“This Is for Destroying Airplanes”

Secret video shot by an FBI superinformant on the job.

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

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

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest