When we called Nine Eleven Finding Answers, a peninsula-based nonprofit with investigators stationed smack in the midst of terror hot spots around the world, the response was somewhere along the lines of, “How did you get this number?”
What at first may come off as obfuscation turns out to be the kind of suspicion one might expect in a line of work where you’re talking about — and talking to — international terrorists. But after four years in the shadows, a City Paper inquiry has opened the group’s doors.
“We were nowhere yesterday,” says NEFA president Michelle Hayes. Today, they’re here.
NEFA’s collection of deconstructed court filings, interviews, and terrorist communiques include recent interviews with Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, along with terror training camp videos and other high-ranking terrorist messages that have been used by NBC and ABC. Pulling from mountains of court documents, NEFA has highlighted buildings on the East Coast recognized by terrorists as potential targets and the decades-long U.S. presence of the Muslim Brotherhood, an alleged radical group with aspirations for a holy war in the states.
The information presented on the website is almost academic in its straightforward approach, falling somewhere between a niche international news service and a counterterror think tank.
“We try to stay analytical and stay with the facts,” says co-founder David Draper. “We feel the factual information speaks for itself.”
(Photo illustration by Scott Suchy)