Nevada Gambler Conned CIA With al-Qaeda Claims
Agents swallowed claim man could decode hidden messages
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2009 4:43 AM CST
Terror alerts were raised on the basis of phony information Montgomery provided to federal agencies.   (AP Photo/Joe Marquette)

(Newser) – A Nevada software developer with a serious gambling problem fooled the CIA and the Bush White House into believing he had the key to al-Qaeda codes. Dennis Montgomery convinced agents that news network al-Jazeera was broadcasting hidden message on terror targets within the US that only he could decode, investigative journalist Aram Roston writes in Playboy.

Information Montgomery gave agents—for which he was paid an undisclosed sum—caused numerous terror alerts and warning of a "spectacular attack" looming in 2003. Doubts about his information spread after he began demanding $100m for the software and the agency cut its ties with him in 2004 after he was thoroughly discredited. Montgomery, who has since been arrested for bouncing $1 million in checks, somehow managed to win another $3 million federal contract earlier this year.