“This Is for Destroying Airplanes”

Secret video shot by an FBI superinformant on the job.

In November 2003, FBI informant Shahed Hussain met with Mohammed Hossain, a pizzeria owner in Albany, New York. Hussain bragged about supplying weapons to his “mujahid brothers” and showed off a Stinger missile. In January 2004, Hussain gave Hossain $5,000. Yassin Aref, a local imam, was brought into oversee the transaction. Both men are now serving 15 years for money laundering and providing material support to terrorists.

Hussain recorded his conversations with Hossain and Aref in two undercover surveillance videos. In the first, he shows Hossain the missile launcher. “Do you know what this is?” he asks in Urdu. “This is for destroying airplanes.” (Read the full transcript of the video here.) In the second video, Hussein gives Hossain $5,000, which the pizzeria owner seems to think is a loan. Aref counts the cash. “Okay, let’s do some business, okay?” Hussein tells them. “Let’s make some money, okay?” (Read the full transcript of the video here.)

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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