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Man Police Say Rammed Officer with SUV is Former FBI Informant

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POSTED: Friday, March 4, 2011 - 12:58pm

UPDATED: Monday, March 7, 2011 - 2:12pm

EL PASO – The man who police said rammed an officer and police car with his SUV Thursday morning, is a former FBI informant who claimed the government missed a chance to stop the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Elie Assaad made the claims on national television two years ago in an interview with ABC News.

"When you are working undercover your job is to lie," Assaad told reporter Brian Ross.

Assaad said he spent years working as an undercover operative for the FBI, pretending to be an Islamic extremest to infiltrate terrorist cells in the United States.

“My role is to play an Al Qaeda terrorist – a man who is coming from overseas to help them,” said Assaad in the interview.

Assaad said he started working for the FBI in Miami in 1996, carrying out undercover sting operations. He said he was responsible for a number of high profile terrorist cell take downs.

His most shocking claim was that he could have stopped the 9/11 attacks, but the FBI didn't let him.

“I'm one hundred percent positive,” he said in the report.

In 2001 Assaad said he met Mohammed Ata, the leader in the attacks, at a Miami mosque. Assaad said he had a suspicious feeling about Ata. But the FBI wanted him to focus on taking down what he called “wannabe terrorists” instead of trying to infiltrate Ata's group.

Assaad would later recognize Ata as one of the 9/11 hijackers.

"I was very upset and angry. I cried," he told Ross.

The FBI told ABC News that Assaad's claims and conclusions were not supported by the evidence. According to his facebook account, Assad now owns a video production company here in El Paso.

NewsChannel 9 has put in a call to the Miami FBI office. Our call has not yet been returned.

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