April 3, 2024

Have you heard the one about the Chicago street gang and the hostile foreign nation? It would be nice if this question were just a fun riddle, but it refers to an almost forgotten terrorism conspiracy investigation from 1986.

The case was a strange but true saga of international intrigue and treason involving two wildly different organizations that no one could have ever imagined would join forces against their common enemy, the United States government.

Retired agent Bill Dyson, who served 31 years with the FBI, provides a review of the case on the true crime and history podcast FBI Retired Case File Review. During the episode, he explains how the FBI disrupted a terrorist attack planned by a Chicago street gang known as the El Rukns. According to Dyson, the group was more than a gang. It was a well-organized crime syndicate.

Dyson, who at the time led the Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), was contacted by colleagues assigned to the Chicago Division’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force. During a court-ordered Title III wiretap used while investigating members of the El Rukns for drug trafficking, they had overheard tidbits of conversations. The gang’s discussions seemed to indicate the El Rukns were communicating with Libyan terrorists.

Dyson and members of the Chicago JTTF developed this information and learned that, indeed, members of the El Rukns were meeting with representatives of the then-hostile government of Libya led by Colonel…

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