2 Episode results for "Bin Laden Auden"
11: Assault on Al-Qaeda, Part 1
"June two thousand six in the dead of night a Chinook helicopter lifted off from a secluded desert airbase in Iraq inside elite troops from Britain's Special Air Service the SAS were sitting side by side. They were checking their weapons ammunition night vision goggles and radio equipment these fighters were part of a secret of Unit code-named Task Force black they we're traveling towards a remote farmhouse on the outskirts of Baghdad inside was their target Abu Musab Al's Hikari the mastermind into behind countless bombings kidnappings and beheadings as the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq as the operation approached the farmhouse to smaller helicopters flanked them they were accompanied by a couple of smaller headquarters lynxes with snipers in them that would orbit over the target and then last in the order if you like this little fly on Mada were a couple of big helicopters with the force that would be used to put what they call a calm around the Alpha the corden being the belt of security so that if anybody jumped out the window made a run for it S- quarters as they call them they edit eh either the people in the helicopters the orbiting snipers or the call would take care of those people the fighters landed stealthily onto the Desert Floor Floor and began closing in on the property to scouts climbed over a small stonewall and crawled towards the farmhouse looking for signs of life and and possible entrance points pinning their backs against the uneven concrete. They peered through a crack in the wall to catch a glimpse inside inside the building walls if you like a protection detail of people for this particular Amir that's at the SAS targeted there were at least two possibly three wearing wearing suicide vests they will hall a dozen sold rifles. There were dozens of hand grenades. These people are heavily armed. They must be protecting being something or someone important but could it be. Abu Musab also Cari finally after years of brutal anarchy in the war-torn country. Could this be his end. Welcome to covert show about the shadowy world of international espionage top secret military operations rations. The entire country was essentially embroiled in a civil war. There is a beheadings every day. They're suicide bombings. There is retaliatory acts of terrorism going on between the city and she answer every day you would wake up and read about murders decapitations types. I'm Jamie Rennell and I'm going to take you inside history's greatest special operations missions to learn about the brave soldiers and operatives who risked their lives to terminate the world's most wanted eliminate terrorist threats and protect countless innocent law. Abu Mussa Balza Cari had been thought to be responsible for years long bloody war in Iraq. Was this evil I think arguably over over the last several years no single person on this planet has had the blood of more innocent men women and children on his hands then Sarkar why and how and why did our colleagues terror begin but as a cow is doing in Iraq is trying to destroy completely the state in order to to rebuild it and from the ashes of this date we will rebuild the new state and this new states will be sort of carbon. Call me of the Caliphate. This is the true story of Task Force Black and the killing of one of Iraq's most vicious terrorist leaders Abu Abu Musab all's Hikari this is assault on al-Qaeda part one the rest of the fighters from task force black joined the scouts at the perimeter wall of the rustic farm building but as they drew near something surprised them mark urban even the author of two thousand eleven's task force black the explosive true story of the special secret forces war in Iraq as the SAS men from B squadron of twenty two s started to move towards the AL for the target. They realized it was not going to be a typical sort of mission. They they thought they could hear sounds inside the building. They approached the building very gingerly and a few of the men walked around a parked car that was under a car park and to to that surprise and satisfaction found that there was a door just wipe behind the call. If all's are Cowie one of the world's most wanted aged terrorists was inside. Why would he leave the door wide open. Would it be so easy to get inside. The unit opted to enter the compound through through the door only to find it was a trap almost as soon as they went through the door. They were hit by a hell of bullets the people inside clearly the news somebody who was coming they were armed and they will wait so they'd. Father's initial volley of bullets hit a couple of the SAS guys the SAS go always withdrew. Obviously they had casualties to treat so they withdrew to a safe distance. The airwaves were alive at moment with reports that there was resistance instance inside the building under they needed to take the appropriate action immediate action deal without resistance immediately for the commander on the spot a number of very difficult questions some of these incidents where heavy resistance was encountered they simply pulled back and dropped a bomb on the building and killed everybody inside for many different raisins the SAS on the ground decided not to do they wanted this person alive for intelligence purposes the longer they withdrew from the action the more opportunity to terrorists. I would have to destroy data that could lead the coalition forces to other Al Qaeda compounds the team again advanced towards the open door. They felt it was is worth trying to fight their way and that's what we did. They went into the building. They started to engage people in the dauntless in the rooms as they went into the building trying to clear Rimbaud task force black ran through the building taking out each al Qaeda operative in their path while al Qaeda fighters sprayed the night air with AK forty eighty seven fire but the al Qaeda cell were no match for the methodical and controlled fighting style of task force black suffered many casualties now. The downstairs was secured but the upstairs still needed to be investigated as one of the SAS fighters entered the stairwell of the farmhouse farmhouse. The top of the stairs above him was dark with no sign of life. He slowly walked up the stairs readying himself for any signs of booby traps. APPs were ambush as he reached the top step on the stairs a figure appeared as one of the SAS men who who was a staff sergeant. A team leader went up the stairs to the upper level. There was a suicide bomber waiting for him at the top of the stairs who detonated his suicide. We saw device. There was an explosion the SAS man was bloom down the stairs. There was a man down but special forces continued up the stairs moving past. Ask the now dead suicide bomber. The rest of the house was cleared. The fighters scan the rooms to their horror. Several women and children were caught up in the blast tragically. There were no survivors among them. The soldier however was still breathing with only slight bruising and Minor Lacerations Association's he would recover meanwhile operatives had captured five male al Qaeda hostages with the House now clear threat task force black started looking for any evidence linking the House with Alexander Cowie and to the teams surprise the sound of footsteps came came from above them grenade hit the ground outside the compound next to the entrance of the property followed by a flurry of machine gun fire there were other people they've been throwing grenades and opening fire at the SAS. They were killed to another man wearing a suicide vest a squirt or as they call it flat the back of the building and hate under a car that was parked behind the building. He was taken out. It's not clear whether it was one of the snipers helicopters talk about a corden forces were around the building the tallest building the Alpha so at the end of a sort of terrifying twenty minutes. There were a whole lot of dead people in this building including one person blowing himself up in an attempt to kill US soldiers. Another who hadn't had a chance is to detonate his best was lying dead under the car. There were spent cases grenades got every one of the date al Qaeda members that the has been stepped across. I've seen a photo of this had a grenade in his hand with the pain removed and clearly steph quite gingerly across him as they tried I to see what else was in the building. The special OPS mission proved to be a success inside the house. We captured five senior ranking members of al-Qaeda. We didn't know at the time they were senior. Ranking we thought or suspected they were because of the way they dress because of their mannerisms but we didn't really know what we had. That's it's the voice of Matthew Alexander senior military interrogator who oversaw the team tasked with finding out who those five men were and more importantly if they could lead him to Abu Musab collie. This was a guy who had murdered thousands of people in fact he murdered many more people than some of Bin Laden ever. Did you could say a colleague could be responsible for upwards of one hundred thousand deaths by starting the civil war in Iraq he wanted to be the leader of all tied in Mesopotamia and he I saw this struggle as part of the larger al-Qaeda struggle for dominance in the Middle East but is really all about him and his the strategy was to start a civil war in Iraq between Sunni and Shia and he believed American forces. We get mired down in that civil conflict and then the American public would demand and we be withdrawn when he didn't count on is that we would stay now. I know you've heard me talk about the great courses sources plus before and I wanNA bring it up again because I really can't speak highly enough of these folks. I love their streaming service. It's called the great courses plus and it's priceless source of knowledge and just about any field. It's a streaming service that offers thousands of different lectures on a billion different topics. Now the word lecture conjures I to mind division of me falling asleep my backpack in a room full of a thousand other students. This is not that the topics are incredible and they are taught by people who actually really have done whatever it is. They're teaching and they really care about what they're talking to you about. 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I'll ZERKALO WE IN THE NEW GENERATION Loretta Napoleonic other cow is a working class individual. It does not belong to an elitist family in that is very very different from the majority of the lead there some of the Jihadist Movement and arcade them his his background is he was a criminal. You know he spent time in Jordanian prison for sexual assault salt he was a drug dealer. He was a petty criminal Jordan. Well there is a there's a narrative which you find in the lives of of quite a lot the people who got involved without Kaieda and I suppose you could say that there's a period in their lives which you might call the sinful years crazy years as I mean you saw it with some of the nine eleven hijackers that there was a period of their life when they've been drinking heavily and doing lots of things which clearly Islam would consider very very very Harare unplayed Zaccaria was one of those people I mean accounts differ as to whether he was actually hard boozing villa in his hometown now it's certainly true that he was involved in some forms of crime and that he probably had some kind of a piff unie some kind of moments when he realized that he he's life was going the wrong way and the Islam was the answer for him and of course many of those people who had kind of experience often in jail became the most militant jihadist because they felt they had redeemed their lives and discovered purpose in one thousand nine hundred nine. All ZACCARIA traveled to Afghanistan to become a freedom MM fighter against the Soviet occupation it was there he met his mentor and Inspiration Osama bin Laden at the beginning of two thousand finally finally Auxerre car. We met Osama bin Laden. It was a very interesting meeting with the leader of al-Qaeda a very very powerful man in Afghanistan. Also cow was a novelty. It was the leader of this small group of individuals who did not even have a name that did not not have base and the reason why are the Cowie met is because he was looking for a sponsor he was looking for money. He wanted to set up a little camp where he could look after his followers. Osama bin Laden offer Cowie to become part of Al.. Okay dumb former White House counterterrorism adviser Fran Townsend Sir Kelly really came to at least my attention I think many in the counterterrorism community me during the millennium the ninety nine to two thousand period there had been a series of raids in Jordan and there was a threat in inside Jordan there was tremendous cooperation between the FBI the CIA and our Jordanian counterparts during in fact we deployed a number of FBI agents. It's over to Jordan to work with the CIA and the Jordanians and during the course of that investigation it became clear the leader of the cell was an individual by the name of Zarcal. We we knew he was an important terrorists figure. We knew he was an important operational leader. I don't think anyone at that point in time. Imagine you you know more than a decade later we would be chasing him inside. Iraq where he would become an even more influential figure in Al Qaeda in the wake of September eleventh much of the Al Qaeda leadership went into hiding in the tribal belt between Afghanistan and Pakistan the United States had begun its invasion of Afghanistan Afghanistan Zorka we and other al-Qaeda fighters meanwhile had crossed over to Iran and then into the northern Iraq region known as Kurdistan now now that move is very much the beginning of the making with made because the Americans were informed of the existence of outsor- Cowie at the end of two thousand and one by the Kurdish secret service the Kurdish secret service alerted Americans the odds are Cowan was the link between between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein it was clear as we were in Iraq the increasing importance of czar calloway inside al-Qaeda circles he had come up during the course of the war in Afghanistan people understood his importance as an operational leader and he was clearly trusted by bin Laden Auden and Al Qaeda senior leadership and so when he was deployed if you will from the federal administrative tribal aries into Iraq we understood as the the American counterterrorism community that this was a significant event this was he was well liked by soldiers and al Qaeda. He was well respected by leadership. He was incredibly capable he was experienced and so he had that unique combination of skills that would allow him to be a real force on for al Qaeda against US inside Iraq in two thousand three the US and other coalition forces entered Iraq and the Saddam Hussein regime quickly collapsed but it created a major power vacuum houser Collie who was hiding in the shadows kick started a campaign of violence. He stirred up the hatred between Iraq's two main religious groups the majority Shia Muslims and the minority Sunnis he then created a militant group with the aim of killing as many many Shias as possible and sparking a brutal cycle of violence across the nation and it was drawing the attention of the United States especially Secretary Three of State Colin Powell on the fifth of February two thousand and three calling power when to Security Council and in front of the words presented also Cowie as link between Qaidam and Saddam Hussein nobody at art of Our cowie before that day I mean everybody in the community of terrorists expert and never heard his name interestingly pressingly enough from that moment onwards also cowie became the men masterminded immaturity of the terrorist various attack which had taken place after nine eleven also Conway's group was named by intelligence officials al Qaeda in Iraq or for short short a Q. I when you look at Al.. Qaeda's mission in Iraq is our couch mission. We mistakenly look at these organizations as terrorist groups. This is too narrow. These are revolutionary organizations that want to spread an idea they can return to what they call a caliphate of fourteen centuries old old concept that there's a pure way to live according to the Koran Prophet Muhammad targets included bombing the offices of the United Nations and the Red Cross regular attacks tax on the basis of US military coalition forces but in an effort to maximize casualties the terrorist group shifted its attention to targeting public markets. It's police stations mosques and with it media coverage and in the eyes of our Collie this was attention on his movement and an important recruitment Krugman tool former interrogator and author of how to break a terrorist Matthew Alexander. There's a large influx of foreign fighters into Iraq after the Abu Abu Ghraib scandal which was essentially al-Qaeda's number one recruiting tool for convincing young Muslims from all across from everywhere from North Africa all across the Middle East to come to Iraq and fight in what they termed Jihad in these foreign fighters were extremely potent because they were the ones who made most of the suicide bombers so they're the ones that essentially we're also the most brutal I think the largely the ax you see like beheadings happen because of these foreign fighters and not so much because of Iraqis Al-Zour collie orchestrated numerous suicide bombings a devastating series of attacks in March two thousand four killed close to two hundred people at she a holy sites czar Cowie was is at the top of the target list inside Iraq one because of the bloodshed he was causing and not just of Iraqis. I mean this. This terrorist leader became a primary source of injuries and killings of our own soldiers and coalition forces and so absolutely he became prominent on the scope of the president in terms of briefings and targets then on May eleventh two thousand four als. Cowley became linked to a new outrage. US intelligence analyst list discovered a video on a jihadist website it featured a civilian man being paraded in front of heavily armed al-Qaeda fighters. He wore a Guantanamo ontong obey style orange jumpsuit the analysts immediately recognize the civilian as Nick Berg a twenty six year old communications expert from Pennsylvania Selena he had been kidnapped in Iraq a month previously the video showed his unimaginably horrific death so nick Berg at having gone there on rather naive and optimistic hope he might find work got kidnapped in the north of Iraq and essentially he sold sold by the kidnap gang to militant Islamists who of course a loyalty to other missiles Howie when the time came that he had outlived his usefulness to then they murdered him and the video is one of those horror show type of jihadist videos in which long knife life is used to cut his throat and you can even hear the sound of knife owned by its screams a truly horrific video but the point is at the beginning of video capture in original fooling was released and it says Abba Miss Up also call always slaughters in America now a lot of people at the time couldn't quite understand why he was choosing to if you lie incriminate night himself in such a grant and grisly fashion he it he appeared in the video. He's thought to wielded the knife. The intelligence analyst sued looks at it felt that the words of the figure speaking in the video were him. It was his voice based on previous analysis of the voice but he was hooded so why do this why incriminate yourself by putting your name at the beginning of the video. The general view was that the kind of propaganda of the deed that very much informed the Jihad time. There's a Collie could see that if he publicized himself what he was doing as a really militant irreconcilable suitable enemy of the Americans that this would bring him money from the collections in mosques for the Jihadi would bring him volunteers from across the Arab world. I did that calculation. He was right. Do you ever wonder why the big wireless providers in two thousand nineteen costs so much I mean that's true with like TV's and electrical equipment and cars all that stuff. So why are they still so expensive. It's because of the retail stores. 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Unlock your phone for you so you're not stuck with them because you bought a phone from them added no that by the way the folks at Mit Mobile Noble helped me with that so to get your new wireless plan for just fifteen bucks a month and get the plan shipped to your door for free go to mint mobile dot com slash covert art. That's meant mobile dot com slash covert and that's important slash covert cut your wireless build a fifteen bucks a month at mint mobile dot com slash covert once again former FBI NCAA senior official Philip Mudd. The guy was so brutal so tough. It's sort of like a Mafia family operating in New York City. If you kill everybody else eventually people stand back and say well we got a big guy the big big dog on the corner in town and we'd better be careful so just the brutality and the effectiveness have his efforts against. I the Americans and then locals I think people stood back and say this guy's a blow torch. We better let them roll. It wasn't that we're losing. It was just we should you know it was just like when will this end in. How will it end. I didn't have any sense that we had reached a crescendo former assistant secretary of defense. Tom O'CONNELL well I. I don't think there's any question that he was intimately involved with a number of suicide bombings beheadings he certainly had a a major propaganda campaign going we knew him to be in contact with Osama bin Laden. He really put the crosshairs on his own head by all these spectacular acts all the press that that he was receiving so he was important as a figurehead. Berg's death was a signal to the world that Al-Zour calories reign of terror was escalating to mythic proportions. I think the legend was bigger than the man because what the Iraqi Sunni started to believe in those people who had joined al Qaeda was that if the Americans can't can't kill a poem can't stop him then maybe he was predestined to win the war and so you had little kids in the street you know pretending to be hummus also cowie because he was essentially invincible in the fact that we couldn't find him kind of added to his legend in also helped them to recruit new fighters which was extremely important to them was to bring in other. Sunni insurgent groups in foreign fighters in Iraq in so finding a boo missiles are Kobe was more than just decapitating the leadership fall Qaeda was also about disproving the idea the al-Qaeda could win the war in Washington ending ulcer conway's reign of terror had become a top priority for President Bush and his inner circle of advisers. Fran Townsend said that they had to untangle the web of small elements that made up always network with with all kinds of Iraq. Frankly what we what. We said we needed to do when we saw them. Having the mental was to step back and say okay what has given them this momentum clearly they had these individual cells clearly they were able to share bombing expertise clearly removing moving some money and then component pieces to explosives and so you begin to break it down you say okay. I have to look at each of the discrete elements How is he moving money. How are they communicating. Where are they getting the component pieces for what are each of the components and what would you need to put it together and I'm going to target each discrete discreet tiny little element if I can begin to pull little elements away. Suddenly the whole thing falls of its own weight and that's exactly what happened. The president encouraged the entire community military intelligence all of it to look at how they could support each other in pulling discreet little elements away to be creative live to find the technology that it was going to require and the intelligence it was gonNA require and that's exactly what the military and the intelligence community did you come and I and the days where you have where the momentum you feel like the momentum hasn't been with you you start with your thought is really so much so so simple all its let nothing blow up today. Let me get through today with nothing blowing up and I can if I can string two and three and four days together I can then switch switch the momentum. I mean you really you start. When momentum is not with you and you're frustrated with very modest goals. Let us get through this day and figure out how to make that two tim days. Al-Zour Cowie seemed to have the power to strike it will and yet somehow he remained completely hidden when you really didn't know what he was doing in Iraq back in. We didn't know like diddy lives there to have kids there. Where was he moving What was his support network. I think what most counterterrorism officials I will tell you as you go through periods where you feel beleaguered right you go through periods where you have your making very limited progress and you're trying to understand why that that is why does he seem to have momentum behind him and you're trying to figure out what can. I do to change that dynamic but anybody who's been in this fight will tell you that's what that's what happens you go through these periods and you've got to push through and you've got to understand what is it. That's giving him the momentum and how do you take that away from him. He was so well hidden that no one had a recent photo of him. Let alone any idea where he might be. He didn't use a mobile phone for fear. It would be tracked. He only met with a select group of trusted advisers visors whose whereabouts were also on known finding Al-Zour cowie would prove difficult but not impossible over a period of analysis this they had picked up on a few predictable elements of zircon ways movements. We knew that we had a spiritual adviser. We knew that he was going to visit him. We identified a car hard that he was going to take to get there and so as you got each of those little elements you understood that it was absolutely inevitable that would be successful is just just a matter of being patient because eventually he would. We had enough intelligence and enough of a network that eventually he was. GonNa make a mistake us an opportunity and that's exactly what happened through the combined efforts of interrogators under tremendous amount of pressure to deliver results quickly every day we were reminded minded how important it was to find an killer capture. Obama suttles Kylie because use the key to winning the war and that pressure was reinforced for a variety of leaders leaders continuously on us and task force black. The momentum had shifted the the rates of his network. We're getting faster and closer to him so you had the sense. We're we're going to get there. You had you had an increasing confidence that we were getting closer that we putting the squeeze on and and that the military was ultimately going to be successful. Al-Zour Cowie's final days are upon him. That's next time on covert. Covert is an audio boom in world meteorites co-production hosted by me Jaime Rennell. It's produced by audio booms. Ben Hostile Rachel Jacobs is Casey Georgie and Karen Bevan and by Pascal Hughes for World Media Rights we had additional production help from world meteorites by Gerald's Abankwa David mcnabb mcnabb is the series creative director and the executive producers for audio boom are Brendan Regan and Stewart last if you haven't already don't forget to follow us on spotify fi or subscribe on apple podcasts Stitcher or wherever you find your favorite shows you can also find us on instagram at covert podcast and and if you've got some time give us a review.
Bonus Episode: "Felix Sater Unbound"
"For some time now felix sater's has been an international man of mystery at the center of the trump russia story. It was seder a real estate associated advisor. Donald trump who in two thousand fifteen dreamed up the idea for a gleaming trump tower and moscow now a project that he hoped would garner the blessing vladimir putin say there was also a convicted felon who in the nineteen ninety s had been indicted and convicted of of working with the mafia on a fraudulent pump and dump stock scheme that bilked investors out of millions of dollars but seder was also something else a secret government informant who he claimed all the while he was ranging deals for trump was dining out mobsters swindlers and terrorists to the f._b._i. And c._i._a. Yea just how important in genuine sater's cooperation with the government has long been a subject of debate but now newly revealed documents unsealed field by a federal judge flesh out the picture and it turns out vindicates seder more than his critics ever would have imagined quote sater's cooperation was of the depth and breath rarely seen federal prosecutors in brooklyn wrote in two thousand nine in a letter just now made public by the u._s. Judge judge who oversaw his case for approximately ten years they wrote sater continuously worked with prosecutors and law enforcement ages to provide information in crucial to the conviction over twenty different individuals including those responsible for committing massive financial fraud members of la cosa nostra organized is crime families and international cyber criminals and that's not all seder also flew off to afghanistan and central asia where he tapped his sources mrs to provide the c._i._a. With information on the whereabouts although some ah bin laden his satellite telephone numbers the internal structures and financial capabilities as of al-qaeda and for good measure he gave the government details of an assassination plot against then president george w bush it's the latest twist the trump russia saga and we'll dissect it with seder himself on this special bonus episode of skulduggery because people have gotta know whether or not their president's. I'm not a crook. I told the american people i did not trade arms for hospital my heart to my best intentions still tell me that's true but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not i did not have sexual the license without one there will be no lies. We will honor the american people with the truth and nothing else. We had the international man of mystery himself in the studio felix sator welcome to skulduggery. Thank you guys. Thanks for having me so. This is your first interview since the government's five k. letter was released five k. Let are being what the prosecutors submit to the court requesting a downward departure from the sentencing guidelines to leniency now. You've told a lot of people about your cooperation over the years. I think it's fair to say that some of that was met with skepticism but the government in its letter they called an exemplary cooperator and they said sater's cooperation was a breadth breadth and depth rarely seen. You must feel some measure of vindication well first of all. I haven't been talking about it for a long time. This says twenty years that i was doing it and i never discussed it with. Anyone never told anyone just in passing very lightly without going into details but any the last three years the press has been extremely brutal to me and it was very painful and on fair and only at that point that i say a it because i just figured everyone has positives and negatives in their life. Good behavior bad behavior while not everyone me. Let me speak for myself and that's where i felt it was unfair on fair and i mentioned it but for seventeen years prior to that. I never told anyone i did it because i didn't do it for any accolades and i didn't do it for any acknowledgement. My did it because i felt it was important and now that this has come out and yet because for three years people have been saying has to bullshit but i mean because a lot of it is pretty pretty extraordinary i mean including providing the satellite number of <hes> osama bin laden and other information at a time when <hes> bin laden and al qaeda we're preparing and engaging series attacks against the united states leading up to nine eleven look. I knew he was a bad guy. I knew i had the skills and the ability to help protect our country and in some cases maybe even take him out and somebody that i knew who wanted to hurt american citizens. I want to do harm to our country. How could i not do it felix. There's so much to unpack here but i think one question that everybody is going to have is he is who reads about this letter and all the work you did undercover exposing mobsters in exposing cybercriminals exposing dozing russian organized crime figures and exposing terrorists is how do you know all these people. How did you have the contacts to help the government in the ways. They said you did in this letter. Kohl calling just kidding. That's what you did as a real estate. Guy not grow cold caller as a stockbroker. I started as a cold then became a stockbroker a were all one or two or three degrees of separation from anybody on this planet and i made my purpose and my mission to go and find these people will and whenever i would meet somebody that i thought that could be helpful in that direction. I would cultivate those relationships whether it was an aghanistan or in russia or even in the united states. Let's go to afghanistan because that's what i think. People are gonna start and think it sounds a bit improbable. You're a guy you were born in russia. You were raised in brooklyn. You grew up in new york. You started in the stock. How do you have contacts in in afghanistan that could help reveal <hes> plans about stinger missiles and satellite phones for osama bin laden well well first of all remember that russia had a warrant aghanistan prior to our warrant afghanistan and at that war we were supplying the mujahedeen which were fighting the soviets and in ninety seven ninety eight. I was working on a telecommunications deal in russia. Telecommunications in russia was pretty much controlled by their gre you which is their military intelligence arm so i ran across all of these people and one of the guys happen to have been an advisor and arms dealer to a hmong shama sued who was the head of the northern alliance off my ashoka sued if you remember was the guy who was killed by al-qaeda two days before nine eleven because he was pro american and bin laden knew now that after nine eleven the u._s. would use him as a proxy to wage war so they decided to cut the head off at the top and they assassinated him two days before nine eleven. I was introduced to the guy that i knew in russia who is working on the deal with me was very close to him. He was a senior adviser eiser in fact. There's whole bunch afghans schmidt schmidt cough yes right who is a former russian g._r._u. Officer who became an arms dealer yeah that's him and he introduced me to a bunch of afghan guys because at that point the war was over and he was an adviser to them selling them arms all all sorts of stuff and he introduced me to them and i call dated those relationships but i don't know how to answer how do rely <hes> you know how to meet. These people not all it's been interesting to say the least and let's pick up on that. 'cause i wanna go back in time. Because in some ways yours is a great american immigrant story of sorts and you know you have this extraordinary trajectory from mob connected fraudster mr to <hes> one of the federal government's most important witnesses <hes> in the generation so let's start from the beginning. You're born in russia. I i was born in moscow nineteen sixty six. I emigrated with my family. We left as political refugees. We had to pay to give up our soviet passports and you know you have to understand. Being jewish in the soviet union wasn't exactly a price. There was a lot of anti-semitism. It was difficult place. They never consider us russians. I never considered myself russia. Still don't i consider myself jewish and i don't think of myself as anything other than an american. I came here. When i was seven years old. We review you are a relatively well to do in russia. Your father random important barge meat market right. Yes we were very wealthy in moscow but it wasn't an issue of money was was an issue of you know but you end up in brooklyn. Yes we lost. Everything and your father has to start all over. We left a life of comfort to become immigrants imigrants simply because three generations of my family. We're trying to get the hell out of there. Both my great grandparents on both my maternal alan paternal side were both executed by the soviets my grandfather my father's father watched his father getting shot in the head by a soviet commissar. My mother's father was sent to gulags because he had a couple of chickens and horses and a cow and he died because they railroaded him and sent to jail just because they were trying to collectivize all the farmers so we have had a hate a family hate towards anything soviet and by extension. I'm guessing russia and we came here and we left literally a life of comfort to come here because money can't buy you a feeling of being able to go go to sleep and feeling good about yourself so little felix sater's you're delivering the <hes> the jewish forward the great yiddish newspaper covering that was hawking hawking it and <hes> <hes> board right on the boardwalk in brighton beach you go to this <hes> tough high school abraham lincoln high school and then <hes> you go to pace university pace university and you get interested in finance and a fancy wall street firms are beckoning pick up the story from there where i started going to patient versity driving a limo at night to make money and going to school by day and there's an opportunity to go work at a place called bear stearns as an assistant literally coal caller and i went there part time so about two weeks into the job the broker that i was working for us as assistant listen gets his paycheck and i think his paycheck and again this from memory so don't hold me to it was something like fifty thousand dollars or sixty thousand dollars for the month that evening i went back because there was a career night at pace and pace university's at the foot of the brooklyn bridge so it's really close to wall street. It's walking distance and my the job was at fifty. Five water so happened to go back to pace and in my fraternity was a guy who was like the smartest kid in pace and he was going to you graduate magna cum laude and the career night. He's all excited because of an accounting firm was going to give him something like twenty seven thousand dollars a year as the starting salary and the guy sought bear stearns just got a check for fifty thousand for the month and i knew that my fraternity brother was ten times smarter than the <unk> mad at at bear stearns and i said wall street finance. If these guys could i can do it effectively dropped out like a week later and went to wall street fulltime <hes> and a key part of your origin story is a bar in a restaurant. I guess a mexican restaurant tex in tex mex acts in the thirty s in manhattan. Well let me say this. You know the history that is printed is always stock fraud case. I went to wall street and worked for many years in the most legitimate firms. The only reason that that came around is because of what you're mentioning now. I was a stockbroker working at very legitimate firms arms very successful went to a it was a bar. There was our regular bar because our office was at six o five third avenue which is i think fortieth street and this is l. Rio grande on. I think it was thirty eight th street so it was literally the place that we had lunch. Dinner drinks everything so there apparently is still alert. I haven't been back in a while. I was there. We were there to celebrate. One of the guys getting has broker's license a lot of drinking and there was a guy at the bar and i was at the bar and we were drunk and we got into a bar fight. It was just two guys full of piss and vinegar masters of the universe because he was also a he was a commodities. He's trader fire member or a currency trader here was this is this is ninety-one so i had already been working on wall street four six seven years and it was over woman if i want. I don't even know if you could say over a woman because neither he knew her. I knew her but there was a woman. Alcohol and a woman always an alcoholic the woman straight out of tom wolfe so we get into a bar fight and you know he's a little earlier than i am knocked down a few times. I kept getting up. I guess i'm just too stupid. Stay down and you know. I saw him going for beer bottle and i grabbed a margarita glass. I did not break it. I it was one motion. He was going for beer bottle title. I went for the first thing i could grab. I hit him. I my life's trajectory changed completely. I was subsequently the next day a that was taken to the hospital first of all but i was arrested and eventually i wasn't smart enough to figure out what to deal with it because i didn't think a bar fight and everyone likes to make it sound like there was something horrible. Wasn't that horrible 'cause. He tried to drop the charges. All he wanted was fifty thousand thousand dollars from me pain and suffering which i gladly did have one hundred ten stitches. I've lost a fifty grand. I paid him but he didn't want to press charges the d._a. Wouldn't let him because the d._a. Wanted to put pressure on my dad and subsequently explain that which part art by with the d._a. Dash around your dad they they. I don't know you'd have to ask them. They wanted to and eventually i went to trial which was a mistake lost at trial and i was sent to jail and i was sent to jail rikers rikers island yeah that was that was a classic spent about three months in rikers and and then i hired a new attorney who got me out on appeal bond so now i'm out of jail three months but i still have a sentence hanging over me pending ending the appeal. I've got no money. I've got a young daughter who was born. My firstborn probably haven't paid rent in three months on remember the details of one of my financial issues then and my attorney who needs to file the appeal so that i don't go back to jail says it's one hundred thousand for the appeal you know as a felon in this country. You can't even get a job at mcdonalds plus. I was angry because i felt that it was unfair. That i went to jail over a bar fight where the victim wanted to drop the charges charges no matter what you say no matter what his injuries were he wanted fifty grand and to drop the charges feel free to call him and ask him and he'll tell you that that's the truth the d._a. Wouldn't let them so. I was angry and i needed money and that's how i got involved in the stock fraud but for many years i was working as a very legitimate stockbroker. Let's discuss us the stock fraud because it's it is laid out in the five k. letter because they do want to spell out the crimes that you committed with some pretty the unsavory characters a bunch of mobsters with ties to all the major cosa nostra families in new york at the time. How did you get involved with them. Well the thing is they were very much a fixture on wall street in the shady part of wall street read which i was never a part of until right after the bar fight until going to jail and i started a firm with three other friends and partners and when you're doing criminal stuff the criminals show up because all of the guys that were working there were either from brooklyn and staten island and your brooklyn kid kid right you know everyone's got a friend so any argument about anything as oh. I'm gonna go to my uncle or i'm going to my guy or whatever and eventually they try to show open external cue so the idea that they were any kind of masterminds they weren't they were muscle. Anytime there was an argument whoever whether it was somebody shorting the stock or are fighting or to brokers fighting over a book or whatever it was they would wind up. You know some guy in brooklyn with valid the end of his name wanted to have a conversation conversation and those conversations always and badly unless you have somebody of a similar stature to protect you and my grew up in brooklyn new all those guys so that's how they came into the picture but it was certainly wasn't affirm that they were a part of we gave them some money and some i._p._o. Profits to keep deep the other wolves at bay. That was the involvement of the mob. It's been described as a pump and dump scheme. Just explain that in plain in english what you were doing well. We were taking companies public. We would buy the stock very cheaply. I in a private placement was very elaborate. We would buy in offshore company names. We'd pay ten cents for the warrants. We take the company public at five dollars a share we would pump the stock to ten dollars but our warrants which were exercisable and price at say six dollars or five dollars and fifty cents now became worth five dollars something that we pay ten cents for then in many cases didn't even pay the ten cents so you raise the price to ten dollars and then you start moving out your position to basically basically unsuspecting investors and you had to launder the prophets in offshore accounts well no actually the money was already in the the names of offshore accounts but because the brokers needed to be paid and they were paid in cash. That's where the laundering happen because you needed the money to pay. Everyone and you couldn't really write them a check. So that's where the laundering happen so you start this because you need to pay your legal yes tees yes and then you eventually do a fairly significant amount of time for that bar. At how how long were you were you in all totem fight against about fourteen months fifteen months which you know if understand the entire stock fraud thing last two years or a little less than two years of which a year of it i was in jail so and i voluntarily it says it in my paperwork. Actually i voluntarily left myself in ninety six and stop being involved in that dirty business and it's it's years later before the feds know about to tell the story of how they get onto this fraud scheme they found a locker with some paperwork working some guns which somebody who's involved with us had and <hes> they knew a little bit about it. I guess so you know they started investigating gating and as soon as i found out by this time you where are you when when i get to call i was i was sent. I was asked by <hes> a member of the royal family. I'm lou charles spencer churchill who's actually winstons nephew and diana the one who died diana second wait a second. How do you know ooh winston churchill's grandson. I come on what how do you know this guy churchill joel. I was introduced to him by somebody from the walk. Tell family which is walked out lipton the big law firms york. They introduced me to him and i paid him to be the on the board of things or sort of you know you bring them around. It's like you know celebrity. You bring a celebrity around. I brought a royal family member around and paid him for the pleasure pleasure of his company and he tells me that a friend of his invested like ten million dollars in a telecommunications company in russia now. You have to understand it at this point. I'm already out of the stock business and i'm looking to you know what's next. What am i gonna do with my life. I don't want to be involved in illegal crap so he tells me about this situation that the guy invested in a phone company in russia and <hes> he said could you help them out. Maybe ask around. I said sure it was was a time of opportunity. In russia was like the wild west communism had just fallen. They literally had no institutions of any kind whether it it was banking or anything else. Nothing's regulated regulated. If the wild wild was completely wild wild west and there's opportunities in you know back here on a convicted felon for a bar fight and i can't even get a job at mcdonalds there. I'm a russian speaking wall street specialist ironic that the <hes> you know the refugee from the soviet union has to go back to russia to take advantage of unbridled capitalism yeah exactly that way we because capitalism was a crime and you went to jail if you bought a pair of jeans for ten dollars and sold them for fifteen you actually went to jail for that right because that's what socialism eliza him and communism means. Most people. Don't get that but i was born there so i know exactly what the disease of socialism actually means so yeah i went there and i i start asking around about this. Guy's investment and i can't get all the doors kept getting slammed in my face so i pick up the phone and i call if gani who who was introduced to me by somebody that i met in york who was studying finance. He was russian who had worked for of guinea in the past and he was living in new york and studying finance. We met at some restaurant and i literally would help him with his homework. Sometimes remind us who have kenny is again. He's the former g._r._u. Intel ed jenny schmakov. How do we pronounce his last name now. You said it right. It doesn't matter so russian last name. Nobody's gonna go the difference either way okay so then he's not listed so it doesn't matter anyway so i call him and i say listen <hes>. I'm trying to find out about this company now. I was introduced to him. Siree had dinner with him a few times times where he developed sort of light friendship mice that i have an issue trying to find out about this company in saint petersburg. Do you know anything about it. He said you know let me figure it out. A day goes by. He calls me the next day and says come to dinner. I show up at dinner and it's him and these two guys in suits but you can tell that they're intel military you could tell by the bus cut haircuts and they basically turn around and say to me. You know you're asking a lot of questions about this. You should stop asking thing while you still have the ability to ask questions and i looked in their eyes and realize these guys were not kidding. I'm from brooklyn sign all pretty much who's <hes> fulla shit and who can actually do a little damage gentlemen. You'll never hear from me again. I get up to leave. They said no no no wait a second. We're not finished speaking with you at that point. Did i got extremely uncomfortable. Please sit down okay so i sat down. We're talking and they said forget about this other guy. He just invested in something but you know you speak russian. You're on wall street for so many years. We have the ability of starting a telecommunications company. That could be worth billions of dollars. You've done stand at that time calling into russia's like three to four dollars a minute so there was a great opportunity to rent a transatlantic cable from a._t. And t. and then resell it whether it was phone card parts selling private companies basically like a private company like an and i said sure let's go because i wasn't investing any money and these guys told me we have everything licensing we could you know we control the whole process here. I got very excited about it was a good opportunity and eventually as i started dealing with a bunch onto these guys i came to the realization that they were all intelligence operatives for the most part or military guys. It was signal intel. I didn't care you know. I didn't have any secrets secrets that they could beat out of me so been matter to me and then one day we went to the baths we went to very famous baths in moscow scou- called the sunday and they're like one hundred and fifty years old or something and the russian baths are all about drinking and birch leaves being being beaten would birch branches and very hot hot hot sauna and then afterwards already thoroughly sauced. We decided to go onto dinner and it must have been. I don't know eight nine ten twelve guys on. I don't remember the count but they was all of gaining his in his buddies and an older american guy walks into the restaurant and a guinea screams out. Hey you two should get to know each other. You're both c._i._a. Now i laughed it off because basically to them. Everybody from america was c._i._a. Because that's how they grew up they grew up being worried about american spies and all of that and he says you should meet this guy. Milton blain milton sits down but milton happens to be a real spy and these guys are. I'm the only one who's a kid from brooklyn sitting at a table a table full of russian in in american spies and i'm sitting there like okay. This is interesting. What's next in life and all evening long milton peppering me with questions sister's name where i go to school etc etc then i go to the bathroom and he follows me into the bathroom says. Can i have your phone number. I said sure give them my phone number. The next day he calls me and says meet me there. Was this irish pub where all the ex pats australians the english americans whoever lived in work in russia at the time i would go to this pope who was favourite of the expat community. I meet them there literally within five minutes of showing up to meet him there he says to me i work for the defense intelligence agency and your country needs you and before he got the words out of his mouth. I said i'm in. He's a wizard. You don't even know what you're in for. I just said my country needs me. I'm in and he says to me said look the guys that you're sitting at the table with drinking and singing songs me and my friends for the last thirty years of our lives. We tried to figure figure out what car they were driving. If we actually figured out the license plate number that was like christmas came early you're sitting there having drinks with them and telling jokes is it you understand what level of people you're sitting with. I said look. I assumed that they were serious guys because we're talking about a series telecommunications deal but i didn't know how important they were and he said look you know your country needs you but there's a problem. It's very risky. The soviets initially had developed in anti-satellite system which basically bottom online was it would've allowed their bombers to fly all the way to the united states despite the <hes> radar jamming capabilities that we have because it would have jammed the radar jamming capabilities capabilities and he made it. He told me straight out he goes listen. Russian bombers could actually hit d._c. Or new york and we need in any way shape or form anything thing to do with the system. Could you help us get it. He said look if you're caught. You understand europe jewish kid born in this country. You're basically traded of them already. Because you gave up your passport work left to america and now you're coming back as a grown young man to spy on them. He's the best you can hope for is probably a bullet in the head. He said in the worst i that can happen to us. You'll wind up finding out about a cell where the words raul wallenberg was here scrawled scrolled across the top. They said and we're not stepping stepping up for you because you're not officially working for us. I said look i'm in it doesn't matter and <hes> i proceeded to start trying to bribe russian military operatives and get scientists and go to close military cities to <hes> find him this weapons. They give you any training. I mean <hes> and he did you. You learn tradecraft bought me a beer now now. My tradecraft came from brooklyn. That's where i learned all my tradecraft coney island across the street from the cyclone. I learned everything. I needed to learn about you a few beers by the way well listen. I keep offering to pay but it you journalists. Have this ethics issue about take a drink from me equal in trade. That's our tradecraft. Well listen. I want to say wanted to not only. Do i appreciate the drinks that you bought from me but i appreciate how many times in the future we'll keep buying drinks. I'd like to thank the dance are are well done. Well done in your clothes of the government's letter which lays out all the things you did for. Dan didn't lay out all of it or laid out some of it. It was a summer okay far from seder went above and beyond what is expected of most cooperators and placed himself health in great jeopardy in so doing. How did you place yourself in great jeopardy going to afghanistan to try to buy stinger missiles hunt bin laden auden. You know things like that d- in russia i what would have happened to me. What would have happened to me in russia. They caught me. That was grave jeopardy pretty much everything jeopardy. Was there a moment that you thought your life was in danger and if so can you tell us if he doesn't have those moments you know i can you give us one or two. I think there's a reference to some events in cyprus. Maybe in in your lawyer's letter but i'll home so the u._s. Government just to get rid of one fallacy. I did this to get out of jail. There's a legal term for that. It's called bullshit one. I came back back in ninety eight and surrendered to the government voluntarily and having had gone out of the stock scam business voluntarily i showed up and gave them osama bin laden's satellite phone numbers. I then proceeded to not only cooperate on my case but teach them all the tradecraft on how auto uncover stock fraud. I surrendered sometime at the end of ninety eight by the middle of ninety nine. I knew i wasn't going to jail yet. I continued working with them prior to sentencing for another ten years and then after sentencing for another ten years so the concept that i did this all to get out of jail is nonsense. I didn't do this to get out of jail. Yes i certainly wanted to credit at sentencing time for the things that i did but i wasn't worried because listen to a one thousand nine defendants in my case fifteen of them didn't go to jail so i wasn't exactly facing triple life or anything like that to begin with and i can assure you that there's not one prosecutor in the united united states that sends cooperators stock fraud case to hunt bin laden so let's throw out this whole concept that i did it to get out of jail. I did not yes yes. I wanted to credit that sentencing but i already knew that i wasn't going to jail so that you know it's important because that's the only thing they right. Which is you know. He did this to get out of jail and again as i tell you it's bullshit. I didn't right so you begin cooperating with the government in ninety eight and that continues for ten years years and years total but i wanna get the chronology right here because our shoe in russia when the feds learn about the ski. Here's a thing i started working with the d._i._a. And then the c._i._a. On the stinger missiles and and <hes> the high bac program there was a buyback pro was it was a it was a presidential directive by president bill clinton to get the stingers which we gave to the mujahideen to fight the russian get him out of there half the market because they were gonna resell them to al qaeda al-qaeda was looking for these stinger missiles so so that they can take down u._s. Planes that was goal so i went into afghanistan and i found stinger missiles and found their serial numbers and you know they didn't believe it at the cia that i had them so i i didn't have them but i had pictures of the serial numbers and that day's newspapers taken sent to the c._i._a. And once they realized that i was getting serious intel so they started asking me about bin laden and that's when the hunt for him started between the c._i._a. I found out about the investigation later. I i didn't start working with u._s. Intelligence because of my case my case interfered with my work with u._s. Intelligence because i had to drop what i was doing being when i found out there was an investigation. Come back surrender and work with the f._b._i. And the justice department on my case and i became a cooperator in my case but i started working with u._s. until way before way before but at least a year before that i don't think you ever sold at the cyprus story by the way how the cyprus story is great yeah. You're by the way in your in your lawyer's letter. They do say you awhile in you. Were traveling in cyprus under the f._b._i.'s supervision. Your cover came dangerously drizzly close to being blown. Yes during the operation. Yes it was the one time it was one of the times that you know the f. b. i. a. and the cyprus national police or whoever was a joint operation were a little too close to me in almost blew my cover. I don't blow my cover. I i don't have a cover. I'm felix you know well. Actually i had a different name under that operation but still played a different version of myself. I guess so the u._s. Government government came to me and i think this was if i'm not mistaken sometime. In two thousand and four this is way after all the work i did on nine eleven and al-qeeda al-qaeda which i did for three four years they came to me and they said look. We have a major problem. Russian hackers are hacking into u._s. Financial santeuil institutions and emptying out people's bank accounts and if it becomes publicly known that bank accounts are being emptied most people uh when they hear about the bank accounts at chase or bank of america or it just whatever bank in the united states that they were targeting those a few that they were targeting that that their accounts are being emptied. Most people are not going to go home and read the f._d._i._c. insurance for their account. They're going to pull their money out of the bank that day which could cause a run on the bank and a run on the bank could cause the collapse of a bank which could have a domino effect. This is very dangerous. Not only are they robbing you a citizens. It's very dangerous for our our financial system and we actually don't have anybody that could help infiltrate use russian. You understand finance. You understand bad guys english. You're so multifaceted multifaceted. We don't have anybody that could help us. Could you help us with this. I said sure so they <hes> introduced me to this. They had somebody that they can you and they introduced me by email to the group and under the supervision of the justice department and the f._b._i. I proceeded to establish basically a money laundering operation ration- but the problem was i was helping them financial. We couldn't get to them because they were hiding behind computer names and we didn't know where they were because all you have to do. It was just repaying your computer from a few different places and bingo. You don't know who the guy is. That's the problem with cybercrime hacking and all of that but after a year of getting into their confidence we finally agree. I i tell them about an opportunity how to make a lot of money and we agree. Finally i gain their confidence to meet in cyprus so we're at a hotel in cyprus and i've got the f._b._i. Guys in one room. I'm in one room the f._b._i. Guys in the next room and in the other room is the cyprus. I national police and i was supposed to meet these guys for the first time who i've already been doing business with for a while by the pool so i walk downstairs and and you know they've got like eight different rooms with binoculars looking half the waiters are police are f._b._i. And i'm like <hes> these guys you you could walk in. I could tell that there. I don't know maybe six cents or something we're sitting by the pool talking and the guy says let's get out of here and as we're walking looking to g- <hes> parking lot which is in front of the hotel i get a call from the f._b._i. Agent in charge and he says do not get into his car. There's a chase racecar would four bad guys. You're not walking out of this alive and i listen to him and i'm like the thing that ran through my mind is i spent a year and a half setting this up screw. This and i said all right mom. I'll call you back so as i'm standing there is about to get in the car. The wheel is on the other side like england and it's a range rover. I said you no what i used to have a range when i was in london when i lived in london. Can i drive driven in a while. He said sure here you go because i figured we were on the main street in limassol seoul in cyprus. I'll spot the car behind us off. Spot the chase car with the bad guys and if that's the case i'm just going to ram the car into the first car dealership up with the big glass. I see and in the commotion get away. Hopefully la- turns out that the chase car with the forbade guys in back of us were were with him and he took me to a strip joint so <hes> they weren't there to kill me. They were there to party with me and then when i showed up you know i i festivals soon as i got into the strip trying to go to the bathroom made a phone call toll them. You know i'm okay. They said we're looking for you. We thought you were already dead and chopped up. I said don't be dramatic. I i came back and i remember like yesterday came into the room and the f._b._i. Agent looks at me says when i tell you don't get in the car. You don't get in the car. Do you have any idea how much paperwork i would have to do. If you got killed on my watch okay calm down but <hes> so that was that was that was a funny experience. I've had well. I've had a bunch of those the funniest experience great scene for the movie the movie about felix saters life which will my only my only problem is. I want joe competitive player because he could play it really funny all right so from ninety eight on you are working secretly for as a government informant for the f._b._i. The c._i._a. Also i was never informant motor. We the government coop f._b._i. Judges everybody. Nobody either called me <hes> a c._s. Which is a confidential source or a c._i. A you know they never they never referred to me as an informant to see i would be confidential financial informant c._s. confidential source okay anyway. My point is you're still but you're also still trying to make get in the new york. Real estate world real estate started like two thousand all right well. Let's flash forward continuing because my my point is at some point point you meet one. Donald j trump wendy me trump. How do you become entwined with trump ended end up. I think as i recall correctly just two offices down from his in trump tower well aw whose donald j trump as the president okay okay. I just don't remember him. Remember him sit in a room here today. I wouldn't recognize recognize them. Just kidding. That's what he said about. You and we'll get to that point. According to the account in our just published story about all of this by our colleague alex's area and you just chest you had an office in trump tower and you walked right into donald trump's office. That's exactly what i did and what happened. I walked into his office and he's can help to help you. I said yes. I'm attendant down twenty four. He said what can i do for you. I said well. I'm gonna be the biggest developer in new york and i think you should become my partner now while i'm still cheap and he started laughing and we spent about a half hour to an hour just chatting and he introduced me to charlie reece and russell flicker who were basically president or like cul presidents or something of the trump work and in a very short time after that we became partners and i my i deal was trump phoenix which become a full-fledged member or have company. I had my own company. <hes> which was bayrock group group which i left beginning of eight and then i came back in twenty ten and i walked into say hello to the president and he said where have you been. I've been looking for a while. I've been traveling abroad internationally for about almost two years these that i want you to come work with me and that's how i became his senior adviser which was in two thousand ten and then i had an office three doors down from him. It was him rona jason and my office on the twenty fourth floor. He was on the twenty sixth floor but i believe it was before that you accompanied ivanka and don jr. to moscow. Yes that was. I don't remember <unk>. Oh six oh seven. I don't remember when did how did that. Come about donald asked me president said look. My kids are gonna moscow. Would you mind going with them and i'd be i'd feel a lot safer. Fewer there. I said sure was this when they began scoping out trump tower moscow nah they were talking about trump tower moscow since the nineties or even earlier since the doing on that trip yeah yes yes we were looking for. You know yeah well. The answer is yes and yes because you also meet people and other business opportunities could come up but the predominant purpose of the trip was definitely find a site light for trump osco right and you also happen to escort ivanka into vladimir putin's office. If i recall correctly yes aw that's a bit of work but i got done. She actually wanted to sit in his inst- she actually wanted to sit in his chair and i asked the the guy who was with us on the tour because i took a privately in there wasn't part of general admission and we were met by the curator of the kremlin and one of putin's equivalent of secret service or something the guys that protect them and translator and we had a gigantic tour all through the kremlin and as we he pass when we finished and the curators finish telling us how in this room this treaty was signed in this room. This guy was coronated in this room. This queen did whatever she did. Did as we're already leaving we're going through a car door with offices but you're pretty grand and the guy says this is the boss's office and i said let's see it. He says he's not there. I said so watch open the door and he did and he opened the door. He held it. We looked inside and vodka says. Do you think i could sit in his chair and i asked him. The guy looked at me and said. Are you out of your mind. I said what is she going to do. Steal a pen. She's the daughter of an important american businessman. You know who sent us here. Let her sit in the chair. You're right here. What's what's going to do so he said all right and she sat in a chair spin around twice you know she was giddy like a schoolgirl afterwards and that was it okay. Let's talk about how you get entangled later in the muller probe in two thousand fifteen you right <hes> as somewhat what notorious email that helped fuel the narrative that trump was a <hes> an asset of the russians if not wholly wholly-owned subsidiary of the of the kremlin and i'm gonna read the candidate okay. I'm going to read this good movie. Our boy can become president of the u._s._a. And weaken engineer it. I will get all of putin's team to buy in on this. I will manage this process. So what were you thinking when you wrote that and how do those words look to you right now stupid. How did why did i write it. I could have written something else while we tried to do a trump moscow deal a few times in the pass and they even tried even before me actually and when he started running there's all these positive conversations <hes> about russia and all these positive press that he's getting in russia. He saying things about russia. Russians is saying good things about him. Because previously the russians were saying. Why would we pay basically the trump tax. Why would we pay him for his name. We could just take a marriott hotel or a sheraton and pay a lot less why somebody going to buy apartment in moscow from donald trump. Nobody knows i'm here. It dawned on me that hey now. They know him. Now like you get this deal done that. I tried to do in the past so that's when when i reached out to <hes> michael cohen and said you know i could get a trump tower moscow deal done. I had a developer who was a friend of mine ready to go. We didn't have the land. We didn't have the psychiatric but those were small details. When you're thinking big start there and fill in the blanks and <hes> he was running for president and i knew they were interested posted in him winning. I was interested in building a trump moscow. Let's face it him becoming president of the united states and me being i'm torn apart for three years and my whole life being torn upside down or me making fifty to one hundred million dollars on trump tower moscow. What are you betting my motivation was and did you. You didn't actually think he was going to become president. Did you did you could you did yeah okay okay so you go back in time at that time. You had president barack obama getting on t._v. And laughing saying he's never going to become president. Every reporter was laughing at it. I'm sitting sitting they go. We can make some money so don't put it on me. What were you thinking. What was everybody else thinking to me. It looked like an opportunity to get a real. Stay deal done then. I got i'm bishops. I said you know what let's make it the tallest building in europe a couple of drinks later. I'm thinking let's make it the tallest building in the world so it was a few hubris well. No i actually want to build a tolls building in europe. I was actually involved in the in the development. I was on the board of directors at miramax and we actually built in moscow the tallest building in europe. It was called federation tower. It was subsequently replaced by taller building but i was involved in the construction shen and the development of the tallest building in europe once and i didn't see any reason why couldn't do it again. Okay two questions come to my mind as i hear you tell this story story. One is you've been at this point by two thousand fifteen exposed in the press. The new york times has done a front page story about your criminal past pointing out your connections to trump suggesting that there's something unsavory rian trump's relationship with you and trump's response is to essentially disown you in a two thousand thirteen affidavit in a lawsuit. He says if seder seder were sitting in the room right now. I really wouldn't know what he looked like in two thousand fifteen when he's called by the associated press says felix sater's boy. I have to even think about it. I'm not familiar with him now. You had an office two doors down from donald trump. You did business with him. You were photographed with him. You were with him. Meta opening of trump soho and you were with him in denver. I believe and people saw you together. People saw you talking. Why would you want to do do business with donald trump after he had dissed you like this because michael isikoff wasn't going to help me develop the tallest building in europe. Make fifty to one hundred million dollars or you didn't ask i. I'm asking now. We can do the tower. You know. Look look. I was doing business. Why would i want to do anything. I don't care what anybody says. Five paid attention to what everybody says think of the stuff that they wrote about me which was modestly negative and mostly designed specifically to be negative because of donald trump. I mean what am i supposed to do hate every reporter who writes a bullshit story about me. Get insulted. Get upset about what people say listen. He's not. It's not the first presidential family to have disavowed me. I guess my point is that you had a relationship with the guy and here he's saying under oath sworn affidavit. I wouldn't even know you if you walked in the room okay. How do you feel when you when you read that act. I think it's something that i have to truly dive deeper on my next session with my psychiatrist. I don't know if i could answer that. You know right now on this podcast where i'll have to understand my my feelings all right. We're going to need to start wrapping up here so i'm just getting started. I knew i should have more. I knew i. I should've gone on how it's dry. Just kidding. I really appreciate the opportunity to come here. It's really been an honor to be here and for you guys to invite me. It's it's a very a big honor for me. I appreciate it one other trump quest here. I i was going to bet you tend to one that is going to be a trump question. Not go ahead my other things. I got okay so all these years that you're working with donald trump. You're advising him. You're down the office from him. You're doing all this secret work for the government did did ah trump or anybody in the trump organization such as michael cohen or others know about your secret work for the u._s. Government donald donald did but only they're only very lightly. I told him about it but i didn't give him details and then when he was running i gave him a very detailed letter of everything everything that i did really yes and so just walk us through that. When did you first tell him sometime. In the two thousand listen i work with you know. I've been working on some very serious stuff. You know with the government. I didn't give him details right while he was while he was running for president sort of a letter your lawyer write him the letter. I don't remember if it was from me or from my journey. I don't remember but i wrote him a letter detailing everything and laying out. What year would that have been. I don't remember probably drink fifteen or six fifteen or yeah. When do you get elected sixteen sixteen so six fifteen or sixteen yeah fifth and how did he. How did he react well. I didn't have have a conversation with him about it. But from what i understand he wanted to take it to the press and his attorney. I forget his name once his name told him it's not take garden. I think it was alan garten. You'd have to ask my attorney. He spoke to him. I didn't speak to him directly. He said no. This is sealed information government so you don't need breasts kim. I don't know i don't know why widely presumed what did trump wanna take it to the press. Good it was good is a guy that packed with him. That you know was doing stuff to protect our country house that bad you know y y dual the for the same reason that the reporters don't want to write or talk about it because it's mildly positive towards him patriotic. It was yeah patriotic. You know whatever it was but it was certainly not a negative towards him and that's why you know. Most of the press would write about it until it came out today because it's too d._o._j. Document. It's not something that you need to corroborate. It's a fact it was written by the department of justice. You know the things that i've done i risk my life tried to protect our country. Hopefully saved a lot of lives know for a fact. I've saved servicemen's lives in afghanistan with the work that i did because we didn't even touch on anything that we did in afghanistan which was airstrikes weapons cache as and al qaeda troop movements and where bin laden was and where <hes> taliban fighters were and i know that that enhanced our capability our military capability on the ground and when i think as a jewish immigrant kid from coney island that i could have something to do as important and have been given the honor and the opportunity to protect my country to protect america in any way that was a big deal to me and it was really upsetting that the only thing that anybody wanted to write about was you know bar fight and stock fraud when i was twenty five. I'm fifty three years old. I spent twenty years literally putting my life on the line nine to protect our country and never ask for anybody to know about. It never told anybody about it but just to stick it to donald trump. Let's write about a bar fight when i was twenty five. That's not fair air. That's not right. You didn't answer danny's very first question for you is which was do you feel vindicated with the release of this letter <hes> honestly i think i need to let it sink in see how it's accepted. See what people say say about it because you know you still have to the right. I'm a- i'm a demon. I may <hes> basically a call me clinton implant in the trump world which is just absurd ridiculous and it only is surpassed in ridiculousness snus by the left writing that you know i am a <hes> a russian agent and you know they're expecting little baby putin's to be jumping jumping out of birthday cakes and mar-a-lago or something. It's just absurd. I'm sort of demonized by both sides and i'm in the middle. I'm like you know there's an old joke. The king of the animals which is the lion says all right. I'm tired of everybody's behavior. You know i want the smart animals to the left and the good looking animals to the right and everybody i start shuffling one way or the other and the monkey standing in the middle says. What do you want me to do myself in half. I thought i'd ended on a joke. Wait wait. I got a couple of quick details. Which i just wanna go very quickly in reviewing the letter. There's there's some pretty stunning cases cited sighted including that you foiled or provided information about an assassination plot against president george w bush tell us what that that was and how you help while there was actually two assassination attempts one was against colin powell and al qaeda al qaeda soldiers or fighters. Don't want to refer to them soldiers. They're just al-qaeda fighters. <hes> we're in a hot which was close enough to the flight path of the planes landing in baghram airbase and they were gonna take out the plane either on approach to land or takeoff of colin powell's plane when he was going to visit the troops in afghanistan and <hes> i had an inside source believe it or not. How crazy does this sound. I had an insight source in the cave with mulu omar and bin laden. That's where i was getting my insult from because basically co-opted molo mars personal personal secretary to provide me until that's why it was such a high level and that was the first information i gave them which was about colin powell and then subsequently i was told old about details of the woman who owns the senate office building barbershop is a woman from afghanistan who ran away to the united states when during the russian of ghanistan war as she went to work for the barber shop and eventually she manages it but the al qaeda <hes> group sent in two women who were obviously al qaeda operatives to befriend her and they were here for quite a long period of time. I don't know if that was a year two or <unk> three to befriend her in the hope that she would drop the name of who's haircut she was doing tomorrow george bush and they were looking hopefully to get bush rush or somebody like cheney and again. This is the senate barbershop so everybody the entire leadership gets there there at one point or another and they were going to to put a biological agent on her that would have killed her unknowing unbeknownst to her by the way the would have killed her and everybody she came into contact with that day and that was the assassination attempt on george w bush because their goal was to hit bush but they would have taken somebody like cheney or somebody else. If it took too long this was possess. This assassination was supposed to actually take place in the barbershop. It was yeah anybody who came into contact with her. That day would have been hit with biological agent near there the kilt or another fascinating detail that was actually in your lawyer's letter that was also unseal. Well you know my lawyer was judge. Leslie caldwell who had been in the prosecutor in the eastern district under loretta loretta lynch then becomes chief of the criminal division of the u._s. Justice department under obama yes so i just just just in case just a just in case. The left wants to question that one choose obama's chief of criminal division with the right is definitely not at this point be convinced that i'm a plan the trump world and i was sent in by barack obama and the clintons and james call me to infiltrate and get donald trump which is just so. Here's the sounds in her letter. That left out at me through another source felix learned and gave to the f._b._i. The name of a washington d. d._c. Restaurant with ties to al-qaeda yeah there was a there was a couple of businesses and what was the restaurant. I don't remember the name i mean i. I don't think a michael listen. I'd love to take you out to dinner. I don't think the places taking anymore reservations but no there was also another business in new mexico that was a jewelry company honey that was laundering money for al-qaeda and getting the money to the world trade center bombers so yeah and i provided them a lot of stuff. You have to understand that the letters that you see you were designed to be shortened. Summaries for the judge and the judge is not going to read a book so that's why both of them are like ten pages. They're designed to be short art. It doesn't even nearly touch upon all the things that i've done. It's actually just some highlights so yeah. I provided them information. On the world trade center our bombers financial structure of al-qaeda banks where al-qaeda was keeping their money. I help them with a whole bunch of stuff and i'm very proud of of what i did and i'm happy that i only hope that the what i provided was helpful and was valuable to u._s. Intelligence well it clearly early was <hes> from the from the letters that have now just been released. The judge is not going to read a book but he could. Well watch a movie of felix. Alex seder's life which i think anybody listening to this is probably thinking win is going to be made and by whom and who is going to play you. You said you wanted joe. Oh patchy but tell us <hes> are there. <hes> talks underway to do something with your amazing life story. Honestly i was thinking about writing a book but you know is introspective of my own life and i'm hoping that i could write a great book. I definitely awfully need co author to do it with but i wanna ride a great book and i'm not writing it to make a movie or for a hollywood premiere which is a lot of fun. I've been to a bunch launch but for me. I'm literally because of the complexities of my life because of the things that were written about me good and bad because of the difficulties surrounding all of that and the craziness that my life is because i don't think you could make this up if you tried. I truly want to write this book. Look with a really understanding of myself and not sugarcoat anything and not hide the bad but i really want to write this book for my yet to be born grandchildren so so that sometime in the distant future when they're old enough and they're not born yet so we're talking twenty thirty years. Maybe they could read. Their grandfather was <unk> and understand him. Both the good and the bad like i said you know the only thing i hope is and i think i said it to alex in his piece. There's gonna come a time where i stand danta front of my maker and i know the bad that i've done but i know for a fact that i have stopped a hundred thousand times more crime than i committed with my bar fight and the stock fraud and i know that i protected my country and i know my life for it and i'm hopeful that saved a lot of lives. Doing it and i hope i was helpful to the united states. I gotta tell you something if i'm asked. I'll do it again tomorrow. There's a there's a line alex. Tanzanians excellent piece in yahoo news says every age gets the hero hero it deserves and seder seems perfectly suited for hours europe student of russian literature. I'm sure maybe your book could be called a hero of our time time which was lermontov well. You know i wouldn't go so far as hero complex <hes> individual complex character i don't want to. I'm afraid you know of <hes> twisting my arm if i start patting myself on the back i don't know if i would say hero. I think i think the heroes that we have every day put on a uniform and protect our country for eleven hundred bucks a month those real heroes me. I was just proud to have been given the opportunity and i was ecstatic and jumped at the chance to do do anything i could to help whether it was the battle against crime here or the mob or terrorism or whatever i do because i'm not proud of the bad things i've done but again one was a bar fight and the other one was a stupid situation that i really needed money and got involved in some really bad crap up which i'm not proud of never was that's why voluntarily left. I was making a lot of money doing it. I left it on my own because i wasn't proud of myself and when given the opportunity correct those things i jumped at it out. Do it a get well. It's an extraordinary me as a as a tail for made for dostoyevsky af ski crime. Fi redemption can ask a question. Couldn't we find an american author because i'm really tired of this whole russian label thing. Ah tom clancy out you heard felix's entreaty so and maybe something will come of this felix. Thanks a lot for doing this. It was a big day for you but it was a big day for us for you to to come and do this. Your first interview post the release of these documents out. The only thing i can say is that it's been beyond an honor to be invited by you and <hes> really really thank you very much for letting me talk about myself. It's truly an honor to be here and i hope that your listeners enjoy. It and i'm sorry i didn't have a chance to do my all. You know standup joke routine but <hes> next time next time. I'll sign well you. You said you wanna get away from the russian labels. Let me just say i think this this is a great american story. Thank you thank you very much felix leiter. Thank you so much. Have you ever wanted to speak another language. 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