Doug Farah, the Washington Post reporter who first connected diamonds to al Qaeda terrorists, now says his initial reports may have overplayed the link.
“My first story wrongly emphasized the money-making aspect,” says Farah, who is writing a book about the role diamonds played in the war in Sierra Leone. “[Al Qaeda] clearly was dabbling in stones, and they clearly wanted to get into diamonds. But it’s not clear that they made much money or did a huge amount of business. I don’t think it ever really became a major business operation.”
Instead, al Qaeda’s interest in diamonds was part of a “frantic buying spree … to transfer assets out of banks so they couldn’t be frozen,” Farah says.