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Ex-Trump associate Felix Sater averted Al Qaeda plot to kill George W. Bush, helped track down Osama bin Laden: court records

2019-08-23

Felix Sater helped avert an assassination plot against President George W. Bush. (Getty Images)

An explosive court document unsealed Friday reveals that ex-Trump business partner Felix Sater helped foil an Al Qaeda plot to kill former President George W. Bush — and Sater gave the Daily News the details on how it all allegedly went down.

Sater, who landed in the spotlight last year amid revelations he had worked on President Trump’s failed 2016 bid to build a skyscraper in Moscow, lived a nearly unbelievable double life as a U.S. intelligence operative after pleading guilty to stock fraud in 1998, according to his freshly released 5K1 letter.

The letter — which outlines the extent of his cooperation with the government — confirms he helped the FBI and the CIA track down Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks while simultaneously assisting in law enforcement efforts to root out the Italian mafia from Wall Street and dismantle money laundering operations in Russia, Cyprus and Turkey. Sater also helped gather sensitive intelligence on North Korea’s nuclear programs, according to his 5K1.

But, while the broad strokes of those revelations have been previously corroborated by court records and news reports, the 5K1 letter for the first time also confirms Sater “relayed” to the U.S. intelligence community “the details of an assassination plot against President Bush" in the wake of 9/11.

The 5K1 letter doesn’t expand on those details, and the FBI, the Justice Department and the Office of Director of National Intelligence all declined comment.

But Sater gave his side of the story in a phone interview with the The News.

Sater, 53, said he had gotten wind through an Afghani intel source that two female Al Qaeda operatives had “befriended” a woman who worked in the famed barbershop in the basement of the U.S. Senate office building on Capitol Hill.

The operatives had devised a plan to recruit the hairdresser and give her a lethal biological agent that she would put on one of her high-profile clients while giving them a buzz, according to Sater.

Bush was ultimate target, Sater said.

“If they couldn’t get Bush, they would get Cheney,” Sater said, referring to former Vice President Dick Cheney. “If they couldn’t get him, they would get the speaker of the House…but the top target was Bush.”

Due to confidentiality concerns, Sater said the FBI never told him what it ended up doing with the intel he passed along, so he didn’t know whether the Al Qaeda operatives were arrested.

However, Sater said the FBI considered his intel credible enough to send agents to Europe to meet with his Afghani intel source within hours of his flagging the assassination plot. Sater said he set up the sit-down between his source and the agents.

Despite being involved in a $40 million stock fraud conspiracy, Sater never served any time behind bars due to his government cooperation, which a federal prosecutor said in court papers “was of a depth and breadth rarely seen.”

But Sater said evading prison was never his ultimate goal.

“In my youth I did some bad things and then for 20 years, I tried to serve to make up for the bad I had done,” he said. “That’s why this is important to me.”