In 1973, a young terrorist named Khalid Duhham Al-Jawary entered the United States and quickly began plotting an audacious attack in New York City.
He built three powerful bombs — bombs powerful enough to kill, maim and destroy — and put them in rental cars scattered around town, near Israeli targets.
The plot failed. The explosive devices did not detonate, and Al-Jawary fled the country, escaping prosecution for nearly two decades — until he was convicted of terrorism charges in Brooklyn and sentenced to 30 years in federal penitentiary.
But his time is up.
In less than a month, the 63-year-old Al-Jawary is expected to be released. He will likely be deported; where to is anybody's guess. The shadowy figure had so many aliases it's almost impossible to know which country is his true homeland.
Al-Jawary has never admitted his dark past or offered up tidbits in exchange for his release. Much of Al-Jawary's life remains a mystery — even to the dogged FBI case agent who tracked him down.
But an Associated Press investigation — based on recently declassified documents, extensive court records, CIA investigative notes and interviews with former intelligence officials — reveals publicly for the first time Al-Jawary's deep involvement in terrorism beyond the plot that led to his conviction.
Government documents link Al-Jawary to's murderous letter-bombing campaign targeting world leaders in the 1970s and a botched terrorist attack in 1979. Former intelligence officials suspect he had a role in the bombing of a TWA flight in 1974 that killed 88 people.
"He's a very dangerous man," said Mike Finnegan, the former FBI counterterrorism agent who captured Al-Jawary. "A very bad guy."
The events linked to Al-Jawary happened long ago, when the conflagration in the Middle East spread around the world; he is being released into another century, one in which the scale of terrorism has grown exponentially, even bringing down two of New York's skyscrapers.