I think. And how does the HSA Group, with its headquarters just a few miles away from al Qaeda town, become involved with a terrorist group like al Qaeda?

According to the New York Times and Newsweek magazine it doesn’t; they published articles in 2015 and 2017 stating the naming is purely coincidental and the town has no connections to the terrorist group known as al Qaeda.

If that was all we knew about al Qaeda town it would be easy to dismiss any connection between the town and its terrorist namesake and that is exactly what journalistNewsweek and the New York Times have done


But the CIA’s error was not in confusing a location name with the group’s name - the CIA’s greatest error was thinking they could get away with doing that. I intend to expose them.

al-Qaeda al-Askariya - the military base - was established over 800-years ago during the conquest of Yemen by the armies of Saladin

August 11 1988

said “I see that we should think in the origin of the idea we came for in the beginning. All this to start a new fruit from below zero""

The CIA will be unaware of these notes until 2002, when they recover them during a raid

ed al 

 ed al 

May 15  1988

The final and complete withdrawal of Soviet combatant forces from Afghanistan began. The Afghan mujahedeen and foreign Jihadis supported the CIA’s Operation Cyclone, had defeated the Soviet Union. 

I visited al Qaeda town in 1997, on the last day of a business trip to Yemen. I was taken against my will to a secluded collection of buildings one mile outside the town, in what I initially thought was a kidnapping. As our jeep sped along a narrow treelined entrance my fears eased a little; as the bright sunshine dappled throught the trees and on to the windscreen I felt a sense of calm, as though entering a sanctuary.

This was all in 1997

The unscheduled meeting was cut short after I broke one of the 

was my previous conversations with the customer about hijacked planes being used as missiles to strike the World Trade Centre in New York. I had unwittingly been sent to 

As I entered 

The first recorded use of “al Qaeda” in the context of a paramilitary group was on August 11 1988. 

The word was recorded in notes taken at a meeting between five principle mujahedeen commanders in Afghanistan, including Osama bin Laden.

Using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) al Qaeda is correctly spelt al Qa’idah. The CIA use the variation al Qa’ida, as shown on the front of their July 2005 report attempting to justify the use of torture. The most commonly used spelling remains 'al Qaeda’. 

Qaeda is an Arabic word meaning “base” and since 1996 the CIA have been using the term publicly to describe a single unified enemy of the United States

The CIA’s spelling can be seen here on the front of a report in which they attempt to justify 

In  the CIA uses the spelling al Qa’ida.

Truly, for some of us nothing is written, unless we write it 
© Anthony C Heaford - The Quiet Mancunian