- When Osama Bin Ladin Was ‘Tim Osman’!
Michael Riconosciuto & Ted Gunderson’s 1986 Meeting with ‘Tim Osman’ (Osama bin Laden)
By J. Orlin Grabbe The Laissez Faire City Times Nov. 8, 2001
The two men headed to the Hilton Hotel in Sherman Oaks, California in the late Spring of 1986 were on their way to meet representatives of the mujahadeen, the Afghan fighters resisting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
One of the two, Ted Gunderson, had had a distinguished career in the FBI, serving as some sort of supervisor over Special Agents in the early 60s, as head of the Dallas field office from 1973-75, and as head of the Los Angeles field office from 1977-1979. He retired to become an investigator for, among others, well-known attorney F. Lee Bailey. And all along the way, Gunderson, whether or not actually a CIA contract agent, had been around to provide services to various CIA and National Security Council operations, as he was doing now.
Michael Riconosciuto was there to discuss assisting the mujahadeen with MANPADs,-Man Portable Air Defense Systems. Stinger missiles were one possibility. If the U.S. would permit their export, Riconosciuto could modify the Stinger’s electronics, so the guided missile would still be effective against Soviet aircraft, but would not be a threat to U.S. or NATO forces.
Meeting Riconosciuto and Gunderson at the hotel were two representatives of the mujahadeen, waiting to discuss their armament needs. One of the two was named “Ralph Olberg.” The other one was called Tim Osman (or Ossman).
“Ralph Olberg” was an American businesman who was leading the procurement of American weapons and technology on behalf of the Afghan rebels. He worked through the Afghan desk at the U.S. State Department, as well as through Senator Hubert Humphrey’s office. Olberg looked after the Afghanis through a curious front called MSH – Management Sciences for Health.
The other man, dressed in Docker’s clothing, was not a native Afghan any more than Olberg was. He was a 28-year-old Saudi. Tim Osman (Ossman) has recently become better known as Osama Bin Ladin. “Tim Osman” was the name assigned to him by the CIA for his tour of the U.S. and U.S. military bases, in search of political support and armaments.
Gunderson and Riconosciuto were not on an altruistic mission. They had some conditions for their help. And they had some bad news to deliver. The mujahadeen needed to be willing to test new weapons in the field and to return a research report, complete with photos. The bad news was that some factions of the CIA didn’t feel that Oldberg and Osman’s group were the real representatives of the Afghans. Upon hearing this both Tim and Ralph were indignant. They wanted to mount a full-court press. Round up other members of their group and do a congressional and White House lobbying effort in Washington, D.C.
“Pleased to meet you. Hope you guess my name.”
-The Rolling Stones, Sympathy for the Devil
Did the lobbying effort take place? I don’t know. There is some evidence that Tim Osman and Ralph Oldberg visited the While House. There is certainty that Tim Osman toured some U.S. military bases, even receiving special demonstrations of the latest equipment. Why hasn’t this been reported in the major media?