9/11 Info Dump

Moderators: DrVolin, 82_28, Elvis, Jeff

9/11 Info Dump

Postby Elvis » Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:45 am

Introduction

Ever since I joined RI, I've been meaning to post my old digital collection of articles, etc. about the infamous events of September 11, 2001. They mostly range from pre-2001 up to around 2005, and, as I recall, most of it was collected in 2003, when I was deep down the rabbit hole.

I'm depositing it here because there may be some useful items missed by others, and because many, if not most, of the links are dead and the stories are gone (and some items have no URL attached—sorry). It's somewhat random, though some files comprise several stories related to some aspect of the events. I didn't save everything I saw, of course, and at some point, one morning going down another scrawled list of names to research, I realized, "I can't do this anymore."

I'm not going to attempt to 'curate' or better organize it (the best stuff may be buried somewhere in the middle) — I'm just going to start at the top of the folder and work my way down — but I may annotate some items. Some items doubtlessly come from iffy sources (NYTimes? PrisonPlanet?), some I will omit if today they seem wrong or stupid; I haven't gone through the collection in many years. (History Commons' excellent "Complete 911 Timeline" may contain everything here, maybe not.)

Disclaimer: I do not in any way necessarily endorse or trust all of the information in these pages — there's bound to be many inaccuracies, misinformation and disinformation, but I cannot take time to edit it. I'm dumping at all here to be sorted out as the reader pleases.


Elvis

On edit: Many hyperlinks in the original pieces display here as plain text; in most cases I can extract the URL, so if there's one you really want to pursue, PM me and I'll get it for you if I can.

(It would be an interesting exercise to see how many of the URLs of and within these articles still work; not many, I'm guessing.)





[Abel Danger]


http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/17/polit ... r=homepage

Officer Says Military Blocked Sharing of Files on Terrorists

By PHILIP SHENON
Published: August 17, 2005

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 - A military intelligence team repeatedly contacted the F.B.I. in 2000 to warn about the existence of an American-based terrorist cell that included the ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks, according to a veteran Army intelligence officer who said he had now decided to risk his career by discussing the information publicly.

The officer, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, said military lawyers later blocked the team from sharing any of its information with the bureau.

Colonel Shaffer said in an interview on Monday night that the small, highly classified intelligence program, known as Able Danger, had identified the terrorist ringleader, Mohamed Atta, and three other future hijackers by name by mid-2000, and tried to arrange a meeting that summer with agents of the Washington field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to share its information.

But he said military lawyers forced members of the intelligence program to cancel three scheduled meetings with the F.B.I. at the last minute, which left the bureau without information that Colonel Shaffer said might have led to Mr. Atta and the other terrorists while the Sept. 11 attacks were still being planned.

"I was at the point of near insubordination over the fact that this was something important, that this was something that should have been pursued," Colonel Shaffer said of his efforts to get the evidence from the intelligence program to the F.B.I. in 2000 and early 2001.

He said he learned later that lawyers associated with the Special Operations Command of the Defense Department had canceled the F.B.I. meetings because they feared controversy if Able Danger was portrayed as a military operation that had violated the privacy of civilians who were legally in the United States.

"It was because of the chain of command saying we're not going to pass on information - if something goes wrong, we'll get blamed," he said.

The Defense Department did not dispute the account from Colonel Shaffer, a 42-year-old native of Kansas City, Mo., who is the first military officer associated with the program to acknowledge his role publicly.

At the same time, the department said in a statement that it was "working to gain more clarity on this issue" and that "it's too early to comment on findings related to the program identified as Able Danger." The F.B.I. referred calls about Colonel Shaffer to the Pentagon.

The account from Colonel Shaffer, a reservist who is also working part time for the Pentagon, corroborates much of the information that the Sept. 11 commission has acknowledged it received about Able Danger last July from a Navy captain who was also involved with the program but whose name has not been made public. In a statement issued last week, the leaders of the commission said the panel had concluded that the intelligence program "did not turn out to be historically significant."

The statement said that while the commission did learn about Able Danger in 2003 and immediately requested Pentagon files about it, none of the documents turned over by the Defense Department referred to Mr. Atta or any of the other hijackers.

Colonel Shaffer said that his role in Able Danger was as liaison with the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington, and that he was not an intelligence analyst. The interview with Colonel Shaffer on Monday was arranged for The New York Times and Fox News by Representative Curt Weldon, the Pennsylvania Republican who is vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and a champion of data-mining programs like Able Danger.

Colonel Shaffer's lawyer, Mark Zaid, said in an interview that he was concerned that Colonel Shaffer was facing retaliation from the Defense Department, first for having talked to the Sept. 11 commission staff in October 2003 and now for talking with news organizations.

Mr. Zaid said that Colonel Shaffer's security clearance was suspended last year because of what the lawyer said were a series of "petty allegations" involving $67 in personal charges on a military cellphone. He said that despite the disciplinary action, Colonel Shaffer had been promoted this year from major.

Colonel Shaffer said he had decided to allow his name to be used in part because of his frustration with the statement issued last week by the commission leaders, Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton.

The commission said in its final report last year that American intelligence agencies had not identified Mr. Atta as a terrorist before Sept. 11, 2001, when he flew an American Airlines jet into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York.

A commission spokesman did not return repeated phone calls on Tuesday for comment. A Democratic member of the commission, Richard Ben-Veniste, the former Watergate prosecutor, said in an interview on Tuesday that while he could not judge the credibility of the information from Colonel Shaffer and others, the Pentagon needed to "provide a clear and comprehensive explanation regarding what information it had in its possession regarding Mr. Atta."

"And if these assertions are credible," Mr. Ben-Veniste continued, "the Pentagon would need to explain why it was that the 9/11 commissioners were not provided this information despite requests for all information regarding Able Danger."

Colonel Shaffer said he had provided information about Able Danger and its identification of Mr. Atta in a private meeting in October 2003 with members of the Sept. 11 commission staff when they visited Afghanistan, where he was then serving. Commission members have disputed that, saying that they do not recall hearing Mr. Atta's name during the briefing and that the name did not appear in documents about Able Danger that were later turned over by the Pentagon.

"I would implore the 9/11 commission to support a follow-on investigation to ascertain what the real truth is," Colonel Shaffer said in the interview this week. "I do believe the 9/11 commission should have done that job: figuring out what went wrong with Able Danger."

"This was a good news story because, before 9/11, you had an element of the military - our unit - which was actually out looking for Al Qaeda," he continued. "I can't believe the 9/11 commission would somehow believe that the historical value was not relevant."

Colonel Shaffer said that because he was not an intelligence analyst, he was not involved in the details of the procedures used in Able Danger to glean information from terrorist databases, nor was he aware of which databases had supplied the information that might have led to the name of Mr. Atta or other terrorists so long before the Sept. 11 attacks.

But he said he did know that Able Danger had made use of publicly available information from government immigration agencies, from Internet sites and from paid search engines like LexisNexis



http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/23/polit ... nted=print

August 23, 2005
Second Officer Says 9/11 Leader Was Named Before Attacks
By PHILIP SHENON

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 - An active-duty Navy captain has become the second military officer to come forward publicly to say that a secret intelligence program tagged the ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks as a possible terrorist more than a year before the attacks.

The officer, Scott J. Phillpott, said in a statement on Monday that he could not discuss details of the military program, which was called Able Danger, but confirmed that its analysts had identified the Sept. 11 ringleader, Mohamed Atta, by name by early 2000. "My story is consistent," said Captain Phillpott, who managed the program for the Pentagon's Special Operations Command. "Atta was identified by Able Danger by January-February of 2000."

His comments came on the same day that the Pentagon's chief spokesman, Lawrence Di Rita, told reporters that the Defense Department had been unable to validate the assertions made by an Army intelligence veteran, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, and now backed up by Captain Phillpott, about the early identification of Mr. Atta.

Colonel Shaffer went public with his assertions last week, saying that analysts in the intelligence project were overruled by military lawyers when they tried to share the program's findings with the F.B.I. in 2000 in hopes of tracking down terrorist suspects tied to Al Qaeda.

Mr. Di Rita said in an interview that while the department continued to investigate the assertions, there was no evidence so far that the intelligence unit came up with such specific information about Mr. Atta and any of the other hijackers.

He said that while Colonel Shaffer and Captain Phillpott were respected military officers whose accounts were taken seriously, "thus far we've not been able to uncover what these people said they saw - memory is a complicated thing."

The statement from Captain Phillpott , a 1983 Naval Academy graduate who has served in the Navy for 22 years, was provided to The New York Times and Fox News through the office of Representative Curt Weldon, a Pennsylvania Republican who is vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and a longtime proponent of so-called data-mining programs like Able Danger.

Asked if the Defense Department had questioned Captain Phillpott in its two-week-old investigation of Able Danger, another Pentagon spokesman, Maj. Paul Swiergosz, said he did not know.

Representative Weldon also arranged an interview on Monday with a former employee of a defense contractor who said he had helped create a chart in 2000 for the intelligence program that included Mr. Atta's photograph and name.

The former contractor, James D. Smith, said that Mr. Atta's name and photograph were obtained through a private researcher in California who was paid to gather the information from contacts in the Middle East. Mr. Smith said that he had retained a copy of the chart until last year and that it had been posted on his office wall at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. He said it had become stuck to the wall and was impossible to remove when he switched jobs.

In its final report last year, the Sept. 11 commission said that American intelligence agencies were unaware of Mr. Atta until the day of the attacks.

The leaders of the Sept. 11 commission acknowledged on Aug. 12 that their staff had met with a Navy officer last July, 10 days before releasing the panel's final report, who asserted that a highly classified intelligence operation, Able Danger, had identified "Mohamed Atta to be a member of an Al Qaeda cell located in Brooklyn."

But the statement, which did not identify the officer, said the staff determined that "the officer's account was not sufficiently reliable to warrant revision of the report or further investigation" and that the intelligence operation "did not turn out to be historically significant."

With his comments on Monday, Captain Phillpott acknowledged that he was the officer who had briefed the commission last year. "I will not discuss the issues outside of my chain of command and the Department of Defense," he said. "But my story is consistent. Atta was identified by Able Danger by January-February of 2000. I have nothing else to say."



http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050902/ap_ ... HNlYwM3MTg

Pentagon Finds More Who Recall Atta Intel

By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer
Fri Sep 2, 7:00 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Pentagon officials said Thursday they have found three more people who recall an intelligence chart that identified Sept. 11 mastermind Mohamed Atta as a terrorist one year before the attacks on New York and Washington. But they have been unable to find the chart or other evidence that it existed.

Last month, two military officers, Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer and Navy Capt. Scott Philpott, went public with claims that a secret unit code-named Able Danger used data mining — searching large amounts of data for patterns — to identify Atta in 2000. Shaffer has said three other Sept. 11 hijackers also were identified.

In recent days Pentagon officials have said they could not yet verify or disprove the assertions by Shaffer and Philpott. On Thursday, four intelligence officials provided the first extensive briefing for reporters on the outcome of their interviews with people associated with Able Danger and their review of documents.

They said they interviewed at least 80 people over a three-week period and found three, besides Philpott and Shaffer, who said they remember seeing a chart that either mentioned Atta by name as an al-Qaida operative or showed his photograph. Four of the five recalled a chart with a pre-9/11 photo of Atta; the other person recalled only a reference to his name.

The intelligence officials said they consider the five people to be credible but their recollections are still unverified.

"To date, we have not identified the chart," said Pat Downs, a senior policy analyst in the office of the undersecretary of defense for intelligence. "We have identified a similar chart but it does not contain the photo of Mohamed Atta or a reference to him or a reference to the other (9/11) hijackers."

She said more interviews would be conducted, but the search of official documents is finished.

Downs and the other officials said they could not rule out that the chart recalled by Shaffer, Philpott and three others had been destroyed in compliance with regulations pertaining to intelligence information about people inside the United States. They also did not rule out that the five simply had faulty recollections.

Navy Cmdr. Christopher Chope, of the Center for Special Operations at U.S. Special Operations Command, said there were "negative indications" that anyone ever ordered the destruction of Able Danger documents, other than the materials that were routinely required to be destroyed under existing regulations.

Shaffer, who is now a civilian employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency, also has publicly asserted that military lawyers stopped the Able Danger staff from sharing the information on Atta with the FBI out of concern about gathering and sharing information on people in the United States legally.

Chope said there is no evidence that military lawyers blocked the sharing of Able Danger information with the FBI.

Chope also said the nature of Able Danger has been misrepresented in some news stories. He said it was created as a result of a directive in early October 1999 by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to U.S. Special Operations Command to develop a campaign plan against transnational terrorism, "specifically al-Qaida."

He called it an internal working group with a core of 10 staffers at Special Operations Command. Philpott was the "team leader," he said. "Able Danger was never a military unit," and it never targeted individual terrorists, he said. It went out of existence when the planning effort was finished in January 2001, he said.

Able Danger's purpose was to "characterize the al-Qaida network," Chope said, and determine the terror network's vulnerabilities and linkages at a time when U.S. officials were unaware that al-Qaida members were operating inside the United States.

"The effort was never: Determine which individuals we ought to roll up," he said. "Did Osama bin Laden's name come up? Of course it did." But it was not primarily aimed at identifying individual terrorists, he added.

Of the five people who told Pentagon interviewers they recalled a pre-9/11 chart that either named Atta or showed his photograph, two were on the staff of U.S. Special Operations Command: Philpott and an unidentified civilian analyst. Besides Shaffer, the others were an unidentified private contractor and an analyst with the Army's Land Information Warfare Activity, Downs said



Must Read! The Neo-Con Able Danger Scandal -- Atta Coverup! UPDATE 4
by Sherlock Google
Wed Aug 24th, 2005 at 09:48:33 PDT

DIA Agents were ordered to put yellow Post-its over Atta's face and the face's of 3 other 9/11 terrorists

"We were directed to take those 3M yellow stickers and place them over the faces of Atta and the other terrorists and pretend they didn't exist," the intelligence officer told GSN."

Intel agents Michael Shaffer and Scott Philpott have confirmed Rep. Weldon's claims that a chart with Atta's face, soon the photos of 3 other members of the 9-11 terror team, were known to DIA team Able Danger by early 2000.

This diary will show that Pete Schoomaker and Philip Zelikow are two of the main Perpetraitors in this scandal, that they deliberately withheld information from the President of the United States that would have prevented 9/11, that they and their neo-con rulers Let It Happen On Purpose.

Of this there can no longer be any doubt.

Sherlock Google's diary :: ::
Update [2005-8-24 15:35:46 by Sherlock Google]: From the Aug. 10 NY Times on Shaffer trying to include Able Danger in the final 9-11 Commission Report:


The Sept. 11 commission was warned by a uniformed military officer 10 days before issuing its final report that the account would be incomplete without reference to what he described as a secret military operation that by the summer of 2000 had identified as a potential threat the member of Al Qaeda who would lead the attacks more than a year later, commission officials said on Wednesday.
Aug 10 NY Times


Update [2005-8-24 15:35:46 by Sherlock Google]: From the Commission Statement on Able Danger:


The records discuss a set of plans, beginning in 1999, for ABLE DANGER, which involved expanding knowledge about the al Qaeda network. Some documents include diagrams of terrorist networks. None of the documents turned over to the Commission mention Mohamed Atta or any of the other future hijackers. Nor do any of the staff notes on documents reviewed in the DOD reading room indicate that Mohamed Atta or any of the other future hijackers were mentioned in any of those documents.
A senior staff member also made verbal inquiries to the HPSCI and CIA staff for any information regarding the ABLE DANGER operation. Neither organization produced any documents about the operation, or displayed any knowledge of it.

Update [2005-8-24 15:43:9 by Sherlock Google]: The 9-11 Families respond to the Able Danger news:

A group of Sept. 11 widows called the September 11th Advocates issued a statement Wednesday saying they were "horrified" to learn that further possible evidence exists, and they are disappointed the Sept. 11 commission report is "incomplete and illusory."
"The revelation of this information demands answers that are forthcoming, clear and concise," the statement said. "The Sept. 11 attacks could have and should have been prevented."

Fox News

Zelikow, as Executive Director, managed to keep the Commission from seeing the truth.

Update [2005-8-24 16:49:54 by Sherlock Google]: Here is the Gorelick Memo on The Wall. Read it for yourself and you will see that in no way does it prevent the DIA folks from telling the FBI about Atta getting ready to spring a possible attack:

The Gorelick Wall Memo

We have to learn a whole lot of ACRONYMS here but it's clear that information about a crime that "may be committed" is supposed to be "disseminated" to criminal investigators! Read it yourself.

From JusticeWatch.org:


The "Wall." The "wall" metaphor is shorthand for the recognition that separate authorities govern law enforcement and foreign intelligence investigations targeted against Americans. These authorities, designed to prevent a recurrence of domestic spying by the FBI and CIA, always recognized that international terrorism was both a law enforcement and intelligence matter. Contrary to the repeated mischaracterization by the Attorney General and others, the law never prohibited sharing information between law enforcement and intelligence communities; to the contrary, it expressly provided for such sharing. While the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was interpreted to mean that prosecutors could not direct foreign intelligence wiretaps, as opposed to criminal wiretaps, the 9/11 failures had nothing whatsoever to do with the inability of prosecutors to direct such surveillance.
Justice Watch


----------------------------------

From the Government Security News mag which broke the story:


Did DoD lawyers blow the chance to nab Atta?

By Jacob Goodwin
In September 2000, one year before the Al Qaeda attacks of 9/11, a U.S. Army military intelligence program, known as "Able Danger," identified a terrorist cell based in Brooklyn, NY, one of whose members was 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta, and recommended to their military superiors that the FBI be called in to "take out that cell," according to Rep. Curt Weldon, a longtime Republican congressman from Pennsylvania who is currently vice chairman of both the House Homeland Security and House Armed Services Committees.

The recommendation to bring down that New York City cell -- in which two other Al Qaeda terrorists were also active -- was not pursued during the weeks leading up to the 2000 presidential election, said Weldon. That's because Mohammed Atta possessed a "green card" at the time and Defense Department lawyers did not want to recommend that the FBI go after someone holding a green card, Weldon told his House colleagues last June 27 during a little-noticed speech, known as a "special order," which he delivered on the House floor.

Details of the origins and efforts of Able Danger were corroborated in a telephone interview by GSN with a former defense intelligence officer who said he worked closely with that program. That intelligence officer, who spoke to GSN while sitting in Rep. Weldon's Capitol Hill office, requested anonymity for fear that his current efforts to help re-start a similar intelligence-gathering operation might be hampered if his identity becomes known.

The intelligence officer recalled carrying documents to the offices of Able Danger, which was being run by the Special Operations Command, headquartered in Tampa, FL. The documents included a photo of Mohammed Atta supplied by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and described Atta's relationship with Osama bin Laden. The officer was very disappointed when lawyers working for Special Ops decided that anyone holding a green card had to be granted essentially the same legal protections as any U.S. citizen. Thus, the information Able Danger had amassed about the only terrorist cell they had located inside the United States could not be shared with the FBI, the lawyers concluded.

"We were directed to take those 3M yellow stickers and place them over the faces of Atta and the other terrorists and pretend they didn't exist," the intelligence officer told GSN.

DoD lawyers may also have been reluctant to suggest a bold action by FBI agents after the bureau's disastrous 1993 strike against the Branch Davidian religious cult in Waco, TX, said Weldon and the intelligence officer.
Government Security News



So the responsibility for stopping DIA program Able Danger, which had Identified Atta and 3 other hijackers and linked them to 56 other al-Queda terrorists overseas, has been laid at the feet of Bill Clinton--except he and Richard Clarke were never told about it at all.

That's right. Bill Clinton was never told about Able Danger and the ID of Atta because Richard Clarke was never told about AD. How do I know? He never wrote about it in his book, nor did he testify about it's existence before the 9-11 Commission!

You see Richard Clarke was known for being obsesses with Osama Bin Laden and HE was the guy the neo-con moles did not want to know about Atta and the gang. Schoomaker and the neo-cons knew telling the FBI would inform Clarke and then Mr. Laser Beam himself, President of the United State William Jefferson Clinton, would have gotten involved--and the Pearl Harbor-type attack would never take place (the neo-cons talked about the need for a Pearl Harbor-type attack before the PNAC Plan would be accepted by the American people--so when one presented itself, they let it happen).

General Pete Schoomaker, who were later heavily rewarded by the neo-cons in the Bush Administration, blocked the upward motion of the DIA information by having Shaffer and Philpott meet with Pentagon lawyers opinions--lawyers who were rubberstamping ridiculous legal opinions to carry out the neo-con plan. These certain people were neo-cons in the Clinton Administration, covertly carrying out the PNAC plan to let a Pearl Harbor-type attack occur so Iraq and 6 other countries could be invaded.

HOW DARE WELDON AND THE RIGHT WING TRY TO LAY ABLE DANGER AT THE FEET OF BILL CLINTON, WHEN HE WAS DELIBERATELY PREVENTED FROM KNOWING ABOUT IT BY SCHOOMAKER AND THE OTHERS! THEN THE NEO-CONS ENDED THE PROGRAM IN FEB. 2001 ALTOGETHER!

The heroic intel agents of Able Danger repeatedly tried to get the FBI to roll up the cell but were stopped by the secret neo-con cell within the Clinton Administration, especially General Pete Schoomaker, in command of Able Danger--and who was later asked by Rumsfeld to come out of retirement and replace Shinseki in 2003 as Army Chief of Staff!


Pete Schoomaker, Perpetraitor

Schoomaker, who worked under neo-con Tommy Franks in Tampa, retired in December of 2000. The indicted Larry Franklin was another neo-con in the Clinton Administration.

Schoomaker repeatedly told Philpott and Shaffer that they could not inform the FBI as DoD lawyers had opined that Atta's Green Card made him a "US Person", that the so-called "Gorelick Wall" prevented talking to the FBI--even though Atta was part of al-Queda. Shaffer and Philpott were actually ordered to put yellow sticky pads over the faces of the 4 terrorists on their Analyst Notebook chart and act as thought they don't exist. (Analyst Notebook is software).


"The former defense intelligence official, who was interviewed twice this week, has repeatedly said that Mr. Atta and four others were identified on a chart presented to the Special Operations Command. The former official said the chart identified about 60 probable members of Al Qaeda." [NY Times Archive 8/13/05]



Here is Captain Scott Philpott as blogger Anon on Intel Dump talking about meeting the DoD lawyers, who had no doubt been ordered by higher-ups to ignore the clear exception to the Gorelick Wall that a terrorist presented:


I was there and I lived through the ABLE DANGER nightmare.

First - yes - The lawyers involved in this (and similar projects) did interpret the 9-11 terrorists as "US persons" - so while you can second guess them all you want - but that was their "legal" call as wrong as it was and is. Unfortunately, the chain of command at SOCOM went along with them (and this, I expect, will be a topic that will become more clear in the near future).

And lawyers of the era also felt that any intelligence officer viewing open internet information for the purpose of intelligence collection automatically required that any "open source" information obtained be treated as if it was "intelligence information" ...does this sound like idiocy to you? It did to me - and we fought it - and I was in meetings at the OSD level, with OSD laywers, that debated this - and I even briefed the DCI George Tenet on this issue relating to an internet project.

And yes, Virgina - we tried to tell the lawyers that since the data identified Atta and the others as linked to Al Qaeda, we should be able to collect on them based on SecState Albright's declaration of Al Qaeda as transnational terrorist threat to the US...well the lawyers did not agree...go figure...so we could not collect on them - and for political reasons - could not pass them to the FBI...I know because I brokered three meetings between the FBI and SOCOM to allow SOCOM to pass the informaton to the FBI. And, sadly, SOCOM cancelled them every time...

Intel Dump Blogger Anon



So Schoomaker and the Pentagon lawyers blocked the Atta Chart and request for arrest of the "Brooklyn Cell" from going to the FBI, Clarke and Clinton--who would have acted on it--and 9-11 would likely have never happened, with 3 of the 4 pilots and the leader of the gang arrested.

But then the neo-cons stole the election and came into power proper with Bush, Rice and Cheney. Rice, in charge of the transition, demoted Richard Clarke on Jan. 5, 2001, with the assistance of Philip Zelikow, who later became Executive Director of the 9-11 Commission! Like Schoomaker, Zelikow has now been rewarded with a plum job, directly under Rice at State.

Able Danger was then "unceremoniously axed" by the DoD in February 2001 when the neo-cons officially took over the Pentagon, no doubt on the orders of Cheney and Rice.

From the Norristown Times-Herald in Weldon's district:



A small group of Defense Intelligence Agency employees ran the Able Danger operation from fall 1999 to February 2001 - just seven months before the terrorist attacks - when the operation was unceremoniously axed, according to a former defense intelligence official familiar with the program. The former official asked not to be identified.

Norristown paper

August 17 article Shaffer confirms this end date:

The objective of "Able Danger" was to identify and target al-Qaeda and other terrorists. The DIA team used data mining, parallel processing and other cutting-edge computer technology from 1999 through early 2001, Shaffer said.

Times Herald again



Many other counter-terror programs were ended or stalled at the same time, including the use of the armed Predator Drone, which had spotted Osama and could have killed him, as well as new off-shore banking regs that Clinton had passed and FBI investigations of the Saudis and the Bin Ladens. Even though on Jan 31, 2001, the Congress approved the Hart Rudman counter-terror recommendations, including cockpit door hardening, Bush fought implementation by stalling, handing it to Cheney in May and saying he would issue a counter-terror plan--in October 2001, the month AFTER the 9-11 attack.

Rep. Weldon, a proponent of data-mining, had been following the Able Danger program for years and had talked to Stephen Hadley--he of 16-word fame--soon after 9-11, that Able Danger had identified the same terrorists early in the game. Hadley, second at NSC under Rice, sat on the information on Able Danger--which of course he knew about anyway--and then NEVER TOLD THE 9-11 COMMISSION.

Another major part of the treason is the Perpetraitor Zelikow, Executive Director of the 9-11 Commission, and the man who helped Rice and Cheney establish the neo-con agenda and demote Richard. Appointed by Bush to the 9-11 Commission to investigate himself essentially--and Bob Kerrey objected strenuously to Zelikow as a conflict (then gave up)--the Executive Director has tremendous power over staff and direction of the Commission and its report.

Philip Zelikow committed treason, when as Executive Director, he was directly told about Able Danger, then he and his direct staff covered up the information from the rest of the 9-11 Commission as they have said they were never told about it. When the Able Danger agents called up the Commission 10 days before the publication of the Report, they were blown off for the umpteenth time. Here is the 9-11 Commission's own statement on Able Danger:


On October 21, 2003, Philip Zelikow, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, two senior Commission staff members, and a representative of the executive branch, met at Bagram Base, Afghanistan, with three individuals doing intelligence work for the Department of Defense. One of the men, in recounting information about al Qaeda's activities in Afghanistan before 9/11, referred to a DOD program known as ABLE DANGER. He said this program was now closed, but urged Commission staff to get the files on this program and review them, as he thought the Commission would find information about al Qaeda and Bin Ladin that had been developed before the 9/11 attack.

Then Zelikow sat on the Able Danger info. Shaffer on CNN said:



The other thing is Mr. Zelicow (ph) himself gave me his card and asked me to contact him upon my return from the deployment. And I did contact him in January of '04. That's where I was essentially blown off.

I called him. They said they wanted to talk to me. I waited a week, called him back. And they said, "No, we don't need to talk to you now."

Now, Soledad, I'm sorry. I forgot your first part of the question you asked before.

S. O'BRIEN: You know, we're actually kind of running out of time.

SHAFFER: OK.

S. O'BRIEN: But I was essentially asking you if they were lying, which is sort of a yes or no answer there.

SHAFFER: I can't -- I'm just letting you know what I -- what I said. I said, specifically, that we, as through the Able Danger process, discovered two of the three cells which conducted 9/11, to include Atta. Now -- and I -- that was, to me, significant, in that they actually pulled me aside after the meeting and said, "Please come talk to us and give us more details."



Then Zelikow NEVER calls Shaffer or Philpott back!

The flimsy excuses for that are covered in TopDog's recommended diary, and are all lies anyhow:
Rice aide hid disbandment of Atta's trackers from 9/11 report

Finally, here is Lee Hamilton of the 9-11 Commission:

"The Sept. 11th commission did not learn of any U.S. government knowledge prior to 9/11 of the surveillance of Mohamed Atta or his cell," Hamilton said. "Had we learned of it obviously it would have been a major focus of our investigation."

So there you have it.

If this is e-mailed to 100 people and all the blogs and media by each person here on KOS and we pick this apart endlessly, all the evidence is there.

The greatest scandal in the history of the United States of America.

This has to be the end of the Republican Party as the majority party for some time to come. And only we bloggers can blow this thing wide open.

There is much, much more to this but I will post them on updates. And anybody who now doubts Shaffer AND Philpott is carrying skepticism too far and is likely a RW troll absolutely HORRIFIED at the turn the Able Danger story has now taken.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/di ... id=4447706






[Quashed FBI investigatiions]

Vol. 20, No. 21
October 18, 2004
New American
Agents Challenge 9/11 Commission
by William F. Jasper

Shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America, the FBI went on a hiring binge for language translators. Special Agent John M. Cole, who was working in the FBI’s Washington, D.C., headquarters, was assigned to do risk assessments on applicants for the translator positions.

Something in the first applicant file he picked up set off alarm bells. “One of the first things I noticed is that her father was a retired military general from a foreign power,” Special Agent Cole told The New American. “He also lived six months of the year in the U.S. and the other six months in this foreign country. I ran his name through the FBI computer and found that he had been stationed as a military attaché in the U.S. during the 1970s. One of the things I knew from my years in counterintelligence was that every military attaché from that country had proven to be an intelligence agent for that government. This was a red flag.”

Special Agent Cole says he did exactly what he was supposed to do: He took the applicant file to his supervisor, recommended against hiring the applicant and suggested a further risk assessment by the counterterrorism unit. The supervisor was glad that Cole had caught the potential security problem and agreed with his evaluation. Shortly thereafter, says Cole, he asked the supervisor if the risk assessment had been done on the applicant. He was dumbfounded at the response he received. He recounts: “I was told, ‘Not that it matters now, she’s already been hired and has just started to work in the Washington, D.C., field office.’” What’s more, she had been given Top Secret clearance.
“I was shocked,” he says. “I couldn’t believe that this obvious security risk was being rushed through without proper risk assessments and put in such a sensitive position.” John Cole is no rookie; he is an 18-year FBI veteran with much of that time spent in counterintelligence, as well as undercover operations and counterterrorism.

But he was in for more shocks, because it got much worse. According to Cole, there were as many as 12 additional applicants hired as language specialists, whose files he had personally inspected, that showed red flags for various reasons. These also were not properly vetted, he says. “Now remember, this was during the time period right after the Robert Hannsen case broke,” he points out, “and the Bureau is insisting that it’s doing everything possible to tighten security in the wake of this scandal. We saw the incredible damage that one Hannsen could cause, and yet, here we were setting ourselves up for several Hannsen-type disasters in the future.” Robert Hannsen, an FBI special agent with a long career in counterintelligence, was arrested in February 2001 for spying for Russia and the former Soviet Union. The total damage he caused to U.S. security may never be known, but his case is regarded as the worst known case of foreign penetration of the FBI.

Cole says he became more and more alarmed at what he saw and repeatedly filed reports through channels warning that the Bureau was facing very serious potential security breaches. Instead of tightening security on questionable applicants, he says, “the Security Programs people started coming down on me” for continuing to bring these matters up.
He had been covering Afghanistan, Pakistan and India for the Bureau, which had become an especially important region in the terror war. Suddenly, he was transferred to the Sub-Saharan Africa desk, which was tantamount to being exiled to Siberia. Yet, even here, he discovered he could put his experience to good use. Perusing a file of a former FBI language specialist for this region, he discovered that the individual had been providing FBI information to a foreign intelligence service. This was both a crime and an enormous security breach. “I asked why a full investigation had not been initiated against this individual and why he had not been arrested, since he was still in the U.S.,” Cole recounts. “Again, instead of doing the obvious right thing of opening this case, they took the Sub--Sahara desk away from me.”

It was obvious, says Cole, that he was suffering retaliation for “rocking the boat,” which, in this case, meant simply doing his job. “For 18 years, I had gotten nothing but exceptional ratings,” he notes, but now, all of a sudden, he was getting negative write-ups. This is precisely what FBI Director Robert Mueller pledged would not happen in the new, post-9/11 FBI.

“I will not tolerate reprisals or intimidation by any bureau employee against those who make protected disclosures, nor will I tolerate attempts to prevent the employees from making such disclosures,” Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 6, 2002. “I want people in the field to tell me what is happening,” he continued. “And I encourage, welcome the criticism, the insight, the suggestions, whether it be from the organization or from without the organization.”

However, the Bureau’s practices seem to contradict Director Mueller’s rhetoric. The cases of Special Agents John Roberts, Jane Turner, Robert Wright and Barry Carmody provide recent examples of FBI retaliation against whistleblowers. So do the cases of FBI language specialists Sibel Edmonds and Behrooz Sarshar. Edmonds, a Turkic and Arabic translator, insists that federal officials had specific information about the impending 9/11 attacks. In an August 2, 2004 open letter to the 9/11 Commission, Edmonds charged:
More than four months prior to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, in April 2001, a long-term FBI informant/asset who had been providing the bureau with information since 1990, provided two FBI agents and a translator with specific information regarding a terrorist attack.... Through his contacts in Afghanistan, he received information that: 1) Osama bin Laden was planning a major terrorist attack in the United States targeting four or five major cities; 2) the attack was going to involve airplanes; 3) some of the individuals in charge of carrying out this attack were already in place in the United States; 4) the attack was going to be carried out soon, in a few months.

Although Mrs. Edmonds’ charges have been public for more than two years, the Justice Department and FBI have asserted the rarely invoked State Secret Privilege to block the release of the Inspector General’s investigation into her allegations.

“Director Mueller tells Congress that he is waiting for the Inspector General’s report on the [John] Roberts case,” John Cole notes. “Well, the IG report confirms that the FBI has been retaliating against Roberts for exposing serious FBI misconduct. Mueller knows that but has done nothing. And he has been blocking all documents related to Sibel Edmonds’ case.”

Then there is Mueller’s testimony before the 9/11 Commission. “It was amazing,” says Cole. “Mueller made it appear that everything is rosy at the Bureau and that all its problems have been fixed or are being fixed. He stated that the FBI’s top priorities are: 1) counterterrorism; 2) counterintelligence; and 3) training. However, what I was witnessing personally at headquarters completely contradicted that. Counterintelligence and counterterrorism had become a total sham. The claim that training is now a top priority is also false. Training has actually decreased 75 percent since 9/11. Much of the training that is being done is worthless stuff put together by retired Bureau officials who have gotten fat contracts without competitive bidding.”

What about Mueller’s claim that he wanted to hear from agents? Empty public relations, says Cole. After repeatedly failing to get a response to his security concerns on the language translators, Cole went directly to Mueller. He says he hand-carried four letters to Mueller’s office — two in 2002 and two in 2003 — and delivered them to Mueller’s secretary. “I never got a response from him,” he told The New American. “Zero. Nothing.”

Well, not exactly nothing. John Cole did finally get a response from his superiors, but that response was not the one he had hoped for. In January 2004, he was notified that he was being suspended. In March he resigned from the FBI. Like all FBI special agents, John Cole solemnly swore “to support, uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” It’s an oath he takes seriously. “When you take an oath to defend this country and do the right thing, you had better mean it,” he told The New American. “And people should be held accountable when — whether through negligence or malfeasance — they violate that oath. Otherwise, what’s the point of having it.”

The FBI has changed since he first became a special agent, says Cole, who now works as a security analyst for the U.S. Air Force. “It used to be a great place to work,” he says. “You really felt that you were part of a team that was doing important, rewarding work. Now it has become so corrupt and there is no accountability; the most conscientious, professional employees are often penalized, while some of the worst are promoted. The Bureau is in worse shape than ever and morale is very low. This is very dangerous for America’s security.”

This conviction that our country was being left wide open to terrorist attack led John Cole to join Sibel Edmonds, former U.S. Customs Agent Diane Kleiman, FAA/TSA Special Agent Bogdan Dzakovic and other federal law enforcement and intelligence agents at the September 13, 2004 Whistleblowers press conference in Washington, D.C. These officers on the front lines of the terror war warn that, far from fixing the failures that led to 9/11, many of the 9/11 Report recommendations would do more harm than good. “Director Mueller and the commission both talk a lot about accountability,” says Cole, “ but both have refused to hold anyone accountable. They simply want to reshuffle the bureaucracy, spend more money, hire more people, increase their authority — and leave the same people in charge. That’s a prescription for more — and even bigger — disasters.”



FBI Heroes in the Terror War

Veteran FBI Special Agent Robert Wright (below) and his partner John Vincent tried for years before 9/11 to get authorization for a criminal investigation of an al-Qaeda terror cell in Chicago and suspected al-Qaeda financier Yassin Al-Kadi. Their efforts were repeatedly blocked by FBI officials. In a memo written three months before 9/11, Special Agent Wright warned that Americans would die as a result of the FBI’s failure to investigate terrorists living in this country. Too late for the victims of 9/11, the U.S. Government has indicted Yassin Al-Kadi. Agent Wright has been demoted, subjected to harassment and repeated investigations by his superiors and assigned to menial work.
FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley and members of her Minneapolis FBI office were blocked repeatedly by FBI headquarters in their efforts to investigate Zacarias Moussaoui, the “20th hijacker.” Thankfully, the Minneapolis office, which had arrested Moussaoui several weeks before 9/11, did not release him. Rowley is shown above testifying before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in July 2002.


http://www.thenewamerican.com/tna/2004/ ... 04/911.htm






[Named hijackers 'still alive']

Revealed: the men with stolen identities

TELEGRAPH UK
By David Harrison
(Filed: 23/09/2001)

THEIR names were flashed around the world as suicide hijackers who carried out the attacks on America. But yesterday four innocent men told how their identities had been stolen by Osama bin Laden's teams to cover their tracks.

The men - all from Saudi Arabia - spoke of their shock at being mistakenly named by the FBI as suicide terrorists. None of the four was in the United States on September 11 and all are alive in their home country.

The Telegraph obtained the first interviews with the men since they learnt that they were on the FBI's list of hijackers who died in the crashes in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

All four said that they were "outraged" to be identified as terrorists. One has never been to America and another is a Saudi Airlines pilot who was on a training course in Tunisia at the time of the attacks.

Saudi Airlines said it was considering legal action against the FBI for seriously damaging its reputation and that of its pilots. The FBI released the list of 19 suicide terrorists three days after the attacks.

The statement said that the 19 "have been identified as hijackers aboard the four airliners". Photographs and personal details were published around the world with an appeal for "information about these individuals, even though they are presumed dead".

The Saudi Airlines pilot, Saeed Al-Ghamdi, 25, and Abdulaziz Al-Omari, an engineer from Riyadh, are furious that the hijackers' "personal details" - including name, place, date of birth and occupation - matched their own.

Mr Al-Ghamdi was named as a terrorist on the United Airlines flight that crashed in Pennsylvania - a plane said by some experts to have been heading for the White House.

He first knew that he was on the FBI's list when he was told by a colleague. Speaking from Tunisia, he said: "I was completely shocked. For the past 10 months I have been based in Tunis with 22 other pilots learning to fly an Airbus 320. The FBI provided no evidence of my presumed involvement in the attacks.

"You cannot imagine what it is like to be described as a terrorist - and a dead man - when you are innocent and alive." The airline was angry too. Officials brought Mr Al-Ghamdi back to Saudi Arabia last week for a 10-day holiday to avoid arrest or interrogation.

An official said: "We are consulting lawyers about what action to take to protect the reputation of our pilots." Mr Al-Ghamdi faced further embarrassment when CNN, the American television network, flashed a photograph of him around the world, naming him as a hijack suspect.

The FBI had published his personal details but with a photograph of somebody else, presumably a hijacker who had "stolen" his identity. CNN, however, showed a picture of the real Mr Al-Ghamdi.

He said that CNN had probably got the picture from the Flight Safety flying school he attended in Florida. CNN has since broadcast a clarification saying that the photograph may not be that of the accused.

Mr Al-Omari, who was accused of hijacking the American Airlines plane that smashed into the the World Trade Centre's north tower, said that he was at his desk at the Saudi telecommunications authority in Riyadh when the attacks took place.

He said: "I couldn't believe it when the FBI put me on their list. They gave my name and my date of birth, but I am not a suicide bomber. I am here. I am alive. I have no idea how to fly a plane. I had nothing to do with this."

Mr Al-Omari said his passport was stolen when his apartment in Denver, Colorado, was burgled in 1995. He had been studying engineering at Denver University since 1993. He was given a new passport in Riyadh on December 31, 1995 and returned to America to resume his studies in January 1996. After graduating last year he returned to Riyadh to join the electricity authority and later moved to the telecommunications authority.

The other two men accused of being terrorists are Salem Al-Hamzi and Ahmed Al-Nami. Mr Al-Hamzi is 26 and had just returned to work at a petrochemical complex in the industrial eastern city of Yanbou after a holiday in Saudi Arabia when the hijackers struck. He was accused of hijacking the American Airlines Flight 77 that hit the Pentagon.

He said: "I have never been to the United States and have not been out of Saudi Arabia in the past two years." The FBI described him as 21 and said that his possible residences were Fort Lee or Wayne, both in New Jersey.

Mr Al-Nami, 33, from Riyadh, an administrative supervisor with Saudi Arabian Airlines, said that he was in Riyadh when the terrorists struck.

He said: "I'm still alive, as you can see. I was shocked to see my name mentioned by the American Justice Department. I had never even heard of Pennsylvania where the plane I was supposed to have hijacked."

He had never lost his passport and found it "very worrying" that his identity appeared to have been "stolen" and published by the FBI without any checks. The FBI had said his "possible residence" was Delray Beach in Florida.

Last night the FBI admitted that there was some doubt about the identities of some of the suspects. A spokesman said: "The identification process has been complicated by the fact that many Arabic family names are similar. It is also possible that the hijackers used false identities."

The spokesman declined to say whether the FBI would apologise but added: "If we have made mistakes then obviously that would be regrettable but this is a big and complicated investigation."

When the list was published Robert Mueller, the FBI director, said that it was "fairly confident" that the names were not aliases.

20 September 2001: Piecing together the shadowy lives of the hijackers
15 September 2001: Seven pilots were among 19 hijackers
13 September 2001: Suicide hijackers taught to fly in America, says FBI




http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.h ... 94D9404482

New York Times
September 16, 2001, Sunday
NATIONAL DESK
AFTER THE ATTACKS: MISSED CUES; Saudi May Have Been Suspected in Error, Officials Say
By KEVIN SACK (NYT) 703 words
VERO BEACH, Fla., Sept. 15 -- The authorities said today that it appeared a case of mistaken identity had led the Federal Bureau of Investigation to search the former home and to interview the friends of a Saudi Arabian pilot whose name is similar to one used by one of the hijackers of American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center.

The search here on Wednesday was widely reported in the news media, including The New York Times, with several accounts reporting that the pilot was a suspected hijacker.
A lawyer with knowledge of the investigation said today that the man, Abdul Rahman Alomari, had returned to Saudi Arabia this month, and that both American and Saudi officials appear to be reasonably convinced that he is not the Abdulaziz al-Omari who was listed by the F.B.I. on Friday as one of the 19 hijackers.

The lawyer, as well as American and Saudi officials, all of whom spoke on the condition that they not be named, said Abdul Rahman Alomari had been interviewed by Saudi and United States authorities in Saudi Arabia in the last two days.

Federal law enforcement officials had little to say today. ''I just can't talk about the investigation,'' said Judy Orihuela, a spokeswoman for the bureau's Miami office.
But another law enforcement official said investigators had concluded that the Alomari who had lived here -- an employee of Saudi Arabian Airlines who was attending flight school in Vero Beach -- was not the Alomari listed on the manifest of Flight 11.

If that is the case, Abdul Rahman Alomari fell victim to a remarkable set of circumstances. Apart from the similarity in names, the interest of investigators was clearly aroused by the fact that he had studied at a Florida flight school, as had several of the suspected hijackers. Both investigators and reporters became further intrigued when Mr. Alomari's landlord and neighbors told them he had sent his wife and four children back to Saudi Arabia less than two weeks before the attack.

A Saudi official said that the authorities in Saudi Arabia believed Mr. Alomari was who said he was. But the official said he could not definitively clear up the question of Mr. Alomari's identity and that Saudi authorities were investigating whether identity theft might have been involved.

At 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday, some 60 F.B.I agents and local law enforcement officers swept into Mr. Alomari's former neighborhood here. They then searched the house for hours, as well as a neighboring house that had been rented by Adnan Bukhari, another pilot trainee from Saudi Arabia and a friend of Mr. Alomari's.

Mr. Bukhari agreed to be flown to Miami for an interview at the F.B.I.'s office there, his lawyer said. Mr. Bukhari was allowed to return home Thursday night, the lawyer said.

During the interview, Mr. Bukhari's cellphone rang, said the lawyer, who was present. Mr. Bukhari found Mr. Alomari on the line, calling from Saudi Arabia after hearing news reports that the two of them were considered suspects, the lawyer said. He asked the F.B.I. agent whether he wished to speak to Mr. Alomari and handed him the phone.



--------------------
Shared Names for Hijackers
(By The New York Times)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 -- Three of the men identified as the hijackers in the attacks on Tuesday have the same names as alumni of American military schools, the authorities said today. The men were identified as Mohamed Atta, Abdulaziz al-Omari and Saeed al-Ghamdi.

The Defense Department said Mr. Atta had gone to the International Officers School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama; Mr. al-Omari to the Aerospace Medical School at Brooks Air Force Base in Texas; and Mr. al-Ghamdi to the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio in Monterey, Calif.



STILL ALIVE? FBI Mixed Up on True Identities of Perpetrators

Some of the men the FBI claims hijacked planes on Sept. 11 and crashed them into hubs of U.S. finance and defense are still alive.

Exclusive to American Free Press

By Christopher J. Petherick

At least six men the FBI says were part of the ring of 19 hijackers who seized passenger jets with box cutters on Sept. 11 and crashed them into the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon are "alive and well," report Mideast officials.

Information Times, an on-line publication, reported that Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal told the Arabic Press after meeting with President George W. Bush on Sept. 20: "It was proved that five of the names included in the FBI list had nothing to do with what happened."

According to The Orlando Sentinel, the Saudi Arabian embassy confirmed that four of the five mentioned by Al-Faisal -Saeed Alghamdi, Mohand Alshehri, Abdul aziz Alo mari and Salem Alhazmi-are not dead and had nothing to do with the heinous terror attacks in New York and Washington.

Saudi officials at the embassy were un able to verify the whereabouts of the fifth accused hijacker, Khalid Al-Mihdhar. However, Arab newspapers say Al-Mihd har is still alive.

NUMBER SIX

A sixth person on the FBI's list, Saudi national Waleed Alshehri, is living in Casablanca, according to an official with the Royal Air Moroc, the Moroccan commercial airline.

According to the unnamed official, Alshehri lived in Dayton Beach, Fla., where he took flight training at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Now he works for a Moroccan airline.

On Sept. 22, Associated Press reported that Alshehri had spoken to the U.S. embassy in Morocco.

The FBI acknowledges that the identities of some of the purported hijackers are still in question because some of the suspects' names on flight rosters had been reported stolen months before the attacks took place.

Why the FBI still lists these men as suspected hijackers who were killed during the terrorist assault remains a mystery.



http://www.guardian.co.uk/september11/s ... 50,00.html
False identities mislead FBI

Special report: terrorism in the US
http://www.guardian.co.uk/usterrorism

Nick Hopkins in New York
Friday September 21, 2001
The Guardian

The FBI acknowledged yesterday that some of the terrorists involved in the attacks last week were using false identities, as it emerged that at least two men had been wrongly implicated.

After analysis of the passenger lists of the four hijacked flights and other immigration documents, investigators identified Salem Al-Hazmi and Abdulaziz Al-Omari as two of the terrorists.

The real Salem Al-Hazmi, however, is alive and indignant in Saudi Arabia, and not one of the people who perished in the American Airlines flight that crashed on the Pentagon. He works at a government-owned petroleum and chemical plant in the city of Yanbu.

He said yesterday he had not left Saudi Arabia for two years, but that his passport had been stolen by a pickpocket in Cairo three years ago.

Abdulaziz Al-Omari has also come forward to say he was not on the flight from Boston that crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Centre.

An electrical engineer who works in Saudi Arabia, Mr Al-Omari said he was a student in Denver during the mid-1990s, and that his passport and other papers were stolen in a burglary in the US five years ago.

He was given a special pass by the Saudi embassy so he could return home.
"The name is my name and the birth date is the same as mine," he told Asharq al-Aswat, a London-based Arabic newspaper. "But I am not the one who bombed the World Trade Centre in New York."

Both men have offered to fly to the US to prove their innocence.

A Saudi embassy official in Washington warned yesterday that many more terror suspects might have been using false identities.

"The Salem Al-Hamzi we have is 26 years old and has never been to the United States," Gaafar Allagany told the Washington Post. "He has said he is willing to come to the United States if anyone wants to see him."

The FBI said it was reviewing the information about those on board the flights and that "the possibility that some of the identities are in question is being actively pursued".

The confusion has added to the problems of investigators. They have discovered that one of the men arrested, Badr Mohammed Hamzi, a radiologist from San Antonio, Texas, regularly used the name Khalid Al-Midhar, who has been named as another of the hijackers.


[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1559151.stm]

Sunday, 23 September, 2001, 12:30 GMT 13:30 UK
Hijack 'suspects' alive and well

A man called Waleed Al Shehri says he left the US a year ago
Another of the men named by the FBI as a hijacker in the suicide attacks on Washington and New York has turned up alive and well.
The identities of four of the 19 suspects accused of having carried out the attacks are now in doubt.
Saudi Arabian pilot Waleed Al Shehri was one of five men that the FBI said had deliberately crashed American Airlines flight 11 into the World Trade Centre on 11 September.
His photograph was released, and has since appeared in newspapers and on television around the world.
Now he is protesting his innocence from Casablanca, Morocco.
He told journalists there that he had nothing to do with the attacks on New York and Washington, and had been in Morocco when they happened. He has contacted both the Saudi and American authorities, according to Saudi press reports.
He acknowledges that he attended flight training school at Daytona Beach in the United States, and is indeed the same Waleed Al Shehri to whom the FBI has been referring.
But, he says, he left the United States in September last year, became a pilot with Saudi Arabian airlines and is currently on a further training course in Morocco.
Mistaken identity
Abdulaziz Al Omari, another of the Flight 11 hijack suspects, has also been quoted in Arab news reports.
He says he is an engineer with Saudi Telecoms, and that he lost his passport while studying in Denver.
Another man with exactly the same name surfaced on the pages of the English-language Arab News.
The second Abdulaziz Al Omari is a pilot for Saudi Arabian Airlines, the report says.
Meanwhile, Asharq Al Awsat newspaper, a London-based Arabic daily, says it has interviewed Saeed Alghamdi.
He was listed by the FBI as a hijacker in the United flight that crashed in Pennsylvania.
And there are suggestions that another suspect, Khalid Al Midhar, may also be alive.
FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged on Thursday that the identity of several of the suicide hijackers is in doubt.



"Frankly, I don't think it's a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous."
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Re: 9/11 Info Dump

Postby Elvis » Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:24 am

[p.2 of dump]




This is a lengthy series by Stephen Sniegoski, packed with info, split into two posts. Please comment on Dr. Sniegoski as may be called for; I had forgotten all about him.

1st part:




September 11 and the origins
of the "War on Terrorism":
A revisionist account


By STEPHEN J. SNIEGOSKI

Part one
March 11, 2002
Part two
March 14, 2002
Part three
March 18, 2002
Part four
March 22, 2002
First update:
"The Israeli spy ring
and September 11"
April 14, 2002
Second update:
"September 11 and
the war in Palestine"
April 23, 2002
Third update:
"The changing story
and the conspiracy of inaction"
May 20, 2002
Fourth update:
"Ye shall know them
by their fruits"
May 28, 2002
Fifth update:
"Alibis and new revelations"
June 12, 2002
Sixth update:
"The Roberts Commission, redux"
July 5, 2002



Part one

By STEPHEN J. SNIEGOSKI

I offer here what might be called a moderate revisionist account of the September 11 terror and the origin of the U.S. "war on terrorism."

The official story permeating the major media runs something like this: the U.S. war on Afghanistan was simply an ad hoc response to the horrific events of September 11, which struck as a bolt from the blue, totally unexpected by American security agencies. The Afghanistan war emerged overnight as a simple effort to punish, and thus bring to justice, the perpetrators of the abominable deeds — namely, the al Qaeda terrorist network masterminded by the infamous Osama Bin Laden, ensconced in his cave in Afghanistan (accompanied, no doubt, by his dialysis machine). Presumably, the punishment of the perpetrators would make America safer from terrorism.

Because the Taliban government of Afghanistan harbored Bin Laden — the official line goes — it was necessary and just for the United States to overthrow that regime, which according to the U.S. Department of Justice was not actually a government at all but simply a vipers' nest of terrorists, as evil as Bin Ladin and al Qaeda. [1] In the event, the United States's elimination of the nefarious terrorists had the effect of liberating the oppressed Afghan people from tyranny.

The media, quoting government sources, identified Bin Laden as the likely culprit within hours of the attacks on the Twin Towers. It took more time for the story to evolve to the point where the Taliban became equivalent in evil with Bin Laden and al Qaeda, but soon enough, the whole affair was openly presented as a Manichæan conflict between good and evil, even including the claim that the United States was attacked because evil folk hate good folk.
***
The official line has finally begun to wear thin, and even such mouthpieces of Establishment platitudes as Chris Matthews and Michael Kinsley are now able to discern that the war is directed toward much broader purposes than a simple effort to punish the actual culprits of September 11. Kinsley writes: "But how did the 'war on terrorism' change focus so quickly from rooting out and punishing the perpetrators of 9/11 — a task that is still incomplete — to something (what?) about nuclear proliferation?" (Parenthesis in original.) [2] In Matthews's view, the limited punitive war has been "hijacked" by people with other, broader aims — including, as he specifies, the proposed effort to prevent members of the "axis of evil" from developing weapons of mass destruction. Matthews writes:

A month ago, I knew why we were fighting. You knew why we were fighting. We were getting the killers of Sept. 11 before they could get us again. If that meant tracking down Osama Bin Laden and his filthy gang to the ends of the Earth, we were up to the task.
So what happened to that gutsy war of bringing the World Trade Center and Pentagon killers to justice? Who hijacked that clear-eyed, all-American front of September-to-January and left our leaders mouthing this "axis of evil" line? Who hijacked the firefighters' war of righteous outrage and got us reciting this weird mantra about Iran, Iraq — and North Korea, of all places? [3]

Kinsley and Matthews make significant (though very obvious) observations here. The war is far different from a simple effort to punish those responsible for the September 11 atrocities. There is absolutely no connection between that event and President Bush's current concern with his "axis of evil." In fact, the White House does not even attempt to make such a connection. As columnist Robert Novak notes, commenting on the 2002 State of the Union speech, "Bush abandoned seeking some connection between the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the next step in the war on terrorism. Indeed, the nexus between the three rogue nations and any kind of terrorism was slender, with the president asserting these countries 'could provide' weapons of mass destruction 'to terrorists.'" [4]

Even the idea that the war has transmuted from its original intent represents a revisionist interpretation. And it is a short step from the transmutation thesis to the position that the war was never intended to be a simple, straightforward "firefighters' war of righteous outrage" and that from the very outset the September 11 events simply gave America's foreign policy elites the excuse to put their pre-war agendas into action. As I will show, American penetration of energy-rich Central Asia has been a much-discussed foreign policy objective for some years. Moreover, there is evidence that, prior to September 11, the United States had actually been making plans to remove the Taliban regime.

Further, Zionist elements in the American ruling establishment have always sought to direct the United States against the "terrorist" states, which are, not coincidentally, the enemies of Israel. Certainly, that group — which has had its tentacles in both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations — has long talked of taking a tougher line toward Iran and Iraq, as well as giving greater support to Israel's war on "terrorists."

In short, it is apparent that the war was anything but an overnight improvisation to address the September 11 atrocity; rather, the September 11 atrocities provided the pretext for the United States to put her existing war plans into motion.

***
There is nothing novel about policymakers taking advantage of certain events to achieve a pre-existing agenda. In the 1840s James K. Polk exploited the Mexican army's firing on American troops in the disputed region of south Texas in order to achieve his goal of acquiring Mexican territory by military means. In 1898, the explosion of the battleship Maine in Havana harbor provided the pretext for American imperialists to launch a war to grab overseas colonies, notably including the far-distant Philippines. And, of course, in 1941 the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor provided Franklin Roosevelt his long-sought opportunity to enter World War II against Germany. If a real incident doesn't present itself, it becomes necessary for the crafty politico to fabricate one — as Lyndon Johnson did with the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

Examples could be provided ad infinitum, so let me simply say that latching onto events to justify the implementation of a pre-existing militaristic agenda has long been the standard operating procedure of ruling elites, especially in formal democracies where a war-averse populace has to be persuaded of the righteousness of whatever policy of mayhem and murder government leaders intend to pursue. (I should add that in today's context the word "persuaded" is too strong a term, since the contemporary American public needs minimal intellectual persuasion. Instead, like the less-intelligent creatures of Orwell's Animal Farm, it believes whatever story the government and the official media feed it.)

Even if only this much were true — that the September 11 events served as a pretext to achieve preexisting aims by military action — the meaning of the war on Afghanistan would depart radically from the conventional public presentation. But going even further, there are intimations that the United States (and her close ally Israel) had prior knowledge of the impending attack and did nothing to impede it, in order to obtain the needed justification for war. Since that more-extreme thesis is more difficult to prove, this article will devote considerable space to the evidence for it.

I acknowledge that my counter-interpretation of September 11 is hardly original. While the mainstream media have naturally eschewed it, and assiduously, it is quite evident on the Web. [5] In its purest conspiratorial form — that the U. S. government had prior knowledge or actually facilitated the atrocities — it is most popular on the hard Left and the conspiratorial far Right. In its milder form — that from its very outset the purpose of the war was to achieve broader goals than simply the punishment of those responsible for September 11 — the revisionist thesis actually seems to predominate outside the United States.

Cui bono?

What evidence exists for the revisionist thesis? According to the traditional adage, when a crime is committed, the first question to be asked is "Cui bono?" — "Who benefits?"

The Afghanistan war has obviously been advantageous for American Big Oil and for policymakers who think in terms of U.S. world hegemony. It has enabled the United States to position herself so that she can secure the immense oil and gas reserves of Central Asia. The stabilization of Afghanistan is a crucial element for the attainment of that prize. [6] As a consequence of the war on Afghanistan, it appears that U.S. military and political influence will be a permanent fixture in Central Asia, a region of key geostrategic importance for American global hegemony. Later in this article I will develop at greater length the issue of American resources and geostrategic interests.

Obviously, the other primary beneficiary has been Israel. For Israel the "war on terrorism" not only provides a green light for the crushing of the Palestinian people, entailing their expulsion or total bantustanization[7], but also puts American power on the side of Israel against her enemies across the entire Middle East. [8] That is because the officially designated "terrorists" and countries that "harbor terrorists" turn out to be the major enemies of Israel. Note that Iran and Iraq make up two-thirds of President Bush's diabolical "axis" and that North Korea is mainly included because she supplies weapons to those countries. It is interesting, too, that the very phrase "axis of evil" was coined by Bush's speechwriter, David Frum, a hyper-Zionist who holds dual United States/Canadian citizenship. (It is not apparent that the protection of American national interests is foremost in Mr. Frum's mind. I think Mr. Frum is one of those people whom the perceptive Joe Sobran would never accuse of dual loyalty. I also expect that Mr. Frum's single loyalty would not be to Canada.)

A policy of militarily restraining and diminishing the military strength of her neighbors serves ipso facto to maintain nuclear-armed Israel's monopoly of power in the Middle East, which has been the long-standing fundamental objective of Israeli foreign and military policy. As illustrated in 1981 by her military strike on the Osiraq reactor in Iraq, Israel has been willing to use force to maintain her regional nuclear monopoly. Long before September 11, the United States was actively helping Israel preserve that monopoly by maintaining a hypocritical double standard: ignoring Israel's acquisition of weapons of mass destruction while opposing the transfer of even peaceful nuclear technologies to others.

Israel currently views Iran as the neighboring state most likely to develop nuclear weapons, and she has been pushing to have that blocked, using the issue of Iran's alleged support of terrorism as the ostensible justification for a military attack. Hints are even floating about that if the United States doesn't do something, Israel herself will act. [9] The initial move of the U.S. military into Afghanistan saw efforts on Iran's part to improve relations with the United States, but that tentative rapprochement has now been aborted, and for the fundamental cause of that one must look at the influence of Israel and her American supporters.

One crucial point must be clear: a military effort to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons has nothing to do with an effort to punish the perpetrators of the September 11 atrocities, an operation with which Iran has cooperated extensively. [10]

It is significant that the interests of Big Oil and Israel converged on the Osama/Afghanistan issue. In the past, the interests of the two groups have often diverged — with the oil interests seeking to placate Israel's oil-producing enemies. It is not clear that either group could have achieved success on its own. While the oil interests loom large in the Bush administration, Zionist influence reigns supreme in the Establishment media. It is unlikely that any major military action could succeed without the media's being favorably disposed — witness the contributions of a hostile media to the Vietnam fiasco.

However, while the interests of Big Oil and Israel coincide on Afghanistan, their overall interests are not identical. Big Oil seems to desire a more limited war — restricted largely to Afghanistan and benefiting from the cooperation of an "anti-terrorist" coalition of "moderate" Islamic states. Secretary of State Colin Powell appears to be the administration spokesman for that position. In contrast, Israel and her American supporters want a broader war against "terrorism" — that is, a war against the enemies of Israel. In that corner, one finds Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, William Kristol and the Weekly Standard, Charles Krauthammer, William Safire, Richard Perle, and neoconservatives in general. [11] Such a "war against terrorism" would work against Big Oil's desire to form a coalition of moderate Islamic governments to counter Islamic "fundamentalism." Zionists, for their part, understand that a coalition of "moderate" Islamic states in bed with the United States could be used to put diplomatic pressure on Israel to moderate her policies toward the Palestinians.

***
Other important groups have benefited from September 11, especially the Bush
administration itself. With the country going nowhere and the economy sliding downward, September 11 was a godsend to the beleaguered regime. Bush's popularity has soared to astronomical heights. More than that, the entire Republican Party has sought to capitalize on the popularity of the war. Karl Rove, the president's top political adviser, has been urging Republicans to focus on the war theme. [12] Paraphrasing Roosevelt aide Harry Hopkins's notorious election-winning formula — "Tax, tax; spend, spend; elect, elect" — a Republican activist jokingly said to me: "Bomb, bomb; elect, elect." For that matter, even Franklin Roosevelt, seeing his popularity flagging, found it necessary to transform himself from "Dr. New Deal" to "Dr. Win-the-War."

Also benefiting from the war and its accompanying fever is the once-denigrated military-industrial complex, which naturally will expand in size and prestige. An influential, though often overlooked, element of that complex are the old Cold Warriors (and the institutions that house them), who need an Enemy to justify their existence. Many of those people would face unemployment should there ever be a "peace scare." [13]
However, these latter two groups — Republican politicos and the military-industrial complex — serve largely as auxiliaries in the pro-war movement, rather than as seminal forces. They would tend to support any war, anywhere. The point is that while these groups are predisposed to support war per se, they have not determined the specific parameters of this particular war with its focus on Central Asia and on Israel's enemies. [14]


Foreknowledge

How did it happen that the September 11 tragedy led to developments long sought by Big Oil and by Israel? Were the terrorist attacks really a bolt from the blue — truly fortuitous — a case of pure serendipity? Or is there any evidence that the U.S. government and Israel had prior knowledge of the impending terrorist strikes but allowed them to take place or perhaps even facilitated them?

Even operatives of the Establishment media recognize the improbability of September 11's coming as a complete surprise. As Howard Kurtz wrote in the Washington Post: "How could we not have known? How is it that America was totally blindsided by the Sept. 11 attacks?" [15]

As Bill Clinton might put it, it all depends on what "we" means. In fact, considerable evidence has come to light suggesting that certain Americans, and others, were not blindsided at all.

Instant messages to Israel

Employees in the Israel office of the instant-messaging firm Odigo received messages from the company's New York office warning of the terrorist aerial strikes about two hours before they occurred. speculation. Similar "put" options were placed on the stock of various companies — including Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley — that were housed in the World Trade Towers. Since it is common for stocks of companies that suffer tragedies to plunge, this stock speculation would imply that someone had foreknowledge of the horrific event. American intelligence should have been aware of the abnormal speculation, since the CIA and other intelligence agencies monitor stock trading closely. [17]

It is interesting that many of the "put" options on United Airlines were purchased through Deutschebank/AB Brown, a firm managed until 1998 by the current executive director of the CIA, A.B. "Buzzy" Krongard. [18]

Private warnings

Some people outside the intelligence organs seem also to have gotten warnings. For example, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown was scheduled to fly to New York City on the morning of September 11, but he claimed later that he received a call the night before from his "security people at the airport" telling him that he should be extra-cautious about air travel on the eleventh. [19] The FAA prevented the author Salman Rushdie, who is under special protection because of threats on his life, from flying to the United States during the week leading up to September 11, and Rushdie connects that prohibition to terror warnings in the possession of the government. [20] In August 2001, Drs. Garth and Mary Nicolson, a husband-and-wife medical team who are among the foremost Gulf War Syndrome investigators, reported to Department of Defense and National Security Council officials that a number of personal friends in the intelligence and diplomatic communities had told them that a terrorist attack on the Pentagon would take place on September 11. [21] And CounterPunch, the newsletter edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, reported that the extremely influential and well-connected investment firm Goldman Sachs circulated an internal memo in its Tokyo office on September 10 advising all employees to avoid any U.S. government buildings because of a possible terrorist attack. [22]

It is highly significant that knowledge of the planned aerial onslaught seems to have leaked outside the terrorist network, for if outsiders knew about the planned attack, one would not expect the CIA itself to be excluded from that knowledge. Bin Laden and his associates had been funded and trained by the CIA in the war against the Soviet Union. It is hard to fathom how the CIA, the best-financed intelligence organization in the world, would be unable to secure information on an organization made up of its former employees. Originally it was stated that the World Trade Center was specifically mentioned, but that was later denied. [16]

Stock-market speculation

Just prior to September 11, sudden and unexplained speculation occurred in the stock of American and United airlines. An inordinate number of "put" options — bets that a stock will go down — were placed on those two listings. No other airlines saw such

Public warnings

The fact of the matter is that it was public knowledge that Osama Bin Laden was planning terrorist acts in the United States. On June 23, 2001, Reuters dispatched a story headlined "Bin Laden Fighters Plan Anti-U.S. attack," with this lead sentence: "Followers of exiled Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden are planning a major attack on U.S. and Israeli interests." And a June 25 UPI dispatch stated: "Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden is planning a terrorist attack against the United States." [23]


Warnings to the U.S. government

Dire warnings flowed to the U.S. government from various sources. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak claims to have warned the United States 12 days prior to September 11 that "something would happen." [24] According to Russian news reports, Russian intelligence notified the CIA during the summer that 25 terrorist pilots had been specifically training for suicide missions. In an interview September 15 with MSNBC, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed that in August he had ordered Russian intelligence to warn the United States "in the strongest possible terms" of imminent terrorist strikes on airports and government buildings. [25] According to a story in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies received warning signals in the early summer that Middle Eastern terrorists were planning to hijack commercial aircraft and use them as weapons to destroy important symbols of American and Israeli culture. [26] German police have confirmed that an Iranian man phoned the U.S. Secret Service from his deportation cell in Germany to warn of the planned terrorist assault on the World Trade Center. [27]


U.S. was aware of hijacked-planes scenario

A key aspect of the official story is that while U.S. authorities did expect acts of terrorism in the United States, the hijacked-planes scenario was completely unforeseen. The truth is, however, that terrorist use of hijacked planes had been talked about for some time. As columnist Robert Novak pointed out in his column of September 27: "From the moment of the September 11th attacks, high-ranking federal officials insisted that the terrorists' method of operation surprised them. Many stick to that story. Actually, elements of the hijacking plan were known to the FBI as early as 1995 and, if coupled with current information, might have uncovered the plot." [28]

In January 1995, police in the Philippines arrested Abdul Hakim Murad, an associate of Ramzi Yousef, leader of the group involved in the 1993 World Trade Towers bombing. Under interrogation, Murad spoke of a plan by the Ramzi group to hijack a commercial airliner and crash it into CIA headquarters in Virginia. Murad, who had attended flight schools in the United States, said that he was going to be the pilot. Filipino investigators also turned up evidence that commercial buildings in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City were to be targeted. That information was passed on to the FBI. [29]

Notably, U.S. security officials had considered and prepared for possible attacks by suicide planes during the Atlanta Summer Olympics in 1996. [30] Furthermore, measures to avert suicide airliner crashes were in effect during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and were on track for the 2002 winter games in Salt Lake City. As a matter of fact, International Olympic Committee officials have revealed that suicide plane-crash scenarios had been considered in their security planning for every Olympics since 1972. [31] In addition, the FAA's Criminal Acts against Civil Aviation report for 2000 warned that Bin Laden and his followers were a threat to U.S. civil aviation. [32] Finally, since 1996 the FBI had made numerous inquiries about suspected Bin Laden associates' taking flight training in the United States and abroad. [33]


U.S. monitored Bin Laden's conversations

U.S. authorities acknowledge that they electronically monitored Bin Laden's conversations in the past, but the official story maintains that Bin Laden stopped engaging in electronic communication after he learned that monitored communications had aided the U.S. cruise missile strike on his Afghanistan training camp in 1998. However, some knowledgeable observers reject that account. For example, the eminent Egyptian journalist and former government spokesman Mohammed Heikal, in an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian, maintained that "Bin Laden has been under surveillance for years: every telephone call was monitored and al Qaeda has been penetrated by American intelligence, Pakistani intelligence, Saudi intelligence, Egyptian intelligence. They could not have kept secret an operation that required such a degree of organisation and sophistication." [34]

Moreover, in February, 2001, UPI terrorism correspondent Richard Sale reported that U.S. intelligence agencies were able to monitor some of Bin Laden's electronic communications. [35] If, as the official story has it, the September 11 events required long-term planning, it would seem likely that American intelligence picked up some information about the plan.

Official claims of an intelligence blackout in the run-up to September 11 seem odd in light of other official claims that U.S. intelligence was able to successfully monitor the Bin Laden network's electronic communications immediately after the attacks. According to Newsweek magazine, the key reason that the authorities identified Bin Laden as the culprit was that U.S. intelligence picked up communications among his associates relaying the message: "We've hit the targets." [36]

Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah gave a similar account to the Associated Press on September 11, claiming that U.S. government monitors had overheard two Bin Laden aides celebrating the successful terrorist strike. [37] Hatch repeated the story to ABC News the same day, adding that he had received the information from both CIA and FBI officials. The validity of Hatch's story was confirmed by the hostile reaction of Bush administration officials, with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld condemning the unauthorized disclosure of allegedly classified information. [38]

It's hard to deny that Bin Laden would have to rely heavily upon electronic communications in order to direct a global terrorist operation. And if U.S. intelligence agencies were able to monitor his communications immediately after the September 11 attack, it is difficult to believe that they were totally unable to do so before that time.

Hijackers were known to authorities

Interestingly, the suicide hijackers were actually known to U.S. authorities, and they seem to have made little effort to conceal their identities. For example, the FBI placed two of the hijackers, Kahlil Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhamzi, on an FBI "watch list" on August 23, after the CIA received information linking the pair to Bin Laden. But the authorities somehow failed to pass along that information to the airlines, and the two were able to buy first-class one-way airline tickets, and then board and hijack a jetliner on September 11. [39]

The case of Ziad Samir Jarrah, one of the suspected hijackers aboard the United Airlines jet that crashed in Pennsylvania, has its oddities also. Authorities in the United Arab Emirates detained and questioned Jarrah at the Dubai International Airport after he arrived there from Pakistan on January 30, 2001. The request for the interrogation had been made by the U.S. government. According to an unnamed United Arab Emirates official: "The Americans told us that he was a supporter of terrorist organizations, that he had connections with terrorist organizations."

Jarrah was allowed to leave the U.A.E., traveling on to Hamburg via Amsterdam. Later he flew to the United States. Despite the interest of U.S. authorities in him and his activities and his connections, Jarrah was allowed to enter the country. He then enrolled in a flight school.

Jarrah was stopped for speeding in Maryland on September 9, two days before the hijacking. The Maryland State Police apparently ran his name through their computers but, inexplicably enough, found nothing on him. They issued him a ticket and allowed him to proceed. [40]

The strange case of Mohammed Atta

Mohammed Atta, the alleged ringleader of the terrorist strike team, was reportedly an object of attention for Egyptian, German, and American authorities, and yet managed to travel without hindrance between Europe and America throughout 2000 and 2001. U.S. agents in Germany had monitored

Atta's group there before September 11; after the attacks, according to the British paper The Observer, "A team of agents dispatched by the FBI to Germany has been focusing on the northern city of Hamburg, where three of the men who died in the planes and four others who were on the FBI's initial list of suspects studied at universities." Atta "was under surveillance between January and May last year [2000] after he was reportedly observed buying large quantities of chemicals in Frankfurt, apparently for the production of explosives and for biological warfare." [41]

Atta came to the attention of U.S. authorities several times in 2001. On January 10, 2001, he was allowed to enter the United States on a tourist visa, even though he admitted to immigration officials that he would be attending flight school, an activity that requires a student visa. The executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association told the Washington Post that "nine times out of ten" a person in that situation would have been denied entrance. Oddly enough, federal immigration police overlooked Atta's visa status violation even though he had previously been under FBI surveillance for stockpiling bomb-making materials. [42]

During the summer of 2001, the FBI discovered that Atta received a wire transfer of $100,000 from an account in Pakistan alleged to be controlled by a representative of Osama Bin Laden. [43] It is difficult to understand how such a large sum of money could be transmitted with impunity to someone under FBI surveillance.

The strange case of Zacarias Moussaoui

The government's seeming lack of interest in the case of Zacarias Moussaoui is also very strange. On January 3, 2002, Moussaoui was arraigned on terrorism conspiracy charges in connection with the September 11 attacks. He had been arrested in Minnesota on August 16 after officials of a flight school there alerted the FBI of his suspicious behavior. Though lacking the most basic flying skills, he was seeking flight training on a commercial jet simulator. Moreover, he reportedly did not want to learn how to take off or land, only how to steer the jet while it was in the air. Moussaoui was detained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service on charges of violating the terms of his visa.

Local FBI investigators in Minneapolis immediately viewed Moussaoui as a terrorist suspect and sought authorization for a special counterintelligence surveillance warrant in order to search the hard drive of his home computer. Higher-level officials in Washington rejected the request, claiming there was insufficient evidence to meet the legal requirements for the warrant. On August 26, French intelligence notified FBI headquarters that Moussaoui had connections to Osama Bin Laden, but even that revelation had little effect. A special counterterrorism panel of the FBI and CIA concluded that there was insufficient evidence to show that Moussaoui represented any threat, and he was not even transferred from INS detention to FBI custody until after September 11. [44] In an analysis published December 22, the New York Times commented that the Moussaoui case "raised new questions about why the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies did not prevent the hijackings." [45]

What did the U.S. government know?

In early August, the CIA informed the White House and other high government officials that Osama Bin Laden intended to mount a terrorist attack in the United States. [46] In its September 24 issue, Newsweek made the startling revelation that on September 10, "A group of top Pentagon officials suddenly canceled travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns." [47] That would imply that some federal officials knew of the exact timing of the attack. It appears that while federal officials might have made use of such knowledge to save their own skins, they had no desire to actually prevent the terrorist attack from taking place; or, to be more precise, that certain government officials at the highest levels had no desire to prevent it from taking place.

David P. Schippers, noted Chicago lawyer and the House Judiciary Committee's chief investigator in the Clinton impeachment trial, has charged that elements of the U.S. government had foreknowledge of the September attack. He claims that lower-echelon FBI agents in Chicago and Minnesota contacted him about a month and a half before September 11 and told him that a terrorist attack was going to occur in lower Manhattan.

According to Schippers, the agents had been developing extensive information on the planned attack for many months. However, the FBI command pulled them off the terrorist investigation and threatened them with prosecution under the National Security Act if they went public with the information. As a result, some of them went to Schippers in hopes of prompting someone influential to persuade the government to take action. Schippers tried to pass the information on to high government officials — including some in the attorney general's office — but his efforts apparently were ignored. One would have thought that Schippers's background would have made him a credible witness, especially in the eyes of the intelligence and security appointees of a Republican regime.

He is now representing at least ten of the FBI agents in a suit against the U.S. government in an attempt to have their testimony subpoenaed, which would enable them to legally tell what they know and legally get it on record. [48]

Alleged terrorists acted like boobs

In an interview that appeared on January 13 in the Berlin daily Tagesspiegel, Andreas von Bülow — who served on a parliamentary commission that oversaw the three branches of German intelligence from 1969 to 1994 — finds the modus operandi of the alleged terrorist highjackers to be very suspicious. In particular, he regards the clues that they left behind to be very amateurish, if not idiotic. He describes them as

assailants who ... leave tracks behind them like a herd of stampeding elephants[.] They made payments with credit cards with their own names; they reported to their flight instructors with their own names. They left behind rented cars with flight manuals in Arabic for jumbo jets. They took with them, on their suicide trip, wills and farewell letters, which fell into the hands of the FBI, because they were stored in the wrong place and wrongly addressed. Clues were left like behind like in a child's game of hide-and-seek, which were to be followed. [49]

How could terrorists who were capable of secretly carrying out a very complicated plan, undetected beforehand, leave evidence behind that even the Keystone Cops could detect? Or was the evidence left behind for the express purpose of incriminating the Bin Laden network?

Reporter Robert Fisk points out that the alleged evidence does not mesh with the notion that the terrorist highjackers were devoted Muslims. Fisk writes: "If the handwritten, five-page document which the FBI says it found in the baggage of Mohamed Atta, the suicide bomber from Egypt, is genuine, then the men who murdered more than 7,000 innocent people believed in a very exclusive version of Islam — or were surprisingly unfamiliar with their religion." [50]

Other strange revelations

Two other pieces of evidence frequently cited by conspiratorial believers are most intriguing but are of uncertain validity. One odd case is that of a 35-year-old American by the name of Delmart Edward "Mike" Vreeland II. Vreeland claims to be a lieutenant in a U.S. Navy intelligence unit and says he knew in advance about the September 11 attacks. He has been imprisoned in Canada since December 2000, being initially arrested on fraud-related charges. While in prison, he tried to warn Canadian authorities about possible terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon, as well as on targets in Ottawa and Toronto, but was ignored. He then wrote the warning on a piece of paper, sealed it in an envelope, and handed it to jail guards a month before the attacks. The guards opened the letter on September 14 and immediately forwarded the information to Ottawa.

American law-enforcement officials want Vreeland returned to the United States, where he would face fraud-related criminal charges in five states. Vreeland and his lawyers are fighting extradition, claiming that a return to this country could mean his death. [51] The entire story is fascinating, but Vreeland does appear to be a con artist. [52] That he was in naval intelligence and was involved in various secret operations seems implausible. His prediction of the attacks could have been a lucky guess.

More intriguing are remarks that Tom Kennedy, a member of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) National Urban Search and Rescue Team, made during a nationally telecast interview with CBS News anchor Dan Rather on September 13. Kennedy told Rather that FEMA sent the Urban Search and Rescue Team to New York City on Monday night, which was the night before the attacks occurred!

Kennedy recounted: "We're currently one of the first teams that was deployed to support the City of New York in this disaster. We arrived on late Monday night [September 10] and went right into action on Tuesday morning" [September 11]. FEMA officials said Kennedy misstated his team's arrival date. Kennedy has never been reached for comment. The easy explanation is that this was a slip of the tongue, but since the interview took place on September 13, it would seem that Kennedy must have fallen victim to an extremely poor memory — perhaps signaling early-onset Alzheimer's Syndrome. [53]

Bush administration hindered Bin Laden probes

FBI and military intelligence officials in Washington have claimed that they were prevented for political reasons from carrying out full investigations into members of the Bin Laden family and Saudi activities in the United States before the attacks of September 11. [54] FBI deputy director John O'Neill, who for years led U.S. investigations into Bin Laden's al Qaeda network, resigned in August 2001 in protest over the obstruction. [55]

Ironically, after his resignation O'Neill took a new job as head of security at the World Trade Center. He died on September 11.



Part three

Big Oil — and Big Policy

Since their motives for war differ, it is necessary to discuss the actions of Big Oil and Israel separately. (Israel's moves — and movers — will be examined in the fourth and concluding part of this article.) President Bush and his top advisors, most significantly Vice President Dick Cheney, have had close connections with major oil companies. And major oil interests have for some time been eyeing the vast, largely untapped oil and gas resources of the Caspian Basin and Central Asia.

The Caspian Sea reserves comprise 10 percent of the world's known supply — worth about $5 trillion at today's prices. However, Central Asia's oil and gas reserves are landlocked, which means that the energy wealth must be sent through long pipelines to reach global markets. Control of Afghanistan is valuable not because of any oil or gas reserves of her own but because of her crucial geographic location. Potential transit routes for oil and natural gas exports from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea run through Afghanistan. American oil companies have sought to lay such a pipeline across that country, but political stability must first be established in the turbulent region.

The value of Afghanistan, however, far transcends the oil-pipeline issue. Elie Krakowski, a former Department of Defense specialist on Afghanistan, points out that Afghanistan has traditionally been, and remains, a key area in global power politics:

Why then have so many great nations fought in and over Afghanistan, and why should we be concerned with it now? In short, because Afghanistan is the crossroads between what Halford MacKinder called the world's Heartland and the Indian subcontinent. It owes its importance to its location at the confluence of major routes. A boundary between land power and sea power, it is the meeting point between opposing forces larger than itself. Alexander the Great used it as a path to conquest. So did the Moghuls. An object of competition between the British and Russian empires in the 19th century, Afghanistan became a source of controversy between the American and Soviet superpowers in the 20th. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, it has become an important potential opening to the sea for the landlocked new states of Central Asia. The presence of large oil and gas deposits in that area has attracted countries and multinational corporations. Russia and China, not to mention Pakistan and India, are deeply involved in trying to shape the future of what may be the world's most unchangeable people. Because Afghanistan is a major strategic pivot what happens there affects the rest of the world. [56]

Leftist critics of American imperialism frequently portray American policy as based simply on the desire for corporate profits — in the case of Central Asia, profits from oil. And their argument contains an element of truth. Most Persian Gulf countries place stringent restrictions on American investment, which means that Central Asia is one of the few remaining growth regions for U.S. oil companies. [57] Undoubtedly some individuals profit monetarily from those restrictions; but the policies that American state officials pursue go far beyond providing mere personal wealth for themselves or their cronies.

American policies reflect certain geopolitical beliefs — connected to the economic interests of particular groups, indeed, but not necessarily related to the immediate financial gain of particular policymakers. The United States, or at least her foreign-policy elite, sees a need for the United States to dominate Central Asian energy resources as she dominates the Persian Gulf oil fields. Obviously, the development of those energy resources will mean financial gain for American investors. But control of the area will also enhance U.S. global power, and such control is thus a critical part of a geostrategic strategy to achieve global hegemony.

U.S. geostrategic models

Among the higher circles, views differ on how best to achieve the agreed goal of American dominance of Central Asia. Opinions fall along a continuum between two contrasting foreign-policy models: competitive and cooperative. According to the competitive model, other powers are adversaries in the quest for world power and wealth. It's a zero-sum game — anything that benefits the United States's adversaries automatically harms the United States. America's goal is to achieve world hegemony — any lesser achievement would leave the United States vulnerable to her enemies. To achieve hegemony America must act unilaterally. In particular she must monopolize the world's crucial energy sources to keep that wealth out of the hands of potential enemies such as Iran, Russia, and China.

One of the foremost articulators of the competitive position is Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security advisor in the Carter administration. In his 1997 work The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives, Brzezinski portrays the Eurasian landmass as the linchpin for world power, with Central Asia being key to the domination of Eurasia. [58] For the United States to maintain the global primacy that Brzezinski equates with American security, the United States must, at the very least, prevent any possible adversary, or coalition of adversaries, from controlling that crucial region. And, of course, the best way for the United States to prevent adversaries from controlling a region is to control it herself. [59] With considerable prescience, Brzezinski remarks that, because of popular resistance to U.S. military expansionism, his ambitious strategy could not be implemented "except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat." [60]

The second model envisions cooperation, rather than competition, in seizing and managing the resources of Central Asia. The idea that cooperation with Russia and China in an expanded world state-capitalism, with its (notional) concomitant prosperity, would enhance world peace closely resembles the old Kissinger/Rockefeller 1970s vision of détente with the Soviet Union. Better transport and communications links in the Central Asian region could transform presently

isolated countries into key trading centers at the crossroads of Europe and Asia — reminiscent of the Silk Road of the Middle Ages. U.S. officials predict the 21st Century Silk Road running through Central Asia will include railroads, oil and gas pipelines, and fiber-optic cables. [61]

One twist on the cooperation thesis has it that energy production in Central Asia, hinging on cooperation between the United States and Russia, is intended to lessen the industrial world's dependence on the unstable Middle East. Making Central Asia safe for state-managed capitalistic development aimed at enhancing the prosperity of the great powers entails, of course, the suppression of troublesome destabilizing elements such as Islamic fundamentalism and ethnic nationalism. [62]

It appears that actual U.S. policy in Central Asia leans toward the competitive model, but with elements of cooperation.

U.S. policy toward Afghanistan

Whereas U.S. officials now portray the Taliban as the essence of evil, that was not their prevailing view in the past. It certainly was not their view in the first part of 2001, when the United States saw the Taliban as a friendly government, and negotiated with it as such.

Officially the United States condemned the Islamic groups that used Afghanistan as their base for terrorism, and officially the United States demanded the extradition of Osama Bin Laden to face trial in the August 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. (After the 1998 bombings, the Clinton regime even launched missile strikes on Bin Laden's guerrilla camps.) Although the record is convoluted and murky, it seems that, while the United States wanted to apprehend Bin Laden, she also sought to improve relations with the Taliban government, and that the latter goal often took precedence. Alternatively, one might argue that although Washington preferred to use negotiation to turn the Taliban against terrorism and achieve the stability necessary for regional energy exploitation, she had for some years considered the military option to remove the Taliban.

U.S.-Taliban relations can be roughly divided into four periods, though there is much overlap:

• From perhaps two years before the Taliban captured the capital city of Kabul in 1996 until the embassy bombings in August 1998 the United States was, at the very least, covertly friendly toward the Taliban.

• From August 1998 to the beginning of the Bush administration in January 2001, the U.S. attitude toward the Taliban cooled, and Washington made plans to eliminate Osama Bin Ladin; at the same time, however, some covert cooperation with the Taliban may have continued.

• After the present U.S. regime took power, it attempted to improve relations with the Taliban but abandoned that approach in August 2001, owing to a paucity of results, and made concrete preparations to remove the Taliban militarily.

• And after the September 11 tragedy, of course, the U.S. regime implemented the military option to eliminate the Taliban regime.

American oil companies had cozied up to the Taliban from the time it took over Kabul in 1996. In 1996, the U.S. oil company Unocal (Union Oil of California) reached an agreement with the Taliban to build a pipeline, but the continuing Afghan civil war prevented that project from getting started. According to Ahmed Rashid, a Central Asia specialist and author of Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, "Between 1994-96 the U.S. supported the Taliban politically through its allies Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, essentially because Washington viewed the Taliban as anti-Iranian, anti-Shia, and pro-Western." From 1995 to 1997, Rashid says, "U.S. support was driven by the UNOCAL oil/gas pipeline project." [63] Private companies conducted the actual negotiating, but their actions were "encouraged by the U.S. government." [64]

In May 1997 the New York Times wrote: "The Clinton Administration has taken the view that a Taliban victory ... would act as a counterweight to Iran ... and would offer the possibility of new trade routes that could weaken Russian and Iranian influence in the region." [65] The Wall Street Journal opined that Afghanistan could provide "a prime transshipment route

for the export of Central Asia's vast oil, gas, and other natural resources.
"Like them or not," the Journal continued, "the Taliban are the players most capable of achieving peace in Afghanistan at this moment in history." [66]

The U.S. government's main objective in Afghanistan was to consolidate the position of the Taliban regime, which would be friendly to the United States, in order to exploit the oil and gas reserves in Central Asia. Moreover, Washington saw the Taliban as the enemy of Iran, which had her own proxy in Afghanistan — the Northern Alliance.

Military support for the Taliban came from Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI (Inter Services Intelligence). In fact, the Taliban was a virtual creation of Pakistani intelligence, which viewed Afghanistan as a potential client state. [67] The United States, in turn, supported Pakistan as a counterweight to Iran.

Throughout the period when the United States took a favorable stance toward the Taliban, the Taliban was massacring civilians, oppressing women, and, in general, depriving the Afghan people of their basic liberties. It was those very same horrors that the United States, after September 11, 2001, would cite as justification for her use of military force to overthrow the tyrannical regime and, presumably, liberate the downtrodden populace.

Amnesty International, which was concerned not with gas and oil concessions but rather with the Taliban's violations of human rights, commented negatively about Washington's apparent friendliness toward that regime. According to Amnesty International, "Many Afghanistan analysts believe that the United States has had close political links with the Taliban militia. They refer to visits by Taliban representatives to the United States in recent months and several visits by senior U.S. State Department officials to Kandahar including one immediately before the Taliban took over Jalalabad." [68]

***
After the 1998 embassy bombings, the Clinton administration does seem to have moved to a position of opposition to the Taliban, pushing the UN Security Council to adopt UN Resolution 1267, which called on the Taliban to hand over indicted terrorist Osama Bin Laden and to deal with the issue of terrorism. Economic sanctions were imposed to pressure the Taliban to comply. The United States also engaged in some covert operations on Afghanistan's borders and within the country itself, aimed at ultimately removing the regime. [69]

But still Washington seems to have mixed its opposition with covert support. The International Herald Tribune reported that in the summer of 1998, "the Clinton administration was talking with the Taliban about potential pipeline routes to carry oil and natural gas out of Turkmenistan to the Indian Ocean by crossing Afghanistan and Pakistan." [70]

In 1999, Rep. Dan Rohrabacher, a Republican who was a senior member of the House international relations committee, with oversight responsibility on policy toward Afghanistan, complained that "there is and has been a covert policy by this [Clinton] administration to support the Taliban movement's control of Afghanistan." Rohrabacher surmised that U.S. policy was "based on the assumption that the Taliban would bring stability to Afghanistan and permit the building of oil pipelines from Central Asia through Afghanistan to Pakistan." [71]
In July 2000, Rohrabacher pressed his charge that the United States was aiding the Taliban in his testimony on global terrorism before the committee. Rohrabacher said: "We have been supporting the Taliban because all of our aid goes to the Taliban areas, and when people from the outside try to put aid into areas not controlled by the Taliban, they are thwarted by our own State Department."

He continued: "Let me state for the record [that] at a time when the Taliban were vulnerable, the top person in this administration, Mr. [Karl F.] Inderfurth [assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs], and [Secretary of Energy] Bill Richardson personally went to Afghanistan and convinced the anti-Taliban forces not to go on the offensive. Furthermore, they convinced all of the anti-Taliban forces and their supporters to disarm and to cease their flow of support for the anti-Taliban forces." [72]

U.S. humanitarian aid to Afghanistan did help prop up the Taliban regime. The United States provided an estimated $113 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan in 2000 and a comparable sum in 2001 prior to September 11. [73]

***
In 2001, the new Bush administration greatly expanded American efforts to come to terms with the Taliban on oil and terrorism. From February to August, the Bush regime conducted detailed negotiations with Taliban diplomatic representatives, meeting several times in Washington, Berlin, and Islamabad. A recent book by French intelligence analysts Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth, tells that story and tells it well. [74]

But the Taliban balked at any pipeline deal and refused to eliminate the terrorist camps in their country. Instead of serving as a pliable government that could provide requisite stability for American exploitation of energy resources, the Taliban were exporting their revolutionary Islamic fundamentalism to nearby Central Asian countries, thus destabilizing the entire energy-rich region. According to Brisard and Dasquie, U.S. negotiations with the Taliban broke down in August after a U.S. negotiator threatened military action against the Taliban, telling them to accept the American offer of "a carpet of gold, or you'll get a carpet of bombs." [75]

***
Months before August 2001, however, the United States had been making plans to remove the Taliban. In this connection, note that it is not unusual for a country to have a multifacted foreign policy, with contingency plans that vary widely. In any case, the United States seems to have sought to solve her differences with the Taliban through negotiations, while at the same time making plans to remove the regime if negotiations failed.

Washington had considered projecting its military power into the Central Asian region for some years. For example, in 1997, U.S. Special Forces took part in the longest-range airborne operation in American history, to reach Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in order to engage in joint military operations with military forces from Russia and the former Soviet Central Asian republics. U.S. News and World Report opined that this demonstration of America's military muscle was primarily aimed at "Iran's Islamic-fundamentalist regime. But it also could be seen as a warning to other potential rivals, including China and the fundamentalist Taliban militia of Afghanistan." [76]

After the September 11 attack, it transpired that the United States and Uzbekistan had been sharing intelligence and conducting joint covert operations against the Taliban for two to three years. That prior secret relationship helps explain the rapid emergence
of the post-September 11 military partnership between the two countries, making Uzbekistan a base for launching attacks on Afghanistan. [77] Furthermore, since 1997 special military units of the CIA had been inside Afghanistan, working with Taliban opposition forces. Not only did the CIA work with the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, it also helped establish an anti-Taliban network in southern Afghanistan, the area of the Taliban's greatest support. [78]

With the advent of the Bush administration in 2001, U.S. officials settled on concrete plans for military action, in cooperation with other countries, to remove the Taliban regime. Significantly, some information on those plans leaked to the public before September 11. On March 15, 2001, the British-based Jane's International Security reported that the new U.S. regime was working with India, Iran, and Russia "in a concerted front against Afghanistan's Taliban regime." India was supplying the Northern Alliance with military equipment, advisors, and helicopter technicians, the magazine said, and both India and Russia were using bases in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan for their operations.

"Several recent meetings between the newly instituted Indo-U.S. and Indo-Russian joint working groups on terrorism led to this effort to tactically and logistically counter the Taliban," Jane's reported. "Intelligence sources in Delhi said that while India, Russia, and Iran were leading the anti-Taliban campaign on the ground, Washington was giving the Northern Alliance information and logistic support." [79]

According to a June 26, 2001, article in the Indian public-affairs Web magazine Indiareacts.com, the United States, Russia, Pakistan, and India made a pact for war against the Taliban. Iran was considered a covert participant. The powers planned to begin the war in mid October. [80]

A similar story, reported by the BBC on September 18, was provided by Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani foreign secretary. He said he was told by senior U.S. officials in mid July that military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October. The broader goal was the removal of the Taliban and the installation of a compliant pro-American regime. According to Naik, he was told that the United States would launch her operation from bases in Tajikistan, where American military advisors were already in place. [81]

Four days later, on September 22, The Guardian newspaper confirmed Naik's account and added that Pakistan had passed a warning of the impending attack to the Taliban. The story implied that the warning may have spurred Osama Bin Laden to launch his attacks, stating that "Bin Laden, far from launching the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon out of the blue 10 days ago, was launching a preemptive strike in response to what he saw as U.S. threats." The warning to Afghanistan came out of a meeting of senior U.S., Russian, Iranian, and Pakistani officials at a hotel in Berlin in mid July. [82]


Part four
Pretext

Despite her preparations for war, the United States couldn't just launch an attack on Afghanistan; U.S. officials required a compelling pretext in order to mobilize the American public into supporting a war in that faraway, and, to most people, unknown land. As Brzezinski had acknowledged, American military expansion into Central Asia could not be undertaken "except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat." [83] Even more importantly, an irresistible provocation was needed to prevent strong opposition to such a war in Iran and Pakistan. Support — or, in the case of Iran, acquiescence — was seen as necessary to allow for the successful conduct of such a war.

Was September 11 just a fortuitous event that meshed perfectly with U.S. strategic designs for foreign oil resources and with actual U.S. military planning? Such serendipity does occasionally occur. However, even if the 9/11 attacks were such a case, they would still deserve to be placed in historical and political context, since they allowed the United States to capitalize upon them by implementing a preexisting military agenda. Hitler may not have started the Reichstag fire, but he certainly intended to become dictator and was able to exploit the fire to achieve his goal; and that would be worth putting in context. But the official media portrayal of the "war on terrorism" as simply an effort to remove the evil people who attacked America is contextless. The aims of the war are quite different. If the terrible tragedy of September 11 had not served as a pretext for America's war policy, something else probably would have, though undoubtedly less effectively.

But given the evidence presented in this article, it is also conceivable that high U.S. officials had advance knowledge of a terrorist attack and decided to let it proceed, perhaps without envisioning the magnitude of the destruction, in order to provide a catalyst for their already planned war in Afghanistan. (We can probably exclude from that knowing circle President Dodo, who doesn't seem to have a clue as to what's going on beyond believing that we are good and they are bad.)

Israel's involvement

As important as the interest of Big Oil is, the success of America's foreign policy requires the backing of the supporters of Israel, who hold a dominant place in the official media. Israel's supporters in America, unsurprisingly, constitute the vanguard of those who are working to enlarge the war into one against Israel's enemies. But Israel is more than simply a beneficiary of the 9/11 attack. Considerable evidence exists that Israel had some connection to the attack, at least to the extent that her intelligence agents possessed prior knowledge of it.

For years stories have circulated that Israeli agents — especially those of Israel's foreign intelligence agency, the Mossad — have infiltrated Arab terrorist networks and have sometimes actually involved themselves in deceptive terroristic activities designed to appear as the work of Arabs. For example, it has been claimed — by Victor Ostrovsky, for one — that the Mossad had foreknowledge of the attack on the U.S. Marine Barracks in Lebanon in 1983. [84] Other observers allege that the Mossad thoroughly infiltrated the nefarious terrorist group Abu Nidal and even turned some of its terrorist activities to Israel's benefit. [85]

Anent the notorious Lavon Affair, even mainstream writers — and, to some extent, the Israeli government itself — have acknowledged Israel's deceptive terrorism. In July 1954, Egypt was plagued by a series of bomb outrages directed mainly against American and British property in Cairo and Alexandria.

The bombings, generally assumed to be the work of Arab nationalists, had the effect of heightening tensions at a time when Egypt was negotiating with Britain over the evacuation of Britain's military bases in the Suez Canal Zone. Ultimately, the bombings contributed to the attack on Egypt by the British and French (and Israel) in the Suez crisis of 1956. The terrorist bombings were actually carried out by Egyptian Jews in the service of Israel. [86]

The belief that Israel might engage in such deceptive terrorism against the United States is expressed in a recent study by the Army's School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS). A reference to this study appeared, poignantly, in a front-page article in the Washington Times on September 10, 2001 — one day before the horrific attacks. According to the article, "Of the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, the SAMS officers say: 'Wildcard. Ruthless and cunning. Has capability to target U.S. forces and make it look like a Palestinian/Arab act.'" [87]

Intimations of a possible Israeli connection emerged immediately after the September 11 tragedy (and, naturally, were publicized by Islamic sources). Initial reports from Israel said that 4,000 Israelis worked in the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon, or in their vicinity. However, it turned out that only one Israeli (or at most a very few Israelis) died. The Islamic media inferred from this that Israelis in the target areas had received prior warning. Jewish groups and the Establishment media have labeled that inference "anti-Semitic." It is undeniable that the Islamic media did embellish the story; they have offered no evidence that Israel actually provided a warning. On the other hand, unless the initial figure of 4,000 Israelis has been credibly recanted or refuted, the minute death ratio would seem to seriously challenge the laws of probability. [88]

Mysterious Israeli "movers"

Law enforcement officials took at least three different groups of Israelis into custody after eyewitnesses reported seeing them celebrating in several locations in New Jersey, across the river from lower Manhattan, as the September 11 attacks occurred. In two cases, men were reported to have videotaped the initial attack on the World Trade Center. Witnesses say it appeared that they knew what would happen before it happened.
It is also alleged that some of the men arrested were carrying maps linking them to the blasts. All the detained Israelis were connected to Israeli-owned moving companies operating out of New York and New Jersey. [89] A clear implication is that the moving companies were fronts for an Israeli spy network.

Fox story on Israeli spies in the U.S.

On December 12, Fox News with Brit Hume, featuring reporter Carl Cameron, broke an eye-opening story that federal law enforcement officials had detained approximately 60 Israeli citizens, including some described as active Israeli military or intelligence operatives, in the course of the post-September 11 roundup of potential terrorists. U.S. officials suspected that the Israelis were part of an extensive Israeli intelligence network active in America, which probably had obtained advance information of the September 11 attacks.

Regarding the September 11 connection, Cameron reported: "There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9/11 attacks, but investigators suspect that the Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are 'tie-ins.' But when asked for details, he flatly refused to describe them, saying, 'Evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It's classified information.'" [90]

Muddying these already murky waters are claims that Israel did pass on warnings to the U.S. government that agents of Osama Bin Laden were preparing a major assault on the United States. [91] However, the alleged warnings do not seem to have been as specific as the information Fox News implies Israel possessed. In short, the alleged Israeli warnings did not offer the United States any more information than the many other warnings that were flowing in.

Conceivably, the apparently vague warnings could simply represent an effort on the part of Israeli intelligence to protect itself from the charge that it was withholding vital information from the United States. The U.S. government seems to tolerate, unofficially, a high level of Israeli spying in the United States, but surely Washington expects to derive some benefit in return.

The question of state terrorism

A considerable number of intelligence experts have contended that the whole September 11 event was too complicated to have been successfully conducted by al Qaeda and that it required state sponsorship. Some have pointed to Iraq, a few to Iran; however, no evidence inculpating either of those states has turned up. Intelligence specialists committed to the mainstream have refrained, of course, from pointing any accusatory fingers at Israel or the United States.

In a January 3 interview in the German daily Tagesspiegel, intelligence expert Andreas von Bülow maintains that "the planning of the attacks was technically and organizationally a master achievement. To hijack four huge airplanes within a few minutes and within one hour, to drive them into their targets, with complicated flight maneuvers! This is unthinkable, without years-long support from secret apparatuses of the state and industry.... I have real difficulties, however, to imagine that all this sprang out of the mind of an evil man in his cave." [92]

Even if we assume that Bin Laden is an evil genius capable of directing a complex attack from halfway around the globe, fundamental problems with the official story persist. For in the official view, Bin Laden somehow orchestrated the attack without relying on electronic communications. And not only that: intelligence agencies had already identified, as his associates, the men who allegedly received his instructions. How could Bin Laden have directed a complicated scheme, executed by people known to be his associates, without the authorities detecting anything? That the September 11 event took place in the way that the official story claims it did is highly unlikely.

Conclusions

As I stated at the beginning, I hold a moderate revisionist view of America's current war on terrorism. We may divide 9/11 revisionism into four different categories, from mild to hard-line. The mildest form would be that of Kinsley and Matthews, in which the purpose of the war has been illicitly broadened from its original intent: punishing the perpetrators of the September 11 crime. A somewhat harder version holds that the broader war was intended from the very outset and that the September 11 atrocities simply provided a pretext to put the war plan into action. More hard-line is the view that the U.S. government was aware of the attack before it occurred and allowed it to proceed in order to achieve a pretext for war. And the hardest line of all would have it that the beneficiaries of the war actually facilitated the atrocities. Among the claims of this version are that U.S. warplanes intentionally allowed the hijackers to reach their targets; that the U.S. government placed bombs in the World Trade Center to make sure it would collapse; and that Osama Bin Laden had nothing to do with the attack but was simply a convenient scapegoat.

It seems obvious that the events of September 11 did provide a pretext to achieve, by military action, already-existing foreign policy goals. To believe that American military action was aimed simply at bringing to justice the perpetrators of the act — Matthews's "firefighters' war" — is sheer naiveté. It not only ignores significant information but also fails to reflect any understanding of how policymakers work.

Similarly, the extreme revisionist version whereby the U.S. government actually perpetrated the horrific events of September 11 represents a move into conspiratorial la-la-land. Such loopy ideas actually serve Establishment interests by discrediting any more-sober attempt to revise the official account. (As I have implied, one might want to be a little slower to ridicule the hypothesis of Israeli sponsorship.)

As for the evidence that points to prior knowledge by the United States and Israel, this writer is just not sure. But such a scenario must not be written off as an absurd impossibility, as the Establishment media and academia customarily do with "conspiracy theories" that are in some way "anti-Establishment" (while simultaneously promoting a host of other conspiracy theories that comport better with their own world-view).

Obviously, the whole affair cries out for a rigorous investigation — in fact the qualifier rigorous should be deleted because the only evidence so far has come from the news media. Apparently, no official investigation whatsoever of the "foreknowledge scenario" has occurred, and, of course, no government documents have been subjected to public perusal; most interesting among the latter would be information from the intelligence agencies, such as intercepts and surveillance tapes.

However, having studied the background of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, [93] I am struck by the amount of information already available that runs counter to the official line. It took years to reach a comparable stage in the analysis of Pearl Harbor, and it required numerous investigations. Granted, the Pearl Harbor investigations were largely government whitewashes; but, willy-nilly, those probes dragged numerous anomalies into the light. In fact, they eventually forced the Establishment to retreat from its original "bolt-from-the-blue while a totally unsuspecting America was listening to Jack Benny on the radio" fable.

Unfortunately, in the case of the September 11 catastrophe, the anomalous information that was released, incautiously or unavoidably, right after the event seems to have been thrown down the memory hole and officially forgotten. The leads simply have not been investigated — which is understandable in a world always short of heroes, because pulling on those threads would probably not be a career-enhancing activity. Who is to say? — it might not even be life-enhancing.

I have one final observation about the overall Establishment position, an observation which is so obvious it is often overlooked. "Defensive" wars are intended to stop some action from continuing or from taking place — such wars are aimed, classically, at "driving the invader from our country." Now, many commentators justify the "war on terrorism" as a defense of the United States. But the fact of the matter is that government officials make little effort to demonstrate how their "war on terrorism" will eliminate, or even lessen, the terrorist threat to the United States. As their critics have pointed out, it is none other than U.S. military interventionism that provokes terrorists to target the United States for attacks. [94] Thus, as the United States expands and intensifies her war against terrorism around the globe, she actually increases the likelihood of terrorist strikes against the American homeland.

If the war has not reduced the terrorist threat to America, what has it done? — what might it do? It has been partly successful, at best, in bringing to justice the perpetrators of 9/11. It has disrupted the al Qaeda network, though Osama Bin Laden and many of his leading associates remain at large. But at the same time, the war has achieved the establishment of an American military presence in energy-rich Central Asia and a pliable government in Afghanistan. Moreover, the war has given a green light to Israel to smash the Palestinians; and it has smoothed the path for a U.S. assault against Israel's major enemies, starting with Iraq.

When a war advances the long-sought aims of a power and its chief ally, may we not infer the purpose of the war from those results? But perhaps that kind of logic is too old-fashioned.

"Frankly, I don't think it's a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous."
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Re: 9/11 Info Dump

Postby Elvis » Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:32 am

Part 2:

The Israeli spy ring
and September 11

By STEPHEN J. SNIEGOSKI

The smother-out

Reinforcing the proposition that actual journalism survives only on the Net and in the foreign press, the recent leaking in those venues of a classified DEA report on the activities of "Israeli art students" has caused the dam to burst regarding Israel's spying operation in the United States. [1] Although the established media in the United States have been able to maintain a near blackout,[2] the dam-break was significant enough to force the Jewish Forward, at least, to adopt a riskier and less-absolutist tactic, which I will dub a smother-out. [3]

Whereas Israeli apologists had previously denounced references to Israeli spying as totally fallacious and anti-Semitic,[4] the Forward admitted in its story of March 15 that Israel had in fact been engaging in a spy operation in the United States. But imposing the most pro-Israeli spin possible, the Forward emphasized that all of the spying had been directed not against U.S. government agencies — the very idea! — but rather against "radical Islamic networks."

Moreover, the Forward solemnly assured its readers that the Israel spies had obtained no foreknowledge whatsoever of the September 11 attack plans. As proof, the Forward cited FBI statements that interrogation of the Israeli agents had provided proof, absolute proof, that they knew nothing, absolutely nothing, of the September 11 plans. In other words, the FBI claimed the spies claimed ignorance. Well, that settles that! The word of the FBI should be more than sufficient to clear the Israeli agents of engaging in any harmful activities toward the United States — though there remains the slightly dissonant fact that Israeli apologists had previously cited U.S. government sources to the effect that all allegations of Israeli spying were totally baseless. [5]

The Forward's rendition of the Israeli spying activities implies that all patriotic Americans should commend Israel for her effort to help the United States ferret out Islamic terrorism within her own borders. Think of it! — even with all the problems that the Israelis face in their own country, they were magnanimous enough to travel thousands of miles to help their closest ally. And they did all of it in secret without seeking any public acclaim — just like the Lone Ranger!

One would think that this kind of spin control, dependent as it is on a lack of any critical faculty among its consumers, shouldn't work in an "advanced society." But it must have some impact else intelligent Jews wouldn't practice it.

Collusion and demolition

What is the meaning of all of this vis-à-vis September 11? In my main article on September 11, I cited some of the apparent connections between Israel and the September 11 atrocity. New evidence shows that the Israeli spies actually lived in close proximity to many of the Islamic terrorists of 9/11. For example, Mohammed Atta lived at 3389 Sheridan Street in Hollywood, Fla., only a few blocks from the residence of some of the Israeli spies at 4220 Sheridan Street. Some robots at Florida's own Disney World warble deliriously that "It's a small world, after all," but it isn't so small that such extreme residential proximity can simply be attributed to pure chance. [6]

Furthermore, the Israeli spy corps included not only experts in electronics but also explosives experts. Now the reason for including electronics experts is quite simple — to keep tabs on possible Islamic terrorists and also, it appears, on U.S. government officials. But what possible purposes would demolition men serve? My imagination is impoverished, no doubt, but the only purposes I can think of are blowing things up or providing aid to others interested in blowing things up.

The ever-insightful Justin Raimondo draws the following conclusion from the Israeli spy operation:

At the very least, the mechanics of what is obviously a covert operation directed by Israel imply a certain degree of foreknowledge. At worst, the details of this complex and by-no-means completely uncovered spy ring may wind up pointing to active (albeit one-sided) Israeli collusion with the mass murderers of 9/11. While the first conclusion is a virtual certainty, the second is, admittedly, speculation. What's scary is that such theorizing is not without a certain basis in fact. [7]

Let's repeat what Raimondo said: Israeli foreknowledge of the September 11 attack is a "virtual certainty." Moreover, Israeli "collusion" with the terrorists is "not without a certain basis in fact." What else but collusion, at least intended collusion, could account for the Israeli demolition experts? Those experts must have been secretly in the United States either to aid Islamic terrorists or to set off explosions that could be attributed to Islamic terrorists. (As I reported in my main article, a recent study by the Army's School of Advanced Military Studies expressed the belief that Israel might engage in such deceptive terrorism against the United States.) Perhaps they were sent to provide backup for the Islamic terrorists. If the Islamic terrorists were unable to perpetrate a sufficiently impressive crime, the Israeli demolition experts would blow up something in an act that could be represented as the work of Islamic terrorists.
I have heard the contention that the Israeli demolition men might have been here to aid American security — in defusing bombs, for example. However, such security work would hardly have to be covert. In fact, it would be much more effective if it were performed out in the open, with American authorities, at least, if not the American public, being aware of what was happening. When you tackle a technical job, it usually helps to know you're being helped. For one thing, it prevents wasteful duplication of effort.

Symbiosis

How does the Israeli spy ring mesh with the idea that high U.S. officials sought a rationale for the "war on terrorism"? One reasonable explanation would be that American officials tolerated Israeli covert operations inside the United States because they served the interests of those officials. There exists a symbiotic relationship between Israel and the U.S. government with respect to Israeli covert activities. The U.S. government allows, even encourages, Israel to conduct covert operations here and elsewhere because Israeli agencies can perform certain tasks deemed helpful to American interests more effectively than U.S. agencies can.

Israel's greater latitude in this area owes very much to the established U.S. media, which programmatically underplay Israeli operations. It is simply taboo to show Israel in a negative light (and the owners and controllers of Big Media are themselves among the creators and enforcers of the taboo). Consequently, Israel enjoys much more leeway to engage in dirty work than the United States does. It was for that reason that the Reagan administration relied on Israel to undertake certain covert activities in Central America. Those activities were little noticed by the media's dominant Establishment liberals, who likely would have screamed to high heaven had those same activities been undertaken by U.S. operatives.

But it might be asked: If Israel was acting in concert with U.S. interests, why was the spy ring eventually broken? For one thing, Washington was not in harmony with the entire purpose of the Israeli spy operations, which, contrary to the Forward's spin, did involve intensive spying on U.S. government agencies. U.S. officials would not have supported those activities any more than they supported the spy operations of Jonathan Pollard.

The spying was tolerated to the extent it was because, overall, it served the interests of U.S. officials. Once the goal of the American officials had been reached — a casus belli — Washington actively moved to eliminate the spy ring because now its continued activity would be largely hostile to U.S. interests. Of course, since Israel has so much support in the media and in the government itself, the breaking up of the Israeli spy ring had to proceed in the gentlest manner possible, and with no publicity.

What about arrests of Israeli agents prior to September 11? First, the U.S. government wanted to keep tabs on the Israelis, not give them free rein to subvert the United States. Quite understandably, no higher-up would have put his name on official orders forbidding lower-level federal agents from arresting any of the Israelis they were keeping tabs on. Thus, some arrests were made — but not enough to destabilize the overall spy operation, since destruction of the spy ring was not a high priority.

***
There is no conclusive evidence for the preceding scenario. It is speculation. But it is speculation of the informed sort, and certainly the evidence suggests its plausibility. It could serve as a hypothesis for further study by a host of scholars and investigators, though such a flourishing of free inquiry is doubtful in light of our society's dominant taboos.
April 14, 2002


September 11 and the war in Palestine

By STEPHEN J. SNIEGOSKI

More evidence has emerged to bolster my theory that the "war on terrorism" was planned prior to September 11 and that the horrific event only provided the rationale for its implementation. In a piece published December 19, 2001, Israeli writer Tanya Reinhart deploys extensive citations from her country's press to show that the Israeli government was planning to remove the Palestinian Authority and return the West Bank to military occupation not just before 9/11 but before the current round of Palestinian terrorism began in 2000. In fact, preparations to smash the Authority had been made before Ariel Sharon became prime minister. Reinhart writes:
In mainstream political discourse, Israel's recent atrocities are described as "retaliatory acts" — answering the last wave of terror attacks on Israeli civilians. But in fact this "retaliation" had been carefully prepared long before. Already in October 2000, at the outset of the Palestinian uprising, military circles were ready with detailed operative plans to topple Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority. This was before the Palestinian terror attacks started. (The first attack on Israeli civilians was on November 3, 2000, in a market in Jerusalem). A document prepared by the security services, at the request of then [Prime Minister Ehud] Barak, stated on October 15, 2000, that "Arafat, the person, is a severe threat to the security of the state [of Israel], and the damage which will result from his disappearance is less than the damage caused by his existence." (Details of the document were published in Ma'ariv, July 6, 2001.) [1] [Parenthesis in original.]
After deciding to eliminate the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli government began a propaganda offensive to prepare public opinion by depicting Arafat as the architect of Palestinian
terrorism. Key to that effort was the government's release, on November 20, 2000, of a so-called white book[2] on the Palestinian Authority's non-compliance, which portrays Arafat as "orchestrating the Intifada," that is, as being responsible for the actions of all the terrorist groups from Hamas to Hezbollah. [3] Coincidentally, that very theme of Arafat's responsibility for all Palestinian terrorism now looms large in the official American media.

With Sharon's accession to power in February 2001, the effort to remove the Palestinian Authority became more pronounced. The "Foreign Report" for July 12, 2001, published by the influential Jane's Information Group, revealed an Israeli plan for a military assault to remove Arafat and the Palestinian Authority. In order for the action to appear justified, it was scheduled to follow the next major suicide attack. Brigadier General Shaul Mofaz, chief of staff, presented the plan to the Israeli cabinet on July 8, 2001. It was titled, "The destruction of the Palestinian Authority and disarmament of all armed forces." [4]

Reinhart says the Israeli government deliberately provoked the Palestinians into launching suicide attacks by assassinating Hamas leader Mahmoud Abu Hanoud in November 2001. Moreover, she points out that the Israelis would have had to wait for "international conditions to 'ripen' for the more 'advanced' steps of the plan." As a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the concomitant U.S. "war on terrorism," conditions did ripen. Reinhart writes:
In the power-drunk political atmosphere in the U.S., anything goes. If at first it seemed that the U.S. [would] try to keep the Arab world on its side by some tokens of persuasion, as it did during the Gulf War, it is now clear that they couldn't care less. U.S. policy is no longer based on building coalitions or investing in persuasion, but on sheer force. The smashing "victory" in Afghanistan has sent a clear message to the Third World that nothing can stop the U.S. from targeting any nation for annihilation. [5]

In short, Reinhart says that in the context of the American "war on terrorism," "Sharon got his green light in Washington" to smash the Palestinians.

Obviously, the evidence assembled by Reinhart supports the thesis that plans for what became the "war on terrorism" were formed before September 11. Furthermore, if the Sharon government wanted an auspicious climate in which to unleash its military assault, as she contends, then it might look favorably on acts of Islamic terrorism against the United States that would arouse American wrath. And if Sharon provoked the suicide attacks in Palestine in order to secure the proper climate for his military assault, then he might have taken similar actions to bring about 9/11. It is in that light that one should examine the significance of the Israeli spy operation in the United States.
***
Let's recapitulate here and connect the dots. In July 2001, Sharon was planning to launch a major military assault in the near future to destroy the Palestinian Authority. He
needed favorable international conditions, especially in the United States, in which to launch such a bold move. Now, Israel had a major spy ring in the United States, part of which was keeping tabs on the actual Islamic terrorists who would carry out 9/11 — some of the Israeli agents even lived a few blocks away from the alleged terrorist ringleader, Mohammed Atta. If Americans could be driven into a white heat of rage against Islamic terrorists, the ideal condition would be established for Sharon's attack on the alleged chief of terrorists, Yasser Arafat.

Therefore, it seems reasonable to propose that if the Israeli spies in the United States did know of the impending 9/11 attack, they certainly would not have done anything to try to prevent it. Indeed, it is conceivable that they might have sought to facilitate such an ideal condition, if such assistance became necessary. Such an explanation would account for the presence of the Israeli explosive experts in the United States, who, as I mentioned in the previous article, might have been posted here for backup if the Islamic terrorists were unable to bring off a serious terrorist act. (It is not necessary to insist that the Israeli demolition men contributed anything directly to the actual 9/11 attack.)

From Sharon's perspective, everything worked out for the best. Was it all just serendipitous?

I understand that many people, especially "respectable," "educated" people, reject any possibility of conspiracies outright — except, of course, when those conspiracies involve Nazis, Saddam Hussein, Richard Nixon, and other unspeakably evil folk. But let's look at the whole issue from a hypothetical perspective. That should give any congenital anti-conspiratorialists who have made it this far nothing to fret about. Let us ask: If Israel were somehow involved in the events of 9/11, could she get away with it?

Now, the major media did catch Nixon; but would anyone else have caught him had the media not pursued him as Ahab, obsessed and relentless, pursued the White Whale? Even respectable, properly educated folk may concede that the media treated Nixon far differently from the way they treat Israel. The established American media shelter Israel in cases where clear-cut evidence — even documentary evidence — demonstrates Israeli culpability.

For example, to this day the media shrink from delving into the murderous Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty in 1967. To this day the media represent the "Barak Plan" as a generous offer of land to the Palestinians, though all it really offered them was a waterless Bantustan cut up by Israeli settlements and bypass roads. And to this day, the American media continue to grind out the old Zionist propaganda that the Palestinians "abandoned" their homes during the 1948 war, instead of being driven out by the Israeli army. Remarkably enough, Israeli archives document the forcible expulsion of the Palestinians, and an admission of that act has even found its way into Israeli schoolbooks. But perhaps those sources are inaccessible from New York and Los Angeles.

Given the kid-gloves treatment the major American media afford Israel, there seems to be virtually no chance that their reporters might plumb the depths of a murky conspiracy to implicate the Israelis in 9/11. Thus far the established media have managed to ignore the whole Israeli spy issue — especially the question, which cries out for an answer, of what all those spies were doing on these shores. The likelihood that the U.S.

government wanted a terrorist incident to provide the rationale for military intervention would provide additional reason, if one were required, why no Israeli involvement in the vast crimes of 9/11 would ever be uncovered.

***
Continuing our procession through the hypothetical, we must now ask: Would Israel do anything that might harm the United States or American citizens if she thought such an action was important for Israeli security? Israel was certainly willing to take American lives when she attacked the U.S.S. Liberty. The government of Yitzhak Shamir is reported to have sold the Soviet Union valuable U.S. documents stolen by Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard — information which, once in Soviet hands, led to the death of American agents. Moreover, in recent years Israel has resold to China sophisticated American weaponry that could easily be turned against the United States. Finally, according to a study released last year by the Army's School of Advanced Military Studies (which I cited in my original article), the Israeli Mossad was sufficiently ruthless to target American forces and place the blame on Arab terrorists. [6]

If the resulting change in climate would predictably benefit Israel, if she had the resources necessary to undertake it, if she could escape media scrutiny in doing so, and if in the past she had not shied away from taking actions that harmed the United States, just what would have kept her from becoming involved in 9/11?

The question is especially irresistible given the presence in power of Israeli strongman Ariel Sharon. Sharon is about the boldest and most ruthless Israeli politician ever to hold office. He is an ex-soldier who in the early 1950s commanded an elite Israeli military unit that fought Arab terrorism by raiding Jordanian villages and murdering Arab civilians. As Menachem Begin's agriculture minister, Sharon built the West Bank settlements, in defiance of the United Nations and in violation of international law, so that Israel could maintain sovereignty over much of the occupied territories. As defense minister in 1982, he facilitated the mass murders in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps carried out by Christian militiamen. Sharon's fateful visit to the Temple Mount sparked the current Palestinian uprising. Sharon's order to the Israeli military to smash Jenin and his open defiance of President Bush show that he has not mellowed in his old age. Considering Sharon's record, I find nothing implausible about hypothesizing that he and the nation he rules were involved in the 9/11 event.

Intelligent hypotheses can help us read the map of reality — can help us figure out, at least, where stumbling blocks and hurdles probably don't exist. It may be useful to keep this article's hypothesis in mind when walking through the actual evidence of Israeli involvement in the crimes of September 11.
April 23, 2002


The changing story
and the conspiracy of inaction

By STEPHEN J. SNIEGOSKI

The official story of 9/11 is changing as a spate of information pours out showing that the government had advance warnings of a terrorist attack. It turns out that the attack was not a bolt from the blue, as we had previously been told and as we are usually told with regard to such events.

According to the first major media revelation, more than a month before the September 11 tragedy President Bush received a CIA briefing that mentioned the possibility of a jet hijacking by al Qaeda. The Bush administration's initial spin was that, while it had been made aware of a possible plane hijacking, it had received no hint that the hijackers would crash the planes into buildings. The Establishment media then disclosed that the government had shown concern about terrorists training in American flight schools. In "traditional" plane hijackings, of course, there is no need for the hijackers to learn how to fly. Next, the major media revealed that various national-security reports had considered the airplane-as-missile scenario for a number of years, notwithstanding the protestations of senior Bush officials that such a thing was unimaginable.

Of course, there is really nothing startlingly new about the recent revelations. The major media had already published information that pointed to those conclusions, and an investigator could find it if he looked hard enough. The information had been posted and interpreted on various anti-Establishment Websites; I couldn't have written my 9/11 series had that not been the case. What has changed recently is that the mainstream American media are providing many more such revelations and are promoting them extensively. Moreover, the media are now explaining the significance of the information — connecting the dots, as it were. It is one thing to present some tidbits of information that conflict with the official story and let them languish unacknowledged and unintegrated; it is quite another to bellow in headlines: BUSH ADMINISTRATION HAD PRIOR KNOWLEDGE OF TERRORIST ATTACKS.

Why, it might be asked, are the mainstream media now publicizing information that for eight months had been largely off-limits to public scrutiny? In large part, it's a liberal and partisan Democrat effort to discredit the Bush administration. While Establishment liberals and Democrats are all for the "war on terrorism," they have not relished the fact that Bush has received credit as a great War Leader. Moreover, it's likely that some Zionists of the Likudnik strain want to whittle down Bush's public stature so that his administration does not command the power to pressure Israel over Palestine.

But the Establishment critics of the Bush administration have to walk a fine line. They must restrict themselves to accusations of incompetence and hope that other, "less responsible" writers won't use the information they're providing to accuse the regime of deliberately allowing a terrorist attack in order to provide a rationale for its pre-existing foreign policy agenda.

The current approach of the Bush defenders is that while the administration knew some generalities relating to the impending terrorist attack, it did not know the specifics: it did not know the date, the place, exactly what planes would be hijacked, the names of everyone involved, and so on. When the media then proceed to reveal that Washington did possess specific information pointing to a suicide airplane attack, senior figures such as Vice President Cheney claim that the higher-ups never saw that information.

We the unwashed could discover just what intelligence was in the hands of the administration if that information were released to investigators, but Bush officials say they cannot release classified intelligence information, for that would harm national security. Of course, it is hard to see how U.S. security could be harmed more than it was on September 11. The conscientious (if somewhat naïve) civics student might argue that officials should air their very smelly laundry in public, so that U.S. intelligence might be improved and might actually begin to protect the American people.

But you can't go digging through intelligence matters during "wartime," snarl the shills for the Bush administration. From the perspective of someone such as myself who believes that the government's failure to act on intelligence information might have been a deliberate ploy to involve the United States in war, the "no investigation during wartime" defense is reminiscent of the classic story of the son who murders his parents and then asks for leniency from the court because he is an orphan.

***
As a defense of Washington's inaction prior to 9/11, the whole issue of detailed knowledge is actually something of a red herring. Preventing the September 11 events might — might — have required a mass of ultra-detailed knowledge of the terrorists' plans; but much less knowledge — and much less detailed knowledge — should have sufficed to prompt countermeasures far beyond those that were actually implemented.
The theory of a conspiracy of inaction, which I have posited, does not require the government to have had detailed knowledge. It simply holds that the leading officials of the U.S. government wanted a terrorist event to take place in order to provide the rationale for their preplanned agenda. The terrorist event could have been anything of significance, and not necessarily the actual terrorist event that took place, with jetliners crammed with passengers crashing into the Pentagon and the World Trade Towers. Allowing a terrorist event to take place simply required that the federal government refrain from interfering with the terrorists' activities. And the government certainly followed that passive mode.

To recapitulate: the fundamental question is not whether the U.S. government had enough information to stop the September 11 events, but whether it had enough information to take any action whatsoever against the terrorist network. It seems that with the evidence at its disposal a much greater response was called for than was actually put forth.

Some will say that government agencies cannot be expected to act in a competent manner. But if the U.S. government is simply unable to act on intelligence information, we are entitled to wonder why American taxpayers are made to fork over billions of dollars for such pointless mucking about. Most importantly, however — and this deserves great emphasis — the "incompetence" alibi ignores the fact that the "incompetence" enabled the Bush administration to implement its pre-existing foreign war agenda: an agenda that could not have been implemented, or at least not implemented as easily, if the Bush administration had acted in a more "competent" fashion and nipped the terrorist threat in the bud! (Administration plans to attack al Qaeda and the Taliban, dating from before September 11, have also been revealed recently by the mainstream media.)

In the usual, everyday affairs of life, one would be highly skeptical of the argument that a desired result was achieved by incompetence. At the very least, the alternate explanation that the desired goal was achieved by deliberate planning would not be ruled out as inconceivable.

Some patriots may be aghast at what I have implied: No American leader would be heinous enough to allow the deaths of 3,000 Americans, no matter how important the objective for Realpolitik! Surely only a high-ranking member of the "Axis of Evil" could countenance such an enormity. Our President himself addressed this issue in his usual sophisticated style: "Had I known that the enemy was going to use airplanes to kill on that fateful morning, I would have done everything in my power to protect the American people." Now, it is hard to envision Our President saying the contrary: "Had I known the enemy was about to slaughter thousands of Americans, I wouldn't have lifted a finger to try to prevent it." Nonetheless, I think Our President was being absolutely truthful in his statement. If he had known about the upcoming attack he would have acted — to the best of his ability. The trouble is that Our President would be about the last person in his administration to know anything about anything.

What of the people with some intelligence who really run the Bush administration — especially Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Cheney? Cold-blooded, veteran procurators of empire that they are, they need not be cast as monsters of unprecedented villainy. Even if they expected a terrorist attack, it is reasonable to assume that they did not foresee the terrible consequences. Who could have imagined the collapse of the World Trade Towers?

***
For benefit of those still loyal to the official story (whichever version of that story may be circulating at the moment), it is necessary to briefly mention the Israeli spies. Israeli involvement is such a hot potato that the Establishment critics of Bush cannot even mention it. But even if U.S. intelligence and internal-security agencies are absolutely incompetent, the Mossad is not noted for being so. If the Bush administration had information about the Islamic terrorists, surely that information was also in the possession of the Israeli spies. Israeli "art student" spies managed to reside on the same street in Hollywood, Florida, as Mohammed Atta, indicating that they were keyed into the entire terrorist plot.

Given that it is very probable that the U.S. government had foreknowledge of the terrorist event, it doesn't even seem possible that Israel was ignorant of it.
But again I envision the Establishment faithful saying: "All this conspiracy talk is just speculation." Certainly it is. But it is also speculation to maintain that the Bush administration did the best it could or that it was incompetent. The theory of a conspiracy of inaction, on the part of the United States or Israel, is speculation, but it is speculation that best comports with the known facts.

Ye shall know them
by their fruits

By STEPHEN J. SNIEGOSKI


Although I brought this point out in my original four-part essay, I think it needs to be reiterated, because it is crucial for analyzing the whole September 11 issue and is therefore studiously ignored by the articulators of the official version. I am referring to the close relationship between the actual results of an action and the intended results of that action. Jesus Christ — I thought I should appeal to the highest authority — recognized the relationship when he instructed his followers to judge the validity of prophets by the "fruits" of their work:

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Ye shall know them by their fruits. (St. Matthew 7:15- 16)

(A preliminary word about unintended "fruits" and seemingly fortuitous harvests is in order. If we dared amplify the Savior's rule by citing a secular authority, we might quote that great prophet against power, corruption, and war, Walter Karp: "Men intend the foreseeable consequences of their actions." Of course some consequences of human action are unforeseen and unintended. But when those consequences advance the specifics of a long-established agenda, we are entitled to consider them both foreseen and intended.)

Now let us apply the "fruits" standard to the so-called War on Terrorism. Has the war actually diminished terrorist threats to the home front? Recently the head honchos of the Bush administration have answered that question with a resounding NO. Vice President Cheney began the fearfest May 19, when he proclaimed that another terrorist strike was "almost certain." On May 20, FBI Director Robert Mueller said that suicide bombings like those taking place in Israel are "inevitable" in the United States. That same day, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told the defense subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee that terrorists will "inevitably" obtain weapons of mass destruction and "would not hesitate one minute in using them." And on May 22, Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge declared that additional terrorist attacks are "not a question of if, but a question of when." [1]

Now, some critics of the Bush administration infer that all the talk about grave new dangers to the homeland really represents a diversionary effort to distract the media from pursuing the question of what the regime knew in advance of the September 11 attacks. [2] But assuming our rulers mean to be taken at all seriously, their talk of imminent domestic threats underscores the fact that the "War on Terrorism" has produced, not a reduction in terrorist threats, but an even greater threat of terrorism against the United States.

If the terrorist threat has not diminished, then what have been the "fruits" of the so-called War on Terrorism? One big, ripe, glistening fruit is Washington's success in expanding U.S. political and military influence into the strategically important region of Central Asia, which is fabulously rich in oil and natural gas. Before September 11, few Americans had ever given much thought to Afghanistan, and few had even heard of the "stans" that were once Soviet "republics" and that remained in the Russian orbit after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Now the United States is firmly fixed in the region, with American troops and a friendly government in Afghanistan, and is building military facilities in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. In like manner, the "War on Terrorism" has enabled Israel to destroy the Palestinian Authority and put the United States on the verge of war with Iraq.

It is apparent that those "fruits" of the war do not relate to reducing the terrorist threat at home. In fact, the war could exacerbate that threat. Obviously, if the real aim were to reduce the risk of terror in the United States, Washington would not go out of its way to infuriate Muslims abroad. Thus, by applying the "fruits" standard, and keeping the regime's geopolitical agenda in mind, we can infer that the wolves are once again prowling in their sheep's clothing, and the true purpose of the so-called War on Terrorism is to expand the American empire and destroy the enemies of Israel.


Alibis and new revelations

By STEPHEN J. SNIEGOSKI

Largely as a result of the joint House and Senate intelligence committee's investigation of the September 11 attacks, the mainstream media have highlighted a veritable cascade of evidence that demonstrates the government's prior knowledge of the impending al Qaeda terrorism. The question being bandied about by those of a skeptical mindset is: "What did the government know, and when did it know it?"

High Bush administration officials have continued to rely on variants of Sergeant Schultz's habitual defense on "Hogan's Heroes": "I ... know ... nothink ... absolutely nothink." (Unfortunately for them, knowing "nothink" seems credible only in the case of Our President.) The official story now is something to the effect that the government security agencies may have had considerable intelligence on al Qaeda's terrorist scheme but that it was not shared among the agencies and most definitely was not passed on to Cabinet-level officials.

Members of Congress who have been investigating the information in the hands of the Executive Branch have emphasized its significance. Senator Bob Graham (D-Fla.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, put it this way: "Had one human being or a common group of human beings sat down with all that information, we could have gotten to the hijackers before they flew those four airplanes either into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, or the ground of Pennsylvania." [1] Regarding the intelligence agencies, Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said: "I don't believe any longer this is a matter of connecting the dots. I think they had a veritable road map. And we want to know why they didn't act on it." [2] And Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), in an interview aired on CNN, remarked: "There was plenty of information available before September 11. I think historians are going to find, tragically, that, had it been acted upon, the hijackers could have been stopped." [3]

Revelations

Before demonstrating the untenable nature of the current official story, I'll briefly review some of the new information. First is the much-publicized May 22 letter from Coleen Rowley, an attorney in the FBI's Minneapolis office, to FBI Director Robert Mueller and the Senate Intelligence Committee, which documents efforts by FBI headquarters in Washington to block an investigation of Zaccarias Moussaoui, now awaiting trial for his alleged involvement in the September 11 plot. [4] Similarly, FBI Special Agent Robert G. Wright Jr. has revealed that higher-ups obstructed his counterterrorism investigations of al Qaeda; his diligence led to his demotion to a "pencil pushing" position. [5] Then there was the memo of FBI Agent Kenneth Williams in Phoenix about the possibility that al Qaeda was using American flight schools to train terrorists. [6]

Information has also come out that the CIA was actually tracking two of the hijackers, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar. [7] Moreover, the CIA intercepted al Qaeda communications and even had agents infiltrate the group: the Company was aware of plans to hijack planes and crash into buildings. The messages intercepted on September 10 were especially revealing. Two CIA officials, paraphrasing the classified intercepts, report that they included such statements as, "Good things are coming," "Watch the news," and "Tomorrow will be a great day for us." [8] Furthermore, the National Security Agency monitored conversations between Mohamed Atta and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the al Qaeda bigwig who is thought to have organized the September 11 attacks. [9]

Also emerging are revelations that various foreign intelligence services discovered and sent on to the United States information about upcoming al Qaeda terrorism. These revelations have caused the always perspicacious Justin Raimondo to ask, "Who didn't know?" Raimondo observes: "If the Israelis knew in advance, then so did practically every other intelligence agency on Earth — including the Brits, the French, the Russians, the Egyptians, the Moroccans, and the Jordanians. I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear that Liechtenstein is next on the list." [10]

With foreign security agencies rating the intelligence important enough to send to the United States, after alerting their own political leadership, it is mind-boggling to hear that U.S. security agencies then looked on it with indifference and simply buried it. Are the security agencies of the United States really so inferior to those of Third World states?

I mention the apparent superiority of other nations' security agencies in anticipation of the argument that one does not expect a government agency to be competent. While government agencies cannot make their citizenry prosperous, they often are able to perform the more simple tasks of spying and killing. [11]

No outrage, no gratitude

Let us continue with the official fable, which holds that senior administration officials not only were unaware of the information prior to September 11 but even failed to learn of it afterward, until just recently when it came out in the major media. Either the top dogs never made an effort to find out what their security agencies had known or they were lied to by their agency heads. Since none of the Bushite overlords have demonstrated any outrage — or condemned any of their bureaucratic barons to the career guillotine — we would have to presume that the administration never tried to find out what their underlings knew.

But is President Bush at least happy that Congress and the media have been able to pry out the truth of what was known? Far from it. In early June he said, "What I am concerned about is tying up valuable assets and time, and possibly jeopardizing sources of intelligence." The president praised the "long, long hours" put in by members of the intelligence agencies and made this telling point: "I'd rather have them sacrificing on behalf of our nation than, you know, endless hours of testimony on congressional hill." [12] (That's right: "congressional hill.") Again, the president doesn't seem to show any concern about blunders by the security agencies, much less any outrage at being lied to.

And those blunders, if they were blunders, were of the most serious nature. The intelligence and security agencies had the vital information but refused to share it? But sharing information is part of the raison d'être of the intelligence and security agencies. What would their value be if they simply kept information to themselves? (I am adopting the voice now of an earnest believer in Good Government, which everyone is officially supposed to be.) If staff members of the agencies really didn't realize that it was important to share information, especially with higher officials, they should be sacked forthwith, having proved that they simply lack the intellectual capacity to understand the purpose of their job. That no such action has been undertaken or, apparently, planned leads one to disbelieve that the Bush administration really perceives mental incompetence as the problem.

The Ministry of Diversion

The solution that Our President now proposes is the creation of a Department of Homeland Security, which would consist of a vast bureaucracy of some 170,000 busy bees. Currently, that proposal is monopolizing public attention, diverting the nation's focus from the issue of what the government knew prior to September 11. If the Department of Homeland Security is the answer to America's security problems, then there is no need to dig up what went wrong before September 11, which is simply water over the dam. What we really need is for Our Elected Representatives to work hard to make the proposed new department a reality. Let's not distract them from that urgent task! So goes the party line.

The major irony in all of this is that the proposed department does not really address the alleged security failures. As proposed, the new ministry does not include the FBI, CIA, or NSA! [13] Not only will the same old "incompetents" continue to handle the intelligence information, but the same old structures will remain as well. In actuality, the Bush Homeland Security proposal does not even go so far as the proverbial rearrangement of deck chairs on the Titanic — a typical government ruse to improve credibility.

In the public debate about what took place before 9/11, the proposed department is nothing but a red herring.

What we'd have to believe

Now for a summary of what all would have to be true if the official story were true:

• The leading U.S. national security agencies were totally incompetent prior to September 11.

• The Bush administration was totally indifferent to that incompetence.

• Admittedly ignorant of what its security agencies knew before September 11, the administration is righteously angry about Congress's efforts to find out what they knew.

• The administration is operating in good faith when, while proclaiming that intelligence will be more important than ever in the "war on terrorism," it proposes a puffing-up of the national-security bureaucracy that will do nothing to address the alleged flaws in the major intelligence agencies.

In science, the essential criteria for choosing among competing hypotheses are elegance, simplicity, and explanatory power. They seem to be valid criteria for evaluating accounts of events in the world of affairs, too. But those criteria are noticeably lacking in the hodgepodge official story.

It is far more straightforward to conclude that the high-level officials of the Bush administration (excluding the mentally challenged president, of course) had access to the critical intelligence but deliberately withheld that information in order to allow a terrorist act to take place. As I have pointed out in earlier articles, such terrorism could — and did — provide the needed rationale for the administration to carry out its pre-existing agenda: penetration of energy-rich Central Asia and the removal of Israel's enemies. Moreover, as I have also pointed out in earlier essays, while the "war on terrorism" does address the aforementioned objectives, it does nothing to make America herself safer from terrorism, though that is the official justification for the war. [14]

Barriers

There is no direct evidence, yet, that administration figures had specific information about the impending September 11 attack, but that should not surprise us, because they have erected imposing barriers against the exposure of such evidence. The White House is declining to release the CIA briefing paper that was given to the president at his Texas ranch on August 6, titled: "Bin Laden determined to strike in the U.S." Vice President Cheney says the CIA paper is just a "rehash," containing nothing of significance. Nevertheless, Congress is prohibited from seeing it, because, according to Cheney, "it contains the most sensitive sources and methods. It's the family jewels." [15]

There you have it. The administration tells the public that it knew nothing about vital information collected by its national security agencies. But the information the administration had access to is kept secret from the media and Congress. They say the information is insignificant, while saying simultaneously that it is too sensitive to divulge, because divulging it could reveal sources. We might think of it as a rehash of jewels, at once worthless and invaluable.

How is the public to know the information would not show that the administration had access to key intelligence on the 9/11 attacks? Unfortunately, we just have to take the administration's word for it. After all, its leading figures wouldn't lie, would they?

The mainstream media, for their part, have reverted to their normal state of incuriosity and passivity. Can anyone imagine the media's accepting comparable non-explanations from Richard Nixon? Of course not, because



The Roberts Commission, redux

Investigating 9/11 in light of 12/7

By STEPHEN J. SNIEGOSKI

With the continuing revelations that security agencies of the U.S. government possessed considerable information pointing to the terrorist attacks of September 11, numerous voices have arisen calling for a special, independent commission to investigate the extent of Washington's foreknowledge. Leading officials (actual and nominal) of the Bush administration oppose the idea, supporting instead the ongoing (tepid) inquiry by the intelligence committees of Congress on the grounds that only in that way will classified information remain shielded from America's enemies. Moreover, they claim that a broader inquiry by an independent commission would divert administration resources from the ongoing "war on terrorism."

In contrast, proponents of a special commission argue that only such an independent commission composed of knowledgeable citizens could get to the bottom of the government's handling of terror warnings before 9/11.

Legislation to create a special commission has been introduced by Senators Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.). [1] The idea has attracted the support of many critics of the administration, as well as the backing of the victims' families. However, and ominously, pro-war defenders of the administration such as George Will and the neocon Weekly Standard have also come out in support of a special commission. [2] Recently, momentum for the commission proposal was diminished by President Bush's announcement of a plan to create a Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security. But the proposal is likely to move to the forefront in the near future.

Doing it right

Just as it has been commonplace to draw analogies between the 9/11 attacks and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, so the proponents of a special commission allude to Franklin Roosevelt's establishment of a special investigatory commission immediately after Pearl Harbor as a model for dealing with the question of September 11. [3] Now that the bolt-from-the-blue fairy tale has disintegrated, it is apparent why Will, the Weekly Standard, and other fans of the Terror War are supporting a commission, for Roosevelt's handpicked Pearl Harbor commission was simply a means of covering up the entire affair. As William Kristol and Robert Kagan put it in the Weekly Standard: "Done right, such a commission could give the public something it now lacks: confidence that somebody is taking an honest look at what went wrong, and confidence that the administration will be put under pressure to change the ways its agencies operate." [4] Certainly, in perpetrating an effective cover-up, Franklin Delano Roosevelt provided a model for having things "done right."

In the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor, although Roosevelt was pushing the "surprise attack" explanation, he also realized that in order to head off a possible congressional probe, he himself would have to initiate an investigation in which some Americans would be blamed. (The idea that anyone should have been prepared for a surprise attack would appear to be a contradiction, but logical contradictions are quite commonplace in American statecraft.) The fundamental purpose of Roosevelt's investigation was to shield his regime from all blame, and, most especially, to dispel any notion that government leaders had any prior knowledge of the Japanese attack.

Roosevelt made every effort to rig the investigation so it would serve his interests. First, his executive order of December 18, 1941, creating the commission specifically restricted it to investigating errors and derelictions of duty on the part of U.S. Army and Navy personnel. In short, the commission could not explore the responsibilities of civilian authorities and how well they had been discharged. Thus, unbeknownst to the unwary American public then — and, apparently, to many today who see the commission as an investigatory model — the crucial issue, namely whether President Roosevelt and his Cabinet ministers had any role in the Pearl Harbor disaster, was completely outside the scope of the investigation! [5] That meant that the essential points of what became Pearl Harbor revisionism — that the Roosevelt administration's foreign policy pushed the Japanese into war and that leaders of the administration had prior knowledge of the attack — was outside the investigatory mandate of Roosevelt's "independent" commission.

Seeking even greater security, the president then made sure the commission would consist of individuals linked, by personal loyalty or political belief, to the administration and its pro-war agenda. To achieve that goal, Roosevelt relied on his secretary of war, Henry Stimson, to propose three of the commission's five members. Stimson was the pre-eminent war hawk who recorded in his diary on November 25, 1941, that "the question [of the United States dealing with the Japanese] was how we should maneuver them into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves." [6]

Stimson nominated Supreme Court Justice Owen J. Roberts to head the commission: accordingly, the panel investigating the Pearl Harbor attack would be commonly known as the "Roberts Commission." The fact that Roberts was a Supreme Court justice as well as a Republican lent the commission an aura of non-partisanship. In reality, Roberts had been a staunch war interventionist prior to Pearl Harbor. Stimson also named General Joseph T. McNarney, the right-hand man of Chief of Staff George C. Marshall and a key insider in Roosevelt's pro-war cabal. Before Pearl Harbor, McNarney had played a major role in secret military negotiations with the British involving secret American preparations for war. Finally, Stimson tapped Major General Frank R. McCoy, his close friend and aide for more than 30 years who was also president of the pro-interventionist Foreign Policy Association. [7]

The final two commission members were named by Secretary of Navy Frank Knox: retired Rear Admiral Joseph Reeves, whom Roosevelt had given a job in lend-lease, and Admiral William Standley, a former fleet commander. Of all the members, only Standley had no obvious pro-war sentiments or direct connection with the Roosevelt administration. [8]

Not only was the membership specially stacked to come up with a pro-administration verdict, but also the White House made sure that it was not provided with any information that could lead to any other finding. While the members of the commission were vaguely informed that the United States had intercepted some Japanese messages before Pearl Harbor, they did not know what the messages contained. [9]

And of course the commission knew nothing at all about the other evidence subsequently uncovered that pointed to the Roosevelt administration's foreknowledge of the attack. (I discuss much of that information in my article on Pearl Harbor revisionism in the Occidental Quarterly. [10])
An "admirable view of the facts"

Despite the fact that the Roberts Commission was about as much of an objective finder of fact as Stalin's show trials, the "independent commission" approach did serve to gull the American public. In the words of the much-acclaimed Pearl Harbor historian Gordon Prange, a vigorous apologist for Roosevelt's pro-war foreign policy, "the most widespread idea which the press conveyed to the public was that this commission would be a party to no whitewashing." [11]
The Roberts Commission laid the blame for Pearl Harbor on the commanders in Hawaii — General Short and Admiral Kimmel. The commission charged that the pair ignored the importance of an alleged war warning from Washington and charged that they failed to take sufficient defensive actions. Overall, the two officers were said to be guilty of dereliction of duty. On the other hand, the commission in its report held that the top military leaders in Washington, Admiral Stark and General Marshall, had performed impeccably. That section of the report was first submitted to none other than Stark and Marshall for their approval.

Admiral Standley dissented from the findings but did not write a minority opinion after being told that to do so would weaken the public's confidence in its leaders and thereby harm the war effort. To make absolutely certain that the commission's report was to his liking, Roosevelt insisted on reviewing it before it became public. Finding that the report did suit his purposes, Roosevelt decided to release it in its entirety to the press. [12]

The Roberts Commission report encountered less-than-universal acceptance by the few people who both understood and disapproved of the situation. For example, Admiral James Richardson, Kimmel's predecessor as Pacific Fleet commander, condemned the report:

It is the most unfair, unjust, and deceptively dishonest document ever printed by the Government Printing Office. I cannot conceive of honorable men serving on the commission without greatest regret and deepest feelings of shame. [13]

Some calls for congressional investigations were heard, especially from those who had resisted intervention before 12/7. But by and large the American people accepted the verdict of the Roberts Report. As Senate Majority Leader Alben Barkley put it, the report presented a "comprehensive and admirable view of the facts and the people are justified in believing that nothing will be kept from them." All suspicions should end, he declared, because now "everybody knows what happened." [14]

The Roberts whitewash sufficed until the very end of the war, when leaks revealed that the United States had broken the Japanese diplomatic code before 12/7. Another whitewash, this time by the Democratic-controlled Congress, was then successfully undertaken.

The risk to Bush

What is the significance of the Roberts Commission for us? Undoubtedly, a comparable "independent" commission today would be filled by prominent (read: pro-Establishment) people who would spin a defense of the administration. Undoubtedly it would heap blame on lower-level officials, who would become scapegoats like Kimmel and Short.

Given the past success of such an "independent" agency approach, one might ask why the Bush administration has avoided that route. In part, the White House may fear that it could not come up with a commission that was, in fact, comparable: that is, a commission that could be sold to the public as objective and nonpartisan and was at the same time sufficiently pliable. That is not to say that any members of such a commission would actually want to establish the truth about the event; but some might want to embarrass the administration in order to benefit the Democrats or Israel. (Israel Firsters are opposed to a strong U.S. regime that could pressure the Jewish state to make concessions on Palestine.)

More significant, however, is the consideration that far more anomalies emerged immediately after the September 11 attacks than emerged immediately after the attack of December 7, 1941. That factor would make a public whitewash more difficult. A closed congressional inquiry is less risky for the administration because the public is not told what material Congress is dealing with. If a few leaks can distress the Bush regime, the public airing of a mass of sensitive material would surely render it utterly distraught.

Again, that is not to say that an independent commission would discover any real truths; the real danger would be that Zionists and Democrats might manipulate it to embarrass the Bush White House. A new Roberts Commission would not impede the "war on terrorism," but it might place its direction in the eager hands of others — such as Joseph Lieberman, Madeleine Albright, and Albert Gore.


To the editor ...

I have not read everything on the TLD site yet, but I'm wondering whether there is any plan to investigate the actual collapse of the World Trade Towers — as well as that of WTC Building 7, which usually doesn't receive much attention — in light of the fact that fires don't usually cause buildings to collapse in on themselves that way, the fact that the second tower to be hit collapsed first, and so on.

I know this may not be a political way of looking at the events of September 11, but it is a very practical way of looking at them. So far, the media seem very focused on the planes, but not on the buildings where the real evidence is, or was until the authorities began carting it away at a fast and furious pace!
Silvia Viil
May 25, 2002

Dr. Sniegoski replies

Numerous authorities have explained how the supporting columns of the Trade Towers could collapse under the extreme heat caused by fires resulting from a crash of a fuel-loaded airliner. Such an outcome might have been unlikely but was far from a scientific impossibility. And apparently the towers' designers had recognized it as a possibility. When the towers were planned, their architectural design specified asbestos insulation on the columns, to delay any melting of the steel support girders. With asbestos flame-retardant insulation, the columns could continue to bear their loads for up to four hours of a catastrophic fire, during which time it was expected that helicopters would be used both to evacuate any occupants who had fled to the roof and also to put out the blaze.

However, in 1971, while the World Trade Center was still under construction, New York City banned the use of asbestos. As a result, asbestos insulation was used only on columns up through the 64th floor. The higher floors were built with non-asbestos insulation.

In the years afterward, the man who had invented the wet-asbestos spray fireproofing process, the late Herbert Levine, frequently voiced a warning about the lack of asbestos insulation in the higher floors of the Trade Towers. According to his lawyer and other professionals who knew him, he said, "If a fire breaks out above the 64th floor, that building will fall down." [*]

Now, as good libertarians, we do need to point out that it was government meddling that produced a weakened building that was susceptible to destruction. However, it would be hard to subscribe to the belief that the plan to destroy the building originated in its very construction. A conspiracy so vast is just beyond the imagination.

The conspiratorial argument that the Trade Towers were not destroyed by the planes points the finger at the U.S. government — claiming that the government not only allowed the event to happen but actually perpetrated it. I think that this view rests on scanty or nonexistent evidence and serves to undercut realistic criticism of the official line. It is a fundamental Establishment defense tactic to seek out and ridicule the most way-out criticism of an official Establishment story in order to dismiss all criticism. For example, Establishment shills often bring up a few fruity claims by some wackos that the planes and pilots that bombed Pearl Harbor were not Japanese, in order to ridicule the whole argument that Franklin Roosevelt had prior knowledge of the Japanese attack.

Also, as I have written before, it would seem far more difficult to prove a staged event than simply show that the government was probably aware of an attack and allowed it to happen.

Nicholas Strakon replies

I thank Miss Viil for her comments and inquiry.

First, an epistemological observation: the Establishment's established defense strategy of selective ridicule that Dr. Sniegoski refers to is wholly illogical, but that is hardly a defect when, thanks to decades of miseducation by the state schools and the official media, millions upon millions of us are wholly unacquainted with logic!

Speaking of education, I must confess that none of us TLD regulars seems to have much engineering or demolitions expertise (I hope the Security Organs are monitoring this), so a close investigation of the collapse of the WTC buildings may well be beyond our competence. I myself was almost taken in by one fellow's conspiratorial speculations that were circulating widely on the Net a few months ago. They included the provocative claim that jet fuel burns at nowhere near the temperature required to "melt steel." Before I got too worked up, though, a friend with some experience in metallurgy pointed out that it's not the melting point of steel that is relevant, but the softening point, which occurs at a much lower temperature, well within that attained by a fuel fire.

Technical and scientific ignoramusi such as myself run quite a risk of embarrassment when they wade into such deep (or, in this case, hot) waters. After nearly being burned, I intend to be very cautious indeed about posting any scientific or engineering speculation on the TLD site.


On the update of May 20, 2002, "The changing story and the conspiracy of inaction":

The success of the attacks of September 11 should have suggested that the U.S. government is not competent to defend Americans from the enemies "their" government makes for them.

As many libertarians have already noted, however, the result was the opposite: the clamor was for a more powerful state. Some statist writers have even taken to arguing that the attacks prove that Americans need a stronger government.

In light of the revelations that Washington knew some attack was imminent, it would again seem that it is time for Americans to conclude that their government does not have their interests at heart. I'm willing to place a bet that no such cry is raised, however, and that somehow these revelations, too, will be construed as evidence that "we" need a yet stronger government.

Any takers? Ahhhh ... who am I kidding?
Ronald N. Neff
Senior editor, TLD
May 21, 2002



I see nothing unrealistic in Dr. Sniegoski's assessment of 9/11 causes and effects, and I heartily commend him on his courage to express them, especially his revelation of Israel's possible (probable?) part in the atrocity as well as her other terrorist activities.

Elsewhere, the Lavon Affair, the attack on the USS Liberty, the brutal slaughter of entire Palestinian villages, Baruch Goldstein's more recent killing and wounding of Islamic worshippers while they were at prayer, etc., are all "forgotten" by the mainstream media as they applaud Israel's "defensive" retaliation.

Again, there are those of us who do appreciate what Dr. Sniegoski has done and is doing.
Dick Meyer
May 18, 2002



This is very impressive work. It isn't new to me; I've been steeped in this from day one. But Dr. Sniegoski includes a couple of details I haven't seen before, which is great. Good presentation, and I like the hyperlinks to the references.

A couple of friendly points. As to the FEMA guy allegedly admitting to Dan Rather that he was on the scene on Monday, there are several strong objections to Dr. Sniegoski's implications.

The first, which I've seen in a transcript of the Rather interview, is that the man himself corrects what he said, later in the same sentence, saying, "Er, that would be Tuesday night, Dan," or words to that effect. See whether I'm wrong. So even if he is "unavailable for comment" (still?), he is already on record as agreeing with FEMA's later correction of his error, having corrected it himself. So there's no mystery about his "silence" on the matter.

We can all misspeak, and that may apply especially to people who have been up for 48 hours or so. That guy had been working straight through under crisis conditions. No need to invoke Alzheimer's.

Had FEMA really been dispatched to New York on Monday night, think about the implications. There would have been a cover story about how coincidental it was that they just happened to be at a scheduled event with local emergency management authorities. They would not leave such a gaping hole of vulnerability in their claim of complete surprise, since FEMA is directly under the president's command, with its director, Joe Albaugh, a longtime close associate and confidant. How could they have made up such an event? They wouldn't; they'd have arranged that event in advance. This argument is theoretical, of course, but in concert with everyday considerations such as the two above, I'm pretty convinced the man misspoke. Although, of course, someone might nail it down by subpoenaing the FEMA travel records.

As for Vreeland, it would appear there is more to his story than Dr. Sniegoski either knows or considers. The Navy has said that he served four months as a fourth-class seaman before he was dismissed for bad conduct. When his records were subpoenaed, there were 1,200 pages of them. In open court, witnessed publicly and recorded in the court transcripts, Vreeland's attorneys called the Pentagon switchboard on a speaker phone and asked the switchboard operator for Mr. Vreeland, using his first name and middle initial. In a true Perry Mason moment, she told them his office number and verified he was on active duty, with the rank of lieutenant commander. Not to belabor the point, but dismissed fourth-class seamen do not have Pentagon offices.

Give these points some consideration, and maybe think of dropping the mention of the FEMA guy, if Dr. Sniegoski is persuaded that there's less there than he first thought. This case deserves the very strongest presentation, and any weakness will be used to ridicule the central thesis, however unfairly and without actual logical implication for the rest. Dr. Sniegoski is making a very rational argument, and he doesn't need detractions from it.

Also, I disagree with Dr. Sniegoski's take that hypothesizing U.S. government involvement is a lunatic idea. If it's just a tactical consideration on grounds that such a hypothesis renders the whole subject more easily ridiculable and therefore more ignored than now (is that possible?), the variant he recommends attention to, the idea of Israeli sponsorship, is even more vulnerable to such treatment. Not that I find it ridiculous, not at all. However, as Dr. Sniegoski surely knows, the knee- jerk response to any such suggestion would be scathing. Of all the revisionist strains, the one casting suspicion on Israel is the one that is most rapidly and reflexively rejected by officialdom.
That's simply to counter any tactical concern about broaching the subject.

As to facts supportive of the hypothesis, there is the Northwood project, wherein the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved and proposed to President Kennedy a campaign of false-flag terrorism on U.S. soil, aimed at American citizens and the U.S. military, which could be blamed on Castro, riling up the American people and bolstering support for a U.S. invasion of Cuba. Their plan included crashing commercial airliners or large military drones (flown by remote control), which might be substituted for actual commercial craft by radar merging. Would our military endorse such a thing? They did, by unanimous agreement of the Joint Chiefs.

Then there is the statement from a certain Springman, long a State Department official in Saudi Arabia, explaining that he was repeatedly ordered to issue visas to unqualified parties to enter the United States. When he complained, he found it wasn't ordinary criminal visa fraud but a CIA operation, under which foreign nationals, mainly Saudis and other Arabs, were brought to this country for flight training. The Florida flight schools that the supposed 9-11 terrorists attended appear to have been intelligence cutouts, and four of the alleged terrorists augmented their private training with training at U.S. Air Force bases, where they lived long enough to list the base as their mailing address and to reflect the same address on their driver's licenses.

It isn't too hard a stretch to think that elements of the U.S. military and intelligence agencies, perhaps together with mercenary elements, may have penetrated and controlled extremist organizations, working with partner/protégé foreign intel agencies such as Mossad and the Pakistani ISI — all collaborating, all doing their part.

And the overlaying matrix, blending with the oil and Israeli interests into an unholy brew, is one factor Dr. Sniegoski neglected to discuss: the control of world drug traffic. The global dominance of Afghani poppy production, and the opium and heroin it creates, brings many interests together. The American side has been involved for decades, as far back as World War II. The ISI is a creature of the CIA, dating from its battle against the Soviets in Afghanistan, and it was the head of the ISI who had $100,000 wired to Mohammed Atta. When that was revealed by Indian intelligence, the FBI checked it out, the evidence was solid, and the United States forced his resignation.

Phillip A. Schuman
April 25, 2002

Dr. Sniegoski replies

I thank Mr. Schuman for his comments. I am always glad when someone reads my work. I guess I present a rather moderate "conspiracy" version, proposing the likelihood of foreknowledge rather than a staged event. The former would be far easier. Moreover, there would seem to be the most evidence for an Israeli connection to 9-11. In fact, it is hard to explain the actions of the Israeli spies without making some connection to 9-11. Yes, Israel is a taboo topic. But that such a taboo exists would tend to make Israeli involvement even more likely, as I point out in my most recent piece.

Regarding the FEMA official's statement, I pointed out that it had been cited by "conspiracy" thinkers but was of "uncertain validity." I don't think I presented that as any hard evidence for prior knowledge. However, I think the misstatement is sufficiently interesting to deserve an explanation — i.e., just when did FEMA arrive on the scene?

I might add that all of the material I included might have a "non-conspiratorial" explanation. But it certainly is very suggestive and does deserve greater investigation.



Regarding Dr. Sniegoski's article, The Roberts Commission, redux," I find no fault with his analysis of why the Bush adminstration would not welcome an independent commission investigating 9/11. Such a investigation would indeed be rife with risk, given that the Bush presidency hangs by a thread expertly woven by a Jewish press. Clearly, only his support of Israel is saving George W. Bush. Should the Jewish press turn against him, his public persona could come undone in a matter of weeks, given his obvious stupidity.

In retrospect, it wasn't Reagan's ability to connect with the common man that enabled him to defeat his Democrat enemies. It was his relentless support of emigration for Russian Jewry and his willingness to sell arms to Israel and do Israel's bidding in the UN that enabled him to escape a daily dose of negative press.

I recall vividly Time magazine's touting Reagan for president during the 1980 campaign. The magazine claimed to desire an American Renewal and painted Reagan as the engine of such a renewal. In fact, it was Jimmy Carter's evenhandedness with respect to the Palestinians that irritated Time, so much so that it was willing to abandon the Democrat Party.

It was in 1980 that many Zionists discovered neoconservatism and began to infiltrate the Republican Party.

Today, conservatism is synonomous with support for Israel. How did that happen?
Ah, when you control the press, you control everything, including the ability to wrest control of the press from you.

I fear that, from now on, we will always have the Jews with us and America for Americans is a thing of the past. Too bad.
George Josiban
Hamilton, New Jersey
July 9, 2002



Related articles by Sniegoski
"The war on Iraq:
Conceived in Israel"
(in five parts)
February 10, 2003
"Translating the shock of Michael Kelly
into the comfort of the Establishment"
June 2, 2002
"The United States:
God's instrument — or God?"
June 4, 2002
"Pearl Harbor: facing facts"
June 11, 2001
"The Nuremberg game
(Rules may not apply to your local empire)"
August 7, 2001
"Back door to war, reopened: Afghan chaos shows Middle East to be Empire's primary goal" — revising Dr. Sniegoski's original analysis of imperial war aims.
October 12, 2001
"Keep your eyes on the Caspian
or, None dare call it imperialism"
From TLD 18, September 1997
"Frankly, I don't think it's a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous."
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Elvis
 
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Re: 9/11 Info Dump

Postby Elvis » Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:48 am

[p.4 of dump]

[Al Qaeda et al.]

Opinion - Matthew Parris
Times Online
July 23, 2005

I name the four powers who are behind the al-Qaeda conspiracy
Matthew Parris

AT TIMES of national emergency, the habit of the news media to drop a story or a lead in mid-air when it seems to be going nowhere unsettles the public. The media betray a sort of sheepish wish to “move on” from an erroneous report, hoping that their audience will not notice. Rather than acknowledge this, they publish a new report, leaving us to compare it with what had previously been said — and draw our own conclusions. Or they start barking up a different tree, the inference being that the last tree may have been the wrong tree.

The habit is more disliked by listeners and readers than I think editors appreciate. Perhaps the first item on each day’s news agenda should be “matters arising from yesterday’s news”. News editors would then do us the courtesy of explaining where some of those stories went.

Immediately after July 7 it was prominently reported that the explosions “bore all the hallmarks” of the use of a type of high-grade military explosive whose presence would indicate a sophisticated international dimension to the bombings. We were alerted to a likely al-Qaeda link.

Then the news went silent. Then it was announced that tests showed the explosive to be of a home-made (or home-makeable) kind that al-Qaeda were known to know about from the internet. Then that story, too, seemed to fizzle out.

I have seen no explanation of how the initial assessment of the type of explosive could have been the reverse of the truth, and no acknowledgement of error from those who made it. Nor has the al-Qaeda/internet angle been followed up. The most recent assessments (Kevin Toolis in The Times yesterday) have suggested that there was nothing special or “hallmarked” about the explosive at all.

Immediately after the first bombing, a report was splashed that two people had been arrested trying to leave Heathrow. The later report that they had been released without charge appeared as little more than a footnote.

A few days after that, much was made of the arrest in Egypt of a British Muslim whom the less-scrupulous news reports called a “chemist” (he is a biochemist). There was talk of British agents attending (or joining) his interrogation in Cairo. A statement from the Egyptian authorities denying that they had linked him to the bombing or that he was on their list of al-Qaeda suspects, did receive momentary attention — and then the story seemed to die. I do not know what has happened to it, or him.

Then there were some big headlines about an alleged “al-Qaeda operative” who had “slipped” into Britain, and slipped out — just before the bombings. But it transpired that he was low on our counter-terrorist services’ lists of security threats — and that story, too, has disappeared.

Then there was an arrest in Pakistan of an alleged “al-Qaeda mastermind”, about which reports have become increasingly confused, dropping from their early position as leading news items. I do not know where we are now on these reports. If I understood them correctly, what helped to trace this mastermind were records of calls made to him by all, or some, of the four July 7 bombers from their mobile phones.

If anyone has asked (or answered) a question that surely occurred to millions of us, then I have yet to hear of it: why did the bombers not take the elementary precaution of phoning the mastermind from a telephone box? Just how master was this mind? Is it not a curious way of operating a terrorist network, if the terrorists are to call their mastermind on their mobile phones, then take the phones with them on their bombing spree?

This is only a small sample of the deadends (or possible deadends) in the July 7 and July 21 stories. You will have noticed many others. You will notice, too, that every one tends in the same direction. Each report, when first we read it, accentuated the impression that we face a formidable, capable, extensive and well-organised terrorist movement, with important links abroad, and that is almost certainly being masterminded from abroad.

And indeed we may. Nothing — I repeat, nothing — I write here is meant to exclude that possibility. Some of the scares that grip our headlines and imaginations do later turn out to have been every bit the threat we thought they were. I have not the least idea what may be the size, shape and competence of al-Qaeda and would not dream of suggesting (and do not believe) that they are uninvolved.

Nor do I mean to downplay the horrors that have hit London: death and destruction are death and destruction, whoever causes them.
Nor do I want to imply doubt about the scale of the horrors that may lie ahead. Home-grown or foreign-born, at whatever level of competence, and whether a concerted campaign or demented craze, this kind of thing is deadly and difficult to combat.

My purpose is more limited. To alert you to the enormous, insidious and mostly unconscious pressure that exists to talk up, rather than talk down, the efficacy of al-Qaeda. When all the pressures are to talk up a lethal characterisation of the forces at work, we need to be supercool in the way we look at these reports.

You have read much about the threat of one particular conspiracy. Here is another. There is an unwitting conspiracy between four separate powers to represent the worldwide al-Qaeda network as fiendishly clever, powerfully effective and deeply involved in the London bombings.

First, the news media. Al-Qaeda is a “narrative” and a gripping one. Everybody loves a mystery story. Everybody loves a thriller. Everybody needs a plot. All journalists have an in-built tendency to make links between things and find unifying forces at work. A series of random and unrelated facts makes for a shapeless account. Report without implicit explanation is baffling and finally boring. No British journalist I know would invent or consciously distort a report in order to exaggerate the involvement of al-Qaeda; but most of us are drawn to explanations that, well, explain.

Secondly, the Government. I would not be so rude or stupid as to suggest that ministers take any sort of satisfaction from terrorist atrocities. But leadership is made easier if there is a visible, tangible threat; and easier still if it can be represented as completely alien. Us v Them is the narrative a politician is most at home with. The BBC’s The Power of Nightmares made an important point: fear silences opposition, and governments walk tallest when an external threat can be identified and they can lead us against it. “Evil” is a more convenient opponent than stupidity, inadequacy and human dysfunction. We hold our leaders’ hands a little more tightly in the dark.

Thirdly, the security services. The police, British Intelligence, and our counter-terrorism apparatus, are all flattered in their work by headlines that suggest that the enemy is formidable, incredibly sophisticated and hard to catch. Any failure on the part of our security services to detect in advance or prevent a terrorist outrage, or to catch the terrorists afterwards, is easily explained if the terrorist movement is widely agreed to be fiendishly clever and well organised. It is not flattering to a counter-terrorism chief to suggest that his quarry is a muppet. The tale of a police mastermind calls for a criminal mastermind, too.

Finally, of course, the terrorist himself. A reputation for fearsomeness and sophistication is nothing but a boon not only to his self-esteem, but also to his efforts to recruit others to his cause. Never think that speeches about the wickedness and cruelty of al-Qaeda do other than burnish the legend.

From a certain point of view, the journalist, the politician, the police chief and the terrorist can be seen as locked in a macabre waltz of the mind, no less distorting for being unconscious. We should not to join that dance.


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0, ... _2,00.html


Debunk the myth of Al Qaeda
Its size and reach have been blown out of proportion

By Kimberly A. McCloud and Adam Dolnik

MONTEREY, CALIF. – News reports indicate that Al Qaeda, ousted from its camps in Afghanistan, is now on the loose, spreading terror around the world.

Several recent attacks have been claimed by or attributed to the terrorist network, including an assault on a Jewish synagogue in Tunisia, multiple explosions in Yemen last month (including one at the US Embassy compound), attacks in the Philippines, and a fire in the Milan metro.

But is Al Qaeda really behind all these attacks? Analysts cite differences in modus operandi compared with alleged past attacks, as well as more probable perpetrators in those recent incidents. Still, Al Qaeda is likely to be the top suspect in future incidents. Victims, including states, may even blame Al Qaeda for political reasons, namely to gain US sympathy and support.
Would-be terrorists the world over may be inspired to perpetrate attacks, seeking to feel they are part of what they perceive as a large, powerful terrorist movement. The public perception that Al Qaeda is running wild is likely to increase fear, especially among Americans.

Such concern, when translated into a heightened vigilance about one's surroundings – particularly in light of this week's warnings about future attacks in the US – may not be a completely bad thing. But unchecked public fear, taken to an extreme, could immobilize citizens, jeopardize civil liberties, and lead America into too many fights abroad.

The United States and its allies in the war on terrorism must defuse the widespread image of Al Qaeda as a ubiquitous, super-organized terror network and call it as it is: a loose collection of groups and individuals that doesn't even refer to itself as "Al Qaeda." Most of the affiliated groups have distinct goals within their own countries or regions, and pose little direct threat to the United States. Washington must also be careful not to imply that any attack anywhere is by definition, or likely, the work of Al Qaeda.

This phenomenon of "exaggerated enemy" is not new.

In 1983, three spectacular suicide bombings in Beirut were claimed by the previously unknown "Islamic Jihad." Numerous subsequent attacks were attributed to the group. And while the intelligence community concluded that "Islamic Jihad" was a nom de guerre for the Lebanese Hizbullah, it was clear that many of the subsequent attacks were unrelated to the militant Shiia organization.

Still, the campaign succeeded in creating the image of an invincible force, and "Islamic Jihad" became a symbol to follow – much as Al Qaeda is today.

The US must be careful about its use of the term "Al Qaeda." Meaning "the base" in Arabic, it originally referred to an Afghan operational base for the mujahideen during the Soviet occupation in the '80s.

In the current context of Osama bin Laden's terror network, this name was imposed externally by Western officials and media sources. Mr. bin Laden has, in fact, never mentioned "Al Qaeda" publicly.

In the quest to define the enemy, the US and its allies have helped to blow it out of proportion. Posters and matchbooks featuring bin Laden's face and the reward for his capture in a dozen languages transformed this little-known "jihadist" into a household name and, in some places, a symbol of heroic defiance.

By committing itself to eradicating terrorism, the Bush administration has put itself in a difficult position, especially if "Al Qaeda" begins popping up all over the map. While the US government must be diligent in protecting its citizens, it cannot try to extinguish every terrorist flame that appears without further encouraging the phenomenon as well as exhausting its resources. America must choose its battles wisely.

Resisting immediate attribution of attacks to Al Qaeda is the first step in defusing the enemy. While the Bush administration has not necessarily been blaming all post-9/11 attacks on Al Qaeda, it has passively allowed others to claim themselves as Al Qaeda or to blame it.

By allowing Al Qaeda to become the top brand name of international terrorism, Washington has packaged the "enemy" into something with a structure, a leader, and a main area of operation.
An invisible, amorphous enemy may be even more frightening. But we must be honest with the facts in order to construct a viable long-term strategy to combat terrorism.

• Kimberly A. McCloud and Adam Dolnik are research associates at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0523/p11s02-coop.html



Guardian Unlimited
Sunday July 13, 2003

What is al-Qaeda?

In this extract from his new book, Al-Qaeda: Casting a shadow of terror, The Observer's chief reporter, Jason Burke, looks at the true nature of bin Laden's organisation and why the west's misunderstanding of the broad and diverse phenomenon of modern Islamic militancy undermines its response to terrorism

by Jason Burke

The fighters came back in the middle of the night. Their weapons and the ammunition slung around their shoulders reflected the dull red glow given out by the embers of the fire. The men sleeping in the room sat up and moved to make space by the fire for the new arrivals. Outside it was cold enough for frost to form wherever there was standing water.

During the day two men had been taken prisoner and several others killed or wounded and the fighters did not talk much. One of them cleaned and checked a captured light machine gun while the others ate the remnants of a thin chicken stew cooked several hours earlier. It was 3am and everyone knew, at least if the routine established over the previous two days continued, the bombing would not start again for two or three hours and now was the time to sleep.

Through the day the B-52s had been overhead. We had watched their distinctive quadruple contrails tracking in straight lines from the north towards their targets. Then they would make a sharp turn to the west and we would see great gouts of smoke, dirt, rock and flame on the steep slopes above us. A second or so later the noise and the blast would reach us, tugging at our clothes. When I woke three hours later all the men in the room were awake. They wrapped their blankets over their thin shalwar kameez, hitched the straps of their Kalashnikovs over their shoulders, put magazines in their pockets and moved outside into the cold. Many of their blankets, bought in the city of Jalalabad some 30 miles away, had been imported from Iran and were bright green and pink and covered in gold prints of large flowers. The men moved off in small groups towards their assault positions.

The sky had begun to lighten. To the north, behind us, lay Jalalabad and the dirt-coloured desert around it. Strands of mist hung over the irrigated lands around the Kabul River. And then high overhead, scoring confident white lines across the pale sky like a steel cutter across glass, came the first set of the quadruple vapour trails of the B-52s of the day. When they appeared the trails were white against the dawn sky. But the rays of the early morning sun were angled up into the sky like searchlights and when they struck the vapour trails, at an altitude of 10,000 feet, the sun's rays turned them a pink as bright and as out of place as the printed flowers on the blankets wrapped around the soldiers thin shoulders. The trails powered forwards towards the mountains and then dipped away to the West. And then came the boiling, orange flames and the oily, dark smoke and the noise rolling over the hills.

The Americans had started bombing the caves - known locally as Tora Bora - on November 30th 2001. Seventeen days earlier the Taliban and their Arab and Pakistani auxiliaries had pulled out of Kabul. Within hours the troops of the Northern Alliance had entered the city. With a group of mujahideen I had smuggled myself across the border and arrived in Jalalabad a few hours after it had been liberated. Over the next weeks American warplanes and special forces troops scoured Afghanistan mopping up retreating Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters. Resistance was minimal.

Osama bin Laden was in Kandahar, the southern desert city that was the spiritual home and administrative headquarters of the Taliban, when the air strikes started. By early November he, his close aides and several hundred of his Arab followers had moved up to Tora Bora. By mid December he, his senior aides, much of the Taliban high command, and hundreds of al-Qaeda fighters were gone. They had slipped the net.

I left Tora Bora, spent a few days in Jalalabad and then drove out to Pakistan. I arrived in London in time for the office Christmas party.

Though I had been reporting on Afghanistan, Pakistan and bin Laden almost full time for nearly four years, and had been covering conflicts, coups and natural disasters for a decade, nothing had prepared me for what I had seen. In fact living and working in the region for so long had made the shock altogether more powerful. I had witnessed countless scenes of grief and deprivation in Afghanistan but, though horrific and tragic, most of it seemed to make sense, to be somehow part of the essence of the place. What I had seen at Tora Bora did not make any sense at all.

It was clear that it was impossible to explain what had happened merely by looking at events in southwest Asia. What had occurred at Tora Bora was the culmination of a huge and complex historical process. The men who had been under the bombs were from Yemen, Egypt, the Sudan and Algeria and a dozen other countries as well as from Pakistan and Afghanistan. The reason for what had happened at Tora Bora lay hidden in their histories.

I also wanted to answer other questions. What was the nature of the threat that now confronted my way of life, my culture, my values, my own personal security and that of those I love? Should I genuinely be frightened of bombs on the London underground, hijackings at Paris Orly, gas attacks in Los Angeles or dirty bombs in Chicago?

Little that had previously been published helped. It was clear to me that profound misconceptions were widespread. Foremost among them was the idea that bin Laden led a cohesive and structured terrorist organisation called "al-Qaeda". Every piece of evidence I came across in my own work contradicted this notion of al-Qaeda as an "Evil Empire" with an omnipotent mastermind at its head. Such an idea was undoubtedly comforting - destroy the man and his henchmen and the problem goes away - but it was clearly deeply flawed. As a result the debate over the prosecution of the ongoing "war on terror" had been skewed.

Instead of there being a reasoned and honest look at the root causes of resurgent Islamic radicalism the discussion of strategies in the war against terror had been almost entirely dominated by the language of high-tech weaponry, militarism and eradication.

One question remained, and remains, largely unanswered: what is al-Qaeda? The word itself is critical. Al-Qaeda comes from the Arabic root qaf-ayn-dal. It can mean a base, such as a camp or a home, or a foundation. It can also mean a precept, rule, principle, maxim, formula or method.

For the most extreme elements among the Islamic radicals who joined the Afghans in the long battle through the 1980s against the Soviets, the word was understood in a very specific sense. Abdullah Azzam, the chief ideologue of the non-Afghan militants and a spiritual mentor of bin Laden, used it to describe the role he envisaged the most committed of the Muslim volunteers who had fought the Soviets playing once the war in Afghanistan was over. In 1987 he wrote: "Every principle needs a vanguard to carry it forward and [to] put up with heavy tasks and enormous sacrifices. This vanguard constitutes the strong foundation (al qaeda al-sulbah) for the expected society."

Azzam was talking about a mode of activism and a tactic, not talking about a particular organisation. Indeed it would be a year or more before bin Laden formed his group. Azzam was using the word to denote a purpose, an ideal and a function. He, and subsequently bin Laden too, saw the role of al-Qaeda, the vanguard, as being to radicalise and mobilise those Muslims who had hitherto rejected their extremist message. They would act like any revolutionary vanguard, as Lenin or indeed the French revolutionaries had imagined. Modern radical Islamic thought is heavily influenced by Western radical political thought, on the right and the left, and the concept of the vanguard is only one of a number of concepts, and tactics, borrowed from thinkers ranging from Trotsky and Mao to Hitler and Heidegger.

Bin Laden and a number of close associates acted on Azzam's suggestion and, probably sometime in 1988 or early 1989, set up a militant group in Peshawar, the frontier city in western Pakistan. They hoped the group would act as a "vanguard" in the coming struggle. The unity that a common purpose had forced on the disparate groups of Islamic extremists fighting against the Soviets was disintegrating. National and ethnic divisions re-asserted themselves among the volunteers. Bin Laden's group was formed with the aim of rousing Muslims, through active campaigning or "propaganda by deed", to create an "international army" that would unite the umma or world Islamic community against oppression. The group was small, comprising not more than a dozen men, and there was little to distinguish it from the scores of other groups operating, forming and dissolving in Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Islamic world.

Bin Laden left Pakistan in 1989 and returned to his homeland of Saudi Arabia. In 1990, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, bin Laden, several other Arab veterans of the war in Afghanistan and a number of Afghan commanders, offered to form an army of Islamic militants to protect the land of Mecca and Medina. The Saudi regime rejected bin Laden's plan and the 32 year old militant began to work to reform of his own country. The al-Qaeda project languished. In 1991 bin Laden left his native land and fled, via Pakistan, to Sudan where he remained until 1996.

Western intelligence officials have been criticised for being slow to recognise al-Qaeda. This is unfair. In his first few years in Sudan bin Laden was at least as interested in arboriculture and road construction as in creating an international legion of Islamic militants. His own group had barely expanded beyond the dozen or so individuals who had pledged allegiance to him back in 1988 or 1989 and he was heavily reliant on the know-how and resources of larger and more established militant outfits such as Egytpian Islamic Jihad. Nor was he connected to the raft of attacks, including that on the World Trade Centre, there were in this period. His involvement in Somalia and the famous "blackhawk down" episode was marginal.

In 1996 bin Laden moved from Sudan to Afghanistan. This provided the first real opportunity for him to build something that could genuinely be described as an organised terrorist structure.

What bin Laden was able to do in Afghanistan was provide a central focus for many of the disparate elements within contemporary Islamic militancy. This led, not to the formation of a huge and disciplined group "with tentacles everywhere", but to a temporary concentration of many of the different strands within modern Islamic militancy on a single place and project. This period, from 1996 to 2001, is when "al-Qaeda" matured.

"Al-Qaeda" consisted of three elements. The first element was the "al-Qaeda hard core", the few dozen associates who had stayed with bin Laden since the late 1980s. Their numbers were boosted by the number of experienced militants, most of whom had been active independently for several years, who made their way to Afghanistan to join bin Laden there. One such was Khaled Sheikh Mohammed who had been involved in attacks in the Philippines and elsewhere. Most of these militants came for purely pragmatic reasons. For men who had spent years trying to mobilise and act, struggling all the while with domestic security services, Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001 was like a department store for Islamic terrorists. Recruits, knowledge, ideas and even cash could be had off the shelf. Bin Laden and his associates were running a whole floor, the biggest, the best-stocked and the most glitzy.

A second element of "al-Qaeda" involves the scores of other militant Islamic groups around the world which have, or had, some kind of relationship with bin Laden or figures connected to him. But imagining that all these groups were all created or run by bin Laden is to denigrate the particular local factors that led to their emergence.

Tracing the links between various groups and the "al-Qaeda hardcore" not easy. Even within individual movements different factions had different relations with "al-Qaeda". For example, the Ansar ul Islam group that emerged in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq in the autumn of 2001 comprised three different factions. Though two of them set off to Afghanistan to meet senior al-Qaeda leaders in the spring of 2001, a third had been unwilling to deal with bin Laden or those around him. Only when bin Laden specifically sent an emissary did they "come on board". By the end of 2001 Ansar was joined by Arab fighters who had fled the US-led onslaught in Afghanistan, some of whom had been close to the al-Qaeda leadership. Ansar was one ostensibly one group, yet included many different relationships to "al-Qaeda". In that it is a microcosm of the broader militant movement.

It is also worth pointing out that at no stage did any Ansar members have any relations with Saddam Hussein. Such claims rested on the thinnest of evidence.

Indeed claims of any links between Saddam and al-Qaeda were based on a fundamental misconception of the nature of modern Islamic militancy. They depended, largely, on the idea that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born militant allegedly sheltered by Baghdad, was close to bin Laden. Yet Western European intelligence reports, compiled in 2003, reveal that his group was formed "in opposition" to al-Qaeda. Again, if only if al-Qaeda is, wrongly, conceived of as a single organisation encompassing the whole of contemporary radical Islamic activism could one say that al-Zarqawi was "al-Qaeda". It is also true that representatives of bin Laden did have some contact with Saddam Hussein's regime, as the American administration has often said. But bin Laden rejected all of Baghdad's approaches - a point that is less often made by hawks in Washington.

I was able to study Ansar ul Islam in some depth when I was working in northern Iraq in 2002. I had first been to Kurdistan in 1991 when, as a young and cocky student I had spent several weeks one summer carrying a Kalashnikov alongside the peshmerga fighters there. In 2002 the results of hardline proselytisation by Gulf-based Islamic groups and the global spread of bin Laden's message was becoming obvious as the "salafi-jihadi" ideology spread among the previously secular Kurds. On my return to Kurdistan, I had an opportunity to interview many of Ansar's members, including Didar, a failed suicide bomber.

I met Didar in the eastern Kurdish city of Sulaimania in Northern Iraq. He was born, he said, in 1985 and raised in the sprawling city of Arbil, one of nine children. His father was unemployed but, as he had two sons working (illegally) in Britain, the family had a good standard of living. They had their own house and car. All the children went to school and Didar, the 6th child, studied until he was 14.

Didar's upbringing was not particularly religious. Like most Kurds he went to the mosque to pray several times a week and kept the fast at Ramadan but little else. Nor had he been involved in politics though, he said, he felt strongly that things were not right with the world from his early teens. His education, he told me, was unlikely to get him a decent job and he had few friends. When he left school in 1999, without employment, he didn't have much to do so started going to the mosque a lot. Soon he was spending every evening there and was invited to join a Quranic study group. He enjoyed the meetings and liked being with his new friends. Didar's teacher at the mosque gave him books and pamphlets to read. Some were hardline tracts subsidised by Saudi Arabian quasi-governmental groups. Others were reprints of Abdullah Azzam's works. His teacher explained Azzam's doctrine that jihad was the duty of every Muslim man and told him that men like Osama bin Laden were true Muslims whose examples should be followed. He introduced Didar to other young men with similar ideas. This mode of recruitment, or rather induction, is similar to that of many young Islamic radicals.

In November of 2001 Didar was told by his teacher that a group called Ansar ul Islam had announced a jihad in Kurdistan. Didar had not heard of the organisation before but was keen to join it. The two men took a bus to the stronghold of the group in the mountains east of Sulaimania. The Ansar base was surrounded on three sides by fighters from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), one of the two secular groups who dominate politics locally. On the fourth side was the Iranian border. Around 40 Arabs had recently arrived there from Afghanistan, joining around 500 Kurds, and providing a battle-hardened, fanatical edge.

A Kurd who had spent time in bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan was running the training of Ansar's new recruits, and for the next three months Didar was instructed in basic infantry tactics, explosives, urban warfare and assassinations. The training followed the syllabus that had been taught to the group's representatives who had made it to Afghanistan in the previous year and is similar to that outlined in a series of notebooks I had found at a training camp in Khost, the eastern Afghan town that was the centre of international Islamic militancy in Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001 about a week before the battle at Tora Bora.

Every morning the Ansar recruits would rise for morning prayers and then do physical training until the sun came over the horizon. They spent the rest of the day training, in lectures or reading the Koran. The idea of ishtishahd, or "martyrdom operations" was first raised by the Arab instructors but it was one of Didar's friends, a 22 year old who he had met in the mosque at Arbil, who starting talking about suicide seriously.

"Hisham quoted all the verses of the Quran and repeated the prophet's teaching on ishtishad and every day we talked about it - I decided that I wanted to do this too. I knew that PUK people were kufr (unbelievers) and that our duty was to fight against the kufr to free the umma. I told [our leader], that I was ready and then during the night they called me on the radio and asked me to come to them. They showed me the jacket and how it worked. Then we had lunch."

Didar was talking to me in the office of the PUK security chief. While he spoke the chief went to a cupboard and pulled out the jacket that had been taken off Didar when he had been arrested. It had two slabs of TNT over the chest and in the small of the back and was made of blue nylon. A belt contained more explosives. There were two metal switches, one for the jacket and one for the belt. I sat and clicked them back and forth, listening to the metallic tick, as Didar continued.

"After seeing the jacket I went back to our base."
"What date was it?", I asked.
"It was the 12th of June," he said. "Because it was during the World Cup."
You were watching the World Cup?"
There were no televisions because they were haram [forbidden]. But I was following it in the newspapers."
What was your favourite team?"
"England. Michael Owen and I like McManaman and David Seaman."
"England is your favourite team and you are about to blow yourself up in the jihad against kufr?"
"Politics is one thing. Football is something else."

Didar was driven to a house on the outskirts of Halabjah. He had dinner at the house of a sympathiser. Then they watched a Jackie Chan film on a DVD.

"I didn't dream. I slept fine. I knew I was going to paradise so was very calm. At just after five pm I [left the house]. I was calm. I was thinking about paradise. The bus went through the bazaar and I got down just before the PUK office and walked up to it with the switch in my pocket and my hand on it. I walked up to the official at the door and gave him the name of a man who I thought would be inside and he said what is that underneath your shirt, and I said nothing and he asked again and I said it's TNT and then they arrested me."

Didar's story is revealing. It tells us much about the real nature of "al-Qaeda". Bin Laden does not have the power to issue orders that are instantly obeyed. He is not the commander in chief of an army. Bin Laden does not kidnap young men and brainwash them. Both the young men who flocked to Afghanistan to seek military and terrorist training and the leaders of more established groups who were happy to link themselves with bin Laden's group did so of their volition.

As is clear from the testimony of recruits in the training camps run by the "al-Qaeda" hardcore in Afghanistan nobody was kept there against their will. Most overcame considerable obstacles to reach the camps. Indeed bin Laden's associates spent much of their time selecting which of the myriad requests for assistance they would grant. The requests came from everywhere from Morocco to Malaysia. A group in Singapore even made a video showing their intended targets which they showed to Mohammed Atef, bin Laden's military commander. Other militants formulated their plans in the training camps and then approached the leadership. Those who had not got any ideas of their own were refused assistance and told to return when they had thought of something.

These requests, like the recruits who carried them, originated in the huge swathe of largely young men who are sufficiently motivated to want to devote substantial proportions of their lives and energies to the most extreme form of Islamic militancy. In very broad terms they share the key ideas, and the key objectives, of bin Laden and the "al-Qaeda" hardcore. They, like Didar, subscribe, whether involved in a radical group or not, to the "al-Qaeda" worldview. They speak the "al-Qaeda" language. They are committed to a certain way of thinking about the world, of understanding events, of interpreting and behaving. This ideology, a composite of the common elements of all the various strands of modern Islamic radical thought, is currently the most widespread, and the fastest growing, element of what makes up the phenomenon currently, and largely erroneously, labelled "al-Qaeda". The smoke and the vapour trails over Tora Bora signalled the end of Afghanistan as a favoured destination for aspirant terrorists. But the "war on terror" has so far done nothing to eradicate the reasons for the volunteers wanting to travel to the training camps or to deal with the grievances behind the constant applications fielded by bin Laden and his lieutenants.

The war in Afghanistan ended a specific, and in many ways anomalous, period. The camps were destroyed, the militants who had joined bin Laden there were scattered. The al-Qaeda hardcore, the first component of al-Qaeda that we identified above, was virtually destroyed. However the threat is more grave than ever before.

Thirty years ago a new Islamic political ideology began to resonate amongst millions of young men and women across the Muslim world. This ideology was a sophisticated and genuine intellectual effort to find an Islamic answer to the challenges posed by the West's cultural, economic and political superiority. In the middle of the 20th century nationalist anti-imperialism was the dominant ideology. Then, at least in the Middle East, it was pan-Arabism. Both failed to solve the problems of the Islamic world. Now Islam is seen the solution. But over the decades Islamic activism has changed. Once Islamic activists thought primarily in terms of achieving power or reforming their own nation. There was room in their programme for gradualism and compromise, for a huge multiplicity of different strands of political thought, for the parochial, radical and conservative movements of rural areas and for the clever, educated and aware ideologues of the cities. There was also room, on the movement's periphery, for those extremists who were committed to violence and who saw the world as a battlefield between the forces of good and evil, of belief and unbelief.

But increasingly, and this is a trend that is accelerating, the extremists are no longer perceived as the "lunatic fringe". Instead they are seen as the standard bearers. And their language is now the dominant discourse in modern Islamic activism. Their debased, violent, nihilisitic, anti-rational millenarianism has become the standard ideology aspired to by angry young Muslim men. This is the genuine victory of bin Laden and our greatest defeat in the "war on terror".

In the weeks immediately following the tragedy of September 11th there was a genuine interest in understanding: why?. Why "they" hate us, why "they" were prepared to kill themselves, why such a thing could happen. That curiosity has dwindled and is being replaced by other questions: how did it happen, how many of "them" are there, how many are there left to capture and kill. Anyone who tries to "explain" the roots of the threat now facing all of us, to answer the "why", to elaborate who "they are", risks being dismissed as ineffectual or cowardly. To ask "why" is to lay oneself open to accusations of lacking the moral courage to face up to the "genuine" threat and the need to meet it with force and aggression. Many characterise this threat, dangerously and wrongly, as rooted in a "clash of civilizations."

This attitude not only plays into the hands of the extremists but, by downplaying the importance of genuine causes, risks encouraging tactics that are counterproductive. I hope to redress the balance. As I watched the bombs falling at Tora Bora I had asked the question why. My book is my attempt to find some answers.


Jason Burke is chief reporter for The Observer. This extract is adapted from the opening chapter of his new book Al-Qaeda: casting a shadow of terror, which is published this week by IB Tauris.


http://observer.guardian.co.uk/worldvie ... 09,00.html



BOND - Networking for International Development -- British Overseas NGOs for Development

Does Al-Qaida exist?
Peter Marsden

Since the 11 September attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York, Al-Qaida has been represented as a monolithic organisation with an almost global reach. However, some observers believe Al-Qaida is little more than an idea connecting the largely independent actions of a loose network of organisations and individuals. Peter Marsden traces the history of Al-Qaida and concludes that while the global organisation of popular belief does not exist, the US-led ‘war on terror’ may be the catalyst that turns the myth of Al-Qaida into reality.

The US air strikes on Afghanistan of August 1998 brought to world attention the names of Al-Qaida and its reported leader, Osama bin Laden. The latter was presented as orchestrating a global campaign of terrorist activity from a network of terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. Thereafter, his profile continued to rise until, by the time of the US elections in early 2001, he was already identified as the primary target of US defence policy. When the World Trade Centre was the object of the major terrorist attack of 11 September 2001, the US President immediately issued a public accusation that Osama bin Laden was responsible for the attack. This was used to justify the subsequent US-led military intervention in Afghanistan and the establishment of US military bases in Afghanistan to facilitate a search for Taliban and Al-Qaida forces.

The reality is much more complex. Al-Qaida was the name of an organisation set up in Peshawar, Pakistan to process volunteers from other parts of the Islamic world who wanted to fight alongside the Mujahidin in the jihad against the Soviet occupying forces. The volunteers processed by Al-Qaida were sent to military training camps operated, with US support, by one or other of the Mujahidin parties. Osama bin Laden was mandated by the Saudi Government to set up this office. Al-Qaida was not, therefore, a political movement.

However, there were organisations participating in the jihad which did advocate violence against the West and they formed part of a network of radical Islamic organisations based in Pakistan which espoused a multiplicity of political objectives. It should be stressed, however, that those who argued for violence against Western targets were a minority.

This minority grew in size over the course of the 1990s in response to specific actions of the international community and, in particular, of the US Government the first of these, the Gulf War of 1991, led to the stationing of US troops on Saudi soil. This provoked outrage throughout the Islamic world because the US presence was seen as a violation of the Islamic holy places.
Osama bin Laden joined forces with certain radical leaders in the Sudan to campaign for the removal of US forces from Saudi Arabia. His activities resulted in his expulsion from the Sudan, as a result of US pressure on the government, and he took refuge in Afghanistan. There he maintained a low profile until the US air strikes on Afghanistan of August 1998 made him into an internationally-known figure. The US government demanded that the Taliban hand him over to face justice as a key suspect in the terrorist attacks on the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam of that month. The Taliban, who had, up to that point, had very little contact with Osama bin Laden, were forced to offer him protection. To have done otherwise would have lost them their support base amongst the students of Islamic madrasahs in Pakistan and amongst particular radical Islamic parties in Pakistan.

From here on, both Osama bin Laden and the Taliban took on enormous symbolic importance as defenders of the Islamic world against the West.

The political environment in Afghanistan became progressively more radical. The Taliban attracted large numbers of volunteers from other parts of the Islamic world to fight alongside them as they sought to complete their conquest of Afghanistan in order to create an Islamic state. The volunteers received military training in the camps set up for the Afghan jihad, and some joined one or other of the groups that advocated violence against the West. Many returned from Afghanistan, to their countries of origin or settlement, inspired by the sense of solidarity they had felt with other volunteers in Afghanistan and, also, in some cases, inspired by the political messages they had heard.

We have, therefore, an international network of people who have fought in Afghanistan, some of whom have since opted to engage in terrorist activity against Western targets as a result. This network is referred to as Al-Qaida but it is no more than a loose network. The literature I have read on Al-Qaida provides no evidence that Al-Qaida is the global organisation that it has been portrayed to be, able to orchestrate terrorist acts world-wide. The risk is that actions by the US Government which deeply offend Islamic opinion, such as the recent US-led military intervention in Iraq, will strengthen communication within the network to the point where greater collaboration will create greater effectiveness and the myth of Al-Qaida may become a reality.

Peter Marsden is a Middlen East specialist who has worked in support of NGO programming in Afghanistan for the past 14 years. He has also written extensively on the political and economic situation in the country.

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Re: 9/11 Info Dump

Postby Elvis » Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:41 am

[p.5 of dump]

[Art Students, etc.]



http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?

Sun., August 08, 2004 Av 21, 5764

Spies, or students?


By Nathan Guttman

Were the Israelis just trying to sell their paintings, or agents in a massive espionage ring?

WASHINGTON - It could be the biggest espionage scandal of the century, or the greatest journalistic non-starter in many a decade, but it's clear that the story of the Israeli art students in New York - dozens of alleged spies living in the United States - refuses to die down. Anyone who believes the story says that everything is accurately documented and confirmed, and that only a conspiracy on the part of the U.S. administration - which is desperate to keep the affair quiet, partly out of shame and partly because of its warm relations with Israel - is keeping the affair out of the spotlight of public discussion. Those who repudiate the affair say it is baseless, just another unfounded urban legend that has taken on a life of its own on various marginal Internet sites.

Either way, the story of the Israeli spies is alive and kicking. The most recent mention of the affair came last week in the highly respected Internet magazine, Salon.com, which recapped the main points of the scandal and even added some new details of its own. The official Israeli response was the same as ever: "Nonsense," they say. The outline of the scandal is the same wherever it is published, with the more respectable journals taking more care over the details and relying more on reports and documented evidence, while the more marginal publications pile on spurious details and compare the scandal to the great conspiracies of the past.

According to reports of the scandal, around 120 young Israeli citizens, posing as art students and selling paintings door-to-door, have been arrested and deported from the United States. The door-to-door sale of art works, it is claimed, was a front for a sophisticated spy ring: the students would turn up at homes and offices - especially at buildings housing federal authorities and military bases, and even went to the homes of those employed in these offices. The students attempted to form friendships with federal employees, photograph their offices, tap their phone lines and infiltrate their databases.

It is also claimed that the spy ring kept tabs on Arab targets inside the United States, including Arab Americans who were in contact with the Al-Qaida network. According to some speculations, the Israelis' intelligence work enabled the spy ring to know in advance of the planned terror attack on September 11, without lifting a finger to prevent it.

Beware students selling art

There is one source for all these stories and it is not an unreliable one. The source is the 60-page draft of an internal report by the intelligence division of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Thedraft was leaked to the media and its existence was confirmed by spokesmen from the DEA and the Justice Department, which is responsible for running the DEA. But confirming that the report exists is not the same as verifying its contents.

According to the report's author, whose identity has never been published, DEA officials identified an increase in the number of incidents in which young Israelis, claiming to be art students, tried to sell them works of art. "It is entirely possible," said the report, "that this is an organized intelligence-gathering activity."

A warning was sent out by the federal anti-espionage office to other federal agencies in March 2001,warning them to be wary of students trying to sell them art works and gain entry to federal facilities. The document records several encounters between DEA officials and Israelis all over the United States. In one incident, the report documents an attempt to gain entry to the Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, where the AWACS spy plane and the B-1 bombers are serviced.

What is really keeping this story alive is the claim of a link between the Israeli "students" and Israeli intelligence. The original report, as well as subsequent media reports, say that many of the young Israelis arrested served in the IDF's Intelligence Corps and were involved in operating electronic bugging equipment; one even said he was the son of a senior Israel Defense Forces officer. It took just one small leap to turn this into a conspiracy, whereby all the Israelis arrested were in the pay of the Mossad.

The report also documents how those arrested in the U.S. were connected to Israeli companies that had provided telephony services for American companies and U.S. federal authorities, while also claiming the Israeli companies should be investigated, in case they had installed "back door" services, which would allow some future operative to access the American companies' systems. The DEA, it is claimed, purchased communications equipment worth some $100 million from Israeli companies five years ago, and that is said to be the reason for the widespread Israeli activity around this agency.

One paranoid official

Even though the claims made by the DEA and the various journals that have delved into the affair sound convincing and well-based, so do the Israeli counter-claims. Firstly, say anonymous Israeli representatives in the United States, it is true that more than 100 young Israelis were arrested in the U.S. following the events of September 11 - all of them for immigration and visa infringements. Most of those arrested were deported after being charged by the U.S. immigration service. The sources also admit that many Israelis are currently working illegally in the U.S., occasionally as door-to-door art salespersons.

As far as Israel is concerned, this is the only explanation for the affair, and anything more is just a fabrication based on the original reports, which in itself is based on the paranoia of one government official. There is also an explanation for the military background of the arrested Israelis: every Israeli has a military background, often in the various intelligence units. But this is not easy to explain to the Americans, who see the Israelis as "former intelligence officers" or "retired officers." As for the supposed connection between the young Israelis and various high-tech companies, all the companies mentioned strongly deny any involvement.

Those who deny that there is a spy ring in action also ask why none of the Israelis arrested was ever charged with espionage-related crimes. Why were their cases handled by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), rather than the FBI, which is responsible for investigating spies? And the main question - why did Israel chose the DEA as its espionage target? Those who back the spy theory say that because the DEA is not usually involved in security matters it is easier to infiltrate, and that the DEA's war on the international drug trade has provided it a wealth of information that could be useful to Israel in a wide range of areas.

But while each side of the argument is sticking to its guns, without either party presenting clear evidence that could clear up the affair once and for all, the media is carrying out its own merry dance around a fascinating spy story - whether it's true or not.

The first mention of a mass arrest of Israeli art students on suspicion of involvement in spying was on Fox News on December 12, 2001. The dramatic report stated that around 60 Israelis had been arrested for immigration offenses, but were suspected of spying against the United States, and added that some of those arrested were members of the Israeli military. The report also stated that some of those arrested had failed lie-detector tests.

Instead of raising a storm, however, Fox's story slowly died away and was only briefly reported in the international press. Three months later, however, the affair came back to life, this time on a French Internet site, Intelligence Online. The story was immediately picked up by Le Monde. This time, the reporters claimed to have the entire DEA report, and the number of people arrested climbed to 120.

At this stage, the American media also woke up to the story. News agencies based their reports of the story on a French Internet site and on the official U.S. reaction. The Justice Department confirmed that it had investigated the alleged connection between Israeli students and anti-American espionage; the DEA confirmed that it had prepared a draft report, but did not say what had become of it; the FBI said that it had not received any complaint relating to spying by Israeli students.

The New York Times, according to sources in Washington, looked into the affair but, having concluded that it lacked a suitable factual base, decided not to write about it. The Washington Post, on the other hand, did publish an article, but cast doubt on the veracity of the affair. Post reporters found that the report was written by a "disgruntled [DEA] employee," who was upset that his claims of Israeli espionage were not being treated seriously.

Even this report was not enough to finally kill off the affair. Two weeks later, the New York Jewish weekly, Forward, published a report connecting the spy affair with the arrest in New Jersey, on September 11, of five Israelis whose behavior was defined as suspicious. The five were employed by a moving company and did not have valid work permits. According to Forward, the FBI concluded that the five were on a spy mission on behalf of the Mossad, and that the moving company was nothing more than a front. This story also died out quietly.

The final round of publications started last week with the publication of the art student affair in Salon.com, which repeated all the known details of the affair. It even added a claim that the spy ring was active in more than 40 cities across the U.S., and included offices belonging to the secret service, the FBI and the U.S. military.

Now the story is coming to life once more, with news agencies and at least one national television station regurgitating all the details. The American public will continue to be divided over the truth behind the so-called spy ring, with some believing that the original DEA report was the work of a problematic employee and others convinced that shadowy government officials are involved in covering up the exposure of one of the largest spy rings ever to operate on American soil.



Salon.com

The Israeli "art student" mystery

For almost two years, hundreds of young Israelis falsely claiming to be art students haunted federal offices -- in particular, the DEA. No one knows why -- and no one seems to want to find out.
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By Christopher Ketcham

May 7, 2002 | In January 2001, the security branch of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency began to receive a number of peculiar reports from DEA field offices across the country. According to the reports, young Israelis claiming to be art students and offering artwork for sale had been attempting to penetrate DEA offices for over a year. The Israelis had also attempted to penetrate the offices of other law enforcement and Department of Defense agencies. Strangest of all, the "students" had visited the homes of numerous DEA officers and other senior federal officials.

As a pattern slowly emerged, the DEA appeared to have been targeted in what it called an "organized intelligence gathering activity." But to what end, and for whom, no one knew.

Reports of the mysterious Israelis with an inexplicable interest in peddling art to G-men came in from more than 40 U.S. cities and continued throughout the first six months of 2001. Agents of the DEA, ATF, Air Force, Secret Service, FBI, and U.S. Marshals Service documented some 130 separate incidents of "art student" encounters. Some of the Israelis were observed diagramming the inside of federal buildings. Some were found carrying photographs they had taken of federal agents. One was discovered with a computer printout in his luggage that referred to "DEA groups."

In some cases, the Israelis visited locations not known to the public -- areas without street addresses, for example, or DEA offices not identified as such -- leading authorities to suspect that information had been gathered from prior surveillance or perhaps electronically, from credit cards and other sources. One Israeli was discovered holding banking receipts for substantial sums of money, close to $180,000 in withdrawals and deposits over a two-month period. A number of the Israelis resided for a period of time in Hollywood, Fla. -- the small city where Mohammed Atta and three terrorist comrades lived for a time before Sept. 11.

In March 2001, the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive (NCIX), a branch of the CIA, issued a heads-up to federal employees about "suspicious visitors to federal facilities." The warning noted that "employees have observed both males and females attempting to bypass facility security and enter federal buildings." Federal agents, the warning stated, had "arrested two of these individuals for trespassing and discovered that the suspects possessed counterfeit work visas and green cards."

In the wake of the NCIX bulletin, federal officials raised several other red flags, including an Air Force alert, a Federal Protective Services alert, an Office of National Drug Control Policy security alert and a request that the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) investigate a specific case. Officials began dealing more aggressively with the "art students." According to one account, some 140 Israeli nationals were detained or arrested between March 2001 and Sept. 11, 2001. Many of them were deported. According to the INS, the deportations resulted from violations of student visas that forbade the Israelis from working in the United States. (In fact, Salon has established that none of the Israelis were enrolled in the art school most of them claimed to be attending; the other college they claimed to be enrolled in does not exist.) After the Sept. 11 attacks, many more young Israelis -- 60, according to one AP dispatch and other reports -- were detained and deported.

The "art students" followed a predictable modus operandi. They generally worked in teams, typically consisting of a driver, who was the team leader, and three or four subordinates. The driver would drop the "salespeople" off at a given location and return to pick them up some hours later. The "salespeople" entered offices or approached agents in their offices or homes. Sometimes they pitched their artwork -- landscapes, abstract works, homemade pins and other items they carried about in portfolios. At other times, they simply attempted to engage agents in conversation. If asked about their studies, they generally said they were from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem or the University of Jerusalem (which does not exist). They were described as "aggressive" in their sales pitch and "evasive" when questioned by wary agents. The females among them were invariably described as "very attractive" -- "blondes in tight shorts or jeans, real lookers," as one DEA agent put it to Salon. "They were flirty, flipping the hair, looking at you, smiling. 'Hey, how are you? Let me show you this.' Everything a woman would do if she wanted to get something out of you." Some agents noted that the "students" made repeated attempts to avoid facility security personnel by trying to enter federal buildings through back doors and side entrances. On several occasions, suspicious agents who had been visited at home observed the Israelis after the "students" departed and noted that they did not approach any of the neighbors.

The document detailing most of this information was an internal DEA memo: a 60-page report drawn up in June 2001 by the DEA's Office of Security Programs. The document was meant only for the eyes of senior officials at the Justice Department (of which the DEA is adjunct), but it was leaked to the press as early as December 2001 and by mid-March had been made widely available to the public.

On the face of it, this was a blockbuster tale, albeit a bizarre and cryptic one, full of indeterminate leads and fascinating implications and ambiguous answers: "Like a good Clancy novel," as one observer put it. Was it espionage? Drug dealing? An intelligence game? The world?s wackiest door-to-door hustle? Yet the mainstream media has almost entirely ignored the allegations or accepted official "explanations" that explain nothing. Even before the DEA memo was leaked, however, some reporters had begun sniffing around the remarkable story.

On Oct. 1 of last year, Texas newswoman Anna Werner, of KHOU-TV in Houston, told viewers about a "curious pattern of behavior" by people with "Middle Eastern looks" claiming to be Israeli art students. "Government guards have found those so-called students," reported Werner, "trying to get into [secure federal facilities in Houston] in ways they're not supposed to -- through back doors and parking garages." Federal agents, she said, were extremely "concerned." The "students" had showed up at the DEA's Houston headquarters, at the Leland Federal Building in Houston, and even the federal prosecutor's office; they had also appeared to be monitoring the buildings. Guards at the Earle Cabell Federal Building in Dallas found one "student" wandering the halls with a floor plan of the site. Sources told Werner that similar incidents had occurred at sites in New York, Florida, and six other states, "and even more worrisome, at 36 sensitive Department of Defense sites."

"One defense site you can explain," a former Defense Department analyst told Werner. "Thirty-six? That's a pattern." Ominously, the analyst concluded that such activity suggested a terrorist organization "scouting out potential targets and ... looking for targets that would be vulnerable."

Post-9/11, this should have been the opening thrust in an orgy of coverage, and the scoop of a lifetime for Werner: Here she?d gotten a glimpse into a possible espionage ring of massive proportions, possibly of terrorists scouting new targets for jihad -- and those terrorists were possibly posing as Israelis. KHOU?s conclusions were wrong -- these weren?t Arab terrorists -- but at the time no one knew better. And yet the story died on the vine. No one followed up.

Just about the same time that KHOU was stabbing in the dark, reporter Carl Cameron of the Fox News Channel was beginning an investigation into the mystery of the art students that would ultimately light the way into altogether different terrain. In a four-part series on Fox?s "Special Report With Brit Hume" that aired in mid-December, Cameron reported that federal agents were investigating the "art student" phenomenon as a possible arm of Israeli espionage operations tracking al-Qaida operatives in the United States. Yes, you read that right: a spy ring that may have been trailing al-Qaida members in the weeks and months before Sept. 11 -- a spy ring that according to Cameron’s sources may have known about the preparations for the Sept. 11 attacks but failed to share this knowledge with U.S. intelligence. One investigator told Cameron that "evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It's classified information."

According to Cameron, some 60 Israeli nationals had been detained in the anti-terrorism/immigrant sweeps in the weeks after Sept. 11, and at least 140 Israelis identified as "art students" had been detained or arrested in the prior months. Most of the 60 detained after Sept. 11 had been deported, Cameron said. "Some of the detainees," reported Cameron, "failed polygraph questions when asked about alleged surveillance activities against and in the United States." Some of them were on active military duty. (Military service is compulsory for all young Israelis.) Cameron was careful to note that there was "no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9/11 attacks" and that while his reporting had dug up "explosive information," none of it was necessarily conclusive. Cameron was simply airing the wide-ranging speculations in an ongoing investigation.

Incendiary as it was, that story died on the vine, too, and the scuttlebutt in major newsrooms was that Cameron’s sources -- all anonymous -- were promulgating a fantasy. Reporters at the New York Times and the Washington Post hit up their go-to people inside Justice and FBI and CIA, but no one could seem to confirm the story, and indeed numerous officials laughed it off. Fox got it wrong, the newspapers of record concluded. And nothing more was heard on the topic in mainstream quarters.

But inside the DEA, the Fox piece reverberated. An internal DEA communiqué obtained by Salon indicates that the DEA made careful note of Cameron’s reports; the communiqué even mentions Fox News by name. Dated Dec. 18, four days after the final installment in the Fox series, the document warns of security breaches in DEA telecommunications by unauthorized "foreign nationals" -- and cites an Israeli-owned firm with which the DEA contracted for wiretap equipment -- breaches that could have accounted for the access that the "art students" apparently had to the home addresses of agents.

It wasn’t until nearly three months after the Fox reports that the "art student" enigma resurfaced in newsrooms, this time in Europe. On Feb. 28, the respected Paris-based espionage newsletter Intelligence Online reported in detail on what turned out to have been one of Cameron's key source documents: the 60-page DEA memo. The memo itself, which Salon obtained in mid-March, went no further than to speculate in the most general terms that the "nature of the individuals’ conduct" suggested some sort of "organized intelligence gathering activity." The memo also pointed out that there was some evidence connecting the art students to a drug ring. "DEA Orlando has developed the first drug nexus to this group," the memo read. "Telephone numbers obtained from an Israeli Art Student encountered at the Orlando D.O. [District Office] have been linked to several ongoing DEA MDMA (Ecstasy) investigations in Florida, California, Texas and New York."

However, Intelligence Online and then France's newspaper of record, Le Monde, came to a much more definite -- and explosive -- conclusion. This was the jackpot, they concluded, a proven spy ring run by the Mossad or the Israeli government. Thus you had Intelligence Online leading its Feb. 28 piece with the statement that "a huge Israeli spy ring operating in the United States was rolled up," and you had Le Monde trumpeting on March 5 that a "vast Israeli spy network" had been dismantled in the "largest case of Israeli spying" since 1985, when mole Jonathan Pollard was busted selling Pentagon secrets to the Mossad. Reuters that same day went with the headline "U.S. Busts Big Israeli Spy Ring," sourcing Le Monde’s story.

The two French journals came to conclusions that the memo itself clearly did not. And yet they had unearthed some intriguing material. Six of the "students" were apparently carrying cell phones purchased by a former Israeli vice consul to the United States. According to Le Monde, two of the "students" had traveled from Hamburg to Miami to visit an FBI agent in his home, then boarded a flight to Chicago and visited the home of a Justice Dept. agent, then hopped a direct flight to Toronto -- all in one day. According to Intelligence Online, more than one-third of the students, who were spread out in 42 cities, lived in Florida, several in Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. -- one-time home to at least 10 of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers. In at least one case, the students lived just a stone's throw from homes and apartments where the Sept. 11 terrorists resided: In Hollywood, several students lived at 4220 Sheridan St., just down the block from the 3389 Sheridan St. apartment where terrorist mastermind Mohammed Atta holed up with three other Sept. 11 plotters. Many of the students, the DEA report noted, had backgrounds in Israeli military intelligence and/or electronics surveillance; one was the son of a two-star Israeli general, and another had served as a bodyguard to the head of the Israeli army.

The DEA report on which the French journals based their investigations contained a wealth of remarkable tales. To take just a few samples:

On March 1, 2001, a DEA special agent in the Tampa division offices "responded to a knock at one of the fifth floor offices. At the door was a young female who immediately identified herself as an Israeli art student who had beautiful art to sell. She was carrying a crudely made portfolio of unframed pictures." Aware of the "art student" alert, the agent invited the girl to an interview room, where he was joined by a colleague to listen to the girl's presentation. "She had approximately 15 paintings of different styles, some copies of famous works, and others similar in style to famous artists. When asked her name, she identified herself as Bella Pollcson, and pointed out one of the paintings was signed by that name." Then things got interesting: In the middle of her presentation, she changed her story and claimed that the paintings were not for sale, but "that she was there to promote an art show in Sarasota, Fla., and asked for the agents' business cards so that information regarding the show could be mailed to them." Well, where's the show? asked the agents. When's it going up? Pollcson couldn't say: didn't know when or where -- or even who was running it. Later it was determined that she had lied about her name as well.

On Oct. 20, 2000, in the Houston offices of the DEA, a "male Israeli art student was observed by the Security Officers [entering] an elevator from a secure area. [The officers] were able to apprehend the art student before he could enter a secure area on the second floor." Three months later, in January 2001, a "male Israeli" was apprehended attempting to enter the same building from a back door in a "secured parking lot area." He claimed "he wanted to gain access to the building to sell artwork."

On April 30, 2001, an Air Force alert was issued from Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City concerning "possible intelligence collection being conducted by Israeli Art Students." Tinker AFB houses AWACS surveillance craft and Stealth bombers. The report does not elaborate on what kind of intelligence was being sought.

On May 19, 2001, two Israeli nationals "requested permission to visit a museum" at Volk Field Air National Guard Base in Camp Douglas, Wis. "Approximately ten minutes after being allowed on the base, the two were seen on an active runway, taking photographs." The men, charged with misdemeanor trespass, were identified as 26-year-old Gal Kantor and 22-year-old Tsvi Watermann, and were released after paying a $210 fine. According to the Air Force security officer on duty, "Both were asked if they were involved in the selling of art while in the U.S. Kantor became very upset over this, and questioned why they were being asked about that ... Kantor's whole demeanor changed, and he then became uncooperative."

So it went week after week, month after month, for more than a year and a half. In addition to the locations mentioned above, there were "art student" encounters in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, El Paso, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, New Orleans, Phoenix, San Diego, Little Rock, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Arlington, Texas, Albuquerque, and dozens of other small cities and towns.

"Their stories," the DEA report states, "were remarkable only in their consistency. At first, they will state that they are art students, either from the University of Jerusalem or the Bezalel Academy of Arts in Jerusalem. Other times they will purport to be promoting a new art studio in the area. When pressed for details as to the location of the art studio or why they are selling the paintings, they become evasive."

Indeed, they had reason to be nervous, because they were lying. Salon contacted Bezalel Academy's Varda Harel, head of the Academic Students' Administration, with a list of every "student" named in the DEA report, including their dates of birth, passport numbers, and in some cases military registration numbers. Not a single name was identified in the Bezalel database, either as a current student or as a graduate of the past 10 years (nor had any of the "students" tried to apply to Bezalel in the last ten years). As for the University of Jerusalem, there is no such entity. There is the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, but Heidi Gleit, the school's foreign press liaison, told me that Israelis commonly refer to the school as Hebrew University, not the University of Jerusalem. (Hebrew University, she said, does not release student records to the public.)
Still, the U.S. press was uninterested. Just one day after the Le Monde report, the Washington Post ran a story on March 6 that seemed to put the whole thing to rest. Headlined "Reports of Israeli Spy Ring Dismissed," the piece, by John Mintz and Dan Eggen, opened with official denials from a "wide array of U.S. officials" and quoted Justice Department spokeswoman Susan Dryden as saying, "This seems to be an urban myth that has been circulating for months. The department has no information at this time to substantiate these widespread reports about Israeli art students involved in espionage."

The Post quoted anonymous officials who said they thought the allegations had been "circulated by a single employee of the Drug Enforcement Administration who is angry that his theories have not gained currency ... [T]wo law enforcement officials said the disgruntled DEA agent, who disagreed with the conclusion of FBI and CIA intelligence experts that no spying was taking place, appears to be leaking a memo that he himself wrote."

An INS spokesman acknowledged to the Post that several dozen Israelis had been deported, but said it was the result of "routine visa violations." At the same time, DEA spokesman Thomas Hinojosa told the Post that "multiple reports of suspicious activity on the part of young Israelis had come into the agency's Washington headquarters from agents in the field. The reports were summarized in a draft memo last year, but Hinojosa said he did not have a copy and could not vouch for the accuracy of media reports describing its contents."

The Post's apparent debunking was far from convincing, even to the casual reader. Of course there was no proof that the art students were part of a spy ring: Intelligence Online and Le Monde had jumped the gun. However, the real possibility that they were part of a spy ring could not be dismissed -- any more than could any other theory one might advance to explain their unusual behavior. With that in mind, Justice spokeswoman Dryden's assertion that reports of an Israeli spy ring were an "urban myth" was an oddly overplayed denial. A response that fit the facts would have been something like "There have been numerous reports of suspicious behavior by Israelis claiming to be art students. We are looking into the allegations." Instead, Dryden appeared to be trying to forestall any discussion of just what the facts of the case were. Given the political sensitivities and the potentially embarrassing nature of the case, that was not surprising.

If the whole thing was an "urban myth," like the sewer reptiles of Manhattan, and if it all led back to one deskbound nut job in the DEA, then what were those "reports of suspicious activity" that had come in from agents in the field? Hinojosa's statement about the DEA memo was suspiciously evasive: If the "media reports describing its content" (that is, the articles in Le Monde and Intelligence Online) were in fact based on the DEA memo whose existence Hinojosa acknowledged, then the "lone nut" explanation offered by anonymous U.S. officials was at best irrelevant and at worst a rather obvious piece of disinformation, an attempt to shove the story under the rug. (In fact, the French articles were based on the actual DEA memo -- a fact any news organization could have quickly verified, since the leaked DEA document had been floating around on various Web venues, such as Cryptome.org, as early as March 21).

To someone not familiar with the 60-page DEA memo, or to reporters who didn't bother to obtain it, the fact that a disgruntled employee leaked a memo he wrote himself might seem like decisive proof that the whole "art student" tale was a canard. In reality, the nature of the memo makes its authorship irrelevant. The memo is a compilation of field reports by dozens of named agents and officials from DEA offices across America. It contains the names, passport numbers, addresses, and in some cases the military ID numbers of the Israelis who were questioned by federal authorities. Pointing a finger at the author is like blaming a bank robbery on the desk sergeant who took down the names of the robbers.

Of course, the agent (or agents) who wrote the memo could also have fabricated or embellished the field reports. That does not seem to have been the case. Salon contacted more than a half-dozen agents identified in the memo. One agent said she had been visited six times at her home by "art students." None of the agents wished to be named, and very few were willing to speak at length, but all confirmed the veracity of the information.

Despite such obvious holes in the official story, neither the Post nor any other mainstream media organization ran follow-up articles. The New York Times has not yet deemed it worth covering -- in fact, the paper of record has not written about the art student mystery even once, not even to pooh-pooh it. One or two minor media players did some braying -- Israel had been caught spying, etc. ? and the bonko conspiracy fringe had a field day, but the rest of the media, taking a cue from the big boys, decided it was a nonstarter:

the Post's "debunking" and the Times' silence had effectively killed the story.
So complete was the silence that by mid-March, Jane's Information Group, the respected British intelligence and military analysis service, noted: "It is rather strange that the U.S. media seems to be ignoring what may well be the most explosive story since the 11 September attacks -- the alleged break-up of a major Israeli espionage operation in the USA."
The only major American media outlet aside from Fox to seriously present the "art student" allegations was Insight on the News, the investigative magazine published weekly by the conservative Washington Times. In a March 11 article, Insight quoted a senior Justice Department official as saying, "We think there is something quite sinister here but are unable at this time to put our finger on it" -- essentially echoing what the DEA report concluded.

Managing editor Paul M. Rodriguez, who wrote the Insight story and had quietly tracked the art student phenomenon for weeks before Intelligence Online scooped him, took an agnostic stance toward the mystery. "There is zero information at this time to suggest that these students were being run by the Mossad," he told me. "Nothing we've come across would suggest this. We have seen nothing that says this is a spy ring run by the Israeli government directly or with a wink and a nod or some other form of sub rosa control. Based on what we've been told, seen and obtained I just don't see the so-called spy ring as a certain fact. Does that make it not so? I don't know."

Rodriguez added, "I think the investigators' take is this: What were these 'students' doing going around accessing buildings without authorization, tracking undercover cops to their homes -- if not for some sort of intel mission? It's sort of a mind-fuck scenario, if one were to believe this was a conspiracy by a foreign intel source and/or a bunch of nutty 'kids' fucking around just to see how far they could push the envelope -- which they seem to have pushed pretty damn far, given the page after page after page of intrusions and snooping alleged."

The Israeli embassy denies the charges of a spy ring. "We are saying what we've been saying for months," spokesman Mark Reguev told Salon, referring to the Fox series in December. "No American official or intelligence agency has complained to us about this. The story is nonsense. Israel does not spy on the United States."

Whether or not the "art students" are Israeli spies, Reguev's blanket disavowal is untrue: Israel does spy on the United States. This should come as no surprise: Allies frequently spy on each other, and Israeli intelligence is renowned as among the best and most aggressive in the world. Israel has been at war off and on since its birth as a nation in 1948 and is hungry for information it deems essential to its survival. And America's relationship to Israel and support for it is essential to the survival of the Jewish state. Add these things up, and espionage against the United States becomes understandable, if not justifiable.

The U.S. government officially denies this, of course, but it knows that such spying goes on. In 1996, the U.S. General Accounting Office issued a report indicating that "Country A," later identified as Israel, "conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any U.S. ally." A year earlier, the Defense Investigative Service circulated a memo warning U.S. military contractors that "Israel aggressively collects [U.S.] military and industrial technology" and "possesses the resources and technical capability to successfully achieve its collection objectives." The memo explained that "the Israelis are motivated by strong survival instincts which dictate every facet of their political and economic policies."

In the history of Israeli espionage in and against the United States, the case of Jonathan Pollard was certainly the most heinous. Pollard, a civilian U.S. naval intelligence analyst, provided Israeli intelligence with an estimated 800,000 pages of classified U.S. intelligence information. The Israelis in turn passed the information to the Soviets, compromising American agents in the field -- several of whom were allegedly captured and killed as a result. Israel at first denied, and then admitted, Pollard's connections to the Mossad after he was arrested in 1985 and imprisoned for life. The case severely strained American-Israeli relations, and continues to rankle many American Jews, who believe that since Pollard was spying for Israel, his sentence was unduly harsh. (Other American Jews feel equally strongly that Pollard and the Israelis betrayed them.)

Any attempt to understand the official U.S. response to the Israeli art student mystery -- and to some degree, the media response -- must take into account both the smoke screen that states blow over incidents that could jeopardize their strategic alliances, and America's unique and complex relationship with Israel. The Jewish state is a close if problematic ally with whom the United States enjoys a "special relationship" unlike that maintained with any other nation in the world. But U.S. and Israeli interests do not always coincide, and spying has always been deemed to cross a line, to represent a fundamental violation of trust. According to intelligence sources, the United States might perhaps secretly tolerate some Israeli spying on U.S. soil if the government decided that it was in our interest (although it could never be acknowledged), but certain types of spying will simply not be accepted by the United States, whether the spying is carried out by Israel or anyone else.

If England or France spied on the United States, American officials would likely conceal it. In the case of Israel, there are far stronger reasons to hide any unseemly cracks in the special relationship. The powerful pro-Israel political constituencies in Congress; pro-Israel lobbies; the Bush administration's strong support for Israel, and its strategic and political interest in maintaining close ties with the Jewish state as a partner in the "war against terror"; the devastating consequences for U.S.-Israeli relations if it was suspected that Israeli agents might have known about the Sept. 11 attack -- all these factors explain why the U.S. government might publicly downplay the art student story and conceal any investigation that produces unpalatable results.

The pro-Israel lobby is a vast and powerful force in American politics; the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, is the No. 1 foreign-policy lobby and the fourth most powerful lobby in Washington, according to Fortune Magazine. Michael Lind, a senior fellow of the New America Foundation and a former executive editor of the National Interest, calls the Israel lobby "an ethnic donor machine" that "distorts U.S. foreign policy" in the Middle East. Among foreign service officers, law enforcement and the military, there is an impression, says Lind, that you can't mess with Israel without suffering direct and indirect smears, such as being labeled an Arabist. Lind, who himself has been virulently attacked as an anti-Semite for his forthrightness on the subject, acknowledges that the Israel lobby is no different from any other -- just more effective. "This is what all lobbies do," Lind observes. "If you criticize the AARP, you hate old people and you want them to starve to death. The Israel lobby is just one part of the lobby problem."

Considering the volatility of the issue, it is not surprising that almost no one in officialdom wants to go on the record for a story like the art students. "In government circles," as Insight's Rodriguez put it, "anything that has to do with Israel is always a hot topic, a third rail -- deadly. No one wants to touch it." Fox News' Cameron quoted intelligence officers saying that to publicly air suspicions of Israeli wrongdoing was tantamount to "career suicide." And the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in one of its bloodiest and most polarizing phases, has only exacerbated sensitivities.

Some of the same pressures that keep government officials from criticizing Israel may also explain why the media has failed to pursue the art student enigma. Media outlets that run stories even mildly critical of Israel often find themselves targeted by organized campaigns, including form-letter e-mails, the cancellation of subscriptions, and denunciations of the organization and its reporters and editors as anti-Semites. Cameron, for example, was excoriated by various pro-Israel lobbying groups for his exposé. Representatives of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) argued that the Fox report cited only unnamed sources, provided no direct evidence, and moreover had been publicly denied by spokesmen for the FBI and others (the last, of course, is not really an argument).

In a December interview with Salon, CAMERA's associate director, Alex Safian, said that several "Jewish/Israeli groups" were having "conversations" with representatives of Fox News regarding Cameron's piece. Safian said he questioned Cameron's motives in running the story. "I think Fox has always been fair to Israel in its reporting," said Safian. "I think it's just Cameron who has something, personally, about Israel. He was brought up in the Middle East. Maybe that has something to do with it. Maybe he's very sympathetic to the Arab side. One could ask." The implicit suggestion was that Cameron is a bigot; in conversation, Safian would later make the same allegation about the entire editorial helm at Le Monde, which he called an anti-Semitic newspaper.

Told of Safian's comments, Cameron said, "I'm speechless. I spent several years in Iran growing up because my father was an archaeologist there. That makes me anti-Israel?" The chief Washington correspondent for Fox News, Cameron had never before been attacked for biased coverage of Israel or Israeli-related affairs -- or for biased coverage of Arabs, for that matter. Cameron defends his December reporting, saying he had never received any heat whatsoever from his superiors, nor had he ever been contacted by any dissenting voices in government.

Oddly, four days after the Cameron investigation ran, all traces of his report -- transcripts, Web links, headlines -- disappeared from the Foxnews.com archives. (Normally, Fox leaves a story up for two to three weeks before consigning it to the pay archive.) When Le Monde contacted Fox in March for a copy of the original tapes, Fox News spokesmen said the request posed a problem but would not elaborate. (Fox News now says Le Monde never called.) Asked why the Cameron piece disappeared, spokesman Robert Zimmerman said it was "up there on our Web site for about two or three weeks and then it was taken down because we had to replace it with more breaking news. As you know, in a Web site you've got x amount of bandwidth -- you know, x amount of stuff you can put stuff up on [sic]. So it was replaced. Normal course of business, my friend." (In fact, a text-based story on a Web site takes up a negligible amount of bandwidth.)

When informed that Cameron's story was gone from the archives, not simply from the headline pages (when you entered the old URL, a Fox screen appeared with the message "This story no longer exists"), Zimmerman replied, "I don't know where it is."
The extreme sensitivity of the Israeli art student story in government circles was made clear to this reporter when, in the midst of my inquiries at DEA and elsewhere, I was told by a source that some unknown party had checked my records and background. He proved it by mentioning a job I had briefly held many years ago that virtually no one outside my family knew about. Shortly after this, I received a call from an individual who identified himself only by the code name Stability. Stability said he was referred to me from "someone in Washington." That someone turned out to be a veteran D.C. correspondent who has close sources in the CIA and the FBI and who verified that Stability was a high-level intelligence agent who had been following the art student matter from the inside.

Stability was guarded in his initial conversation with me. He said that people in the intelligence committee were suspicious about my bona fides and raised the possibility that someone was "using" me. "Your name is known and has been known for quite a while," Stability said. "The problem is that you're going into a hornet's nest with this. It's a very difficult time in this particular area. This is a scenario where a lot of people are living a bunker mentality." He added, "There are a lot of people under a lot of pressure right now because there's a great effort to discredit the story, discredit the connections, prevent people from going any further [in investigating the matter]. There are some very, very smart people who have taken a lot of heat on this -- have gone to what I would consider extraordinary risks to reach out. Quite frankly, there are a lot of patriots out there who'd like to remain alive. Typically, patriots are dead."

In a subsequent conversation, Stability said that the DEA's Office of Professional Responsibility is currently undertaking an aggressive investigation targeting agents suspected of leaking the June 2001 memo. The OPR inquiry was initiated as a result of Intelligence Online's exposé of the DEA document in late February. According to Stability, at least 14 agents -- including some in agencies other than DEA -- are now under intense scrutiny and interrogation. Half a dozen agents have been polygraphed several times over, computers have been seized, desks have been searched.

A DEA spokesman would neither confirm nor deny the allegation. "Anything that has to do with internal security, which would include OPR, is not anything we're able to discuss," the spokesman said.

As for the DEA document itself, Stability said that all information gathering for it ceased around June 2001. He also noted that "there are multiple variations of that document" floating around DEA and elsewhere.

"It was a living, breathing document," Stability said, "that grew on a week-by-week basis, that was being added to as people forwarded information. To say this was a coordinated effort would be a stretch; it was ad hoc. But that document [the DEA memo] didn't just happen. That document was the result of literally dozens of people providing input, working together. These events were going on, people were looking at them, but could not understand them.

"It wasn't until the end of 2000 and the beginning of 2001 that field agents ran across a series of visits that occurred within a very close period of time," Stability said. Agents from across the country began talking to each other, comparing notes. "There was an embryonic understanding that there was something here, something was happening. People kept running across it. And agents being who they are, gut feelings being what they are, they would catch a thread. They'd start to pull a thread, and next thing, they'd end up with the arm of the jacket and the back was coming off, and then you'd end up with reports like you saw. The information, in its scattered form, is one thing. The information compiled, documented, timelined, indexed, is a horrific event for some of these people. Because it is indisputable."

"Agents started to realize that people were coming to their homes," he continued. "If you are part of an organization like this, you tend to be careful about your security. When something disturbs that sense of security, it's unnerving. One thing that was understood fairly early on was that the students would go to some areas that didn't have street signs, and in fact they would already have directions to these areas. That indicated that someone had been there prior to them or had electronically figured where the agents were located -- using credit card records, things of that nature. This sat in the back of people's minds as to the resources necessary to do that."

"I will tell you that there is still great debate over what [the art students?] specific purposes were and are," Stability went on. "When you take an individual who picks up a group of individuals from an airport, individuals who supposedly have no idea what they're doing in-country, who fly on over from a foreign land, whose airline tickets could in some instances total a value greater than $15,000 -- and who get picked up at the airport and drive specifically to one individual's home, which they know the exact directions to: Yeah, you could say there's a problem here. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to understand that. The overarching item is that a lot of work went into going to people's houses to sell them junk from China in plastic frames."

But to what end? What was the value? What was to be gained? "Unknown, unknown," Stability said. "You could be anywhere from D.C. to daylight on that one. Even on our side, you have to take all the stuff and draw it all out and clean out all the chaff. I will tell you that from those who are working ground zero [of this case], it is a difficult puzzle to put together, and it is not complete by any means." Even the spooks are baffled; they have no answers.

So let’s draw out the chaff ourselves and see if we can at least speculate. In intel circles, there are a number of working theories, according to Stability. "Profiling of federal agents is one," said Stability. "Keeping tabs on other people, other foreign nationals, is another. A third is that they were working for organized crime -- that's an easy one, and it almost sounds more like a cover than a reality. The predominant thought is that it was a profiling endeavour, and from a profiling aspect, also one of intimidation."

You mean this whole vast scheme was a mind fuck, to use Paul Rodriguez?s elegant phrasing? A psy-ops endeavor to spook the spooks? Perhaps. As Stability put it, "Almost nothing is wrong in this particular instance, Mr. Ketcham. In this particular situation, right is wrong, left is right, up is down, day is night."

Yet for the most part the targeted agents weren?t spooks in the strictest sense: They were DEA -- cops who bust drug dealers. And that leads us into Theory No. 1, also known as the Art Student/Drug Dealer Conspiracy. This theory has a piece of evidence to support it: the link, mentioned in the leaked DEA memo, between an Ecstasy investigation and the telephone numbers provided by an Israeli detained in Orlando. There are "problems" with Israeli nationals involved in the Ecstasy business, according to Israeli Embassy spokesman Reguev. "Israeli authorities and the DEA are working together on that issue," he said. In a statement before Congress in 2000, officials with the U.S. Customs Service, which intercepted some 7 million Ecstasy tablets last year, noted that "Israeli organized-crime elements appear to be in control" of the multibillion-dollar U.S. Ecstasy trade, "from production through the international smuggling phase. Couriers associated with Israeli organized crime have been arrested around the world, including ... locations in the U.S. such as Florida, New Jersey, New York and California."

Miami was cited as one of the main entry points of Ecstasy into the United States and was specified as one of the central "headquarters for the criminal organizations that smuggle Ecstasy"; Houston was also cited for large Ecstasy seizures -- an interesting nexus, given the large number of "art students" who congregated both in the Miami and Ft. Lauderdale area and in Houston. "Israeli nationals in the Ecstasy trade have been very sophisticated in their operations," says a U.S. Customs officer who has investigated the groups. "Some of these individuals have been skilled at counterintelligence and in concealing their communications and movements from law enforcement."

It would thus seem that Israeli organized crime has at least the capacity to pull off a widespread surveillance and intelligence operation. The drug connection would also explain the sizable reserves of cash one Tampa student was handling.

One DEA agent named in the "art student" report told Salon that the best possible explanation for the affair -- and he admitted to being utterly baffled by it -- was that drug dealers were involved.
"Why us if not because of the DEA's mission?" the agent asked. "I mean, what would Israeli intel want with us? Here's another avenue of inquiry to take: Israeli organized crime is the now the biggest dealer of Ecstasy in the United States. These students? It was Israeli organized crime judging our strength, getting a survey of our operations. What if I wanted to burglarize your building and go through your files? I'd do a reconnoiter. Get a sense of the floor plan and security, where the guards are stationed, how many doors, what kind of locks, alarm systems, backup alarm systems."

The trouble with this theory is the obvious one: In the annals of crime chutzpah, for drug dealers to brazenly approach drug agents in their homes and offices may represent the all-time world record. And what conceivable useful intelligence could they gather that would be worth the risk? Were the tee-heeing tight-sweatered Israeli babes pulling some kind of Mata Hari stunt, seducing paunchy middle-aged DEA boys and beguiling them into loose-lipped info sharing?

Theory No. 2 is that they were all engaged in espionage. This scenario has the virtue of simplicity -- if it smells like a spy, walks like a spy, and talks like a spy, it probably is a spy -- but doesn't make much sense, either. Why would the Mossad -- or any spy outfit with a lick of good sense -- use kids without papers as spies? And, just as our incredulous DEA agent noted, what intelligence useful to Israel could be gathered from DEA offices, anyway?

I suggested to Stability that the operation, if it was that, was purposely conspicuous -- almost oafish. "Yes, it was," he replied. "It was a noisy operation. Did you ever see 'Victor/Victoria'? It was about a woman playing a man playing a woman. Perhaps you should think about this from that aspect and ask yourself if you wanted to have something that was in your face, that didn't make sense, that couldn't possibly be them." He added, "Think of it this way: How could the experts think this could actually be something of any value? Wouldn't they dismiss what they were seeing?"

That’s where you enter truly dark territory: Theory No. 3, the Art Student as Agent as Art Student Smoke Screen. It has major problems, but let’s roll with it for a moment. This theory contends that the art student ring was a smoke screen intended to create confusion and allow actual spies -- who were also posing as art students -- to be lumped together with the rest and escape detection. In other words, the operation is an elaborate double fake-out, a hiding-in-plain-sight scam. Whoever dreamed it up thought ahead to the endgame and knew that the DEA-stakeout aspect was so bizarre that it would throw off American intelligence. According to this theory -- Stability's "Victor/Victoria" scenario -- Israeli agents wanted, let's say, to monitor al-Qaida members in Florida and other states. But they feared detection. So to provide cover, and also to create a dizzyingly Byzantine story that would confuse the situation, Israeli intel flooded areas of real operations with these bumbling "art students" -- who were told to deliberately stake out DEA agents.

Perhaps. Why not? Up is down, left is right. I nudged Stability on the obvious implication of the "Victor/Victoria" scenario: If this was a ruse, a decoy to conceal another operation, what was that other operation? "Unknown," Stability said.

Then of course there’s Theory No. 4: that they really were art students. Either they were recruited in Israel as part of an art-selling racket or they simply hit upon the idea themselves. This theory is basically the de facto position held by the U.S. and Israeli governments, which insist that the only wrong committed by the "students" was to sell art without the proper papers. There are almost too many problems with this to list, but it's worth mentioning a few: Why in the world would people try to sell cheap art market to DEA officials? Why would they almost all use the same bogus Bezalel Academy of Arts cover story? Why would anyone running such a racket to make money use foreign nationals without green cards, knowing that they would quickly be snagged for visa violations? And why did so many of these itinerant peddlers, wandering the United States on their strange mission of hawking cheap Chinese knockoff paintings, have "black information" about federal facilities?

There are other theories. One is that these were spies in training, newly minted Mossad graduates on test runs to see how they would operate in field conditions. I asked Stability how hotly the matter was now being pursued in intel and law enforcement. "Depends on who you speak to," he told me. "Some people say that it's a dead issue, a fantasy. Most of the investigations are happening at an ad hoc level. There are people out there that you couldn't sway off some of the cases, because that's how dedicated they are."

Apparently, at least some agents in FBI remain quite concerned about the art student problem. According to several intelligence sources, including Stability, on Dec. 3, 2001, six separate FBI field offices simultaneously forwarded communiqués to FBI headquarters inquiring into the status of the investigation. The FBI agents wanted to have a "clarification" as to what was going on.

The subject may not be officially dead yet. The art student matter may be taken up by the congressional committees investigating intelligence failures leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks, according to another source.

What about the crucial Washington Post article, in which anonymous federal agents alleged the DEA memo was the work of a disgruntled employee?

"The Washington Post article was a plant -- that's obvious. The story was killed," Stability told me. Who planted the story? Stability claimed the FBI was behind it. "Every organization is running scared," Stability added, "because they're afraid of the next shoe to drop. There are many smoking guns out there, many. So consequently every one is at a level of heightened anxiety, and when they're anxious they make mistakes."

Yes, but what are they afraid of? What will the smoking guns prove? Questions, questions, labyrinthine questions, and the more you ask in this matter, the fewer get answered. When I called the CIA to inquire about the agency's March 2001 alert -- an alert that evinced deep disquiet over the affair -- an official who was aware of the inquiry told me, "I'll make a recommendation to you: Don't write a story. This whole thing has been blown way out of proportion. As far as we're concerned, we reported it, yes, but subsequently it's nothing of interest to us. And we've just closed the book on it. And I really recommend you do the same. Let it go. There's nothing here."

Not everyone else in law enforcement is so sure. "There's a lot of concern among the agents," said the DEA source. "We're investigators. We're not satisfied when we don't have answers. This is a mystery that has an answer and it has to be resolved."

About the writer
Christopher Ketcham is a freelance writer in New York City.






[Mohamed Atta]

Longtime RI readers may recognize the author of this DU post. :thumbsup :praybow (I didn't read DU then, or ever, actually, looks like I got it on "breakfornews")
Today I gather that Hopsicker may have been conned by the "Atta's girlfriend" stories; there's plenty besides that to think about here:


http://www.breakfornews.com/Mohammed-Atta.htm

Mohamed Atta loved pork chops,
and 49 other things you may not know

BreakForNews.com, 10th June, 2004


by Minstrel Boy,
Democratic Underground http://www.democraticunderground.com/di ... 04x1433886




• 1. In Venice Florida, Mohamed Atta lived for two months with an American stripper/lingerie model named Amanda Keller.

• 2. Atta loved to party. He was out with Keller nearly every night they were together. He was a heavy drinker, snorted coke, was a stylish dresser and wore expensive jewelry.

• 3. According to Keller, Atta loved pork chops.

• 4. Keller dumped him after he embarrassed her at a night club by dancing, poorly, atop a speaker ("doing that old 'Roxbury head bob' thing, you know"?)

• 5. Atta revenged himself later on Keller by returning to the apartment they’d shared and killing her cat and kittens, disemboweling and dismembering them in her apartment for her to find.

• 6. In Miami, Atta consorted with women known to be linked to the Mafia.

• 7. Atta’s email list included names of people who worked for defense contractors. One, for instance, worked for Canadian firm Virtual Prototypes, which helped develop the avionics for F-15, F-22 and B-2.

• 8. Atta was enrolled as a student at the International Officer’s School of Maxwell Airforce Base, and witnesses recall him having been introduced around at an officers' club party.

• 9. Atta was fluent in at least Arabic, English, German, French and Hebrew.

• 10. One day when Atta was rummaging through his flight bag, Keller got a look inside. Her words:

"The thing the FBI was most interested in was his pilot bag. They asked about it a lot. He kept it locked, and they wanted to know whether I had ever seen anything in it. I told them yes. One day he opened it briefly, and there were a lot of papers in it, and there was a blue log book in a different language. Mohamed was fluent in almost any language you can think of. He had a kind of Daytimer in there, too. And a folder with all these different ID’s in it. And that’s when I saw one – because it fell out – a little blue and white thing the size of a driver’s license. It had his picture on it, and it looked like a mug shot, or a prison shot. And it didn’t look like him, and I asked him, 'Who is this?'

"And he said, 'that’s me.' He told me it had been taken back when he was in some kind of militia-type deal, like a military-type deal, he said. He compared it to our military only they teach you different tactics. He didn’t elaborate.

"He didn’t say where it was from, either. But the writing looked like a cross between Hebrew and Arabic, those frilly little lines. He told me he spoke Hebrew. I said bullshit. So he started speaking it, and I guess he did.

"He told me that he went to different countries and studied. He had pilot’s license from several different countries. But all the pictures looked different. All the names were different. He had a license to fly from just about every country he had been to. He went to pilot’s school in all these countries."

• 11. Atta, Keller, a stripper named Linda and two Germans, Peter and Johan, partied for three days in Key West. Atta paid for everything. Rented three rooms, one just for the men’s luggage, which Keller says contained drugs. The men had a business meeting the women were not permitted to attend. Met with people, Keller says, who flew in just to meet Atta. Somber and quiet after meeting. (Key West Airport a known drug transit point. The Sheriff used to be under orders to keep the dope sniffing dogs off airplanes, and at one time even sent patrol cars to escort the drugs to Miami.)

• 12. Atta was already a licensed pilot when he arrived in the US. Licenses from many different countries. He had the privileges of an instructor while he was at Huffman Aviation, and may have helped pilot South American drug runs.

• 13. The FBI timeline says Atta left Venice Florida in December 2000 after completing his flight training. But he didn’t. Dozens of locals say different – his landlord, neighbours, cab drivers, restaurant employees and his girlfriend, for a few instances – and have been told not to talk about it by federal authorities. The FBI publicly sought information regarding Atta’s time in various US locations, but not Venice Florida, where he spent most of his time in the US. Why the intentional misdirection? What are they trying to keep hidden?

• 14. Under pressure from the FBI, and despite numerous witnesses who had known them together, Keller publicly retracted her story of having lived with Atta, saying he’d been another hijacker named Mohammed, no last name, who seems to have only existed to get Atta out of this story that didn’t fit the official version.

• 15. Six nights before the attack, at a bar called Shuckums in Ft Lauderdale, Atta and two companions got drunk. The FBI showed up at the bar just 12 hours after the attack with pictures of two of them, one Atta, saying only “they were on the plane and passed away.” Manager Tony Amos and bartender Patricia Idrissi identified both. Manager Amos said they’d gotten "wasted," Atta drank Stoli vodka for three straight hours. Atta blasphemed: "F*ck God!" he’s said to have cursed.

• 16. The witnesses then retracted the story of Atta being drunk. They now said he’d only drank cranberry juice the entire evening. Both Amos and Idrissi have gone, no one knows where, but the current bartender says she believes their leaving was somehow 9/11 related.

• 17. Fourteen of the 9/11 hijackers made Florida their base of operation, and clustered around two flight schools. What is it about Florida, and these flight schools, that drew them?

• 18. Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi paid $28,000 each to Rudi Dekkers’ Huffman Aviation for flight instruction that, the chief instructor of a neighbouring school said, was available at dozens of other nearby locations for a fraction of the price. Why did they pay an inflated price to Dekkers?

• 19. Dekkers’ and his financier, Wally Hilliard, purchased the flight school just months before Atta and the other hijackers began arriving. Before their purchase, the flight school catered to largely American students. After, student body became 80% foreign, mostly Middle Eastern. Yeslam bin Laden, Osama’s brother, sent students there for his business.

• 20. Atta also "trained" for a time at Arne Kruithof's Florida Flight Training Center, a block away from Huffman Aviation. Amanda Keller says it is where he would go to replenish his cocaine stash.

• 21. Though Dutchmen Dekkers and Kruithof claimed they had not known each other before each coincidently purchased flight training schools in Venice shortly before terrorists began arriving for training, witnesses claim the two had known each other well for years before.

• 22. Wally Hilliard is a supposedly-retired, born again insurance executive from the Midwest (motto for his insurance company had been "Hate Sin, Fight Communism, Back the Pack!"), who upon arriving in Florida entered into aviation businesses with an assortment of criminal and covert intelligence elements.
• 23. Dekkers and Hilliard had not been in the flight school business before they made the purchase. They paid an inflated price for the school, and did no due diligence before the purchase. They lost millions, but this was apparently not a problem. Charlie Voss, former employee of Dekkers and an Iran/Contra pilot who’d also flown "Northern Alliance guys" in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and who had given Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi a place to stay for a few weeks when they first arrived in Venice Florida: "Rudi’s greedy, and when you’re greedy you can be used for something.... When something doesn’t make obvious business sense, sometimes it’s because things are being done for another reason that doesn’t have a lot to do with dollars and cents. His business did not add up."

• 24. Dekkers went from broke to flush very quickly, without having business success with the flight school. One observer said “He didn’t even have the money to buy gas for an airplane… and yet a year later he shows up and plops a million seven, a million eight or two million dollars on the table as if it were paper money.”

• 25. The deputy in charge of Venice Fl airport security: "Wally and Rudi never talk inside a building, they go out to an airplane and talk inside the plane."

• 26. Dekkers’ claimed he had very little interaction with Atta, and that he never saw him again after December 2000. But numerous witnesses in Venice claim Dekkers and Atta were close, and were seen at a restaurant together just two weeks before the attack.

• 27. Hilliard denied knowing Atta. Keller recalled, on a visit to the airport, having Hilliard ask her, "What’s a nice girl like you doing with a guy like Mohamed?"

• 28. Before the attack, Dekkers was having trouble paying rent on flight school. It was so bad, it was a story in the Venice paper when he paid rent. One month before attack, he stopped having trouble. Since attack, every aviation concern at Venice airport has been late at least once with their monthly rent, except for Dekkers’.

• 29. Both the DEA and US Customs had been interested in Dekkers as far back as 1993. He was suspected of smuggling drugs and computer chips.

• 30. Less than three weeks after Atta and Marwan Al-Shehi began flying lessons at Huffman Aviation, a Lear jet owned by its financier, Wally Hilliard, carrying 43 pounds of heroin was seized by the DEA. Authorities called it the biggest seizure of heroin ever in central Florida.

• 31. The passengers, Venezuelan nationals, were arrested, but the pilot wasn’t charged, said a DEA spokesman, "because of lack of evidence." This, despite the fact the pilot, Diego Levine-Texar, ignored agents demands that he drop his cell phone, which had to be pried from his hand at gunpoint. Affidavit of the DEA agent: "Based on my experience I know that narcotics traffickers maintain frequent contact with one another while transporting narcotics… I believe Levine-Texar attempted to contact other accomplices as to the presence of agents and other law enforcement officials." Information about Levine-Texar is considered "sensitive."

• 32. But the DEA refused to return the plane to Hilliard. It was auctioned off. DEA said they had "reasons." Unusual for a so-called "innocent man" to be denied the return of his possession, or compensation.

• 33. After Hilliard lost his plane to the DEA auction, he was loaned a plane worth $2 million for just one dollar by Truman Arnold, former chief fundraiser for the Democratic Party, who figured in the Whitewater investigation.

• 34. John Villada, an aviation executive in Naples Florida: "After Wally’s plane was impounded with the heroin and his pilots had machine guns stuck in their faces, the DEA came to visit our maintenance facility and Wally shouted out to me – right in front of the DEA guy – 'Make sure all the heroin and cocaine gets hidden!'" Hilliard's mock warning seemed to show the DEA how little he thought of them, and how well he was protected.

• 35. The paperwork showed the same plane had made approximately 30 weekly round trips to Venezuela with the same passengers, and they always paid cash. “They obviously weren’t even bothering to hide what they were doing,” said one observer.

• 36. Hilliard had got his Lear jet from World Jet Inc, owned by drug smuggling brothers Don and Bill Whittington, who had supplied the plane to CIA drug smuggler Barry Seal.

• 37. The Sarasota County Drug interdiction people were told that Dekkers and Hilliard had a green light to operation and that they were to stay away from them, that they... may have had some type of government protection. And the local Venice Police Department were also warned to leave them alone.

• 38. A former Huffman executive, speaking about the hijackers: "Early on I gleaned that these guys had government protection. They were let into this country for a specific purpose. It was a business deal."

• 39. The FBI visited the home of this executive just four hours after the attacks. The purpose has been not to investigate, but to intimidate him into silence. The man says his phones were bugged, and thinks pilots were "double agents." He quit the flight school fearing for his life, and claims he knows too much about Wally Hillier, saying he "has a family to think about."

• 40. Jeb accompanied the FBI when they removed the flight school records on the early morning of September 12, and flew them to Washington.

• 41. Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris have flown and endorsed Hilliard’s air carrier.

• 42. In the days following 9/11, a number of Saudis fled the country from Florida after the attacks. They flew on Wally Hillier’s charter aircraft to private fields of military contractor Raytheon, and departed on a 747.

• 43. After the attacks, a virtually non-existent company that operated out of Venice Airport under Huffman’s license called Britannia Aviation was awarded a five-year, multi-million dollar contract to run the maintenance facility at Lychburg Virginia Regional Airport. (FYI, Lynchburg is the home of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty Baptist University.) Britannia did not have an FAA license to work on planes and showed assets of only $750. It was chosen over Virginia Aviation, which showed a multi-million dollar balance and boasted more than 40 employees.

• 44. Britannia executive Peter Martens boasted that his company had been providing maintenance at Venice Airport for "Caribe Air," which is a notorious CIA proprietary carrier.

• 45. A source at the Drug Enforcement Agency says that Britannia has a "green light" from the DEA, and that local police had been warned to leave Britannia alone.

• 46. Martens also has ties to Falwell, having met his wife at his university in Lynchburg.

• 47. Many of the Venice flight trainers moonlight by flying "missionary flights" to Central and South America, for such organizations as Pat Robertson’s Operation Hope. (Are mission groups being used as fronts for covert ops?)

• 48. Most of Atta's closest associates in Venice were not Arabs, but Europeans with connection to the drug trade.

• 49. Though flight school owners Dekkers and Kruithof had before crashed, within weeks of each other in 2002, both had near fatal crashes. Wreckage was destroyed before it could be examined.

• 50. According to his girlfriend, Atta was a big Beastie Boys fan



‘He Never Even Had a Kite’ Mohamed Atta’s father talks about his son, the alleged hijacker

By Alan Zarembo
Newsweek Web Exclusive

Updated: 10:43 a.m. ET Sept. 25, 2001

Sept. 24 - When Mohamed al-Amir Atta, the father of the man thought to be at the controls of American Airlines Flight 11 when it slammed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, opened the door to his 11th floor apartment in Cairo last Saturday, the first thing he said was: “I’m not benefiting from these interviews. My son is gone. He is now with God. The Mossad killed him.” Then he offered me a cup of tea.

ATTA’S SON DOES NOT fit what had been the stereotype of a suicide bomber, born into a poor family and drawn into fundamentalism out of hopelessness. The family’s apartment in the Egyptian capital, with a sweeping view of downtown, was filled with ornate furniture and rugs and decorated with paintings of flamingos and women in headscarves. His father, who described himself as “one of the most important lawyers in Cairo,” said that he would talk, uninterrupted by questions, for 20 minutes. More than an hour later, between drags on “American blend” cigarettes, he was still talking, portraying his son as a mama’s boy prone to airsickness, a dedicated architecture student who rarely mentioned politics, and a victim of a intricate framing by the Israeli intelligence agency.

The father went to great lengths to support this contention, delivering a lecture on what he saw as the ugly history of the agency and his own deductive powers as a lawyer. “The Mossad kidnapped my son,” he says. “He is the easiest person to kidnap, very surrendering, no physical power, no money for bodyguards. They used his name and identity.”

On Sept. 12, Atta claims, he was at his vacation home on the Mediterranean coast, shielded from the radio and television and thus unaware of the attacks the previous day, when his son called. They talked about “normal things.” Only later that day, did he hear about the destruction in New York and Washington, and see his son’s picture in the newspaper. He concluded: “They forced him to make the phone call after the attack to cause controversy. Then they killed him. This was done by the Mossad, using American pilots.”

The contention reflects the desperation of a once-proud father who thought his 33-year-old son had merely been abroad studying—an image impossible to reconcile with the accusation that he helped murder more than 6,000 people. The father, 65, seemed to live vicariously through his son’s accomplishments. “His two sisters are university professors with doctorates, and I wanted him to do the same,” he said. “I thought it would be easier for him to achieve this abroad.... I urged him to learn German. I didn’t tell him what to do. He was very attached to his mother. He didn’t want to leave her. It was impossible for him to think about traveling abroad.”

But once he decided to go to Germany, the younger Atta excelled. “He did his masters thesis in 1998,” said his father. “One professor gave him [a grade of] 98 percent.... I was paying his expenses. He was also working in an engineering firm. He made two times as much as Germans, which turned out to be four times as much because he didn’t pay taxes as a foreigner.”

During the first 45 minutes of our interview, Atta senior recalled the mundane details of academic expeditions his son had made to Middle Eastern countries, his exam scores, and the praise he received from his advisors. His only worry, he said, was his son’s shyness around women: “I started reminding him to get married. Many times I asked him to marry a woman of any nationality—Turkish, Germany, Syria—because he did not have a girlfriend like his colleagues. But he insisted that he would marry an Egyptian. He was never touching women, so how can he live? I always told him that according to religion you should get married and that you are getting older. He never extended his hand to shake the hand of a woman. He would only shake if she extended it to him. By nature he avoided problems.”

That problem seemed solved when Atta visited Egypt in October 1999. “We found him a bride who was nice and delicate, the daughter of a former ambassador.” But Atta said first he had to return to Germany to pursue a Ph.D. The woman’s father, insisting that his daughter not leave Egypt, promised she would be waiting for Atta when he returned. But he never did.

“Every time he called, he said he had found a professor but was still negotiating. He told me, ‘Dad, don’t worry that I’m not visiting.’ I told him, ‘I’m not worried, I’m not afraid. I want to make sure you are OK. Every time he came I used to give him a lot of money. I get paid from my job very well.”

The younger Atta called his family once a month. When he canceled a visit in late 2000, saying that his studies required him to stay in Germany, he worried about how this would affect his mother: “His mother was very much attached to him,” said his father. “She was suffering all sorts of illnesses because of him being absent from her. I’ve never seen such a strong bond of love between a mother and a son.”

According to his father, Atta always said he was calling from Germany and the senior Atta had no knowledge his son had ever been in the United States. More absurd to him was the idea that his son had enrolled in a Florida flight school. “Did he ever learn to fly? Never. He never even had a kite.” Added Atta senior: “My daughter, who is a doctor, used to get him medicine before every journey, to make combat the cramps and the vomiting he feels every time he gets on the plane.” At one point in our interview, he held up an old photograph of his son and said: “Look, he is even more handsome than the picture in the newspaper.”

© 2003 Newsweek, Inc.
© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.



AFTER THE ATTACKS: THE INVESTIGATION; An Unobtrusive Man's Odyssey: Polite Student to Suicide Hijacker

By STEVEN ERLANGER (NYT) 1623 words
Late Edition - Final , Section A , Page 1 , Column 1

ABSTRACT - Profile of Mohammed Atta, 33-year-old terrorist who was one of hijackers on first plane that smashed into World Trade Center; FBI traces Atta's 14-month international odyssey from unobtrusive seemingly secular student at Technical University in Hamburg to observant Muslim who requested prayer room for Arabs, grew beard and listed family name as el-Amirals; photos; Atta went to Florida in July 2000 for pilot training at Huffman Aviation International Flight School; he is listed variously as from United Arab Emirates or Egypt; school owner Rudi Dekkers recalls eager, though not well-liked, student who paid $10,000; Atta then trained on Boeing 727 flight simulator at SimCenter Inc; change in ways and sudden money suggest he joined radical network with others including hijacker Marwan Yusuf Mohammed al-Shehhi; Atta re-surfaced in Florida in May, renting plane to practice skills; he booked Sept 11 ticket on American Airlines Web site on August 28, also paying for ticket of hijacker Abdulrahman Alomari (M)



http://iraq-info.1accesshost.com/schrom.html

Next Door to Mohammed Atta
Israeli agents were living in Florida and tailing the future death pilots – until their cover was blown.

by Oliver Schröm
Die Zeit
October 14, 2002

On April 30 of last year the US Air Force sounded an alarm. The security division of the Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City warned of an "intelligence ring of Israeli art students". American law enforcement agencies had earlier learned that a noticeably large number of Israeli students had applied for jobs at software development and technology firms that primarily served government agencies. The obvious suspicion was that the young Israelis were members of a spy ring. A specially formed task force, consisting of employees of the DEA, INS and Office of Security Programs, looked into the matter.

The young Israelis were placed under surveillance and their personal details were analyzed by computer. Die Zeit obtained the 61-page final report, according to which, 120 Israelis, organized into cells of four to six persons, formed a tightly organized and efficient espionage network. A few of the putative students were actually specialists on eavesdropping, radio technology, or counter-terrorism.

The Israelis were arrested, interrogated and subsequently deported. In the world of intelligence, espionage among friends is an everyday occurrence. In this case too many people were involved for the matter to be covered up. But both the Israeli government and American authorities tried to downplay it.

Not until after the attacks of September 11 did the consequences of the spy ring become clear. Apparently the agents were not interested in military or industrial facilities, but were shadowing a number of suspects, who were later involved in the terrorist attacks against the US. According to a report of the French intelligence agency that Die Zeit examined, "according to the FBI, Arab terrorists and suspected terror cells lived in Phoenix, Arizona, as well as in Miami and Hollywood, Florida from December 2000 to April 2001 in direct proximity to the Israeli spy cells."

According to the report, the Mossad agents were interested in the leader of the terrorists, Mohammed Atta and his key accomplice, Marwan al-Shehi. Both lived in Hamburg before they settled in Hollywood, Florida in order to plan the attacks. A Mossad team was also operating in the same town. The leader, Hanan Serfati, had rented several dwellings. "One of Serfati's apartments was located on the corner of 701st St. and 21st Ave. [sic] in Hollywood, right near the apartment of Atta and al-Shehi.", French intelligence reported later. Everything indicates that the terrorists were constantly observed by the Israelis. The chief Israeli agent was staying right near the post office where the terrorists had a mailbox. The Mossad also had its sights on Atta's accomplice Khalid al-Midhar, with whom the CIA was also familiar, but allowed to run free. The Mossad apparently warned their American counterparts several times about the terrorists, especially about al-Midhar. The American government later admitted that they had received such warnings prior to September 11. But at most that there were attacks planned against American installations outside the United States.

Die Zeit has learned that a few weeks before the attacks, Israeli intelligence gave US authorities a list with names of suspects who were staying in the US for the purpose of preparing attacks. Apparently not until shortly before September 11 did the CIA recognize that al-Midhar was dangerous and asked law enforcement agencies to look for him.



http://www.madcowprod.com/09192005.html

Was Pentagon Tracking Mohamed Atta
Just Days Before 9.11 Attack?

“Two years before the 9.11 attack a Pentagon employee was ordered to destroy a cache of documents that identified Mohamed Atta as a terrorist totaling 2.5 terabytes—equal to one-fourth of all printed material in the Library of Congress, or 150,000 trees made into paper and printed.”

September 19,2005-Venice, FL.
by Daniel Hopsicker


Mohamed Atta may have been under U.S. military surveillance until just days before the 9.11 attack, long after the Tampa-based Able Danger military intelligence operation currently under scrutiny was disbanded, in early 2001.

On August 6, 2001, the same day Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi returned to Venice after renting a car at Warrick's RentaCar in Pompano Beach, FL, and picking up Siad Al-Jarrah at the airport in Miami, the MadCowMorningNews has learned that a self-described former NAVY SEAL named Joe Gesell applied for and was hired as the night driver (they only need one) at Venice Yellow Cab.

Gesell squired Atta around Venice and Sarasota in his cab on a number of occasions. What raises suspicions that he may have been working for more than just tips is this: after starting his new job on the day of Atta’s return, Gesell quit a month later, just one day after Atta left town for the last time.

On Friday, Sept. 14, three days after the Sept. 11 attack, cab driver Bob Simpson, the day driver for Venice Yellow Cab at the time, was contacted by the FBI. According to Simpson, the FBI was intent on finding and interviewing Gesell.

Here until Atta Goes Somewhere else?

“I heard a voice say ‘this is Special Agent Joe Anderson from the FBI calling,’” Simpson recalled. “My heart sort of skipped a beat. Then he said, ‘don’t worry, you haven’t done anything wrong,’ and asked if I’d seen pictures of the terrorists, and if I had, wanted to know if I recognized any.”

“I said yes, I recognized Mohamed Atta,’” Simpson continued. “I told him, ‘I’m the day driver for Yellow Cab in Venice, and he was in my cab a bunch of times in August, 2001. The night driver had him even more than I did.’”

The Yellow Cab office manager in Sarasota confirmed that the FBI expressed a keen interest in cab rides Atta took with Gesell.

If Gessell is shown to have taken part in unacknowledged U.S. military surveillance of Atta continuing until just before the attack, it would not be uncharacteristic.

Tiptoeing Through the U.S. un-noticed?

U.S. military surveillance of Al Qaeda terrorists like Mohamed Atta has been far more extensive than has been so far revealed. The Able Danger unit, for example, was by no means the first military intelligence investigation into the activities of the Hamburg cadre.
According to one Army C.I.D. officer there at the time, military investigators were being detailed to Hamburg, Germany, tracking “Al Qaeda heroin flows” from Afghanistan to the West as far back as 1991.

Yet, in a discrepancy of monumental proportions, the 9/11 Commission's final report—which now may not be the final report—concluded that U.S. intelligence agencies were not aware of Atta until the attacks.

Little wonder the Pentagon is pressuring the Senate Judiciary Committee to close to the public Wednesday’s hearings on the Able Danger military intelligence unit, as Congressional sources confirmed over the weekend.

Also last week Pentagon officials told a hastily arranged briefing for reporters that much data generated by the project has already been destroyed in accordance with standard operating procedure for handling material that might contain the names of Americans.

Oddly enough, this is the same excuse used by the secretive National Security Administration—the NSA—in revealing that they had destroyed tapes with 9.11 evidence, including conversations between Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Mohamed Atta, just weeks after the 9.11 attack.

“Analysts at the super-secret National Security Agency, acting on advice from the organization's lawyers, have been destroying data collected on Americans or US companies since the Sept. 11 attacks - angering other intelligence agencies seeking leads in the antiterrorist probe, according to two people with close intelligence ties,” reported the Boston Globe on Oct 27,2001. (Spy agency destroys data, angering others in probe.)

“In heated discussions with the CIA and congressional staff, NSA lawyers have turned down requests to preserve the intelligence because the agency's regulations prohibit the collection of any information on US citizens. The lawyers said that preserving the information would invite lawsuits from people whose names appear in the surveillance reports.”

The “official story’ about Mohamed Atta’s timeline, activities, and associates while in the U.S. is riddled with lies, misdirection and deliberate deception. Documents being destroyed by the Pentagon probably include at least a terabyte on Atta & company’s activities in Venice, Florida.

What was he doing... and who was he doing it with?

On at least three occasions during the last six weeks of his life, for example, terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta left the jazzier precincts of Miami to travel across the state to the more tranquil pace of life in the retirement community of Venice.

The FBI has said nothing about this. The FBI says Atta didn’t live there anymore. The FBI says Atta was already nine months gone. The FBI is lying.

So, just what was Atta doing in Venice? It's a secret....But the one thing the FBI seems most eager to hide—and it is horrible to have to contemplate that your own government is covering up mass murder—is the identity of who Mohamed Atta was doing it with.

Why? Because this discovery would inexorably lead to the organization, or global network that was so clearly smoothing the way for Atta’s Hamburg cadre in America. And then... Then we would know just who in the United States had been doing business, on September 10,2001, with Osama bin Laden’s thugs—on this end, the U.S. end, where this until-now unidentified enemy is still inside the gates.

Here’s a big clue: Mohamed Atta was seen in Venice with ‘flight school owner’ and international con man Rudi Dekkers, who swore in testimony before Congress that he never saw Atta after he ‘left’ his flight school in December, 2000.

For example, according to Bob Simpson and other Venice Yellow Cab employees interviewed by the FBI, Atta took numerous cab rides to and from Huffman Aviation as well as several other locations in Venice during August 2001.

On at least two of these occasions Atta was traveling with Rudi Dekkers, a man who testified under oath before Congress that his relationship with the terrorist ringleader ended almost nine months earlier.

“They knew each other well, really well," stated cabbie Simpson. "They were friends. They were going to a nightclub in Sarasota, talking and very sociable with each other. He and Atta were friends, you could tell.”

Simpson said he first took Atta and Dekkers from Huffman Aviation to James' Place, a restaurant in downtown Venice. On another occasion he picked the two up at the Pompano Road residence of former Huffman employee Charlie Voss, and took them to a Sarasota nightclub, the Gator Club, which Atta is known to have frequented. (It was Voss, recall, whose home was made available to Atta and Marwan when they arrived in Venice.)

The Yellow Cab office manager in Sarasota confirmed that the trips were recorded in the firm's cab logs.

“Perjury would be a start”

Yet in sworn testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee in March 2002, Dekkers insisted his relationship with the terrorist ringleader had been distant, and ended the previous December, nine months before the attack.

Dekkers told the hearing about complaints from his staff that Atta and Al-Shehhi had behavioral problems, that they were not following instructions, and that they also had bad attitudes. “On December 24th, 2000, Atta and Al-Shehhi rented a Warrior (N555HA) from Huffman Aviation for a flight,” the Dutch national stated, telling of his last encounter with Atta.

“Atta and Al-Shehhi returned to Huffman Aviation to make final payments on their outstanding bills. Because they were not taking any more flying lessons, they were asked to leave the facility due to their bad attitudes and not being liked by staff and clients alike. Huffman never heard about or from them again until September 11th, 2001.”

Speaking with reporters, he had been more colloquial. “They did not socialize with anyone,” Dekkers said three days after the attack. “They did not go to the bar with us.

That Atta guy was an asshole.”

Dekkers is guilty of a lot more than perjury... but its a start.

Is Bob Simpson a credible witness? Could he somehow be mistaken in his identification of Dekkers? Not likely... He knew Rudi Dekkers well, he said, from numerous trips to Huffman Aviation to pick up arriving flight students.

And Simpson is a retired Navy veteran who saw duty off the coast of Libya, and other Mediterranean hot spots during the 1980’s, and he comes from a law enforcement background: his father was Asst. Chief of Police in Pleasant Hill, California, his brother is a cop, and he has an uncle in the DEA.

Moreover, authorities deported three young Saudi students who had just arrived in Venice in early September, just before the attack, based primarily on Bob Simpson’s testimony that they were associates of Atta. So they had no trouble believing he was telling the truth....

Were he to be faced in court with conflicting testimony from Rudi Dekkers, we have no doubt who the jury would believe.

Tidbits from the Venice Terabyte

During final preparations for the Sept 11 attack, Mohamed Atta’s father was 'visiting' his terrorist ringleader son in Venice, Florida. After seeing him on television denying that his son had anything to do with the terrorist hijackings, a number of credible witnesses called the Sarasota office of the FBI to report they had seen Atta’s father in Venice with his son ten days to two weeks before the attack.

Closed circuit videotape provided to the FBI as evidence of Atta Senior’s presence appears to have been intentionally erased.
The FBI knew about the U.S. visit of Atta’s father, Cairo attorney Mohammed El-Amir, in Venice. So why has someone with clear foreknowledge of an attack which murdered almost 3000 civilians not been brought to justice?

Might the answer be in those 2.5 terabytes?

The recent "Atta in America" controversy started by Rep. Curt Weldon (R. PA) is a hopeful sign of the unraveling of the "official story" about 9/11... even as those in charge of maintaining the illusion of the "official story" are hard at work creating new layers of disinformation in the media.

The official story of the 9.11 attack resembles a Potemkin’s village, a false front hiding a set of what must be really undesirable facts. The term refers to a Russian official in the 18th century who had elaborate fake villages built to give Catherine the Great a false impression of peace and prosperity when she toured the Ukraine and the Crimea, regions that in actuality were in turmoil and poverty.

Selling Wolf Cookies in Potemkin's Village

What’s the best way to honor the memory of 9.11's three thousand murder victims on the fourth anniversary of the attack?

Ask the questions they cannot; expose the FBI’s massive 9.11 cover-up; and burn down their hastily-constructed and totally phony Potemkin’s Villages. Terry McDermott, author of “Perfect Soldiers,” the biggest whitewash since Tom Sawyer was painting fences, is the chief shill and Potemkin Villager of the moment...

He writes: “Over the last four years I have interviewed dozens of people who swore they saw Atta somewhere he wasn't. This includes an assortment of waiters, students, flight instructors, taxi drivers and, more dramatically, two women who each claim to have been married to Atta, this despite the fact that they were never in the same city at the same time he was.’

“How could it be that so many people remember that they knew Atta, that they saw him or his name, when all the facts argue otherwise? I don't think they are all lying. Maybe none of them are. I think Atta entered an American psyche desperate for a name and face and an explanation. He came complete with what has become one of the iconic images of 9/11 -- his Florida DMV mug shot, an image so memorable, so powerful and perfect for the moment that it allowed people to see in it whatever they needed to see.”
Nothing to see here. Move along. In other words:

You didn’t see what you thought you saw. See?

You can read more about Perfect Soldiers here: Our mini-review: 'Perfect Soldiers is perfect dreck... But dreck which speaks volumes about the state of the 9.11 cover-up."

McDermott’s book did contain one new bit of information: the revelation that Rudi Dekkers offered Mohamed Atta (and his bodyguard Marwan) a job. The positions were on his phony start-up airline, a transparent dummy front for something else altogether, although this fact escapes McDermott’s notice.

The perfect crime: Steal $350 million of 'the little people's' money

Another fact which somehow escaped his notice: Dekkers' partner in the failed airline venture, Richard Boehlke, was just then participating in the $350 million bust out of pension funds of mostly Mob-led unions.

This is, no doubt, just another freak coincidence.

Boehlke told a reporter for ABC News in Portland that Dekker's proposed using flight students like Atta to ride along as co-pilots on their flights, as a way to save money and also give the students cockpit experience. This, said Boehlke, was patently illegal.

As we’ve seen, that’s not a consideration that would have worried Dekkers. "The thought that terrorists might have been allowed access to secure airport facilities is chilling," said Boehlke.

We will leave you with one more Atta sighting which McDermott would be hard-pressed to tap dance away...Tom and Rene Adorna own the Pelican Alley Restaurant in Nokomis, just a block from the rented home which Atta and Marwan vacated nine months earlier.

They saw Mohamed Atta, along with Marwan Al-Shehhi and a third, unidentified man, in their restaurant just a few weeks before the attack, during the same time period Bob Simpson and Joe Gessell testify they were driving him around town.

The three men had caused a scene in her restaurant, she told us. When reporters showed up the day after September 11, Rene Adorna says she immediately knew why they were there.

“Right after the incident happened, we had newspapers come down, and right away I knew what it was about, because I remembered the table. Tommy knew, Jeff knew, and we said right away, and they showed us one picture and we knew immediately.”

"We thought they were Mob."

“There were three of them,” Rene recounted. “And they all looked of the Egyptian persuasion, dark skin, dark hair, lots of jewelry, lots of jewelry. They were dressed in Florida type shirts—the silk, you know, with the pattern, that kind of thing—and I could have sworn there was a cross, the one guy had a big cross, the big gaudy gold cross thing, I thought, but you know, I’m not sure now, but I know he had the big watch on.”
“They were loud, making comments, one had his fist pounding the table, saying, ‘We’re talking $200,000! We have to answer to the family!’”

Gold jewelry, expensive watches, and silk shirts. Its not exactly a description of Islamic fundamentalists. But then neither were their actions.

“I thought they were Mafia,” Rene said.

She confirmed again what numerous women who had encountered Atta said about him: Atta wouldn’t talk to her. “He barely spoke a word to me, but when I’d come over I’d feel like, jeez, what’s his problem, because he had that really mean, mean look on his face all the time, like he was very unhappy.”

Marwan, as always, served as buffer and go-between.

“Then there was the other guy, the heavier-set guy, he did all the talking, with me, anyway. He was very out-going, very pleasant actually.”

It was Marwan loudly arguing with Atta, we learned to our surprise.

“The big guy… actually he, the big guy, was yelling at the other guy (Atta). I tried to stay away from the table pretty much, and then went and told Tom (her husband and co-manager): ‘You better watch his table, they’re getting a little out of hand.”

Tom came out front to see what the trouble was about. “He (Marwan) was a pretty big guy,” he recalled. “And he was doing most of the talking. He kept saying stuff to them, about money, we kept hearing about money. The other guy(Atta), I guess, was the main guy, but he wasn’t saying a word, he just sat there with a look on his face and he didn’t say anything.”

Both Tom and Rene Adorna remain surprised that the FBI hadn’t bothered to interview them. When we told them they were in good company, they sounded slightly mollified. “Two newspapers came by,” said Tom. “That was it. And they (the terrorists) were living right down the street, right down the block. But they never came over here to see us.”

The FBI already knew everything they wanted to know.
“I did think it was strange,” added Rene. She shrugged. “We thought like they might want some information. But maybe they already had everything that they needed.”

Prescription for a cover-up. How you can tell when the Fix is In:
“Maybe they already had everything they needed.”

Four years on… and there has still not been an official investigation into the murder of 3000 people nor a report on how it was perpetrated to which the American people are privy.

Four years on… and the CIA has fewer experienced case officers assigned to the bin Laden unit than it did when the hijackers took over the planes.

Four years on… and the remarkable assertion by the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into 9/11 that our current President may be serving another country’s interests is still being completely ignored by the major media.

"It was as if the president's loyalty lay more with Saudi Arabia than with America's safety,” said Sen. Bob Graham in a comment met with thundering silence.
Four years ago, the firefighters cheering Bush during his visit to Ground Zero “weren’t cheering for regime change in Iraq,” wrote Maureen Dowd in the N.Y. Times. “They wanted the head of Osama bin Laden.”

They still do.
"Frankly, I don't think it's a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous."
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Re: 9/11 Info Dump

Postby Elvis » Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:49 am

[p.6 of dump]

[GW Bush on Sept. 11]

Many embedded URLs in the original:


An Interesting Day: President Bush's Movements and Actions on 9/11

By Allan Wood and Paul Thompson
May 9, 2003


"It was an interesting day." - President Bush, recalling 9/11 [White House, 1/5/02]


At approximately 8:48 a.m. on the morning of September 11, 2001, the first pictures of the burning World Trade Center were broadcast on live television. The news anchors, reporters, and viewers had little idea what had happened in lower Manhattan, but there were some people who did know. By that time, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the National Military Command Center, the Pentagon, the White House, the Secret Service, and Canada's Strategic Command all knew that three commercial airplanes had been hijacked. They knew that one plane had been flown deliberately into the World Trade Center's North Tower; a second plane was wildly off course and also heading toward Manhattan; and a third plane had abruptly turned around over Ohio and was flying back toward Washington, DC.

So why, at 9:03 a.m. - fifteen minutes after it was clear the United States was under terrorist attack - did President Bush sit down with a classroom of second-graders and begin a 20-minute pre-planned photo op? No one knows the answer to that question. In fact, no one has even asked Bush about it.

Bush's actions on September 11 have been the subject of lively debate, mostly on the internet. Details reported that day and in the week after the attacks - both the media reports and accounts given by Bush himself - have changed radically over the past 18 months. Culling hundreds of reports from newspapers, magazines, and the internet has only made finding the "truth" of what happened and when it happened more confusing. In the changed political climate after 9/11, few have dared raise challenging questions about Bush's actions. A journalist who said Bush was "flying around the country like a scared child, seeking refuge in his mother's bed after having a nightmare" and another who said Bush "skedaddled" were fired. [Washington Post, 9/29/01 (B)] We should have a concise record of where President Bush was throughout the day the US was attacked, but we do not.

What follows is an attempt to give the most complete account of Bush's actions - from Florida to Louisiana to Nebraska to Washington, DC.

Preparations

Bush's appearance at the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida, on September 11, 2001 had been in the planning stages since August [Booker web site], but was only publicly announced on the morning of September 7. [White House, 9/7/01] Later that same day, 9/11 hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi traveled to Sarasota and enjoyed drinks and dinner at a Holiday Inn only two miles down the sandy beach from where Bush was scheduled to stay during his Sarasota visit. [Longboat Observer, 11/21/01, Washington Post, 1/27/02]

On the night of September 10th, Bush stayed at the Colony Beach Resort - "an upscale and relatively pristine tropical island enclave located directly on the Gulf of Mexico, a spindly coral island ... off Sarasota, Florida." [AP, 07/29/01] Zainlabdeen Omer, a Sudanese native living in Sarasota, told the local police that night that someone he knew who had made violent threats against Bush was in town and Omer was worried about Bush's safety. The man was identified only as "Ghandi." A police report states the Secret Service was informed immediately. [Hopsicker, 7/22/02]

After a private dinner with various Florida politicians (including his brother Jeb) and Republican donors, Bush went to bed around 10:00 p.m. [Sarasota Magazine, 11/01, Washington Post, 1/27/02] Surface-to-air missiles were placed on the roof of the resort [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/10/02], and an Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) plane circled high overhead. [Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism - From Inside the Bush White House, by Bill Sammon, 10/02, p. 25] It's not clear if this type of protection was standard for the president or whether security was increased because of possible threats.

An Assassination Attempt?

Bush awoke a little before 6:00 a.m. on September 11, pulled on shorts and an old T-shirt and laced up his running shoes. [CBS, 11/1/02] At 6:30 a.m., Bush, a reporter friend, and his Secret Service crew took a four-mile jog in the half-light of dawn around a nearby golf course. [Washington Post, 1/27/02, Washington Post, 09/11/01]

At about the same time Bush was getting ready for his jog, a van carrying several Middle Eastern men pulled up to the Colony's guard station. The men said they were a television news crew with a scheduled "poolside" interview with the president. They asked for a certain Secret Service agent by name. The message was relayed to a Secret Service agent inside the resort, who hadn't heard of the agent mentioned or of plans for an interview. He told the men to contact the president's public relations office in Washington, DC, and had the van turned away. [Longboat Observer, 9/26/01]

The Secret Service may have foiled an assassination attempt. Two days earlier, Ahmed Shah Massoud, leader of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance, had been murdered by a similar ruse. Two North African men, posing as journalists from "Arabic News International," had been requesting an interview with Massoud since late August. Ahmad Jamsheed, Massoud's secretary, said that by the night of September 8, "they were so worried and excitable, they were begging us." An interview was arranged for the following day. As it began, a bomb hidden in the video camera exploded, killing the two journalists. Massoud was rushed by helicopter to a hospital in Tajikistan, but was pronounced dead on arrival (although his death was not acknowledged until September 15). [International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism, 10/30/01, Newsday, 10/26/01] The assassination is widely believed to have been timed to remove the Taliban's most popular and respected opponent in anticipation of the backlash that would occur after the 9/11 attacks. [BBC, 9/10/01, BBC, 9/10/01 (B), Time, 8/4/02, St. Petersburg Times, 9/9/02] The Northern Alliance blamed al-Qaeda and the ISI, Pakistan's secret service, for the attacks. [Radio Free Europe, 9/10/01, Newsday, 9/15/01, Reuters, 10/4/01]

Nearly three hours after the incident at the Colony, another Longboat Key resident reported a run-in with possibly the same men. At about 8:50 (when reports of the first World Trade Center crash were first broadcast), while standing on the Sarasota bay front waiting for the presidential motorcade to pass by, this man saw two Middle Eastern men in a dilapidated van "screaming out the windows 'Down with Bush' and raising their fists in the air." The FBI questioned the man, but it's not known if this was the same van that had visited the Colony. [Longboat Observer, 9/26/01]

Later on the morning of September 11, the Secret Service searched a Sarasota apartment looking for further corroboration of Zainlabdeen Omer's report of an assassination threat. Three Sudanese men were questioned for about ten hours. The Secret Service also raided a beauty supply store in Sarasota, whose owner, identified as "Hakim," told the agents that "Ghandi" was a member of the Sudanese People's Liberation Army, a group fighting against the fundamentalist Muslim government in Sudan. [Hopsicker, 7/22/02]

Monica Yadav of Sarasota's ABC News 40 reported that a few days after the Secret Service visit, the beauty supply store was closed up and Hakim was long gone. Yadav also learned that Zainlabdeen Omer had suddenly quit his jobs and vacated his apartment. "All I know is he can't leave town," a friend of Omer's told Yadav. "Omer got in a lot of trouble with the law." The Special Agent in charge of the Presidential detail in Sarasota told Yadav that Bush was never in any danger and the various warnings and possible terrorist connections were all "just a coincidence." [Hopsicker, 7/22/02] Yet, as we will see below, there are more details of a threat against Bush before he left Sarasota.


Bush Is Briefed as the Hijackings Begin

After his jog, Bush showered, then sat down for his daily intelligence briefing around 8 a.m. "The President's briefing appears to have included some reference to the heightened terrorist risk reported throughout the summer, but contained nothing specific, severe or imminent enough to necessitate a call to [National Security Advisor] Condoleezza Rice." [Telegraph, 12/16/01]

While Bush was being briefed, the planes that would be hijacked began taking off. American Airlines Flight 11 was first, leaving Boston's Logan Airport at 7:59 a.m. The others soon followed, except for United Flight 93, scheduled to leave at 8:01, but which was delayed on the runway for about 40 minutes. [Boston Globe, 11/23/01] (For more information on the four flights, see Flight 11, Flight 175, Flight 77, Flight 93.)

At approximately 8:13, Flight 11 was instructed by air traffic controllers at the FAA's Boston Center, in Nashua, New Hampshire, to climb to 35,000 feet. The plane did not obey the order and its transponder was turned off. Air traffic control manager Glenn Michael said, "we considered it at that time to be a possible hijacking." [AP, 8/12/02, emphasis added] According to FAA regulations, that was the correct decision: "Consider that an aircraft emergency exists ... when ... there is unexpected loss of radar contact and radio communications with any ... aircraft." [FAA Air Traffic Control Regulations, Chapter 10, Section 2-5 ]

If air traffic controllers believed Flight 11 had been hijacked at 8:13, NORAD should have been informed immediately, so military planes could be scrambled to investigate. However, NORAD and the FAA both claimed NORAD was not informed until 8:40 - 27 minutes later. [NORAD, 9/18/01, AP, 8/12/02, AP, 8/19/02, Newsday, 9/10/02; one NORAD employee said it took place at 8:31, ABC News, 9/11/02] Indeed, before contacting NORAD, Boston air traffic controllers watched Flight 11 make an unexpected 100-degree turn and head south toward New York City [Christian Science Monitor, 9/13/01], told other controllers of the hijacking at 8:25 [Guardian, 10/17/01], continued to hear highly suspicious dialogue from the cockpit (such as, "Nobody move, please, we are going back to the airport. Don't try to make any stupid moves") [Guardian, 10/17/01, New York Times, 10/16/01], and even asked the pilots of Flight 175 to scan the skies for the errant plane. [Guardian, 10/17/01, Boston Globe, 11/23/01]

Is NORAD's claim credible? If so, the air traffic controllers (including Mr. Michael) should have been fired and subject to possible criminal charges for their inaction. To date, however, there has been no word of any person being disciplined at any institution at any level for what happened on 9/11.

If NORAD's claim is false, and it was indeed informed within the time frame outlined in FAA regulations that Flight 11 may have been hijacked, that would mean NORAD did absolutely nothing for almost thirty minutes while a hijacked commercial airliner flew off course through some of the most congested airspace in the world. Presumably, that would warrant some very serious charges. Again, no one associated with NORAD or the FAA has been punished.

According to phone calls made by fight attendants Betty Ong and Amy Sweeney, the hijackers had stabbed and killed at least one passenger and two flight attendants by about 8:21. [ABC News, 7/18/02, Boston Globe, 11/23/01, AP, 10/5/01, Los Angeles Times, 9/20/01] (One hijacker may have been riding in the cockpit and begun the hijacking earlier.) After 8:21, both women apparently remained on the phone with American Airlines' headquarters for 25 minutes, until their plane crashed into the World Trade Center's North Tower. [ABC News, 7/18/02, AP, 10/5/01] These calls make NORAD's supposed ignorance of a crisis even more dubious.

Bush Leaves for Booker Elementary

Around the same time the Flight 11 hijackers were stabbing passenger Daniel Lewin - at 8:20 a.m. - Bush's briefing ended and he said good-bye to the Colony's general manager. [Telegraph, 12/16/01, Sarasota Magazine, 11/01] The first event on Bush's schedule was what is known as a "soft event" – a photo-op with children at Emma Booker Elementary School - promoting his proposed education bill. [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/11/01] After spending about 20 minutes with the children, Bush was scheduled to give a short press conference at about 9:30. [White House, 9/7/01, Federal News Service, 9/10/01]


Accounts of when Bush's motorcade left for the school vary from 8:30 to 8:39. [8:30, Washington Post, 1/27/02, 8:35, Sarasota Magazine, 9/19/01, 8:39, Washington Times, 10/7/02] One account has the Bush party leave the Colony suite at 8:30 and drive away at 8:39. Whenever he left, the motorcade traveled quickly: "The police shut down traffic in both directions, leaving roads utterly deserted for Bush's long motorcade, which barreled along at 40 mph, running red lights with impunity." [Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism - From Inside the Bush White House, by Bill Sammon, 10/02, pp. 37-38] At 40 mph, it would take about 14 minutes to travel the nine-mile distance to the school. Several accounts say the journey took about 20 minutes [New York Times, 9/16/01 (B), St. Petersburg Times, 9/8/02 (B), MSNBC, 10/29/02], which means that Bush arrived shortly before 9:00. [8:46, ABC News, 9/11/02, 8:55, Washington Times, 10/7/02, 8:55, Sarasota Magazine, 9/19/01, "just before 9:00," Telegraph, 12/16/01, "shortly before 9:00," Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/10/02, "just before 9:00," New York Times, 9/16/01 (B), 9:00, Albuquerque Tribune, 9/10/02]

When Did Bush First Learn of the Attacks?

Why does it matter when Bush left the resort and arrived at the school? Because this is the crucial time when Bush was first told, or should have been told, of the attacks. Official accounts, including the words of Bush himself, say Bush was first told of what was happening in New York City after he arrived at the school. [Telegraph, 12/16/01, CBS, 9/11/02] However, this statement does not stand up to scrutiny. There are at least four reports that Bush was told of the first crash before he arrived at the school.

Two accounts explicitly state Bush was told while in the motorcade. "The President was on Highway 301, just north of Main Street ... [when] he received the news that a plane had crashed in New York City." [Sarasota Magazine, 11/01] (See adjacent map for the location where he is told.) Another account states, "Bush was driving to the school in a motorcade when the phone rang. An airline accident appeared to have happened. He pressed on with his visit." [Observer, 9/16/01]

The first media reports of Flight 11's crash into the World Trade Center began around 8:48, two minutes after the crash happened. [New York Times, 9/15/01] CNN broke into its regular programming at that time [CNN, 9/11/01], though other networks, such as ABC, took a few more minutes to begin reporting. [ABC, 9/14/02] So within minutes, millions were aware of the story, yet Bush supposedly remained unaware for about another ten minutes.

Claims of Bush's ignorance become harder to believe when one learns that others in his motorcade were immediately told of the attack. For instance, Kia Baskerville, a CBS News producer traveling with Bush that morning, received a message about a plane crash "as the presidential motorcade headed to President Bush's first event." Baskerville said, "Fifteen minutes later I was standing in a second grade classroom [waiting for Bush's entrance]" - which means she got the news at about 8:47 - right as the story was first being reported. [CBS, 8/19/02] A news photographer in the motorcade overheard a radio transmission that Press Secretary Ari Fleischer would be needed on arrival at the school to discuss reports of some sort of crash. [Christian Science Monitor, 9/17/01]

Another account notes Fleischer got the news that the crash had occurred "just minutes before," but notes that Bush was not in the same car as Fleischer. [CBS, 11/1/02] Senior presidential communications officer Thomas Herman said, "Just as we were arriving at the school, I received a notification from our operations center than [sic] an airliner had struck one of the towers...." [Marist College Magazine, Fall 2002]

Meanwhile, CIA Director George Tenet was told of the crash a few minutes after it happened. A messenger gave him the news as he was eating breakfast with former Senator David Boren in a Washington restaurant three blocks from the White House. Boren says Tenet was told that the World Trade Center had been attacked by an airplane: "I was struck by the fact that [the messenger] used the word attacked." An aide then handed a cell phone to Tenet, and Tenet made some calls, showing that at least some at the highest levels of the Bush administration were talking about an attack at this time. Tenet then said to Boren, "You know, this has bin Laden's fingerprints all over it." [ABC, 9/14/02]

Some people at the school also heard of the news before Bush arrived. Around 8:50, Tampa Bay's Channel 8 reporter Jackie Barron was on the phone with her mother, who mentioned the first news reports. At almost the same time, Brian Goff, a Fox reporter from Tampa, heard the same thing on his cell phone. [Sarasota Magazine, 11/01] Associated Press reporter Sonia Ross was also told of the crash by phone from a colleague. [AP, 9/12/01 (D)] Florida Congressman Dan Miller, waiting in front of the school as part of the official greeting party, was told by an aide about the crash at 8:55, before Bush arrived. [Sarasota Magazine, 11/01]

Given all this, how could Bush have remained ignorant? Could he have been out of the loop because he was in a car? No. The previous night, Colony Resort manager Katie Klauber Moulon toured the presidential limousine and marveled "at all the phones and electronic equipment." [Sarasota Magazine, 11/01] Karl Rove, Bush's "chief political strategist," who presumably was riding with Bush, used a wireless e-mail device on 9/11 as well. [Newsweek, 10/14/02] There seems to have been ample opportunity and the means to alert Bush.




Another Warning

If Bush wasn't told while in his limousine, he certainly was told immediately after he got out of it. US Navy Captain Deborah Loewer, the director of the White House Situation Room, was traveling in the motorcade when she received a message from an assistant back in Washington about the first crash. Loewer said that as soon as the car arrived at Booker, she ran quickly over to Bush. "It's a very good thing the Secret Service knows who I am," Loewer later said. She told Bush that an aircraft had "impacted the World Trade Center. This is all we know." [Catholic Telegraph, 12/7/01, AP, 11/26/01]

Meanwhile, More Hijackings

Even though Flight 175 left about the same time as Flight 11, it appears to have been hijacked much later. At 8:41, its pilot was still talking to ground control [New York Times, 10/16/01], but at 8:42 it sharply veered off course, and a flight controller noted that its transponder had been turned off and communication cut. [Boston Globe, 11/23/01, New York Times, 10/16/01] One minute later, at 8:43, NORAD was notified the plane had been hijacked. [NORAD, 9/18/01] The hijackers turned the transponder back on but used a different signal code. This allowed flight controllers to "easily" track the plane as it flew toward New York City. [Washington Post, 9/17/01] At about 8:46, Flight 77 began to go severely off course. According to regulations, a fighter is required to be dispatched if a plane strays from its official course by more than two miles or 15 degrees [MSNBC, 9/12/01]. As the adjacent map shows, Flight 77 returned to its proper course for a time, but its last radio contact occurred at 8:50. [Guardian, 10/17/01] Supposedly, NORAD was not officially notified that Flight 77 has been hijacked until 9:24 [NORAD, 9/18/01], but the New York Times reported that by around 8:50, military officials at the Pentagon were already discussing what to do about Flight 77. [New York Times, 9/15/01] Note the difference in notification times: 27 minutes for Flight 11, 1 minute for Flight 175 and 38 minutes for Flight 77.

Flight 93 wasn't hijacked until about 9:16, but by about 8:50, it was clear that at least three planes had been hijacked. Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking on NBC's Meet the Press, said, "The Secret Service has an arrangement with the FAA. They had open lines after the World Trade Center was ..." [Meet the Press, 9/16/01] Cheney never finished his sentence (interesting in itself - did he say too much?), but it seems safe to say that his next word would have been "hit." Cheney's statement makes it clear the Secret Service knew the extent of the situation well before 9:00 am.

An Accident?

Intelligence agencies were suffering "warning fatigue" from so many warnings of an al-Qaeda attack [Independent, 9/7/02], some specifically mentioning the use of hijacked airplanes as missiles (see this essay). Bush himself was given an intelligence briefing a month earlier entitled "Bin Laden to Strike in US," and it contained a warning from the British government that the US should expect multiple airline hijackings from al-Qaeda. [Sunday Herald, 5/19/02] So with the clear knowledge that three planes had been hijacked, with one of them already crashed into the World Trade Center, who would have possibly assumed that Flight 11's crash was an accident? Yet that is precisely what the official story claims. There are a number of different "official" accounts, but all of them stress that Bush wasn't told until after he arrived inside the school (contrary to the account of Captain Loewer) and that it was assumed to be an accident (contradicting Tenet being told that it was an attack).

In some accounts, "President Bush had emerged from his car and was shaking hands with local officials standing outside the school when Chief of Staff Andrew Card sidled up to him with the news." [CBS, 11/1/02] Bush later recalled that it was Card who first notified him: "'Here's what you're going to be doing; you're going to meet so-and-so, such-and-such.' Then Andy Card said, 'By the way, an aircraft flew into the World Trade Center.'" [Washington Times, 10/7/02] At a press conference later that day, Press Secretary Ari Fleischer also claimed it was Andy Card who first informed him, "as the President finished shaking hands in a hallway of school officials." [Knoxville News Sentinel, 9/11/01]

In other accounts, it was advisor Karl Rove who first told Bush. According to photographer Eric Draper, who was standing nearby, Rove rushed up, took Bush aside in a corridor inside the school and said the cause of the crash was unclear. Bush replied, "What a horrible accident!" Bush also suggested the pilot may have had a heart attack. [Daily Mail, 9/8/02] Dan Bartlett, White House Communications Director, says he was there when Bush was told: "[Bush] being a former pilot, had kind of the same reaction, going, was it bad weather? And I said no, apparently not." [ABC News, 9/11/02] A reporter who was standing nearby later said, "From the demeanor of the President, grinning at the children, it appeared that the enormity of what he had been told was taking a while to sink in." [Daily Mail, 9/8/02] One account explicitly says that Rove told Bush the World Trade Center had been hit by a large commercial airliner. [Telegraph, 12/16/01] However, Bush later remembered Rove saying it appeared to be an accident involving a small, twin-engine plane. [Washington Post, 1/27/02, MSNBC, 9/02]

In yet another account, Blake Gottesman, Bush's personal assistant, while giving the president some final instructions as they walked to the school, remarked, "Andy Card says, 'By the way, an aircraft flew into the World Trade Center.'" [Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism - From Inside the Bush White House, by Bill Sammon, 10/02, pp. 41-42]

Told Again, Yet Still Clueless

Booker principal Gwen Tose-Rigell was waiting for Bush outside the school. "The limousine stops and the president comes out. He walks toward me. I'm standing there in a lineup; there are about five people. He walks over and says he has to make a phone call, and he'll be right back." [MSNBC, 09/02, Telegraph, 12/16/01] The phone call was with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. From a room with secure communications, Rice updated Bush on the situation. [Christian Science Monitor, 9/17/01, Time, 9/12/01] The fact that Bush immediately said he had to make an important call strongly suggests he was told about the situation while in the motorcade. But some accounts have Andrew Card saying to Bush as he gets out of his limousine, "Mr. President, you really need to take this phone call," thereby implying that Card knows what's going on, but Bush doesn't. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/8/02 (B)]

As National Security Advisor, Rice had to have had as much information as anyone. By the time she spoke to Bush, she must have known that three planes had been hijacked and that the country was under attack. We know very little about the conversation - only that Rice later claimed, "[Bush] said, what a terrible, it sounds like a terrible accident. Keep me informed." [ABC News, 9/11/02] One reporter noted: "Bush did not appear preoccupied [after the phone call] … There was no sign that Rice had just told [him] about the first attack [on the World Trade Center]." [Cox News, 9/12/01 (B)] Tose-Rigell was then summoned to a room to talk with Bush: "He said a commercial plane has hit the World Trade Center, and we're going to go ahead and go on, we're going on to do the reading thing anyway." [AP, 8/19/02 (D)]

One local reporter notes that at this point, "He could and arguably should have left Emma E. Booker Elementary School immediately, gotten onto Air Force One and left Sarasota without a moment's delay ... But he didn't." [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/12/01 (B)] The only possible excuse is that Bush was completely clueless as to what was happening. Sure enough, at a press conference on the evening of 9/11, Press Secretary Ari Fleischer was asked by a reporter, "And then this morning, when Andy Card told him about the first accident, was Andy Card or Condi Rice or any of those aware of the hijackings? What did they know when they --" Fleischer cut in and replied, "No, at that point they were not." [Knoxville News Sentinel, 9/11/01] So supposedly, 15 minutes after the first crash, none of Bush's aides, not even Rice back in Washington, DC, knew a thing about the hijackings that had been reported to NORAD 20 minutes earlier? This simply is not plausible.


Bush's Confused Recollection

Bush's own recollection of the first crash only complicates the picture. Less than two months after the attacks, Bush made the preposterous claim that he had watched the first attack as it happened on live television. This is the seventh different account of how Bush learned about the first crash (in his limousine, from Loewer, from Card, from Rove, from Gottesman, from Rice, from television). On December 4, 2001, Bush was asked: "How did you feel when you heard about the terrorist attack?" Bush replied, "I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower - the TV was obviously on. And I used to fly, myself, and I said, well, there's one terrible pilot. I said, it must have been a horrible accident. But I was whisked off there, I didn't have much time to think about it." [White House, 12/4/01]

There was no film footage of the first attack until at least the following day, and Bush didn't have access to a television until 15 or so minutes later. [Washington Times, 10/7/02] The Boston Herald later noted, "Think about that. Bush's remark implies he saw the first plane hit the tower. But we all know that video of the first plane hitting did not surface until the next day. Could Bush have meant he saw the second plane hit - which many Americans witnessed? No, because he said that he was in the classroom when Card whispered in his ear that a second plane hit." [Boston Herald, 10/22/02] Bush's recollection has many precise details. Is he simply confused? It's doubly strange why his advisors didn't correct him or - at the very least - stop him from repeating the same story only four weeks later. [White House, 1/5/02, CBS, 9/11/02] On January 5, 2002, Bush stated: "Well, I was sitting in a schoolhouse in Florida ... and my Chief of Staff – well, first of all, when we walked into the classroom, I had seen this plane fly into the first building. There was a TV set on. And you know, I thought it was pilot error and I was amazed that anybody could make such a terrible mistake. And something was wrong with the plane..." [White House, 1/5/02]

Unfortunately, Bush has never been asked - not even once - to explain these statements. His memory not only contradicts every single media report, it also contradicts what he said that evening. In his speech to the nation that evening, Bush said: "Immediately following the first attack, I implemented our government's emergency response plans." [White House, 9/11/01] It's not known what these emergency plans were, because neither Bush nor anyone in his administration mentioned this immediate response again. Implementing "emergency response plans" seems to completely contradict Bush's "by the way" recollection of a small airplane accident.

Inside the Classroom and the Second Plane Crash

Shortly after his call with National Security Advisor Rice, Bush entered Sandra Kay Daniels's second-grade class for a photo-op to promote Bush's education policies. [Daily Mail, 9/8/02] The event was to begin precisely at 9:00, but the call pushed it back to about 9:03. [Washington Times, 10/8/02, Telegraph, 12/16/01, Daily Mail, 9/8/02]

Numerous reporters who were traveling with the president, as well as members of the local media, watched from the back of the room. [AP, 8/19/02 (D)] Altogether there were about 150 people in the room, only 16 of them students. Bush was introduced to the children and then posed for a number of pictures. Daniels then led the students through some reading exercises (video footage shows this lasted about three minutes). [Salon, 9/12/01 (B)] Bush later related what he was thinking at the time: "I was concentrating on the program at this point, thinking about what I was going to say [about the plane crash]. Obviously, I felt it was an accident. I was concerned about it, but there were no alarm bells." [Washington Times, 10/7/02]

At 9:03, Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. News of this traveled extremely rapidly. In fact, some of Bush's Secret Service agents watched the second crash live on television in an adjacent room. [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/10/02] Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, in the same room as Bush but not near him, immediately received the news on his pager. [CBS, 9/11/02] Other pagers were going off as well.

Chief of Staff Andrew Card was in a nearby room when he heard the news. He waited until there was a pause in the reading drill to walk in and tell Bush. [Washington Times, 10/7/02, Washington Times, 10/8/02] The children were getting their books from under their seats to read a story together when Card came in. [Daily Mail, 9/8/02] Card whispered to Bush: "A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack." [San Francisco Chronicle, 9/11/02] Another account has Card saying: "A second plane has hit the World Trade Center. America is under attack." [Telegraph, 12/16/01] Accounts vary as to when Card gave Bush the news. Some say 9:05 [Salon 9/11/01, New York Times, 9/16/01 (B), Telegraph, 12/16/01, Albuquerque Tribune, 9/10/02], and some say 9:07. [Washington Post, 9/11/01, Washington Times, 10/8/02] ABC News reporter Ann Compton, who was in the room, said she was surprised by the interruption and "wrote [the time] down in my reporter's notebook, by my watch, 9:07 a.m." [ABC News, 9/11/02]

The Reaction - Or Lack of One

Descriptions vary greatly as to how Bush responded to the news. It is said he "blanched" [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10/1/02], "the color drained from the president's face" [AP, 9/12/01 (D)], he "wore a bemused smile" [Orlando Sentinel, 9/12/01], "because visibly tense and serious" [Time, 9/12/01], and so on. Watch the video and draw your own conclusions (the 11-minute video can be viewed at the Center for Cooperative Research, Buzzflash, Global Free Press, The Emperor's New Clothes, or Liberty DYNU). Bush later recalled his own reaction: "I am very aware of the cameras. I'm trying to absorb that knowledge. I have nobody to talk to. I'm sitting in the midst of a classroom with little kids, listening to a children's story and I realize I'm the Commander in Chief and the country has just come under attack." [Telegraph, 12/16/01, CBS, 11/1/02] Asked again what he thought after he heard the news, Bush said, "We're at war and somebody has dared attack us and we're going to do something about it. I realized I was in a unique setting to receive a message that somebody attacked us … [I]t became evident that we were, you know, that the world had changed." [CBS, 9/11/02]

So what did the Commander in Chief do with the knowledge that the United States was under attack?
He did nothing.

Bush did not say one word. He did not ask Card any questions. He did not give any orders. He did not know who (or which country) was attacking, whether there would be more attacks, what military plans had been taken, what military actions should be taken - indeed, he knew virtually nothing about what was going on outside the room. He just sat there. Bush later recalled: "There was no time for discussion or anything." [Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism - From Inside the Bush White House, by Bill Sammon, 10/02, pp. 83-84] Even stranger, as one newspaper put it, although the nation was under terrorist attack, "for some reason, Secret Service agents [did] not bustle him away." [Globe and Mail, 9/12/01]

Military pilots must have "permission from the White House because only the president has the authority to order a civilian aircraft shot down." [CNN, 10/26/99] But if retaliatory strikes needed to be authorized, Bush was not available. If one of the planes had to be shot down to save more lives on the ground, Bush was not available. Although several fighters had been dispatched to defend New York City, the pilot of one of the planes flying to catch Flight 175 later noted that it wouldn't have mattered if he caught up with it, because only Bush could order a shootdown, and Bush could not be reached in the classroom. [Cape Cod Times, 8/21/02]

Secret Service agents and other security personnel had set up a television in a nearby classroom. They turned on the TV just as Flight 175 crashed into the World Trade Center. According to Sarasota County Sheriff Bill Balkwill, who was in the room, a Marine responsible for carrying Bush's phone immediately said to Balkwill, "We're out of here. Can you get everyone ready?" [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/10/02] But he must have been overruled by someone, because Bush did not leave.

Meanwhile, Secret Service agents burst into Vice President Cheney's White House office. They carried him under his arms - nearly lifting him off the ground - and propelled him down the steps into the White House basement and through a long tunnel toward an underground bunker. Accounts of when this happened vary greatly, from 9:06 [New York Times, 9/16/01 (B), Telegraph, 12/16/01] to after 9:30. [CBS, 9/11/02, Washington Post, 1/27/02] Cheney's own account is vague and contradictory. [Meet the Press, 9/16/01] The one eyewitness account, by White House photographer David Bohrer, said it happened just after 9:00. [ABC, 9/14/02 (B)] It's easy to see why the White House would have wanted this event placed at a later time (after Bush's initial statement to the nation rather than after the second crash) to avoid the obvious question: if Cheney was immediately evacuated, why wasn't Bush?

The Photo-Op Goes On

After Card told Bush about the second plane and quickly left, the classroom was silent for about 30 seconds or so. [Tampa Tribune, 9/1/02] The children were about to take turns reading from a story called The Pet Goat. [AFP, 9/7/02] Bush picked up the book and began to read with the children. [Tampa Tribune, 9/1/02] In unison, the children read out loud, "The - Pet - Goat. A - girl - got - a - pet - goat. But - the - goat - did - some - things - that - made - the - girl's - dad - mad." Bush mostly listened, but occasionally asked the children a few questions to encourage them. [Washington Times, 10/7/02] At one point he said, "Really good readers, whew! ... These must be sixth-graders!" [Time, 9/12/01]

Who was really in control? Certainly not Bush. In the back of the room, Press Secretary Ari Fleischer caught Bush's eye and held up a pad of paper for him to see, with "DON'T SAY ANYTHING YET" written on it in big block letters. [Washington Times, 10/7/02] Some person or people had overruled the security who wanted Bush evacuated immediately, even as Vice President Cheney was taken from his White House office to a safe location. Bush's security overruled Bush on security matters later in the day on Air Force One, but who overruled them that morning?

When Did Bush Leave the Classroom?

Nearly every news account fails to mention when Bush left the classroom after being told America was under attack. Three mention 9:12 a.m. [New York Times, 9/16/01 (B), Telegraph, 12/16/01, Daily Mail, 9/8/02] Remaining in the classroom for approximately five to seven minutes is inexcusable, but the video of Bush in the classroom suggests he stayed longer than that. The video contains several edits and ends before Bush leaves the room, so it also doesn't tell us exactly how long he stayed. One newspaper suggested he remained "for eight or nine minutes" - sometime between 9:13 and 9:16, since Card's arrival is uncertain. [Tampa Tribune, 9/1/02]

When Bush finally did leave, he didn't act like a man in a hurry. In fact, he was described as "openly stretching out the moment." [Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism - From Inside the Bush White House, by Bill Sammon, 10/02, p. 89] When the lesson was over, Bush said to the children: "Hoo! These are great readers. Very impressive! Thank you all so much for showing me your reading skills. I bet they practice too. Don't you? Reading more than they watch TV? Anybody do that? Read more than you watch TV? [Hands go up] Oh that's great! Very good. Very important to practice! Thanks for having me. Very impressed." [Transcribed from Booker video, Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism - From Inside the Bush White House, by Bill Sammon, 10/02, pp. 89-90] Bush still continued to talk, advising the children to stay in school and be good citizens. [Tampa Tribune, 9/1/02, St. Petersburg Times, 9/8/02 (B)] One student asked Bush a question, and he gave a quick response on his education policy. [New York Post, 9/12/02]

The only source to describe what happened next is Fighting Back by Bill Sammon. Publishers Weekly described Sammon's book as an "inside account of the Bush administration's reaction to 9-11 [and] a breathless, highly complimentary portrait of the president [showing] the great merit and unwavering moral vision of his inner circle." [Publisher's Weekly, 10/15/02] Sammon's conservative perspective makes his account of Bush's behavior at the end of the photo-op all the more surprising. Bush is described as smiling and chatting with the children "as if he didn't have a care in the world" and "in the most relaxed manner imaginable." White House aide Gordon Johndroe, then came in as he usually does at the end of press conferences, and said, "Thank you, press. If you could step out the door we came in, please." A reporter then asked, "Mr. President, are you aware of the reports of the plane crash in New York? Is there anything...", But Bush interrupted, and no doubt recalling his order, "DON'T SAY ANYTHING YET," Bush responded, "I'll talk about it later." But still the president did not leave. "He stepped forward and shook hands with [classroom teacher] Daniels, slipping his left hand behind her in another photo-op pose. He was taking his good old time. ... Bush lingered until the press was gone." [Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism - From Inside the Bush White House, by Bill Sammon, 10/02, p. 90]

Think about that: rather than rush out of the room at the first chance, Bush actually stayed until after all the dozens of reporters had left! Having just been told of a Pearl Harbor-type attack on US soil, Bush was indeed "openly stretching out the moment." But he still wasn't done. Bush then turned to principal Tose-Rigell, who was waiting to take him to the library for his speech on education. He explained to her about the terror attacks and why he had to leave. [Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism - From Inside the Bush White House, by Bill Sammon, 10/02, p. 90] Finally, he went to an empty classroom next door where his staff was based. [ABC News, 9/11/02] Given that Bush's program was supposed to end at 9:20, he left the classroom only a couple of minutes earlier than planned, if even that. [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/16/01]

Why Stay?

The reason given why Bush didn't leave as soon as Card told him the news is: "Without all the facts at hand, George Bush had no intention of upsetting the schoolchildren who had come to read for him." [MSNBC, 10/29/02] Advisor Karl Rove said, "The President thought for a second or two about getting up and walking out of the room. But the drill was coming to a close and he didn't want to alarm the children." [ABC, 9/11/02] This excuse is patently absurd, given the security risks and importance of Bush being informed and making decisions as Commander in Chief. Nor was the drill coming to a close: one drill had ended and another was about to begin - it was a perfect time to simply say, "Excuse me" and leave the room. Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport is only 3½ miles away; in fact, Booker was chosen as the location for the photo-op partly because of its proximity to the airport. [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/12/02] Hijackers could have crashed a plane into Bush's publicized location and his security would have been completely helpless to stop it. Remember, Bush's schedule had been announced on September 7 and two of the 9/11 hijackers came to Sarasota that same day. [White House, 9/7/01, Longboat Observer, 11/21/01, Washington Post, 1/27/02] Furthermore, the Secret Service was aware of the strange request for an interview a few hours earlier and the previous night's report of a person in town who had made violent threats against Bush.

Indeed, a few days after 9/11, Sarasota's main newspaper reported, "Sarasota barely skirted its own disaster. As it turns out, terrorists targeted the president and Air Force One on Tuesday, maybe even while they were on the ground in Sarasota and certainly not long after. The Secret Service learned of the threat just minutes after Bush left Booker Elementary." [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/16/01]

Bush Lingers On

Once he was out of the classroom, did Bush immediately leave Booker? No. He stayed in the adjacent room with his staff, calling Vice President Cheney and National Security Advisor Rice, and preparing a speech. [Telegraph, 12/16/01, St. Petersburg Times 9/8/02] Incredibly, even as uncertain information began to surface, suggesting that more planes had been hijacked (eventually 11 planes would be suspected) [CBS, 9/11/02], Bush was allowed to make his remarks at 9:30 - exactly the time and place stated on his advance schedule. [Federal News Service, 9/10/01, see the transcript of his speech here] Why hasn't Bush's security staff been criticized for their completely inexplicable decision to stay at the school? And why didn't Bush's concern for the children extend to not making them and the rest of the 200 or so people at the school terrorist targets?

At 9:16, NORAD was notified that Flight 93 had been hijacked, and at 9:24 it was notified that Flight 77 had also been hijacked and was heading toward Washington (though, as discussed above, the hijacking was known long before this). [NORAD, 9/18/01] No media report has suggested that the possible shooting down of hijacked airplanes was discussed at this time, however. It appears the discussion was not broached until after 9:55. [Washington Post, 1/27/02, CBS, 9/11/02] At about 9:26, it was either FAA head Jane Garvey or FAA administrator Ben Sliney (and not Bush) who decided to halt all airplane takeoffs in the US. [Time, 9/14/01, USA Today, 8/13/02] Additionally, no evidence has appeared suggesting Bush had a role in ordering any fighters into the skies.

Finally, to the Airport

By 9:35, Bush's motorcade was ready to take him to the Sarasota airport where Air Force One was waiting. [Telegraph, 12/16/01] At 9:37, Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. Bush was informed as his motorcade got near the airport. (Apparently Bush could be reached by phone in his limousine at this time.) [Washington Times, 10/8/02, Telegraph, 12/16/01] The motorcade arrived around 9:43 and pulled up close to Air Force One. Security conducted an extra-thorough search of all the baggage for the other passengers, delaying takeoff until 9:55. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/8/02 (B)]

A year later, Chief of Staff Andrew Card recalled that, "As we were heading to Air Force One... [we] learned, what turned out to be a mistake, but we learned that the Air Force One package could in fact be a target." [MSNBC, 9/9/02] This echoes the report mentioned above that "terrorists targeted the president and Air Force One... maybe even while they were on the ground in Sarasota ..." [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/16/01] This only increases the strangeness that Bush wasn't immediately evacuated at 9:03 as some of his security had recommended.

Bush spoke by telephone to Cheney as the motorcade raced to the airport. [St. Petersburg Times 9/8/02] Supposedly, during this call Bush issued an order to ground all flights within the country. [Sarasota Magazine, 11/01] The FAA did shut down the nationwide air traffic system at around 9:45. [MSNBC, 9/22/01, CNN, 9/12/01, New York Times, 9/12/01, Newsday, 9/10/02, Washington Post, 9/12/01] But other reports state that it was FAA administrator Ben Sliney who made the decision without consulting anyone. [USA Today, 8/13/02, USA Today, 8/13/02 (B)] For some time it was claimed that Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta had made the decision, but it was later revealed that Mineta didn't even know of the order until 15 minutes later. Apparently, "FAA officials had begged [the reporter] to maintain the fiction." [Slate, 4/2/02] The idea that Bush made the decision is even less plausible. In fact, there is no evidence at all to suggest that Bush had by this point made even one decision relevant to his security or that of the country.

Air Force One Takes Off Without Fighter Escort

Air Force One took off at either 9:55 or 9:57 a.m. [CNN, 9/12/01, New York Times, 9/12/01, Telegraph, 12/16/01, CBS, 9/11/02, Washington Post, 9/12/01, Washington Post, 1/27/02, AP, 9/12/01] Communications Director Dan Bartlett remembered, "It was like a rocket. For a good ten minutes, the plane was going almost straight up." [CBS, 9/11/02]

But, incredibly, Air Force One took off without any military fighter protection. This defies all explanation. Recall that at 9:03 a.m., one of Bush's security people said, "We're out of here. Can you get everyone ready?" [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/10/02] Certainly, long before Bush left the elementary school at 9:35 a.m., arrangements would have been made to get fighters to Sarasota as soon as possible. Not only would it have been advisable to protect Air Force One, but it would have been only sensible as another way to protect Bush on the ground from terrorist attack even before he left the school. In Florida, there were two bases said to have fighters on 24-hour alert, capable of getting airborne in approximately five minutes. Homestead Air Station, 185 miles from Sarasota, and Tyndall Air Station, 235 miles from Sarasota; both had the highest readiness status on 9/11. Presumably, as happened at other bases across the country, just after 9:03, base commanders throughout Florida would have immediately begun preparations to get their fighters ready. [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02] Fighters left bases on the same alert status and traveled similar distances to reach Washington, DC, well before 10:00, so why were the fighters delayed in Florida? [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 9/9/02]

Military planes should have been over Sarasota by the time Bush left Booker at 9:35 a.m. Yet, as will be described below, more than one hour after Air Force One took off, there were still no fighters protecting it!

An administration official claimed, "The object seemed to be simply to get the President airborne and out of the way." [Telegraph, 12/16/01] But without fighter cover this makes little sense, because the sky was arguably more dangerous than the ground. At the time, there were still over 3,000 planes in the air over the US [USA Today, 8/13/02 (B)], including about half of the planes in the region of Florida where Bush was. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/7/02] Recall, too, that the Secret Service learned of a threat to Bush and Air Force One "just minutes after Bush left Booker Elementary." Karl Rove, also on Air Force One, confirmed that a dangerous threat was known before the plane took off: "They also made it clear they wanted to get us up quickly, and they wanted to get us to a high altitude, because there had been a specific threat made to Air Force One.... A declaration that Air Force One was a target, and said in a way that they called it credible." [New Yorker, 10/1/01]

Shoot Down Authorized - Too Late

Once he was airborne, Bush talked to Cheney again and Cheney recommended that Bush "order our aircraft to shoot down these airliners that have been hijacked." [CBS, 9/11/02] "I said, 'You bet,'" Bush later recalled. 'We had a little discussion, but not much.'" [Newsday, 9/23/01, USA Today, 9/16/01, Washington Post, 1/27/02] However, even though only Bush had the authority to order a passenger plane shot down [CNN, 10/26/99], the order was apparently given before Bush discussed it with Cheney. One flight commander recalled, "After the Pentagon was hit, we were told there were more [airliners] coming. Not 'might be'; they were coming." A call from someone in the White House declared the Washington area "a free-fire zone," meaning, according to one of the responding fighter pilots, "we were given authority to use force, if the situation required it." [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 9/9/02]
Extraordinary times can demand extraordinary measures, so having someone other than Bush give this order could be understandable. But Bush was available and talking to people like Cheney after 9:30 a.m. Around this time, officials feared that as many as 11 airliners had been hijacked [CBS, 9/11/02], so why weren't Bush and Cheney even considering this course of action until about 10:00 a.m.? Was Bush being kept out of the loop in reality, or only in the media reports?

Is the lateness of this discussion merely political spin to reduce speculation that Flight 93 had been shot down? Flight 93 was still in the air after the Bush authorization, and fighters were given orders to shoot it down if necessary. [ABC News, 9/11/02] NORAD knew at 9:16 a.m. that Flight 93 was hijacked [NORAD, 9/18/01], but supposedly fighters weren't scrambled until minutes before it crashed at 10:06 a.m.

Going Nowhere as Threats Increase

Shortly after takeoff, Cheney apparently informed Bush of "a credible threat" to Air Force One. [AP, 9/13/01 (D)] US Representative Adam Putnam "had barely settled into his seat on Air Force One ... when he got the news that terrorists apparently had set their sights on the plane." [Orlando Sentinel, 9/14/01] The Secret Service had received an anonymous call: "Air Force One is next." The caller allegedly knew the agency's code words relating to Air Force One procedures. Pilot Colonel Mark Tillman was told of the threat and he asked that an armed guard be stationed at the cockpit door. The Associated Press reported that the threat came "within the same hour" as the Pentagon crash (i.e., before 10:00 a.m., roughly when the plane took off). [AP, 9/13/01 (D)] Details suggest this threat was not the same as the earlier one, but it's hard to know for sure.

In his comments at Booker, Bush said he was immediately flying back to Washington, but soon after takeoff, he, Cheney and the Secret Service began arguing whether it was safe to fly back to the capital. [Telegraph, 12/16/01] Andrew Card told Bush, "We've got to let the dust settle before we go back." [St. Petersburg Times, 9/8/02] The plane apparently stayed over Sarasota until the argument was settled. Accounts differ, but until about 10:35 a.m. [CBS, 9/11/02 (B), Washington Post, 1/27/02], Air Force One "appeared to be going nowhere. The journalists on board – all of whom were barred from communicating with their offices – sensed that the plane was flying in big, slow circles." [Telegraph, 12/16/01]

Cheney apparently called Bush again at 10:32 a.m., and told him of another threat to Air Force One. Within minutes, the argument was over, and the plane turned away from Washington and flew to Louisiana instead. [Washington Post, 1/27/02] Bush recalled: "I wanted to come back to Washington, but the circumstances were such that it was just impossible for the Secret Service or the national security team to clear the way for Air Force One to come back." [CBS, 9/11/02] Given that the rocket-like takeoff was due to a threat, this must have been another threat, possibly even a third threat.

Around 10:55 a.m., there was yet another threat to Air Force One. The pilot, Colonel Mark Tillman, said he was warned that a suspect airliner was dead ahead. "Coming out of Sarasota there was one call that said there was an airliner off our nose that they did not have contact with." Tillman took evasive action, pulling his plane even higher above normal traffic. [CBS, 9/11/02 (B)] Reporters on board noticed the rise in elevation. [Dallas Morning News, 8/28/02, Salon, 9/12/01] The report was apparently a false alarm, but it shows the folly of having Bush fly without a fighter escort.

Were There Threats to Air Force One?

The threat or threats to Air Force One were announced on September 12, after mounting criticism that Bush was out of sight in Louisiana and Nebraska during most of the day and did not return to Washington until 10 hours after the attacks. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said there was "real and credible information that the White House and Air Force One were targets." [White House, 9/12/01] On September 13, New York Times columnist William Safire wrote - and Bush's political strategist Karl Rove confirmed - that there was an "inside" threat that "may have broken the secret codes [showing a knowledge of presidential procedures]." [New York Times, 9/13/01] Had terrorists hacked their way into sensitive White House computers? Was there a mole in the White House?

No. It turned out the entire story was made up. [Washington Post, 9/27/01] The press expressed considerable skepticism about the story. For instance, one Florida newspaper thought Fleischer's disclosure was "an apparent effort to explain why the president was flown to Air Force bases" before returning to Washington. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/13/01] When asked on September 15 about the "credible evidence," Fleischer said, "we exhausted that topic about two days ago." [White House, 9/15/01] On September 26, CBS News reported: "Finally, there is this postscript to the puzzle of how someone presumed to be a terrorist was able to call in a threat against Air Force One using a secret code name for the president's plane. Well, as it turns out, that simply never happened. Sources say White House staffers apparently misunderstood comments made by their security detail." [CBS, 9/26/01] One former official who served in George Bush Sr.'s administration told Human Events Online, which bills itself as "the national conservative weekly," that he was "deeply disappointed by [Bush's] zigzagging across the country." [Human Events Online, 9/17/01] At the end of the month, Slate magazine awarded its "Whopper of the Week" to Karl Rove, Ari Fleischer, and Dick Cheney. [Slate, 9/28/01]

No one knew exactly where the bogus story originated from, but "what can be safely said is that it served the White House's immediate purposes, even though it was completely untrue." [Telegraph, 12/16/01] What were those purposes? A well-informed, anonymous Washington official said, "It did two things for [Cheney]. It reinforced his argument that the President should stay out of town, and it gave George W. an excellent reason for doing so." [Telegraph, 12/16/01] When Bush was asked in May 2002 why he had flown to two Air Force bases before returning to Washington, Bush said, "I was trying to get out of harm's way." [White House, 5/21/02]

The most obviously bogus threat - the mole knowing secret codes - came from Cheney in a pivotal moment in his argument with Bush over where Bush should go. But were the other threats, for instance, the one made before Air Force One even took off, or the airline suspected of crashing into Air Force One, also bogus?

When Does the Fighter Escort Finally Arrive?

Much like the time when Bush left the Booker classroom, the time when fighters finally reached Air Force One is rarely mentioned, and when it is, the facts are highly debatable. According to one account, around 10:00 a.m. Air Force One was "joined by an escort of F-16 fighters from a base near Jacksonville, Florida." [Telegraph, 12/16/01] But one month later, it was reported that in Cheney's 10:32 phone call, he told Bush that it would take another 40 to 90 minutes [as late as noon] to get protective fighters up to escort Air Force One. [Washington Post, 1/27/02] Another account said, "Air Force One headed toward Jacksonville [at 10:41] to meet jets scrambled to give the presidential jet its own air cover," but it isn't said when the plane actually met up with the fighters. [New York Times, 9/16/01 (B)] We know that when Air Force One took evasive action around 10:55, there was no fighter escort. NORAD commander Major General Larry Arnold later said, "We scrambled available airplanes from Tyndall [note this is near Tallahassee, not Jacksonville, Florida] and then from Ellington in Houston, Texas," but he doesn't say when. [Code One Magazine, 1/02] In another account, the first two F-16s to arrive are piloted by Shane Brotherton and Randy Roberts, from the Texas Air National Guard, not from any Florida base. [CBS, 9/11/02] All that's known for sure is that by 11:30 there were six fighters protecting Air Force One. [Sarasota Magazine, 9/19/01]

It would appear that fighters arrived some time between 11:00 and 11:30. These fighters were supposed to be on 24-hour alert, ready to get into the air in about five minutes. If we assume the fighters flew at a speed of 1,100 mph, the same speed Major Gen. Arnold said fighters used to reach New York City earlier in the day when traveling a comparable distance [MSNBC, 9/23/01 (C), Slate, 1/16/02], the fighters should have reached Sarasota in about 10 minutes. Yet they took around two hours to reach Air Force One from when they were likely first needed, shortly after 9:00.

This clearly goes beyond mere incompetence, yet no newspaper article has ever raised the issue. Was Cheney able to prevent the fighters from reaching Air Force One, perhaps to convince Bush not to return to Washington? If so, why? Did Cheney assume (or know) that Bush was in no real danger? Like so many other questions surrounding 9/11, we do not know.

Barksdale Air Force Base

Air Force One landed at Barksdale Air Force base near Shreveport, Louisiana at about 11:45 a.m. [CBS, 9/11/02, Telegraph, 12/16/01, Sarasota Magazine, 11/01] "The official reason for landing at Barksdale was that Bush felt it necessary to make a further statement, but it isn't unreasonable to assume that – as there was no agreement as to what the President's movements should be it was felt he might as well be on the ground as in the air." [Telegraph, 12/16/01, CBS, 9/11/02] Ironically, the landing came only a short time after Bush's plane was finally protected by fighters.

There was quite a difference in the protection afforded Bush at Barksdale and what was in Sarasota. Bush was left unprotected at a known location in Sarasota for nearly 30 minutes. At Barksdale, a location that was at the time unknown, Congressman Dan Miller "was amazed at the armored equipment and soldiers with automatic weapons that immediately surrounded the plane." [Sarasota Magazine, 11/01] Bush was driven to base headquarters in a Humvee escorted by armed outriders. Reporters and others remained under strict orders not to give out their location. [Telegraph, 12/16/01]

Bush was taken to a secret and secure place on the base. [Louisiana Life, Autumn 2002] Shortly after 12:30 p.m., Bush taped a short speech, which he wrote on a napkin. [Louisiana Life, Autumn 2002, Salon, 9/12/01, Washington Times, 10/8/02] The tape was broadcast on television at around 1:20 p.m. [Salon 9/11/01] He also "spent the next hour and a half talking on the phone," again arguing with Cheney and others over where he should go next. [Sarasota Magazine, 11/01] The Secret Service felt the situation in Washington was still unsafe. [CBS, 9/11/02] Bush told Karl Rove: "I want to go back home as soon as possible." Rove answered: "Our people are saying it's unstable still." [AP, 9/13/01 (D)] Bush was told he could get to the US Strategic Command center in Offutt, Nebraska, quicker than he could fly to Washington, so he agreed to go to Nebraska. [Telegraph, 12/16/01, AP, 9/13/01 (D)]

Just after 1:00 p.m., Bush supposedly "received an intelligence report from the base commander that a high-speed object was headed for his ranch in Crawford, Texas." It turned out to be another false alarm. [Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism - From Inside the Bush White House, by Bill Sammon, 10/02, p.117] This may well be another bogus report designed to explain why Bush didn't return to Washington at this time, since US airspace was declared clear except for some military and emergency flights at 12:16 p.m. [USA Today, 8/12/02 (C)] By 12:30, the FAA reported that only about 50 of these flights were still flying in US airspace, and none were reporting problems [CNN, 9/12/01, New York Times, 9/12/01], so how could an unknown plane have been headed toward Bush's ranch 30 minutes after that?

Offutt Air Force Base

Air Force One left Barksdale for Offutt Air Force Base around 1:30 p.m. [CBS, 9/11/02, Telegraph, 12/16/01, Salon, 9/11/01, Washington Post, 9/11/01, MSNBC, 9/22/01, CNN, 9/12/01] The Air Force One entourage was pared down to a few essential staffers such as Ari Fleischer, Andrew Card, Karl Rove, Dan Bartlett, and Gordon Johndroe [White House, 9/11/01], plus about five reporters. [AP, 9/12/01 (D)] During the flight, Bush remained in "continuous contact" with the White House Situation Room and Vice President Cheney. [CNN, 9/11/01 (B)]

Air Force One landed at Offutt shortly before 3:00 p.m. [Washington Post, 9/11/01] At 3:06, Bush passed through security to the US Strategic Command Underground Command Center [Salon, 9/11/01, CBS, 9/11/02] and was taken into an underground bunker designed to withstand a nuclear blast. [Telegraph, 12/16/01]

There, he held a teleconference call with Vice President

Cheney, National Security Advisor Rice, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, CIA Director Tenet, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, and others. [ABC News, 9/11/02, Telegraph, 12/16/01, Washington Times, 10/8/02] The meeting lasted about an hour. [Telegraph, 12/16/01, Salon, 9/11/01, AP, 8/19/02] Rice recalled that during the meeting, Tenet told Bush, "Sir, I believe it's al-Qaeda. We're doing the assessment but it looks like, it feels like, it smells like al-Qaeda." [CBS, 9/11/02]

By this time, people were anticipating and expecting another reassuring public statement from Bush. [Orlando Sentinel, 9/12/01] The White House staff was preparing for Bush to address the nation from the Offutt bunker, but Bush decided instead to return to Washington. [CBS, 9/11/02]

As a side note, Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, was hosting an unpublicized charity benefit inside the high security Offutt military base at 8:00 a.m. With him were business leaders and several executives from the World Trade Center, including Anne Tatlock of Fiduciary Trust Co. International, who likely would have died had it not been for the meeting. [San Francisco Business Times, 2/1/02] They watched a lot of the television coverage that morning, but it's unknown if any of these people were still at Offutt by the time Bush arrived in the afternoon.

Back in Washington

Air Force One left Offutt around 4:30 p.m. [MSNBC, 9/22/01, CNN, 9/12/01, Telegraph, 12/16/01] and landed at Andrews Air Force Base at 6:34 p.m., escorted by two F-15 fighters and one F-16. [CNN, 9/11/01] Bush then took the Marine One helicopter to the White House [Salon 9/11/01], arriving shortly before 7:00 p.m. [CNN, 9/12/01, Telegraph, 12/16/01, AP, 8/19/02]




Bush gave a nationally televised speech at 8:30 p.m. [CNN, 9/12/01, White House, 9/11/01], speaking for about five minutes. [US News, 9/14/01] In what would later be called the Bush Doctrine, he stated, "We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them." [Washington Post, 1/27/02]

Around 9:00 p.m., Bush met with his full National Security Council, followed roughly half an hour later by a meeting with a smaller group of key advisors. Bush and his advisors had already decided bin Laden was behind the attacks. CIA Director Tenet told Bush that al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan were essentially one and the same. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]

Before going to sleep around 11:30 p.m., Bush wrote in his diary, "The Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today.... We think it's Osama bin Laden." [Washington Post, 1/27/02]

Rewriting History

The many accounts of what happened to Bush on 9/11 are riddled with disinformation of false threats, omitted details, fudged timing, and more. But around September 11, 2002, the heavily publicized first anniversary of the attacks, there was an obvious attempt to further rewrite the story.

Chief of Staff Andrew Card claimed that after he told Bush about the second World Trade Center crash, "it was only a matter of seconds" before Bush "excused himself very politely to the teacher and to the students, and he left" the classroom. Card also stated that Bush "quickly excused himself to a holding room." [San Francisco Chronicle, 9/11/02] In a different account, Card said, "Not that many seconds later the president excused himself from the classroom." [MSNBC, 9/9/02] The Booker school video shows these statements are lies - unless "a matter of seconds" means over 700 seconds!

Sandra Kay Daniels, the teacher whose second-grade classroom Bush visited on 9/11, told the Los Angeles Times that after Card informed Bush of the second crash, Bush got up and left. "He said, 'Ms. Daniels, I have to leave now.' ... Looking at his face, you knew something was wrong. I said a little prayer for him. He shook my hand and left." Daniels also said, "I knew something was up when President Bush didn't pick up the book and participate in the lesson." [Los Angeles Times, 9/11/02] However, the Booker video clearly shows that Bush did follow along after being told of the second plane. [Video: Center for Cooperative Research, Buzzflash, Global Free Press, The Emperor's New Clothes, or Liberty DYNU]

The New York Post reported, "A federal agent rushed into the room to inform the president of the United States. President Bush had been presiding over [Daniels's] reading class last 9/11, when a Secret Service agent interrupted the lesson and asked, 'Where can we get to a television?'" Daniels then claimed that Bush left the class even before the second crash: "The president bolted right out of here and told me: 'Take over.'" When the second crash occurred, she claims her students were watching TV in a nearby media room. [New York Post, 9/12/02] This article is riddled with errors. As mentioned previously, the Secret Service was already watching the second plane crash live on television in an adjacent room at 9:03 - long before this supposedly happened. Nor did Bush "bolt" out of the room; in fact, even pro-Bush author Bill Sammon called Bush "the dawdler in chief" for taking so long to leave the room. [Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism - From Inside the Bush White House, by Bill Sammon, 10/02, p. 90]
Bush himself took part in the historical revisionism. In an extensive video interview shown on CBS's "60 Minutes," he again repeated his bizarre belief that he was watching television when the first crash took place. CBS also revived the false story that terrorists had broken Air Force One's secret codes, even though it was CBS who debunked that same story nearly a year earlier. [CBS, 9/11/02]


Vital Questions Remain Unanswered

Needless to say, in the anniversary hoopla, Bush and other leaders were described as "resolute," "brave," "strong," and so forth. Even the minor level of media criticism just after 9/11 that led to several reporters losing their jobs was absent. The topic of Bush's behavior on 9/11 has been barely mentioned in the media since.

There are many questions that deserve answers. So many pieces of the puzzle do not fit. Simply by reading the mainstream media reports, we can see that mere incompetence doesn't explain what happened to Bush on that day. For instance, it makes no sense that Bush would listen to a story about a goat long after being told the US was under attack, and even after the Secret Service decided to immediately evacuate him from the school. It defies explanation that Air Force One's fighter escort took two hours to appear. And it is mind-boggling that there are seven different versions of how Bush learned about the first crash.

It's doubtful that the Independent Commission investigation will look critically at what Bush did on 9/11 and why he did it. Despite the contradictory reports, no one in the mainstream media has yet demanded clarification of the many obvious inconsistencies and problems of the official version. Anyone even asking questions has been quickly insulted as anti-American, accused of bashing the president in a time of war, or branded a conspiracy nut. Only a few relatives of the 9/11 attacks have been able to raise these issues publicly. For instance, Kristen Breitweiser told Phil Donahue: "It was clear that we were under attack. Why didn't the Secret Service whisk [Bush] out of that school? ... [H]e is the commander-in-chief of the United States of America, our country was clearly under attack, it was after the second building was hit. I want to know why he sat there for 25 minutes." [Donahue, 8/13/02] But so far, few have listened to their concerns.

Because the media has failed in its role to ask these questions, much less attempt to answer them, it is now the responsibility of ordinary Americans - of you, of me, and the people we know - to gather the information, look for answers, and sound the alarm.

Allan Wood has assisted with the research for, and editing of, the 9/11 Timeline. He is also a member of 911CitizensWatch.org. Any questions, comments, or additional information regarding this article can be sent to his email: aninterestingday @hotmail.com (remove the space). Thanks to Melissa Kavonic for assisting in the proofreading of the article.


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Re: 9/11 Info Dump

Postby Elvis » Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:58 am

[p. 7 of dump]




[WTC "power-down"/"cable upgrade"]

(From the FWIW Dept.; seems legit:)

http://www.gallerize.com/153%20WINDY%20TOWERS%20OF%209-11%20Four.htm

sf.indymedia.org/news/2004/04/1691636_comment.php

FORBES, Scott
Senior Database Administrator, Fiduciary Trust.
He has details on how the twin towers were rigged:

Did the World Trade Center towers undergo a deliberate „power-down” on the weekend prior to the 9-11 terrorist attacks?
According to Scott Forbes, a senior database administrator for Fiduciary Trust, Inc. – a high-net investment bank which was later acquired by Franklin Templeton – this is precisely what took place. Forbes, who was hired by Fiduciary in 1999 and is now stationed at a U.K. branch office, was working on the weekend of September 8-9, 2001, and said that his company was given three weeks advance notice that New York’s Port Authority would take out power in the South Tower from the 48th floor up. The reason: the Port Authority was performing a cabling upgrade to increase the WTC’s computer bandwidth.

Forbes stated that Fiduciary Trust was one of the WTC’s first occupants after it was erected, and that a „power-down” had never been initiated prior to this occasion. He also stated that his company put forth a huge investment in time and resources to take down their computer systems due to the deliberate power outage. This process, Forbes recalled, began early Saturday morning (September 8th) and continued until mid-Sunday afternoon (September 9th) – approximately 30 hours. As a result of having its electricity cut, the WTC’s security cameras were rendered inoperative, as were its I.D. systems, and elevators to the upper floors.

Forbes did stress, though, that there was power to the WTC’s lower floors, and that there were plenty of engineers going in-and-out of the WTC who had free access throughout the building due to its security system being knocked out. In an e-mail to journalist John Kaminski, author of The Day America Died (Sisyphus Press) and America’s Autopsy Report (Dandelion Books), Forbes wrote: „Without power there were no security cameras, no security locks on doors, and many, many ‘engineers’ coming in and out of the tower.”

Forbes didn’t think much of these occurrences at the time, and said that he worked until Monday morning (September 10th) to get all the computer systems back online. Due to his IT-related duties on Saturday & Sunday, Forbes had Tuesday, September 11th off, and thus watched the World Trade Center towers collapse from his apartment. While doing so, he recalled, „I was convinced immediately that something was happening related to the weekend work.”

In addition, Forbes says there were other peculiarities revolving around this unreported event, including:

1) Fiduciary employees trapped between the 90-97th floors of the South Tower told family members (via cell-phone calls) that they were hearing „bomb-like explosions” throughout the towers.

2) Video cameras positioned atop the World Trade Center which were used to feed daily images to local television stations were inexplicably inoperative that morning.

3) A Fiduciary employee who was on one of the lower floors and escaped immediately after the first (North) tower was struck, reported that he was amazed by the large number of FBI agents that were already on the streets surrounding the WTC complex only minutes after the initial strike.

4) Last but not least, Ann Tatlock, CEO of Fiduciary Trust and now a board member of Franklin Templeton, had just arrived at a conference hosted by Warren Buffet at the Offutt Air Force Base (home of the U.S. Strategic Command Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska) when the 9-11 attacks took place. Coincidentally, later that day President George W. Bush flew into this very same base on Air Force One for „security reasons.” Even more chilling are the Offutt AFB ties to the CIA’s MK ULTRA experiments, Project Monarch, the Franklin Cover-Up, and the diabolical practices of Michael Aquino. (Type any of these words into a search engine for more information.)

In the end, Forbes says that even though these disclosures could jeopardize his current employment, he has stepped forward because, „I have mailed this information to many people, including the 9/11 Commission, but no one seems to be registering these facts.”





[John O'Neill / AQ / runup]

The Mystery Surrounding the Death of John O'Neill:
The Propaganda Preparation for 9/11

by Chaim Kupferberg
©Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG), 13 June 2002

Read more in Global Outlook September 11: Foreknowledge or Deception? Stop the Nuclear Threat, Issue no 2, Summer 2002.

In the immediate aftermath of the destruction of the World Trade Center, the finger of guilt was directed toward the only plausible author for such a sophisticated and ruthless act of terror - Osama bin Laden.

In bits and pieces throughout the late '90's - punctuated by various acts of terror perpetrated against overseas American interests - we were informed that bin Laden had declared war on America by reason of the American military presence on Saudi soil in the wake of the Persian Gulf War. We were told how bin Laden, ensconced in Afghanistan, headed up a world-wide terror franchise whose sophistication and global reach dwarfed that of the Iranian-financed Hizballah or Islamic Jihad (previously, the most widely known of the terror organizations among the masses in the Middle East). From the beginning, this terror entity, al-Qaida, was presented to us as something entirely new in the annals of terrorism - a far-flung, sophisticated empire of terror, possessing - possibly - weapons of mass destruction, while having no clear or viable state sponsor behind it (as the Afghani Taliban were merely its resident protectors).

More disturbingly, Americans were presented with an apocalyptic nemesis whose animosities could not be curbed by any rational political considerations or alignments. In short, by September 11, the United States now had a bona fide enemy - and, as they say in criminal justice parlance, a suspect with motive, means, and opportunity.

John O'Neill

And while I was a bit taken at how quickly - and confidently - the fingers were pointing only hours after the 9/11 bombings, I was positively shaken by the first red flag that popped up. His name was John O'Neill - or more precisely, he is the seam that shows. Dated September 12, in a Washington Post article by Vernon Loeb, it was revealed that O'Neill, who died in his capacity as head of security for the World Trade Center, was also formerly the New York FBI Counterterror chief responsible for the investigation into Osama bin Laden. That could perhaps be written off as one of those freak synchronicities. It was the other items - reported quite blandly, in that "there's nothing to see here, folks" tone - that gave me that sinking feeling. Apparently, O'Neill had a falling-out with the Ambassador to Yemen over his investigative style and was banned from returning there. But then there was that other nugget that I had trouble digesting - that O'Neill had resigned from a thirty-year career in the FBI "under a cloud" over an incident in Tampa - and then left to take up the security position at the WTC (only two weeks before!).

The seam that shows...

For the bulk of his career, like most of his FBI colleagues, John O'Neill was largely unknown to the public at large - respected in his circle, to be sure, yet scarcely meriting much mention in the media - beyond being referenced now and then as an expert on counterterrorism. Yet in the few months leading up to September 11, O'Neill was now suddenly the subject of a series of seemingly unrelated controversies - the first, in July, involving his dispute with the State Department over the conduct of the bin Laden investigation in Yemen; and the second, in August, in which he was reported to be under an FBI probe for misplacing a briefcase of classified documents during an FBI convention in Tampa.

In the light of the aftermath of this second controversy - the documents were found, "untouched", a few hours later - one wonders why this seemingly minor news would merit such lengthy coverage in the Washington Post and New York Times. Keeping in mind the fact that these latter articles on O'Neill appeared a mere three weeks before he was to die in the rubble of the Twin Towers, one wonders if this wasn't a well-orchestrated smear campaign against O'Neill, with a bit of unintended "blowback" - as this now-discredited counterterror chief in charge of all bin Laden bombings would finally make the news as a fatal casualty of bin Laden's final bombing. Coincidence? Or was there something more here that would bear investigating?

My gut told me that, in the months preceding September 11, somebody was out to discredit John O'Neill, yet this public campaign would come back to haunt the planners in the light of John O'Neill's ultimate demise. Was a mistake made - one pointing the way toward a plan whose scope goes well beyond the designs of Osama bin Laden? In other words, could we spot the telltale fingerprints of a domestic conspiracy?

Well, as they say, a hypothesis is only as good as its usefulness in ferreting out reality. My hypothesis: that the events of September 11 were planned by those who not only had the motive, means, and opportunity to carry out the plan, but also were best placed to manage the consequences stemming from it, as well as managing the flow of information. If this were an "inside job", the first thing to do was to look at who conveyed specific information on bin Laden before - and I stress, before - 9/11, for they were most likely involved wittingly or not with those who masterminded it. In other words, circumstantial evidence of a propaganda campaign, pre-9/11, to present Osama bin Laden as America's foremost nemesis would also provide the circumstantial case against the propaganda planners in taking down the World Trade Towers. So I monitored CNN and other media in the days immediately after, taking note of those trotted out - Judith Miller, Paul Bremer, James Risen, Vincent Cannistraro, etc. - to provide instant commentary on bin Laden. Moreover, I trolled through past articles on bin Laden - noting the wire service uniformity of information as well as sources.

But first there was the John O'Neill conundrum. If my hypothesis were correct, it wouldn't make much sense to draw public attention on September 12 - however blandly stated - to the fact that O'Neill had left the FBI "under a cloud" and that he had been banned from the bin Laden investigation in Yemen. It was a September 4 article in the Washington Post by Vernon Loeb that gave me my answer. That article, involving the Yemen investigation, mentioned briefly about O'Neill being banned by the Ambassador as well as O'Neill's travails with the briefcase incident. This was a full week before the WTC attack. It was perhaps conceivable that, upon hearing of O'Neill's demise, someone would dig up the September 4 item and smell a rat. Thus, the September 12 follow-up with its "nothing shady here" tone - employing, virtually word-for-word, the incriminating information revealed on September 4, but providing no more details than that. An almost obligatory coda to paper over a thoughtless oversight. Presumably, Loeb - the national security correspondent for the Post - had no inkling of what was to come in the week ahead, so the oversight can most probably be laid at the feet of his confidential source. In any case, the credulous tone of that follow-up reportage succeeded in the psychological trick of "normalizing" an apparent anomaly - a standard propaganda trick known as a "limited hang-out."

There's more. The evidence implicating bin Laden was now pouring in. Virtually the first "smoking gun" was presented the day after 9/11, when Vernon Loeb and Dan Eggen reported in the Post that Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of the Al-Quds al Arabi newspaper in London, "received information that he [bin Laden] planned very, very big attacks against American interests" only three weeks before 9/11. Moreover, the article reported that Atwan "was convinced that Islamic fundamentalists aligned with bin Laden were 'almost certainly' behind the attacks." Incidentally, Atwan had personally interviewed bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1996 - among the very few to do so. As reported by Michael Evans in the August 24, 1998 issue of The Times, Atwan "is trusted by bin Laden."

Curious, perhaps, that Atwan seemed to be one of the major "point men" used in elaborating the Osama bin Laden "legend", as they say in intelligence parlance. In a U.S. News article dated August 31, 1998, Atwan informs us that bin Laden "is a humble man who lives simply, eating fried eggs, tasteless low-fat cheese, and bread gritty with sand. He hates America." No flash in the pan, this interviewer. Apparently, bin Laden kept Atwan's business card tucked away in his toga pocket. "Bin Laden phoned this newspaper, phoned me last Friday," Atwan revealed in an ABC News LateLine Transcript dated August 25, 1998. We'll come back to ABC News shortly.

While solidly implicating bin Laden the day after 9/11, Atwan was also the media's "go-to" guy back in 1998 when he informed us, after President Clinton bombed tool sheds in Afghanistan, that bin Laden issued this threat against the United States: "The battle has not started yet. The response will be with action and not words." In the same article (which I took from Nando Times), ABC News is the source for an additional threat called in by Ayman al-Zawahiri, a senior bin Laden aide: "The war has just started. The Americans should wait for the answer." Only a few months before that, ABC had conducted its televised interview of bin Laden. By the summer of 1998, primed by Atwan, ABC NEWS, and a surprisingly small clique of well-worn sources, we had come to know bin Laden as America's latest "Saddam", "Qaddafi", "Noriega" - take your pick and set your bomb sites. To be fair to ABC NEWS, they did include the comments of the Honourary Consul of Afghanistan in the above-noted 1998 LateLine transcript: "There is a pattern developing - I'm not quite sure about the rest of the world, but in Afghanistan that has been the case for the past 20 years. That the intelligence service they put together they create somebody [sic], and they turn them into a monster and then they attack this very same creation, they destroy that creation and then they reinvent another creation."

By October 2000, when the U.S.S. Cole was bombed in Yemen, in case there was any doubt, Atwan offered Reuters his helpful analysis with regards to the source of blame: "I do not rule out that this was undertaken by Osama bin Laden. Yemeni groups don't have the experience to carry out this kind of operation." Still, to assure us that a bin Laden connection to the Yemen incident was at least plausible, Atwan recalled, in the same interview with Reuters, how, "in the early 1990's [bin Laden] had hoped U.S. soldiers would stop off in Aden during their peacekeeping deployment in Somalia, exposing themselves to attack from his Yemen-based followers." Also, Atwan informed Reuters that bin Laden "was unlikely to claim direct responsibility for Thursday's attack for fear of U.S. reprisals." One can imagine, then, that Atwan gave his trusting phone mate cause for many a sleepless night. With friends like these...

Leading up to 9/11, by the Spring of 2001, an incriminating wedding videotape, apparently implicating bin Laden in the Yemen bombing, was circulating around the Middle East after being broadcast on the ubiquitous al-Jazeera television station (reconstituted from the BBC TV Arabic Service - more on them later). In the video, bin Laden, according to the Saudi-owned al-Hayat newspaper (more on them later, too), recited a poem celebrating the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole (shades of deja vu here?) This from the ABCNEWS.com site dated March 1: "Al-Hayat, which carried a photo of bin Laden and his son at the wedding, said its correspondent was the only journalist at the ceremony, also attended by bin Laden's mother, two brothers and sister who flew to Kandahar from Saudi Arabia." Last I heard, the official story was that bin Laden was on the outs with his family. Well, maybe they just don't invite him to the seders anymore.

And yes, here, too, Atwan offers his thoughtful review of the bin Laden video, courtesy of PTI, datelined London June 22, 2001: "[Atwan] said the video was proof that the fugitive Saudi millionaire [the Bruce Wayne of terrorists] was fit, well equipped and confident enough to send out a call to arms." Why this sudden need for proof? According to Atwan in the same article: "There have been rumours that he is ill and that he is being contained by the Taliban in Afghanistan. It is quite clear from the film that he is in good health to the point where he can fire a rifle, and is free to operate as he chooses." In other words, limber enough for his starring role in the months ahead.

So who is Abdel Bari Atwan and why is he anxious to tell us so much? According to the Winter 1999 issue of INEAS (Institute of Near Eastern and African Studies), Abdel Bari Atwan, a Palestinian, was born in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip in 1950. Educated at the American University of Cairo, Atwan moved to Saudi Arabia and worked as a writer for the al-Madina newspaper. In 1978, he moved to London, where he became a correspondent for the Saudi-owned Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. In 1988, after shuffling around between Saudi-owned papers, Atwan was offered a position as editor of al-Quds al-Arabi. By his account, he was offered a position as the executive editor of the Saudi-owned al-Hayat (of the bin Laden wedding video coup), yet turned it down to produce a more independent newspaper as a challenge to the "empires" of the Saudi-dominated dailies.

Al-Quds began production in April 1989. A little more than a year later, Saddam invaded Kuwait and al-Quds stood alone as the only Arab newspaper opposed to the Persian Gulf War - at least by Atwan's account. According to Atwan: "Without the Gulf War, we wouldn't have taken such political lines, which made us well recognized and well respected." In November 1996, Bari-Atwan braved a twelve-hour car ride through muddy roads, attired in shabby Afghani rags in below-zero weather, and gave us the early scoop on bin Laden, conducting a one-on-one interview in bin Laden's [bat]cave. From then on, the mainstream media - CNN, ABC, BBC, Sky News - looked to Bari-Atwan and al-Quds as the "independent" voice of the Arab street.

Incidentally, in a discussion concerning the matter of Saudi domination of the Arabic media, taken from the Carryon.oneworld.org site, Atwan, as editor of his struggling independent, was facing off against Jihad Khazen, the editor of the Saudi-owned al-Hayat. As Atwan proudly related in support of his independence: "One day I was called by the BBC-TV Arabic service [whose staff later reconstituted itself as al-Jazeera television]: 'There's a story on your front page today, saying such and such. Is it true?' I asked why he should doubt it and he replied: 'It's not published in al-Hayat [his job offer] or al-Sharq al-Awsat [his alma mater].' " Atwan boasts: "At least I can say we are 95 to 96 per cent independent" - leaving out the 4 to 5 per cent spent on bin Laden, I presume. Whether or not al-Quds truly is independent, this is the cover story the mainstream media buys into when they come trolling for their "independent" evidence.

So, to elaborate further on this (so far) fruitful hypothesis, it is my contention that al-Qaida and bin Laden are elaborate "legends" set up to promote a plausibly sophisticated and ferocious enemy to stand against American interests. I am not, however, implying that bin Laden himself is a total fabrication. Rather, it is my contention that confederates, believing themselves to act on behalf of bin Laden, are being set up in a "false flag operation" to perform operations as their controllers see fit. And who are these controllers? If they're anything resembling the folks who brought you Hizbullah and Hamas, you wouldn't be sweating the suitcase nukes (made in America), the Ames strain anthrax (made in America), the MI5-like "sleeper agents" and coded "go" messages. Instead, you would be dodging primitive nail bombs and road mines - and not needing Abdel Bari Atwan to feed you the lowdown on the blame.

In view of the fact that bin Laden is of Saudi origin, that much of the "evidence" on the Arab side initially originated from Saudi-owned or Gulf Anglo-client state sources, and that Saudi Arabia is the major financial sponsor of the Taliban brand of fundamentalism in Afghanistan (as a counter-point to Iran), I believe it is fair to say that Saudi Arabia might possibly be implicated. But why only take my word for it? Just reference French security expert Jean-Charles Brisard, who in his book quoted John O'Neill as saying, "All the answers, everything needed to dismantle Osama bin Laden's organization can be found in Saudi Arabia ." Most likely, the Saudis performed their roles as subservient proxies. We'll get to the ultimate controllers soon enough (if you haven't already guessed where this is going). And now, to fill out the picture further, it is necessary to name an equally essential partner as proxy - Pakistan, or, more specifically, Pakistan's version of the CIA - the ISI (Interservices Intelligence Directorate).

And this is where we begin to "close the circle" of our closed-knit pre-9/11 propaganda clique. Returning again to the above-mentioned Dan Eggen and Vernon Loeb Post article of September 12, we're offered - in a powerful little side-bar - more critical evidence implicating bin Laden for the attacks the day before. This time, the bombshell is offered by Palestinian journalist Jamal Ismail, Abu Dhabi Television's bureau chief in Islamabad. According to Ismail, a bin Laden aide called him "early Wednesday on a satellite telephone from a hide-out in Afghanistan," praising the attack yet denying any responsibility for it. By now thoroughly cynical and looking askance at anyone providing incriminating "evidence" so soon in the day, I decided to have a look at any interesting synchronicities I might find involving Ismail. As it turns out, Ismail was also among the select few to conduct his very own bin Laden interview, published by Newsweek (owned by the Washington Post) in its April 1, 1999 issue. Here is how Newsweek described Ismail's good fortune: "Palestinian journalist Jamal Ismail's mobile phone rang just before prayers on December 18. 'Peace be upon you, ' said the voice on the line. 'You may not recognize me, but I know you.' " And thus was Jamal Ismail invited on his own mud-soaked incursion to the bin Laden [bat]cave.

Searching deeper, I found an interesting obscure article penned by respected Pakistani journalist Rahimullah Yusufszai in The News Jang, and dated May 3 2000. It details the detention of two men of Kurdish origin, accused by the Taliban of spying for American and Israeli intelligence. As Yusufszai relates it, he spoke to the only journalists allowed by the Taliban to interview the detained men - Jamal Ismail and his cameraman. Apparently, Ismail had a special relationship with the Taliban, allowing him this rare privilege above other journalists. And, as we shall shortly see, so does Yusufszai. One wonders who debriefs them at the end of a workday. But more interestingly, by May 5, as reported by Kathy Gannon for the Associated Press, the story acquires - as they say - "new legs." Not only are the basic elements of the Yusufszai story mentioned, but the article leads off with the bombshell that one of the detained men revealed that he was recruited by the United States to find Osama bin Laden. It finishes with a little coda implicating bin Laden in the 1998 embassy bombings. Thus, in the space of two days, Yusufszai's Pakistani "spy" article sprouts a bin Laden addition when fertilized by the American Associated Press - and nicely provides a plausible explanation as to why a Kurd would be prowling around Afghanistan on behalf of the United States.

Yusufszai, incidentally, moonlighted as an ABC News producer, charged with guiding ABC News correspondent John Miller through the Afghani marshes to the bin Laden [bat]cave - the only American journalist to be accorded such an honour (and also, as it happens, a good friend of bin Laden arch-foe John O'Neill. But not chummy enough to direct O'Neill on to bin Laden's hideaway). Moreover, Ismail and Yusufszai are mentioned together in a CNN article posted January 4, 1999 - the former for his Newsweek interview, the latter for his own bin Laden dialogue for TIME Magazine the day later.

Rahimullah Yusufszai, regarded by New York Times reporters John Burns and Steve LeVine as "one man who has seen more of the Taliban than any other outsider," is also named by The Nation, in its article of January 27, 1997, as "one of the favourite journalists of [Pakistan's] ISI...one of the organizations funding and arming the Taliban. "

It's a small world after all. In the September 29, 2001 article of PressPlus, Yusufszai's ABC colleague, John Miller, mused about running into his buddy John O'Neill in Yemen while reporting on the U.S.S. Cole bombing the year before. "He said, 'So this is the Elaine's of Yemen.' "
"There is a terrible irony to all this," Miller said. I'll say: Miller, the only American who can give a first-hand account of bin Laden, bumps into his friend, bin Laden's chief investigator while both are investigating a bombing in Yemen that will later be tagged onto bin Laden - and only a year before O'Neill dies at the hands of... allegedly ...bin Laden.

Now, following the logic of my hypothesis, if the bin Laden threat was, pre-9/11, a closed-knit propaganda campaign, one would expect to find the same names showing up repeatedly in combination with one another. This, too, applies to the American commentators. Let us return to the August 1998 American bombings of bin Laden's tool sheds as an example. The night of the bombing, Rahimullah Yusufszai received a call from bin Laden aide Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a report from the Associated Press. Later, Yusufszai obtained for ABC News exclusive photos of the damage to bin Laden's camp. Further commentary describing the layout of the bin Laden camp was furnished to the Washington Post by former CIA analyst and terrorism expert Kenneth Katzman, as well as Harvey Kushner of Long Island University. Only little more than a week before that, Katzman and Kushner were offering their assessment of bin Laden's culpability for the embassy bombings in Africa in a Washington Post article penned by Vernon Loeb and Walter Pincus (who once admitted to a prior CIA connection). They were joined in this effort by Vincent Cannistraro, the ABC news analyst who provided running commentary in the days immediately following 9/11. Cannistraro, a former CIA counterterrorism chief, provided covert aid to the Afghani mujaheddin in the late '80's, as well as supervised CIA operations with the contras. He was also one of the point men in the notoriously circumspect investigation at Lockerbie. In the above-noted Loeb and Pincus article - in which bin Laden is quoted from the ABC News Miller and Yusufszai interview - Cannistraro weighs in with his assessment of the embassy bombings: "I believe Osama bin Laden is the sponsor of this operation, and I think all of the indications are pointing that way."

Soon after the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen, a Vernon Loeb Post article, dated October 13, 2000, proceeded to implicate bin Laden through the detailed information provided by Kushner, Katzman, and Cannistraro. Kushner: "He [bin Laden] has been looking around for small, personal submarines. One of his relatives in the United States had an order in for one of these personal submarines, and it was stopped." Katzman: "He [bin
Laden] has claimed responsibility for bombing a hotel in Yemen in 1992 where U.S. servicemen stayed on their way to Somalia." Was that so? This, of course, was a variation on the disclosure that Atwan provided that very same day to Reuters, to whom he quoted bin Laden as saying, "We waited for them [the servicemen] in Aden but they left the region. They knew what we wanted to do to them. " Thus we have two conflicting versions that very same day - Katzman's Post version and Atwan's Reuters version - offered as evidence of bin Laden's culpability for the U.S.S. Cole bombings. To this day, it is not clear which one has been accepted into the official canon of the bin Laden "legend." Clearly, someone wasn't coordinating the information flow too well that day.

Nevertheless, the bin Laden "legend" was continuing to be elaborated, with helpful revelations provided by the same cast of characters. In the Vernon Loeb Post article dated July 3, 2000, Yusufszai, Kushner, and Cannistraro unveil bin Laden aides Ayman al-Zawahiri and Muhammed Atef as the men to watch as bin Laden's likely successors, with a helpful tidbit on the Zawahiri biography thrown in by the Saudi-owned al-Sharq al-Awsat.

None of the above, of course, is offered as the "smoking gun" pointing the way to a propaganda conspiracy, nor are my chosen examples meant to be exhaustive in evidencing this point. Clearly, I have not heretofore made mention of the other experts who have worked assiduously toward building our knowledge base on bin Laden - Steven Emerson, Daniel Pipes, Yosef Bodansky, Judith Miller, and various British and EU elites. However, the above examples do show how the information flow on bin Laden could be plausibly managed by the skilfully placed revelations of a relatively insular clique of "experts" called upon repeatedly by the mainstream media. Such a technique of covert media manipulation was, in fact, revealed as an institutional norm with the exposure of the CIA's Project Mockingbird in the '70's. Officially, it was discontinued. Nevertheless, the essential infrastructure remains intact. A relatively few well-connected correspondents provide the "scoops" that get the coverage in the relatively few mainstream news sources - the four TV networks, TIME, Newsweek, CNN - where the parameters of debate are set and the "official reality" is consecrated for the bottom feeders in the news chain. In other countries, this is what is known as propaganda - or, put less politely, psychological warfare. A key element in the uses of psychological warfare is the repeated traumatization and sheer numbing of a populace in order to achieve the desired strategic goals.

But before I leave this topic, I would like to provide an example of "news management" that is revealing for what is omitted - that is, the "smoking gun" of Pakistani ISI involvement in the events of 9/11. This from Karachi News, September 9, 2001:

"[Pakistani] ISI Chief Lt-Gen Mahmood's week-long presence in Washington has triggered speculation about the agenda of his mysterious meetings at the Pentagon and National Security Council. Officially, State Department sources say he is on a routine visit in return to [sic] CIA Director George Tenet's earlier visit to Islamabad...What added interest to his visit is the history of such visits. Last time Ziauddin Butt, Mahmood's predecessor, was here during Nawaz Sharif's government the domestic politics turned topsy-turvy within days. That this is not the first visit by Mahmood in the last three months shows the urgency of the ongoing parleys...Interestingly, his visit also saw two CIA reports expressing concern on issues related to Pakistan this week. One of them was about the effects of demographic explosion and Pakistan's continued build up in its nuclear and missiles programme."

Now, let us move ahead three weeks later, to a transcript of ABC's "This Week", posted on the Washington Post website September 30, 2001: "As to September 11, federal authorities have told ABC News they've now tracked more than $100,000 from banks in Pakistan to two banks in Florida to accounts held by suspected hijack ringleader Mohamed Atta. As well this morning, TIME magazine is reporting that some of that money came in the days just before the attack and can be traced directly to people connected to Osama bin Laden."

Now, a little more than a week later, on October 9, 2001, as reported by The Times of India: "While the Pakistani Inter Services Public Relations claimed that former ISI director-general Lt-Gen Mahmud Ahmad sought retirement after being superseded on Monday, the truth is more shocking. Top sources confirmed here on Tuesday that the general lost his job because of the "evidence" India produced to show his links to one of the suicide bombers that wrecked the World Trade Centre. The US authorities sought his removal after confirming the fact that $100,000 were wired to WTC hijacker Mohammed Atta from Pakistan by Ahmad Umar Sheikh at the instance of Gen Mahmud. Senior government sources have confirmed that India contributed significantly to establishing the link between the money transfer and the role played by the dismissed ISI chief. While they did not provide details, they said that Indian inputs, including Sheikh's mobile phone number, helped the FBI in tracing and establishing the link."

These three news items, taken together, shine a devastating spotlight on the events preceding, and following, 9/11. The first item, the Karachi report of September 9, serves to highlight the ISI chief's "unusual" visit in the days immediately preceding 9/11. Yet with the subsequent revelations of The Times of India report, this visit starts to take on sinister implications. But again, as I said before, if there is Pakistani - read, ISI - involvement in the WTC bombings, there is little reason to believe that Pakistan's involvement was anything more than that of a proxy agent serving the interests of a powerful controller. Some might assail the credibility of the Times of India article in light of India's state of belligerence with Pakistan. Yet both the Karachi report and the ABC report tend to lend credibility to the Indian report, not only because they both precede the Times of India by a matter of weeks, but most importantly in light of the fact of what is omitted in each. The Indian article, if part of a smear campaign against the ISI chief, would surely have highlighted the well-timed visit of the ISI chief to Washington. Or would it - for surely such a revelation in conjunction with its report would unavoidably implicate a player whose overwhelming power could be used as a vengeful bludgeon against Indian interests: the United States.

Examining the implications more deeply, the ABC report blatantly references the FBI as the source for the $100,000 revelation, calling in TIME magazine to make the bin Laden link and thereby cementing another brick in the case against al-Qaida. Yet any propaganda gains made by this revelation were immediately threatened by the blowback of the Times of India report several days later. In other words, this was a "limited hang-out" that went disastrously wrong. No matter. The US authorities immediately went into damage control mode by insisting on the quiet retirement of the "outed" ISI chief. Thus removed from the public eye, the Lt-Gen's role in all this could be effectively ignored, and an American media black-out could be safely assumed.

Such a scenario certainly fits in snugly with my hypothesis, which I will now proceed to elaborate completely. The events of September 11 were masterminded by those who were in the best position to manage the consequences - namely, those most able to manage the flow of information, those most able to coordinate all the elements necessary for the perpetration of a successful operation (subverting airport security, guiding the planes to their specific targets), and most significantly, those who stood to reasonably benefit in the aftermath. Conspiracies, by their very nature, are not crimes of passion. They may involve rational, albeit cold-blooded, attempts to achieve a desired end by employing the most effective means available. It is for this reason that "mainstream" terror groups like Hamas and Hizbullah largely avoid attacking American interests where such attacks would serve no practical interest. For all their talk of Jihad, these terror groups tend to plan their specific attacks with an eye to the consequences that could reasonably be expected to follow. Thus, knowing the moral and political constraints of Israeli deterrent strategies, they calibrate their attacks to elicit consequences that are most tolerable for them - and hence, manageable. Yet surely, in the light of the cult of suicidal martyrdom, such considerations no longer hold sway. Perhaps. But then, in the case of such a far-flung anti-Zionist movement as al-Qaida, one would expect at least a little more exertion against Israeli interests than has heretofore prevailed - unless, of course, the "point" of al-Qaida was to provide a plausible dire threat to American interests where none had then existed. In any case, as nobody has noticed this particular anomaly, there was no need for any needless exertion of resources in order to bolster a credibility that needed no bolstering in this one particular sector.

Motive, means, and opportunity. While I presented the Saudis and Pakistani intelligence as clear-cut proxies, the only motive these elements would have to benefit from a crime of this nature is an assurance that no punishment would be forthcoming but rather, they would be on the right side of power and wealth among those in a position to determine the booty. In the light of this supposition, it is clear as to why the American media and government have steadfastly avoided any substantive investigations of Pakistani and Saudi involvement. And I am not the first to notice that particular anomaly.

Another anomaly: only two days before September 11, the head of the Afghani National Alliance - a cultishly popular figure within that group, and one who stood adamantly for Afghani independence - was assassinated by two terrorists posing as cameramen. Keeping in mind the fact that, throughout the '90's, American leaders such as Clinton, and American companies such as Unocal, were largely throwing their support over to the Taliban in opposition to the National Alliance, it seems rather convenient that, in the aftermath of 9/11, the way was now cleared for the National Alliance to be co-opted as an instrument for setting up a more pliant Afghani government (now headed, incidentally, by a former consultant to Unocal). One wonders what the fiercely independent, now-deceased, former leader of the National Alliance would have had to say on that point.

So who are the ultimate controllers? To begin with, the circumstantial evidence seems to point to an operative clique primarily based out of New York City and the State of Florida. I stress the word "operative", as this clique appears to be subservient agents involved in laying the preparations. Once again, John O'Neill serves as an effective Rosetta Stone in interpreting the raw outlines of this operative clique (which is by no means a "rogue" clique). The FBI and CIA elements involved in counterterrorism have a checkered past. For one, Oliver North in the 1980's served as Counterterrorism Chief while he used his office as a cover to deal with such narco-terrorists as Monzar al-Kassar (who figures in the crash at Lockerbie - also investigated by Cannistraro). In the late '90's, O'Neill was transferred from the federal office of Counterrorism to the New York Counterrorism Office of the FBI - and it was the New York branch which was then designated as the primary investigator of all overseas investigations involving bin Laden. Moreover, this branch was also involved in the somewhat suspect investigation of TWA 800 - investigated by O'Neill and reported upon by ABC's John Miller, who was formerly the Deputy Police Commissioner of Public Relations for the NYPD before he joined up with ABC. As regards New York, there is another element involved in germ warfare operations. Actually, a multi-million dollar bunker - serving as a command and control center in the event of a biological attack - was set up at 7 World Trade Center at the direction of Rudolph Giuliani, who also oversaw a mass spraying over the boroughs of New York City when the West Nile Virus hit town a few summers previously.

Moreover, there has been a widespread campaign on to link the threat of al-Qaida with that of a mass biological attack. At least the day after September 11, the link - as the Anthrax mailings had yet to arise - was not so apparent. Yet on PBS' Frontline, the New York Times' Judith Miller (no apparent relation to John Miller, as far as I'm aware), accompanied by the New York Times' James Risen, was interviewed as an apparent expert on al-Qaida. Several weeks later, Judith Miller would once more make the headlines as the apparent recipient of an anthrax mailing which turned out to be a false alarm - yet was all the same conveniently timed with the well-publicized launching of her book on...germ warfare. Thus, with Ms. Miller, we have the interesting synchronicity of someone who, on September 12, unveiled herself before a television audience as an al-Qaida expert, while only weeks later, presenting herself as an authority on biowarfare - while at the same time making the news as a presumed anthrax recipient, targeted - as initially presumed - by al-Qaida elements. As was later discovered, the anthrax mailings petered out once the news leaked that a DNA test revealed the material to be of the Ames strain of anthrax, an agent synthesized out of a CIA laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Nevertheless, this was sufficient to fast-track Bioport's exclusive license for the anthrax vaccine toward FDA approval. Formerly, Bioport's experimental anthrax vaccine was being forcibly administered - under threat of court-martial - to hundreds of thousands of American servicemen (in conformity with Bioport's exclusive and lucrative contract with the Department of Defense). The point of the above-noted information is to draw attention to an apparent propaganda campaign to prepare the public for a catastrophic biological attack. As with the Twin Towers, the blame for any coming attack may be duly and plausibly assigned by those who carefully laid the groundwork in preparing us for this eventuality. I do not claim to know the motive behind any possible widespread biological attack - be it for population control or for other reasons beyond my ken - yet I do perceive a concerted effort to link the fear of al-Qaida with the fear of a catastrophic biological attack. For those interested in investigating this further, I suggest that one "place" to start is the New York operative clique centered in the New York Counterrorism branch, as well as minor elements of the NYPD (by way of John Miller and Giuliani) and certain elements based out of Long Island University (Harvey Kushner).

As for Florida, the connection with this state is obvious, for not only was the first anthrax mailing directed to the Florida offices of the National Enquirer, but the accused hijackers were also reported to receive their pilot training from flight schools in Orlando and Tampa. Moreover, Florida, by way of the MacDill Air Force Base, is also Central Command for the war in Afghanistan. And again, there is a John O'Neill connection - for not only did O'Neill meet his professional undoing at a convention in Tampa, but in an Associated Press article dated May 24, 1997, John O'Neill was commenting on the threat of Islamic terrorism while the same article pointed out the existence of a Tampa-based "think tank" possibly linked with terrorists - the World and Islam Studies Enterprise. In addition to its function as Central Command for the war on terrorism, MacDill is -outside of Langley - also a major base of the CIA. Thus, in the CIA's own backyard, we find the infrastructure and financial support that went into the planning for the events of 9/11. And, as we so often find with events surrounding 9/11, another synchronicity - for coincidentally enough, the woman who happened to find an apartment for one of the alleged hijackers was the wife of the senior editor of the National Enquirer. Moreover, her husband, Michael Irish, also happened to make use of an airfield that served as flight training for some of the hijackers. In intelligence operations, foreign assets are often placed with resident "controllers" whose job it is to supervise the asset as well as provide accommodations as the need arises. Who are Michael and Gloria Irish? Or, perhaps more revealingly, what kind of social circles do they run with? This is certainly an avenue worth exploring - by reason of its many synchrocities if for nothing else. Again, the seam that shows.

So, to sum up, it appears that the events of September 11 were planned years in advance, with the groundwork being carefully laid by a propaganda campaign orchestrated to convince the public that the United States has a plausibly sophisticated nemesis with the motive, means, and opportunity to perpetrate a devastating act of terror against Americans. Toward that end, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have been used as the primary proxy agents to run a "false flag" operation, setting up and financing the infrastructure of al-Qaida in Afghanistan. Through madrassas based in Pakistan, Saudi and Yemenite militants were instructed in the Saudi brand of Wahabbi Islam, and subsequently "graduated" to the camps that were set up in Afghanistan - again, under Saudi and Pakistani sponsorship. Stateside, the operative agents were mostly based out of New York City and Florida. In the aftermath of 9/11, elements in the American government are now widely disseminating information in vast quantities, overwhelming the populace and lending credibility to the government's version of events. Thus, post-9/11, the actions of this formerly insular propaganda clique are no longer perceptible. Information is now being doled out in generous portions to credulous reporters who are outside the loop, yet perform their unwitting service as "bottoms feeders" in the downward flow of information.

In all cases, the actions of these proxy agents and operative planners are sufficiently distanced and compartmentalized from the true masterminds to create a condition of "plausible deniability". In short, the proxies have also been set up as possible patsies with evidence that has been carefully laid to incriminate them should cracks in the "official story" become too discernible. Moreover, the groundwork has already been carefully laid to cast aspersions on another convenient patsy - the Jews, by way of the State of Israel and its supporters. Already, for those prone to perceive Jewish conspiracies, the reliable vein of anti-semitism - combined with anti-Zionism - has been mined to distract the masses and to create a modern version of the ritual blood libel, thereby further "muddying the waters" should the true masterminds be threatened with exposure. In other words, the present difficulties in the Middle East work perfectly to set up the State of Israel as a plausible alternative suspect with motive, means, and opportunity. Toward that end, a low-level "buzz" has been circulating over the Internet (and especially in Europe) - fueled by a coy report from Fox News - of an Israeli spy ring that was rounded up in the days after September 11. Whether or not these reports are credible is not the point. Most likely, there was a spy ring operating, and various Israelis were unwittingly set up as patsies, to be exposed should the need arise. Thus, while evidence may be marshalled to taint the Saudis, Pakistanis, and Israelis, the real guilt must inevitably lie with those in the best position to manage the flow of information as well as reliably benefit from the new order created, primarily, the political and corporate elites of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union - also, as it happens, the very parties orchestrating the global war on terrorism. In this respect, the Saudis, Pakistanis, or Israelis have far less to gain (other than the benefits of going along with the designs of the rich and mighty).

I could go on and further highlight the obvious geostrategic gains of those who are clearly managing the flow of information - the proverbial pipelines, oil, wealth, and so forth. But I think those purported benefits are a bit of a "red herring" - more of a side benefit than the main motivating factor. It is no small act to intentionally take down such an overarching symbol of financial stability as the Twin Towers, and chance killing thousands in the process. Such a conspiracy, if in fact perpetrated from within, would by its nature necessitate a huge structural, cultural, and demographic change. The very brazenness of the act, the naked aggression, would necessitate a tenacious determination to achieve the ends for which these actions were perpetrated. There is no going back now. An infrastructure is being laid out - one that will, finally, provide a dissident-proof totalitarian oligarchy composed of like-minded elites served by an under-class kept under constant surveillance. The edifice of this regime is being constructed, brick by brick, with the mortar of the Office of Homeland Security (to centralize and coordinate an effective police state), the Freedom Corps (to indoctrinate the most idealist - and therefore activist - elements of the populace toward service to the state), and the Patriot Act (to provide the legal basis for subverting long-held rights under the screen of national security). If all of this sounds strangely familiar, if it is redolent of Huxley and Orwell, that is perhaps because Huxley and Orwell were both intimately involved with the elites of their time - in fact, were fully subsumed among them - in ways that made their future projections abundantly prescient, and, in their minds, inevitable. With further refinements in mind control technologies - yes, they do exist - as well as the monopolization of the food supply by way of sterile seed "terminator technology" - the approval for which was granted in the months following 9/11 - the masses may be perpetually culled and exploited by those who hold the keys to this fully managed society.

For such a plan to be effective, there is no need for all elements to be "in the loop." Many look upon the Council On Foreign Relations (CFR) as one likely agent of a possible elitist conspiracy. Yet with a membership consisting of thousands, it would be too unwieldly to manage such a group of individuals with such varying interests and outlooks. In any case, that is not how the CFR is structured. Members of the CFR are invited into the ranks - particularly where they have already achieved some measure of prominence in politics, finance, or the media. The CFR, rather, exists as an organ to manage these "second-tier" elites - to ensure a consensus of sorts simply through the technique of "mainstreaming" their thoughts and beliefs, as these are folk who are unduly preoccupied with preserving their status in the ranking order. No need to "rock the boat" with foolish notions that could only serve to discredit oneself in the eyes of one's peers. Standing over and above the CFR is a more manageable and, on the whole, more powerful group of elites who do, in fact, perceive it as their duty and entitlement to determine the mores and values, lifestyles and fate of the rest of us. Where the rank and file members of the CFR are largely motivated by a self-interested careerism, these higher elites see it as their moral duty to guide the "ship of state", as it were. To them, a unified world government is the most logical way to manage the affairs of the world. After all, these global elites have more in common with one another than they do with the bulk of their respective countrymen.

If this notion of reality strikes you as somewhat dissonant, at odds with your own personal experience, it may be perhaps that we have not quite arrived there yet, and that you have personally not felt the corrosive lash of political corruption and governmental malfeasance. In all likelihood, you have not read the mountain of evidence detailing political and elite deviant behaviour in this country. You may even be dismissive of "conspiracies theories", yet wholly unaware of the well-documented attempts by the CIA and FBI to subvert, surveill, and propagandize the populace through programs such as Project Mockingbird (media infiltration) and MK-Ultra (mind control through chemical, hypnotic, or electro-magnetic means). These programs are effected primarily through "think tanks" that are set up across the United States for the purpose of disseminating information and propaganda under the rubric of "expertise". Moreover, various foundations, such as the Rockefeller or Ford Foundations, are often used as funnels to finance and feed the arteries of these propaganda networks. In the 1970's, a good deal of this structural corruption was officially exposed - in a "limited hang-out" - by way of the Church Commission, as well as the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Thereafter, much of the most damaging revelations were played down or ignored by the mainstream media, and the waters were then muddied by a stream of outlandish conspiracy theories - aliens, Elvis, etc. - that merely served to discredit the information that was most credible. "Muddying the waters", incidentally, is a tried and true staple of the intelligence craft.

It is really just a matter of familiarizing yourself with all the documented anomalies that do not accord with the received, mainstream reality put forth to you by the mainstream media. As a practical guide to begin, you might want to confine your search to strictly "mainstream" sources, as I have sought to do in attempting to construct my case on 9/11. My evidence is by no means exhaustive. In fact, it is merely the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Yet proceeding in this direction, under my hypothesis, has been most fruitful in analyzing the various anomalies that pop up now and then.

Any simple keyword search of the following terms may be helpful in pointing toward a more substantive understanding of the elites who ultimately guide your fortunes: "Iran-Contra" , "Mena", "BCCI", "Project Paperclip", "Michael Aquino", "Paul Bonacci", "Operation Northwoods", "MK-Ultra". Much of the information on these topics is credible and well-documented. More disturbingly, it highlights behaviour committed by the very same elites who are now interpreting the events of 9/11 for you. Read for yourself, and decide, at the end of the day, how much credibility you will continue to accord to those who claim to be the proper trustees of your fate and well-being.


Chaim Kupferberg is a freelance researcher and writer. Copyright © Chaim Kupferberg 2002. Permission is granted to post this text on non-commercial community internet sites, provided the source and the URL are indicated, the essay remains intact and the copyright note is displayed.







[Flight schools, Names etc.]

FLIGHT SCHOOL RECORDS etc.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/di ... id=1328855

Why did Jeb Bush and federal agents seize records from Huffman Aviation - Florida flight school of Mohammed Atta, and other 9/11 hijackers - in the middle of the night following the attacks of September 11th and load them onto a C-130? And why did Jeb Bush know, hours after the attack, where to look?

"Whatever secrets Dekkers may possess about the terrorists, records from his flight school were deemed sensitive enough to have merited being escorted back to Washington by Florida Governor Jeb Bush aboard a C-130 cargo plane, which left Sarasota less than 24 hours after the September 11 attack."
http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0212/S00058.htm

Valentine:
The federal authorities came in and grabbed up all of the records of the flight school.

Hopsicker:
That’s right. They flew them out on a plane that also had Jeb Bush aboard.

Valentine:
The federal authorities told the local law enforcement authorities to keep their noses out of the investigation, didn’t they?

Hopsicker:
That’s correct. I sat down with two Southern lawmen, a current sheriff and his immediate predecessor. These two guys looked me dead in the eye and said that, based on what they have seen with a lot of CIA-connected covert operations in the area, the CIA was somehow involved in, if not responsible for, the World Trade Center attacks. You might expect some wild-eyed leftist radical to say that. But these are two Southern sheriffs. They have spent years watching CIA activities that they could not interfere with.
http://www.libertyforum.org/showflat.ph ... oard=new...

And what are the linkages between the flight school and its Republican owner, Wally Hilliard, to US covert agencies and the covert drug trade?

"A Learjet belonging to the true owner of the Venice flight school that trained both terrorist pilots who flew into the World Trade Center was seized with more than 30 pounds of heroin onboard by Federal Agents in July of 2000 at the Orlando Executive Airport."
http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/archive/sc ... ies/92/e...

What's the largely unexplored connection between Atta, the CIA, al Qaeda and drugs?

From Sander Hicks:

...what makes Ben-Veniste such an intriguing player on the 9/11 Commission (The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States) is his experience with rogue drug-running CIA operatives. Ben-Veniste defended Barry Seal, the notorious smuggler who flew C-123 military cargo planes filled with cocaine into Mena, Arkansas on behalf of the contras.

Al Qaeda's lead 9/11 hijacker, Mohamed Atta, was allegedly partying with CIA-connected pilots while he got his flight training in fall/winter 2000 at Huffman Aviation in Venice, Fla., where two of the other 9/11 hijacker pilots trained. Atta wasn't acting much like a holy martyr: He wore jeans and sneakers, played video games, bought himself a red Pontiac and was said to be a hedonist. The Press posed the question to Ben-Veniste: If Atta belonged to the fundamentalist Muslim group, why was he snorting cocaine and frequenting strip bars?

"You know," said Ben-Veniste, as he smiled a little. "That's a heck of a question."
http://www.911citizenswatch.org/print.php?sid=82

And Daniel Hopsicker:

FBI agents harassed and intimidated witnesses to the 9/11 terrorist conspiracy’s activities in Florida, issuing warnings to avoid talking with reporters, say current and former residents in Venice, Florida. At least one eyewitness, who knew Mohamed Atta because he lived next door for a time, received regular visits for over six months after the attack from FBI agents eager to ensure she continued to remain silent. Several said they felt unfairly singled out because what they saw and heard is at considerable variance with the official story of the terrorist cadre’s time in Florida.

An American girl named Amanda Keller, for example, briefly lived with Mohamed Atta in Venice, according to both local news reports and numerous eyewitnesses.

http://www.madcowprod.com/issue44.html



CNN: America Under Attack: List of Names of 18 Suspected Hijackers
Aired September 14, 2001


http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/ ... bn.01.html

HARRIS: Kelli, before we let you go, is there any other information being released aside from the names, is there any information, for instance, about where they have been, where they came from, if they have been residing here in the U.S. before this incident, any other information like that?

ARENA: Well, besides the information that we gave you, we do know that many of them have trained and were licensed pilots, trained at U.S. flight schools and were licensed pilots, and we do know that many of them either resided together at various locations here in the U.S. Many in Florida. I said one here in Virginia. But we do have some more on the on the ongoing investigation, Leon. If you are curious. We have -- we did tell you last night that we had several people that were arrested at New York airports, at both JFK and La Guardia, and we are told now that after intense questioning of FBI members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, that all about one of those people has been released.

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Re: 9/11 Info Dump

Postby Elvis » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:21 am

[p.8 of dump]




[runup / 'paving the way' to 9/11 ]

The usual grain of salt with Wayne Madsen. But the ol' Waynester ties a lot together here and writes up a good report:


http://www.waynemadsenreport.com/Baffles.htm

Clearing the Baffles for 911

By Wayne Madsen

October 2, 2005


Top officials of the George W. Bush and, to a lesser extent, the Clinton administration, stymied a number of coordinated intelligence and law enforcement activities that could have prevented both the 911 attacks and the attack, eleven months before, on the USS Cole.

These subscribers and ardent supporters of the Project for a New American Century’s (PNAC) blueprint for U.S. global domination interfered with covert projects by the CIA, FBI, Defense Intelligence Agency, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Treasury Department, and National Security Agency (NSA) that could have exposed an international organized criminal cartel that included the 911 hijackers, arms and drug traffickers, and Mafia financiers. According to a number of former CIA, FBI, and DIA officers, the one glaring missing link in the 911 attacks and the USS Cole bombing is the lack of provable involvement by organized Islamist fundamentalists, including the generic bogeyman consistently cited by the PNAC supporters: “Al Qaeda.”

The element that is common to both the Bush II and Clinton administrations is a group of neo-conservatives who signed on to the PNAC dream of “some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor" to advance their agenda in the same way the German Nazis torched the Reichstag building to advance their agenda. Then the bogeyman of convenience was the Communist Party, today, it is Al Qaeda.

However, much like a submarine “clearing the baffles” by turning 120 degrees to port and starboard to detect trailing enemy subs, the instigators of 911 cleared their own baffles by firing, suspending, and blocking U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agents who were aggressively pursuing the many leads that could have prevented the advancement of the PNAC and the overall neo-conservative agenda. Without 911, there would have been no Patriot Act, no Iraq War, no trashing of the United Nations, no upending of the U.S. intelligence community, no Department of Homeland Security, and no second administration for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Moreover, there would be no current role in government or policy making for those who benefited most from 911, those who were charter members of PNAC: Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Zalmay Khalilzad, Richard Perle, newly-emergent racist leader William Bennett, and Cheney himself.

***

The one individual who stands tall among those intelligence and law enforcement officers who was aggressively pursuing the criminal network that would carry out 911 was FBI counter-terrorism top man John O’Neill. Ever since the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, O’Neill’s pursuit of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda had been dogged. After further terrorist attacks at the Khobar Towers barracks in Dharan, Saudi Arabia; the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; and the USS Cole in Aden harbor, O’Neill’s biggest problem was not Al Qaeda, it was resistance from top officials inside the U.S. government.

According to classified documents from French intelligence, Al Qaeda and Bin Laden had still been under the operational control of U.S. and British “security services” until 1995, fully two years after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. As of 1996, the U.S. State Department continued to refuse to list Al Qaeda as a terrorist organization. After the 1996 bombings of the Khobar Towers that killed nineteen U.S. military personnel, the State Department under Secretary of State Warren Christopher, FBI Director Louis Freeh, and the Saudi government did everything they could to obstruct O’Neill’s investigation.

In his aggressive pursuit of Al Qaeda, O’Neill, according to people who worked closely with him, began to have serious concerns over complicity by those inside the Clinton and Bush administrations. There was the mysterious theft in the summer of 2000 of his briefcase at a Tampa hotel during a retirement seminar where the only other participants were 150 other FBI agents. In the briefcase were a few classified emails and a classified document called the Annual Field Office Report, a summary of the New York FBI’s office counter-terrorist and counter-intelligence operations, including one very sensitive investigation being conducted by another New York counter-intelligence FBI special agent, Michael Dick. Although a lighter, cigar cutter, and expensive pen were stolen, the papers were all accounted for when the briefcase turned up 90 minutes later at another nearby hotel. Ninety minutes, of course, was sufficient time to photocopy the documents and discover what O’Neill knew about both Al Qaeda and their Israeli shadows.

Special Agent Dick, who worked closely with O’Neill, had discovered a troubling ring of Israeli movers operating in the New York and New Jersey areas. Furthermore, some of these Israelis not only had connections with Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies but were also shadowing Arab and Muslims that had been under investigation as potential terrorist cells. But the Israelis were acting independently and there was no effort made to inform the FBI or local police of any intelligence they were obtaining on their targets.

Further frustrating Dick’s counter-espionage activities against the Israelis was the fact that they were using communications methods that made it almost impossible to conduct communications surveillance: they used Verizon pre-paid cell phones, two-way Nextel walkie-talkies, and Internet cafes.

At the same time, the DEA had discovered a nationwide ring of Israeli “art students,” many of whom had past connections to Israeli intelligence and military demolition units, were operating in and around New York and New Jersey. What the DEA did not realize was that the art students were also shadowing the very same Arab cells that would later carry out the 911 attacks.

And the DEA had become aware of a drug connection between the Russian-Israeli Mafia in Colombia and the globe trotting Saudi Prince Nayif al Saud. The DEA’s Operation Millennium was directed against this network, which largely took down most of the network in June 1999, when 808 kilograms of cocaine were seized in Paris. Later the DEA, in June 2000, the DEA declassified a “SECRET DEA-6” report from the DEA’s BCO (Bogota Country Office) so that the PCO (Paris Country Office) could share the intelligence on Saudi cocaine smuggling operations with the Paris police. The DEA and French law enforcement had compiled tons of evidence that Prince Nayif was transporting cocaine to support some major event.

The DEA report stated that Nayif stated that Allah had authorized him to sell drugs and that later his reason for selling the drugs would become known. It is significant that Nayif did not use alcohol, tobacco or drugs. Nayif claimed diplomatic immunity and the Saudi government threatened France and the Clinton administration with withholding lucrative contracts if they pursued their prince. Because of O’Neill’s close contacts with DEA, this intelligence would have been made known to him as well. The Saudi cocaine smuggling network involved organized crime elements tied to the Russian-Israeli Mafia in Miami; Medellin, Colombia; Marbella and Barcelona, Spain; Venezuela; Geneva; and the Netherlands. According to the DEA report, Nayif fathered a child with a woman named Doris Salazar, a Colombian national residing in Miami. The report also states that an organized crime figure only identified as “Pepe,” a Cuban American who ran a “large section of the Miami Port” and who came to Florida during the 1978 Mariel boat lift, was involved with Nayif in “protecting narcotic shipments upon arrival in the Miami port.” The declassified SECRET DEA-6 report contains the names of a number of cooperating witnesses in the investigation of Nayif and the cocaine smuggling network and the author takes seriously the statement in the document: “Protect identities of the cooperating defendants.”

The DEA originally became interested in the Israelis because they suspected they were involved in an Israeli Mafia Ecstasy smuggling ring. However, it soon became clear that the DEA had stumbled across something much larger – not only were DEA offices and homes of DEA agents around the country being cased by the Israelis, but they were also targeting Federal judges, U.S. Marshals, Environmental Protection Agency law enforcement officers, and FBI agents for surveillance.

It also became clear to the DEA that the Israeli art students were also involved with certain Colombians. On March 22, 2002, at the Oak Hills Apartment Complex in Irving, Texas, DEA agents arrested Israeli art student Dahan Eldad, along with Elsa Beatriz Africano-Leon, a Colombian national. On March 27, DEA agents arrested four other Israelis in the same apartment complex, including Aran Ofek, who said his father was a retired Israeli army two-star general. A $10,000 bond for another arrested Israeli, Michal Gal, was placed by Ophir Baer, an employee of Israeli telecommunications firm AMDOCS, Inc., a firm with operational access to the telephones being used by FBI agents John O’Neill, Michael Dick, and the DEA agents involved in tracking the Saudi/Mafia cocaine shipments being used to support various terrorist and intelligence cells in the United States and abroad.

On April 11, 2001, a DEA agent and a Fredericksburg, Virginia policeman questioned two female Israeli “art student” nationals at the shopping center in Fredericksburg. The passport for Yael Gavish contained some interesting entry/exit visas: 13 December 2000, entry into Bogota, Colombia and 5 February 2001, exit visa from Bogota. In addition, on 5 February there was a possible entry visa for Panama, which was followed by a 9 March 2001 entry visa in New York City. Gavish’s colleague Meirav Balhams had a New York State identity card listing her address as 354 Paterson Plank Rd., Jersey City, New Jersey. An FBI 9-11 suspect list dated February 22, 2002 lists Dominik Suter, along with an Ornit Levinson, a.k.a., Omit Suter, with an address of 312 Pavonia Avenue, Jersey City. Dominik Suter was the head of Urban Moving Systems of nearby Weehawken, the base of operations for two white vans with the same rear license plate that were seen parked at the Doric Apartments (near Patterson Plank Road) and at Liberty State Park at the same time the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The occupants of both vans, all Israelis, were seen celebrating the attack while dressed in Arab garb. Five Israelis in one of the vans were later arrested by the local police and FBI near Giant Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey in the late afternoon of September 11.

O’Neill’s FBI colleague, Mike Dick, aggressively investigated this Israeli ring before and after 911. But like O’Neill, he soon found himself removed from his duties on the orders of the then-head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division Michael Chertoff. Dick was very suspicious when Israeli movers quickly moved Zim American Israeli Shipping Company out of its 10,000 square feet of office space on the 17th Floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The partially Israeli state-owned firm forfeited a $50,000 security deposit when it terminated its lease and vacated the building one week prior to 911. According to a non official cover (NOC) CIA source who worked with Dick, Israeli movers moved explosives into the 17th Floor office space after Zim moved out.

After 911, Dick as well as the CIA NOC were harassed by their superiors on orders “from above.” Those orders came from Chertoff. Dick was first relieved of his primary counter-espionage duties, eventually sent to Pakistan to investigate the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, and eventually buried in a desk job at FBI headquarters in Washington, DC. According to the CIA source, Pearl was murdered because he was getting too close to the money trail that financed 911. The CIA source said, “the same group that beheaded Pearl in Pakistan did the beheadings in Iraq.” The source added that the beheadings were “not Al Qaeda.”

The CIA source, who emphasized his past Republican credentials, emphasized that Al Qaeda was merely a “list” of arms dealers, mercenaries, drug dealers, financiers, and terrorists used by the CIA and Saudis during the Afghan Mujaheddin War against the Soviets. The source also iterated that all the 911 hijackers had fake IDs. During a joint CIA-FBI operation against lead hijacker Mohammed Atta in Fort Lee, New Jersey in 2000, the CIA and FBI team leaders complained to their superiors that their operation was being photographed by Israeli agents, thus compromising the operation. The CIA source affirmed that the Israelis in New Jersey were providing cover for the future hijacker teams.

It was not the first run-in by the CIA operative with the Israelis. He once caught a senior U.S. diplomat with close ties to Israel taking bribes from Moroccan government officials to write favorable reports on Morocco’s continued control over disputed and oil and mineral rich Western Sahara. Attempts to follow the diplomat’s laundered money were rebuffed by Madeleine Albright’s State Department.

The problems at the top of the CIA and FBI, said the source, existed since the Russian/Soviet spies Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen were able to penetrate the top levels of both agencies. “They got there with help,” said the source.

O’Neill decided that because his own agency was stymieing his own investigative leads, he relied on DEA to handle his most sensitive inquiries and communications. Although DEA memos later suggested that Israeli telecommunications companies, under contract to the Justice Department, may have penetrated sensitive DEA communications as part of an intelligence operation, O’Neill was sure that his communications at the FBI were totally compromised and forced to rely on the DEA because of both internal political pressure from the FBI and Justice Department leadership and his fear that his communications were being wiretapped.

O’Neill also relied on French intelligence to obtain wiretap information on Al Qaeda cells. O’Neill was certain that the Saudi government and oil industry-centric members of the Bush administration were behind the Al Qaeda network. He was also aware of repeated negotiations between U.S. oil companies like UNOCAL and Halliburton and Taliban representatives dating back to 1996, the same year the Khobar Towers were bombed by the Taliban’s Al Qaeda wards. Although those negotiations ceased after the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa, they began again in earnest after George W. Bush became president.

O’Neill had discovered that some of his Al Qaeda targets were involved in some very un-Islamic fundamentalist activities, including drug smuggling, teenage prostitution, and blood diamond dealing. The financial trail led O’Neill to a network of bank accounts in London, Dubai, the Isle of Man, Guernsey, and Jersey. The network investigated coincided exactly with the activities being carried out by the Russian-Israeli Mafia and its links to diamond, drug, and weapons dealers that was especially active in New York and Florida. The future 911 hijackers and their Israeli “shadows” had more than living in the same neighborhoods and frequenting the same bars, video rental stores, and rental mailbox stores in common.

***

On October 12, 2000, the USS Cole, docked in Aden harbor after the U.S. Navy deemed the port safe and certified it as a Defense Fuel Support Point, was reportedly blown up by two men who approached the warship in a small boat. The men were said to be Al Qaeda members from the bin Laden family homeland in Hadhramaut, a remote region in the east of Yemen straddling the Yemeni-Saudi border. Later, groups called the Army of Mohammed and the Army of Aden-Abyan claimed responsibility for the attack but these claims were reported through obscure sources in London.

O’Neill and his FBI soon arrived in Yemen to investigate the crime. From the outset, O’Neill received a cold shoulder from the U.S. ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine (the Deputy Chief of Mission in Kuwait before Desert Storm and the U.S. viceroy for central Iraq after the U.S. occupation). Bodine’s orders to limit the scope of O’Neill’s investigation came from Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, whose father Dr. Joseph Korbel, a neo-con anti-Soviet professor, was the mentor for one of his students at the University of Denver – Condoleeezza Rice. O’Neill was not permitted to interview Yemenis who witnessed the Cole explosion. O’Neill was not permitted to examine the hat worn by one of the bombers in the boat nor was he allowed to examine the harbor sludge for evidence.

O’Neill was soon pulled out of Yemen and Bodine refused him and his team permission to re-enter the country. O’Neill was getting too close to something. In February, 2001, after Yemen’s Interior Minister Hussein Mohammed Arab made a statement that there was no evidence linking the Cole bombing to Al Qaeda ("Investigations have not so far proved, either to us or to the Americans, any link between Osama bin Laden and the Cole bombing."), the Bush administration showed no desire to find out who actually bombed the ship. They were too busy clearing the baffles for the Iraq invasion and their other agendas.

In early 2001, rumors began circulating that O’Neill would take over White House Counter-terrorism coordinator Richard Clarke’s job at the National Security Council. Clarke had been one of the few holdovers from the Clinton to Bush administrations. Suddenly, the story about the 90 minute theft of O’Neill’s brief case was leaked to the New York Times, even though the Justice Department had long before dropped its own investigation of the incident. Although the FBI continued its own investigation of the brief case incident, it prevented an investigation of the leak of the O’Neill incident to the media.

On August 22, O’Neill retired from 30 years’ service with the FBI. The next day, he began his job as Security Director for the World Trade Center. His office was on the 34th Floor of the North Tower of the Trade Center. O’Neill’s building was the first one hit on September 11. He died while trying to save people in the South Tower, the second building hit by the hijackers.

***

A joint CIA-FBI computer system, code named “Alex,” was entirely focused on Bin Laden’s network. A unit at Langley, called “Station Alex,” was established in 1995. It began to detect that “Al Qaeda” was actually a diversified financial, drug smuggling, arms smuggling, and diamond smuggling network with tentacles in over 60 countries around the world. And, as with any large criminal syndicate, it had ties with legitimate companies such as banks, hawalahs, and religious charities, but also with criminal enterprises, including the Russian-Israeli, Latin American, and Balkans Mafias. This first step at coordinating the efforts of the CIA and FBI in combating Al Qaeda was successful. The FBI lead Alex agent was John O’Neill. His CIA counterpart was Michael Scheuer, who would later abruptly leave Langley upset that the threat posed by Al Qaeda was not being taken more seriously by the Bush administration. Scheuer’s worries mirrored those of O’Neill in the months before he was killed at the World Trade Center. As O’Neill got closer to those who would be behind 911, he found himself locked out of the Alex computer system. His access authorization had been pulled by higher authority. Eventually, Alex, like its counterpart, Able Danger, would be shut down by the Bush administration.

Foreign intelligence agencies would prove more useful than either the CIA or FBI in tracking leads on Al Qaeda and other terrorist threats against the West. The French, who had a long history of problems with Islamist terrorists dating from its Algerian War, had tremendous assets who had penetrated both the Taliban and Al Qaeda. A Confidential “French Eyes Only” DGSE intelligence document dated January 9, 2001, which was written about terrorist activities at the Al Qaeda training camp at Darounta, Afghanistan, bolsters what a CIA source reported about the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole. O’Neill was particularly interested in doing a DNA analysis of the hat worn by one of the so-called suicide bombers in the small boat that pulled alongside the Cole. He also wanted to conduct an explosives analysis of the mud beneath the ship.

The Cole was at THREATCON (threat condition) BRAVO, which means that its crew was on alert for suspicious approaching craft. One of the security detail aboard the Cole said he was under the impression that the small boat was a harbor services craft used to assist in garbage disposal and other routine operations.

The classified French intelligence report concludes that there was never a link between Al Qaeda units trained in Afghanistan for amphibious operations against ships and the attack on the Cole. This begs the question: if Al Qaeda did not bomb the Cole (as affirmed by the Yemeni prime minister), who did?

The following is from the French intelligence report:

“A group of Arab nationals, whose nationality is undetermined, were trained in amphibious operations at Darounta at the end of 1999 under the command of a Yemeni. In addition, in January 2000, a project to attack an American destroyer in Aden failed due to a lack of preparation. Finally, in February 2000, a group comprising 10 Yemenis had arrived in Darounta. Until May 2000, they were trained in using explosives supplied by Abou Khabab before they were sent to Jordan and Yemen.

No proof exists to connect these elements to the attack on the destroyer USS Cole perpetrated on October 12, 2000, but the American intelligence service has rapidly attempted information on Abou Khebab after the attack.

Finally, for what concerns France, it has been established that several French Islamists implicated in the attacks of 1995 and 1996 traveled to Afghan camps. Among them appear former Bosnian combatants like Joseph Jaime and David Vallat, and especially Farid Mellouk, who, in 1995, attended a training course in explosives at Darounta. Investigated by French police, he was arrested on 5 March 1998 in Belgium. A search resulted in the seizure of explosives, various types of detonators, potassium cyanide, and different written notes similar to the information in the course run at Darounta.

Excepting the Maghrebian enclave, the training given at Darounta, for a duration of about 2 months, principally concerned the making of explosives for the use by terrorists. This instruction, originally provided at Khalden camp in Paktia, was transferred during 1995, on the order of Ibu Cheikh, to Darounta after their break from the control of the special services of certain countries, notably the United States and United Kingdom.”

The classified report also gives some background on Abou Khebab: “Abou Khebab – Egyptian. He is identified in March 1999 by the CIA as the person in charge of training the Islamists associated with Osama bin Laden in the manufacture and use of chemicals and biological weapons. According to Egyptian intelligence, he was in Yemen in June 1999 and makes frequent trips to Pakistan."

Given O’Neill’s close ties to French intelligence, he would have been aware of the cold trail the French had linking Al Qaeda to the Cole bombing. He would have also been aware of the CIA’s bird dogging of Abou Khebab between Yemen and Pakistan. So, if the Yemeni prime minister and the French are correct, who bombed the Cole?

The former CIA agent who worked with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York and New Jersey stated that the USS Cole was hit by a specially-configured Popeye cruise missile launched from an Israeli Dolphin-class submarine. Israeli tests of the missile in May 2000 in the waters off Sri Lanka demonstrated it could hit a target 930 miles away. The ex-CIA agent also stated that Ambassador Bodine threw John O’Neill and his team out of Yemen lest their investigation began uncovering evidence that the Cole was not blown up by an explosive-laden boat but by an Israeli cruise missile.
The former CIA agent said the reason for the Israeli attack was to further galvanize U.S. public opinion against both Al Qaeda and the Democrats in the weeks prior to the 2000 presidential elections. The Bush-Cheney team could blame the Democrats for not taking the Al Qaeda threat seriously. However, this is exactly the tact the Bush administration took after taking office: failure to support the CIA-FBI’s Alex Station, pressuring John O’Neill and other agents like Minneapolis agent Coleen Rowley and others across the nation who detected activity involving Arab flight students, and pulling the plug on a major data mining operation directed against Al Qaeda code named Able Danger, which was being jointly run by the DIA and the Special Operations Command.

***

The French discovery of a Bosnian connection to two of its nationals at Darounta is noteworthy. The Muslim operation in the Balkans was largely supported by official (CIA, DIA, and Special Operations) U.S. assistance but also by unofficial help. This was mainly carried out by private military contractors like MPRI and financial support networks like the Bosnia Defense Fund, established in the mid-1990s at a Riggs Bank account in Washington, DC. The principal movers behind the Bosnian Defense Fund were Richard Perle and Douglas Feith. In fact, Feith’s law firm, Feith and Zell (FANZ) set up the Bosnia Defense Fund. According to a former Riggs legal adviser, when objections were raised about the hundreds of millions of dollars collected from such countries as Saudi Arabia, Brunei, Malaysia, the UAE, Iran, Jordan, and Egypt that were being detected by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) being sent from Washington to Sarajevo, Bosnia, and reports that there was “spillage” of these funds into the hands of Al Qaeda units in the country, Perle’s response at one contentious meeting was, “just make it fucking happen.”

After 911, Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill attempted to pressure banks and other financial institutions in Dubai and Saudi Arabia to provide records of past and ongoing Al Qaeda financial transactions. According to a former auditor with the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates, during a trip by O’Neill in March 2002, the UAE and Saudi officials shook O’Neill’s hand, smiled at him, and offered to assist. However, they soon put pressure on the Bush administration, including several leading neo-cons who knew the stakes of such disclosures, to force Paul O’Neill out. Later that year, in December, Bush forced O’Neill to resign. A November 29, 2001 letter from Treasury Department General Counsel David D. Aufhauser to Swiss Procurator General Claude Nicati described the measures the Treasury Department was taking against a major Al Qaeda financier named Yassin A. Kadi. However, that particular thread intersected with activities by Islamist guerrillas in Bosnia, and that was a threat to certain neocon elements who had established a Bosnian support fund in the 1990s that involved the same financial support networks that supported Al Qaeda. In fact, Al Qaeda units were active in Bosnia during the civil war. And those units were partly supported by the Bosnia Defense Fund established by Perle and Feith.

According to the Aufhauser letter to his Swiss counterpart, “Mr. Kadi has acknowledged in a number of press accounts that he is the founder of the Muwafaq, or “Blessed Relief” Foundation. He is identified in legal records as ‘Chairman’ of the foundation. The leader of the terrorist organization Al-Gama’at Al-Islamiya, Tala Fuad Kassem, has said that the Muwafaq Foundation provided logistical and financial support for a mujahadin battalion in Bosnia. The foundation also operated in Sudan, Somalia, and Pakistan, among other places.” The letter continued, “Muhammad Ali Harrath, main activist of the Tunisian Islamic Front (TIF) in the United Kingdom, was associated with Muwafaq personnel in Bosnia and other TIF members worked at the Muwafaq Foundation.”

The Treasury Department, in its efforts to track down past money flows to Al Qaeda, had undoubtedly come across those Riggs Bank transfers to Sarajevo and hence to Al Qaeda in the 1990s. And the 2.5 terabytes of data collected by the Able Danger team on Al Qaeda also undoubtedly included FINCEN, SWIFT, and other banking and wire transfer data. And that pointed not only to people like Yassin Kadi but also to the Bosnia Defense Fund of Perle and Feith. More the reason to obstruct Paul O’Neill’s earnest money tracking efforts. Soon, O’Neill and Aufhauser would be bounced out of Treasury and replaced with more “agreeable” people to fight the “global war on terrorism.”

Aufhauser’s letter ends with a troubling conclusion about Albania and Bosnia, the two countries that received support from the neo-cons in the Clinton and Bush administrations and which have surfaced in recent disclosures in Italy about ties between the Pentagon’s own intelligence unit and Al Qaeda-affiliated operatives in Italy who had been liaisons between the Americans and Islamist fighters in the Balkans: “When a region becomes more settled, such as Bosnia or Albania today, seemingly legitimate businesses replace charitable foundations as cover for continuing terrorist organizational activity. Mr. Kadi’s actions and those of his Muwafiq Foundation and businesses fit this pattern and give rise to a reasonable basis to believe that they have facilitated terrorist activities.”

***

By the end of 2000, DIA, CIA, and NSA had compiled quite a dossier on Al Qaeda and its activities. Yet, the political leadership of the outgoing Clinton administration was more interested in not rocking the boat before leaving for the private sector and the incoming Bush administration officials were already making it known that they wanted to see intelligence that conformed with its political dogma. After the neo-cons nested in the Pentagon, the use of DIA and NSA to produce cooked intelligence became policy. Similar pressure would soon be brought to bear on the CIA, State Department, FBI, and National Security Council.

Post-911, the FBI insisted that Mohammed Atta did not arrive in the United States for the first time until 2000. However, Able Danger placed him in the United States as early as 1999. In addition, FBI Farsi, Azeri, and Turkish translator Sibel Edmonds discovered further evidence that “Al Qaeda” was tied up with drug dealers operating from Afghanistan to Turkey and into the Balkans, including Albania and Kosovo, the nexus for Al Qaeda activity. The drug connection to Al Qaeda was never investigated by the 911 Commission. Past U.S. official and unofficial support for the Albanian and Bosnian Al Qaeda and other terror cells would become highlighted. The neo-con connection to those elements was also problematic. Edmonds was fired by the FBI and faced the same recriminations as John O’Neill, Coleen Rowley, and dozens of other intelligence and law enforcement agents who did detect that something on the scale of 911 was about to occur. Allegations by the CIA director Porter Goss, his successor as House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra, the 911 Commission, and others that the U.S. Intelligence Community failed the nation on 911 are convenient charges designed to draw attention away from the involvement of senior Bush and Clinton administration officials in laying the groundwork for the attack: the closing down of various intelligence operations, the firing of key officials, and allowing classified information to leak to countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Israel, and Turkey.

In the course of its data trawling, which commenced in 1999, Able Danger grabbed some astounding data. According to DIA source, evidence was uncovered of secret deals between then-Stanford University Provost and Chevron director Condoleezza Rice and the government of China. After former DIA analyst Russ Tice reported the possible presence of a Chinese agent inside DIA, he was abruptly fired from his highly classified position at his next agency, the NSA. At the same time, a top Chinese analyst at DIA, who was responsible for taking care of his elderly parents, strangely committed suicide. Almost simultaneously, a highly-cleared Chinese-American Air Force officer stationed at Offutt Air Force Base outside of Omaha, Nebraska, also committed suicide, however, no suicide note or body were ever recovered. In November 2003, similar strange suicides plagued the State Department, NSA, and CIA communities as intelligence was being cooked to support the war against Iraq. Tice, a veteran like John O'Neill of operations in Yemen following the USS Cole bombing, was reassigned to the NSA motor pool and later run through a series of humiliating and demoralizing Kafkaesque hearings and panels run by a combination of NSA's draconian Security Directorate and NSA's subservient psychological assessment unit.

After the U.S. Army’s Land Information Warfare Activity (LIWA) and its contractor Orion Scientific pulled out of Able Danger, most of the work was conducted between DIA’s TWI-2 (Trans World Information Warfare) support (Computer Technologies) division, code named Stratus Ivy, and Raytheon, a company with close links to the U.S. intelligence community. TWI-1 is DIA’s Special Activities Trans World Information Warfare support group, which liaised with the Able Danger group. It was during Phase II of Able Danger, the phase that primarily relied on Raytheon support, that the Chinese connection to Rice was uncovered. It is uncertain what Able Danger and another DIA program code named Doorhawk Galley may have uncovered on the Mohammed Atta cells around the country, their affiliation with Israeli movers and art students, and other terrorist plans, but the revelations of Able Danger have resulted in the revocation of the security clearance, based on trumped up charges, of Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, the key person involved in the programs to track Al Qaeda prior to 911. The revelations have also likely spelled the end of any further DIA data mining programs that could embarrass the Bush administration and its Israeli and Saudi allies. These include Able Danger’s proposed successor Able Provenance and its data base Kimberlite Magic.

Another group that was getting close to Russian-Israeli Mafia involvement with the so-called Al Qaeda network was the CIA’s Counter Proliferation Division. Working through Operations Directorate and clandestine case officers and non-official cover personnel, the CIA began to discover links between Al Qaeda, Pakistan’s Inter Service Intelligence (ISI), Pakistani nuclear weapons smuggler and top nuclear physicist A. Q. Khan, and a Russian-Israeli-Turkish nuclear component smuggling ring that involved illegal exports from the former Soviet states, the United States, South Africa, and Malaysia to Pakistan, Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea.

The secret deals to traffic in weapons of mass destruction, if revealed, would expose certain key figures in the Bush administration. Therefore, it had to be cut off at the knees. The White House revelations about a CIA NOC front company, Brewster Jennings and Associates and one of its under cover agents, not only served to attack anti-Iraq war opponents but also effectively rolled up the covert operation and took the heat off of certain political and financial middlemen who worked for or were close to the administration, especially within Dick Cheney’s office and Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon. Chief among these were I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff, and Douglas Feith.

It was not the first time that a CIA NOC company had been exposed as a result of the penetration of the U.S. intelligence by a foreign government. According to a former CIA officer, Synergistics Technologies, Inc., described as a CIA front, had been exposed after Israeli intelligence had broken U.S. and NATO encryption codes during Desert Storm. The firm’s covert activities with post-Soviet Russian television networks, the European Broadcasting Union, and the Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow were laid wide open. That compromise of U.S. intelligence with the Israelis would not be the first. Air Force Colonel Larry Franklin was indicted for passing classified information to the pro-Israeli organization, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Since Franklin agreed to a plea bargain with the government, it is expected that the case may target additional officials and consultants of the Bush administration.

***

The clearing of the baffles by senior officials of the Bush and Clinton administrations in preparation for their defining moment of a “new Pearl Harbor” has resulted in the virtual destruction of America’s ability to adequately collect intelligence and honestly analyze its importance. The corridors of the FBI, NSA, DIA, CIA, State Department, Treasury, and other agencies are littered with the broken careers and dead bodies of dedicated intelligence and law enforcement officers. There are a number of cases in which career and conscientious intelligence and law enforcement officials have abruptly lost their jobs -- some for showing undesirable independence and free thinking, others for merely knowing too much about who knew what and when about 911.

The neo-cons have done to the U.S. Intelligence Community what Hurricane Katrina did to the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. America has never been weaker. Rather than creating a "New American Century," the neo-cons have created a new global "Dark Age" of fear and constant war.








[Intro to Clearing the Baffles:]

When submarines are trying to detect the presence, through the use of sonar, of trailing enemy subs, they use a process called "clearing the baffles." The submarine turns at least 120 degrees in either direction to detect potential trailing adversaries. The top leadership of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement also "cleared the baffles" prior to the 911 terrorist attacks -- and any intelligence and law enforcement officer detected, either directly or peripherally, trailing the network we now reflexively call "Al Qaeda," was systematically removed from their duties.

After speaking with several former members of the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), FBI, and National Security Agency (NSA), WMR is able to report that there was a concerted and coordinated effort by senior intelligence and law enforcement officials in both the George W. Bush and Clinton administrations to stifle attempts to track down and incapacitate terrorists and associated drug dealers and street criminals who would later be involved in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Contrary to the findings of the 911 Commission, there were several attempts after the 1998 U.S. embassy attacks in East Africa and the 2000 USS Cole bombing in Aden by CIA, DIA, and FBI officers to coordinate their activities but every one of these efforts were met by coordinated resistance from the FBI hierarchy led by then-Director Louis Freeh, the Department of Defense of both Secretaries William Cohen and Donald Rumsfeld, current Homeland Security Secretary and then-head of the Bush Justice Department Criminal Division Michael Chertoff, CIA Director George Tenet, NSA Director Michael Hayden, and DIA Director Admiral Thomas Wilson. The details of acts of commission and omission, some of which are clearly treasonous in nature and others that involve organized crime and drug smuggling syndicates, will be spelled out in tomorrow's special report.

Over ten former top U.S. cops and spies all agree: 911, the USS Cole bombing, and the U.S. embassy attacks in East Africa were products of acts of commission and omission by the top leadership of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement.

* * *

Wayne Madsen is a former U.S. Naval officer who was assigned to the National Security Agency during the Reagan administration. He also has some twenty years experience in computer security and data privacy. He has also worked for the Naval Data Automation Command, Department of State, RCA Corporation, and Computer Sciences Corporation.

Wayne Madsen is an investigative journalist, nationally-distributed columnist, and author who has covered Washington, DC politics, national security, and intelligence issues since 1994. He has written for The Village Voice, The Progressive, CAQ, Counterpunch, and the Intelligence Newsletter (based in Paris). Madsen is the author of Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa 1993-1999, co-author of America's Nightmare: The Presidency of George Bush II, and the forthcoming Jaded Tasks: Big Oil, Black Ops & Brass Plates. Madsen is also the author of The Handbook of Personal Data Protection (London: Macmillan, 1992), an acclaimed reference book on international data protection law.







[Colleen Rowley]


C O V E R : N A T I O N / T H E W H I S T L E - B L O W E R
How The FBI Blew The Case

The inside story of the FBI whistle-blower who accuses her bosses of ignoring warnings of 9/11. A reading of her entire memo suggests a bracing blueprint for change


By ROMESH RATNESAR AND MICHAEL WEISSKOPF/WASHINGTON

Jun. 3, 2002

Few Americans love anything about their government as much as Coleen Rowley loved the FBI. When she was in the fifth grade, Rowley wrote a letter to the bureau's headquarters in Washington and got back a booklet called 100 Facts About the FBI. From that point on, she dreamed of becoming an agent. Friends say she protested when her dean at the University of Iowa Law School refused to let an FBI recruiter on campus; she lost the battle but applied for a job on her own and was hired as a special agent after earning her law degree in 1980. She took pride in being a pioneer, part of the first wave of women fighting to be taken seriously in the bureau's male-dominated, button-down culture. She worked her way up the ladder as an FBI lawyer — handling applications for searches and wiretaps, working organized-crime cases in New York City and becoming, in 1995, chief counsel in the Minneapolis field office. She won a reputation as a highly disciplined professional, opinionated, principled and supremely devoted to her job. For seven years in the 1990s, she doubled as chief spokeswoman for the Minneapolis office, fending off the media hordes during big cases like the 1999 arrest of St. Paul housewife Sara Jane Olson, a former member of the Symbionese Liberation Army who had been on the lam for two decades. Despite the stress and the risks, Rowley, a suburban mother of four, has never worked anywhere else. She is the family breadwinner, a competitive long-distance runner, a person, by all accounts, of substance. All of which helps explain why friends and colleagues of Rowley were impressed but not altogether surprised when she put her career on the line last week to blow the whistle on the terrible failings of her beloved FBI. "She is the kind of person who always does what is right when nobody's watching," says one friend. "That is why she came out." American life seems uniquely capable of producing stories like hers — a loyal public servant who clings to her belief in the system until a betrayal of that faith makes it impossible to stay silent. Rowley, unable to sleep at 3 a.m. one night in early May, drove to the office and wrote the first draft of a memo. She spent a week fine-tuning it, setting it aside for days, anguishing and at times doubting whether she could go through with it. Summoning her courage last Tuesday, she at last fired off the 13-page letter ("from the heart," she writes) to her ultimate boss, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and flew to Washington to hand-deliver copies to two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and meet with committee staffers. The letter accuses the bureau of deliberately obstructing measures that could have helped disrupt the Sept. 11 attacks. The FBI responded by marking the letter CLASSIFIED.

The product of months of gathering frustration, Rowley's memo — a full copy of which was obtained by TIME — unspools in furious detail how, in the weeks leading up to the hijackings, officials at FBI headquarters systematically dismissed and undermined requests from Rowley's Minneapolis field office for permission to obtain a warrant to wiretap and search the computer and belongings of Zacarias Moussaoui, the French-Moroccan operative arrested in Minnesota last August and facing trial this fall as the sole person charged with conspiring in the attacks. Rowley asserts that the FBI didn't "do much" to share information about Moussaoui with other government agencies or to match the evidence that Moussaoui took pilot lessons with an earlier report from a Phoenix field agent raising suspicions about Middle Eastern men enrolled in flight school. In Rowley's view, bureaucratic incompetence stalled an investigation that may have led closer to the black heart of Osama bin Laden's plot. "It's at least possible we could have gotten lucky and uncovered one or two more of the terrorists in flight training prior to Sept. 11," Rowley writes. "There is at least some chance that...may have limited the Sept. 11th attacks and resulting loss of life."

Like no other document to emerge from the current firestorm over the mistakes and missed signals that led to Sept. 11, the Rowley memo casts a searing light into the depths of government ineptitude. In Washington, where the FBI and CIA may be criticized but are allowed to clean up their own messes as they see fit, the memo sent shudders through the establishment for a simple reason: it came from within. If Rowley's account is accurate — and colleagues say she's not one for shading the truth — her letter amounts to a colossal indictment of our chief law-enforcement agency's neglect in the face of the biggest terrorist operation ever mounted on U.S. soil. It raises serious doubts about whether the FBI is capable of protecting the public — and whether it still deserves the public's trust. While saying she does not believe the FBI director engaged in a post-9/11 cover-up, Rowley accuses Mueller and senior aides of having "omitted, downplayed, glossed over and or/mischaracterized" her office's investigation of Moussaoui. After Sept. 11, top FBI officials decided to "circle the wagons," as she puts it, and deny — as Mueller did immediately after the attacks — that the FBI had any knowledge that Islamic terrorists might be planning an attack involving hijacked airplanes. "I have deep concerns," she writes, "that a delicate shading/skewing of facts by you and others at the highest levels of FBI management has occurred and is occurring." Just 2 1/2 years from retirement, Rowley is now fretting about reprisals, friends say. She closes her letter by acknowledging "the frankness with which I have expressed myself" and asking for federal whistle-blower protection.

Her words had an unintended resonance last week as the country tried to make sense of chilling warnings from Mueller and other top officials who rattled off a litany of "inevitable" terrorist attacks against the U.S. as if they had all just been to a screening of The Sum of All Fears. By now, most Americans know better than to feel safe, but last week the Bush Administration helpfully reminded us just how frightened we're supposed to be. Coupled with an FBI advisory about possible al-Qaeda attacks on the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge, the stream of official doomsaying caused a new round of jitters in time for summer vacation.

Though uncorroborated and vague, the terror alerts were a political godsend for an Administration trying to fend off a bruising bipartisan inquiry into its handling of the terrorist chatter last summer. After the wave of warnings, the Democratic clamor for an investigation into the government's mistakes subsided, but Rowley's memo had members of both parties turning up the heat again. Senate majority leader Tom Daschle seized on the document as reason to appoint an independent commission to examine intelligence failures prior to Sept. 11, an idea the White House intensely opposes. Daschle says he will bring a bill to the floor of the Senate next week, when Congress returns from recess. The chairmen of the joint panel of the House and Senate Intelligence committees, which is investigating the attacks, said they will begin hearings next week. As the inquiry moves forward, Rowley is likely to become a star witness. Last week Iowa Republican Charles Grassley offered Rowley written assurance that her job won't be jeopardized if she cooperates with the Senate's investigations. Grassley warned Mueller to ensure that "there is no retaliation" against her.

In a star-obsessed culture, Rowley is a healthy reminder that it's often people who shun the limelight — strong-willed people with more guts than glamour — who force themselves to step up and speak out when everyone else is keeping quiet. She dresses simply and wears large spectacles that have a habit of sliding down her nose. She takes her lunch to work every day and often arrives long before any of her co-workers. "She goes the extra mile on everything," says Larry Brubaker, a retired agent and former colleague. "Coleen always looks stressed. She is very high energy." In her letter, she comes off as passionate and informed, and her controlled legal arguments are punctuated by piquant asides, dark humor and bursts of deep feeling. As her name rolled off the tongues of every politician and talking head in Washington last Friday, she remained on the job in Minneapolis and at home in a tree-shrouded cul-de-sac in Apple Valley, where she lives with her husband, four kids and 14-year-old Newfoundland. On Friday evening she made a brief appearance at the door of her home. "The situation is, I can't make any comment at all. It'll just be counterproductive," she told reporters from TIME and the Associated Press. "I don't want any publicity. The whole point is that it will be completely undercut if there is any."

As the Minneapolis field-office lawyer, Rowley had a supporting part in the drama that ended with the December indictment of Moussaoui. But she was ready the moment agents phoned her on the night of Aug. 15, 2001. Instructors at the Pan Am flight school near Minneapolis-St. Paul had phoned the FBI the previous day, reporting that a student with bad English had showed up asking for instruction in how to fly a 747. Federal agents arrived at Moussaoui's hotel on the 15th and asked for his immigration papers; when the documents showed evidence of a possible visa violation, agents from the Immigration and Naturalization Service arrested Moussaoui on charges of overstaying his visa.

With Moussaoui in custody, the Minneapolis FBI agents began hunting for information on the suspect's past. In the late 1990s, it turns out, French police had placed Moussaoui on a watch list: using London as his base, Moussaoui shuttled in and out of Kuwait, Turkey and Continental Europe, forming ties with radical Islamist groups and recruiting young men to train and fight the jihad in Chechnya. French intelligence officials also believed Moussaoui spent time in Afghanistan, and his last trip before arriving in the U.S. last February was to Pakistan. A French justice official says the government gave the FBI "everything we had" on Moussaoui, "enough to make you want to check this guy out every way you can. Anyone paying attention would have seen he was not only operational in the militant Islamist world but had some autonomy and authority as well."

The Minneapolis agents agreed. Within days of receiving the French intelligence report, Rowley writes, they "became desperate" to probe the laptop computer they seized from Moussaoui and "conduct a more thorough search of his personal effects." As Rowley describes it, the agents then encountered the first in the series of "roadblocks" thrown up by their superiors in Washington that, she says, ultimately scuttled their attempts to investigate Moussaoui. They wanted to obtain a search warrant for the laptop under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act; under the law, the bureau had to prove Moussaoui was an agent of a terrorist group or a foreign power. In her memo, Rowley maintains that before Sept. 11, the Minneapolis agents had "certainly established," based on French sources and other intelligence, that Moussaoui "had affiliations with radical fundamentalist groups and activities connected to Osama bin Laden."

But officials in Washington disagreed. Rowley blasts the FBI for failing to team up with other federal agencies, such as the CIA, that could have gathered more intelligence to buttress the case against Moussaoui. But a senior Administration official told TIME last week that the bureau did go to the CIA "and asked for what it had"; in late August, the agency passed along reports from Paris that "this guy did have extremist views, but it didn't say al-Qaeda or anything like that." French intelligence sources concede that in the pre-9/11 world, explicit references to bin Laden might not have been made. Believing the evidence against Moussaoui was insufficient, the bureau supervisors rebuffed the Minneapolis effort to search the laptop.

Rowley and her colleagues continued to plead their case. Her memo rails against but doesn't name a handful of midlevel officials who "almost inexplicably" blocked "Minneapolis' by now desperate efforts to obtain a FISA search warrant... HQ personnel brought up almost ridiculous questions in their apparent efforts to undermine the probable cause." One supervisor complained that there might be plenty of men named Zacarias Moussaoui in France; how did the agents know this was the same man? (The agents checked the Paris phone books and found but one Moussaoui.) At another point the field office tried to bypass their bosses altogether and alert the CIA's Counterterrorism Center; Rowley says FBI officials chastised the agents for going behind their backs. She reserves her toughest words for a supervisor who repeatedly belittled the French intelligence on the case. Rowley claims that in late August the supervisor did forward the FISA request to lawyers at the National Security Law Unit, an FBIHQ office that vets warrant proposals before passing them on to the Justice Department. But the supervisor "deliberately further undercut" the request by withholding "intelligence information he promised to add and making several changes in the wording of the information." The resistance from Washington got so bad, she writes, that agents in her office joked that some FBI officials "had to be spies or moles, like Robert Hansen [sic], who were actually working for Osama bin Laden.”

On Aug. 28, the NSLU turned down the Minnesotans' FISA request. Rowley's letter does not provide any specifics to back up the allegation that the supervisor altered or withheld evidence. (Only after Sept. 11 did the FBI successfully obtain a warrant to search Moussaoui's belongings; among other things, the search turned up crop-dusting information, a letter to Moussaoui from an al-Qaeda operative in Malaysia and a notebook that contained an alias eventually traced to the roommate of hijacker Mohamed Atta.) According to Rowley, the supervisor has since been promoted. FBI officials refused to comment on the tampering charge last week; Mueller also demurred, passing the contents of the memo to the Justice Department's inspector general.

Rowley admits that she is outspoken--"those who know me would probably describe me as, by nature, overly opinionated and sometimes not as discreet as I should be"--but her memo is bound to strike a nerve with other FBI agents, who have long complained about the careerist, risk-averse approach of the desk jockeys in the Hoover Building. It's hard not to conclude after reading her account that the FBI's sprawling bureaucracy is hopeless. "Career enhancement," she writes, supersedes law-enforcement concerns at the headquarters, which is staffed by agents with little field expertise serving short, 18-month terms and others so eager to rotate out to the field that they keep their heads down. Among field agents, the bureau's byzantine process of reviewing FISA requests is notorious. Says one retired field officer: "You send your application to headquarters, and they'll sit on it so long and keep it for weeks and weeks...then you have to do it all over again. It's like a catch-22."

As Washington's cycle of blame spun up again last week, the official caught in the blades was Robert Mueller, who until now has impressed many critics with his intelligence, energy and commitment to reform. Though the director did not comment on the specifics of the Rowley memo, he issued a statement that signaled he is serious about fixing his broken institution. "I am convinced that a different approach is required," he said. "There is no room for the types of problems and attitudes that could inhibit our efforts." One of his ideas is to create a new "flying squad" of terrorist specialists based in Washington — but longtime field agents, like Rowley herself, are appalled by the plan. In their view, anything that shifts more power to the Hoover Building will only reinforce the culture of fear and indecision that the hijackers managed to exploit. Rowley wrote to Mueller, "Your plans for an FBI headquarters' 'super squad' simply fly in the face of an honest appraisal of the FBI's pre-September 11 failures."

It's likely Mueller will have plenty more accounting to do. He has already been pressed to explain why the FBI did not investigate Moussaoui more aggressively; on May 8, he told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that the lead Minnesota case agent "did a terrific job in pushing as hard as we possibly could with Moussaoui. But did we discern that there was a plot that would have led us to Sept. 11? No. Could we have? I doubt it." But in its most searching passage, Rowley's letter lays out the case that the FBI made fateful miscalculations by failing to see a possible connection between the Minneapolis investigation of flight student Moussaoui and the hunch of Phoenix agent Kenneth Williams — posited in a report to HQ two months earlier — that al-Qaeda operatives were attending U.S. flight schools. Law-enforcement and congressional sources told TIME that both reports landed on the desk of Dave Frasca, the head of the FBI's radical-fundamentalist unit. The Phoenix memo was buried; the Moussaoui warrant request was denied.

In Rowley's admittedly speculative view, more decisive action might have enabled the authorities to put the pieces together in time. FBI counterterrorism officials continue to dispute that line of reasoning. They doubt Moussaoui was the 20th hijacker: there is no hard evidence that any of the 19 hijackers communicated with Moussaoui, and he showed up for flight school months after the others had completed their training. (They have a darker worry: that he was on an entirely different suicide mission and that his cell mates are still at large.) And the survey of flight schools proposed by Williams would have had a hard time identifying Atta and his cadre, who were done with school and gearing up for Sept. 11.

"No one will ever know what impact, if any, the FBI's following up of these requests might have had," Rowley writes. In a way, she's right — for every American, what might have been will be maddeningly, eternally unknowable. But Rowley has at least forced the FBI and the Administration to confront their failures directly and publicly, rather than sweep them under a self-stitched rug of wartime immunity. The congressional investigations may yet get bogged down in finger pointing and political grandstanding, but for now they represent the main opportunity to learn the lessons that could help guard against the next 9/11. Before Rowley came along, the Administration had succeeded in derailing such inquiries by calling them unproductive and suggesting that its critics might be unpatriotic. Last week a patriot came forward to help steer the country back toward the truth.



Coleen Rowley's Memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller
An edited version of the agent's 13-page letter


May 21, 2002

FBI Director Robert Mueller
FBI Headquarters Washington, D.C.



Dear Director Mueller:

I feel at this point that I have to put my concerns in writing concerning the important topic of the FBI's response to evidence of terrorist activity in the United States prior to September 11th. The issues are fundamentally ones of INTEGRITY and go to the heart of the FBI's law enforcement mission and mandate. Moreover, at this critical juncture in fashioning future policy to promote the most effective handling of ongoing and future threats to United States citizens' security, it is of absolute importance that an unbiased, completely accurate picture emerge of the FBI's current investigative and management strengths and failures.

To get to the point, I have deep concerns that a delicate and subtle shading/skewing of facts by you and others at the highest levels of FBI management has occurred and is occurring. The term "cover up" would be too strong a characterization which is why I am attempting to carefully (and perhaps over laboriously) choose my words here. I base my concerns on my relatively small, peripheral but unique role in the Moussaoui investigation in the Minneapolis Division prior to, during and after September 11th and my analysis of the comments I have heard both inside the FBI (originating, I believe, from you and other high levels of management) as well as your Congressional testimony and public comments.

I feel that certain facts, including the following, have, up to now, been omitted, downplayed, glossed over and/or mis-characterized in an effort to avoid or minimize personal and/or institutional embarrassment on the part of the FBI and/or perhaps even for improper political reasons:

1) The Minneapolis agents who responded to the call about Moussaoui's flight training identified him as a terrorist threat from a very early point. The decision to take him into custody on August 15, 2001, on the INS "overstay" charge was a deliberate one to counter that threat and was based on the agents' reasonable suspicions. While it can be said that Moussaoui's overstay status was fortuitous, because it allowed for him to be taken into immediate custody and prevented him receiving any more flight training, it was certainly not something the INS coincidentally undertook of their own volition. I base this on the conversation I had when the agents called me at home late on the evening Moussaoui was taken into custody to confer and ask for legal advice about their next course of action. The INS agent was assigned to the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force and was therefore working in tandem with FBI agents.

2) As the Minneapolis agents' reasonable suspicions quickly ripened into probable cause, which, at the latest, occurred within days of Moussaoui's arrest when the French Intelligence Service confirmed his affiliations with radical fundamentalist Islamic groups and activities connected to Osama Bin Laden, they became desperate to search the computer lap top that had been taken from Moussaoui as well as conduct a more thorough search of his personal effects. The agents in particular believed that Moussaoui signaled he had something to hide in the way he refused to allow them to search his computer.

3) The Minneapolis agents' initial thought was to obtain a criminal search warrant, but in order to do so, they needed to get FBI Headquarters' (FBIHQ's) approval in order to ask for DOJ OIPR's approval to contact the United States Attorney's Office in Minnesota. Prior to and even after receipt of information provided by the French, FBIHQ personnel disputed with the Minneapolis agents the existence of probable cause to believe that a criminal violation had occurred/was occurring. As such, FBIHQ personnel refused to contact OIPR to attempt to get the authority. While reasonable minds may differ as to whether probable cause existed prior to receipt of the French intelligence information, it was certainly established after that point and became even greater with successive, more detailed information from the French and other intelligence sources.

The two possible criminal violations initially identified by Minneapolis Agents were violations of Title 18 United States Code Section 2332b (Acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, which, notably, includes "creating a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to any other person by destroying or damaging any structure, conveyance, or other real or personal property within the United States or by attempting or conspiring to destroy or damage any structure, conveyance, or other real or personal property within the United States") and Section 32 (Destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities). It is important to note that the actual search warrant obtained on September 11th was based on probable cause of a violation of Section 32.1 Notably also, the actual search warrant obtained on September 11th did not include the French intelligence information. Therefore, the only main difference between the information being submitted to FBIHQ from an early date which HQ personnel continued to deem insufficient and the actual criminal search warrant which a federal district judge signed and approved on September 11th, was the fact that, by the time the actual warrant was obtained, suspected terrorists were known to have highjacked planes which they then deliberately crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. To say then, as has been iterated numerous times, that probable cause did not exist until after the disasterous event occurred, is really to acknowledge that the missing piece of probable cause was only the FBI's (FBIHQ's) failure to appreciate that such an event could occur. The probable cause did not otherwise improve or change. When we went to the United States Attorney's Office that morning of September 11th, in the first hour after the attack, we used a disk containing the same information that had already been provided to FBIHQ; then we quickly added Paragraph 19 which was the little we knew from news reports of the actual attacks that morning. The problem with chalking this all up to the "20-20 hindsight is perfect" problem, (which I, as all attorneys who have been involved in deadly force training or the defense of various lawsuits are fully appreciative of), is that this is not a case of everyone in the FBI failing to appreciate the potential consequences. It is obvious, from my firsthand knowledge of the events and the detailed documentation that exists, that the agents in Minneapolis who were closest to the action and in the best position to gauge the situation locally, did fully appreciate the terrorist risk/danger posed by Moussaoui and his possible co-conspirators even prior to September 11th. Even without knowledge of the Phoenix communication (and any number of other additional intelligence communications that FBIHQ personnel were privy to in their central coordination roles), the Minneapolis agents appreciated the risk. So I think it's very hard for the FBI to offer the "20-20 hindsight" justification for its failure to act! Also intertwined with my reluctance in this case to accept the "20-20 hindsight" rationale is first-hand knowledge that I have of statements made on September 11th, after the first attacks on the World Trade Center had already occurred, made telephonically by the FBI Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) who was the one most involved in the Moussaoui matter and who, up to that point, seemed to have been consistently, almost deliberately thwarting the Minneapolis FBI agents' efforts (see number 5). Even after the attacks had begun, the SSA in question was still attempting to block the search of Moussaoui's computer, characterizing the World Trade Center attacks as a mere coincidence with Misseapolis' prior suspicions about Moussaoui.2

4) In one of my peripheral roles on the Moussaoui matter, I answered an e-mail message on August 22, 2001, from an attorney at the National Security Law Unit (NSLU). Of course, with (ever important!) 20-20 hindsight, I now wish I had taken more time and care to compose my response. When asked by NSLU for my "assessment of (our) chances of getting a criminal warrant to search Moussaoui's computer", I answered, "Although I think there's a decent chance of being able to get a judge to sign a criminal search warrant, our USAO seems to have an even higher standard much of the time, so rather than risk it, I advised that they should try the other route." Leaked news accounts which said the Minneapolis Legal Counsel (referring to me) concurred with the FBIHQ that probable cause was lacking to search Moussaoui's computer are in error. (or possibly the leak was deliberately skewed in this fashion?) What I meant by this pithy e-mail response, was that although I thought probable cause existed ("probable cause" meaning that the proposition has to be more likely than not, or if quantified, a 51% likelihood), I thought our United States Attorney's Office, (for a lot of reasons including just to play it safe) in regularly requiring much more than probable cause before approving affidavits, (maybe, if quantified, 75%-80% probability and sometimes even higher), and depending on the actual AUSA who would be assigned, might turn us down. As a tactical choice, I therefore thought it would be better to pursue the "other route" (the FISA search warrant) first, the reason being that there is a common perception, which for lack of a better term, I'll call the "smell test" which has arisen that if the FBI can't do something through straight-up criminal methods, it will then resort to using less-demanding intelligence methods. Of course this isn't true, but I think the perception still exists. So, by this line of reasoning, I was afraid that if we first attempted to go criminal and failed to convince an AUSA, we wouldn't pass the "smell test" in subsequently seeking a FISA. I thought our best chances therefore lay in first seeking the FISA. Both of the factors that influenced my thinking are areas arguably in need of improvement: requiring an excessively high standard of probable cause in terrorism cases and getting rid of the "smell test" perception. It could even be argued that FBI agents, especially in terrorism cases where time is of the essence, should be allowed to go directly to federal judges to have their probable cause reviewed for arrests or searches without having to gain the USAO's approval.4

5) The fact is that key FBIHQ personnel whose job it was to assist and coordinate with field division agents on terrorism investigations and the obtaining and use of FISA searches (and who theoretically were privy to many more sources of intelligence information than field division agents), continued to, almost inexplicably,5 throw up roadblocks and undermine Minneapolis' by-now desperate efforts to obtain a FISA search warrant, long after the French intelligence service provided its information and probable cause became clear. HQ personnel brought up almost ridiculous questions in their apparent efforts to undermine the probable cause.6 In all of their conversations and correspondence, HQ personnel never disclosed to the Minneapolis agents that the Phoenix Division had, only approximately three weeks earlier, warned of Al Qaeda operatives in flight schools seeking flight training for terrorist purposes!

Nor did FBIHQ personnel do much to disseminate the information about Moussaoui to other appropriate intelligence/law enforcement authorities. When, in a desperate 11th hour measure to bypass the FBIHQ roadblock, the Minneapolis Division undertook to directly notify the CIA's Counter Terrorist Center (CTC), FBIHQ personnel actually chastised the Minneapolis agents for making the direct notification without their approval!

6 ) Eventually on August 28, 2001, after a series of e-mails between Minneapolis and FBIHQ, which suggest that the FBIHQ SSA deliberately further undercut the FISA effort by not adding the further intelligence information which he had promised to add that supported Moussaoui's foreign power connection and making several changes in the wording of the information that had been provided by the Minneapolis Agent, the Minneapolis agents were notified that the NSLU Unit Chief did not think there was sufficient evidence of Moussaoui's connection to a foreign power. Minneapolis personnel are, to this date, unaware of the specifics of the verbal presentations by the FBIHQ SSA to NSLU or whether anyone in NSLU ever was afforded the opportunity to actually read for him/herself all of the information on Moussaoui that had been gathered by the Minneapolis Division and the French intelligence service. Obviously verbal presentations are far more susceptible to mis-characterization and error. The e-mail communications between Minneapolis and FBIHQ, however, speak for themselves and there are far better witnesses than me who can provide their first hand knowledge of these events characterized in one Minneapolis agent's e-mail as FBIHQ is "setting this up for failure." My only comment is that the process of allowing the FBI supervisors to make changes in affidavits is itself fundamentally wrong, just as, in the follow-up to FBI Laboratory Whistleblower Frederic Whitehurst's allegations, this process was revealed to be wrong in the context of writing up laboratory results. With the Whitehurst allegations, this process of allowing supervisors to re-write portions of laboratory reports, was found to provide opportunities for over-zealous supervisors to skew the results in favor of the prosecution. In the Moussaoui case, it was the opposite -- the process allowed the Headquarters Supervisor to downplay the significance of the information thus far collected in order to get out of the work of having to see the FISA application through or possibly to avoid taking what he may have perceived as an unnecessary career risk.7 I understand that the failures of the FBIHQ personnel involved in the Moussaoui matter are also being officially excused because they were too busy with other investigations, the Cole bombing and other important terrorism matters, but the Supervisor's taking of the time to read each word of the information submitted by Minneapolis and then substitute his own choice of wording belies to some extent the notion that he was too busy. As an FBI division legal advisor for 12 years (and an FBI agent for over 21 years), I can state that an affidavit is better and will tend to be more accurate when the affiant has first hand information of all the information he/she must attest to. Of necessity, agents must continually rely upon information from confidential sources, third parties and other law enforcement officers in drafting affidavits, but the repeating of information from others greatly adds to the opportunities for factual discrepancies and errors to arise. To the extent that we can minimize the opportunity for this type of error to arise by simply not allowing unnecessary re-writes by supervisory staff, it ought to be done. (I'm not talking, of course, about mere grammatical corrections, but changes of some substance as apparently occurred with the Moussaoui information which had to be, for lack of a better term, "filtered" through FBIHQ before any action, whether to seek a criminal or a FISA warrant, could be taken.) Even after September 11th, the fear was great on the part of Minneapolis Division personnel that the same FBIHQ personnel would continue their "filtering" with respect to the Moussaoui investigation, and now with the added incentive of preventing their prior mistakes from coming to light. For this reason, for weeks, Minneapolis prefaced all outgoing communications (ECs) in the PENTTBOM investigation with a summary of the information about Moussaoui. We just wanted to make sure the information got to the proper prosecutive authorities and was not further suppressed! This fear was probably irrational but was nonetheless understandable in light of the Minneapolis agents' prior experiences and frustrations involving FBIHQ. (The redundant preface information regarding Moussaoui on otherwise unrelative PENTTBOM communications has ended up adding to criminal discovery issues, but this is the reason it was done.)

7) Although the last thing the FBI or the country needs now is a witch hunt, I do find it odd that (to my knowledge) no inquiry whatsoever was launched of the relevant FBIHQ personnel's actions a long time ago. Despite FBI leaders' full knowledge of all the items mentioned herein (and probably more that I'm unaware of), the SSA, his unit chief, and other involved HQ personnel were allowed to stay in their positions and, what's worse, occupy critical positions in the FBI's SIOC Command Center post September 11th. (The SSA in question actually received a promotion some months afterward!) It's true we all make mistakes and I'm not suggesting that HQ personnel in question ought to be burned at the stake, but, we all need to be held accountable for serious mistakes. I'm relatively certain that if it appeared that a lowly field office agent had committed such errors of judgment, the FBI's OPR would have been notified to investigate and the agent would have, at the least, been quickly reassigned. I'm afraid the FBI's failure to submit this matter to OPR (and to the IOB) gives further impetus to the notion (raised previously by many in the FBI) of a double standard which results in those of lower rank being investigated more aggressively and dealt with more harshly for misconduct while the misconduct of those at the top is often overlooked or results in minor disciplinary action. From all appearances, this double standard may also apply between those at FBIHQ and those in the field.

8) The last official "fact" that I take issue with is not really a fact, but an opinion, and a completely unsupported opinion at that. In the day or two following September 11th, you, Director Mueller, made the statement to the effect that if the FBI had only had any advance warning of the attacks, we (meaning the FBI), may have been able to take some action to prevent the tragedy. Fearing that this statement could easily come back to haunt the FBI upon revelation of the information that had been developed pre-September 11th about Moussaoui, I and others in the Minneapolis Office, immediately sought to reach your office through an assortment of higher level FBIHQ contacts, in order to quickly make you aware of the background of the Moussaoui investigation and forewarn you so that your public statements could be accordingly modified. When such statements from you and other FBI officials continued, we thought that somehow you had not received the message and we made further efforts. Finally when similar comments were made weeks later, in Assistant Director Caruso's congressional testimony in response to the first public leaks about Moussaoui we faced the sad realization that the remarks indicated someone, possibly with your approval, had decided to circle the wagons at FBIHQ in an apparent effort to protect the FBI from embarrassment and the relevant FBI officials from scrutiny. Everything I have seen and heard about the FBI's official stance and the FBI's internal preparations in anticipation of further congressional inquiry, had, unfortunately, confirmed my worst suspicions in this regard. After the details began to emerge concerning the pre-September 11th investigation of Moussaoui, and subsequently with the recent release of the information about the Phoenix EC, your statement has changed. The official statement is now to the effect that even if the FBI had followed up on the Phoenix lead to conduct checks of flight schools and the Minneapolis request to search Moussaoui's personal effects and laptop, nothing would have changed and such actions certainly could not have prevented the terrorist attacks and resulting loss of life. With all due respect, this statement is as bad as the first! It is also quite at odds with the earlier statement (which I'm surprised has not already been pointed out by those in the media!) I don't know how you or anyone at FBI Headquarters, no matter how much genius or prescience you may possess, could so blithely make this affirmation without anything to back the opinion up than your stature as FBI Director. The truth is, as with most predictions into the future, no one will ever know what impact, if any, the FBI's following up on those requests, would have had. Although I agree that it's very doubtful that the full scope of the tragedy could have been prevented, it's at least possible we could have gotten lucky and uncovered one or two more of the terrorists in flight training prior to September 11th, just as Moussaoui was discovered, after making contact with his flight instructors. It is certainly not beyond the realm of imagination to hypothesize that Moussaoui's fortuitous arrest alone, even if he merely was the 20th hijacker, allowed the hero passengers of Flight 93 to overcome their terrorist hijackers and thus spare more lives on the ground. And even greater casualties, possibly of our Nation's highest government officials, may have been prevented if Al Qaeda intended for Moussaoui to pilot an entirely different aircraft. There is, therefore at least some chance that discovery of other terrorist pilots prior to September 11th may have limited the September 11th attacks and resulting loss of life. Although your conclusion otherwise has to be very reassuring for some in the FBI to hear being repeated so often (as if saying it's so may make it so), I think your statements demonstrate a rush to judgment to protect the FBI at all costs. I think the only fair response to this type of question would be that no one can pretend to know one way or another.

Mr. Director, I hope my observations can be taken in a constructive vein. They are from the heart and intended to be completely apolitical. Hopefully, with our nation's security on the line, you and our nation's other elected and appointed officials can rise above the petty politics that often plague other discussions and do the right thing. You do have some good ideas for change in the FBI but I think you have also not been completely honest about some of the true reasons for the FBI's pre-September 11th failures. Until we come clean and deal with the root causes, the Department of Justice will continue to experience problems fighting terrorism and fighting crime in general.

I have used the "we" term repeatedly herin to indicate facts about others in the Minneapolis Office at critical times, but none of the opinions expressed herin can be attributed to anyone but myself. I know that those who know me would probably describe me as, by nature, overly opinionated and sometimes not as discreet as I should be. Certainly some of the above remarks may be interpreted as falling into that category, but I really do not intend anything as a personal criticism of you or anyone else in the FBI, to include the FBIHQ personnel who I believe were remiss and mishandled their duties with regard to the Moussaoui investigation. Truly my only purpose is to try to provide the facts within my purview so that an accurate assessment can be obtained and we can learn from our mistakes. I have pointed out a few of the things that I think should be looked at but there are many, many more.8 An honest acknowledgment of the FBI's mistakes in this and other cases should not lead to increasing the Headquarters bureaucracy and approval levels of investigative actions as the answer. Most often, field office agents and field office management on the scene will be better suited to the timely and effective solution of crimes and, in some lucky instances, to the effective prevention of crimes, including terrorism incidents. The relatively quick solving of the recent mailbox pipe-bombing incidents which resulted in no serious injuries to anyone are a good example of effective field office work (actually several field offices working together) and there are hundreds of other examples. Although FBIHQ personnel have, no doubt, been of immeasurable assistance to the field over the years, I'm hard pressed to think of any case which has been solved by FBIHQ personnel and I can name several that have been screwed up! Decision-making is inherently more effective and timely when decentralized instead of concentrated.

Your plans for an FBI Headquarters' "Super Squad" simply fly in the face of an honest appraisal of the FBI's pre-September 11th failures. The Phoenix, Minneapolis and Paris Legal Attache Offices reacted remarkably exhibiting keen perception and prioritization skills regarding the terrorist threats they uncovered or were made aware of pre-September 11th. The same cannot be said for the FBI Headquarters' bureaucracy and you want to expand that?! Should we put the counterterrorism unit chief and SSA who previously handled the Moussaoui matter in charge of the new "Super Squad"?! You are also apparently disregarding the fact the Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs), operating out of field divisions for years, (the first and chief one being New York City's JTTF), have successfully handled numerous terrorism investigations and, in some instances, successfully prevented acts of terrorism. There's no denying the need for more and better intelligence and intelligence management, but you should think carefully about how much gate keeping power should be entrusted with any HQ entity. If we are indeed in a "war", shouldn't the Generals be on the battlefield instead of sitting in a spot removed from the action while still attempting to call the shots?

I have been an FBI agent for over 21 years and, for what it's worth, have never received any form of disciplinary action throughout my career. From the 5th grade, when I first wrote the FBI and received the "100 Facts about the FBI" pamphlet, this job has been my dream. I feel that my career in the FBI has been somewhat exemplary, having entered on duty at a time when there was only a small percentage of female Special Agents. I have also been lucky to have had four children during my time in the FBI and am the sole breadwinner of a family of six. Due to the frankness with which I have expressed myself and my deep feelings on these issues, (which is only because I feel I have a somewhat unique, inside perspective of the Moussaoui matter, the gravity of the events of September 11th and the current seriousness of the FBI's and United States' ongoing efforts in the "war against terrorism"), I hope my continued employment with the FBI is not somehow placed in jeopardy. I have never written to an FBI Director in my life before on any topic. Although I would hope it is not necessary, I would therefore wish to take advantage of the federal "Whistleblower Protection" provisions by so characterizing my remarks.


Sincerely


Coleen M. Rowley
Special Agent and Minneapolis Chief Division Counsel



NOTES

1) And both of the violations originally cited in vain by the Minneapolis agents disputing the issue with FBIHQ personnel are among those on which Moussaoui is currently indicted.

2) Just minutes after I saw the first news of the World Trade Center attack(s), I was standing outside the office of Minneapolis ASAC M. Chris Briesse waiting for him to finish with a phone call, when he received a call on another line from this SSA. Since I figured I knew what the call may be about and wanted to ask, in light of the unfolding events and the apparent urgency of the situation, if we should now immediately attempt to obtain a criminal search warrant for Moussaoui's laptop and personal property, I took the call. I said something to the effect that, in light of what had just happened in New York, it would have to be the "hugest coincidence" at this point if Moussaoui was not involved with the terrorists. The SSA stated something to the effect that I had used the right term, "coincidence" and that this was probably all just a coincidence and we were to do nothing in Minneapolis until we got their (HQ's) permission because we might "screw up" something else going on elsewhere in the country.

4) Certainly Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure which begins, "Upon the request of a federal law enforcement officer or an attorney for the government" does not contain this requirement. Although the practice that has evolved is that FBI agents must secure prior approval for any search or arrest from the United States Attorneys Office, the Federal Rule governing Search and Seizure clearly envisions law enforcement officers applying, on their own, for search warrants.

5) During the early aftermath of September 11th, when I happened to be recounting the pre-September 11th events concerning the Moussaoui investigation to other FBI personnel in other divisions or in FBIHQ, almost everyone's first question was "Why?--Why would an FBI agent(s) deliberately sabotage a case? (I know I shouldn't be flippant about this, but jokes were actually made that the key FBIHQ personnel had to be spies or moles, like Robert Hansen, who were actually working for Osama Bin Laden to have so undercut Minneapolis' effort.) Our best real guess, however, is that, in most cases avoidance of all "unnecessary" actions/decisions by FBIHQ managers (and maybe to some extent field managers as well) has, in recent years, been seen as the safest FBI career course. Numerous high-ranking FBI officials who have made decisions or have taken actions which, in hindsight, turned out to be mistaken or just turned out badly (i.e. Ruby Ridge, Waco, etc.) have seen their careers plummet and end. This has in turn resulted in a climate of fear which has chilled aggressive FBI law enforcement action/decisions. In a large hierarchal bureaucracy such as the FBI, with the requirement for numerous superiors approvals/oversight, the premium on career-enhancement, and interjecting a chilling factor brought on by recent extreme public and congressional criticism/oversight, and I think you will see at least the makings of the most likely explanation. Another factor not to be underestimated probably explains the SSA and other FBIHQ personnel's reluctance to act. And so far, I have heard no FBI official even allude to this problem-- which is that FBI Headquarters is staffed with a number of short term careerists* who, like the SSA in question, must only serve an 18 month-just-time-to-get-your-ticket-punched minimum. It's no wonder why very little expertise can be acquired by a Headquarters unit! (And no wonder why FBIHQ is mired in mediocrity! -- that maybe a little strong, but it would definitely be fair to say that there is unevenness in competency among Headquarters personnel.) (It's also a well known fact that the FBI Agents Association has complained for years about the disincentives facing those entering the FBI management career path which results in very few of the FBI's best and brightest choosing to go into management. Instead the ranks of FBI management are filled with many who were failures as street agents. Along these lines, let me ask the question, why has it suddenly become necessary for the Director to "handpick" the FBI management?) It's quite conceivable that many of the HQ personnel who so vigorously disputed Moussaoui's ability/predisposition to fly a plane into a building were simply unaware of all the various incidents and reports worldwide of Al Qaeda terrorists attempting or plotting to do so.

*By the way, just in the event you did not know, let me furnish you the Webster's definition of "careerism - - the policy or practice of advancing one's career often at the cost of one's integrity". Maybe that sums up the whole problem!

6) For example, at one point, the Supervisory Special Agent at FBIHQ posited that the French information could be worthless because it only identified Zacarias Moussaoui by name and he, the SSA, didn't know how many people by that name existed in France. A Minneapolis agent attempted to surmount that problem by quickly phoning the FBI's legal Attache (Legat) in Paris, France, so that a check could be made of the French telephone directories. Although the Legat in France did not have access to all of the French telephone directories, he was able to quickly ascertain that there was only one listed in the Paris directory. It is not known if this sufficiently answered the question, for the SSA continued to find new reasons to stall.

7) Another factor that cannot be underestimated as to the HQ Supervisor's apparent reluctance to do anything was/is the ever present risk of being "written up" for an Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB) "error." In the year(s) preceding the September 11th acts of terrorism, numerous alleged IOB violations on the part of FBI personnel had to be submitted to the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) as well as the IOB. I believe the chilling effect upon all levels of FBI agents assigned to intelligence matters and their manager hampered us from aggressive investigation of terrorists. Since one generally only runs the risk of IOB violations when one does something, the safer course is to do nothing. Ironically, in this case, a potentially huge IOB violation arguably occurred due to FBIHQ's failure to act, that is, FBIHQ's failure to inform the Department of Justice Criminal Division of Moussaoui's potential criminal violations (which, as I've already said, were quickly identified in Minneapolis as violations of Title 18 United States Code Section 2332b [Acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries] and Section 32 [Destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities]). This failure would seem to run clearly afoul of the Attorney General directive contained in the "1995 Procedures for Contacts Between the FBI and the Criminal Division Concerning Foreign Intelligence and Foreign Counterintelligence Investigations" which mandatorily require the FBI to notify the Criminal Division when "facts or circumstances are developed" in an FI or FCI investigation "that reasonably indicate that a significant federal crime has been, is being, or may be committed." I believe that Minneapolis agents actually brought this point to FBIHQ's attention on August 22, 2001, but HQ personnel apparently ignored the directive, ostensibly due to their opinion of the lack of probable cause. But the issue of whether HQ personnel deliberately undercut the probable cause can be sidestepped at this point because the Directive does not require probable cause. It requires only a "reasonable indication" which is defined as "substantially lower than probable cause." Given that the Minneapolis Division had accumulated far more than "a mere hunch" (which the directive would deem as insufficient), the information ought to have, at least, been passed on to the "Core Group" created to assess whether the information needed to be further disseminated to the Criminal Division. However, (and I don't know for sure), but to date, I have never heard that any potential violation of this directive has been submitted to the IOB or to the FBI's OPR. It should also be noted that when making determinations of whether items need to be submitted to the IOB, it is my understanding that NSLU normally used/uses a broad approach, erring, when in doubt, on the side of submitting potential violations.

8) For starters, if prevention rather than prosecution is to be our new main goal, (an objective I totally agree with), we need more guidance on when we can apply the Quarles "public safety" exception to Miranda's 5th Amendment requirements. We were prevented from even attempting to question Moussaoui on the day of the attacks when, in theory, he could have possessed further information about other co-conspirators.} (Apparently no government attorney believes there is a "public safety" exception in a situation like this?!)



FBI whistleblower describes 'roadblocks'
June 6, 2002 Posted: 5:54 PM EDT (2154 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The FBI is a bureaucracy rife with "risk aversion," "roadblocks" to investigations and "endless, needless paperwork," FBI agent Coleen Rowley told a Senate panel Thursday.


Rowley testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, her appearance greeted with an explosion of camera flashes. Her blistering letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller about the bureau's headquarters has become a focal point of congressional probes into apparent intelligence failures preceding the September 11 terrorist attacks.
"I never really anticipated this kind of impact when I wrote this letter to Director Mueller two weeks ago," Rowley said.

Rowley brought a paper statement in which she outlined her concerns, but she spoke extemporaneously before indicating she was open to questions.

"I do really care about the FBI. I've invested half my life in it," she said.

Rowley, the chief legal adviser in the FBI's Minneapolis field office, said she wrote her letter because she was concerned that after September 11 the FBI was moving in the direction of more bureaucracy and micromanagement from headquarters.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, who has been highly critical of the FBI, praised her as a "patriotic American."

Mueller: FBI 'must change'
Rowley spoke after lawmakers heard from Mueller, who said the beleaguered agency will evolve to meet its new mission of protecting the country from further attacks.

At that earlier session, Grassley pressed Mueller for assurance that Rowley's career would not suffer because of her critical letter. "Absolutely," Mueller responded.

As he did last week, Mueller conceded FBI headquarters did not adequately respond to some internal memos and clues about terrorism prior to September 11. Mueller said that his agency "must change" and needs more resources, points he said are underscored by the devastating attacks of September 11.

"When we looked back, we saw things that we should have done better and things that we should have done differently, but we also saw things that were done well and things that we should do more," Mueller said.

His testimony was the first public hearing in the investigation into the performance of the FBI in the months leading up to September 11 and afterward.

While several lawmakers endorsed Mueller's continue tenure at the helm of the FBI -- a job he took just one week before the attacks -- some also expressed frustration that the agency does not have the computer technology and analytical expertise to sift through tips and leads developed by its field offices.

"How was it we were so far behind the curve that it was almost laughable," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York. "It just makes my jaw drop to think that on 9/11 or 9/10 the kind of technology that is available to most school kids and certainly every small business in this country, why isn't it available to the FBI?"

Meanwhile, President Bush will address the nation tonight on the creation of a new Center for Intelligence designed to improve coordination of homeland security, the White House said.

Longtime counterterror efforts under scrutiny
Rowley also met behind closed doors Wednesday with congressional investigators from a separate joint House-Senate inquiry into apparent intelligence failures before the attacks on New York and Washington.

While the events of September 11 are a focus of the joint intelligence committee inquiry as well, lawmakers say the hearings -- expected to last until the fall -- will examine U.S. counterterrorism efforts dating back to 1986. Sen. Bob Graham, a Florida Democrat, said committee members were warned at the meeting Tuesday to avoid leaking any information to news outlets.

On Thursday, the joint inquiry may hear from its first official witness, again behind closed doors: Graham said it was "possible" that lawmakers would call former ounterterrorism chief Cofer Black as their first witness.

Black was the director of the U.S. Counterterrorism Center at the CIA until two weeks ago and was in charge of the center on September 11. Officials have said his departure was routine after serving the assignment for more than three years.

The White House has said it wants investigations of reported pre-September 11 intelligence failures confined to the congressional intelligence committees, which began their joint inquiry Tuesday. Those 37 lawmakers have so far held their sessions in secret, but expect to open them to the public later this summer.

The intelligence committee hearings are being held in a soundproof room under the Capitol dome. They opened following revelations that the CIA tracked two suspected terrorists -- who wound up on the plane that hit the Pentagon -- for about 18 months before putting them on a border watch list about three weeks before the attacks.

CIA officials said late Monday that they had told the FBI in January 2000 that one of the eventual hijackers, Khalid Almihdhar, was expected to attend an upcoming al Qaeda meeting in Malaysia and merited scrutiny. The FBI said it would not "engage in finger-pointing."

-- CNN Congressional Correspondent Kate Snow contributed to this report.


Also:

http://www.nationalreview.com/kudlow/ku ... 150859.asp

http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2002/06/06/fbi020606

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4711886

"Frankly, I don't think it's a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous."
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Re: 9/11 Info Dump

Postby Elvis » Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:24 am

[p.9 of dump]




[more run-up/coincidences &tc.]


Remember when NewsMax published the occasional worthwhile piece?

No URL, sorry; you'll have to trust me that this was once actually copied from the Internet.

Agent: FBI Could Have Prevented 9-11
Wes Vernon, NewsMax.com
Friday, May 31, 2002

WASHINGTON – A veteran FBI agent Thursday charged that corruption inside the bureau derailed investigations that could have averted the terrorist attacks on America on Sept. 11. His lawyers said the FBI had evidence that the World Trade Center was a possible terrorist target.

In a memo written 91 days before Sept. 11, Special Agent Robert G. Wright Jr. warned that Americans would die as a result of the FBI's failure to investigate terrorists living in this country.

Wright went public at a press conference even though FBI Director Robert Mueller ordered him to stay in Chicago and threatened him with criminal prosecution if he spoke publicly about the agency's wrongdoing.

"The FBI is not protecting the American people," declared Wright at a conference sponsored by his attorneys at the public interest law firm Judicial Watch.
Judicial Watch Chairman and General Counsel Larry Klayman termed Mueller’s comments Wednesday, that open criticism of him and other top FBI brass was welcome, were nothing more than "politically convenient statements."

'They Got Caught'

"They said that because they got caught with their hands in the cookie jar," declared Klayman, referring to a memo written by FBI legal counsel Coleen Rowley. She alleged in a memo that the FBI could have prevented the 9-11 attacks and that Mueller, though new to the job, has covered up for senior FBI officials.

Klayman said Mueller’s reorganization plan announced this week was nothing more than "icing over a stale cake."

Wright produced a sworn statement relating to an FBI agent who refused to record a telephone conversation during the meeting with a suspect in an FBI criminal investigation related to terrorism.

Muslim Agent 'Does Not Record Another Muslim'!

The agent in question is quoted in two sworn statements, one by Wright and the other by retired agent Barry Carmody, as refusing to record the conversation because "a Muslim does not record another Muslim."

Carmody’s statement said that refusal "may have negatively impacted the conduct of the FBI’s investigation. I informed FBI headquarters twice about this incident in 1998 and again in 2000, but I am aware of no disciplinary action being taken against him in this matter."

Wright, whose whistle-blowing was first reported by NewsMax.com over two months ago, urged the Bush administration and Congress to "consider removing terrorism investigative matters from the hands of the FBI. For reasons of consistency, reliability and national security, these responsibilities should be assigned to a new federal anti-terrorism agency."

The assets of the Drug Enforcement Agency could be used to fund an anti-terrorism agency, he said. "Simply switch the terrorism responsibilities of the FBI with the nation’s illegal drug responsibilities.

FBI's Gross Incompetence

"Knowing what I know," Wright continued, "I can confidently say that until the investigative responsibilities for terrorism are transferred from the FBI, I will not feel safe."

The agent, stationed in Chicago and now demoted to "meaningless paper-pushing" work, according to Klayman, charged the FBI "cannot identify and prevent acts of terrorism against the United States and its citizens at home and abroad."

Even worse, he said, there is "virtually no effort on the part of the FBI’s International Terrorism Unit to neutralize known and suspected terrorists residing in the United States. Unfortunately, more terrorist attacks against the American interests, coupled with the loss of American lives, will have to occur before those in power give this matter the urgent attention it deserves."

By phone from his law office in Chicago, Wright’s lead attorney, David Schippers, who represented the House Judiciary Committee in its impeachment of Bill Clinton, chided the FBI for dropping the ball in dealing with domestic and international radical Islamic "charities" that were laundering money on American soil through U.S. financial institutions and other channels.

Stopping Muslim Terrorism Isn't P.C.

Had the bureau not been cowed by "political correctness," Schippers said, the money for much terrorist activity "would have been cut off."

In his opening statement, Judicial Watch’s Klayman said the FBI had threatened Wright with his job if he were to go ahead and tell his story either in media statements or in a book he has been writing.
When Wright attempted to travel to Washington on his own time during the week after Sept. 11, to meet with members of Congress about the FBI’s incompetence and dereliction of duty regarding terrorism, his attorneys were threatened by the Justice Department, which oversees the bureau.

Klayman says Attorney General John Ashcroft should be required to answer for that interference. Moreover, the FBI informed Wright that he could not travel outside the Chicago division without the express permission of the bureau.

The Judicial Watch counsel said the FBI did have intelligence about terrorist activity planned against the World Trade Center and "other monuments."

Wright listed several major failures of the FBI. They include

lack of high-quality managers and modern computer technology;

failure to modernize investigative objectives to deal with the new terrorist threat;

too many investigative violations;

incompetent managers not held accountable for their mistakes;

an internal affairs unit that was "bias[ed] and unfair" to whistle-blowers and
others;

criminal conflicts that have "contributed to the preventable deaths of American citizens";

FBI duplication of the investigative jurisdictions of other federal law enforcement agencies such as the DEA and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

"I love America, and likewise I love the FBI, particularly its purpose and mission," Wright told reporters at the National Press Club. "However, the mission has been seriously jeopardized to the point where American lives have been needlessly lost."

At the news conference, in answer to questions from NewsMax.com, Klayman said he hoped Congress would use its subpoena powers to require Wright and responsible officials to testify.

He also told NewsMax that if the FBI tries to drive Wright out of the bureau by isolating him and passing him up for promotions, "he will be a rich man" because Judicial Watch would take necessary legal action to see that the powers that be do not get away with this familiar bureaucratic tactic of retaliation.



I didn't save the URL in my file but Google told me this next story is still up, here: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2002/06/offi-j21.html

Air Force Officer Disciplined for Saying
Bush Allowed September 11 Attacks


Hijacker Attended US military School

By Jerry Isaacs
21 June 2002


A US Air Force officer in California recently accused President Bush of deliberately allowing the September 11 terror attacks to take place. The officer has been relieved of his command and faces further discipline. The controversy surrounding Lt. Col. Steve Butler's letter to the editor, in which he affirmed that Bush did nothing to warn the American people because he "needed this war on terrorism," received scant coverage in the media.

Universally ignored by the press, however, was that the officer was not merely expressing a personal opinion. He was in a position to have direct knowledge of contacts between the US military and some of the hijackers in the period before the terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon.

Lieutenant Colonel Butler, who wrote in a letter to the editor of the Monterey County Herald charging that "Bush knew about the impending attacks," was vice chancellor for student affairs at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California — a US military facility that one or more of the hijackers reportedly attended during the 1990s.

In his May 26 letter to the newspaper, Butler responded to Bush supporters, who had written the paper opposing the congressional investigation into the September 11 events. He wrote:

"Of course President Bush knew about the impending attacks on America. He did nothing to warn the American people because he needed this war on terrorism. His daddy had Saddam and he needed Osama. His presidency was going nowhere. He wasn't elected by the American people, but placed in the Oval Office by a conservative supreme court. The economy was sliding into the usual Republican pits and he needed something on which to hang his presidency.... This guy is a joke. What is sleazy and contemptible is the President of the United States not telling the American people what he knows for political gain."

The letter provoked immediate retaliation against the 24-year Air Force veteran. Butler was transferred from the Monterey installation and threatened with court martial under Article 88 of the military code, which prohibits officers from publicly using "contemptuous words" against the president and other officials.

Last week the Air Force announced it had concluded its investigation of the case and suggested Butler would likely face "nonjudicial punishment," such as a fine or a letter of reprimand, rather than a stiffer sentence. If he refuses this punishment, however, Butler, who is ready to retire, could still face a court martial.

The issue is a particularly sensitive one for the Pentagon and the Bush administration. While many people believe that the Bush administration viewed September 11 as a priceless opportunity to implement an ultra-reactionary program of militarism and repression, Butler is different. His military assignment brought him into contact with at least one of the alleged hijackers.

Shortly after September 11, several US news outlets reported that Saeed AlghamdiÑnamed as taking part in the hijacking of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in western PennsylvaniaÑhad taken courses at the Defense Language Institute, the US military's primary foreign language facility, where Butler was a leading officer overseeing students (essentially, dean of students).

Alghamdi, a 41-year-old Saudi national, was one of several alleged hijackers, including accused ringleader Mohamed Atta, who reportedly trained at US military facilities, according to a series of articles published between September 15 and 17 in the Washington Post, Newsweek magazine, the New York Times and several other newspapers.

On September 15, Newsweek reported: "U.S. military sources have given the FBI information that suggests five of the alleged hijackers of the planes used in Tuesday's terror attacks received training at secure U.S. military installations in the 1990s."

The magazine said that Saeed Alghamdi was among three who had taken flight training at the Navy Air Station in Pensacola, FloridaÑknown as the "cradle of US Navy aviation"Ñwhich also administers training of foreign aviation students for the Navy. The magazine, citing "a high-ranking Pentagon official" as its source, reported that two othersÑboth former Saudi air force pilots who had come to the USÑalso attended such facilities. One received tactical training at the Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama and the other language training at the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

Over the next few days, more detailed information appeared in several other newspapers. A September 16 article in the New York Times reported: "Three of the men identified as the hijackers in the attacks on Tuesday have the same names as alumni of American military schools, the authorities said today. The men were identified as Mohamed Atta, Abdulaziz al-Omari and Saeed al-Ghamdi.

"The Defense Department said Mr. Atta had gone to the International Officers School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama; Mr. al-Omari to the Aerospace Medical School at Brooks Air Force Base in Texas; and Mr. al-Ghamdi to the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio in Monterey, Calif."

The Knight Ridder news service also reported that Saeed Alghamdi had been to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey and the Associated Press cited Air Force sources indicating that more than one of the hijackers may have received language training at the installation.

The media dropped the story after the Air Force officials issued a cursory statement aimed at preventing any further inquiry into links between the US military and the terrorists. While acknowledging that some of the suspected terrorists "had similar names to foreign alumni of U.S. military courses," the statement said discrepancies in biographical information, such as birth dates and name spellings, "indicate we are probably not talking about the same people." Without providing any substantiation, the statement suggested the hijackers may have stolen the identities of foreign military personnel who received training at the bases.

Following this less than convincing explanation, the Air Force refused to release the ages, countries of origin or any other information about the individuals whose names matched those of the alleged hijackersÑmaking it virtually impossible to verify the claim that these were not the same individuals.

Attorney General John Ashcroft and the FBI also refused to make public any information. Asked by Florida Senator Bill Nelson whether any of the hijackers were trained at the Pensacola base, the Justice Department refused to give a definitive answer, and the FBI said it could not respond until it could "sort through something complicated and difficult," according to the senator's representative.

To receive such training, the hijackers would have had connections to Arab governments that enjoyed close relations with the US government. A former Navy pilot at the Pensacola air station told Newsweek that during his years on the base, "We always, always, always trained other countries' pilots. When I was there two decades ago, it was Iranians. The Shah was in power. Whoever the country du jour is, that's whose pilots we train."

Military officials acknowledged that the US has a longstanding agreement with Saudi Arabia to train pilots for the kingdom's national guard. Candidates receive air combat training and other courses on several Army and Navy bases, in a program paid for by Saudi Arabia. Significantly 15 of the 19 hijackers were believed to be Saudi nationals.
According to its web site, the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in MontereyÑfounded in 1946 as the Military Intelligence Service Language SchoolÑ"provides foreign language services to Department of Defense, government agencies and foreign governments" to support "national security interests and global operational needs."

As vice chancellor for student affairs, Butler had extensive contact with students, according to Pete Randazzo, a close associate of the officer and president of the National Association of Government Employees Local 1690, which represents civilian employees at the language school.

"He would go and have lunch with the students, sit in their classrooms. He was a very caring officer over there," Randazzo told the Herald. Butler was also navigator of a B-52 bomber during the Persian Gulf War, which made it likely he was familiar with Saudi military operations, given the close relations between the US and Saudi Arabia during the 1990-91 war against Iraq.

In the 1990s, several officers were disciplined under Article 88 of the military code for publicly denouncing Clinton, including an Air Force general who went so far as to ridicule the president as a "gay-loving, pot-smoking, draft-dodging womanizer" in front of 250 people at an awards banquet.

With Butler's comments, however, the Pentagon faces a more delicate problem. The Lieutenant Colonel may well know considerably more than he is saying about US military-intelligence apparatus involvement in the September 11 events, and, on the eve of his retirement, took the opportunity to set the record straight.



Related from wsws.org :

Was the US government alerted to September 11 attack?
Part 2: Watching the hijackers
By Patrick Martin
18 January 2002

Email the author
See Part 1: Warnings in advance , Part 3: The United States and Mideast terrorism, and Part 4: The refusal to investigate]

The United States government maintains the world’s largest apparatus for collecting intelligence and monitoring telecommunications, comprised of multiple agencies—CIA, FBI, National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, Defense Signals Intercept Organization, etc.—bankrolled by a secret budget estimated at a staggering $30 billion a year.

Yet the Bush administration claims, with no dissent from the tame American media, that this huge national security apparatus had not the slightest inkling that nearly two dozen men were preparing to hijack commercial jetliners and crash them into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Nor has there been any public clamor for the removal of those whose seeming incompetence, if the official story is to be believed, cost the lives of nearly 3,000 American citizens.

What has emerged over the past four months, however, is a much different picture of the events of September 11 and the relation of the US military-intelligence complex to them. Not only were there frequent advance warnings, derived both from foreign intelligence services and US investigations into previous terrorist attacks, but the US government was itself in possession of considerable information from contemporaneous electronic and physical surveillance of Osama bin Laden and his associates in the Al Qaeda organization.

Electronic monitoring of bin Laden

It is well known that the National Security Agency at one time had virtually complete access to the electronic communications of bin Laden and his associates. In the period leading up to the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998, the monitoring was so extensive that NSA officials used to play back telephone conversations between bin Laden and his mother to impress visiting dignitaries—and help boost their congressional appropriations.

By one account, the NSA had recorded virtually every minute of conversations on a satellite telephone which bin Laden was using in Afghanistan. The laptop device was purchased in New York City for the Al Qaeda leader, who used all of its more than 2,000 prepaid minutes phoning supporters in dozens of countries—a fact that suggests that he was less than the world’s greatest conspirator. (Source: Los Angeles Times, September 21, 2001, “Hate Unites an Enemy Without an Army,” by Bob Drogin; Chicago Tribune, September 16, 2001, “Bin Laden, associates elude spy agency’s eavesdropping,” by Scott Shane)

US officials have suggested that this access was abruptly cut off after bin Laden learned that the monitored communications had helped the Pentagon target a training camp in eastern Afghanistan for the cruise missile strike ordered by President Clinton. The Al Qaeda leader stopped using telephones and other electronic devices entirely, they claim, resorting to couriers and other forms of direct communication which cannot be monitored so easily.

Such claims are dismissed as US disinformation by many knowledgeable observers. Longtime Egyptian journalist and former government spokesman Mohammed Heikal, in an interview with a British newspaper, expressed disbelief that bin Laden and his Al Qaeda group could have conducted the September 11 attack without the United States knowing: “Bin Laden has been under surveillance for years: every telephone call was monitored and Al-Qaeda has been penetrated by American intelligence, Pakistani intelligence, Saudi intelligence, Egyptian intelligence. They could not have kept secret an operation that required such a degree of organisation and sophistication.” (Source: Heikal interview with the Guardian, October 10, 2001)

The more sweeping the US government claims about the global scope and high-level coordination of bin Laden’s activities, the less credible is the claim that electronic monitoring has yielded no results. It would be practically impossible to avoid any kind of electronic interchange of information in operating a worldwide network capable of carrying out attacks in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States.
There have been scattered reports in the press suggesting that bin Laden’s associates, if not the Islamic fundamentalist leader himself, have used electronic communications devices and these have been monitored by US agencies.

UPI correspondent Richard Sale, covering the trial of bin Laden followers in New York City last year, reported that the National Security Agency had broken bin Laden’s encrypted communications. Given that US officials “believe the planning for the Sept. 11 attacks probably began two years ago,” ( New York Times, October 14, 2001) this suggests that some information on the preparations for September 11 was available to electronic intercept. (Source: United Press International, February 13, 2001)

The clearest suggestion of successful US monitoring of Al Qaeda communications—and the closest to the September 11 attacks—was the statement by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, a conservative Republican with wide contacts in the national security establishment. He told the Associated Press on September 11 that the US government was monitoring bin Laden’s communications electronically and had overheard two bin Laden aides celebrating the successful terrorist attack. “They have an intercept of some information that included people associated with bin Laden who acknowledged a couple of targets were hit,” he told AP. (Source: Associated Press, September 11, 2001, “World Trade Center collapses in terrorist attack,” by David Crary and Jerry Schwartz)

Hatch repeated this assertion in an interview with ABC News the same day, saying that both CIA and FBI officials had told him the same story. That his statement was true is demonstrated by the Bush administration reaction. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld publicly denounced the report as an unauthorized release of classified information. The White House later cited this leak as grounds for withholding detailed information on US counterterrorist actions from Congress, although Bush was later compelled to resume the briefings of a handful of congressional leaders.

There were several other media reports of similar successful monitoring of Al Qaeda communications. The German magazine Der Spiegel said that officers from the German intelligence service BND intercepted phone conversations between two bin Laden supporters. NBC News reported October 4 that bin Laden called his mother two days before the World Trade Center attack and told her, “In two days you’re going to hear big news, and you’re not going to hear from me for a while.” NBC said that a foreign intelligence service had recorded the call and relayed the information to the US. Such reports must be considered cautiously, especially coming as they did on the eve of the launching of US air strikes on Afghanistan. But it is impossible to avoid the conclusion: if US intelligence agencies could obtain such information after September 11, they were able to do so before that date. (Source: Toronto Globe & Mail, October 5, 2001)

Besides the actual communications among the hijackers and their co-conspirators, there was another electronic tip-off to September 11. It has been widely reported that during the week before the suicide hijackings, there was sudden and unexplained speculation in the stock of American and United airlines. Huge bets were placed that the stock prices of both airlines would plunge, as did happen after two American and two United jets were hijacked and crashed. No other airlines saw such speculation, and the identity of those who placed the thousands of “put” options—bets that a stock will go down—has not been revealed.

Less well known is the fact that the CIA operates a sophisticated software system, known as Promis, which monitors such sudden price movements for the specific purpose of providing advance warning that a particular industry or corporation may be targeted for a terrorist attack. This software provides around-the-clock real-time monitoring, so that CIA officials would have been alerted as early as September 7 that American and United were potential targets. According to the right-wing, stridently pro-Bush Fox News network, both the FBI and the Justice Department have confirmed that Promis was in use last summer for US intelligence gathering. There is no indication that the CIA warned either the airlines themselves or the US agencies responsible for domestic security.

How many hijackers were known?

According to the official Bush administration account of the terrorist attacks, only 2 of the 19 alleged suicide hijackers were known to US authorities before September 11. These two, Kahlil Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhamzi, had been placed on an FBI “watch list” at the request of the CIA, after Almihdhar was linked to a bin Laden operative in Malaysia.

Innumerable accounts in the American media sought to answer the questions that were inevitably raised by this version of events. How was it possible for two men being sought by the FBI and CIA, with alleged ties to the man the US government had branded the most dangerous terrorist in world, to buy expensive first-class one-way tickets for an airline flight, then board and hijack a jetliner on September 11?

Almihdhar and Alhamzi apparently lived in southern California, in the San Diego area for nearly two years, leaving and reentering the United States at least once—only a few weeks before the “watch list” alert was issued. According to one press report, Alhamzi was even listed in the San Diego phone book—a fact that certainly calls into question the media portrayal of the suicide hijackers as master conspirators who covered their tracks and were essentially undetectable. (Source: Washington Post, December 29, 2001)

Whatever the circumstances in which these two future hijackers escaped detection, however, the basic premise of the official story—that these two were the only hijackers identified as terrorist suspects before September 11—is false. Several other hijackers or men now believed to be their accomplices had come to the attention of US police and intelligence agencies before the destruction of the World Trade Center, but they were allowed to go their way.

There is the strange case of Ziad Samir Jarrah, one of the suspected hijackers on board the United Airlines jet that crashed in Pennsylvania. Officials in the United Arab Emirates acknowledge that Jarrah arrived in the UAE on January 30, 2001, after two months in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and was questioned for several hours at Dubai International Airport, at the request of the US government. He was then permitted to leave, traveling on to Hamburg via Amsterdam. Later he flew to the United States.

Despite official US interest sufficient to have him detained in the UAE, he was allowed to enter the country and then enrolled in a flight school. Jarrah was stopped for speeding on Interstate 95 in Maryland on September 9, two days before the hijacking, ticketed and released. The Maryland State Police apparently ran his name through their computers and found nothing. In response to post-September 11 inquiries, FBI and CIA officials claimed that neither agency had been aware of Jarrah or placed him on any watch list, although some US government agency had sought his detention eight months before in Dubai. (Sources: Chicago Tribune, December 14, 2001; Baltimore Sun, December 14, 2001)

Newsweek magazine, in its special edition published immediately after the September 11 attack, made a startling claim about ties between the hijackers and the American national security apparatus. Citing US military sources, Newsweek reported that “five of the alleged hijackers of the planes that were used in Tuesday’s terror attacks received training at secure U.S. military installations in the 1990s.” Three had listed addresses at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida when they applied for driver’s licenses or car registrations. Another trained at the Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama, while the fifth took language instruction at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. The three men who trained at Pensacola were named as Saeed Alghamdi and Ahmad Alnami, both aboard United Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania, and Ahmed Alghamdi, aboard United Flight 75, which hit the south tower of the World Trade Center.

FBI officials told the office of Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) that the agents assigned to the World Trade Center/Pentagon case were “investigating any connection to the military facility,” but that no determination had been made, because of uncertainty over whether the hijackers had stolen the IDs of other Middle East visitors to the US, especially from Saudi Arabia. Pensacola has been the site of military training for foreign aviators, including many from Saudi Arabia and other US clients in the Middle East.

Saudi officials also sought to dispute the reports that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens, but these have proven to be true. There has been no further press reporting on the Pensacola story, either in Newsweek itself, which never did a follow-up, or any other major media outlet.

The case of Mohammed Atta

Even more extraordinary is the treatment of Mohammed Atta, the alleged ringleader of the hijackings. Atta was reportedly an object of attention for the Egyptian, German and American police and yet traveled without hindrance between Europe and America throughout 2000 and 2001.

According to a report on the German public television channel ARD, Atta was the subject of telephone monitoring by the Egyptian secret service, which had learned that he had made at least one recent visit to Afghanistan from his home in Hamburg, Germany. The German program, broadcast November 23, said that the American FBI had monitored Atta’s movements for several months in 2000, when he traveled several times from Hamburg to Frankfurt and bought large quantities of chemicals potentially usable in making explosives. Atta’s name was also mentioned in a Hamburg phone call between Islamic fundamentalists monitored by the German police in 1999. The BBC, commenting on the German report, said, “The evidence ... reinforces concerns that the international intelligence community may have known more about Atta before September 11 than was previously thought, but had failed to act.” (Source: British Broadcasting Corporation report, November 26, 2001)

Atta came to the attention of US authorities on several occasions in the course of 2001. In January he was allowed to reenter the United States after a trip to Germany, despite the fact that he was in violation of his visa status. He landed in Miami January 10 on a flight from Madrid, on a tourist visa, although he told immigration inspectors that he was taking flying lessons in the US, for which an M-1 student visa is required. Jeanne Butterfield, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, told the Washington Post, “Nine times out of 10, they would have told him to go back and file [for that status] overseas. You’re not supposed to come in as a visitor for pleasure and go to work or school.” The recipient of this indulgent treatment, it must be emphasized, had previously been under FBI surveillance for stockpiling bomb-making materials! (Source: Washington Post, October 28, 2001)

According to a report on Canadian television, Atta had been implicated in a terrorist bombing in Israel and the information passed on to the United States before he was first issued a tourist visa. (Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, September 14, 2001, reported by Diana Swain from Vero Beach, Florida)

Atta made other trips to Europe, returning to Germany in May and visiting Spain in July, each time returning to the United States and being admitted by US customs and immigration. Another British press report notes that Atta “was under surveillance between January and May last year after he was reportedly observed buying large quantities of chemicals in Frankfurt, apparently for the production of explosives and for biological warfare. The US agents reported to have trailed Atta are said to have failed to inform the German authorities about their investigation. The disclosure that Atta was being trailed by police long before 11 September raises the question why the attacks could not have been prevented with the man’s arrest.” (Source: The Observer, September 30, 2001)

During the summer of 2001, Atta received a wire transfer of $100,000 from an account in Pakistan allegedly controlled by a representative of Osama bin Laden. This transfer has been cited repeatedly by US officials as proof that bin Laden inspired the September 11 attacks, but they have not explained how such a large sum of money could be transmitted with impunity to someone under FBI surveillance. Another remarkable fact: according to an Indian newspaper, the man who actually authorized the wire transfer to Atta was General Mahmud Ahmed, head of the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, the principal sponsor of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Ahmed was forced to resign after India made his role public and it was confirmed by the FBI. Coincidentally or not, Ahmed was in Washington, DC on September 11, for consultations with American intelligence officials. (Source: CNN report, October 1, 2001; The Times of India , October 11, 2001).



This also from wsws.org:

September 11 cover-up crumbles: Who was covering for Moussaoui, and why?
By Patrick Martin
29 May 2002

Email the author


The revelations over the past two weeks about advance warnings of the September 11 terrorist attacks have focused particularly on the role of Zaccarias Moussaoui, the Islamic fundamentalist arrested last August in Minneapolis. Moussaoui is the only person facing criminal charges for allegedly playing a role in the attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center and killed more than 3,000 people.

Fragments of a May 22 letter from Colleen Rowley, an official in the Minneapolis FBI office, to FBI Director Robert Mueller were reported in the press last week. Virtually the entire text of the letter is published in the current issue of Time magazine and posted on its web site, www.time.com. The letter documents not merely incompetence and bureaucratic indifference, but active opposition to an investigation of Moussaoui, sabotage so obvious that it led Minneapolis FBI personnel to joke that agents of Osama bin Laden must have penetrated the J. Edgar Hoover building.

Ever since September 11 the Bush administration has steadfastly maintained its opposition to any investigation into the circumstances leading up to the suicide hijackings, while offering shifting and contradictory explanations of how it was possible for terrorists to seize control of four commercial airliners simultaneously and hit the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

At first the White House, FBI and CIA claimed that the attacks came as a bolt from the blue, taking the US government totally by surprise, despite its vast intelligence apparatus employing hundreds of thousands of personnel. Anyone who questioned this claim, especially in view of the longstanding ties between the US intelligence services and Osama bin Laden, the alleged inspirer of the attacks, was branded a “conspiracy theorist.”

The administration launched its long-planned war against Afghanistan, bombing and then invading that impoverished country, killing thousands of people—from Taliban rank-and-file soldiers to civilians in peasant villages and urban centers—who had no demonstrable connection to the destruction of the World Trade Center.

In the name of the “war on terrorism,” the administration drafted and pushed through Congress legislation that vastly expanded the powers of the government to spy on, arrest and imprison both American citizens and immigrants. These new powers were needed, according to Attorney General Ashcroft and other Bush spokesmen, to prevent a repetition of the “surprise attack” of September 11.


One lie replaces another

Then came the revelation this month that September 11 was not such a surprise. Press reports compelled the White House to admit that Bush had been briefed on August 6, 2001—more than a month before the attacks on New York and Washington—about Al Qaeda threats to hijack US commercial airliners.

The official story changed abruptly. Instead of no advance warning, White House and FBI spokesmen now claimed there had been too many warnings. The evidence had been plentiful, but so fragmentary that no one was able to put it together in time to forestall the hijackings.

With undisguised contempt for public opinion, the White House offered a new cover story that directly contradicted the old one that the White House had maintained for eight months. The new version, however, failed to explain why Bush & Co. had concealed the August 6 briefing and other evidence of advance warnings for months on end.

The American media dutifully swallowed the new set of lies without protest. Press accounts were filled with references to the failure to “connect the dots,” as though elaborate mental gymnastics were required to see the relationship between a warning of Islamic fundamentalist activity at US pilot-training schools (from the Arizona FBI) and the arrest (by the Minneapolis FBI) of Moussaoui, an Islamic fundamentalist who paid cash to be trained to fly a Boeing 747 while he could not even pilot a small plane.

This new cover story lasted barely a week before it was exploded by Rowley’s 13-page letter to Mueller and the Senate Intelligence Committee. Among other things, Rowley revealed that the local FBI reports from Arizona and Minneapolis had ended up on the desk of the same official at FBI headquarters, David Frasca, head of the Radical Fundamentalists Unit. Even on the morning of September 11, as the Minneapolis FBI agents were watching television coverage of the suicide attacks on the Twin Towers, Frasca called Rowley to tell her not to proceed with an investigation of Moussaoui because Minneapolis might “screw up” something else going on elsewhere in the country.

Nor were these the isolated actions of a single misguided official. Rowley points out, “Despite FBI leaders’ full knowledge of all the items mentioned herein ... the SSA [supervisory special agent], his unit chief, and other involved HQ personnel were allowed to stay in their positions and, what’s worse, occupy critical positions in the FBI’s SIOC Command Center post-September 11th. (The SSA in question actually received a promotion some months afterward!)”
Rowley’s letter confirms that there was extensive discussion within the government on the danger of hijackings by Islamic fundamentalists, although the public was not informed. Repeated efforts to investigate were being thwarted. Top-level FBI officials were protecting Moussaoui and his confederates, running interference for him when his own reckless and impulsive conduct brought him to the attention of the authorities. The question is, why?

The CIA and Islamic fundamentalism

There are two possible explanations. The first is that Moussaoui and others were being protected because they were engaged in operations that had the support of the US government—in Chechnya or other territories of the former Soviet Union, in Bosnia, or elsewhere. Moussaoui himself was active in recruiting Islamic fundamentalists to fight in Chechnya against the Russian army.

CIA Director William Casey initiated the recruitment of Islamic fundamentalists from around the world to go to Afghanistan in the 1980s to fight in the decade-long guerrilla war against the Soviet military intervention. They received training in terrorist tactics, including the planting of bombs, from US intelligence agents. This was the milieu out of which Osama bin Laden—himself a collaborator with the CIA in Afghanistan—recruited the initial forces for his Al Qaeda organization.

After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, many of these fighters, most of them Arabs, were allowed entry into the United States as a reward for their services in the war. In the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, some of these Islamic fundamentalists turned against the US government, bombing the World Trade Center in 1993 and carrying out other attacks on US targets overseas. The phenomenon of former CIA-backed guerrillas using their US training to attack American targets became known as “blowback.”

Many Islamic fundamentalists continued to make common cause with American imperialism, particularly in Bosnia, Chechnya, and other brutal guerrilla wars on the periphery of the former Soviet bloc. The US intelligence apparatus worked closely with these forces, particularly in Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania, but also in Chechnya and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. US administrations regularly denounced the Russian military intervention in Chechnya—a position taken by George W. Bush as a candidate, which he abandoned only after September 11 in pursuit of Russian support for the US intervention in Central Asia.

It is thus quite possible that top US intelligence officials were aware of Moussaoui’s role as a recruiter for the Islamic fundamentalist forces fighting Russian troops in Chechnya and sought to protect him from the attentions of lower-level FBI agents.

There is a second possibility, which largely coincides with the first, but with the sinister addition that the alliance of the CIA with Islamic fundamentalist terrorists may have included actions within the United States itself. In other words, the US intelligence apparatus was aware at some level of the unfolding plans for terrorist strikes against US targets, and let them proceed in order to provide a suitable pretext for the military action that the Bush administration and the Pentagon were planning to undertake in Central Asia.



No URL, but a rather well-known Newsweek blip:
Newsweek
September 15, 2001

U.S. military sources have given the FBI information that suggests five of the alleged hijackers of the planes used in Tuesday’s terror attacks received training at secure U.S. military installations in the 1990s.

Saeed Alghamdi was among three who had taken flight training at the Navy Air Station in Pensacola, Florida—known as the “cradle of US Navy aviation”—which also administers training of foreign aviation students for the Navy. The magazine, citing “a high-ranking Pentagon official” as its source, reported that two others—both former Saudi air force pilots who had come to the US—also attended such facilities. One received tactical training at the Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama and the other language training at the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.



No URL, sorry; just trust me this was copied from the Internet. The bracketed bit looks like comment by whoever who reposted the story, I don't recall:
New York Times
September 16, 2001

The Defense Department said Mr. Atta had gone to the International Officers School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama; Mr. al-Omari to the Aerospace Medical School at Brooks Air Force Base in Texas; and Mr. al-Ghamdi to the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio in Monterey, Calif.

Three of the men identified as the hijackers in the attacks on Tuesday have the same names as alumni of American military schools, the authorities said today. The men were identified as Mohamed Atta, Abdulaziz al-Omari and Saeed al-Ghamdi


[The media dropped the story after the Air Force officials issued a cursory statement aimed at preventing any further inquiry into links between the US military and the terrorists. "...we are probably not talking about the same people.”

...The Air Force refused to release the ages, countries of origin or any other information about the individuals whose names matched those of the alleged hijackers—making it virtually impossible to verify the claim that these were not the same individuals.]
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Re: 9/11 Info Dump

Postby Elvis » Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:57 am

[p.10 of dump]


Katherine Smith had been implicated in February in a phony documents scheme said to be related to the September 11 hijackers. One day before she was due in court, she was incinerated in her car after having hit a utility pole. An investigation revealed that the crash was minor and was not the cause of the fire that burned Smith beyond recognition. Who was really behind 9/11? Was Katherine Smith privy to that information? Why did she have to die, and who killed her?
(Unknown)


Flaming death no accident, FBI says

Gasoline found on clothes of license examiner

February 14, 2002
By Bill Dries
dries@gomemphis.com
- Bill Dries: 529-2643
The fiery death of a driver's license examiner at the center of a federal fraud investigation was not an accident, an FBI agent said here Wednesday in federal court.
By Lance Murphey

Mohammed Fares (left), Abdelmuhsen Mahmid Hammad and Mostafa Said Abou-Shahin arrive for Wednesday's federal court hearing in which bond was denied.
Federal and state investigators found gasoline on the clothes Katherine Smith was wearing when she died Sunday in a car crash on a stretch of U.S. 72 in Fayette County, FBI agent J. Suzanne Nash told U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Daniel Breen.
Nash also testified that investigators found evidence of some kind of accelerant in the burned-out interior of Smith's car.
"Katherine Smith obviously lived two lives, maybe more. She may have had other things going on in her life that may have led to her death." - Karen Cicala
Her testimony came during a probable cause and bond hearing for three of Smith's five co-defendants in an alleged scheme to get Tennessee driver's licenses using false information for men with Middle Eastern ties who lived in New York City.
Breen found there was probable cause to charge Mohammed Fares, Mostafa Said Abou-Shahin and Abdelmuhsen Mahmid Hammad. He also denied them bond.
Fares, Hammad and Abou-Shahin, wearing tan prison scrubs and blue windbreakers, listened to the proceedings through cell phones with an Arabic interpreter on the other end of the line in another city. The courtroom's sound system was piped through the phone line for the interpreter to hear.
After hearing the translation of Breen denying him bond, Fares, 19, set his cell phone on the table and put his head in his hands.
Smith and her co-defendants, including alleged ring leader Khaled Odtllah and Hammad's cousin, Sakhera Hammad, were charged Feb. 6 with conspiracy to fraudulently obtain Tennessee driver's licenses.
While her five co-defendants have been imprisoned without bond since their Feb. 5 arrest, Smith was released on her own recognizance. She died one day before she was due to appear at a detention hearing before a federal magistrate judge. (Bob's Note: This sounds like the same thing that happened to lots of Blow Job Clinton's witnesses, "Well gee, they just up 'n died! I dunno!")
"Was this death a result of an accident?" federal prosecutor Tim DiScenza asked Nash, who was the only witness to testify during Wednesday's two-hour hearing.
"No, it was not," Nash replied.
According to Nash, this is what FBI agents and Tennessee Highway Patrol investigators have concluded about the car crash:
Six unnamed witnesses - all related to each other - saw Smith's 1992 Acura Legend veer off U.S. 72 around 12:45 a.m. Sunday. They said the interior of the car was on fire as the car drove across a ditch and hit a utility pole.
The fire was arson, Nash said.
"Every single thing inside the car is burnt," she said before noting that the trunk and gas tank were untouched by a blaze so intense that Smith's arms and legs were "burned off."
There was only "slight damage" to the front end of the car from hitting the utility pole, she added.
Nash said gasoline was found on Smith's clothing. She said investigators are still waiting on test results of traces of an unknown accelerant found in the car. A dog trained to sniff out such chemicals detected the accelerant.
Smith died from "inhaling the actual flames," Nash testified.
"Her airway system is actually singed."
Attorneys for the three defendants were quick to point out that their clients were all in prison at the time of Smith's death.
"Katherine Smith obviously lived two lives, maybe more," said Karen Cicala, who represents Fares. "She may have had other things going on in her life that may have led to her death."
She also questioned whether Fares is being treated differently because of ties to the Middle-East.
Attorney Jake Erwin, representing Hammad, urged Breen to consider only the fraud conspiracy charge.
"You're not saying that Mr. Hammad had anything to do with Katherine Smith's death, are you?" Erwin asked Nash.
"No, not at this time," she replied.
"You're not saying he had anything to do with the World Trade Center attack, are you," he asked again.
"No, not at this time," she repeated.
DiScenza has said there are "connections" linking two of the accused to the World Trade Center in the days before it was destroyed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Those connections include a visitor's pass to the WTC dated Sept. 5 that belonged to Sakhera Hammad.
DiScenza focused on Smith's death as a factor that Breen should consider in denying bond.
"This court has to consider that Katherine Smith died under very suspicious circumstances, in a manner that was clearly not an accident," DiScenza told Breen. "Coincidence only goes so far."




Secrecy Surrounds 9/11 Investigation
—By Craig Cox-, Utne.com
February 2003 Issue

A member of the commission investigating the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington said he will push for “a wide-ranging, aggressive” probe that includes interviews with a less-than-cooperative White House. But how forthcoming will the Bush administration be when the president’s own brother’s name comes up in conversation.

The panelist, retired Democratic Congressman Tim Roemer, told Time.com that the investigation must go beyond the House-Senate inquiry that was chiefly notable for its inability to interview top-level members of the Bush administration. Officials such as Donald Rumsfelt, John Ashcroft, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice “were not questioned directly about issues related to the Setpember 11 attacks,” an oversight Roemer said needs to be corrected.

But getting White House cooperation will not be easy, said Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), who sponsored legislation creating the commission. The Bush administration, he said, “slow-walked and stonewalled” the congressional inquiry. “I don’t see how you can have a thorough investigation without talking to the people who were in charge throughout the time period prior to 9/11,” he said.

Such an investigation could reveal some embarrassing Bush family connections with a company “that intersected the weapons and targets on a day of national tragedy.” As Margie Burns reports in The American Reporter, an electronic daily newspaper, Marvin P. Bush, the president’s younger brother, was a principal in a company called Securacom that provided security for the World Trade Center, United Airlines, and Dulles International Airport. The company, Burns noted, was backed by KuwAm, a Kuwaiti-American investment firm on whose board Marvin Burns also served.

Securacom has since changed its name to Stratesec, but is still backed by KuwAm. Marvin Bush, who did not respond to repeated interview requests from The American Reporter, is no longer on the board of either company and has not been linked with any terrorist activities.

According to Wayne Black, head of a Florida-based security firm, it is somewhat unusual for a single firm to handle security for both an airline and a airport. It’s also unusual for a firm linked so closely with a foreign-owned company to handle security on such a “sensitive” international airport as Dulles. “When you have a security contract, you know the inner workings of everything,” he said. “Somebody knew somebody,” he added, or the contract would have been scrutinized more carefully.

Marvin Bush’s alleged connections to these companies may shed new light on the Bush administration’s determination in the days after 9/11 to push legislation protecting foreign-owned security companies in the Homeland Security bill. These and other issues will be taken up this week, when Roemer and his colleagues convene the commission’s first meeting.



Vol. 9, No. 2021 - The American Reporter - January 20, 2003

SECRECY SURROUNDS A BUSH BROTHER'S ROLE IN 9/11 SECURITY
by Margie Burns

Washington, D.C. WASHINGTON, Jan 19, 2003 -- A company that provided security at New York City's World Trade Center, Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., and to United Airlines between 1995 and 2001, was backed by a private Kuwaiti-American investment firm with ties to a brother of President Bush and the Bush family, according to records obtained by the American Reporter.

Two planes hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001 were United Airlines planes, and another took off from Dulles International Airport; two, of course, slammed into the World Trade Center. But the Bush Administration has never disclosed the ties of a presidential brother and the Bush family with the firm that intersected the weapons and targets on a day of national tragedy.

Marvin P. Bush, a younger brother of George W. Bush, was a principal in the company from 1993 to 2000, when most of the work on the big projects was done. But White House responses to 9/11 have not publicly disclosed the company's part in providing security to any of the named facilities, and many of the public records revealing the relationships are not public.

Nonetheless, public records reveal that the firm, formerly named Securacom, listed Bush on its board of directors and as a significant shareholder. The firm, now named Stratesec, Inc., is located in Sterling, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C., and emphasizes federal clients. Bush is no longer on the board.

Marvin Bush has not responded to repeated telephoned and emailed requests for comment on this story.

The American Stock Exchange delisted Stratesec's stock in October 2002. Securacom also had a contract to provide security at Los Alamos National Laboratories, notorious for its security breaches and physical and intellectual property thefts.

According to its present CEO, Barry McDaniel, the company had an ongoing contract to handle security at the World Trade Center "up to the day the buildings fell down." Yet instead of being investigated, the company and companies involved with it have benefited from legislation pushed by the Bush White House and rubber-stamped by Congressional Republicans. Stratesec, its backer KuwAm, and their corporate officers stand to benefit from limitations on liability and national-security protections from investigation provided in bills since 9/11.

HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc., a reinsurance corporation on whose board Marvin Bush sat as director until November 2002, similarly benefits from terrorism insurance protections. (Bush's first year on the board at HCC coincided with his last year on the board at Stratesec.) HCC, formerly Houston Casualty Company, carried some of the insurance for the World Trade Center. It posted a loss for the quarter after the attacks of Sept. 11 and dropped participation in worker's compensation as a result. Bush remains an adviser to the chairman and the Board of Directors, as well as a member of the company's investment committee.

The former CEO of Stratesec is Wirt D. Walker III, who is still chairman of the board. Although he has also been the managing director of KuwAm for several years, Walker states definitively in phone interviews that there was no exchange of talent between Stratesec and KuwAm during the World Trade Center and other projects.

As Walker put it, "I'm an investment banker." He continued, "We just owned some stock." The investment company "was not involved in any way in the work or day-to-day operations" of the security company. He explained clearly and pleasantly that there was no sharing of information or of personnel between the two companies.

In December 2000 - when the outcome of the U.S. presidential election was determined - Stratesec added a government division, providing "the same full range of security systems services as the Commercial Division," the company says. Stratesec now has "an open-ended contract with the General Services Administration (GSA) and a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) with the agency that allows the government to purchase materials and services from the Company without having to go through a full competition."

The company lists as government clients "the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S Air force, and the Department of Justice," in projects that "often require state-of-the-art security solutions for classified or high-risk government sites." In 2000, the U.S. Army accounted for 29 percent of the company's earned revenues, or about $6.9 million.

The White House opposed an independent commission to investigate 9/11 until after the terrorism insurance protections and protections for security companies had safely passed Congress. It has also quietly intervened in lawsuits against United Airlines in New York, brought by relatives of the victims.

Marvin Bush joined Securacom's Board of Directors in 1993, as part of new management hired when the company separated from engineering firm Burns and Roe. The new team was capitalized by KuwAm, the D.C.-based Kuwaiti-American investment company. Bush also served on the Board of Directors at KuwAm, along with Mishal Yousef Saud al-Sabah, Chairman of KuwAm and also a Director on Securacom's (Stratesec's) board.

The World Trade Center and the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority - which operates Dulles - were two of Securacom's three biggest clients in 1996 and 1997. (The third was MCI, now WorldCom.)

Stratesec (Securacom) differs from other security companies which separate the function of consultant from that of service provider. The company defines itself as a "single-source" provider of "end-to-end" security services, including everything from diagnosis of existing systems to hiring subcontractors to installing video and electronic equipment. It also provides armored vehicles and security guards.

When, following the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey began its multi-million-dollar, multiyear revamping of security in and around the Twin Towers and Buildings 4 and 5, Securacom was among numerous contractors hired in the upgrade.
The companies doing security jobs received due mention in print, in security industry publications and elsewhere. The board membership of a son of former President Bush went unnoticed, at least in print.

According to SEC filings, Securacom/Stratesec acquired the $8.3 million World Trade Center contract in October 1996. The project generated 28 percent of all revenues for the company in 1996. SEC filings indicate that revenues from the World Trade Center project commenced in 1996 at $1.6 million, peaked in 1997 at $6.6 million ($4.1 million in the first half), and diminished in 1998 to less than $1 million.

A key concept in security is "access control." In hindsight, as the security industry's reportage on the World Trade Center precautions makes clear, further attacks would have to come from the air. Unfortunately, such detailed reports did not convey that message at home. Nobody thought outside the box enough to deduce that a jumbo jet could overcome even the extraordinary controls at the World Trade Center. With 20-20 hindsight, it is obvious that the intricate procedures in the building's lobbies and on its perimeters were useless in trying to stop a 767 loaded with jet fuel.

Barry McDaniel, CEO of the company since January 2002, declines on security grounds to give specific details about work the company did at the World Trade Center. According to McDaniel, the contract was ongoing (a "completion contract"), and "not quite completed when the Center went down." The company designed a system, but - as he points out - that obviously "didn't have anything to do with planes flying into buildings."

The key words "access control" are less feeble and irrelevant, however, in regard to airports and airlines. Had the hijackers failed on the ground, they would have lost their airborne weapon.

Two of the hijacked planes were United Airlines planes, and another took off from Dulles International. Two hit the Twin Towers, leading to a collapse of both buildings that killed nearly 3,000 people.

McDaniel makes clear that Securacom's contract with United Airlines was a single-site contract, in Indianapolis (at least five years ago), and not local. The work was finished several years before he joined the board, and was not in or near Washington.

The Dulles Internation contract is another matter. Dulles is regarded as "absolutely a sensitive airport," according to security consultant Wayne Black, head of a Florida-based security firm, due to its location, size, and the number of international carriers it serves.

Black has not heard of Stratesec, but responds that for one company to handle security for both airports and airlines is somewhat unusual. It is also delicate for a security firm serving international facilities to be so interlinked with a foreign-owned company: "Somebody knew somebody," he suggested, or the contract would have been more closely scrutinized.

As Black points out, "when you [a company] have a security contract, you know the inner workings of everything." And if another company is linked with the security company, then "What's on your computer is on their computer."

In this context, retired FAA special agent Brian F. Sullivan is angry, and eloquent. "You can have all the security systems in the world, but the people behind the systems make the difference." The Bush administration, says Sullivan, "spit in the faces" of the victims' families, in pushing for last-minute protections for foreign-owned security companies (in the Homeland Security bill). Sullivan points out that "not one single person" in an upper-level position has lost a job as a result of 9/11, "not in the FBI, CIA, FAA, DOT." As he sums up, "No accountability, no progress."

Stratesec got its first preventive maintenance contract with Dulles Airport in 1995, generating $0.3 million that year. The Dulles project generated revenue of $1.2 million in 1996, $2.5 million in 1997, and $2.3 million in 1998, accounting for 22% of the company's revenues in 1996 and in 1998

Like other specialists, Professor Dale B. Oderman of Purdue University's aviation technology department, concurs that Dulles "was considered a very high profile target" as the primary international airport near the nation's capital. It serves as port of entry to about 15 international airlines as well as serving eight of the 11 major us passenger carriers. In comparison, Reagan Airport hosts only Air Canada from outside the U.S., and Baltimore-Washington Airport hosts about a half dozen."

Stratesec did not handle screening of passengers at Dulles. According to a contracting official for the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority, its three-year contract was for maintenance of security systems: It maintained the airfield access system, the CCTV (closed circuit television) system, and the electronic badging system.

In 1997, the World Trade Center and Dulles accounted for 55 percent and 20 percent of the company's earned revenues, respectively. The World Trade Center and Dulles projects figured largely in both Securacom's growing revenues from 1995 to 1997 and its decreases from 1997 to 1998.

Stratesec continued to refer to "New York City's World Trade Center" as a former client through April 2001. It listed Dulles Airport and United Airlines as former clients through April 2002.

As with the World Trade Center - which also had electronic badging, security gates, and CCTV - the ultimate problem with Dulles' security controls was not the controls themselves, but that they could be sidestepped. All the hijackers had to do was buy a ticket. As former FAA special agent Sullivan comments, "If they [attackers] knew about the security system, they knew how to bypass it."

One obvious question for investigators is how much potential hijackers could have known about the security system.

From 1993 to 1999, KuwAm - the Kuwait-American Corporation -- held a large and often controlling interest in Securacom. In 1996, KuwAm Corporation owned 90 percent of the company, either directly or through partnerships like one called Special Situations Investment Holdings and another called "Fifth Floor Company for General Trading and Contracting." KuwAm owned 31 percent of Securacom in 1998 and 47 percent of Stratesec in 1999. It currently holds only about 205,000 shares of Stratesec; Walker, KuwAm's managing director, holds 650,000.

Marvin Bush was reelected annually to Securacom's board of directors from 1993 through 1999. His final reelection was on May 25, 1999, for July 1999 to June 2000. Throughout, he also served on the company's Audit Committee and Compensation Committee, and his stock holdings grew during the period. Directors had options to purchase 25,000 shares of stock annually. In 1996, Bush acquired 53,000 shares at 52 cents per share. Shares in the 1997 IPO sold at $8.50. Records since 2000 no longer list Bush as a shareholder.

Stratesec and KuwAm were and still are intertwined at the top. Walker, while a principal at Stratesec (a director since 1987, chairman of the board since 1992, and formerly CEO since 1999), was also on the board of directors at KuwAm and is still managing director (both since 1982). Mishal Yousef Saud Al Sabah, the chairman at KuwAm, also served on Stratesec's board from 1991 to 2001. Walker and Al Sabah had major stock holdings in each other's companies. The sons of both also held shares in the two companies.

Stratesec, which currently lists 45 employees, hired KuwAm for corporate secretarial services in 2002, at $2,500 per month.

For several years, Walker has also been chairman and CEO of an aircraft company, Aviation General, about 70 percent owned by KuwAm.

The Saudi Arabian embassy, the Kuwait embassy, and KuwAm have office suites in the Watergate complex, where both Stratesec and Aviation General held their annual shareholders' meetings in 1999, 2000, and 2001. Bush was reelected to his annual board position there, across the hall from a Saudi Arabian Airlines office. (This year, the companies' shareholders meetings switched to the fifth floor, in space also leased by Saudis and Kuwaitis.)

Incidentally, Saudi Princess Haifa Al-Faisal had her checking account at Riggs Bank, which has a large branch in the Watergate. Given that Jonathan Bush, the president's uncle, is a Riggs executive, it is difficult to understand any obstacle for American authorities pursuing the recently reported "Saudi money trail." The princess's charitable activities were processed through Riggs, but attention focused on the Saudis seems not to extend to the politically-connected bank they used.

McDaniel was asked in a brief telephone interview whether FBI or other agents have questioned him or others at Stratesec about the company's security work in connection with 9/11. The concise answer: "No." Asked the same question regarding KuwAm, Walker declined further comment, and referred a reporter to the public record.

According to a spokesman in an FBI regional office, since October 2001, "the investigation [of 9/11] is being coordinated at the national level, directly from the White House." If so, you'd think that an administration that could seriously consider infiltrating American mosques would ask a few questions closer to home.

But the suggestion is inescapable that any investigation into security arrangements preceding 9/11, at some of the nation's most sensitive facilities, has been impeded to this day by narrowly political concerns in the White House.



NEW YORK NEWSDAY
Heightened Security Alert Had Just Been Lifted

By Curtis L. Taylor and Sean Gardiner
STAFF WRITERS

September 12, 2001

The World Trade Center was destroyed just days after a heightened security alert was lifted at the landmark 110-story towers, security personnel said yesterday.

Daria Coard, 37, a guard at Tower One, said the security detail had been working 12-hour shifts for the past two weeks because of numerous phone threats. But on Thursday, bomb-sniffing dogs were abruptly removed.

"Today was the first day there was not the extra security," Coard said. "We were protecting below. We had the ground covered. We didn't figure they would do it with planes. There is no way anyone could have stopped that."

Security guard Hermina Jones said officials had recently taken steps to secure the towers against aerial attacks by installing bulletproof windows and fireproof doors in the 22nd-floor computer command center.

"When the fire started, the room was sealed," said Jones, who was in the command center when explosions rocked the building. "Flames were shooting off the walls....We started putting wet towels under the doors. The Fire Department unsealed the door and grabbed us by the hand and said, 'Run!' "

Security worker Diane Easton said she was out front writing tickets when notice of "a plane flying too low" placed security personal on alert.

"The plane went right through the building...and debris started falling everywhere, then 15 minutes later the second plane," Easton said.

Nancy Joyner said several police officers were knocked down and then were stampeded in the ensuing frenzy.

"People were flying out of the windows; there was nothing we could do," Joyner said. "People were pulled from the top floors by the wind tunnel created."
Copyright © 2003, Newsday, Inc.
http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/man ... rint.story




Thursday, December 4, 1997 Published at 19:27 GMT
World: West Asia

Taleban in Texas for talks on gas pipeline

The 1,300km pipeline will carry gas across Afghanistan's harsh terrain

A senior delegation from the Taleban movement in Afghanistan is in the United States for talks with an international energy company that wants to construct a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan to Pakistan.

A spokesman for the company, Unocal, said the Taleban were expected to spend several days at the company's headquarters in Sugarland, Texas.

Unocal says it has agreements both with Turkmenistan to sell its gas and with Pakistan to buy it.
But, despite the civil war in Afghanistan, Unocal has been in competition with an Argentinian firm, Bridas, to actually construct the pipeline.

Last month, the Argentinian firm, Bridas, announced that it was close to signing a two-billion dollar deal to build the pipeline, which would carry gas 1,300 kilometres from Turkmenistan to Pakistan, across Afghanistan.

In May, Taleban-controlled radio in Kabul said a visiting delegation from an Argentinian company had announced that pipeline construction would start "soon".

The radio has reported several visits to Kabul by Unocal and Bridas company officials over the past few months.

A BBC regional correspondent says the proposal to build a pipeline across Afghanistan is part of an international scramble to profit from developing the rich energy resources of the Caspian Sea.

With the various Afghan factions still at war, the project has looked from the outside distinctly unpromising.

Last month the Taleban Minister of Information and Culture, Amir Khan Muttaqi, said the Taleban had held talks with both American and Argentine-led consortia over transit rights but that no final agreement had yet been reached. He said an official team from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan should meet to ensure each country benefited from any deal.

However, Unocal clearly believes it is still in with a chance - to the extent that it has already begun training potential staff.

It has commissioned the University of Nebraska to teach Afghan men the technical skills needed for pipeline construction. Nearly 140 people were enrolled last month in Kandahar and Unocal also plans to hold training courses for women in administrative skills.

Although the Taleban authorities only allow women to work in the health sector, organisers of the training say they haven't so far raised any objections.

The BBC regional correspondent says the Afghan economy has been devastated by 20 years of civil war. A deal to go ahead with the pipeline project could give it a desperately-needed boost.

But peace must be established first -- and that for the moment still seems a distant prospect.

news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/west_asi.../37021.stm



http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2482-320123,00.html

June 08, 2002

Hijackers sought US loan for flying lessons
From James Doran in Washington

MOHAMMED ATTA, the al-Qaeda terrorist who led the attack on New York, applied for a US government loan to take flying lessons and to buy a crop-dusting aircraft.

Atta and three other hijackers were killed when he flew an American Airlines jet into the north tower of the World Trade Centre.

He applied for the $650,000 (£445,000) loan at the Florida offices of the US Department of Agriculture in spring 2000.

He never aroused suspicion, even though he threatened to cut the throat of the loan officer who interviewed him and made comments about the destruction of all the government buildings in Washington.

Johnelle Bryant, the senior manager at the Florida office, feared that Atta might attack her as she listened to his application, staring into what she described as “very scary black eyes” for more than hour.

She alerted the FBI only after seeing Atta’s picture in a newspaper after September 11.
“I think it’s very vital that the Americans realise that when these people come to the United States, they don’t have a big ‘T’ on their forehead,” she said in an interview with ABC television news.

Ms Bryant, who has worked at the government agency for 16 years, said that Atta told her that he had just arrived in the United States from Afghanistan “to start his dream, which was to go to flight school and get his pilot’s licence, and work as a charter pilot and a crop-duster,” she said. Atta demanded cash to pay for a twin-engine six-passenger aircraft. He explained that he wanted to remove the seats to make space for a chemical tank.

He also remarked about the lack of security in the building, pointing to a safe behind her desk. “He asked me what would prevent him cutting my throat and making off with the millions of dollars in that safe.”

Atta offered to buy an aerial photo of Washington hanging on Ms Bryant’s wall. When told it was not for sale, he threw more money down. “His face became very bitter at that point. I believe he said: ‘How would America like it if another country destroyed that city and some of the monuments in it?’ — like the cities in his country had been destroyed.”

Atta also talked about al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, the terrorist group’s leader.

“I didn’t know who bin Laden was,” Ms Bryant said. “He could have been a character in Star Wars for all I knew.”

Atta and his cohorts — Marwan al-Shehhi, Fayez Ahmed and Ahmed al-Ghamdi — were turned down for the loan because they were not American citizens and did not meet any of the criteria for foreigners applying for loans.



http://abcnews.go.com/sections/primetim ... 21219.html

Called Off the Trail?
FBI Agents Probing Terror Links Say They Were Told, ‘Let Sleeping Dogs Lie’

By Brian Ross and Vic Walter

Dec. 19 — Two veteran FBI investigators say they were ordered to stop investigations into a suspected terror cell linked to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network and the Sept. 11 attacks.

In a dramatic interview with ABCNEWS, FBI special agents and partners Robert Wright and John Vincent say they were called off criminal investigations of suspected terrorists tied to the deadly bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa. U.S. officials say al Qaeda was responsible for the embassy attacks and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
"September the 11th is a direct result of the incompetence of the FBI's International Terrorism Unit. No doubt about that. Absolutely no doubt about that," Wright said. "You can't know the things I know and not go public."

In the mid-1990s, with growing terrorism in the Middle East, the two Chicago-based agents were assigned to track a connection to Chicago, a suspected terrorist cell that would later lead them to a link with Osama bin Laden. Wright says that when he pressed for authorization to open a criminal investigation into the money trail, his supervisor stopped him.

"Do you know what his response was? 'I think it's just better to let sleeping dogs lie,'" said Wright. "Those dogs weren't sleeping. They were training. They were getting ready."

The FBI says its handling of the matter was appropriate at the time.

"Truthfully, if 9/11 had not occurred, we wouldn't be here [giving the interview]," said Vincent, a 27-year veteran at the bureau until he retired a few days after being interviewed by ABCNEWS. "Because of 9/11, we're here because we see the danger."

‘You Will Not Open Criminal Investigations’

The suspected terrorist cell in Chicago was the basis of the investigation, yet Wright, who remains with the FBI, says he soon discovered that all the FBI intelligence division wanted him to do was to follow suspected terrorists and file reports — but make no arrests.

"The supervisor who was there from headquarters was right straight across from me and started yelling at me: 'You will not open criminal investigations. I forbid any of you. You will not open criminal investigations against any of these intelligence subjects,'" Wright said.

Even though they were on a terrorism task force and said they had proof of criminal activity, Wright said he was told not to pursue the matter.

In 1998 al Qaeda terrorists bombed two American embassies in Africa. The agents say some of the money for the attacks led back to the people they had been tracking in Chicago and to a powerful Saudi Arabian businessman, Yassin al-Kadi. Al-Kadi is one of 12 Saudi businessmen suspected of funneling millions of dollars to al Qaeda and who had extensive business and financial ties in Chicago.

Yet, even after the bombings, Wright said FBI headquarters wanted no arrests.
"Two months after the embassies are hit in Africa, they wanted to shut down the criminal investigation," said Wright. "They wanted to kill it."

The move outraged Chicago federal prosecutor Mark Flessner, who was assigned to the case despite efforts Wright and Vincent say were made by superiors to block the probe. Flessner said Wright and Vincent were helping him build a strong criminal case against al-Kadi and others.

"There were powers bigger than I was in the Justice Department and within the FBI that simply were not going to let it [the building of a criminal case] happen. And it didn't happen, " Flessner said.

He said he still couldn't figure out why Washington stopped the case — whether it was Saudi influence or bureaucratic ineptitude.

"I think there were very serious mistakes made," said Flessner. "And I think, it perhaps cost, it cost people their lives ultimately."
Muslim Agent Refused to Record Fellow Muslim, Agent Says

Perhaps most astounding of the many mistakes, according to Flessner and an affidavit filed by Wright, is how an FBI agent named Gamal Abdel-Hafiz seriously damaged the investigation. Wright says Abdel-Hafiz, who is Muslim, refused to secretly record one of al-Kadi's suspected associates, who was also Muslim. Wright says Abdel-Hafiz told him, Vincent and other agents that "a Muslim doesn't record another Muslim."

"He wouldn't have any problems interviewing or recording somebody who wasn't a Muslim, but he could never record another Muslim," said Vincent.

Wright said he "was floored" by Abdel-Hafiz's refusal and immediately called the FBI headquarters. Their reaction surprised him even more: "The supervisor from headquarters says, 'Well, you have to understand where he's coming from, Bob.' I said no, no, no, no, no. I understand where I'm coming from," said Wright. "We both took the same damn oath to defend this country against all enemies foreign and domestic, and he just said no? No way in hell."

Far from being reprimanded, Abdel-Hafiz was promoted to one of the FBI's most important anti-terrorism posts, the American Embassy in Saudi Arabia, to handle investigations for the FBI in that Muslim country.

The FBI said it was unaware of the allegations against the Muslim agent when he was sent to Saudi Arabia or of two similar incidents described to ABCNEWS by agents in New York and Tampa, Fla. They said Abdel-Hafiz contributed significantly to many successful terror investigations.

In a statement to ABCNEWS, the FBI also defended the agent, saying he had a right to refuse because the undercover recording was supposed to take place in a mosque.
But former prosecutor Flessner said that was a lie and the mosque was never part of the plan.

"What he [Abdel-Hafiz] said was, it was against his religion to record another Muslim. I was dumbfounded by that response," said Flessner. "And I had perfectly appropriate conversations with the supervisors of his home office and nothing came of it."

Closing In on Bin Laden Money Trail

On Sept. 11, 2001, the two agents watched the terror attacks in horror, worried that men they could have stopped years earlier may have been involved.

The White House confirmed their fears. One month after the attacks, the U.S. government officially identified al-Kadi — the same man the FBI had ordered Wright and Vincent to leave alone years earlier — as one of bin Laden's important financiers.

Al-Kadi told ABCNEWS he can prove his total innocence, repeatedly denying, from his office in Riyadh, any connection to bin Laden or al Qaeda.

"Not even one cent went to Osama bin Laden," he said.

But on Dec. 6, U.S. Customs agents, as part of their own investigation, conducted a midnight search of a Boston-area company believed to be secretly owned and controlled by al-Kadi.

The company provides computer software to the FBI and other key federal agencies, which means al-Kadi and his employees could have had access to some of the government's most sensitive secrets.

Al-Kadi is on the U.S. government's "dirty dozen" list of leading terror financiers being investigated by the CIA. The federal government says it is pursuing possible criminal charges.

"I was relieved that Customs was picking it up … where we failed big time," said Wright. "There's so much more. God, there's so much more. A lot more."




Tearful FBI Agent Apologizes To Sept. 11 Families and Victims
By Jeff Johnson
CNSNews.com Congressional Bureau Chief
May 30, 2002

Editor's note: Corrects length of investigation to four years rather than ten.

Capitol Hill (CNSNews.com) - In a memorandum written 91 days before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, an FBI agent warned that Americans would die as a result of the bureau's failure to adequately pursue investigations of terrorists living in the country.

FBI Special Agent Robert Wright, Jr., who wrote the memo, led a four-year investigation into terrorist money laundering in the United States.

Wright began crying as he concluded his remarks at a Washington press conference Thursday.

"To the families and victims of September 11th - on behalf of [FBI Special Agents] John Vincent, Barry Carmody, and myself - we're sorry," Wright said before walking out of the room. Vincent and Carmody have also expressed a desire to expose information regarding alleged FBI missteps prior to Sept. 11.

Wright's June 9, 2001 "Mission Statement" memo warned that, "Knowing what I know, I can confidently say that until the investigative responsibilities for terrorism are transferred from the FBI, I will not feel safe.

"The FBI has proven for the past decade it cannot identify and prevent acts of terrorism against the United States and its citizens at home and abroad," he continued. "Even worse, there is virtually no effort on the part of the FBI's International Terrorism Unit to neutralize known and suspected international terrorists living in the United States."

The summary of Wright's attempts to expose the alleged failures of the FBI's anti-terrorism efforts ended with a solemn conclusion.

"Unfortunately, more terrorist attacks against American interests - coupled with the loss of American lives - will have to occur before those in power give this matter the urgent attention it deserves," he wrote.

Wright had written a manuscript, entitled "Fatal Betrayals of the Intelligence Mission," for presentation to Congress.

"The manuscript outlines, in very specific detail, what I believe allowed September 11th to happen," he explained.

Wright spearheaded the investigation code-named "Vulgar Betrayal," which led to the 1998 seizure of $1.4 million of U.S. funds "destined for terrorist activities."

The investigation determined that U.S.-based Hamas terrorists were using not-for-profit organizations "to recruit and train terrorists and fund terrorist activities in the United States and abroad, including the extortion, kidnapping, and murder of Israeli citizens."

The criminal investigations were initiated over the objections of FBI intelligence officers, who Wright charges did not want their probes of terrorist suspects interrupted or ended by the suspects' arrests for criminal activities.

"Vulgar Betrayal" was the first operation that culminated with the use of civil forfeiture laws to seize the U.S. assets of terrorist groups. The confiscated funds were directly linked to Saudi Arabian businessman Yassin Kadi, also known as Yassin al-Qadi, who has since been identified as one of the "chief money launderers" for Osama bin Laden.

Investigators believe he provided as much as $3 billion to the al Qaeda terrorist network before Wright's investigation closed his operations.

Wright says that FBI management "intentionally and repeatedly thwarted and obstructed" his attempts to expand the investigation to arrest other terrorists and seize their assets.

On August 4, 1999, the FBI removed Wright from the "Vulgar Betrayal" operation, which was terminated shortly thereafter. All but the final three pages of his manuscript were completed in the following months. Those pages were added after Sept. 11.

"As a direct result of the incompetence and, at times, intentional obstruction of justice by FBI management to prevent me from bringing the terrorists to justice, Americans have unknowingly been exposed to potential terrorist attacks for years," he charged.

Nine factors entered into the FBI failures alleged in Wright's manuscript, including:

- Incompetent managers who are not held accountable for mistakes;
- Lack of independent oversight of the bureau;
- Bias on the part of the FBI's internal affairs unit, the Office of Professional Responsibility;
- Antiquated computer technology; and
- Overlapping investigative jurisdictions of other federal law enforcement agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

In a May 29 letter to Wright's attorneys, John Collingwood, assistant director of the FBI's office of public and congressional affairs, forbid Wright to disclose the contents of the manuscript - in writing or orally - to anyone not approved by the bureau.

"Pursuant to [Wright's] employment agreement and FBI procedures, he is still not authorized to publicly disseminate information we have previously advised is prohibited from disclosure at this time," Collingwood wrote.

The letter also contained what Wright and his attorneys considered a threat, meant to intimidate them.

"We feel obliged to inform you [that] breach of an employee's employment obligations may be grounds for disciplinary action, a civil suit, or both," Collingwood warned. "In some instances, unauthorized disclosure may also constitute cause for revocation of a security clearance or be a criminal offense."

Those warnings seem to directly contradict the statements of FBI Director Robert Mueller Wednesday while announcing a "wartime reorganization" of his agency.

"It is critically important that I hear criticisms of the organization including criticisms of me in order to improve the organization, to improve the FBI," he said. "Because our focus is on preventing terrorist attacks, more so than in the past, we must be open to new ideas, to criticism from within and from without, and to admitting and learning from our mistakes."

Collingwood claimed in his letter that the opposition to Wright's public comments was not "solely" because Wright's comments might be "critical or disparaging of the FBI, the government, or its employees."

But Larry Klayman, chairman and general counsel of Judicial Watch, says Collingwood's "threats" prove that Mueller's words are meaningless.

"This new policy of the FBI was not sincere," Klayman said, "because at 5 p.m. [after Mueller's press conference] we got [Collingwood's] letter."

Judicial Watch, along with former House Judiciary Committee Special Counsel David Shippers, is representing Wright in a lawsuit against the FBI and five "unknown officials" for violation of his First Amendment free speech rights.

Wright has also filed complaints with the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility and the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, and wants his manuscript and testimony subpoenaed by Congress.

"I truly believe I would be derelict in my duty as an American if I did not do my best to bring the FBI's dereliction of duty to the attention of others," he said. "I have made it my mission ... to legally expose the problems of the FBI to the President of the United States, the U.S. Congress, and the American people."




This is a letter from Michael Wright to Harvard professor Ernest May, who was a senior advisor to the 9/11 Commission
http://www.sianews.com/modules.php?name ... e&sid=2481


June 10, 2005

Dear Professor May:

I am writing in response to your article in The New Republic of May 23, 2005.

The 9/11 Commission report left many questions unanswered and gave erroneous information about some matters.

For example, the LA Weekly reported that Zacarias Moussaoui met with Mohammed Atta and another Middle Easterner, probably Marwan Al-Shehhi, in an Oklahoma City motel, during the summer of 2001:

http://www.laweekly.com/ink/02/36/news-crogan.php

Former State Department terrorism expert Larry Johnson confirmed that this meeting happened during an interview with O'Reilly (May 11, 2002). I have a recording of this broadcast.

The 9/11 Commission report (pp. 246-47) discusses Moussaoui's activities during that
period. They write: "KSM also states that Moussaoui had no contact with Atta, and we are unaware of evidence contradicting this assertion."

They were aware of evidence "contradicting this assertion." In an email to the Commission in September 2003, I made them aware of this evidence. At this website, you can hear the voice of Commission staff member John Tamm, as he was speaking to my answering machine, in respones to my email. See the entry of December 28, 2004:

http://www.bushbusiness.com/Wright_OP.htm

Question 1: Why did the 9/11 Commission choose to ignore this evidence?...

In his April 2004 testimony, George Tenet lied to the Commission and denied that he had met with Bush in August 2004. "He's in Texas and I'm either here [in Washington] or on leave for some of that time," Tenet said in response to a question from commissioner Tim Roemer. "In this time period, I'm not talking to him, no." This is from the Commission's transcript of his testimony, as reported by BBC, and as I have printed out from the Commission website:

http://newswww.bbc.net.uk/1/hi/world/am ... 625781.stm

On page 262, the Commission report confirms that Tenet visited Bush in Crawford, Texas, on August 17. In the same paragraph they misrepresented his April testimony and spared him the accusation of having committed perjury. They pretended as though Tenet was suffering from impaired memory, and wrote that he "does not recall" any discussions with Bush during this period.

Question 2: Why did the Commission protect Tenet from being charged with perjury?

Question 3: Why did Tenet lie about this?

I'll offer some informed speculation. One of the more useful achievements of the Commission was in making public the famous CIA briefing of August 6, 2001. The press in 2004 said very little about the memo's most enormous blunder, although Rice was discussing it in 2002. The document incorporated the erroneous expectation that any hijacked aircraft would be landed for making demands while negotiating over hostages. No suicide crashes into buildings were expected. This was obviously a grave mistake. I suspect Tenet was lying in order to distance himself from responsibility for this.

Question 4: Why was there no probe into the motives for this lie by Tenet?

In 2002, former FBI agent Coleen Rowley gained fame for her expression of righteous outrage over the fact that in August 2001, when Moussaoui was in custody, the FBI headquarters obstructed the request of the Minneapolis agents to search Moussaou's computer. She argued convincingly that there was adequate evidence that Moussaoui was a terrorist. If this fact had been properly recognized, the search warrant would have been enabled.

The Commission admitted that a "maximum U.S. effort to investigate Moussaoui" at that time "might have brought investigators to the core of the 9/11 plot" and possibly derailed it (p. 276). What was derailed instead was an effort which could have spared the nation the agony of 9/11.

Rowley, who said in her letter that she suspected that "improper political reasons" possibly accounted for the August 2001 obstruction, did not appear before the Commission. The Commission's failure to hear from Rowley is all the more inexcusable
in light of the fact that it was her 2002 letter protesting the obstruction of the search warrant request which inspired Senate Majority leader Tom Daschle to call for the appointment of such a panel.

Question 5: Why did Rowley not testify before the Commission, and why did the Commission not probe to see what the "improper political reasons" were?

Question 6: Was pressure put on Rowley to accept early retirement from the FBI?

It is widely known that former U.S. Senator David Boren is the patron and mentor of George Tenet. Not long after 9/11, TIME reported that Boren and Tenet were having a "leisurely breakfast" together in a Washington hotel on the morning of the attack. After his resignation from the Senate in 1994, Boren became president of the University of Oklahoma, in Norman, where Moussaoiu spent six months in 2001 in preparation for terrorist activities.

Not so well known is the fact that during the summer of 2001, Boren arranged for top CIA agent David Edger to be appointed to OU as a "visiting professor." Earlier, Edger had been director of U.S. intelligence activities in Germany. This gave him responsibility for surveillance over the Hamburg Al Qaeda cell. I documented these facts from several sources, including the Norman newspaper and an OU publication, and informed the Commission in September 2003. They seem to have ignored this. I believe it is a fair
conclusion that the inner circle of the U.S. intelligence community was the Boren-Tenet-Edger trio.

Question 7: Why did the Commission not probe deeply into the activities of this trio?

Both LeFigaro of France and The Guardian of London reported that two months before the attack bin Laden flew to Dubai for 10 days of treatment at the American hospital, where he was visited by the local CIA agent. Bin Laden was not captured.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/waronterror/s ... 44,00.html

Question 8: Why did the Commission not explore the question of why Bin Laden was not captured at that time?

TIME (June 3, 2002) reported about events when Moussaoui was in custody in August 2001, and the Minneapolis agents wanted to search his computer. TTheir report stated that the CIA denied that Moussaoui was an Al Qaeda member. This false statement enabled the suppression of the search warrant and the consequent 9/11 attack. I personally questioned Tenet about this when he made a speech at OU during March 2005. He disputed the TIME report and left the false impression that the CIA was being honest with the FBI in August 2001. You can see the video of this lie, online at this website (Ma7 12 entry):

http://www.bushbusiness.com/Wright_OP.htm

Question 9: Why did the Commission fail to probe deeply into this August 2001 episode of misconduct by Tenet?

There were 19 hijackers, yet the Moussaoui indictment only reports specific events of airline ticket purchases for 14 of them. For United Flight 93, it only reports only one of four. The Commission devotes only three sentences to the ticket purchases (p 249).

Questions 10, 11, and 12: Where were the other five tickets purchased? Why did the indictment not report them? Why did the Commission not probe into this peculiar omission of evidence?

Numerous news organizations have reported the fact that University of Oklahoma student Hussein Al-Attas drove Moussaoui from Oklahoma to Minnesota in August 2001. According to The Wall Street Journal (February 4, 2002), Moussaoui was recruiting Al-Attas to the jihad in Chechnya. For some reason, the Commission decided to conceal Al-Attas from view. On page 247 they write: "On August 10, shortly after getting the money from Binalshibh, Moussaoui left Oklahoma with a friend and drove to Minnesota."

Question 13: Why did the Commission delete Al-Attas from history?

Your response to my inquiries would be most appreciated. I encourage you to see today's news articles about the CIA having obstructed an important communication, 20 months before 9/11. A CIA supervisor blocked a memo intended to alert the FBI about two known Al-Qaeda operatives who later become 9/11 hijackers. This LA Times has quoted Justice Department investigator Glenn Fine as saying that there were "significant failures, both systemic and individual."

Question 14: How many episodes of this kind of "failure" do you have to see, before the line is crossed from incompetent bungling into gross and criminal misconduct?

I am very curious to know who this CIA supervisor was, and how close he was to Boren,
Tenet, and Edger.

Sincerely,

Michael P. Wright
Norman, Oklahoma




NATIONAL REVIEW
October 9, 2002, 10:30 a.m.
Visas that Should Have Been Denied
A look at 9/11 terrorists’ visa applications.

he cover story in National Review's October 28th issue (out Friday) details how at least 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers should have been denied visas — an assessment based on expert analyses of 15 of the terrorists' visa-application forms, obtained exclusively by NR.

In the year after 9/11, the hand-wringing mostly centered on the FBI and CIA's failure to "connect the dots." But that would not have been a fatal blow if the "dots" had not been here in the first place. If the U.S. State Department had followed the law, at least 15 of the 19 "dots" should have been denied visas — and they likely wouldn't have been in the United States on September 11, 2001.

According to expert analyses of the visa-application forms of 15 of the 9/11 terrorists (the other four applications could not be obtained), all the applicants among the 15 reviewed should have been denied visas under then-existing law. Six separate experts who analyzed the simple, two-page forms came to the same conclusion: All of the visa applications they reviewed should have been denied on their face.


9/11 Terrorist Visa Applications

Hani Hanjour, 1997 (~167k file)
Hani Hanjour, 2000 (a) (~205k file)
Hani Hanjour, 2000 (b) (~169k file)
Waleed al-Sherhi, 2000 (~169k file)
Wail al-Sherhi, 2000 (~206k file)
Abdulaziz Alomari, 2001


Even to the untrained eye, it is easy to see why many of the visas should have been denied. Consider, for example, the U.S. destinations most of them listed. Only one of the 15 provided an actual address — and that was only because his first application was refused — and the rest listed only general locations — including "California," "New York," "Hotel D.C.," and "Hotel." One terrorist amazingly listed his U.S. destination as simply "No." Even more amazingly, he got a visa.

The experts — who scrutinized the applications of 14 Saudis and one from the United Arab Emirates — include four former consular officers, a current consular officer stationed in Latin America, and a senior official at Consular Affairs (CA) — the division within the State Department that oversees consulates and visa issuance — who has extensive consular experience.

All six experts strongly agreed that even allowing for human error, no more than a handful of the visa applications should have managed to slip through the cracks. Making the visa lapses even more inexplicable, the State Department claims that at least 11 of the 15 were interviewed by consular officers. Nikolai Wenzel, one of the former consular officers who analyzed the forms, declares that State's issuance of the visas "amounts to criminal negligence."

The visas should have been denied because of a provision in the law known as 214(b), which states that almost all nonimmigrant visa (NIV) applicants are presumed to be intending immigrants. The law is clear: "Every alien [other than several narrowly exempted subcategories] shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for a visa, that he is entitled to a nonimmigrant [visa]." State's Deputy Press Secretary Phil Reeker recently remarked that 214(b) is "quite a threshold to overcome." It just wasn't for Saudi applicants.

Defying the conventional wisdom that al Qaeda had provided its operatives with extensive training to game the system with the right answers to guarantee a visa, the applications were littered with red flags, almost all of which were ignored. The forms were also plagued with significant amounts of missing information — something that should have been sufficient grounds to deny many of the visas. For example, while all but one terrorist claimed to be employed or in school, only on three forms is the area marked "Name and Street Address of Present Employer or School" even filled out. At the very least, the CA executive points out, "The consular officers should not have ended the interview until the forms were completed."

Any discrepancies or apparent problems that would have been resolved by way of explanation or additional documentation should have been noted in the area reserved for a consular officer's comments — yet this was only done on one of the forms. Which begs the question: Were 11 of the 15 terrorists whose applications were reviewed actually interviewed as State claims?

Though all of the 15 applications obtained by NR should have been denied, some were worse than others. Here are some of the worst:


Wail and Waleed al-Shehri

Brothers Wail and Waleed al-Shehri applied together for travel visas on October 24, 2000. Wail claimed his occupation was "teater," while his brother wrote "student." Both listed the name and address of his respective employer or school as simply "South City." Each also declared a U.S. destination of "Wasantwn." But what should have further raised a consular officer's eyebrows is the fact that a student and his nominally employed brother were going to go on a four-to-six-month vacation, paid for by Wail's "teater" salary, which he presumably would be foregoing while in the United States. Even assuming very frugal accommodations, such a trip for two people would run north of $15,000, yet there is no indication that the consular officer even attempted to determine that Wail in fact had the financial means to fund the planned excursion. They appear to have received their visas the same day they applied.


Abdulaziz Alomari

On June 18, 2001, Abdulaziz Alomari filled out a simple, two-page application for a visa to come to the United States. Alomari was not exactly the ideal candidate for a visa. He claimed to be a student, though he left blank the space for the name and address of his school. He checked the box claiming he was married, yet he left blank the area where he should have put the name of his spouse. Although he claimed to be a student, he marked on his form that he would self-finance a two-month stay at the "JKK Whyndham Hotel" — and provided no proof, as required under law, that he could actually do so.

Despite the legal requirement that a visa applicant show strong roots in his home country (to give him or her a reason to come back from America), Alomari listed his home address as the "ALQUDOS HTL JED" (a hotel in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia). Alomari didn't even bother filling in the fields asking for his nationality and gender, apparently realizing that he didn't need to list much more than his name to get a visa to the United States. As it turns out, he didn't. He got his visa.

When he arrived in the United States, he connected with his friend, Mohammed Atta. And less than three months later — on September 11 — he and Atta helped crash American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Hani Hanjour

The most troubling of the applications reviewed is Hanjour's. It appears that Hanjour was the only applicant of the 15 who was initially refused — although this is not entirely clear, because the consular officers did not always circle "Issued" or "Refused" (as required by law) on the other forms. Hanjour had received a student visa in 1997 in order to study English at the ELS Language Center in Melbourne, Fla. On his first of two attempts to obtain a second visa in 2000, Hanjour requested a travel visa for the purpose of a "visit" — for "three years." An unidentified consulate employee, likely a Foreign Service national (a Saudi resident), highlighted the obvious problem with an applicant stating a desire to overstay his visa (the maximum length for a travel visa is 24 months) with an extra-long "visit." The unknown employee wrote in the comment box: "like to stay three years or more!" and circled the remark. That employee or a different one also scribbled something underneath about Hanjour's wish to find a flight school during the trip. This application was refused — but only temporarily.

On the subsequent application filed two weeks later, Hanjour was armed with all the right answers. Rather than stating "AZ, Rent home" as his U.S. location, he gave a specific address, complete with a house number and street name — the only one of the 15 applicants to have done so. On the second go-round, Hanjour applied for a twelve-month student visa, and changed the purpose of the visit to "study" and the desired length of stay to a more appropriate "one year." But so many changes, all of which smoothed out rough spots on the original application, should have troubled the consular officer. "It's never a good sign if someone cleans up his paperwork too well," comments the current consular officer stationed in Latin America.

As disturbing as the visa forms are, perhaps more disturbing is that State's handpicked candidate to be the new chief enforcer of visa policies, Maura Harty, had not even looked at them as of her Senate confirmation hearing last week — yet the Senate is poised to rubber stamp her nomination. That's a real shame, because examining the applications yields many valuable lessons. The most important is that we're not going to keep out terrorists until State figures out that it needs to enforce the law.

— Joel Mowbray is an NRO contributor and a Townhall.com columnist.

http://www.nationalreview.com/mowbray/mowbray100902.asp




Nico Haupt: whether you loathe him or hate him, this is packed with info & source links (not all hyperlinks reproduced here).
Presented by… http://www.unansweredquestions.org/
Tracking All Hijackers
From forthcoming "911Skeptics Unite! -the encyclopedia"
- now up in a preview at http://www.globalfreepress.com
See also… UQ Wire: 911 - They Let It Happen On Purpose!

By Nico Haupt



By the end of 2002, it was clear that all 19 hijackers, the official 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui and almost all informants had been simultaneously tracked by CIA, FBI or any other intelligence agencies who shared this information before Sept. 11th.
Many hijackers even lived next to CIA operatives, which operated at these places, before the hijackers decided to "join" them.

*********

1) Mohammad Atta
Intelligence reports, surveillance logs and transcripts of intercepted telephone calls by Germany's domestic intelligence service (BND), show, that while the BND was observing criminal suspects like Mahmoud Darkanzali, they had also monitored Mohammad Atta since 1998. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/18/international/europe

Atta was attending the same Hamburg mosque as Darkanzali, Marwan Al-Shehhi, Ziad Jarrah and Ramzi Binalshibh.

Darkanzali was on a watch list, because of his connections with bin Ladin's associates in Sudan, Wadih El-Hage (Manbaa Al Anhar Trading, Dubai) and also Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, who was arrested in September 1998 and is now imprisoned on terrorism conspiracy charges for the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
http://www.cnn.com/2002/LAW/01/28/salim.trial/

In Sudan, Salim once ran Wadi Aqiq, bin Laden's umbrella company. One el Hage business card, for his "Anhar Trading Co.," listed two addresses -- his former home address in Arlington, Texas, and a second address in Hamburg, Germany, which matches the home address of Marmoun Darkazanli, who has lived in Germany since 1985.

The CIA later tried to turn Darkazanli into a CIA spy, as confirmed and reported in the German publication DER SPIEGEL, as well as the Chicago Tribune and NY Times.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nati ... news%2Dhed

Furthermore, Mohammad Atta's telephone calls between him and another suspect, Imad Eddin Barakat Yarbas, were being intercepted. Yarbas is otherwise known as 'Abu Dahdah', a Palestinian with Spanish citizenship and connections with Bin Laden associates.

Yarbas' phone was tapped since 1997. As later came out, not only the Spanish police, but also Spanish intelligence okayed the bugs.

Yarbas was tied in with other arrested suspects before and after Sept. 11th, who got connections to the Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC), which is on a watch list of both Italian and British intelligence, and, in at least one case, on the watch list of the CIA:

Haydar Abu Doha, a London-based Algerian known as "the Doctor", and one of the leaders of GSPC, was recruiting members and well known.
One of the best known plans of GSPC was to blow up markets at the G-8 summit in Genoa in 2001. Abu Doha was also connected to Ahmed Ressam, the Algerian convicted for trying to attack Los Angeles International Airport during the millennium changeover.
Sources:
http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/europe/11 ... s/?related
http://www.papillonsartpalace.com/alqaedas.htm

Already under surveillance by German intelligence, Atta was visited by another suspect on the CIA-watchlist. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed , who by 1999 was living in Germany.
Meanwhile, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed since 2002 had been working together with ISI-connected al-Hawsawi aka Sheikh Saeed . Khalid Shaikh Mohammed has been described as financial mastermind of the Sept. 11th attack.
http://english.pravda.ru/world/2002/06/05/29796.html

If the Indictment against Moussaoui is based on real money transactions, then the Standard Chartered Bank, who okayed the transfers, is probably one of the top suspects, Standard Chartered had an office in Building 7, one floor above the CIA, DoD and INS.

Building 7 of the World Trade Center was a building, which collapsed under strange circumstances on Sept. 11th. It had been under military control since October 2000, when Blackstone/TRW, a military and CIA-contractor, took over the mortgage.
By 2001, Mohammad Atta started studying at Huffmann Aviation, which is also strongly connected to the CIA. This fact can't be considered as a coincidence anymore.

The CIA is already on the case of many other Muslim students. Finally, in July 2001, while observing Atta as well, the Mossad warned the CIA and the MI6 on highest level and later a second time on a possible terrorist attack.

*********

2) Marwan Al-Shehhi

(-> observed together with Mohammad Atta).
Marwan al-Shehhi, as stated above, visited Mohammad Atta at the Airman Flight School in Norman (home of ex-CIA David Boren), one day and stayed overnight. http://www.unansweredquestions.net/time ... 91801.html

This was the same flight school attended by Zacarias Massouai, who officially never met Mohammad Atta.

*********

3) Ziad Jarrah

(-> observed together with Mohammad Atta)
In early 2002, newer research on his profile became even more interesting.

The CIA still claims, that Jarrah (pilot of the jetliner that crashed in Pennsylvania) was not on a terrorist watch list. However, according to motel records, a man by that name used a credit card to pay for a late August 2001 stay at the Pin Del motel in Laurel, Md., where Nawaq Alhamzi stayed in September.
Alhamzi was on the CIA watch list.
1597,311329-364,00.shtml> http://www.wbz.com/now/story/0,1597,311329-364,00.shtml

Therefore it can be assumed, that Jarrah was observed as well.

Another important detail: Ziad Jarrah's uncle Nazem Jarrah, worked for the East Germany intelligence service, in addition to being an agent for the Libyan services.
http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/09/ ... h/?related
It is well known, that the CIA obtained a copy of all Stasi agents of East Germany. The CIA also has a good idea of what is going on in Libya.

So, how many informants did the CIA have on Siad Jarrah?:

Another witness claimed, Jarrah (Flight 93) was "among a large group of Middle Eastern men" using an apartment near Lackland Air Force Base (San Antonio, Texas) in the summer of 2001
http://www.reporternews.com/2001/texas/agent0922.html.

Jarrah has another apartment in New York, which the FBI ignores in their profile on Jarrah. Why?

Furthermore ignored, Jarrah decided to marry and left his apartment a few days before the attack to see his girlfriend, who was waiting for him in Bochum, Germany.

This brings us to two possible conclusions:

a) It was indeed the real Ziad Jarrah on the plane, but he wasn't involved in the hijack. The numbers reported in the phone calls on flight 93 do not match the number of suspects. Links to the other hijackers have been embellished by the press.

b) Ziad Jarrah did not die on the plane - there was someone else using his identity (or he wasn't even on the manifest and anyway, it has been made up)
http://www.the-movement.com/Hijackers/ziad_jarrah.htm

However, what almost everyone ignores is the fact, that none of the 19 hijackers ever appeared on the original passenger manifest, and also 8-10 persons claiming ownership of the original identities, are still alive.

However the FBI has never changed their suspect list.

CNN reported in February 2002, that Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley has said "local law enforcement officials should have been told by the FBI that Jarrah was on a CIA watch list".
*********
4) Hani Hanjour
Hani Hanjour had been on a watch list since 1996. Due to information from a former muhjahadeen fighter of the CIA and former informant of the FBI, Aukai Collins, Hanjour had been observed by the FBI since 1996.
http://www.salon.com/books/review/2002/ ... ndex1.html

Collins, was asked by the Phoenix FBI-bureau to listen out for information about young Arabs taking flying lessons. It has been reported that Collins stopped working for the FBI in 2000.

Obviously at the same time the CIA "took over".
A consulate employee in Jeddah, Abdullah Noman, -- who was arrested in November 2001, -- flagged Hanjour's first application (address: "elscenter melbourne florida"), noting that Hanjour wanted to "visit" for three years, although the legal limit is two.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,53344,00.html

When Hanjour returned two weeks later, he simply changed the form to read "one year".
Visa approved.

The Els Center in Florida is a language centre and was founded by scientists from the American Space Program. This program was basically developed between the NASA and the CIA.
http://www.els.com http://www.space.com/news/wsc_cia_1014.html

But Hanjour was unable to learn the English language, even under what one might assume were the best scientific and "military conditions".

Hani Hanjour listed on his third visa application as a "tourist." It was stamped on September 10th, 2000. The address given was 3510 Mountain Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94619.
http://www.nationalreview.com/document/ ... 00902c.asp

Coincidentally this address is only 30 minutes away -- on the route of CA-13 North Highway -- (28.5 miles) from the military laboratory of Sandia in Livermore.
LINK TO MAP

Sandia is connected with the CIA, and helped creating the Homeland Security (Ruth David, executive of ANSER, who helped establishing a private contractor of the CIA, In-Q-Tel), both a long time before Sept. 11th, 2001.

*********

5) Waleed M. Alshehri (UA11)
6) Saeed Alghamdi (UA93)
7) Ahmed Alghamdi (UA93)
8) Ahmed Alhaznawi (UA93)

Waleed M. Alshehri's "career" in the United States is one of the most interesting ones.
He graduated in 1997 at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach (Fla.), which is the same story once given for Saeed Alghamdi. However the story was later changed to the much deeper military connected Defense Language Institute in Presidio of Monterey, California.
http://www.pressconnects.com/archive/at ... 701N1.html

Meanwhile Waleed M. Alshehri returned to the US on another visa, which was approved on October 24th, 2000.

Instead of being conversant with English language by now, his application listed "wasawton" as his address in the United States.
The same was true for his brother Wail.

As reported by CNN, Saeed Alghamdi now lived in Delray Beach, Florida, as did his "buddy", Ahmed Alhaznawi.
http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/09/16/inv.in ... terrorism/

Another official hijacker, Ahmed Alghamdi, had his apartment complex nearby Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
http://www.newsday.com/ny-usprob1523675 ... 3011.story

Embry-Riddle is connected to ANSER, who drafted the blueprints for the Homeland Security. They are operating out of their Center for International Aerospace Cooperation (Dr. Ron Turner).
http://www.erau.edu/ http://websearch.erau.edu/0Universe/01/01abouterau.html

Saaed Alghamdi and Ahmed Alghamdi and 4 other hijacker names have been linked to the San Antonio Base at the Alpha Tango Air schools. Abdul Hakim Murad, who was convicted several years ago of a plot to crash a suicide plane into CIA headquarters trained at Alpha Tango Air.

In February 2000, the INS conducted an enforcement action at Randolph Air Force Base, in which 40 Indian national computer programmers on H-1B visas were taken from the site in handcuffs and detained. The individuals were all on valid H-1B visas filed by employers located in Houston, but the INS alleged that amended petitions had not been filed to reflect their temporary assignment as computer programmers at the air force base in San Antonio.
http://www.cyrusmehta.com/tv_cyrus.asp? ... intPage=13

Saeed Alghamdi and Ahmad Alnami had both been mentioned in military records at Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida.
http://www.msnbc.com/news/629529.asp?cp1=1

According to other military records, Ahmed Alghamdi may have trained at the Naval Air
Station in Pensacola,
http://www.msnbc.com/news/629529.asp?cp1=1

Back to Waleed Alshehri.

He later moved to Vienna, Virginia, which is home for CIA agents Noel E. Firth and James H. Noren, and also for FinCen (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) , which testified on the money transfers of Mohammad Atta.

However, they later denied them, when the ties to Pakistan's Secret Service and Saudi Arabian Credit Institutes became too political.

Furthermore Vienna is home for Linda Millis, formerly of the NSA, who was then working as the Deputy Chief of Cryptologic Services Group of the CIA, where she briefed the Deputy Director of Intelligence and contributed to Presidents Bush's Daily Brief -until February 2001.

She then moved to BENS , a nationwide, non-partisan organization, which advises the Pentagon and CIA on national security policy.
http://www.bens.org

*********

9) Salem Alhamzi (AA77)
Salem Alhamzi was being observed by the CIA and FBI, together with Khalid Al-Midhar, at this time. This became one of the most well publicized stories, but it is still blamed on just "incompetence".
http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/09/16/inv.in ... terrorism/

According to an FBI report, which was released on September 14th, 2001, Salem Alhamzi lived in two small New Jersey cities, Wayne and Fort Lee. This must have been very risky for him.
http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel01/091401hj.htm
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/na ... ckers.html

Fort Lee is well known for their military ties, and for their obscure CIA experiments in the 50s, when they operated a video studio there, which was working on the development of subliminal experiments for commercials.

Meanwhile, Fort Lee is home for DoD and CIA-contractor Boeing, who is working together with BAE and the Harris Cooperation on the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), a project of the Boeing Integrate Defense Systems (IDS) , who developed or co-distributed the 737-700 Airborne Early Warning & Control System, the Airborne Laser, Boeing Satellite Systems, F-15 Eagles, F-22 Raptors (partnering with Lockheed), the GPS System, the International Space Station for the NASA, the Space Shuttle, unmanned Combat Air Vehicles and the V-22 Osprey aircraft.
Among other partners of the IDS is the SAIC and DARPA.

Then we have another Salem Alhazmi, who is alive and in Saudi Arabia.

The photo published by the FBI is of the living Salem Alhazmi, who has never been to the US. So apparently there was a guy who looked just like him using the name Satam M. A. Al Suqami living in Spanish Trace apartments. Did someone alter their appearance to look like the Saudi Salem Alhazmi although using Suqami's name? Clear as mud.
Source:
http://www.the-movement.com/Hijackers/Agents.htm

*********

10) Khalid Al-Midhar
It has already been confirmed that Khalid Al-Midhar was observed by the CIA and FBI, and lived in Jersey City, New Jersey.
http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/09/16/inv.in ... .terrorism

Al Mihdhar, who officially helped crash the plane into the Pentagon, simply listed "Hotel" as his U.S. destination on his visa— no name, no city, no state — but had no problem getting a visa.
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/wnt/Dail ... =earthlink

Oddly enough, al Midhar then decided to stay in the same city that was home to the mosque of Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman, who is in prison for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/09/16/inv.in ... terrorism/

Even more disturbingly, al-Midhar lived together with Nawaq Alhamzi in the city of San Diego which is a center for various military projects. There he was watched with the help of FBI-informant Abdussattar Shaikh, who is a retired English professor at San Diego State University and co-founder of San Diego's Islamic Center. Still al-Midhar had no problem planning the attack or, could he have been involved without knowing what was going on?
http://www.msnbc.com/news/805186.asp?cp1=1

The San Diego FBI chief responsible for this observation was Bill Gore.
On November 14th 2000, former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh offered him this position at the "first multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional entity responsible for acquiring, archiving, and analyzing digital evidence in support of criminal investigations".
http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel00/rcfl.htm

No-one has ever asked Gore, how he can explain this "mess".

*********

11) Nawaq Alhamzi
As reported, Nawaq Alhamzi lived for a while in CIA-connected Vienna, Virginia, and also in San Diego and Los Angeles.

The FBI claims that Alhamzi lived with Omar al-Bayoumi in San Diego, who once worked for Dallah Avco , which is an aviation-services company with extensive contracts with the Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation. the head of this Ministry is Prince Sultan, the father of the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar.

Their headquarter is in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and all of this is under heavy surveillance by the CIA.
http://law.about.com/library/911/blalbarakaat.htm
http://www.msnbc.com/news/839269.asp?0cv=KB10

As the lawyers for the 911victims in the soon discovered, al-Bayoumi once founded a fictious company name called Masjed al Madinah al Munawarah (Masjid al Madinah al Munawarah), which is based in San Diego.
http://law.about.com/library/911/blalbarakaat.htm

The 911victims accuse Prince Turki al Faisal , former Saudi Intelligence, of having ties to al-Bayoumi and been involved in the financial planning of the Sept. 11th attack.
San Diego is home for the Corporate Headquarters of DoD-contractor SAIC , and former employer for Anthrax suspect Stephen Hatfill and ex-OEM director Jerome Hauer, who helped constructing the Commando Bunker in Building 7. Hauer also organised a security job for ex-anti terror specialist, FBI John O' Neill, at the Twin Towers which is where O' Neill died on Sept. 11th.

Another military project, based in San Diego, is the Tokamak-production by General Atomics.
http://library.nps.navy.mil/home/bibs/dewtrtz.htm

Furthermore the Global Hawk air vehicles are built at the Northrop Grumman Aeronautical facility in San Diego, and yet another important private military contractor, the Cubic Corporation operates from San Diego as well.

*********

12) Abdulaziz Alomari
Stamped on June 18th, 2001, only a few weeks before Sept. 11th, Alomari's visa application named "JKK Whyndham HTL" as an address.

This is interesting. Whydham is in reality just a hotel. But Alomari even provided no proof for this information, as required by law.

Alomari did not even fill out the spaces naming his nationality and sex.

As journalist Joel Mowbray, who obtained the original visa applications, has already complained, "at least 15 of the 19 'dots' should have been denied visas" with addresses like that.

He therefore suggested that the 911victims file a lawsuit against the US State Department.
http://www.newsmax.com/archives/article ... 4552.shtml

When NewsMax sought to interview a State Department appointee on another matter, a news contact warned them to be careful not to get the appointed person in trouble because: "Bush appointees over there are carefully watched,” and the appointee’s phone might be tapped.

"...Alomari listed his home address as the "ALQUDOS HTL JED" (a hotel in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia). Alomari didn't even bother filling in the fields asking for his nationality and gender, apparently realizing that he didn't need to list much more than his name to get a visa to the United States. As it turns out, he didn't. He got his visa...."
http://www.nationalreview.com/document/ ... 00902f.asp http://www.nationalreview.com/mowbray/mowbray100902.asp

Was Alomari really part of a professional "military operation"?

How did Alomari get a job at Newark Airport? What kind of connections did he have to Saudi Flight Ops?

Saudi Flight Ops handles maintenance for Saudi Arabian Airlines.

Why was it so easy for him to get a visa in Jeddah?

But more strange, was he really so irresponsible towards his wife and four school-aged children?
http://www.espritdecorps.ca/viewarticle.asp?article=65

Why did he really move out of his apartment in Vero Beach, Florida on September 3rd, 2001 leaving his family alone?
http://www.papillonsartpalace.com/thumbnai.htm

J. Michael Springman, former employee of the consulate has already confirmed in interviews with European media and at the June 2001-press conference in Washington, de facto Jeddah was a CIA consulate, which allowed all 15 (of 19) visas from there, without any explanation.

Springman reported on hundreds of other obscure visa applications in the late 90s and protested.

Downplayed by the media, top suspect (or "patsy"?) Abdullah Noman, who was responsible for the "transactions" in Jeddah, was already silently arrested in November 2001.
*********
13) Majed Moqed (AA77)
Why would someone, who is planning a military operation or even just coming to the United States, move to a city like Caldwell, New Jersey?
http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/america_u ... right.html

Was it his respect (or dislike?) of the 22nd and 24th President of the United States, Grover Cleveland, who came from there?
http://www.caldwellnjonline.com/history/index.shtml

Was it the Wonder Aviation Club with his only little cute Cessna?
http://www.usac.com

Or was it the 1 hour 15 minutes distance to McGuire Air Force Base (305 Air Mobility Wing) in Fort Lee (23801) in Virginia, where Salem Alhamzi lived, which is also the base of the Joint Tactical Radio System of Boeing Integrate Defense Systems?

Why did the FBI not release any information on Moqed?

Who leaked the information on Moqed and Caldwell to the press?

Was he really at Gold's Gym in Greenbelt, NJ between Sept. 2 and Sept. 6, as were Khalid Al-Midhar, Nawaq Alhamzi, Salem Al Hamzi and Hani Hanjour?

Khalid Al-Midhar, who was being watched by the CIA and FBI, lived in for a while in Jersey City -- that is 34 mins minutes away.

*********

14) Satam Al Suqami (AA11)
Nothing is known about the address of Sataam Al Suqami, who officially took the same plane as Atta. For some strange reason, it was Suqami's passport which was found in the rubble of New York on Vesey Street in front of Building 7.

Building 7 was home to the offices of the DoD and CIA, and furthermore was a building, which had been controlled by the military since October 2000, when the Blackstone Group, a subsidiary of TRW took over the mortgage!

http://asia.cnn.com/2001/US/09/17/inv.i ... index.html
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/Daily ... pects.html
http://www.blackstone.com/news/press_re ... t_2000.pdf

*********

15) Wail Alshehri (AA11)
Lived in Hollywood, Florida, and Newton, Massachusetts

But his visa, stamped on October 24th, 2002, mentioned "wasantwn", which might mean Washington, and his alleged employer and school was listed as "South City", which made no sense at all.

Why did he decide to risk living in Washington DC, which is crawling with federal agencies all over the place?
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/wnt/Dail ... =earthlink
*********

16) Fayez Ahmed (UA175)
17) Hamza Alghamdi (UA175)
18) Mohald Alshehri (UA175)
19) Ahmed Alnami

All four lived in Delray Beach, Florida and checked into the internet from there, according to librarian Kathleen Hensman.

The connection between Florida, drug cartels and the CIA is not only a speculation or a myth, it is almost a way of life in Florida.

*******
20) Zacarias Moussaoui

Why did Moussaoui live 3 minutes away from ex-CIA David Boren in Norman, Oklahoma?

Moussaoui was confirmed to be under surveillance by British intelligence MI5 since late 2000.

http://www.observer.co.uk/international ... 97,00.html
From his indictment and his motions we learn, that Moussaoui was also under surveillance by the FBI, before he was arrested.

Moussaoui claims, they did that on purpose, instead of arresting Hani Hanjour.
Moussaoui officially trained at Airman Flight School in Noman, Oklahoma.

More disturbing, Bin Laden's private pilot, Ihab Ali, also trained at this same flight school in Noman.
http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/10/16/inv.em ... nnections/

The city of Noman, which is located a few miles away from Oklahoma City, is the home of former CIA David Boren, who was once described by George Tenet as his "mentor".

Moussaoui claims, that all hijackers had been watched.

His address, 209 Waldsack, is only 3 mins away from the University of Boren.

MAP LINK

CONCLUSION

According to an AP story, four of the official hijackers met together on September 10th in Valencia Motel, Laurel, MD. That is just 11 minutes away from Fort Meade, the headquarters of the NSA.
http://cjonline.com/stories/09105/ter_w ... kers.shtml

Too many coincidences. Period.

The connections between all hijackers, the FBI informants and the CIA (Norman, Fort Lee, Vienna etc...) seem to be triple-proved.

15 hijackers had their visas approved from the CIA connected consolate in Jeddah , Saudi Arabia. 8 hijackers trained at CIA connected flight schools (-> Huffman Aviation, -> Kruithaus, Arne) Almost all 19 hijackers is linked to a visit of a military flight school.
Maybe some actors pretended to be the hijackers or their identity had been stolen by someone else.

It would make sense, that some tracks of the hijackers pasts had been scripted.
So many questions are open on the hijackers and their "connections".
Here are only a few of them:

Why did Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas allow three Muslim students to train at their base: Saeed Al-Ghamdi, Ahmed Al-Ghamdi and an unrelated suspect, Fayez Ahmed?

More bizarre, Fayez Ahmed had the same address in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as Ahmed Al-Ghamdi.

What happened to Hadi Omar Jr, an antiques peddler in Fort Smith/Florida, who was detained after using the same Internet log-on as Mohammed Atta?

Or Anand Shah from India, who made flight reservations for himself and Atta?

More bizarre, the story on Atta's last day changed, when it came out, that the Bukharis from an early FBI-suspect list were still alive:

In the original version, the two Bukharis hired a Nissan Altima at Logan airport and drove it to Portland Maine the day before the attacks.

Then the story was scrubbed and refreshed a while later:

Now Atta and Alomari were the ones who rented the car at Logan, drove to Portland and got the connecting flight to Boston. This story doesn't' really make sense anyway because a White Mitsubishi left at Logan was supposedly hired by Atta. Why would you rent a car, leave it in Logan airport, rent another car and leave that one in Portland?




http://www.gregpalast.com/detail.cfm?artid=104&row=4

Did Bush Turn a Blind Eye to Terrorism? (BBC)
BBC Newsnight
Tuesday, November 6, 2001

(BBC TRANSCRIPT)

GREG PALAST: The CIA and Saudi Arabia, the Bushes and the Bin Ladens. Did their connections cause America to turn a blind eye to terrorism?

UNNAMED MAN: There is a hidden agenda at the very highest levels of our government.

JOE TRENTO, (AUTHOR, "SECRET HISTORY OF THE CIA"): The sad thing is that thousands of Americans had to die needlessly.

PETER ELSNER: How can it be that the former President of the US and the current President of the US have business dealings with characters that need to be investigated?

PALAST: In the eight weeks since the attacks, over 1,000 suspects and potential witnesses have been detained. Yet, just days after the hijackers took off from Boston aiming for the Twin Towers, a special charter flight out of the same airport whisked 11 members of Osama Bin Laden's family off to Saudi Arabia. That did not concern the White House. Their official line is that the Bin Ladens are above suspicion - apart from Osama, the black sheep, who they say hijacked the family name. That's fortunate for the Bush family and the Saudi royal household, whose links with the Bin Ladens could otherwise prove embarrassing. But Newsnight has obtained evidence that the FBI was on the trail of other members of the] Bin Laden family for links to terrorist organisations before and after September 11th. This document is marked "Secret". Case ID - 199-Eye WF 213 589. 199 is FBI code for case type. 9 would be murder. 65 would be espionage. 199 means national security. WF indicates Washington field office special agents were investigating ABL - because of it's relationship with the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, WAMY - a suspected terrorist organisation. ABL is Abdullah Bin Laden, president and treasurer of WAMY. This is the sleepy Washington suburb of Falls Church, Virginia where almost every home displays the Stars and Stripes. On this unremarkable street, at 3411 Silver Maple Place, we located the former home of Abdullah and another brother, Omar, also an FBI suspect. It's conveniently close to WAMY. The World Assembly of Muslim Youth is in this building, in a little room in the basement at 5613 Leesburg Pike. And here, just a couple blocks down the road at 5913 Leesburg, is where four of the hijackers that attacked New York and Washington are listed as having lived. The US Treasury has not frozen WAMY's assets, and when we talked to them, they insisted they are a charity. Yet, just weeks ago, Pakistan expelled WAMY operatives. And India claimed that WAMY was funding an organisation linked to bombings in Kashmir. And the Philippines military has accused WAMY of funding Muslim insurgency. The FBI did look into WAMY, but, for some reason, agents were pulled off the trail.

TRENTO: The FBI wanted to investigate these guys. This is not something that they didn't want to do - they wanted to, they weren't permitted to.

PALAST: The secret file fell into the hands of national security expert, Joe Trento. The Washington spook-tracker has been looking into the FBI's allegations about WAMY.

TRENTO: They've had connections to Osama Bin Laden's people. They've had connections to Muslim cultural and financial aid groups that have terrorist connections. They fit the pattern of groups that the Saudi royal family and Saudi community of princes - the 20,000 princes - have funded who've engaged in terrorist activity. Now, do I know that WAMY has done anything that's illegal? No, I don't know that. Do I know that as far back as 1996 the FBI was very concerned about this organisation? I do.

PALAST: Newsnight has uncovered a long history of shadowy connections between the State Department, the CIA and the Saudis. The former head of the American visa bureau in Jeddah is Michael Springman.

MICHAEL SPRINGMAN: In Saudi Arabia I was repeatedly ordered by high level State Dept officials to issue visas to unqualified applicants. These were, essentially, people who had no ties either to Saudi Arabia or to their own country. I complained bitterly at the time there. I returned to the US, I complained to the State Dept here, to the General Accounting Office, to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and to the Inspector General's office. I was met with silence.

PALAST: By now, Bush Sr, once CIA director, was in the White House. Springman was shocked to find this wasn't visa fraud. Rather, State and CIA were playing "the Great Game".

SPRINGMAN: What I was protesting was, in reality, an effort to bring recruits, rounded up by Osama Bin Laden, to the US for terrorist training by the CIA. They would then be returned to Afghanistan to fight against the then-Soviets. The attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 did not shake the State Department's faith in the Saudis, nor did the attack on American barracks at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia three years later, in which 19 Americans died. FBI agents began to feel their investigation was being obstructed. Would you be surprised to find out that FBI agents are a bit frustrated that they can't be looking into some Saudi connections?

MICHAEL WILDES, ( LAWYER) I would never be surprised with that. They're cut off at the hip sometimes by supervisors or given shots that are being called from Washington at the highest levels.

PALAST: I showed lawyer Michael Wildes our FBI documents. One of the Khobar Towers bombers was represented by Wildes, who thought he had useful intelligence for the US. He also represents a Saudi diplomat who defected to the USA with 14,000 documents which Wildes claims implicates Saudi citizens in financing terrorism and more. Wildes met with FBI men who told him they were not permitted to read all the documents. Nevertheless, he tried to give them to the agents.

WILDES: "Take these with you. We're not going to charge for the copies. Keep them. Do something with them. Get some bad guys with them." They refused.

PALAST: In the hall of mirrors that is the US intelligence community, Wildes, a former US federal attorney, said the FBI field agents wanted the documents, but they were told to "see no evil."

WILDES: You see a difference between the rank-and-file counter-intelligence agents, who are regarded by some as the motor pool of the FBI, who drive following diplomats, and the people who are getting the shots called at the highest level of our government, who have a different agenda - it's unconscionable.

PALAST: State wanted to keep the pro-American Saudi royal family in control of the world's biggest oil spigot, even at the price of turning a blind eye to any terrorist connection so long as America was safe. In recent years, CIA operatives had other reasons for not exposing Saudi-backed suspects.

TRENTO: If you recruited somebody who is a member of a terrorist organisation, who happens to make his way here to the US, and even though you're not in touch with that person anymore but you have used him in the past, it would be unseemly if he were arrested by the FBI and word got back that he'd once been on the payroll of the CIA. What we're talking about is blow-back. What we're talking about is embarrassing, career-destroying blow-back for intelligence officials.

PALAST: Does the Bush family also have to worry about political blow-back? The younger Bush made his first million 20 years ago with an oil company partly funded by Salem Bin Laden's chief US representative. Young George also received fees as director of a subsidiary of Carlyle Corporation, a little known private company which has, in just a few years of its founding, become one of Americas biggest defence contractors. His father, Bush Senior, is also a paid advisor. And what became embarrassing was the revelation that the Bin Ladens held a stake in Carlyle, sold just after September 11.

ELSNER: You have a key relationship between the Saudis and the former President of the US who happens to be the father of the current President of the US. And you have all sorts of questions about where does policy begin and where does good business and good profits for the company, Carlyle, end?

PALAST: I received a phone call from a high-placed member of a US intelligence agency. He tells me that while there's always been constraints on investigating Saudis, under George Bush it's gotten much worse. After the elections, the agencies were told to "back off" investigating the Bin Ladens and Saudi royals, and that angered agents. I'm told that since September 11th the policy has been reversed. FBI headquarters told us they could not comment on our findings. A spokesman said: "There are lots of things that only the intelligence community knows and that no-one else ought to know.

END OF TRANSCRIPT




Breaking news 12/12/01

The easy path to the United States for three of the 9/11 hijackers

By Edward T. Pound

Three of the hijackers in the September 11 terrorist attacks obtained visas in Saudi Arabia through a brand-new program designed to make it easier for qualified visa applicants to visit the United States, an American government official said tonight.

The Visa Express program, put in place just four months before the attacks, allowed the three hijackers to arrange their visas through a State Department-designated travel agency, the official says. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers obtained their U.S. travel visas in Saudi Arabia.

None of the three men, the American government official says, was ever questioned by U.S. consular officers in Saudi Arabia. Each took his travel papers and passport to a commercial travel agency, which submitted the applications to the State Department.

Visa Express "is a bad idea," says Jessica Vaughan, a former consular officer. "The issuing officer has no idea whether the person applying for the visa is actually the person (listed) in the documents and application."

The State Department defends the Visa Express program and says security is most important--whether in Saudi Arabia or any other country in which consular officers issue visas. The State Department has tightened visa procedures, though Visa Express and similar programs in other countries remain in place.

Of the 15 hijackers who obtained their non-immigrant visas in Saudi Arabia, the U.S. official says, 11 received them before the Visa Express program was put into place, in June. The three Saudi nationals who obtained visas through the express program were:

Abdulaziz Alomari, about 28 years old. According to the Justice Department, he arrived in the U.S. on a tourist visa in June 2001. The FBI has identified Alomari, a pilot, as one of five hijackers who boarded American Airlines Flight 11 in Boston. The plane crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center at 8:45 a.m. Officials believe that Mohammed Atta, the suspected ringleader, was at the controls.

Khalid al-Midhar, 25, who, the Justice Department says, arrived in the U.S. in July 2001, traveling on a business visa. The FBI believes that al-Midhar was one of five men who hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 and crashed it into the Pentagon.

Salem Alhamzi, 20, who arrived in the U.S. June 2001, traveling on a tourist visa, according to the Justice Department. Alhamzi also was aboard the American Airlines jet that slammed into the Pentagon.
A fourth suspected hijacker, Saeed Al-Ghamdi, received his visa after the Visa Express program was started. The U.S. official says the man was "a walk-in" at a State Department office in Saudi Arabia and was apparently interviewed by a consular officer.

The official says that the names of the four men--and the names of all the hijackers who obtained their U.S. visas in Saudi Arabia--were run through the State Department's CLASS database (for Consular Lookout and Support System). The database contains regularly updated records and intelligence information on foreign nationals. "There was no derogatory information in the files,'' the official said.

The U.S. embassy in the Saudi capital of Riyadh and the consulate in Jeddah issue visas. Government officials declined to say which office issued the three visas in question.

Visa Express was announced with great fanfare last June. When the visa program was unveiled, the American embassy in Riyadh said it was "proud to announce'' the new procedures, which were designed to help "qualified applicants obtain U.S. visas quickly and easily.''

The embassy announcement went on: "Applicants will no longer have to take time off from work, no longer have to wait in long lines under the hot sun and in crowded waiting rooms.'' Instead, "all applicants,'' the announcement said, "will be expected to use the U.S. Visa Express service'' offered by 10 designated travel agencies.

Many Saudis visit the U.S. More than 60,000 Saudi applicants obtained visas for the year ending September 30, either in Saudi Arabia or other countries, according to State Department figures.

Since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the State Department has imposed a more rigorous review of Arab and Muslim men, ages 16 to 45, including in Saudi Arabia. Officials acknowledge that the new procedures, described as temporary, have slowed visa applications in Saudi Arabia.

"A substantial fall-off'' is the way one official put it.

In a statement, Christopher Lamora, a State Department spokesman, said that Visa Express was instituted, based on a "traditionally low visa-refusal rate and incidence of fraud among Saudi applicants.'' He said that similar "interviews-by-exception programs' were in place in other countries, including France and the United Kingdom. According to Lamora, consular officers run the names of all visa applicants through the State Department's CLASS database.

"Whether or not an applicant is personally interviewed by a consular officer,'' he says, "will not affect the results of that namecheck process.'' It is "not technologically possible,'' he adds, " to issue visas to people whose names appear in the system and fail to clear the system.''

As the terrorist attacks demonstrated, the information contained in CLASS was far from adequate. In the past, some law enforcement and intelligence agencies weren't anxious to share information with the State Department. In congressional testimony last October, Mary Ryan, a senior State Department official, put it bluntly: "We have had a struggle with the law enforcement and intelligence communities in getting information.''


http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/terro ... 011212.htm
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Re: 9/11 Info Dump

Postby identity » Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:05 am

Good to have all that here in one place. Thanks, Elvis!
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Re: 9/11 Info Dump

Postby Elvis » Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:19 am

Thanks, Identity.
Many more to go. This is going to take awhile. :lol:

I just lost a humongous p.11 with a careless click... :crybaby ...will resume tomorrow or soonest.

And heads up: there will be a large "controlled demolition" section. (Beam weapons, not so much.)
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Re: 9/11 Info Dump

Postby identity » Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:21 am

And be sure not to forget the creepy 911 clowns! :yay
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Re: 9/11 Info Dump

Postby Elvis » Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:35 pm

[p.11 of dump]

[ runup / suspects ]




Hijackers Had a Tough Time with Flying Lessons

by Robert P. King and Sanjay Bhatt
Cox News Service
October 21, 2001

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - For the two would-be suicide hijackers, the flying lessons didn't get off to a great start.

With their limited English, they seemed unable to follow instructions. Their knowledge of aviation was so sketchy that when asked to draw a plane, one man got the wings backward. And when one student attempted a landing in a single-engine Cessna, the other became frightened and began loudly praying to Allah.

Their instructor at a San Diego flight school flunked them, and later described the men as "Dumb and Dumber."

Then again, Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi never needed to develop any skill in landing planes. They just needed to learn how to crash them into buildings - a goal they achieved Sept. 11 when American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon.

"Yeah, these guys were pretty crude," said terrorism expert Michael Gunter, a professor of political science at Tennessee Technological University. "But we were even dumber in not being able to ferret them out."

In fact, the FBI was looking for Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, who appeared to have spent most of the past two years together in the United States.

But the search didn't begin until Aug. 23. That left investigators just 19 days to scour our vast nation for two men who muddled their trail by using names, passing out fake addresses and buying things with cash.

Investigators aren't even entirely sure that Almihdhar and Alhazmi are the men's real names - or that several people weren't using those names as aliases. They have used several spellings for both Almihdhar and Alhazmi since the attacks, and some newspapers and television stations briefly mixed up Almihdhar with Khalid al-Mihmadi, a Saudi exchange student who lived in Daytona Beach until last May.

But assuming the names are genuine, the pair's travels appear to outline a path linking terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden and the attacks that killed more than 6,000 people in New York and Washington.

In Malaysia: The two men - described as around college age, possibly childhood friends, maybe from Saudi Arabia - both attended a terrorist summit at a Kuala Lumpur hotel in December 1999 or January 2000, according to law enforcement sources.

Others at the meeting included members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the leader of Osama bin Laden's bodyguards, who would later be suspected of masterminding the attack on the destroyer USS Cole in October 2000.

Malaysian security forces secretly videotaped the gathering and alerted the CIA. But U.S. intelligence agents say they didn't realize the significance of the meeting until they learned of the Cole connection sometime around August 2001.

In San Diego: The pair appeared in early 2000, blending in with the city's large Islamic population and eventually rooming in the home of a local Muslim leader. Besides flunking flight school, Alhazmi unsuccessfully searched the Web for a Mexican wife.
Occasionally their paths crossed with Hanjour, who later joined them on Flight 77.
Almihdhar and Alhazmi also paid $3,000 cash for a 1988 Toyota Corolla, registering it under a false address but scrupulously following the law on emissions testing.

A day after the Sept. 11 attacks, the FBI towed a car matching the same description from Dulles International Airport in Washington. The car, registered to Nawaf Alhazmi, contained a list of instructions for the hijackers, telling them to "strike as the heroes would strike ... and then you will know all the heavens are decorated in the best way to meet you."

In Washington: The five Flight 77 suspects bought weeklong gym memberships in the Beltway area in August - much like their compatriots in south Palm Beach County. They got driver's licenses in Virginia using fake addresses, taking advantage of that state's lax laws on what proof of identity is required.

On Sept. 11, either Almihdhar or Hanjour may have piloted the hijacked jetliner into the Pentagon, according to investigators quoted in conflicting news accounts. Some accounts say Almihdhar was the one who gave the passengers a chilling message around 9:30 a.m.: Phone home, because you are all about to die.

Who were these men? That's still a mystery.

The FBI has given no age for Almihdhar and Alhazmi but says they may be Saudi nationals. Alhazmi may have trained at camps Afghan camps tied to al-Qaeda, according to investigators quoted in news reports. The reports don't say when the training occurred.

Investigators have also speculated that Almihdhar may be part of the Islamic Army of Aden, a group in Yemen that is affiliated with bin Laden's al-Qaeda network. The Islamic Army was one of three groups to claim credit for the USS Cole bombing.

The Islamic Army was formerly headed by Zein al-Abidine al-Midhar, who was executed in 1999 for kidnapping Western tourists. Despite the similarity in last names between Almihdhar and al-Midhar, experts have cautioned that Arabic names are often more complex than most Westerners realize, and that similar names can be shared by many unrelated people.

In another link, investigators say the suspects' meeting in Malaysia nearly two years ago included an encounter between Almihdhar and a Yemeni-born man named Tawfiq bin Atash, also known by the nickname "Khallad." Bin Atash controls bin Laden's bodyguards, helped coordinate the Cole attack and is a suspect in the 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa, investigators believe.

But U.S. intelligence had no grounds to nab Almihdhar or Alhazmi at that time, investigators say.

"Here was a bunch of guys who we believed were dirty, but we didn't have anything on them," a U.S. intelligence official told the Los Angeles Times.

Not until Aug. 21, at least 19 months later, did the CIA tell the Immigration and Naturalization Service to place Almihdhar on a terrorist "watch list" in case he tries to enter the country.

Around the same time, the agency had begun receiving information suggesting that bin Laden was increasingly determined to strike on U.S. soil.

Too late - Almihdhar had already entered the United States.

The FBI began looking for both Almihdhar and Alhazmi Aug. 23. But the FBI office in San Diego, where the two had spent so much time the year before, didn't get the word until two days after the bombing.
San Diego: A diverse place to blend in.

Investigators say Almihdhar and Alhazmi first entered the United States through Los Angeles International Airport in late 1999 or early 2000. On immigration papers, they listed their intended address as a Sheraton hotel in LA.

Instead, they surfaced in San Diego, which offered numerous advantages to an Arab seeking to blend in. The area is culturally diverse - much like South Florida - and boasts a large Muslim community. Its closeness to the Mexican border allows a quick escape if one is needed. It's a haven for illegal immigration, spawning an industry in fake identification documents.

First the men lived at the Parkwood Apartments, a town house complex near a busy commercial strip. Neighbors said the men had no furniture but often carried briefcases and seemed to speak on cell phones a lot.

They spent time at the Islamic Center of San Diego, the local mosque, and after a few months moved into the home of the center's founder, an Indian-born Muslim leader named Abdussattar Shaikh.

Shaikh said he and the pair prayed together five times a day, but they shared little conversation because of the men's difficulties with English. They paid rent, although he offered to let them stay for free, and didn't express any hatred of the United States.

"They were nice, but not what you call extroverted people," Shaikh told the San Diego Union-Tribune. Still, he told reporters he bonded with Alhazmi, helping him open a bank account and place a personal ad on the World Wide Web.

"He told me that he wanted to marry a Mexican girl," Shaikh told the Los Angeles Times. "The problem was that he didn't know any Spanish. So I taught him a few Spanish phrases, like, 'Que pasa.' "

Almihdhar, the more reserved of the two, said he and Alhazmi were childhood friends from Saudi Arabia. He said he had a wife and children there.

Shaikh said he thought the two were students from Saudi Arabia studying English. The FBI has scoured student records at colleges and universities throughout California but has declined to say what it found.

The pair took a half-dozen flight classes at Sorbi's Flying Club nearby, but chief flight instructor Rick Garza has said their poor English skills disqualified them. Garza said Almihdhar and Alhazmi started out wanting to fly Boeing jet aircraft, but he steered them to Cessnas instead.

"I told the FBI they seemed like 'Dumb and Dumber,' " Garza told the Union-Tribune.
Almihdhar moved out of Shaikh's home in the fall of 2000, supposedly to return to Saudi Arabia. Alhazmi left in December 2000, saying he planned to attend school in San Jose. But a month later Shaikh got a phone call from Alhazmi, who said he was in Arizona.

The FBI has said repeatedly that Shaikh, a retired educator, is not a suspect in the terror attacks. But since Sept. 11, authorities have arrested three other boarders in Shaikh's house as material witnesses.

Washington: Paid $100 for ID documents.

Authorities believe Almihdhar left the country. He returned July 4 on Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight 53, carrying a Saudi passport and a business visa due to expire Oct. 3. He gave his intended address as a Marriott Hotel in New York. (As investigators would eventually learn, Marriott operates 10 hotels in New York City.)

Instead, he and Alhazmi popped up near Washington, D.C.
In August, the pair got state identification cards from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles in Springfield, southwest of Washington, D.C. So did the rest of the Flight 77 suspects, along with Abdulaziz Alomari and Ahmed Alghamdi, who rode separate planes that struck the World Trade Center, as well as Ziad Jarrah, whose hijacked flight crashed in Pennsylvania.

Unlike many other states, Virginia at the time didn't require people to use such documents as passports or leases to verify their identity and residency. Until the loophole was closed Sept. 21, they could simply submit notarized forms co-signed by a lawyer and a Virginia resident.

Federal investigators say Almihdhar and another Flight 77 suspect, Hanjour, drove to a northern Virginia convenience store and paid $100 to Luis Martinez-Flores, an illegal alien from El Salvador, to sign a document falsely certifying the men's address. They in turn signed documents allowing some of the other terrorists to get their licenses.

Authorities have since jailed Martinez-Flores and a Falls Church law office employee on charges of illegally helping Hanjour and Almihdhar get ID cards, essential for boarding a commercial plane. Two others also were arrested on similar charges.

On Sept. 5, Almihdhar and Moqed bought their airline tickets with cash at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. They had booked the tickets on the American Airlines web site. Almihdhar used a Daytona Beach address and a frequent-flier number he had established the day before. Almihdhar had seat 12 B, Moqed the window seat beside him.

Despite their presence on the terrorist watch list, Almihdhar and Alhazmi raised no alarms when they arrived at Dulles before the scheduled 8:10 a.m. departure Sept. 11. They and their three cohorts entered through Gate D26.

Eight days after the planes went down, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. distributed a "special alert" to its member banks asking for information about 21 "alleged suspects" in the attacks. The list said "Al-Midhar, Khalid Alive," raising the possibility that the real Almihdhar never died on the plane. But one Justice Department official called the listing a "typo."

This report includes material from The Associated Press, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune and the Washington Post.




Confidence shaken by link to attacks
Confused Saudis angry with U.S., doubt evidence

By Paul Salopek
ChicagoTribune foreign correspondent
Published October 4, 2001

JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia -- With as many as 15 Saudis numbered among the 19 hijackers in last month's terror attacks, the mood in this deeply conservative Islamic kingdom has lurched between genuine horror, profound embarrassment, shame, suppressed glee and--increasingly--resentment and bald denial.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who is visiting the region, is expected to receive the carefully calibrated show of support that the Saudi monarchy has perfected through years of balancing its American friendship with its people's mistrust of U.S. policy.

But beyond the gates of King Fahd's opulent palaces in Riyadh, where the diplomats are making the requisite show of unity, Saudi Arabia's streets are steeped in angst and confusion--an extraordinary occurrence in a society guided by the iron absolutes of one of the strictest forms of Islam in the world.

"Most of us have absolutely no clue how Saudis could have contributed to such a tragedy," said Saad Asswailini, a professor at King Khalid University in Abha, a southern city where several of the alleged hijackers lived.

Complicated relationship

"Ours is a unique situation because of our complicated relationship with America," Asswailini said, noting that despite its status as the birthplace of Islam, the insular desert kingdom is now dotted with Pizza Huts and crisscrossed by freeways cloned from those in the United States, right down to the green-and-white highway signs.

"The enormity of the crime has unsettled most mainstream Saudis," he said. "So we escape our sense of guilt by filling our days with conspiracy theories."

For weeks, tales have circulated in Saudi newspapers blaming Mossad, Israel's intelligence service, for masterminding the U.S. attacks to incite hatred toward Arabs. According to one rumor, some 4,000 Jews were warned out of the doomed World Trade Center towers minutes before the buildings were destroyed. Another wishful theory holds that all the Saudi citizens fingered by the FBI were killed in the fighting in Chechnya, and that their identities were stolen.

And the government is so sensitive about the Saudi origins of Osama bin Laden, the Afghan-based terrorist accused of orchestrating the attacks, that they have effectively ordered that he no longer be called a Saudi.

"That point is irrelevant now," Prince Nayef bin Abdel Aziz, the interior minister, berated journalists this week, noting angrily that bin Laden had been stripped of his citizenship in the early 1990s for his dissident views.

"The Saudis are only a few generations removed from their tribal roots, and that makes them incredibly proud," said a U.S. government official familiar with the region. "Aside from their fundamentalist fringe, most are deeply embarrassed by their countrymen's involvement in this thing. And Saudis hate to be embarrassed."

Islamic experts and diplomats say that the reasons for the large numbers of Saudis implicated in the hijackings aren't completely understood. Bin Laden's old connections to the country could hint that his network is still active in Saudi Arabia, some say. Others point out that oil-rich Saudi Arabia sent thousands of self-financed holy warriors to fight the Russians in Afghanistan, creating a strong legacy of jihad.

Evidence challenged

But Saudis are closing ranks against the evidence in the U.S. attack, and their growing sense of denial has only been fueled by the early misidentification of several suspects.

While the FBI's confusion over Arabic names and identities was largely ignored in the American press, each blunder has made huge news in Saudi Arabia, casting doubt on U.S. intentions and convincing many Saudis that their country has been slandered.

"I want to think all this is a mistake," said a bewildered Khalid al-Mihammadi, 24, a computer programmer from Mecca who was named wrongfully in an early list of hijackers released by the U.S. Justice Department. "We are America's friends, and they do this to us. It isn't fair."

Al-Mihammadi, who spent nine months studying English in the U.S., said he was watching television at home when shaken friends saw his photograph on the news and began to call to see if he was still alive.

No trust of U.S.

"It's impossible for us to believe [the United States] anymore," said Taha Alghamdi, a salesman in Jeddah whose brother Saeed was mistakenly confused with another man by the same name who hijacked United Flight 93, which crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.

"What sort of intelligence agency doesn't know that there are thousands of Saeed Alghamdis in Saudi Arabia?" Alghamdi said. "It is like accusing Tom from New York."

Like others, Alghamdi said his family would be pursuing legal action against the U.S. government for defamation.

Meanwhile, just as some Americans are sadly pondering how their country could have ignited the fury behind such terrible attacks, many Saudis are quietly reassessing how a profound misinterpretation of their religion, with compassion as its central tenet, has done likewise.

"In some ways this tragedy has caused similar types of inward thinking for both our peoples," said scholar Asswailini.

"Maybe more Americans will begin to ponder the consequences of their foreign policy," he said, "and more Saudis to question the religious fundamentalism that is growing here."



http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/na ... ckers.html

The Washington Post:

Hani Hanjour
Obtained a commercial pilot's license in April 1999 from the Federal Aviation Administration. The license expired six months later because he failed to complete a required medical exam. In 1996, he received flight training for a few months at a private school in Scottsdale, Ariz., but did not finish the course because his instructors thought he was not proficient enough. He listed his address as a post office box in Taife, Saudi Arabia, but he also has been linked to addresses in San Diego and Hollywood, Fla. His name was not on the American Airlines manifest for the flight because he may not have had a ticket.

---------------- [unknown commentor:]

Q: How was Hanjour able to board the plane if he didn't have his name on the manifest or a ticket?

Q: If Hanjour's name wasn't on the manifest and he didn't have a ticket there can be no record whatsoever of Hanjour boarding Flight 77, so how did the FBI know he was on the plane?




Much interesting here—the use of double/stolen identities; were they used to create "legends" as much as for operational actors? Note the comparison to Oswald.

I'm omitting most of the pictures; the original link is dead, but the article w/ original pics is archived here:
http://s3.amazonaws.com/911timeline/mai ... arrah.html

The Two Ziad Jarrahs
http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/time ... arrah.html

By Paul Thompson
August 24, 2002, updated September 9, 2002


Image
Ziad Samir Jarrah [CNN, 9/18/01]

Ziad Jarrah is one of the best known of the 19 9/11 hijackers. What most people don't know, however, is that there were actually two Ziad Jarrahs: the one raised in Lebanon and whose picture has been widely circulated by the FBI, and the one who actually flew on Flight 93. The evidence of two is undeniable, and amazingly, we even have pictures of the second Jarrah.
Jarrah was studying in this Beirut school at the same
time the FBI has him living in New York City. [CBC, 10/10/01]


The Other Ziad Jarrah

In 1995, a person named Ziad Jarrah rented an apartment in a three-family house on East Third Street in Brooklyn, New York. [Among the Heroes by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 90] Landlords there identified his photograph as being the same as that of the 9/11 hijacker. A Brooklyn apartment lease from March 1995 until February 1996 bears Ziad Jarrah's name. [Boston Globe, 9/25/01] "Another man named Ihassan Jarrah lived with Ziad, drove a livery cab and paid the eight-hundred-dollar monthly rent. The men were quiet, well-mannered, said hello and good-bye. Ziad Jarrah carried a camera and told his landlords that he was a photographer. He would disappear for a few days on occasion, then reappear. Sometimes a woman who appeared to be a prostitute arrived with one of the men. 'Me and my brother used to crack jokes that they were terrorists,' said Jason Matos, a construction worker who lived in a basement there, and whose mother owned the house." [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 90]

The only problem with the above is that the real Ziad Jarrah, twenty years old at the time, was actually still in his home country of Lebanon. He was studying in a Catholic school in Beirut, and was in frequent contact with the rest of his family. His parents drove him home to be with the family nearly every weekend, and they were in frequent contact by telephone as well. [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01] Not until April 1996 did he leave Lebanon for the first time, to study in Germany. [Boston Globe, 9/25/01] His family believes that the New York lease proves that there were two Jarrahs. [CNN, 9/18/01]


Image
Jarrah's New York City lease. Did the other Jarrah spell his name with
an 'i' at the end? Curious how this photo cuts off before the end
of his name. [News of the World, 9/16/01]

But this is not the only incontrovertible proof of this second, almost identical looking Ziad Jarrah.

On January 30, 2001, another man whose name was also Ziad Jarrah, was questioned for several hours at the Dubai International Airport, in the United Arab Emirates. This was done at the request of the CIA, for "suspected involvement in terrorist activities." The CIA notified local officials that he would be arriving from Pakistan on his way back to Europe, and they wanted to know where he had been in Afghanistan and how long he had been there. [CNN, 8/1/02] During the questioning, the man "divulged that he had spent the previous 'two months and five days' in Pakistan and Afghanistan -- the only known acknowledgment of an Afghan visit by any of the hijackers -- and that he was returning to Florida..." [Chicago Tribune, 12/13/01] It was later reported that "investigators have confirmed that Jarrah had spent at least three weeks in January 2001 at an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan." [CNN, 8/1/02] US officials were informed of the results of the interrogation before Jarrah left the airport. "UAE and European intelligence sources told CNN that the questioning of Jarrah fits a pattern of a CIA operation begun in 1999 to track suspected al-Qaeda operatives who were traveling through the United Arab Emirates." He was then permitted to leave, eventually going to the US. This story was confirmed by numerous UAE, US and European officials. No one has denied that he passed through Dubai on this date, but the CIA has not admitted to ever having ordered his questioning. [CNN, 8/1/02]

The only problem with this story is that the real Jarrah was somewhere else at the time. The Florida Flight Training Center, the flight school where Jarrah had been studying for the previous six months, said he was in school there until January 15. His family claimed he arrived in Lebanon to visit on January 26, five days before he supposedly passed through Dubai. His father had just undergone open-heart surgery, and Jarrah visited him every day in the hospital, for over a week. Pointing out this incident, his uncle Jamal Jarrah asked, "How could he be in two places at one time?" Furthermore, the family claims the longest Jarrah has ever gone without phoning them is ten days, back in 1997. [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 101-102] How could he have maintained such contact in Afghanistan, the second poorest country on Earth, with virtually no communication network?


Image
The original FBI photo of Ziad Jarrah.

These two examples are just the most glaring clues of many that someone was posing as Ziad Jarrah for years. The story of Jarrah in New York in 1995 is truly amazing, because that would have happened presumably before the 9/11 plot was even conceived, and before Mohamed Atta or most of the other 9/11 terrorists even joined al-Qaeda. Additionally, it was before Jarrah had moved to Germany so he couldn't possibly have had come into contact with any al-Qaeda operatives yet. Yet, not only is there another Ziad Jarrah, but two looked similar enough for people in Brooklyn to confuse the two.
Incredibly, at least one photo exists that shows how similar the two Ziad Jarrahs looked. The FBI says they recovered a semi-burnt passport photo of Jarrah in the wreckage of Flight 93, in the Pennsylvania countryside. But is it really Jarrah? Compare the shape of their heads. The head of the Lebanon-born Jarrah has a much squarer top and is more elongated, while that of the other Jarrah is a bit more rounded. Still, it's easy to see how they could be confused for each other.


The passport photo of "Ziad Jarrah"
found in the wreckage of Flight 93.
Image
How can two Jarrahs be explained, and what does it mean?


A Pattern of Deception and Stolen Identities

Jarrah may not be the only 9/11 hijacker to have a secret doppelganger, and certainly there are problems with the identities of other hijackers. The evidence is often very clear that the identities of innocents were stolen by the hijackers. To mention some of the more obvious cases:

- Ahmed Alnami is still alive and working as an administrative supervisor with Saudi Arabian Airlines, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] He had never lost his passport and found it "very worrying" that his identity appeared to have been stolen. [Telegraph, 9/23/01]

- Saeed Alghamdi is alive and learning how to fly airplanes in Tunisia. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01, BBC, 9/23/01] ] The Telegraph notes, "The FBI had published his personal details but with a photograph of somebody else, presumably a hijacker who had 'stolen' his identity. CNN, however, showed a picture of the real Mr. Alghamdi." [Telegraph, 9/23/01]

- Salem Alhazmi is alive and working at a petrochemical plant in Yanbou, Saudi Arabia. [Los Angeles Times, Telegraph, 9/23/01] He says his passport was stolen by a pickpocket in Cairo three years ago. [Guardian, 9/21/01]

- Waleed Alshehri is alive and a pilot with Saudi Airlines, studying in Morocco. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01, AP, 9/22/01] He acknowledges that he attended flight training school at Dayton Beach in the United States. [BBC, 9/23/01] He also says FBI photos of the terrorist are of him. [Daily Trust, 9/24/01]

- Abdulaziz Alomari is alive and working as a pilot for Saudi Arabian Airlines. [New York Times, 9/16/01, Independent, 9/17/01, BBC, 9/23/01] He claims that his passport was stolen when he was living in Denver in 1995. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] "They gave my name and my date of birth, but I am not a suicide bomber. I am here. I am alive." [Telegraph, 9/23/01]

Image
Three different pictures of Khalid Almihdhar. Which one does not belong?


- The BBC says, "There are suggestions that another suspect, Khalid Almihdhar, may also be alive." [BBC, 9/23/01] The Guardian says he is believed to be alive, but investigators are looking into three possibilities. Either his name was stolen for a hijacker alias, or he allowed his name to be used so that US officials would think he died, or he died in the crash. [Guardian, 9/21/01] Almihdhar is wanted for other terrorist acts, so it is not surprising that he is still hard to reach. Three pictures of Almihdhar have been released, two of one person and one of another (see photos on the right). [FBI, 2/12/02, Boston Globe, 9/27/01]

- No one claims that Hamza Alghamdi is still alive, but his family says the FBI photo "has no resemblance to him at all." [Washington Post, 9/25/01]



Image
How can all of these pictures be of Majed Moqed?




- There are three official pictures of Majed Moqed - one of them doesn't look at all like the other two (see the photos on the left, below). [FBI, 2/12/02, Boston Globe, 9/27/01]

- There are two official pictures of Ahmed Alhaznawi - they're of different people (see the two pictures near the bottom of this article).



On September 27, 2001, after all of these stories came out in the media, FBI Director Robert Mueller still could only state, "We are fairly certain of a number of them." [Sun Sentinel, 9/28/01] But since then the list of hijackers has not changed. On November 2, 2001, Mueller stated, "We at this point definitely know the 19 hijackers who were responsible,'' and claimed that they were sticking with the names and photos released in late September. [AP, 11/03/02] Yet in a number of cases, such as Ahmed Alnami and Waleed Alshehri, all the released pictures are clearly wrong!

It is clear that many - and perhaps all - of the hijackers were using stolen identities. This is not so surprising. "The primer that Osama bin Laden's organization gave to would-be terrorists included rules for an undercover member: Don't reveal your true name." [Miami Herald, 9/22/01] Yet over and over we hear of the 9/11 hijackers using their real names for everything, even buying their plane tickets in their supposed real names. "In the end, they left a curiously obvious trail -- from martial arts manuals, maps, a Koran, Internet and credit card fingerprints. Maybe they were sloppy, maybe they didn't care, maybe it was a gesture of contempt of a culture they considered weak and corrupt." [Miami Herald, 9/22/01] Why not consider that maybe it was done on purpose? The surprising thing is not that they used stolen identities: the surprise is that the FBI continues to believe in the false trail of evidence and the false identities.


The Demonization of Jarrah

Because the FBI refuses to admit the possibility that Jarrah's identity may have been wrong, the real, Lebanese-born Jarrah has already been convicted in the court of public opinion. Everything the mainstream media writes about him assumes that he is guilty and tries to retroactively explain how he did what he did. He needs to be turned into a monster, because presumably only a monster could commit such a horrible act. Take for instance this description by New York Times reporter Jere Longman:

"If there was any retrospect giveaway in Jarrah's face, it was in his halted smile, neither a smirk nor a grin of graciousness or delight, but a resolve on unforeseen circumstance. It resembled the pasty-murderer look that Lee Harvey Oswald had in his pursed lips of history altered." [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 84]


Image
Another Lee Harvey Oswald? [CBC, 10/10/01]


Anyone can look at the picture of Jarrah here on the left, and see that his smile resembles Lee Harvey Oswald's no more than anyone else's. But anything that makes him look like an evil terrorist is accepted easily, and anything that conflicts with that image is only grudgingly accepted, if reported at all. Chances are many facts regarding Jarrah are as twisted as the description of his smile, but even through this biased filter reporters have found very little evidence to prove that Jarrah was a terrorist.

Said the Boston Globe: "Of all the dozens of mysteries still swirling around this month's devastating terrorist attacks, the life of alleged hijacker Jarrah has emerged as one of the more perplexing. From Lebanon to Germany to the United States, there are few clues as to why he would have joined a terrorist organization, much less commandeered an airplane in a suicidal mission that claimed dozens of innocent lives as well as his own." [Boston Globe, 9/25/01]

A report in the Los Angeles Times contended, "Little, if anything, is known about the personal lives of most of the suspects. Of the 19, only alleged organizer Mohamed Atta and Jarrah left behind a long trail of acquaintances. But family and friends say the Ziad Jarrah they knew exhibited none of the smoldering political resentments or cultural conservatism of Atta. Instead, they recall Jarrah as quiet, pampered, a little lazy and madly in love. How, they ask, do you convert a happy, intelligent young man with little religious or political conviction into a suicidal foot soldier in a holy war? With no answers, they are left to speculate that he was brainwashed or coerced." [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01]


Convicted by the FBI

One way to explain the Jarrah puzzle is to simply make false claims and invent evidence against him. Authorities originally publicly claimed that Jarrah attended the same school in Hamburg as Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi and other known terrorists. Only after Jarrah's family provided documentation showing that Jarrah had attended a different technical school, a claim confirmed by the school itself, did the authorities back down from their assertion. [CNN, 9/18/01] On October 23, 2001, Ashcroft claimed that Jarrah lived in the same apartment as Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi. [CNN, 10/25/01] On the same day, the Los Angeles Times showed that to be a lie: "Federal authorities in Germany have withdrawn assertions that Jarrah at one time lived at or frequented the Hamburg apartment rented by the three. 'He never lived with the others. He had three different apartments during his time in Hamburg, but none in common with any of the other suspects,' a senior German official told The Times. 'The only information we have connecting the three Hamburg suspects is the FBI's assertion that there is a connection... We have come across absolutely no evidence of our own.'" [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01] Nonetheless, such claims continue to be made, despite a lack of evidence. For instance, in May 2002, the New York Times claimed that Jarrah was a frequent visitor to the apartment where Atta, Alshehhi and others lived, without providing any evidence to back it up. [New York Times, 5/1/02]


Another technique is to move the behavior of other hijackers onto Jarrah. For instance, compare this statement of Charles Lisa, a Florida landlord of Jarrah's, reported on September 15, 2001: "When they left I asked them for a forwarding address,'' Lisa said. "But Ahmed [Alhaznawi] just smiled at me and said 'I'll send you a postcard.''' [Miami Herald, 9/15/01] By September 23, Jarrah now said it: "I said, 'Ziad, you might have some money coming back at you. Where can I get a hold of you?' " Mr. Lisa recalled. "He said, 'I'll send you a postcard.'" [New York Times, 9/23/01]


In October 2001, New Yorker reporter Seymour Hersh provided a rare, inside look at the 9/11 investigation: "Many of the investigators believe that some of the initial clues that were uncovered about the terrorists' identities and preparations, such as flight manuals, were meant to be found. A former high-level intelligence official told me, 'Whatever trail was left was left deliberately—for the FBI to chase.'" [New Yorker, 10/1/01] Nearly a year later, it appears those investigators who questioned the hijackers' cover identities have lost out, and the FBI has fallen hook, line and sinker for their cover stories. Some evidence tying Jarrah to the other terrorists may in fact have been falsified, as will be described below. Why the FBI would so strongly support the false identities of the 9/11 hijackers and let the real hijackers go free is a separate and much greater mystery that goes beyond the scope of this essay.


Upbringing in Lebanon

To fully understand the mystery of Ziad Jarrah and the tragedy of his stolen past, we need to look at the life of the real Ziad in closer detail.

Ziad Jarrah was born on May 11, 1975 into a wealthy family in the town of Almarj, in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon. He was the only son of father Samir, a local government official, and mother Nasisa, a schoolteacher. He wanted for little. "He loved sports, particularly swimming and basketball. He adored - and was doted on by - his two sisters, Dania, now 29, and Nisren, 24." [Boston Globe, 9/25/01] As a young man he rarely attended mosque on Fridays and was indifferent to politics. [CBC, 10/10/01] His whole family is Muslim but not particularly devout. In fact, believing education more important than religion, they sent their son to a series of exclusive, Christian schools. As Ziad matured, he appeared neither political nor religious. He drank alcohol and had girlfriends. ''No one in the family has this kind of radical belief,'' said Jamal Jarrah. [Boston Globe, 9/25/01]

At the time, Lebanon was engaged in a decades-long civil war. But "his family insists he was shielded from the hardships and showed no interest in politics. Jarrah attended Christian schools, graduating from a French high school, where he became fluent in French and English." [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01] He took disabled kids camping and volunteered in an anti-drug program. [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 85] A British journalist reported, "Everyone I spoke to in Almarj told me that Ziad was a happy, secular youth, that he never showed any interest in religion and never visited the mosque for prayers, that he liked women even if he was at times reserved and shy." [Independent, 9/16/01]

The Move to Germany




"He was not a good student. He hid his poor grades from his parents as much as possible, and when he couldn't hide them any longer and he confessed, Ziad's father arranged to have him tutored in math, physics and chemistry. Even then, Ziad flunked his high school finals. Two years later he was able to graduate from a public high school. In his teens he dreamed of becoming a pilot, but that seemed out of the question; his family decided that he should go overseas to get a solid education." [Inside 9-11: What Really Happened, by Der Spiegel editors, 2002, p. 246-7]

Ziad Jarrah moved to Greifswald, in the former East Germany, in April 1996. He went there with his cousin Salim, and they lived together for a year and a half. The Los Angeles Times called the two "more like twins than cousins" and they remained in close contact for the rest of Ziad's life. [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01]

He needed to study German in Greifswald before he could start upon a career. "He was just a lovely, kind young man," recounted Gudrun Schimpfky of Greifswald's Arndt University, Jarrah's German teacher in a program that brought them together six to eight hours a day, five days a week. [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01]


Girlfriend Aisel Senguen

While in Greifswald, he met fellow student Aisel Senguen. Soon they were dating - the beginning of a five year relationship that ended only with Jarrah's death. Senguen is from a Turkish family, and is described as very Western in her ways. [CBC, 10/10/01] They lived together when they were in the same town. "I used to criticize him for living with her. By our religion, this living together before marriage is not allowed," recalled Abdullah Al-Makhadi, a classmate of Senguen's at Greifswald. [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01] Needless to say, it is not common for Muslim suicidal terrorists to live with their girlfriends out of wedlock.


Looking back, people try to find any clue that might indicate that Jarrah had turned into a Muslim fanatic. One such clue frequently cited is that Senguen would later complain he grew more conservative and possessive. He wanted her to wear a head scarf, stop going to parties, and the like. [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 89] But close friend Mahmoud Ali, who last spoke to Jarrah in July 2001, dismissed notions that this meant he had become a religious radical. "We Arab men are very jealous about our women, that's all," said Ali. "We try to tell them what to do, and they just ignore us." [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01]

Ali says that, in addition to calling his family frequently, Jarrah was in touch with Senguen nearly everyday. Like Senguen, he refuses to believe that Jarrah was a terrorist. "There is nothing in his character that would allow him to do this -- not from his past, not from his family, not from his country," Ali said. [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01]



Training to Be an Engineer

In 1997 Jarrah registered at the University of Applied Sciences in Hamburg to study aeronautical engineering, and aircraft construction and design. [CBC, 10/10/01] Apparently his parents didn't want him to be a pilot, so he chose a related profession.
He moved in with Rosemarie Canel, an elderly German lady who remembered him as a quiet and courteous tenant who had few visitors and spent his nights studying or watching TV. On weekends he would leave to stay with Senguen, first in Greifswald and later in Bochum, where she moved in 1999 to study medicine. [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01] His landlady said of him, "He was such a bright young man, totally European." [Inside 9-11: What Really Happened, by Der Spiegel editors, 2002, p. 191] She liked him so much, she painted a portrait of him, which he took home as a gift to his mother. [CBC, 10/10/01] Later, when she moved to another part of Hamburg, he moved with her to the new location.


Who Did He Know?

Jere Longman alleged, "It was in Germany that his views seemed to harden into a kernel of hatred that would germinate in terrorism and suicidal martyrdom." [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 87] But what is the evidence for this statement? 9/11 hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi were living in Hamburg at the same time, as were many other Muslim immigrants later accused of al-Qaeda connections. The key question is, did Jarrah meet them, and become converted to their cause somehow?

Zakariya Essabar, now believed to be an al-Qaeda terrorist with ties to Atta's cell, studied at the same university as Jarrah, and the two worked at the same car dealership in Hamburg as a school internship in the summer of 1998. [Washington Post, 10/23/01] The best evidence of that are claims of a photo that shows Jarrah at the 1999 wedding of a Said Bahaji. Bahaji was a fugitive known to espouse fanatic views, and who once roomed with hijackers Atta and Alshehhi. [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01] There supposedly is a photo where Ramzi Binalshibh, Zakariya Essabar, Bahaji, Marwan Alshehhi and Jarrah can be seen together. [Washington Post, 10/23/01] Supposedly, he shows up in a video from the wedding as well. [New York Times, 10/25/01] But we don't even know which Jarrah this is, or how well Jarrah knew these people. Neither the video nor the photograph has been made public. Finally, Jarrah's landlady Canel also claims that sometimes Jarrah would spend the night with friends in Harburg, the part of Hamburg where Atta and Alshehhi lived. [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 89]

Certainly, it's likely that at some point he would have run into some al-Qaeda terrorists. There are about 80,000 Muslims in Hamburg, the vast majority of them Turkish. Only about five to six percent - 4,000 to 4,800 - are Arabic. Around 2,500 of the 80,000 are considered dangerous radicals, and only 270 of the radicals are considered Arabic or Iranian. [Boston Globe, 9/25/01, New York Times, 9/17/01] Terrorists like Essabar were studying at the same university. So it would have been surprising if the Arabic speaking Jarrah didn't come into contact with at least one of them.


Jarrah, the Terrorist?

But did he become one of them? German authorities believe Atta recruited him in 1999. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/27/01] Did Jarrah show any signs by then of becoming radical? Where is the "kernel of hatred"?

Melih Demir, a fellow student at the university, was stunned at the accusation that Jarrah was a terrorist. "He was very happy all the time, making jokes. We could make jokes about him and ... I can't believe that he did something like this." [Sunday Herald, 9/23/01] Classmate Michael Gotzmann, who was in a study group with Jarrah, also had a hard time believing he was one of the hijackers. ''He never said anything bad about America,'' he told Der Spiegel magazine. ''To the contrary, he loved America, and said he always planned to go and study there.'' [Boston Globe, 9/25/01]

Gotzmann described Jarrah as devoutly Muslim but not rabid about his politics, a man who prayed five times a day but was open in his views and wanted to continue his studies in the United States. However, others don't see him as even that religious. Jarrah rarely attended Friday prayers and never prayed five times daily, said classmate Abdullah Al-Makhadi. "He was a weak Muslim, I must say." [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01] Even a housemate and friend in Florida later said he never saw Jarrah pray. [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01]

"Jarrah spoke of a debilitated Lebanon and how the Israelis had cut off the water supply to his native country." [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 87] These are hardly radical positions, and in fact it would be pretty strange for any Lebanese person not to have some views on Lebanon's civil war and Israel's invasion of that country in the 1980s.

Jere Longman in his book conceded that other acquaintances in Germany agreed that Jarrah lacked radical political or religious views. Notwithstanding, he wrote, "This was consistent ... with the al-Qaeda training manual, which instructed its members to avoid provocative religious or political remarks." [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 87] So, in other words, if he had radical views that means he was a terrorist, and if he didn't have radical views, that also means he was a terrorist!

"He is not known to ever have attended the Steindamm mosque that is the alleged meeting place of the other suspects and their purported associates from Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network." His girlfriend Senguen said she never heard him mention the name Atta or anyone else from the FBI's list of suspects. [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01] His family contended that Jarrah and Senguen spoke nearly every day, and shared everything. Surely she would have noticed a phase between a political Jarrah and extremist Jarrah just cleverly pretending to be apolitical?



Jarrah Drops Out

Jarrah was apparently having trouble with his schooling - at best he was considered a mediocre student. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/27/01] Salim Jarrah said he believed his cousin had decided to go to flight school because he simply did not want to invest the time required to earn a German doctorate in aviation engineering, which could take up to a decade. [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01] His landlady believed that by the summer of 1999 he was spending most of his time in the German city of Bochum with his girlfriend Senguen. In September 1999, he dropped out of school after attending only one class. [CBC, 10/10/01] Other reports contended it was in the middle of the semester. In any case, he told his friends that he was going to learn to fly in America - his dream since childhood. [Inside 9-11: What Really Happened, by Der Spiegel editors, 2002, p. 258]

What happened next is a matter of dispute. CNN reported, "Jarrah's family said he had spent some time in Afghanistan 18 months ago." [CNN, 9/18/01] Jere Longman said, "Some family members suspect he was in Pakistan or Afghanistan; others vehemently disagree and won't even admit he was ever out of touch." [Inside 9-11: What Really Happened, by Der Spiegel editors, 2002, p. 192] Note how his family must be wrong; they can't "admit" the "truth" that Jarrah went to Afghanistan.

The official story goes further, asserting that Jarrah had disappeared for up to five weeks (recall the family says they've never been out of touch more than 10 days). It alleges that the family was notified by Jarrah's girlfriend that she had heard he had gone to Afghanistan. The family then contacted friends in Peshawar on the Pakistani-Afghan border, the official story argues, and implored them to help get him to leave. But his father and other family members completely denied this story. [Independent, 9/16/01] They countered that the story was made up out of whole cloth. Said his uncle, "The rumor [that he went to Afghanistan] as I understand, sticks to Ziad, just to complete the story." [Australian Broadcasting Corp., 9/18/01] Attorney General John Ashcroft has claimed that all nineteen of the September 11 hijackers had trained in camps in Afghanistan [Ashcroft News Conference, 12/11/01] - so obviously there needs to be a story of Jarrah in Afghanistan.


Where's the Other Jarrah?

By this time another Jarrah could have been shadowing him. Perhaps he ran into some Muslim radicals in Hamburg and one of them noticed a striking similarity between both his name and face and that of the terrorist/ photographer Jarrah who lived in New York City back in 1995. Add the fact that he wanted to become a pilot. It would have been too good of an opportunity to pass up. Perhaps the names were close but not the same - the family can't understand why his name sometimes appears as Jarrahi, when he never spelled his name that way (his name on the flight manifest shows up as Jarrahi, which investigators say may be a typo [Boston Globe, 9/25/01]). It could be that this other Jarrah and/or others, were manipulating the real Jarrah to make sure his actions followed a certain pattern. The fake Jarrah probably was learning to copy the real Jarrah's behavior, skills and appearance.

In 1999, the presumably fake Ziad Jarrah got a pilot's license in Hamburg - the same license the real Jarrah would get in Florida later. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/27/01] It's hard to see how the real Jarrah could have gotten this license without his girlfriend or family knowing, why he wouldn't have told them, and where he would have found the time. Later, when he began flight training on single engine aircraft in Florida, he certainly didn't have the skills to indicate he already had a license for flying a single engine aircraft. [Boston Globe, 9/25/01] FFTC owner Arne Kruithof explained: "We had to do more to get him ready than others ... His flight skills seemed to be a little bit out there." Even after 200 hours of flying, Kruithof could only charitably say, "He was a guy who needed some more." [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 91] Other students at FFTC were so frightened of Jarrah's flying skills that they refused to be in a plane if he was at the controls. [Among the Heroes by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 92]

Some time around February 2000, he lost his passport while waiting for a visa to go to the US. This was only two or three months after Atta and Alshehhi lost their passports. [Inside 9-11: What Really Happened, by Der Spiegel editors, 2002, p. 257-258] Investigators say all three were trying to cleanse their travel documents of visas that might arouse suspicion. [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01] Could it be that someone stole his passport, as part of a trail of evidence designed to link him to the 9/11 attacks? Could the fake Jarrah have even used the real Jarrah's missing passport to enter the US?



Jarrah's Move to Florida

The real Jarrah arrived in Atlanta on June 27, 2000. He was enrolled at the Florida Flight Training Center from June 2000 to January 15, 2001 [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 90-91] The fact that he studied in southern Florida, the same place where many other terrorist pilots studied, is not actually that surprising. Most foreign students who study flying in the US do so in southern Florida, where the cost of living is cheap and the weather and terrain are ideal to learn how to fly. Flight schools are so numerous in Florida that the state calls itself the "aviation state." [Los Angeles Times, 9/27/01] Many of these schools have 80% or more foreign students, and a number of them are advertised frequently in Hamburg. Samir Jarrah explained, "He had told me last year that he had a choice of courses – in France or in America – and it was me who told him to go to the States." [Independent, 9/16/01] Unfortunate choice for Ziad!

We know it was the real Jarrah studying in Florida because of what others say about him. Those who met Jarrah at the flight school also say they can't see him as a terrorist. [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01] "Our entire staff does not believe that he had bad intentions," FFTC President Arne Kruithof told the Los Angeles Times. "Let's put it this way: Everybody interviewed here on this guy was in shock, because he was a friend to all of us. I don't think there's anyone in the time that he was here that could say anything negative about him; on the contrary, he would help everybody," added Kruithof, who insisted that Jarrah's demeanor was "not faked." [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01] "Not just nice, but he had qualities you look for in a dear friend, someone you trust," Kruithof said. Jarrah always looked him in the eye and offered a firm handshake and a friendly smile. [Among the Heroes by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 92]

Kruithof said Jarrah would have a beer or two, "but not three," and he made "seemingly benign" jokes about how fat and lazy Americans were (again, notice the desperation to find any evidence making him appear evil). He certainly could have been a more devout Muslim and turned down even one beer without drawing suspicion. Osama bin Laden would not let his men smoke cigarettes, and drinking alcohol would have led to banishment from the ranks of his al-Qaeda movement. [Independent, 9/16/01]

Jarrah roomed with three other men, including a twenty-three-year-old German flight student, Thorsten Biermann. [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 91] Biermann found him to be "just a normal person, like anyone else." [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01] Jarrah would sometimes talk to Biermann about Lebanon, speaking in German with almost no accent. [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 92]

The other Ziad Jarrah must have also moved to Florida, and continued to shadow him. It has been claimed that while living with Biermann and others in Venice, Jarrah kept another apartment in Venice but didn't sleep in it. [Among the Heroes by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 92] This makes no sense at all unless the other Jarrah was living in the other apartment, leaving a double paper trail to puzzle investigators. Eyewitness accounts of him also vary. "Later, people would not even agree on how tall he was, or how heavy he was, whether he stood five foot eight or five foot eleven, whether he weighed one hundred seventy pounds or one hundred ninety." [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 84]



Back to Lebanon

In mid-January 2001, Jarrah left the flight school, saying he was returning to Germany. [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 93] (Note that he's already supposed to have been in Afghanistan since late November!) He returned to Lebanon for what would be his last time with his father, who underwent open-heart surgery. [CBC, 10/10/01]

"He looked after his dad and went to the hospital every day," recounted uncle Jamal. "He was so normal. His personality and his life bore no relation to the kind of things that happened." To prove the point, they released a video of Jarrah dancing at a wedding party; two stills are shown here (for the entire video, look at this website). Friends and relatives who saw him at this wedding strongly agree that "the ordinary person they knew -- reliable, responsible, witty, ambitious -- could never, never have been part of the diabolical terrorist attacks." [Sunday Herald, 9/23/01]









Again, it's hard to see a Muslim radical. Compare him to Atta, who wouldn't even listen to any form of music except prayer chants, much less dance.

He then visited his girlfriend in Bochum, Germany in March. [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01]


Return to Florida

When he came back to Florida in April, he moved from Venice, on the west coast, to Hollywood, on the east, near Fort Lauderdale. He stayed in a Hollywood apartment until June 22. [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 93] This is the same town Atta and Alshehhi lived in at the time, but no evidence ties Jarrah to either of them in Florida. [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01] Could they have been shadowing him, using others to befriend him and influence him?

It appears that his girlfriend may have visited him in Florida when he returned. [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01] That would hardly seem to be smart if he was hiding a great secret in Florida.


Martial Arts Training

Shortly after coming back to Florida, he began taking self-defense classes one mile from where he lived. It's not clear if this was the real Jarrah, or someone imitating him. One strange fact is that he told his trainer that he was from Saudi Arabia. [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 94] There's no conceivable reason why he would do this - both before and after this, he told his landlords and other people that he met he was from Lebanon. Could this have been a truthful slip by the other Jarrah?

On the other hand, whoever it was, the person certainly acted like the real Jarrah. Bert Rodriguez, Jarrah's personal trainer from May to August, told the Associated Press that Jarrah was "the nicest guy in the world. Very humble, very soft-spoken." [AP, 9/21/01] "I liked the guy. He was very humble, very quiet … and he didn't want to be in a situation where he would get picked on." [CBC, 10/10/01] The sessions ran for an hour, one on one between teacher and pupil. "He did his best but he was very timid," Rodriguez said. "You could have never told that he was in any way, shape or form a radical of any kind." [AP, 9/21/01] "You need a certain fire in you to commit certain acts. My sense of him was that he was more of a follower." [Sunday Herald, 9/23/01] That sounds like the real Jarrah, or at least a very good imitation. Did he have friends at the time who talked him into doing this seemingly harmless activity which only looks sinister in retrospect? If so, why would he have said he was from Saudi Arabia?

At different gyms, some other hijackers were also weight lifting and training, especially in early September. But were they actually training, thinking they would need the skills to survive in a matter of days, or were they just making a cover story? Three of them - Waleed Alshehri, Wail Alshehri and Satam al-Suqami - "simply clustered around a small circuit of machines, never asking for help and, according to a trainer, never pushing any weights. 'You know, I don't actually remember them ever doing anything,' said the trainer, Joe Farnoly. 'They would just stand around and watch people.'" [New York Times, 9/23/01]

Rodriguez also said that he noticed that Jarrah was practicing moves he was learning on others, so he offered to give Jarrah a lesson to him and his friends at a special rate. Jarrah declined, saying, "The guys are traveling." [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 97] Who would these guys be, if this was the real Jarrah? Are they the same as the hijackers who refused to push weights? It's very unclear who Jarrah's friends were at this time.




Enter Ahmed Alhaznawi

On June 22, Jarrah moved to an apartment in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea where his roommate was Ahmed Alhaznawi, another of the suspected 9/11 hijackers. [CBC, 10/10/01] "Alhaznawi was twenty and was from Saudi Arabia, the son of a mosque prayer leader. He reportedly trained in bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan and recruited two distant cousins, Ahmed and Hamza Alghamdi." [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 98]

Jarrah had never previously been associated with Alhaznawi. [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01] Yet suddenly, "they seemed so inseparable that their landlord initially wondered whether they were lovers." [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 98] Alhaznawi drove Jarrah's car, and took him to appointments. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/27/01]

Was this the real Jarrah, or the impostor? From what his landlord Charles Lisa says, he still sounds like the same Jarrah. For instance, "He was too happy a man for a guy who knew he was going to die in the next ten days or so." [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 97]

In June he traveled to Las Vegas. His uncle in Lebanon describes the trip as a gambling junket, but it also provides another possible vague connection with other hijackers. Atta, Alshehhi and three other suspects also made trips to Las Vegas between May and August. However, they don't appear to have been in Las Vegas at the same time as Jarrah. [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01]


Jarrah Keeps Close Ties

In mid-July, Jarrah saw his Turkish girlfriend Senguen for what would be the last time. He returned to Florida in less than a week. Then Senguen went to Lebanon to attend Jarrah's sister's wedding and meet her future in-laws. [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01]
The Independent noted that Jarrah did not attend, and accusingly questioned, "Too busy to bring his fiancée to meet his family? Busy doing what?" [Independent, 9/16/01] Busy with his studies, it turns out. Records show that Jarrah took his test for his pilot's license for a single engine aircraft on July 30 (which he passed), while the wedding was on August 2. [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01]


The Time Grows Close

On August 17, Jarrah took a flight to test his proficiency at an airport in Fort Lauderdale. Five days later, investigators said Jarrah purchased diagrams of the cockpit instruments on a Boeing 757. He also came to possess flight manuals for Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft. [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 97-98] These are just a few of the examples of planted evidence, which date back to his time in Germany. The last time Jarrah's landlord in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea saw him was at the very end of August. [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 99-100]

On August 27, Jarrah spent three nights in a hotel in a suburb outside Washington. The same day he left, hijacker Nawaf Alhazmi checked into the same hotel. [Miami Herald, 9/22/01] Two other hijackers stayed at a hotel about a mile away between August 23 and 30.

On September 5, Ziad Jarrah and his apparent friend Ahmed Alhaznawi booked one-way tickets on a September 7 flight to Newark. [CBC, 10/10/01] Note that while he may have flown to Newark, no evidence has been released that he actually bought a ticket for the hijacked plane. His name (spelled Jarrahi) appears to have been on the flight manifest [Boston Globe, 9/25/01], but presumably that would be the other Jarrah, carrying the passport that had the picture showing the differently shaped head.

On September 9, 2001, Jarrah apparently stayed at the same hotel as hijacker Marwan Alshehhi, also near Washington. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/27/01]

On September 9, he made his final phone call to his family. He confirmed receipt of the money sent on the 4th. The family reported he was cheerful and normal. [CBC, 10/10/01]



Two Red Mitsubishis

Something else very curious happened on September 9. A state trooper stopped Jarrah's car in Maryland near the Delaware border after observing him driving 90 mph in a 65 mph zone a few minutes after midnight. The car was a red Mitsubishi. Jarrah had bought a red Mitsubishi in 2000 in Florida. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/27/01] However, that was a 1991 Eclipse, and this Mitsubishi was a 2001 Galant. [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 101] The vehicle stopped in Maryland was a rental car with New Jersey tags, rented near the Newark Airport. [CNN, 1/9/02] The driver was carrying a valid Virginia driver's license, which listed a Springfield, Virginia address. [Delaware News Journal, 1/9/02]

Did Jarrah just like red Mitsubishis so much that he wanted to rent the same kind of car he already had? Or was someone trying to imitate Jarrah but was unable to hide the fact that the car was a rental? Why a ticket at such a strange hour, and so close to September 11? Could it be that his double was trying to make sure records would show Jarrah was near Washington? Or was it the real Jarrah who had somehow been hoodwinked into coming north by his supposed friend Alhaznawi? If he went to Newark with Alhaznawi, why does he appear to have been alone when the car was stopped?

Future Plans

Perhaps Alhaznawi or someone else was manipulating Jarrah. It's striking that even at this late date no witnesses actually saw Jarrah with any of the hijackers, only in close proximity in time or location (with the exception of his rooming with Alhaznawi, if that was the real Jarrah who roomed with him and if the landlord can be believed). But whatever the case, it certainly appears that he didn't think he was going to die or be a wanted man anytime soon.

On his September 9 phone call to his family, he confirmed that he and his girlfriend would be in Beirut on September 22 for another family wedding -- this time Salim's younger sister. [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01] He said he had completed his studies, and would try to get a good job in Lebanon. [Al-Watan, 10/1/01] ''It makes no sense,'' says his uncle, who recalled, ''he said he had even bought a new suit for the occasion.'' [Boston Globe, 9/25/01] One might say Jarrah was simply lying, except that his landlord in Florida noticed that in June, Jarrah actually did drop off a new suit to be tailored. [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 97]

Jarrah also confirmed to his family that he had received seven hundred dollars sent to him on top of his usual two-thousand-dollar monthly allowance. He had asked for the money for "fun." [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 102] People have pointed to this transfer of money as proof that he needed last-minute money for the terrorist attacks. But this makes no sense, because the terrorists had plenty of available money from other sources. A number of them even wired a total of $15,000 back to the United Arab Emirates around September 9, because they had more than they could spend. His family sees this transfer as evidence that he was planning a vacation before making his next career move.



The family had bought Jarrah a new Model 300 Mercedes-Benz on September 9. On the phone they joked that one of his sisters would take the car if he didn't come home soon enough. [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 102] They also talked about his own wedding with Aisel planned for the following summer. [Sunday Herald, 9/23/01] The tragic ironies keep piling up. He had talked in recent months for the first time about not only getting married, but having a child. [Inside 9-11: What Really Happened, by Der Spiegel editors, 2002, p. 191] His father had also recently bought land for a mansion he planned to build for his son and daughter-in-law. [Inside 9-11: What Really Happened, by Der Spiegel editors, 2002, p. 249]

If Jarrah was planning on making himself a martyr, it's understandable that he might not be able to say that to his dearly loved family and girlfriend. But to lead them on with plans of marriage and children, saying he would be visiting within two weeks, letting them buy property and a car for him - it seems inexplicably sadistic and completely unnecessary. Clearly he had no idea he was about to die. These facts also raise the question of how al-Qaeda could have trusted such a man for such a vital mission, when the pull of wife, child, friends, and parents could have caused him to change his mind at any time.

He continued to call Senguen nearly every day, as he always did. [Inside 9-11: What Really Happened, by Der Spiegel editors, 2002, p. 191] Mahmoud Ali, the family friend, said Senguen called him on September 11 and told him that she had just spoken to Jarrah -- about an hour before he boarded United Flight 93 (stories that he called from the cockpit of Flight 93 are clearly exaggerations). She described the conversation as pleasant and normal, although it is unclear whether she knew he was flying that day. [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01] According to a CBC interview with his uncle, his family didn't have the faintest suspicion that Jarrah was being tied to the 9/11 attacks until they were told several days after September 11 (listen to the 22-minute interview here).

And then on September 11, he vanished. His girlfriend Senguen alerted the police a few days later, calling to report him missing. German federal police said they found a suitcase of ''airplane-related documents'' in her home (note how that is made to sound vaguely ominous, but of course someone training to be a pilot would have some "airplane-related documents"!). A few days after September 11, Senguen checked into a witness protection program and dropped out of sight, leaving many questions about Jarrah unanswered. She later called Jarrah's family and the FBI, and insisted that Jarrah was not acquainted with any of the other alleged hijackers, which presumably included Alhaznawi. [Boston Globe, 9/25/01]


The Work Permit

However, the story of Jarrah doesn't end there. A number of curious items have appeared since his death. In the Flight 93 wreckage, as explained previously, a half-burned copy of his passport was found. [CNN, 8/1/02] This is not that remarkable, since a lot of documents have been recovered from the wreckage. But what is remarkable is another document that was also found in the wreckage: an old German work permit of Jarrah's distant cousin, Assem Omar Jarrah. Why on earth would Jarrah have been carrying this document with him at all - what possible use could it have except as scratch paper? Yet because of this document, German weekly Der Spiegel claimed that investigators had discovered the records of the former East German Stassi secret service, showing that Assem served with the Libyan secret service and collaborated with Palestinian terrorist mastermind Abu Nidal in the 1980s. If this is true, and Ziad Jarrah really was a terrorist, then it would be even more inexplicable that he would be carrying documents exposing the illicit past of his distant cousin. [An-Nadar, 11/8/01]
A possible explanation for this rather odd event is that the real terrorists were shadowing Jarrah and looked very closely into his life during the years they monitored him. They somehow discovered that he had a distant cousin who was connected to espionage or terrorism or at least that the Stassi had made some claims to that effect. Assem Omar Jarrah did say he gave this work permit to Ziad, but did not say when. [An-Nadar, 11/8/01] At some point, someone must have then stolen it from Ziad. And finally, on or after September 11, someone must have planted it at the Flight 93 wreckage site, to make sure that investigators would discover this link. The odds otherwise - that Jarrah had this useless document with him, that it was one of the few possessions of his surviving the crash; and that his distant cousin would turn out to have terrorist ties - must be astronomical.


The Lost Letter

In another surprise discovery, in early November a four-page letter written by Jarrah on September 10 to his girlfriend Aisel was found by US authorities. Presumably, it had been sent to the wrong address, and thus eventually returned to the US. [CNN, 1/9/02] Why Jarrah would suddenly forget the address of where his girlfriend had lived since early 1999 is not explained. Only a few quotes from this letter have been made public. He says, "I have done what I had to do," and "You should be very proud because this is an honor and in the end will bring happiness to everyone." This has been taken as proof that he knew he was going to be a martyr. [Los Angeles Times, 11/18/01]

But setting aside the possibility that the whole letter is a forgery, there is the possibility that these two sentences could have been taken out of context. He had just gotten his pilot's license - could he be talking about that? His father says, "Ziad wanted to become a pilot since he was five years old. He didn't care whether he would be a civilian or a military pilot. He was crazy about airplanes. The only books he ever borrowed from the library were about airplanes. I stopped him from being a pilot. I only have one son and I was afraid that he would crash." [Wall Street Journal, 9/18/01] It appears that Jarrah may have tricked his parents into thinking he was still studying to be an aeronautical engineer and would be continuing his classes in Hamburg after taking some aeronautical courses in the US. [Independent, 9/16/01, Wall Street Journal, 9/18/01] So this letter may have been a coming out of sorts - the sentences could easily refer to him revealing that he was following his dream to be a pilot over his father's wishes, something that in the end would make his family proud.

In any case, if it is a suicide letter, it's a strange one, because he also "talks of plans for a future meeting, as Jarrah tells her to 'hold on to what you have until we see each other again.'" Even stranger, the package also contained papers about Jarrah's flight training and scuba-diving instruction. [Los Angeles Times, 11/18/01] Scuba-diving lessons? More typical behavior of a terrorist and a martyr? The scuba diving could easily explain his "unexplained trips" to the nearby Bahamas, since there is good scuba diving there but none in the greater Miami area where he lived. [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 2002, p. 91-92]




The Cockpit Voice Recorder

Though it hasn't been made public, the cockpit voice recorder for Flight 93 did survive. A few snippets were released; you can listen to them on this website. Jarrah is said to have spoken English with a German accent. [Sunday Herald, 9/23/01] He is also said to have been the pilot whose voice can be heard in these recordings. Given his accent, it should be easy to determine if the voice was his or not. His uncle Jamal explained, "'Ziad was not a hijacker... To this day they have no proof Ziad was the pilot.' What about the cockpit voice recorder? 'That's not Ziad's voice.' What about the good-bye letter to Aisel, the kick-boxing lessons in Florida, the message on Atta's cell phone? What about all the documents about death in martyrdom? 'Fabricated. False. Inventions.' But why? 'The Americans shot down the plane, so they've got to make it look hijacked.'" [Inside 9-11: What Really Happened, by Der Spiegel editors, 2002, p. 247-8]


The Remains of Jarrah

Terrorist or dupe, was the real Jarrah actually on Flight 93? DNA remains would be able to answer that question. In December 2001, US officials announced that everyone on Flight 93 had been positively identified through their DNA, except for the four hijackers. Their remains are grouped by common DNA. Because they don't have any DNA to check them by, "The death certificates will list each as 'John Doe.'" [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12/20/01] The other accused hijackers were all from Saudi Arabia, and virtually no information and certainly no DNA has yet come out for them. But Jarrah's family has said, "We are ready to cooperate with the authorities." [Independent, 9/16/01] They would like to know if their son was a terrorist and murderer. In mid-August 2002, a new report on the victims' remains noted the DNA still had not been checked, because "little attention has been paid to the terrorists' remains." [AP, 8/16/02]

As one reporter put it, Ziad Jarrah is "no neat fit into any conspiracy puzzle, with no clear motivation or any obvious ties to an identifiable organization." [Australian Broadcasting Corp., 9/18/01] Clearly the terrorists were brilliant in stealing identities and keeping their true identities hidden. Probably each case was slightly different, and with Jarrah they had the incredible luck of a look-alike with a similar name. The FBI investigators made their work easy. For instance, according to an FBI document given to German police, the FBI initially put Jarrah and the three other accused hijackers on the hijacker list simply because theirs were the only Arabic sounding names on the flight manifest. [Los Angeles Times, 10/23/01] But still, the terrorists made mistakes. Numerous clues pointing to a doppelganger for Jarrah, including solid evidence that he was in two places at once on more than one occasion, has been ignored or brushed aside by the media and the FBI investigation. Until we get smart enough to see through the cover stories and stolen identities, we will never know who the real hijackers were, and never really understand what happened on September 11.


http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/time ... arrah.html
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Re: 9/11 Info Dump

Postby Elvis » Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:49 pm

[p.12 of dump]

[Money, OBL &tc.]




I didn't save the link for this (I guess a reason I didn't save some URLs was that back then, Internet addresses were considered to be a lot more ephemeral, not something you could, e.g., cite in a paper; it's very different today of course).
But I find the original story is still up on BBC, here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/1581063.stm

I'm surprised at the skeptical tone from BBC:

Friday, 5 October, 2001, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK


The trail to Bin Laden:

Money transfers: US investigators are reported to have established a direct link between Mohammed Atta, the man they allege led the hijackers, and Bin Laden's al-Qaeda.

They say that they have evidence showing money transfers from an account held in the United Arab Emirates by a leading Bin Laden operative, Mostafa Mohammed Ahmad, and an account in the name of Atta at a bank in Florida. These are said to have taken place on 8 and 9 September 2001. Atta is further alleged to have returned unused funds to the same bank account in the UAE.

Egyptian Islamic Jihad: Atta is also said to be a member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the group led by Ayman al-Zawahri - a man believed to be a close associate of Bin Laden and to have a leading role in al-Qaeda.

Links to al-Qaeda: Two other alleged hijackers, Khaled al-Midhar and Nawaq al-Hamzi are said to have been filmed at a meeting in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia with other known al-Qaeda operatives.

An official British document outlining the case against Bin Laden alleges that one of the Saudi-born militant's closest and most senior associates planned the 11 September attacks. This associate, believed to be a senior al-Qaeda leader, is not named.
US officials say that most of the alleged hijackers trained at al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan.

Intercepts: US officials have said that they intercepted communications by Bin Laden in the days before 11 September which indicated that a big operation was imminent.

The comments, on a satellite phone which Bin Laden must have known was being monitored, may have been intended to confuse American intelligence services. The intercepts are alleged to have hinted at an attack against American targets outside the US.

German intelligence monitored a phone call by a man they suspected of having linked to al-Qaeda. He is alleged to have said: "We have hit the targets."


Strength of the evidence:

There is no direct evidence in the public domain linking Osama Bin Laden to the 11 September attacks.

At best the evidence is circumstantial.

Of this, perhaps the strongest leads are the alleged financial transfers between an al-Qaeda operative and the man alleged to have led the hijackers.

Other evidence - the intercepts, Mohammed Atta's link to Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the ties of other hijackers to al-Qaeda - is even less firm.

The evidence is not being judged in a court of law. It only needs to persuade governments around the world to back the US-led war on terrorism and to a lesser extent to carry public opinion.

US and British officials have indicated that they are unable to reveal all the evidence for security reasons.

When asserting that Bin Laden is behind the attacks, US and UK officials lean heavily on what they believe to be Bin Laden's record and his connection to other terrorist attacks.

They are in effect arguing that the attacks are part of a clearly discernable pattern linked to previous attacks - notably the bombings of the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000, and two US embassies in East Africa in August 1998.







BEHIND THE VEIL OF THE MIDDLE EAST
Beliefs That the Tragic Acts Committed in America Were NOT done by Muslims
By Baseera Al-Saraha

Many people here in the Middle East believe that behind the acts of hijacking and building destructions and the murdering of innocents were non-Muslim encouragement or assistance.

Apparently there is a serious campaign in the US media to convince people it is the work of Muslims, to discredit Islam and to remove the world’s attention from the current human rights abuses in Palestine.

First and foremost, the identification of most of those suspected were stolen Saudi passports. These passports may have been specifically targeted to be stolen by unscrupulous persons for use in certain crimes, political and or otherwise.

Many of the names on the list of suspects were actually alive and well, with one deceased previously, and in places other than where the attack occured, which leads us to the question of who provided the lists of names of suspects originally.

The fact that the flight attendant Madeline Amy Sweeney called Boston and reported the hijackers seat numbers, but yet the US media hid the fact. They were actually not the same seat numbers as the FBI said were responsible for the hijacking. It may well have been staged to make it appear as though it was Arabs or Muslims, for the previously mentioned political motives.

In a nornal situation, terrorists cannot wait to take credit for an attack, or to make their demands. Why were none made on the flights?

Even Osama bin Laden, when making his two statements denying involvement after the tragedies, whole body language looked resigned to the fact, not boastful or proud as he was expected to look if he had been responsible.

Since the United States had been planning an invasion of Afghanistan, we wonder if the sabotage in the US was known before hand, or allowed, and used as a cover (excuse) for the invasion or alternately to the benefit of those who would like world attention to be distracted from the invasions in the autonomous territories in Palestine.

The nineteen names of the hijackers released by the FBI don't reveal Afghanistani citizenship at all. Even the FBI admits that these nationalities were probably forged.
Saudi Arabia Prince Saud Al-Faisal reported that the investigation in Saudi Arabia showed that the 5 Saudi men first accused were not even aboard the crashed airliners. A sixth man is alive and well studying in Tunisia, and a seventh died two years ago.
The fact that the hijackers had shaved all their body hair before the hijacking appears to us Muslims as to be more of a cult than Islam.

FBI chief Robert Mueller admitted on September 20 that the FBI had no legal proof to prove the true identities of the suicidal hijackers. Yet, in the haste to move forward on the planned Afghanistan war, probably for the ultimate aim of an oil pipeline through Afganistan, the FBI has been observed rigging lab tests, manufacturing testimony, (the Vincent Foster affair,) and illegally withholding/destroying evidence (in the Oklahoma bombing,) and are not taking too close a look when evidence points AWAY from the designated suspect (Osama bin Laden.)

The motive of oil is strong in the west. If one looks at a map of Eurasia, the US military depots march in a straight line through Eurasia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenia,Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. This might further the aim of controlling transport routes from China and India into the Middle East.

There has been long reported a spy in the Whitehouse, and leaks in high technology often flow overseas, and the FBI has ignored willfully the implications of some vital pieces of information.

The hotel located where the terrorists supposedly stayed in is so overloaded with "evidence" that it appears to be more like the set for a film than a terrorist hideout.
Since we have learned of Operation Northwoods, where false terror attacks against SAmerican citizens were staged to gain support for a second invasion of Cuba, we put nothing past governmental manipulation. Even Franklin Roosevelt manuevered Japan into attacking Pearl Harbor, and there are still some alive today those who remember that well.

It is also not beyond the realm of possibility that the US is being maneuvered itself by a third party into triggering a war, such as when Mossad , the Israeli secret service decided to mount a false-flag operation designed to discredit Libya and provoke the US into attacking an Arab nation.

A transmitter loaded with prerecorded messages about supposed planned bombings was planted in Tripoli and soon intercepted by US electronic monitoring. This convinced them that Libya was responsible for the l986 bombing of a Berlin disco in which a US soldier died. Due to these planted false messages on the transmitter, President Reagaan ordered massive air attacks on Libya, including an illegal attempt to assasinate Qadaffi, and killing his two year old daughter instead. Libyan officials didn't realize at the time why they were being attacked!

Israel has definately benefitted from the current political climate, perhaps more than any other nation. It is worth remembering that Mossad's motto is, "By way of deception thou shalt do war."

The highjackers’ very actions themselves seem strange and unlike Islam to most Muslims.

First, good muslims who are planning a major operation would never spend the night before drinking in a strip bar, no less; adding two big sins to their book right before they might die to keep themselves out of Paradise.

Not only the drinking in strip bars does not fit the profile of fanatically religious muslims willing to die for what they believe, but witnesses reported that the men were waving their identification cards (which were forged) and even quarelling over bill charges, which is another thing most devout Muslims would never do - they would rather take reward for being generous and giving, and often compete among themselves as to who would pay.

Let us now not be decieved and the object in someones manipulation for their gain. It is the time for all citizens of all countries to watch, read well from many sources, and to decide on their own who is to be believed.

We stand for truth and justice, not subterfuge. Possibly these hijackers and that includes the REAL hijackers in the seat numbers given by Ms Sweeney were misguided or bribed by certain parties who have the most to gain from the situation.

Because of these components we believe it extemely unlikely that it was Muslims behind these attacks at all, or, if in the small chance that it was, they were misguided by dominant political motives of those who have most to gain from the situation, and that is certainly not Muslims. They have definately had little to gain from making themselves targets of hate crimes in the US, but other groups had a much stronger motive.


- Baseera Al-Saraha is a Saudi citizen and occasional Scoop columnist who provides an insight into the views of an Islamic woman living in the war zone.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0111/S00022.htm

Scoop New Zealand
Independent News Media



But hold on. WaPo helpfully explains:

Hijackers Led By Core Group
Suspects Left Trail of Movements In U.S. Through Licenses, Rentals
By Amy Goldstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 30, 2001; Page A01

The 19 hijackers who carried out the worst act of terror ever to occur on U.S. soil worked with little outside help as a single, integrated group composed of identifiable leaders and shadowy foot soldiers who prepared for their final day in a tight choreography over 18 months.

An examination of public records and dozens of interviews shatters the image of the conspiracy that coalesced immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Based on early, flawed information from federal investigators, initial accounts depicted an operation that was carried out by four compartmentalized cells of terrorists. And because investigations and neighbors were confused by similar or falsified Arabic names, reports emerged that the cells included as many as 10 pilots, who -- with wives and children -- had blended seamlessly into suburban America.

In fact, it now seems clear that only a single hijacker aboard each of the four commandeered aircraft knew how to fly a plane. Just two of the other hijackers -- both linked to terrorist Osama bin Laden -- had briefly taken flight lessons.

These six men apparently formed the conspiracy's leadership. Records and interviews show that this core group, often separated by thousands of miles, remained in the United States the longest and left behind the most visible tracks that, in retrospect, can be seen as highly synchronized preparations.

Some of the leaders were educated, worldly and so intimately connected that three of the four suspected pilots had roomed together in Germany, where they attended theTechnical University of Hamburg. Sophisticated as they were, the leaders were clumsy enough in their English and manners that they repeatedly provoked notice and annoyance, if not outright suspicion, while they were in the United States.

Helping these leaders was a cadre of 13 Saudi Arabian men, most of them younger and less educated, many from their country's poorest regions. These young Saudis left faint appearances in U.S. public records and seem for the most part to have arrived only in recent months.

Leader or follower, none of the hijackers brought wives or children with them. And contrary to early reports, none of the pilots had worked for Saudi Arabian Airlines.
For the leaders and followers alike, a maze of connections -- including overlapping addresses -- exists among hijackers who ended up on different flights.

The synchronization of their preparations is evident in the most basic ingredients of their plot. Seven of the hijackers obtained Florida driver's licenses within a 15-day span in early summer. Thirteen purchased airline tickets for their final flights within five days in late August. And over the course of the summer, a dozen -- who ultimately ended up spread among the four flights -- moved through South Florida apartments.

The plot revolved around mundane, perfectly legal details of everyday life: tourist visas, driver's licenses, apartment leases, Internet connections, airline tickets, mail boxes and rental cars. The records left by the hijackers as they carried out those ordinary acts reveal the footprints of the conspiracy. They detail who did what and with whom, and they reveal that the hijackers were divided into two distinct classes.

"There are two groups on each plane: You've got the brains, who are the pilots and the leaders, and then you have the muscle coming in later on," said a senior government official. "They were the ones who held the passengers at bay."

This newer portrait of the conspiracy may yet evolve. The FBI investigation into the plot is preliminary, and the conspiracy's precise nature probably will not be understood for years. Only a fraction of what has been learned about the conspirators by federal investigators is publicly known. Telephone records and airline manifests, for example, would be disclosed only in secret before a grand jury or in a courtroom.

But from the information that is available at the moment, certain patterns can be gleaned that render a fuller picture of the conspirators.

In particular, an analysis of the hijackers' visible trails gives greater clarity to the role of Mohamed Atta, the 33-year-old Egyptian lawyer's son already identified by a government official as the "axle" of the plot. He traveled the most, listed the most addresses, took the most practice flights and had the greatest interaction with other conspirators. Atta and two of the other suspected pilots -- Marwan Al-Shehhi and Ziad Samir Jarrah -- belonged to a radical Islamic student group in Hamburg that investigators believe may have been a birthplace of the plot.

More broadly, both the leaders and the followers can be seen to have often deployed in pairs. They came together for crucial tasks, such as to get new government identification cards that would ease their passage onto the planes.

The hijackers' behavior reveals certain incongruities. They were Islamic fundamentalists who nevertheless indulged in Western culture, from fast food to hard liquor. One spent $4,500 on a single airline ticket, yet they haggled over bar tabs, car rental fees and apartment security deposits just days before they would die.

The most basic incongruity, though, is this: The preparations of the 19 hijackers were imperfect. Some were kicked out of pilot schools. Some had to pay cash for their plane tickets after their credit cards were rejected. Two were late for the Boston flight that would be the first to slam into the World Trade Center. But inexact as it was, their plot succeeded in claiming more than 6,000 lives.

The Advance Guard

In November 1999, two Saudi Arabian men moved into a ground-floor apartment at the Parkwood Apartments, a town house complex near a busy commercial strip in San Diego. Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi struck their neighbors as odd. They had no furniture but often carried briefcases and seemed to be on their cell phones a lot.

Two months later, investigators believe, Almihdhar and Alhazmi traveled to Malaysia, where they met with bin Laden operatives who were later linked to the bombing of thedestroyer USS Cole.
By May 2000, they arrived at Sorbi's Flying Club, a small school 20 miles north of San Diego that trains about four dozen pilots a year, and announced that they wanted to learn to fly Boeing airliners.

Almihdhar and Alhazmi were part of the advance guard.

Their flight lessons began within weeks of the day two of the other leaders, Atta and Al-Shehhi, a 23-year-old native of the United Arab Emirates, enrolled in a six-month course at Huffman Aviation, a flying school in Venice, Fla.

A continent apart, the four men displayed uncanny parallels. According to former neighbors, landlords and flight instructors, the California team and the Florida team almost always left their apartments as a pair. Few people recall ever seeing any of them alone.

Within each pair, one man assumed a more genial, communicative role, while the other was quieter, brooding. In California, Alhazmi is remembered as more outgoing. In Florida, waitresses and others consistently recall Al-Shehhi as friendlier than Atta -- a dour, arrogant man whose English seemed atrocious at times, but suddenly could be smooth when he needed a car or hotel room.

These four men traveled often: Al-Shehhi to Morocco and Amsterdam, Atta twice to Spain.

Neither team took pains to be furtive. Although Atta occasionally used aliases, all four men gave their real names when they registered for flight lessons or bought airline tickets -- a violation of a "terrorist's manual" written for bin Laden's network.
Almihdhar and Alhazmi, in particular, were readily visible within the local Muslim community. They mingled atthe Islamic Center of San Diego. It was at the center that they bought the blue Corolla they would ultimately drive across the country and park at Dulles International Airport on Sept. 11.

Even as they sought to blend into the United States well enough to complete their tasks, the pairs of men were imperfect chameleons. At times, they were overeager. They were hindered by faulty English. They were, on occasion, aggressive, even boorish.
Rick Garza, Sorbi's chief flight instructor at the time, sat Almihdhar and Alhazmi down after a half-dozen ground lessons and two flights. "This is not going to work out," he told them.

Their English was terrible, but Garza was more disturbed by a certain overzealousness. Even though "they had no idea what they were doing," the instructor said, they insisted on learning to fly multi-engine planes, at one point offering him extra money if he would teach them.

In Florida, Atta strived to adapt to U.S. styles, shedding the flowing beard and tunic he had favored in Germany for a clean-cut look. But both he and Al-Shehhi, while more successful than the San Diego pair at acquiring pilots' skills and licenses, could be similarly off-putting. At Huffman, Atta appropriated the seat cushion of a fellow student while he flew in the school's Piper Cherokee Warrior.

Infuriated, the student, Anne Greaves, tried to wrest the cushion from Atta's grasp. "Marwan lunged, putting his arm quickly between Atta and myself, to protect him in a way," Greaves said. "I remember thinking, 'What on Earth could they be frightened of?' "

Doughnuts by the Boxful

If the behavior of the first four was conspicuously unpleasant, they nevertheless were clearly more adept than the young Saudi men who came in a second wave.

One of these men, who moved early last summer into a shabby apartment building inPaterson, N.J., once had to ask a neighbor how to screw in a light bulb.

Among the first to arrive were Hamza Alghamdi, 20, and Mohand Alshehri, 23, who in January rented a post office box in Delray Beach, Fla.

Most of the second group of conspirators were from poor families. A few had enough education to give them skills that would prove handy. Alshehri, who graduated from a religious high school and dropped out of Imam Muhammed bin Saud University, was facile enough with computers that he could use the Internet at a Delray Beach public library.

But these younger men seemed to settle under the wings of a leader for such basic needs as finding a place to live. Last winter, Hani Hanjour, another pilot, did the talking when he rented the Paterson apartment with another young man, even though Hanjour's own English was poor. In June, Al-Shehhi, by then a licensed pilot who had been in Florida for at least a year, helped Hamza Alghamdi shop for an apartment, according to the real estate agent who worked with them.

Unlike the first wave, who focused on the mentally rigorous work of pilot training, the second wave of young men put time into strengthening their bodies. In Florida and Maryland, they paid cash to train with weights in gyms.

In ways that were curiously out of sync with Islamic orthodoxy, these young men seemed to revel in their brief taste of American life. They wore shorts and T-shirts. Last month, Majed Moqed, 22, another hijacker on American Airlines Flight 77, which hit the Pentagon, stopped into a Beltsville store that rents adult videos. After scanning the titles, he did not rent any, but he returned at least once.

Some of the hijackers who passed through New Jersey during the summer developed the habit of buying doughnuts by the boxful and meals from a Chinese carryout. Others frequently stopped by a bar at night for Salem or Parliament cigarettes, Heineken or Budweiser beer.

A Blur of Motion

New Jersey served as one hub for the conspirators in the days and nights of summer. South Florida served as the other. Soon, the early pairs gave way to larger, interlocking groups.

The apartment that Al-Shehhi had helped Hamza Alghamdi to find also became the home of Saeed Alghamdi and Ahmed Ibrahim A. Al Haznawi.

On Aug. 2, at least five -- and possibly seven -- of the hijackers went to a Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles office in Arlington, where they allegedly met a local man who fraudulently helped them obtain identification cards they could flash at airport counters.

The men who got the IDs that day later would fan out to three of the four hijacked planes, illustrating the conspiracy's interwoven nature. The scheme is striking for a second reason: It shows the amount of calculation behind the plot. The men who got the Virginia cards included those who would board the flight at nearby Dulles. The only others who took part in the scam were the two hijackers on other planes who had not obtained a driver's license in Florida since last spring.

Such close coordination, visible all along, is particularly evident as the conspirators purchased their tickets and moved into their final positions before the attacks. The last weeks of August and first days of September appear in retrospect as a blur of motion, as hijackers left apartments, returned rental cars and realigned to join the men with whom they would board their planes.

Mysteries That Linger

As more of the conspiracy becomes understood, government sources now say that the investigation so far suggests the 19 had "no major help" in the United States. Sources say that the conspirators were funded with $500,000 from overseas and that the terrorist mission was planned and launched several years ago in Germany, with crucial support in Britain, the United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan.

Of the more than 480 people detained during the last few weeks, a few have drawn particular attention.

Zacarias Moussaoui was detained Aug. 17 after he caused a scene at a flight simulator in Minnesota, where he worried his instructors by baldly saying he wanted to learn how to fly jets but not to land them.

Two Indian men who had gotten off an airplane on Sept. 11 were arrested on a train in Fort Worth the next day. Accounts differ on what led to the arrests, but the men were discovered with $5,000 in cash, hair dye and box-cutter knives similar to ones used by the hijackers to take control of the planes.

Early last week, Mohammed Abdi, a Somalian working as a security guard in the District, was detained after authorities found his phone number written on a map left behind in the blue Corolla by several of the hijackers in a Dulles parking lot. And Friday, Lotfi Raissi, an Algerian pilot who had lived in Arizona, was accused in Britain of training four of the hijackers.

In recent days, the investigation has intensified in Germany as well, where authorities are seeking people who roomed with the hijackers from Hamburg or had other ties to them.

Of all the mysteries that linger, a central one surrounds the man believed to be the fourth hijacker pilot: Hanjour. Unlike the other three suspected pilots -- Atta, Al-Shehhi and Jarrah, who trained in Europe -- there is no evidence that Hanjour was radicalized in Islamic circles within Germany. Unlike the other pair of leaders -- Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, who have been linked to bin Laden's network and settled together in San Diego -- Hanjour did not train to fly with a partner.

Of all the 19, Hanjour's roots in the United States seem deepest. The first trace of him in this country dates to 1990, when he appeared at the University of Arizona in Tucson for an eight-week English course. Exactly a decade later, he received a student visa by applying for another English course, this time in Oakland, Calif. He entered the country but never showed up in class.

In his elusiveness, in his long acquaintance with America, Hanjour is the only hijacker who fits the profile of what investigators call a "sleeper," a terrorist who lives inconspicuously in a country for years before committing his violent act.

It is clear that Hanjour knew the San Diego leadership team. They were in the city together and, by some accounts, were roommates for a time. By last spring, he was on the East Coast, helping the younger group in New Jersey. What is less evident is his exact role in the conspiracy. Was he dispatched early to prepare the path? Was he taken into the plot as a pilot after the pair in San Diego proved so inept?

Certainly, Hanjour's own piloting skills were shaky. He took lessons at a Scottsdale, Ariz., flight school four years ago, but eventually was asked to leave by instructors who said his skills were poor and his manner difficult. Just a month ago, instructors at Freeway Airport in Bowie flew with him and deemed him unfit to rent a plane by himself.

But on the morning of Sept. 11, as Flight 77 veered off its course to Los Angeles and streaked toward Washington and the Pentagon, Hanjour is thought to have been the one who executed what a top aviation source called "a nice, coordinated turn."


http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dy ... Found=true


"This could only be the work of one man."

NYT

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/09/polit ... r=homepage

Four in 9/11 Plot Are Called Tied to Qaeda in '00

New York Times
By DOUGLAS JEHL
Published: August 9, 2005

WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 - More than a year before the Sept. 11 attacks, a small, highly classified military intelligence unit identified Mohammed Atta and three other future hijackers as likely members of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States, according to a former defense intelligence official and a Republican member of Congress.

In the summer of 2000, the military team, known as Able Danger, prepared a chart that included visa photographs of the four men and recommended to the military's Special Operations Command that the information be shared with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the congressman, Representative Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, and the former intelligence official said Monday.

The recommendation was rejected and the information was not shared, they said, apparently at least in part because Mr. Atta, and the others were in the United States on valid entry visas. Under American law, United States citizens and green-card holders may not be singled out in intelligence-collection operations by the military or intelligence agencies. That protection does not extend to visa holders, but Mr. Weldon and the former intelligence official said it might have reinforced a sense of discomfort common before Sept. 11 about sharing intelligence information with a law enforcement agency.

A former spokesman for the Sept. 11 commission, Al Felzenberg, confirmed that members of its staff, including Philip Zelikow, the executive director, were told about the program on an overseas trip in October 2003 that included stops in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But Mr. Felzenberg said the briefers did not mention Mr. Atta's name.

The report produced by the commission last year does not mention the episode.

Mr. Weldon first spoke publicly about the episode in June, in a little-noticed speech on the House floor and in an interview with The Times-Herald in Norristown, Pa. The matter resurfaced on Monday in a report by GSN: Government Security News, which is published every two weeks and covers domestic-security issues. The GSN report was based on accounts provided by Mr. Weldon and the same former intelligence official, who was interviewed on Monday by The New York Times in Mr. Weldon's office.

In a telephone interview from his home in Pennsylvania, Mr. Weldon said he was basing his assertions on similar ones by at least three other former intelligence officers with direct knowledge of the project, and said that some had first called the episode to his attention shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The account is the first assertion that Mr. Atta, an Egyptian who became the lead hijacker in the plot, was identified by any American government agency as a potential threat before the Sept. 11 attacks. Among the 19 hijackers, only Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi had been identified as potential threats by the Central Intelligence Agency before the summer of 2000, and information about them was not provided to the F.B.I. until the spring of 2001.

Mr. Weldon has long been a champion of the kind of data-mining analysis that was the basis for the work of the Able Danger team.

The former intelligence official spoke on the condition of anonymity, saying he did not want to jeopardize political support and the possible financing for future data-mining operations by speaking publicly. He said the team had been established by the Special Operations Command in 1999, under a classified directive issued by Gen. Hugh Shelton, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to assemble information about Al Qaeda networks around the world.

"Ultimately, Able Danger was going to give decision makers options for taking out Al Qaeda targets," the former defense intelligence official said.

He said that he delivered the chart in summer 2000 to the Special Operations Command headquarters in Tampa, Fla., and said that it had been based on information from unclassified sources and government records, including those of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

"We knew these were bad guys, and we wanted to do something about them," the former intelligence official said.

The unit, which relied heavily on data-mining techniques, was modeled after those first established by Army intelligence at the Land Information Warfare Assessment Center, now known as the Information Dominance Center, at Fort Belvoir, Va., the official said.

Mr. Weldon is an outspoken figure who is a vice chairman of both the House Armed Services Committee and the House Homeland Security Committee. He said he had recognized the significance of the episode only recently, when he contacted members of the military intelligence team as part of research for his book, "Countdown to Terror: The Top-Secret Information That Could Prevent the Next Terrorist Attack on America and How the C.I.A. Has Ignored It."

Mr. Weldon's book prompted one veteran C.I.A. case officer to strongly dispute the reliability of one Iranian source cited in the book, saying the Iranian "was a waste of my time and resources."

Mr. Weldon said that he had discussed the Able Danger episode with Representative Peter Hoekstra, the Michigan Republican who is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and that at least two Congressional committees were looking into the episode.

In the interview on Monday, Mr. Weldon said he had been aware of the episode since shortly after the Sept. 11 attack, when members of the team first brought it to his attention. He said he had told Stephen J. Hadley, then the deputy national security adviser, about it in a conversation in September or October 2001, and had been surprised when the Sept. 11 commission report made no mention of the operation.

Col. Samuel Taylor, a spokesman for the military's Special Operations Command, said no one at the command now had any knowledge of the Able Danger program, its mission or its findings. If the program existed, Colonel Taylor said, it was probably a highly classified "special access program" on which only a few military personnel would have been briefed.

During the interview in Mr. Weldon's office, the former defense intelligence official showed a floor-sized chart depicting Al Qaeda networks around the world that he said was a larger, more detailed version similar to the one prepared by the Able Danger team in the summer of 2000.
He said the original chart, like the new one, had included the names and photographs of Mr. Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi, as well as Mr. Mihdhar and Mr. Hazmi, who were identified as members of what was described as an American-based "Brooklyn" cell, as one of five such Al Qaeda cells around the world.

The official said the link to Brooklyn was meant as a term of art rather than to be interpreted literally, saying that the unit had produced no firm evidence linking the men to the borough of New York City but that a computer analysis seeking to establish patterns in links between the four men had found that "the software put them all together in Brooklyn."

According to the commission report, Mr. Mihdhar and Mr. Hazmi were first identified in late 1999 or 2000 by the C.I.A. as Qaeda members who might be involved in a terrorist operation. They were tracked from Yemen to Malaysia before their trail was lost in Thailand. Neither man was put on a State Department watch list before they flew to Los Angeles in early 2000. The F.B.I. was not warned about them until the spring of 2001, and no efforts to track them were made until August 2001.

Neither Mr. Shehhi nor Mr. Atta was identified by the American intelligence agencies as a potential threat, the commission report said. Mr. Shehhi arrived in Newark on a flight from Brussels on May 29, 2000, and Mr. Atta arrived in Newark from Prague on June 3 that year.

The former intelligence official said the first Able Danger report identified all four men as members of a "Brooklyn" cell, and was produced within two months after Mr. Atta arrived in the United States. The former intelligence official said he was among a group that briefed Mr. Zelikow and at least three other members of the Sept. 11 commission staff about Able Danger when they visited the Afghanistan-Pakistan region in October 2003.

The official said he had explicitly mentioned Mr. Atta as a member of a Qaeda cell in the United States. He said the staff encouraged him to call the commission when he returned to Washington at the end of the year. When he did so, the ex-official said, the calls were not returned.

Mr. Felzenberg, the former Sept. 11 commission spokesman, said on Monday that he had talked with some of the former staff members who participated in the briefing.

"They all say that they were not told anything about a Brooklyn cell," Mr. Felzenberg said. "They were told about the Pentagon operation. They were not told about the Brooklyn cell. They said that if the briefers had mentioned anything that startling, it would have gotten their attention."

As a result of the briefing, he said, the commission staff filed document requests with the Pentagon for information about the program. The Pentagon complied, he said, adding that the staff had not hidden anything from the commissioners.

"The commissioners were certainly told of the document requests and what the findings were," Mr. Felzenberg said




CNN "breaks" the news:

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0109/14/bn.01.html
CNN BREAKING NEWS
America Under Attack: List of Names of 18 Suspected Hijackers
Aired September 14, 2001 - 10:11 ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Folks, we are going to break into this press conference by the mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, because we have some breaking news. Leon Harris here at the CNN Center in Atlanta, but we're going now to Washington D.C., where our Kelli Arena is standing by. She has got some breaking news on the identities of those 18 hijackers.

Kelli, take it away.

KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Leon, we did manage -- CNN managed to grab a list of the names of the 18 suspected hijackers that is supposed to be officially released by justice sometime later today. I will do my best to read, to read the names, some are a bit unfamiliar. On American flight 11, the first name Walid Al Shehhi (ph), the second, Wellal Sheyi (ph), also known as Wahidal Sheyi. Now we do know a little bit about him. He held a U.S. and Saudi Arabian driver's license. He had his passport from the United Arab Emirates. On his latest residences, including Daytona Beach, Florida, and not too far from here in Washington, Vienna, Virginia, and he also attended a U.S. flight school in Florida, Embrel Brittle (ph), third name, Mohammed Atta (ph). We also have information on him. He held U.S. and Egyptian driver's license. His passport also from the United Arab Emirates. He was also an attendant at the U.S. flight schools Huffman Aviation in Venice, Florida and Sim Center in Opa-Locka, and he rented a car that was later found at Boston's Logan Airport.

Abdul Ala Mari (ph) and Setam Segani (ph), Marwanal Shehhi on the list as well. They are looking an awful lot alike here, Leon. Marwan Al Shehhi, a UAE passport. Fayez Ahmed, Mahad Al Shari (ph), Hanza Al-Gari (ph), Amdad Al Dandi (ph). Let me stop here for a moment. We have a few more names to read. The way this is working out, there were five hijackers on two planes, four hijackers on two others. We are told by law enforcement sources that most of these names in some way connect in some way to indirectly or directly to Osama bin Laden.

Continuing on, united Airlines flight number 93, Almad Alhanawi (ph), Almed Alnami (ph), Ziad Girad (ph) and Sayd Algamdi (ph). American Airlines flight number 77. Cammid Al-Madar, and Mosear Caned (ph), Majar Mokhed (ph), Nawar Al Hazni (ph) and Salem Al Hazni (ph).

So similar last names here. Perhaps they were brothers. We were told by the investigators that they were looking for relatives, brothers who are somehow interconnected. Now of course, all of these people presumed dead. They were on those flights. They were the hijackers. The real focus of this investigation, Leon, now, is using these names and jumping forward. Let's figure out the network. The FBI is trying to figure out the network involved here. What other associates, what other terrorists cells there may be in the United States that are at work. We also know that there were terrorists cells identified in Hamburg, Germany, that there are investigations going on there.

So this is a good starting point. Again, this list not officially released yet by the Justice Department. We obtained this list of name through sources -- Leon.

HARRIS: Well, it may not be officially released by the Justice Department, but it's about to be officially released by CNN, as I'm just now learning from our producers that this entire list is going to be available on CNN.com. So folks out there in the audience, if you would like to see the names that are on this list, the 18 names of officials that are now -- will be officially saying at some point this morning or sometime during the day, the suspects that that they expected -- that they believed were on the planes and died in the crashes, those names will be available on CNN.com.

Kelli, before we let you go, is there any other information being released aside from the names, is there any information, for instance, about where they have been, where they came from, if they have been residing here in the U.S. before this incident, any other information like that?

ARENA: Well, besides the information that we gave you, we do know that many of them have trained and were licensed pilots, trained at U.S. flight schools and were licensed pilots, and we do know that many of them either resided together at various locations here in the U.S. Many in Florida. I said one here in Virginia. But we do have some more on the on the ongoing investigation, Leon. If you are curious. We have -- we did tell you last night that we had several people that were arrested at New York airports, at both JFK and La Guardia, and we are told now that after intense questioning of FBI members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, that all about one of those people has been released.

We also know that in Miami's airport, sources say that law enforcement detained several people there. One woman was seen walking into the airport in civilian clothing, went into the restroom, came out in a flight attendant uniform. She was with a man who also had a flight attendant uniform. When they were approached by authorities, they ran. But they were captured and they are now being questioned.

And we also know that the U.S. Coast Guard has bordered a Carnival Cruise Line ship off of the coast of Miami earlier today. They detained two people who authorities describe as having a history of hijacking. According to law enforcement sources, that ship was boarded at 3:00 a.m. after the passenger list was checked by authorities. So this manhunt continues, Leon, around the country.

HARRIS: Let me ask you one final question, if I may. You said, going back to the case in New York, you said it was 10 or 11 that had been detained originally, and only one now is still being detained. ARENA: Our sources last night had said, at least eight people had been detained, and that number has gone back and forth. But they were questioned. They have been released, except for one.

HARRIS: Right, but the question is, is that one believed to be in any way linked to the incidents that happened Tuesday?

ARENA: It's very early to tell, Leon, in this investigation. Sometime, it's a suspected link, and many times it proves to be nothing, and I think that the law enforcement has yet to determine that for themselves.

HARRIS: Thank you very much.

Kelli Arena, thank you very much for getting that list to us.

Daryn, over to you.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to get more on this list, and if you're just joining us, we're talking about a list of 18 people that authorities believed were involved, were on board those planes that were hijacked and crashed on Tuesday.

Our Mike Boettcher is with us here in Atlanta. He's also working on the list, and as Leon was alluding to, Mike, I would imagine beyond the list of names and what small connections you're able to make to these planes, like rental cars and plane tickets, authorities are going to want to know a lot more as in their activities that were leading up to their getting on those planes on Tuesday?

MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, and they want to know a lot more about what groups these people belong to. In the intelligence agencies, in this country, they have lists of people who they believe belonged to certain groups, and I am told by the intelligence sources that they believe that the lead groups in this incident, in this terrorist attack in New York and Washington. The lead group, they're looking very closely at Egyptian Islamic Jihad and other North African groups. They haven't completely made that link, but they are looking very, very closely at this. They'll be checking this, cross referencing these names against names known to be members of these various groups.

The chief person in Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Mr. Israri (ph) is a top lieutenant of Osama bin Laden. He appeared with him in a photograph more than a year ago at a meeting in Afghanistan. This group has been linked to other terrorist attacks around the world, in association with the Al Qaeda group, and always remember Al Qaeda itself is not an organized group, organized to carry out terrorists attacks. It's primarily an umbrella group. What they do is bring in other groups in other parts of the world. They is sit at the corporate board, and they have these smaller companies that go out and do their work, these smaller companies, being terrorist groups like Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and also we know that bin Laden over the last couple of years or more than that has been really reaching tout Algerian terrorist groups, he's used them in a number of attacks against the United States. They will be checking that list for those names as well. Now something to be careful with in this list is the fact that some of these people are listed to have certain passports. For example, Mohammed Atta is known to have carried a United Arab Emirates passport. But they're looking closely that he may not be a UAE citizen, that he may be from Egypt or some other North African country. They'll be looking at that those things as well. People are racing to go through this list and make sense of it, and really try to get to the bottom of the identities of these people.

KAGAN: Mike, what about what would be perhaps the next list? If these were 18 people who were onboard these planes, I couldn't have carried out the operation by themselves? They had to have the supporters, they have to have the handlers. Do authorities believe that these people would still be in this country?

BOETTCHER: Oh yes, absolutely. And there is yet a second yet list out there that has been distributed across the country to airlines and airports that has people that they suspect might be -- people who have provided support to these 18. Now, when a person books a ticket for example, or travels in some other means, or is stopped by police, they will be crosschecked against this list to see if they are on it. Now, some people on that list have already been cleared. But there are many others who have not been found and they're out looking for them now.

KAGAN: All right, Mike Boettcher, thank you so much. I'm sure we are going to be learning a more as the morning goes on, so we'll checking back with you.


TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com






[Shaffer/Phillpott/AbleDanger/Atta &tc.]


Two connected NYT pieces from 2005:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/17/politics/17intel.html?hp&ex=1124251200&en=55bd2891c82760c6&ei=5094&partner=homepage

Officer Says Military Blocked Sharing of Files on Terrorists

By PHILIP SHENON
Published: August 17, 2005

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 - A military intelligence team repeatedly contacted the F.B.I. in 2000 to warn about the existence of an American-based terrorist cell that included the ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks, according to a veteran Army intelligence officer who said he had now decided to risk his career by discussing the information publicly.

The officer, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, said military lawyers later blocked the team from sharing any of its information with the bureau.

Colonel Shaffer said in an interview on Monday night that the small, highly classified intelligence program, known as Able Danger, had identified the terrorist ringleader, Mohamed Atta, and three other future hijackers by name by mid-2000, and tried to arrange a meeting that summer with agents of the Washington field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to share its information.

But he said military lawyers forced members of the intelligence program to cancel three scheduled meetings with the F.B.I. at the last minute, which left the bureau without information that Colonel Shaffer said might have led to Mr. Atta and the other terrorists while the Sept. 11 attacks were still being planned.

"I was at the point of near insubordination over the fact that this was something important, that this was something that should have been pursued," Colonel Shaffer said of his efforts to get the evidence from the intelligence program to the F.B.I. in 2000 and early 2001.
He said he learned later that lawyers associated with the Special Operations Command of the Defense Department had canceled the F.B.I. meetings because they feared controversy if Able Danger was portrayed as a military operation that had violated the privacy of civilians who were legally in the United States.

"It was because of the chain of command saying we're not going to pass on information - if something goes wrong, we'll get blamed," he said.
The Defense Department did not dispute the account from Colonel Shaffer, a 42-year-old native of Kansas City, Mo., who is the first military officer associated with the program to acknowledge his role publicly.

At the same time, the department said in a statement that it was "working to gain more clarity on this issue" and that "it's too early to comment on findings related to the program identified as Able Danger." The F.B.I. referred calls about Colonel Shaffer to the Pentagon.

The account from Colonel Shaffer, a reservist who is also working part time for the Pentagon, corroborates much of the information that the Sept. 11 commission has acknowledged it received about Able Danger last July from a Navy captain who was also involved with the program but whose name has not been made public. In a statement issued last week, the leaders of the commission said the panel had concluded that the intelligence program "did not turn out to be historically significant."

The statement said that while the commission did learn about Able Danger in 2003 and immediately requested Pentagon files about it, none of the documents turned over by the Defense Department referred to Mr. Atta or any of the other hijackers.

Colonel Shaffer said that his role in Able Danger was as liaison with the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington, and that he was not an intelligence analyst. The interview with Colonel Shaffer on Monday was arranged for The New York Times and Fox News by Representative Curt Weldon, the Pennsylvania Republican who is vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and a champion of data-mining programs like Able Danger.

Colonel Shaffer's lawyer, Mark Zaid, said in an interview that he was concerned that Colonel Shaffer was facing retaliation from the Defense Department, first for having talked to the Sept. 11 commission staff in October 2003 and now for talking with news organizations.

Mr. Zaid said that Colonel Shaffer's security clearance was suspended last year because of what the lawyer said were a series of "petty allegations" involving $67 in personal charges on a military cellphone. He said that despite the disciplinary action, Colonel Shaffer had been promoted this year from major.

Colonel Shaffer said he had decided to allow his name to be used in part because of his frustration with the statement issued last week by the commission leaders, Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton.

The commission said in its final report last year that American intelligence agencies had not identified Mr. Atta as a terrorist before Sept. 11, 2001, when he flew an American Airlines jet into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York.

A commission spokesman did not return repeated phone calls on Tuesday for comment. A Democratic member of the commission, Richard Ben-Veniste, the former Watergate prosecutor, said in an interview on Tuesday that while he could not judge the credibility of the information from Colonel Shaffer and others, the Pentagon needed to "provide a clear and comprehensive explanation regarding what information it had in its possession regarding Mr. Atta."

"And if these assertions are credible," Mr. Ben-Veniste continued, "the Pentagon would need to explain why it was that the 9/11 commissioners were not provided this information despite requests for all information regarding Able Danger."

Colonel Shaffer said he had provided information about Able Danger and its identification of Mr. Atta in a private meeting in October 2003 with members of the Sept. 11 commission staff when they visited Afghanistan, where he was then serving. Commission members have disputed that, saying that they do not recall hearing Mr. Atta's name during the briefing and that the name did not appear in documents about Able Danger that were later turned over by the Pentagon.

"I would implore the 9/11 commission to support a follow-on investigation to ascertain what the real truth is," Colonel Shaffer said in the interview this week. "I do believe the 9/11 commission should have done that job: figuring out what went wrong with Able Danger."

"This was a good news story because, before 9/11, you had an element of the military - our unit - which was actually out looking for Al Qaeda," he continued. "I can't believe the 9/11 commission would somehow believe that the historical value was not relevant."

Colonel Shaffer said that because he was not an intelligence analyst, he was not involved in the details of the procedures used in Able Danger to glean information from terrorist databases, nor was he aware of which databases had supplied the information that might have led to the name of Mr. Atta or other terrorists so long before the Sept. 11 attacks.

But he said he did know that Able Danger had made use of publicly available information from government immigration agencies, from Internet sites and from paid search engines like LexisNexis


---------------------



http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/23/polit ... nted=print

August 23, 2005
Second Officer Says 9/11 Leader Was Named Before Attacks
By PHILIP SHENON

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 - An active-duty Navy captain has become the second military officer to come forward publicly to say that a secret intelligence program tagged the ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks as a possible terrorist more than a year before the attacks.
The officer, Scott J. Phillpott, said in a statement on Monday that he could not discuss details of the military program, which was called Able Danger, but confirmed that its analysts had identified the Sept. 11 ringleader, Mohamed Atta, by name by early 2000. "My story is consistent," said Captain Phillpott, who managed the program for the Pentagon's Special Operations Command. "Atta was identified by Able Danger by January-February of 2000."

His comments came on the same day that the Pentagon's chief spokesman, Lawrence Di Rita, told reporters that the Defense Department had been unable to validate the assertions made by an Army intelligence veteran, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, and now backed up by Captain Phillpott, about the early identification of Mr. Atta.

Colonel Shaffer went public with his assertions last week, saying that analysts in the intelligence project were overruled by military lawyers when they tried to share the program's findings with the F.B.I. in 2000 in hopes of tracking down terrorist suspects tied to Al Qaeda.

Mr. Di Rita said in an interview that while the department continued to investigate the assertions, there was no evidence so far that the intelligence unit came up with such specific information about Mr. Atta and any of the other hijackers.

He said that while Colonel Shaffer and Captain Phillpott were respected military officers whose accounts were taken seriously, "thus far we've not been able to uncover what these people said they saw - memory is a complicated thing."

The statement from Captain Phillpott , a 1983 Naval Academy graduate who has served in the Navy for 22 years, was provided to The New York Times and Fox News through the office of Representative Curt Weldon, a Pennsylvania Republican who is vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and a longtime proponent of so-called data-mining programs like Able Danger.

Asked if the Defense Department had questioned Captain Phillpott in its two-week-old investigation of Able Danger, another Pentagon spokesman, Maj. Paul Swiergosz, said he did not know.

Representative Weldon also arranged an interview on Monday with a former employee of a defense contractor who said he had helped create a chart in 2000 for the intelligence program that included Mr. Atta's photograph and name.
The former contractor, James D. Smith, said that Mr. Atta's name and photograph were obtained through a private researcher in California who was paid to gather the information from contacts in the Middle East. Mr. Smith said that he had retained a copy of the chart until last year and that it had been posted on his office wall at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. He said it had become stuck to the wall and was impossible to remove when he switched jobs.

In its final report last year, the Sept. 11 commission said that American intelligence agencies were unaware of Mr. Atta until the day of the attacks.
The leaders of the Sept. 11 commission acknowledged on Aug. 12 that their staff had met with a Navy officer last July, 10 days before releasing the panel's final report, who asserted that a highly classified intelligence operation, Able Danger, had identified "Mohamed Atta to be a member of an Al Qaeda cell located in Brooklyn."

But the statement, which did not identify the officer, said the staff determined that "the officer's account was not sufficiently reliable to warrant revision of the report or further investigation" and that the intelligence operation "did not turn out to be historically significant."

With his comments on Monday, Captain Phillpott acknowledged that he was the officer who had briefed the commission last year. "I will not discuss the issues outside of my chain of command and the Department of Defense," he said. "But my story is consistent. Atta was identified by Able Danger by January-February of 2000. I have nothing else to say."



But wait, there's more!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050902/ap_ ... HNlYwM3MTg

Pentagon Finds More Who Recall Atta Intel

By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer
Fri Sep 2, 7:00 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Pentagon officials said Thursday they have found three more people who recall an intelligence chart that identified Sept. 11 mastermind Mohamed Atta as a terrorist one year before the attacks on New York and Washington. But they have been unable to find the chart or other evidence that it existed.

Last month, two military officers, Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer and Navy Capt. Scott Philpott, went public with claims that a secret unit code-named Able Danger used data mining — searching large amounts of data for patterns — to identify Atta in 2000. Shaffer has said three other Sept. 11 hijackers also were identified.

In recent days Pentagon officials have said they could not yet verify or disprove the assertions by Shaffer and Philpott. On Thursday, four intelligence officials provided the first extensive briefing for reporters on the outcome of their interviews with people associated with Able Danger and their review of documents.

They said they interviewed at least 80 people over a three-week period and found three, besides Philpott and Shaffer, who said they remember seeing a chart that either mentioned Atta by name as an al-Qaida operative or showed his photograph. Four of the five recalled a chart with a pre-9/11 photo of Atta; the other person recalled only a reference to his name.

The intelligence officials said they consider the five people to be credible but their recollections are still unverified.

"To date, we have not identified the chart," said Pat Downs, a senior policy analyst in the office of the undersecretary of defense for intelligence. "We have identified a similar chart but it does not contain the photo of Mohamed Atta or a reference to him or a reference to the other (9/11) hijackers."

She said more interviews would be conducted, but the search of official documents is finished.

Downs and the other officials said they could not rule out that the chart recalled by Shaffer, Philpott and three others had been destroyed in compliance with regulations pertaining to intelligence information about people inside the United States. They also did not rule out that the five simply had faulty recollections.

Navy Cmdr. Christopher Chope, of the Center for Special Operations at U.S. Special Operations Command, said there were "negative indications" that anyone ever ordered the destruction of Able Danger documents, other than the materials that were routinely required to be destroyed under existing regulations.

Shaffer, who is now a civilian employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency, also has publicly asserted that military lawyers stopped the Able Danger staff from sharing the information on Atta with the FBI out of concern about gathering and sharing information on people in the United States legally.

Chope said there is no evidence that military lawyers blocked the sharing of Able Danger information with the FBI.

Chope also said the nature of Able Danger has been misrepresented in some news stories. He said it was created as a result of a directive in early October 1999 by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to U.S. Special Operations Command to develop a campaign plan against transnational terrorism, "specifically al-Qaida."

He called it an internal working group with a core of 10 staffers at Special Operations Command. Philpott was the "team leader," he said. "Able Danger was never a military unit," and it never targeted individual terrorists, he said. It went out of existence when the planning effort was finished in January 2001, he said.

Able Danger's purpose was to "characterize the al-Qaida network," Chope said, and determine the terror network's vulnerabilities and linkages at a time when U.S. officials were unaware that al-Qaida members were operating inside the United States.

"The effort was never: Determine which individuals we ought to roll up," he said. "Did Osama bin Laden's name come up? Of course it did." But it was not primarily aimed at identifying individual terrorists, he added.

Of the five people who told Pentagon interviewers they recalled a pre-9/11 chart that either named Atta or showed his photograph, two were on the staff of U.S. Special Operations Command: Philpott and an unidentified civilian analyst. Besides Shaffer, the others were an unidentified private contractor and an analyst with the Army's Land Information Warfare Activity, Downs said



And a ton of Shaffer/Able Danger stuff in a DU post:

Must Read! The Neo-Con Able Danger Scandal -- Atta Coverup! UPDATE 4
by Sherlock Google
Wed Aug 24th, 2005 at 09:48:33 PDT

DIA Agents were ordered to put yellow Post-its over Atta's face and the face's of 3 other 9/11 terrorists

"We were directed to take those 3M yellow stickers and place them over the faces of Atta and the other terrorists and pretend they didn't exist," the intelligence officer told GSN."

Intel agents Michael Shaffer and Scott Philpott have confirmed Rep. Weldon's claims that a chart with Atta's face, soon the photos of 3 other members of the 9-11 terror team, were known to DIA team Able Danger by early 2000.

This diary will show that Pete Schoomaker and Philip Zelikow are two of the main Perpetraitors in this scandal, that they deliberately withheld information from the President of the United States that would have prevented 9/11, that they and their neo-con rulers Let It Happen On Purpose.

Of this there can no longer be any doubt.

Sherlock Google's diary :: ::
Update [2005-8-24 15:35:46 by Sherlock Google]: From the Aug. 10 NY Times on Shaffer trying to include Able Danger in the final 9-11 Commission Report:


The Sept. 11 commission was warned by a uniformed military officer 10 days before issuing its final report that the account would be incomplete without reference to what he described as a secret military operation that by the summer of 2000 had identified as a potential threat the member of Al Qaeda who would lead the attacks more than a year later, commission officials said on Wednesday.
Aug 10 NY Times


Update [2005-8-24 15:35:46 by Sherlock Google]: From the Commission Statement on Able Danger:


The records discuss a set of plans, beginning in 1999, for ABLE DANGER, which involved expanding knowledge about the al Qaeda network. Some documents include diagrams of terrorist networks. None of the documents turned over to the Commission mention Mohamed Atta or any of the other future hijackers. Nor do any of the staff notes on documents reviewed in the DOD reading room indicate that Mohamed Atta or any of the other future hijackers were mentioned in any of those documents.
A senior staff member also made verbal inquiries to the HPSCI and CIA staff for any information regarding the ABLE DANGER operation. Neither organization produced any documents about the operation, or displayed any knowledge of it.

Update [2005-8-24 15:43:9 by Sherlock Google]: The 9-11 Families respond to the Able Danger news:

A group of Sept. 11 widows called the September 11th Advocates issued a statement Wednesday saying they were "horrified" to learn that further possible evidence exists, and they are disappointed the Sept. 11 commission report is "incomplete and illusory."
"The revelation of this information demands answers that are forthcoming, clear and concise," the statement said. "The Sept. 11 attacks could have and should have been prevented."

Fox News

Zelikow, as Executive Director, managed to keep the Commission from seeing the truth.

Update [2005-8-24 16:49:54 by Sherlock Google]: Here is the Gorelick Memo on The Wall. Read it for yourself and you will see that in no way does it prevent the DIA folks from telling the FBI about Atta getting ready to spring a possible attack:

The Gorelick Wall Memo

We have to learn a whole lot of ACRONYMS here but it's clear that information about a crime that "may be committed" is supposed to be "disseminated" to criminal investigators! Read it yourself.

From JusticeWatch.org:


The "Wall." The "wall" metaphor is shorthand for the recognition that separate authorities govern law enforcement and foreign intelligence investigations targeted against Americans. These authorities, designed to prevent a recurrence of domestic spying by the FBI and CIA, always recognized that international terrorism was both a law enforcement and intelligence matter. Contrary to the repeated mischaracterization by the Attorney General and others, the law never prohibited sharing information between law enforcement and intelligence communities; to the contrary, it expressly provided for such sharing. While the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was interpreted to mean that prosecutors could not direct foreign intelligence wiretaps, as opposed to criminal wiretaps, the 9/11 failures had nothing whatsoever to do with the inability of prosecutors to direct such surveillance.
Justice Watch


----------------------------------

From the Government Security News mag which broke the story:


Did DoD lawyers blow the chance to nab Atta?

By Jacob Goodwin
In September 2000, one year before the Al Qaeda attacks of 9/11, a U.S. Army military intelligence program, known as "Able Danger," identified a terrorist cell based in Brooklyn, NY, one of whose members was 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta, and recommended to their military superiors that the FBI be called in to "take out that cell," according to Rep. Curt Weldon, a longtime Republican congressman from Pennsylvania who is currently vice chairman of both the House Homeland Security and House Armed Services Committees.

The recommendation to bring down that New York City cell -- in which two other Al Qaeda terrorists were also active -- was not pursued during the weeks leading up to the 2000 presidential election, said Weldon. That's because Mohammed Atta possessed a "green card" at the time and Defense Department lawyers did not want to recommend that the FBI go after someone holding a green card, Weldon told his House colleagues last June 27 during a little-noticed speech, known as a "special order," which he delivered on the House floor.

Details of the origins and efforts of Able Danger were corroborated in a telephone interview by GSN with a former defense intelligence officer who said he worked closely with that program. That intelligence officer, who spoke to GSN while sitting in Rep. Weldon's Capitol Hill office, requested anonymity for fear that his current efforts to help re-start a similar intelligence-gathering operation might be hampered if his identity becomes known.

The intelligence officer recalled carrying documents to the offices of Able Danger, which was being run by the Special Operations Command, headquartered in Tampa, FL. The documents included a photo of Mohammed Atta supplied by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and described Atta's relationship with Osama bin Laden. The officer was very disappointed when lawyers working for Special Ops decided that anyone holding a green card had to be granted essentially the same legal protections as any U.S. citizen. Thus, the information Able Danger had amassed about the only terrorist cell they had located inside the United States could not be shared with the FBI, the lawyers concluded.

"We were directed to take those 3M yellow stickers and place them over the faces of Atta and the other terrorists and pretend they didn't exist," the intelligence officer told GSN.

DoD lawyers may also have been reluctant to suggest a bold action by FBI agents after the bureau's disastrous 1993 strike against the Branch Davidian religious cult in Waco, TX, said Weldon and the intelligence officer.
Government Security News



So the responsibility for stopping DIA program Able Danger, which had Identified Atta and 3 other hijackers and linked them to 56 other al-Queda terrorists overseas, has been laid at the feet of Bill Clinton--except he and Richard Clarke were never told about it at all.

That's right. Bill Clinton was never told about Able Danger and the ID of Atta because Richard Clarke was never told about AD. How do I know? He never wrote about it in his book, nor did he testify about it's existence before the 9-11 Commission!

You see Richard Clarke was known for being obsesses with Osama Bin Laden and HE was the guy the neo-con moles did not want to know about Atta and the gang. Schoomaker and the neo-cons knew telling the FBI would inform Clarke and then Mr. Laser Beam himself, President of the United State William Jefferson Clinton, would have gotten involved--and the Pearl Harbor-type attack would never take place (the neo-cons talked about the need for a Pearl Harbor-type attack before the PNAC Plan would be accepted by the American people--so when one presented itself, they let it happen).

General Pete Schoomaker, who were later heavily rewarded by the neo-cons in the Bush Administration, blocked the upward motion of the DIA information by having Shaffer and Philpott meet with Pentagon lawyers opinions--lawyers who were rubberstamping ridiculous legal opinions to carry out the neo-con plan. These certain people were neo-cons in the Clinton Administration, covertly carrying out the PNAC plan to let a Pearl Harbor-type attack occur so Iraq and 6 other countries could be invaded.

HOW DARE WELDON AND THE RIGHT WING TRY TO LAY ABLE DANGER AT THE FEET OF BILL CLINTON, WHEN HE WAS DELIBERATELY PREVENTED FROM KNOWING ABOUT IT BY SCHOOMAKER AND THE OTHERS! THEN THE NEO-CONS ENDED THE PROGRAM IN FEB. 2001 ALTOGETHER!

The heroic intel agents of Able Danger repeatedly tried to get the FBI to roll up the cell but were stopped by the secret neo-con cell within the Clinton Administration, especially General Pete Schoomaker, in command of Able Danger--and who was later asked by Rumsfeld to come out of retirement and replace Shinseki in 2003 as Army Chief of Staff!


Pete Schoomaker, Perpetraitor

Schoomaker, who worked under neo-con Tommy Franks in Tampa, retired in December of 2000. The indicted Larry Franklin was another neo-con in the Clinton Administration.

Schoomaker repeatedly told Philpott and Shaffer that they could not inform the FBI as DoD lawyers had opined that Atta's Green Card made him a "US Person", that the so-called "Gorelick Wall" prevented talking to the FBI--even though Atta was part of al-Queda. Shaffer and Philpott were actually ordered to put yellow sticky pads over the faces of the 4 terrorists on their Analyst Notebook chart and act as thought they don't exist. (Analyst Notebook is software).


"The former defense intelligence official, who was interviewed twice this week, has repeatedly said that Mr. Atta and four others were identified on a chart presented to the Special Operations Command. The former official said the chart identified about 60 probable members of Al Qaeda." [NY Times Archive 8/13/05]



Here is Captain Scott Philpott as blogger Anon on Intel Dump talking about meeting the DoD lawyers, who had no doubt been ordered by higher-ups to ignore the clear exception to the Gorelick Wall that a terrorist presented:


I was there and I lived through the ABLE DANGER nightmare.

First - yes - The lawyers involved in this (and similar projects) did interpret the 9-11 terrorists as "US persons" - so while you can second guess them all you want - but that was their "legal" call as wrong as it was and is. Unfortunately, the chain of command at SOCOM went along with them (and this, I expect, will be a topic that will become more clear in the near future).

And lawyers of the era also felt that any intelligence officer viewing open internet information for the purpose of intelligence collection automatically required that any "open source" information obtained be treated as if it was "intelligence information"...does this sound like idiocy to you? It did to me - and we fought it - and I was in meetings at the OSD level, with OSD laywers, that debated this - and I even briefed the DCI George Tenet on this issue relating to an internet project.

And yes, Virgina - we tried to tell the lawyers that since the data identified Atta and the others as linked to Al Qaeda, we should be able to collect on them based on SecState Albright's declaration of Al Qaeda as transnational terrorist threat to the US...well the lawyers did not agree...go figure...so we could not collect on them - and for political reasons - could not pass them to the FBI...I know because I brokered three meetings between the FBI and SOCOM to allow SOCOM to pass the informaton to the FBI. And, sadly, SOCOM cancelled them every time...

Intel Dump Blogger Anon



So Schoomaker and the Pentagon lawyers blocked the Atta Chart and request for arrest of the "Brooklyn Cell" from going to the FBI, Clarke and Clinton--who would have acted on it--and 9-11 would likely have never happened, with 3 of the 4 pilots and the leader of the gang arrested.

But then the neo-cons stole the election and came into power proper with Bush, Rice and Cheney. Rice, in charge of the transition, demoted Richard Clarke on Jan. 5, 2001, with the assistance of Philip Zelikow, who later became Executive Director of the 9-11 Commission! Like Schoomaker, Zelikow has now been rewarded with a plum job, directly under Rice at State.

Able Danger was then "unceremoniously axed" by the DoD in February 2001 when the neo-cons officially took over the Pentagon, no doubt on the orders of Cheney and Rice.

From the Norristown Times-Herald in Weldon's district:



A small group of Defense Intelligence Agency employees ran the Able Danger operation from fall 1999 to February 2001 - just seven months before the terrorist attacks - when the operation was unceremoniously axed, according to a former defense intelligence official familiar with the program. The former official asked not to be identified.

Norristown paper

August 17 article Shaffer confirms this end date:

The objective of "Able Danger" was to identify and target al-Qaeda and other terrorists. The DIA team used data mining, parallel processing and other cutting-edge computer technology from 1999 through early 2001, Shaffer said.

Times Herald again



Many other counter-terror programs were ended or stalled at the same time, including the use of the armed Predator Drone, which had spotted Osama and could have killed him, as well as new off-shore banking regs that Clinton had passed and FBI investigations of the Saudis and the Bin Ladens. Even though on Jan 31, 2001, the Congress approved the Hart Rudman counter-terror recommendations, including cockpit door hardening, Bush fought implementation by stalling, handing it to Cheney in May and saying he would issue a counter-terror plan--in October 2001, the month AFTER the 9-11 attack.

Rep. Weldon, a proponent of data-mining, had been following the Able Danger program for years and had talked to Stephen Hadley--he of 16-word fame--soon after 9-11, that Able Danger had identified the same terrorists early in the game. Hadley, second at NSC under Rice, sat on the information on Able Danger--which of course he knew about anyway--and then NEVER TOLD THE 9-11 COMMISSION.

Another major part of the treason is the Perpetraitor Zelikow, Executive Director of the 9-11 Commission, and the man who helped Rice and Cheney establish the neo-con agenda and demote Richard. Appointed by Bush to the 9-11 Commission to investigate himself essentially--and Bob Kerrey objected strenuously to Zelikow as a conflict (then gave up)--the Executive Director has tremendous power over staff and direction of the Commission and its report.

Philip Zelikow committed treason, when as Executive Director, he was directly told about Able Danger, then he and his direct staff covered up the information from the rest of the 9-11 Commission as they have said they were never told about it. When the Able Danger agents called up the Commission 10 days before the publication of the Report, they were blown off for the umpteenth time. Here is the 9-11 Commission's own statement on Able Danger:


On October 21, 2003, Philip Zelikow, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, two senior Commission staff members, and a representative of the executive branch, met at Bagram Base, Afghanistan, with three individuals doing intelligence work for the Department of Defense. One of the men, in recounting information about al Qaeda's activities in Afghanistan before 9/11, referred to a DOD program known as ABLE DANGER. He said this program was now closed, but urged Commission staff to get the files on this program and review them, as he thought the Commission would find information about al Qaeda and Bin Ladin that had been developed before the 9/11 attack.

Then Zelikow sat on the Able Danger info. Shaffer on CNN said:



The other thing is Mr. Zelicow (ph) himself gave me his card and asked me to contact him upon my return from the deployment. And I did contact him in January of '04. That's where I was essentially blown off.

I called him. They said they wanted to talk to me. I waited a week, called him back. And they said, "No, we don't need to talk to you now."

Now, Soledad, I'm sorry. I forgot your first part of the question you asked before.

S. O'BRIEN: You know, we're actually kind of running out of time.

SHAFFER: OK.

S. O'BRIEN: But I was essentially asking you if they were lying, which is sort of a yes or no answer there.

SHAFFER: I can't -- I'm just letting you know what I -- what I said. I said, specifically, that we, as through the Able Danger process, discovered two of the three cells which conducted 9/11, to include Atta. Now -- and I -- that was, to me, significant, in that they actually pulled me aside after the meeting and said, "Please come talk to us and give us more details."



Then Zelikow NEVER calls Shaffer or Philpott back!

The flimsy excuses for that are covered in TopDog's recommended diary, and are all lies anyhow:
Rice aide hid disbandment of Atta's trackers from 9/11 report

Finally, here is Lee Hamilton of the 9-11 Commission:

"The Sept. 11th commission did not learn of any U.S. government knowledge prior to 9/11 of the surveillance of Mohamed Atta or his cell," Hamilton said. "Had we learned of it obviously it would have been a major focus of our investigation."

So there you have it.

If this is e-mailed to 100 people and all the blogs and media by each person here on KOS and we pick this apart endlessly, all the evidence is there.

The greatest scandal in the history of the United States of America.

This has to be the end of the Republican Party as the majority party for some time to come. And only we bloggers can blow this thing wide open.

There is much, much more to this but I will post them on updates. And anybody who now doubts Shaffer AND Philpott is carrying skepticism too far and is likely a RW troll absolutely HORRIFIED at the turn the Able Danger story has now taken.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/di ... id=4447706



[OBL/phony evidence]

http://www.swissinfo.org/sen/swissinfo. ... id=1485474

Bin Laden tape “faked”

swissinfo November 29, 2002 11:01 AM


Swiss researchers say they are 95 per cent certain that a recent audio tape attributed to the Saudi dissident, Osama bin Laden, is not genuine.

The Lausanne-based Dalle Molle Institute for Perceptual Artificial Intelligence (IDIAP) claims it was recorded by an impostor.

The review of the tape, which was first aired on November 12 by the Arabic television network, Al-Jazeera, was commissioned by the French television channel, France 2.

However, having compared the most recent tape with 20 previous recordings attributed to bin Laden, the IDIAP claims the voice is not that of the al-Qaeda leader.

Professor Hervé Boulard, the institute’s director, told France 2 that he was 95 per cent certain that “it has not been recorded by bin Laden”.


"Frankly, I don't think it's a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous."
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