Al Qaeda Undercover Video of New York City Led to Life Sentence

The surveillance tape, centering on New York's Wall Street area, was made by an al Qaeda operative posing as a tourist from London five months before the 9/ll attacks.

He focuses on entrances to the New York Stock Exchange, identifying security cameras and police guards.

At a nearby home for the elderly, the camera zooms in on a Star of David.


At one point, the camera is put on its side, apparently simulating what would happen if a plane flew into the World Trade Center towers, complete with sound effects. 

The man authorities say made the tape and was planning the attacks is a 34-year-old British citizen of Indian descent, Dhiren Barot, sentenced today in London to a minimum of 40 years in prison.

"The case is that he could easily have caused hundreds, if not thousands, of deaths," said Peter Clarke, head of Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorist Branch. "That is the way it was put to the court and has been accepted by the judge."

Security on Wall Street has vastly improved since the tape was made, but still, it was upsetting to some who watched it outside the stock exchange today.

"It makes me feel nervous. I'm actually nervous. I don't feel comfortable with it at all," said one man.

Barot also prepared elaborate blueprints for attacks on other possible targets, including the headquarters of Citicorp in New York City, which he thought he might be able to bring down using gasoline tanker trucks, "Recommendation: hijacking petrol/oil tankers and steering in."

Of another Citicorp skyscraper, a glass tower, he notes the devastating effects of a bomb, "Each piece of glass becomes a potential flying piece of cutthroat shrapnel!"

Barot also concluded he could avoid scrutiny by using stretch limousines, preferably black, not white, and filling them with explosives or gas cylinders.

All part of "a synchronized, concurrent execution on the same day and time."

Authorities found other surveillance reports on financial locations in Newark, New Jersey and Washington, D.C.

But in the end, he apparently decided security was too tight in the U.S., and his plan, when he was arrested, was to attack subways and buildings in London.

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