Dhiren Barot- From conversion to Al Qaeda: How a Hindu airline ticket clerk became a dirty bomber wannabe
November 7, 2006
This is a profile of convicted al-Qaeda terrorist Dhiren Barot.
Dhiren Barot is regarded by British security agencies as one of the most senior al-Qaida terrorists they have apprehended since the War on Terror was launched five years ago.
The 34-year-old British-raised Islamic convert was a key lieutenant of the terror network's leading figures and one of their highest-ranking operatives in Britain.
Security sources believe Barot was probably the person identified in the 9/11 Commission's report as Issa al -Britani, which was an alias he often used.
According to the report, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the principal architect of 9/11 and one of al-Qaida's most senior figures, claimed he ordered al-Britani to Kuala Lumpar in Malaysia to learn about the jihad from notorious terror-plotter Hambali, the alleged mastermind of the Bali bombings.
Sheikh Mohammed also claimed to have sent al-Britani to New York to check out potential targets there at the behest of Osama bin Laden himself, the world's most wanted man.
Other security sources also allege that Barot enjoyed the confidence of key figures in the terror network to such an extent that he was entrusted with the planning of major operations.
According to counter terrorism sources, the conviction of Barot was "one of the most significant steps in the fight against terrorism in the UK since 9/11".
Barot was one of the most long-standing terrorists that the security agencies had ever come across, with his "career" stretching at least as far back as 1995, when he first attended a terror training camp in Kashmir.
It is not known exactly why Barot became such a fervent follower of the al-Qaida cause. But it is known that he was radicalised by extremist literature and lectures, even attending one by the jailed Islamic cleric Abu Hamza.
His conversion to Islam took place in the early 1990s. By the time Barot appeared on the radar of Western intelligence agencies he had been involved in terrorism for several years and was already a highly skilled operator, adept at evading surveillance or capture.
Related links: Tackling terrorism
-----------------Dhiren Barot timeline
1992: Barot converts to Islam and listens to sermons by Abu Hamza al-Masri and Abdullah el-Faisal, London-based radical clerics later imprisoned in England on charges of inciting followers to kill Jews and other non-Muslims.
September 1995: Barot leaves his job as an airline ticket clerk in London to attend a terrorist training camp in Kashmir. He is taught to use weapons and explosives.
Barot marries in Thailand. Few details are known about his wife.
August 2000: Barot travels to the US to identify targets for al-Qaeda. He stays with an aunt in New Jersey.
March 2001: Barot travels to the US again. He films buildings in New York, including the World Trade Centre, the New York Stock Exchange and the Citigroup headquarters.
February 2002: Passport officials receive an application from Barot for a passport in the name of Pevin Preet Dhillon.
September 2002: Barot takes a short-term job as a night watchman at a block of luxury London apartments.
March 2003: Barot applies for a three month Pakistani visa under a false name - Haris Feroze.
January-February 2004: Using a false passport, Barot meets al-Qaeda financiers in Pakistan, and submits business plan-style proposals for his series of attacks.
June 2004: British intelligence agents put Barot under surveillance.
July 2004: Agents temporarily lose Barot and fear an attack could be imminent.
August 3, 2004: Barot is arrested in a London barber shop.
August 17, 2004: British police charge Barot and seven others with planning to commit murder and other counts, police allege they plan use radioactive materials, toxic gases, chemicals or explosives.
Investigators seize nearly 300 computers and around 1,800 discs, CDs and removable storage devices and open 4,000 garages and storage units.
Plans are uncovered for attacks in London and Washington, DC, Newark, New Jersey and New York City.
Barot refuses to answer questions during 19 interviews by police.
October 12, 2006: Barot pleads guilty to conspiring to commit murder. Prosecutors agree to drop 23 additional terrorism-related charges.
November 7, 2006: Barot is sentenced to life in prison, without a possibility of parole for 40 years.