DEC 23, 2009 The Nevada gambler, al-Qaida, the CIA and the mother of all cons THE GUARDIAN

The intelligence reports fitted the suspicions of the time: al-Qaida sleeper agents were scattered across the US awaiting orders that were broadcast in secret codes over the al-Jazeera television network.

Flights from Britain and France were cancelled. Officials warned of a looming "spectacular attack" to rival 9/11. In 2003 President Bush's homeland security tsar, Tom Ridge, spoke of a "credible source" whose information had US military bracing for a new terrorist onslaught. Then suddenly no more was said.

Six years later, Playboy magazine has revealed that the CIA fell victim to an elaborate con by a compulsive gambler who claimed to have developed software that discovered al-Jazeera broadcasts were being used to transmit messages to terrorists buried deep in America.

Dennis Montgomery, 56, the co-owner of a software gaming company in Nevada, who has since been arrested for bouncing $1m worth of cheques, claims his program read messages hidden in barcodes listing international flights to the US, their positions and airports to be targeted.

The CIA took the information seriously, working with Montgomery at his offices and paying him an undisclosed amount of money. The "intelligence" Montgomery claimed to have found was passed on to the White House and homeland security where it kickstarted an alert that bordered on panic.

 

DEC 28, 2009 Report: Programmer Conned CIA, Pentagon Into Buying Bogus Anti-Terror Code WIRED

A programmer who claims he produced software that detected hidden terrorist messages in Al Jazeera broadcasts was apparently responsible for a false alert in 2003 that grounded international flights. The 2003 incident raised the government’s security level, according to a remarkable story published by Playboy.

The developer also allegedly faked software demonstrations and conned the Pentagon into investing in a program that fellow workers suspect never existed or couldn’t do what the developer claimed.

In December 2003, DHS secretary Tom Ridge announced a terror alert based on intelligence from “credible sources” about imminent attacks that “could either rival or exceed what we experienced on September 11.” Dozens of French, British and Mexican commercial “flights of interest” were canceled, and news agencies were reporting that the threats extended to “power plants, dams and even oil facilities in Alaska.”

Playboy says the source of the intelligence was never revealed publicly. But the evidence points to Dennis Montgomery, who had convinced the government that Al Jazeera — the Qatari-owned TV network — was unwittingly transmitting attack orders to Al Qaeda sleeper cells concealed in video it broadcast.

Montgomery claimed he decoded the orders using a program developed by his four-year-old Las Vegas firm, eTreppid Technologies. The software found hidden bar codes in Al Jazeera videos that contained latitudes, longitudes, flight numbers and dates for planes being targeted for attacks, he reportedly claimed. He fed the information to a CIA employee at the agency’s Directorate of Science and Technology, who passed it up to CIA Director George Tenet, who in turn passed it to the White House.

 

JUN 22, 2017 Saudi Arabia, other Arab nations demand that Qatar close Al-Jazeera, cut diplomatic ties to Iran, shutter Turkish base ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Saudi Arabia, other Arab nations demand that Qatar close Al-Jazeera, cut diplomatic ties to Iran, shutter Turkish base.

 

JUN 9, 2017 Trump blasts Qatar hours after Tillerson urges end to blockade THE HILL

President Trump on Friday chided Qatar for funding terrorism, remarks that could complicate U.S. efforts to ease the diplomatic crisis in the Persian Gulf. 

“The nation of Qatar has unfortunately been a funder of terrorism, and at a very high level,” Trump said during a press conference at the White House. 

Trump’s comments came just hours after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for all sides to de-escalate the conflict, and for other Arab nations to end a blockade against Qatar. Tillerson was in the White House rose garden during the remarks.

On Monday Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain severed diplomatic relations with Qatar and closed all land, sea and air borders. The countries accused its government of supporting extremist groups such as Hamas, al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, and for its relations with Iran.