December 20, 2001

C.U. Alumna Studies 'Revenge'

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Cornell alumna Laurie Mylroie ’76 is making waves in Washington with her book Study of Revenge: Saddam Hussein’s Unfinished War Against America (2000) a thorough investigation of the 1993 World Trade Center attack, recently revised to address the Sept. 11 crisis that toppled the twin towers.

Mylroie, a consultant to the New York FBI on the 1993 World Trade Center case, argues against the Clinton administration’s theory that terrorist networks operate without state sponsorship or political objectives beyond the destruction of America.

She says this misreading has allowed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein driven by a desire for revenge following the Gulf War — to covertly organize and finance the first World Trade Center attack, as well as other terrorist activities, including Sept. 11.

“If the conspirators had indeed succeeded in causing the death and destruction they planned, the [1993] bombing would have been a historically traumatic event on the scale of Pearl Harbor or the sinking of the Maine,” she writes in the book.

Another mastermind, Ramzi Yousef, is also linked to Iraq, and he planned to kill thousands in 1993 by collapsing the towers in a haze of poisonous cyanide gas. Although the collapse didn’t occur and the cyanide burned in the heat of the explosion, Yousef continued to arrange other attacks.

He planned an act for early 1995 that never materialized the simultaneous bombing of 11 U.S. commercial airliners while crashing another plane into CIA headquarters in Northern Virginia.

In her book Mylroie analyzes government evidence from the trials in the 1993 bombing case, including much that was never presented in court.

And she establishes a trail of phone records and false identities that she says leads directly to Baghdad.

To this day the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center is regarded as a non-Iraqi operation, she claims, adding that the Clinton administration’s focus on domestic politics blinded it to the situation and may have led to a series of later strikes.

Iraq has not admitted weapons inspectors since December 1998, and the Clinton administration was wrong not to press the issue, she says.

In a time of crisis when one wants immediate answers, Mylroie emphasizes the importance of looking beyond the fa