Perpetrator: The United States Government not Osama Bin Lauden
Late 1980s and After: CIA Blocks Investigations into Al-Qaeda’s ‘Operational Headquarters’ in US
The Neutrality Act prevents US citizens from fighting against countries not at war with the US, but the New York Times will note, “Yet there is no sign that a criminal investigation ever took place even though federal agents had come across broad hints about the center’s activities when they investigated the [Meir] Kahane assassination [in 1990] (see November 5, 1990) and the slaying of Mr. Shalabi [in 1991]” (see (February 28, 1991)). Kahane’s assassin, El Sayyid Nosair, was one of Shalabi’s assistants. [New York Times, 4/11/1993] Apparently the CIA’s ties to the Al-Kifah Refugee Center prevent other US agencies from investigating it, even after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, when all of the bombers are found to have been tied to the center.
1990: FBI Seizes List of Al-Kifah Contacts
At some point in 1990, the FBI seizes a handwritten list of contacts from a top official of the Al-Kifah Refugee Center in Brooklyn. Al-Kifah is a charity front with links to both al-Qaeda and the CIA (see 1986-1993). Little is known about the list, such as when exactly it was seized and why, what was done with it, or whose names are on it, except that a Texas imam named Moataz Al-Hallak is on the list (mention of the list comes from an article about Al-Hallak). The FBI also seizes a different computerized list of Al-Kifah contacts at some point. [Dallas Morning News, 2/19/1999] It will later be alleged that the CIA repeatedly blocked the FBI’s investigations into Al-Kifah (see Late 1980s and After).
September 11, 1993: NSA Analyst Warns of Terrorist Attacks on US; Analyst Ordered to Undergo Psych Evaluation
A National Security Agency (NSA) linguist runs afoul of his superiors after he and other linguists submit a report concluding that Islamist terrorists are planning attacks on America. The analyst, who insists on remaining anonymous and is nicknamed “J” by press reports, is fluent in an unusual number of languages. His and his colleagues’ study of Arabic language messages, and the flow of money to terrorist organizations from Saudi Arabia, lead them to believe that Saudi extremists are plotting an attack. J will recall in January 2006: “You could see, this was the pure rhetoric of Osama bin Laden and his group, the exact same group, and we had an early indication.… All of us in the group had this view of a burgeoning threat, and suddenly we were all trotted off to the office of security. Then came the call to report for a battery of psychological tests.” J will issue further warnings of potential terrorist strikes, this time involving hijackers, passenger planes, and US buildings, in May 2001 (see May 2001). In 2006, other current and former NSA officials will claim that the NSA routinely uses unfavorable psychological evaluations to retaliate against whistleblowers and those employees who come into conflict with superiors .
February 26, 1993-1994: FBI Fails to Close Branches of Al-Qaeda’s ‘Operational Headquarters’ in US
The US will not freeze the assets of Al-Kifah until shortly after 9/11, long after all the US branches have dissolved (see September 24, 2001). There is evidence to suggest that the CIA had ties to Al-Kifah and blocked FBI investigations.
September 18, 1994: Ex-State Department Security Officer Charges Pre-9/11 Cover-Up
A former State Department security officer has given CounterPunch a detailed memoir and documents that point to very curious conduct by the CIA, Secret Service and FBI in the Philippines following warnings of an assassination bid on President Clinton during his November 12/13, 1994 visit to Manila. "A few weeks afterwards", Karmilowicz says, " high ranking officers of the CIA and Secret Service came into my office and informed me that they had conducted an investigation concerning the threat and concluded that the allegations against the Pakistani, Rana, were a hoax in order to have the police harass him. They offered no motive or information as to why such a ‘hoax’ would be perpetrated or who might be behind.
1994-1995: Wright Allegedly Thwarted by FBI Intelligence
FBI agent Robert Wright had begun to investigate terrorism financing in 1993, and apparently quickly discovered many leads (see After January 1993). However, he will later claim that by 1994, he encounters resistance to his investigations from the FBI’s International Terrorism Unit. Wright will claim, “[T]here existed a concerted effort on the part of agents conducting counterterrorism intelligence investigations to insulate the subjects of their investigations from criminal investigation and prosecution.” In 2002, Wright will claim that the agents were doing this because they were lazy, and he will sue these unnamed agents. [United Press International, 5/30/2002] But in 2003, he will suggest that in addition to such incompetence, his investigations into Hamas operatives living in the US were deliberately blocked so Hamas would be able to foment enough violence in Israel to derail the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. He will allege that some people in the FBI had a political agenda regarding Israel contrary to President Clinton’s (see June 2, 2003).
January 24, 1994: CIA Concludes It Is ‘Partly Culpable’ for WTC 1993 Bombing (1)
The Boston Herald reports that an internal CIA report has concluded that the agency is “partially culpable” for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing (see February 26, 1993) because it helped train and support some of the bombers. One source with knowledge of the report says, “It was determined that a significant amount of blowback appeared to have occurred.” A US intelligence source claims the CIA gave at least $1 billion to forces in Afghanistan connected to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. More than a half-dozen of the WTC bombers belonged to this faction, and some of the CIA money paid for their training. The source says, “By giving these people the funding that we did, a situation was created in which it could be safely argued that we bombed the World Trade Center.”
1997: US Action Against Holy Land Foundation Blocked Again
The US government once again considers going after the Holy Land Foundation for its ties to Hamas. Israel freezes the foundation’s assets this year, and the Treasury Department proposes making a similar asset freeze in the US as well. [Wall Street Journal, 2/27/2002] In 2000, the New York Times will report, “Some government officials recommended that the group be prosecuted in 1997 for supporting Hamas, the militant Islamic group. But others opposed the effort, fearing that it would expose intelligence sources and spur public criticism of the administration as anti-Muslim.” [New York Times, 2/19/2000] Those pushing to prosecute the group would certainly include Vulgar Betrayal investigation FBI agents like Robert Wright. Wright had been aware of Holy Land’s ties to Hamas since 1993 (see After January 1993 and October 1993). However, Attorney General Janet Reno blocks the proposal and no action is taken. [Wall Street Journal, 2/27/2002] Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke claims that in 1995 he pushed for something to be done to Holy Land, but higher-ups overruled him (see January 1995-April 1996).
1995-1998: FBI Prohibits Probe of Suspected Terrorism Finance Network
In 1995, investigators raid two groups in Tampa, Florida, associated with Sami al-Arian, a university professor who some claim has been a supporter of terrorist groups. These raids alert investigators to a group of Muslim charities in Herndon, Virginia, known as the SAAR network (see July 29, 1983). An investigation into that network’s alleged terrorism financing begins. In 1998, National Security Council aides in the Clinton White House push the FBI to intensify the SAAR investigation. However, the FBI declines, claiming that an aggressive probe would be seen as ethnic profiling.
In 1998 Flight School Warning FBI Memo
As the September 11 commission moves on this week to examining numerous FBI and CIA intelligence malfunctions prior to the terror attacks, the below May 1998 memo will surely be cast as another unheeded warning. Generated by an agent in the bureau's Oklahoma City office and titled "Weapons of Mass Destruction," the document warned that "large numbers of Middle Eastern males" were taking flight lessons at Oklahoma airports. That was a development that the agent, also a pilot, thought may have been "related to planned terrorist activity." A similar memo, written three years later by an agent in Phoenix, also spurred little interest in FBI brass.
1999: FBI Headquarters Delays Check on Terrorist Trainer for 9 Months, Tries to Block Warning for National Guard
FBI Minneapolis agent Harry Samit learns that an unnamed man plans to travel from the US to Afghanistan to train militants there, and that one of his relatives has applied to join the Minnesota National Guard. Samit wants to run a check on him and notify the National Guard, as he is worried because guardsmen have access to local airports. However, he is blocked for several months by Michael Maltbie, an agent in the Radical Fundamentalist Unit at FBI headquarters, who becomes “extremely agitated” and says this is “just the sort of thing that would get the FBI into trouble.” [Star-Tribune (Minneapolis), 3/21/2006; Knight Ridder, 3/21/2006; Hearst Newspapers, 3/21/2006] Samit and Maltbie will later have another running disagreement over the Zacarias Moussaoui case (see August 15-September 10, 2001, August 20-September 11, 2001, August 27, 2001, and August 28, 2001).
1999: Intelligence Unit Told Before 9/11 to Stop Tracking Bin Laden
The Asymmetric Threats Division was "realigned" in summer 2001 under the "Intelligence Watch Center." The Intelligence Watch Center may be the Combined Intelligence Watch Center associated with NORAD, which is an "indications and warning center for worldwide threats from space, missile and strategic air activity, as well as geopolitical unrest that could affect North America and US forces/interests abroad." This would be consistent with the work DO5 did with the JTF-CS. The order to stop tracking Bin Laden, therefore, came sometime between the origin of DO5 in 1999 and its realignment just prior to, or right after 9/11. In 2005, the JFIC itself was renamed the Joint Transformation Command-Intelligence, still subordinate to and serving USJFCOM.
Iron Man states in his letter that in the summer of 2000, DO5 briefed USJFCOM senior intelligence officials and staffers, including the deputy commander in chief, on the "WMD Threat to the U.S." Iron Man describes a "sensitive," "oral briefing" that took place that summer "indicating that the World Trade Centers #1 and #2 were the most likely buildings to be attacked [by al-Qaeda], followed closely by the Pentagon. The briefer indicated that the worst case scenario would be one tower collapsed onto another."
Early 2000: Treasury Department Blocked from Freezing Assets of Al-Qaeda Financiers in Saudi Arabia
Treasury Department official Richard Newcomb has been to Saudi Arabia with other US officials in an attempt to pressure the Saudis to crack down on financing al-Qaeda, but no action has resulted (see June 1999). He had threatened to freeze the assets of certain individuals and groups funding al-Qaeda if not action is taken, and now he starts to act on that threat. As head of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, he submits names for sanctions. But imposing sanctions requires approval from an interagency committee, and the permission to go ahead is never given. CIA and FBI officials are “lukewarm to the idea, worried that sanctions would chill what little cooperation they had with their Saudi counterparts.” But the State Department puts up the most opposition. One official will later recall, “The State Department always thought we had much bigger fish to fry.”
January 5, 2000: CIA Bin Laden Unit Blocks Notification to FBI about Hijacker Almihdhar’s US Visa
CIA officer named Michael Anne Casey accesses Miller’s draft about an hour after he writes it. The cable is then blocked on the orders of the station’s deputy chief, Tom Wilshire, as a few hours after Miller drafts the cable Casey attaches a message to it saying, “pls hold off on [cable] for now per [Tom Wilshire].”
January 6, 2000: CIA Officer Says Information about 9/11 Hijacker Almihdhar Cannot Be Shared with FBI Because Next Al-Qaeda Attack Will Be in Southeast Asia
Mark Rossini, an FBI agent on loan to Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, protests in vain against a decision to deliberately withhold information about one of the future 9/11 hijackers, Khalid Almihdhar, from the FBI (see 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. January 5, 2000). One of his colleagues, Doug Miller, had tried to inform the FBI that Almihdhar had a US visa the day before, but had been blocked by a 29-year-old female CIA officer named Michael Anne Casey and the unit’s deputy chief, Tom Wilshire.
October 2000: DIA Offical Refuses to Look at Information about Al-Qaeda, Mohamed Atta
Able Danger member Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer meets with the DIA deputy director and offers him a computer disc with information about al-Qaeda (including 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta), but the DIA official declines to accept the disc.
October 13 Late November, 2000: Investigation Into USS Cole Bombing Is Thwarted
The first FBI agents enter Yemen two days after the bombing of the USS Cole in an attempt to discover who was responsible. However, the main part of the team initially gets stuck in Germany because they do not have permission to enter Yemen and they are then unable to accomplish much due to restrictions placed on them and tensions between lead investigator John O’Neill and US Ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine. All but about 50 investigators are forced to leave by the end of October. O’Neill’s boss Barry Mawn visits to assess the situation. [Miller, Stone, and Mitchell, 2002, pp. 237; New Yorker, 1/14/2002; Sunday Times (London), 2/3/2002; New Yorker, 7/10/2006 ] Mawn will later comment, “It became clear [Bodine] simply hated his guts.” After a ten day investigation, he concludes O’Neill is doing a fine job, tells Bodine that she is O’Neill’s “only detractor,” and refuses her request to recall him. [Wright, 2006, pp. 32] But O’Neill and much of his team are pressured to leave by late November and Bodine will not give him permission to return any time after that. The investigation stalls without his personal relationships to top Yemeni officials. [Miller, Stone, and Mitchell, 2002, pp. 237; New Yorker, 1/14/2002; Sunday Times (London), 2/3/2002] Increased security threats force the reduced FBI team still in Yemen to withdraw altogether in June 2001. [PBS Frontline, 10/3/2002] The prime minister of Yemen at the time later claims (see Early October 2001) that hijacker “Khalid Almihdhar was one of the Cole perpetrators, involved in preparations. He was in Yemen at the time and stayed after the Cole bombing for a while, then he left.” The Sunday Times later notes, “The failure in Yemen may have blocked off lines of investigation that could have led directly to the terrorists preparing for September 11.”
In the fall of 2000, General Hayden of the NSA buries "Thinthread" and implements SAICs program "Trailblaser" implementing NSAs failure to stop 9/11
In the fall of 2000, Hayden decided not to use ThinThread, largely because of his legal advisers’ concerns. Instead, he funded a rival approach, called Trailblazer, and he turned to private defense contractors to build it. Matthew Aid, the author of a heralded 2009 history of the agency, “The Secret Sentry,” says, “The resistance to ThinThread was just standard bureaucratic politics. ThinThread was small, cost-effective, easy to understand, and protected the identity of Americans. But it wasn’t what the higher-ups wanted. They wanted a big machine that could make Martinis, too.”
The N.S.A.’s failure to stop the 9/11 plot infuriated Binney: he believed that ThinThread had been ready to deploy nine months earlier. Working with N.S.A. counterterrorism experts, he had planned to set up his system at sites where foreign terrorism was prevalent, including Afghanistan and Pakistan. “Those bits of conversations they found too late?” Binney said. “That would have never happened. I had it managed in a way that would send out automatic alerts. It would have been, Bang!”
January 2001: High Ranking Official Refuses to Hear about Able Danger
Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer will later claim that DIA Deputy Director of Human Intelligence William Huntington is briefed by Shaffer at this time about a project named Dorhawk Galley. Some information about Able Danger’s methodology comes up. According to Shaffer, Huntington refuses to hear it and announces, “I can’t be here, I can’t see this.” Huntington immediately leaves Shaffer’s office and refuses to hear the information.
February 2001-March 2001: Withdrawal of DIA Support Contributes to End of Able Danger Program
The new Director of Operations for the DIA, General Ron Isler, has Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer brief him on a series of operations. According to Shaffer, Isler strongly objects to Shaffer assisting Able Danger. “I said, ‘Well, sir, with all due respect, this is an important operation focused on the global al-Qaeda target,’ and he said, ‘You’re not hearing me, Tony. This is not your job.’” After further disagreement, Shaffer recalls the argument ending, “‘Tony, I’m the two star here. I’m the two star. I’m telling you I don’t want you doing anything with Able Danger.’ ‘Sir, if not us then who?’ ‘I don’t know, but it’s not your job.’
April-August 2001: Former CIA Asset Susan Lindauer Warns Of An Attack Against America Is Imminent
Reinforcing that tension, throughout the summer of 2001, Dr. Fuisz continued to prod and push hard for any fragment of intelligence from Iraq or Libya involving airplane hijackings or airplane bombings. He urged me not to filter intelligence or test its accuracy before informing him. During numerous meetings, he tried to explain how urgently he needed to collect even fragments of intelligence, whether it appeared to make sense to me or not. He begged me to hold nothing back.
That's when I knew that something bigger was going on. Dr. Fuisz was already onto it. Again and again, our talks turned to airplane hijackings and/or airplane bombings in a reprise of the 1993 World Trade Center attack. It sounds uncanny but we all understood exactly what was going to happen.
May 15, 2001: CIA Officer Again Accesses Cables about Hijackers' Travel in Asia and to US, FAILs to Alert FBI or Check If They Are Still in US
Tom Wilshire, a former deputy chief of the CIA’s bin Laden unit currently detailed to the FBI, accesses a number of cables about travel by 9/11 hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi in 2000 (see March 5, 2000), but fails to draw the FBI’s attention to this or ask the INS whether they are still in the US. The cables report on Khalid Almihdhar’s travel to Malaysia in January 2000, his US visa, al-Qaeda’s Malaysia summit, and Alhazmi’s travel from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Bangkok, Thailand, with another person, and then to Los Angeles. Wilshire had previously blocked a notification to the FBI that Almihdhar had a US visa (see 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. January 5, 2000). He writes to another CIA analyst about the travel (see May 15, 2001), but does not alert the FBI to the fact Alhazmi came to the US. Neither does he check with the INS to see whether Alhazmi and Almihdhar are in the country.
June 1, 2001: Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld changes protocols for "CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF INSTRUCTION J-3 CJCSI 3610.01A
The June 1 2001 document deliberately changed the existing policies that were issued in 1997, 1986 and before: (1) Determine whether or not the assistance needed is reasonably available from police or commercial sources. If not, the DDO, NMCC, will notify the appropriate unified command or NORAD to determine if suitable assets are available and will forward the request to the Secretary of Defense for approval in accordance with DODD 3025.15, paragraph D.7 (reference d)."
"APPROVAL": The usage of the word "approval" is the major change here to the existing hijacking response procedures. While the text of the document tries to link this "approval" to the previous orders "DODD 3025.15," the approval is now required BEFORE providing any assistance at all. Previously, approval would be required to respond to a situation with lethal force.
This June 1st update to the orders stopped all military assistance in its tracks UNTIL approval from Donald Rumsfeld (the "Secretary of Defense") could be granted -- which, by his own admission, it was not. Rumsfeld claimed total ignorance of the inbound aircraft that attacked the Pentagon (on the opposite side of the building complex, where a construction project had been underway).
July 10, 2001: FBI Agent Sends Memo Warning that Unusual Number of Muslim Extremists Are Learning to Fly in Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona, FBI agent Ken Williams sends a memorandum warning about suspicious activities involving a group of Middle Eastern men taking flight training lessons in Arizona. The memo is titled: “Zakaria Mustapha Soubra; IT-OTHER (Islamic Army of the Caucasus),” because it focuses on Zakaria Soubra, a Lebanese flight student in Prescott, Arizona, and his connection with a terror group in Chechnya that has ties to al-Qaeda. It is subtitled: “Osama bin Laden and Al-Muhjiroun supporters attending civil aviation universities/colleges in Arizona.” [Fortune, 5/22/2002; Arizona Republic, 7/24/2003] Williams’ memo is based on an investigation of Sorba that Williams had begun in 2000 (see April 2000), but he had trouble pursuing because of the low priority the Arizona FBI office gave terror investigations.
July 13, 2001: CIA Manager Says Extra Person to be Allocated to Malaysis Summit Re-evaluation
The review is currently only being conducted by one intelligence officer, Margaret Gillespie, who is only told to do it in her spare time and whom it takes over three months to find CIA cables indicating two of the future 9/11 hijackers have entered the US (see August 21-22, 2001). Miller’s help would certainly benefit the review, as he is already aware one of the hijackers, Khalid Almihdhar, has a US visa, but a cable he drafted to notify the FBI about this was blocked by Wilshire (see 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. January 5, 2000). However, there is no mention of Miller actually being given the assignment on his return and no sign he does any work on this. Wilshire also asked that the FBI be officially told bin Attash attended the summit in Malaysia, but this information is again withheld.
July 27, 2001 and after: Phoenix Memo Received by FBI Headquarters; Little Action Taken in Response
FBI headquarters receives the Phoenix Memo, but does not act on it. The memo was drafted by Arizona FBI agent Ken Williams and warns that a large number of Islamic extremists are learning to fly in the US. It is dated 17 days earlier, but is not uploaded until this date (see July 10, 2001). Although the memo is addressed to eight specific agents, it is apparently not received by all of them. The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General will later say that the memo was not delivered directly to the addressees, but uploaded to a central dispatching point, from where it was assigned to Radical Fundamentalist Unit agent Elizabeth Matson on July 30.
August 6, 2001: Bin ladin Determined to Strike in US
The August 6 PDB, an excerpt from which you'll find here, was presented to Bush while he vacationed at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. The digest is prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency, an official from which briefs the president on the report's contents.
While Bush critics have described the August 6 PDB as a warning of an impending al-Qaeda attack, Condoleezza Rice, Bush's national security adviser, testified Thursday that the document contained "historical information based on old reporting. There was no new threat information."
August 16, 2001: INS Agent Presses for Moussaoui Warrant
Immigration and Naturalization Service agent Steve Nordmann, one of the officers who arrested Zacarias Moussaoui (see August 16, 2001), presses for a warrant so that law enforcement bodies can search Moussaoui’s computer files. He will later write of his regret that they were not allowed to access Moussaoui’s laptop. More details are not known as Nordmann will die in a motorcycle accident in 2003 and will not testify at Moussaoui’s trial. [Star-Tribune (Minneapolis), 6/28/2003; St. Cloud Times, 9/7/2003] FBI agents also press for a warrant to search Moussaoui’s belongings (see August 21, 2001 and August 23-27, 2001), which contain potentially enough information to prevent 9/11 (see August 16, 2001). However, the warrant is blocked by the Radical Fundamentalist Unit at FBI headquarters (see August 20-September 11, 2001).
August 21, 2001: FBI Headquarters Blocks Criminal Investigation into Moussaoui
Dave Frasca of the FBI’s Radical Fundamentalist Unit (RFU) denies a request from the Minneapolis FBI field office to seek a criminal warrant to search the belongings of Zacarias Moussaoui, who was arrested on August 15 as part of an intelligence investigation (see August 16, 2001 and August 16, 2001). Minneapolis agents believe they had uncovered sufficient evidence that Moussaoui is involved in a criminal conspiracy, and want to obtain a criminal search warrant instead of a warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). But because they originally opened an intelligence investigation, they cannot go directly to the local US attorney’s office for the warrant. In order to begin a parallel criminal investigation, they must first obtain permission from the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR) so they can pass the information over the “wall.” (See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamie_Gorelick)
August 23-27, 2001: Minnesota FBI Agents ‘Absolutely Convinced’ Moussaoui Plans to Hijack Plane; They Are Undermined by FBI Headquarters
In the wake of the French intelligence report (see August 22, 2001) on Zacarias Moussaoui, FBI agents in Minneapolis, Minnesota, are “in a frenzy” and “absolutely convinced he [is] planning to do something with a plane.” Agent Greg Jones tells FBI headquarters that Moussaoui might “fly something into the World Trade Center.” [Newsweek, 5/20/2002; US Department of Justice, 11/2004, pp. 153 ] Minneapolis FBI agents become “desperate to search the computer lap top” and “conduct a more thorough search of his personal effects,” especially since Moussaoui acted as if he was hiding something important in the laptop when arrested. [Time, 5/21/2002; Time, 5/27/2002] As the Radical Fundamentalist Unit (RFU) at FBI headquarters has already blocked an application for a criminal warrant (see August 21, 2001), the FBI’s Minneapolis field office must apply for one under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
September 4, 2001: FBI Dispatches Vague Message to US Intelligence Community About Moussaoui Investigation
Harry Samit, an agent at the FBI’s Minneapolis field office, drafts a memo to the FAA summarizing the facts of the Zacarias Moussaoui case. In it, he writes, “Minneapolis believes that Moussaoui, [his roommate Hussein] al-Attas, and others not yet known were engaged in preparing to seize a Boeing 747-400 in commission of a terrorist act. As Moussaoui denied requests for consent to search his belongings and was arrested before sufficient evidence of criminal activity was revealed, it is not known how far advanced were his plans to do so.” He also mentions Moussaoui’s physical and marital arts training and expresses concern that France, where Moussaoui will soon be deported, may not be able to hold him or his property for long. But Mike Maltbie of the FBI’s Radical Fundamentalist Unit (RFU) instructs the Minneapolis field office not to send the memo because he is also drafting a memo on the Moussaoui case that will be sent to the FAA and other agencies. However Maltbie’s memo lacks a threat assessment and does not mention Minneapolis’ suspicions that Moussaoui might be planning a terrorist act involving a hijacked airplane. The memo does not result in any FAA action. [US Department of Justice, 11/2004, pp. 174-7 ; Los Angeles Times, 3/20/2006] A meeting between Samit and a Minneapolis FAA officer will also fail to produce any FAA action (see September 4, 2001).
September 8-11, 2001: Many of Nation’s Top Emergency Managers in Montana for Major Conference; Focus Is on Domestic Terrorism and WMD
Emergency managers from around the US, including Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director Joseph Allbaugh and representatives from the emergency management agencies of 47 states, are in Big Sky, Montana, attending the annual conference of the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), where the main focuses include the issues of domestic terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
Most State Emergency Managers in Attendance - Conference attendees include around 350 government and industry emergency specialists.
September 10, 2001: FBI Crisis Response Unit Goes to California for Training, Therefore Away from Washington at Time of 9/11 Attacks
The FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG) goes to California for a week of training and is therefore stranded away from Washington, DC, when it is required to help in the response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. [USA Today, 9/11/2001; Darling, 2010, pp. 75] The CIRG is “the unit that coordinates the FBI’s rapid response to crisis incidents, including terrorist attacks,” according to Major Robert Darling of the White House Military Office. Its members arrive in San Francisco this evening to participate in a week of special weapons and tactics (SWAT)-related field training. [Darling, 2010, pp. 74-75] While the 9/11 attacks are underway, NBC News will report that the FBI is in a state of “chaos,” partly because of the CIRG being stranded in California.
September 11, 2001: Head of FBI’s Washington Office Away in South Carolina, Flown Back to DC
Van Harp, the head of the FBI’s Washington, DC, field office, is away from the capital in South Carolina for his summer vacation, and has to be flown back to Washington in an FBI plane to help respond to the terrorist attacks. [Washington Post, 3/4/2002; US Department of Health and Human Services, 7/2002, pp. C45, C47; 9/11 Commission, 12/15/2003 ] Harp took command of the Washington field office (WFO) as its new assistant director in charge in July this year. [Washington Post, 4/18/2003; Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2010] But on this day he is in Hilton Head, South Carolina, on vacation with his wife, children, and grandchildren. He learned of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center when his secretary, Donna Cummings, paged him shortly after the attack occurred. Harp then called Cummings and she told him what had happened. He switched on the television in time to see the second plane crashing into the WTC, and had known then that he needed to return to Washington.
September 11, 2001: FBI Agents Obtain Warrant for Moussaoui Too Late
Within an hour of the 9/11 attacks, the Minnesota FBI uses a memo written to FBI headquarters shortly after Zacarias Moussaoui’s arrest to ask permission from a judge for the search warrant they have been desperately seeking. After the World Trade Center is hit for the first time at 8:46 a.m., Mike Maltbie of the Radical Fundamentalist Unit (RFU) at FBI headquarters calls the Minneapolis field office and talks to FBI agent Coleen Rowley. When Rowley says it is essential they get a warrant to search Moussaoui’s belongings, Maltbie instructs her to take no action, because it could have an impact on matters of which she is not aware. Rowley replies that it would have to be the “hugest coincidence” if Moussaoui were not related to the attack.
September 11, 2001: NORAD Stands Down - 9/11 Live: The NORAD Tapes
The story of what happened in that room, and when, has never been fully told, but is arguably more important in terms of understanding America's military capabilities that day than anything happening simultaneously on Air Force One or in the Pentagon, the White House, or norad's impregnable headquarters, deep within Cheyenne Mountain, in Colorado. It's a story that was intentionally obscured, some members of the 9/11 commission believe, by military higher-ups and members of the Bush administration who spoke to the press, and later the commission itself, in order to downplay the extent of the confusion and miscommunication flying through the ranks of the government.
September 11, 2001: CONR Commander Arnold in Teleconference, Unavailable to Immediately Authorize Scrambling of Fighters
Major General Larry Arnold, the commander of the Continental United States NORAD Region (CONR), participates in a video teleconference with other senior NORAD officials and is therefore unavailable when NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) tries contacting him for authorization to scramble fighter jets in response to the hijacked Flight 11. [Filson, 2002; 9/11 Commission, 5/23/2003; 9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 20; Spencer, 2008, pp. 31] Arnold is in the video teleconferencing room at CONR headquarters, at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. Teleconference Discussing 'Russian Exercise' - Robert Del Toro, an intelligence officer with the 1st Air Force who is in the room with Arnold, will tell the 9/11 Commission that the teleconference is “about the Russian exercise.”
September 11, 2001: The United States Airforce Stands Down
The US military has spent billions of dollars developing stealth aircraft which are invisible to radar so they can mount surprise attacks on adversaries, but it seems they should have saved their money and bought a fleet of airliners because they appear to be far more effective. On 9/11 the world's only military superpower was apparently oblivious to the location of rogue airliners in it's airspace for over an hour, and military commanders were left perplexed on how to deal with the situation of hijackers using these planes as flying bombs.
This confusion resulted in fighter jets flying around aimlessly whilst the hierarchy fully assessed what was going on, and this total lack of cohesion ultimately led to the loss of nearly 3000 lives.
September 11, 2001: Absence Of Command Authority On 9/11
The specific people who should have managed the air defense on 9/11 where absent precisely while the attacks were accuring. Even though they were available in the days before and after the attack, they were missing exactly in teh crucial house of the hijackings.
September 11, 2001: Fighter Jets Don't Not Have Shootdown Authority
A fighter pilot flying from Otis Air Base toward New York City later notes that it wouldn’t have mattered if he caught up with Flight 175, because only President Bush could order a shootdown, and Bush is at a public event at the time. [Cape Cod Times, 8/21/2002] “Only the president has the authority to order a civilian aircraft shot down,” according to a 1999 CNN report. [CNN, 10/26/1999] In fact, by 9/11, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld also has the authority to order a shootdown, but he is not responding to the crisis at this time. (See: The Three Amigos on 9/11 and Hijacking The Air Defenses)
2001 Memo Warned Of Bin Laden Aviation Cadre
Two months before the September 11 attacks, FBI agent Kenneth Williams sent the below memo to bureau brass in Washington and New York warning that a cadre of Osama bin Laden disciples might be training at U.S. flight schools in preparation for future "terror activity against civil aviation targets." Williams suggested a nationwide FBI review to determine whether such a "coordinated effort" could be seen in other localities. The Williams memo was roundly ignored, of course, until after the World Trade Center was leveled.
October 9, 2001: Suppressed Detail Of Criminal Insider Trading Lead To The CIAs Highest Ranks
FTW, October 9, 2001 - Although uniformly ignored by the mainstream U.S. media, there is abundant and clear evidence that a number of transactions in financial markets indicated specific (criminal) foreknowledge of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In the case of at least one of these trades -- which has left a $2.5 million prize unclaimed -- the firm used to place the "put options" on United Airlines stock was, until 1998, managed by the man who is now in the number three Executive Director position at the Central Intelligence Agency. Until 1997 A.B. "Buzzy" Krongard had been Chairman of the investment bank A.B. Brown. A.B. Brown was acquired by Banker's Trust in 1997. Krongard then became, as part of the merger, Vice Chairman of Banker's Trust-AB Brown, one of 20 major U.S. banks named by Senator Carl Levin this year as being connected to money laundering. Krongard's last position at Banker's Trust (BT) was to oversee "private client relations." In this capacity he had direct hands-on relations with some of the wealthiest people in the world in a kind of specialized banking operation that has been identified by the U.S. Senate and other investigators as being closely connected to the laundering of drug money.
May 30, 2002: Wright Claims FBI Obstructed Efforts to Stop Terrorist Money Flows
FBI agent Robert Wright holds a press conference. He makes a statement that has been preapproved by the FBI. As one account puts it, “Robert Wright’s story is difficult to piece together because he is on government orders to remain silent.… [T]his is in distinct contrast to the free speech and whistle-blower protections offered to Colleen Rowley, general counsel in the FBI Minneapolis office, who got her story out before the agency could silence her. Wright, a 12-year bureau veteran, has followed proper channels” but has been frustrated by limitations on what he is allowed to say (see September 11, 2001-October 2001). “The best he could do [is a] press conference in Washington, D.C., where he [tells] curious reporters that he [has] a whopper of a tale to tell, if only he could.” Wright says that FBI bureaucrats “intentionally and repeatedly thwarted [his] attempts to launch a more comprehensive investigation to identify and neutralize terrorists.” He also claims, “FBI management failed to take seriously the threat of terrorism in the US.” [Fox News, 5/30/2002; Federal News Service, 5/30/2002; LA Weekly, 8/2/2002] Larry Klayman, a lawyer representing Wright, says at the conference that he believes one reason Wright’s investigations were blocked “is because these monies were going through some very powerful US banks with some very powerful interests in the United States.
January 10, 2003: Government Employees Responsible for 9/11 Failures Are Rewarded and Promoted
FBI Director Robert Mueller personally awards Marion (Spike) Bowman with a presidential citation and cash bonus of approximately 25 percent of his salary. [Salon, 3/3/2003] Bowman, head of the FBI’s national security law unit and the person who refused to seek a special warrant for a search of Zacarias Moussaoui’s belongings before the 9/11 attacks (see August 28, 2001), is among nine recipients of bureau awards for “exceptional performance.” The award comes shortly after a 9/11 Congressional Inquiry report saying Bowman’s unit gave Minneapolis FBI agents “inexcusably confused and inaccurate information” that was “patently false.” [Star-Tribune (Minneapolis), 12/22/2002] Bowman’s unit was also involved in the failure to locate 9/11 hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi after their names were put on a watch list (see August 28-29, 2001). In early 2000, the FBI acknowledged serious blunders in surveillance Bowman’s unit conducted during sensitive terrorism and espionage investigations, including agents who illegally videotaped suspects, intercepted e-mails without court permission, and recorded the wrong phone conversations. [Associated Press, 1/10/2003] As Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and others have pointed out, not only has no one in government been fired or punished for 9/11, but several others have been promoted: [Salon, 3/3/2003]
March 8, 2002: The Suppression of Video Footage of the Pentagon Attack
It is striking that there is neither video footage nor any photographic evidence in the public domain showing a jetliner approaching or crashing into the Pentagon. As of May, 2006, the only video footage of the crash that has been released are clips from two Pentagon security cameras north of the crash site, one the source of 5 frames leaked in 2002. With the release of the two video clips, the Pentagon claims to have supplied all of the footage it has of the attack. Although the number and positions of security cameras monitoring the Pentagon is not public knowledge, it seems unlikely that only two security cameras captured the attack. Isn't it reasonable to assume that there were dozens, if not hundreds, of security cameras ringing the huge building that is the heart of the United States military establishment?
September 7, 2004: Senator Bob Graham Claims Cover up of Saudi Connection to Two 9/11 Hijackers
Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) alleges that the White House has covered up possible Saudi Arabian government connections to 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar. In an interview to promote his new book entitled Intelligence Matters, he contends that evidence relating to these two hijackers, who lived in San Diego, “present[s] a compelling case that there was Saudi assistance” to the 9/11 plot. [Graham and Nussbaum, 2004; Copley News, 9/7/2004] In the words of author Philip Shenon, Graham is “convinced that a number of sympathetic Saudi officials, possibly within the sprawling Islamic Affairs Ministry, had known that al-Qaeda terrorists were entering the United States beginning in 2000 in preparation for some sort of attack,” and that “Saudi officials had directed spies operating in the United States to assist them.” [Shenon, 2008, pp. 51] Graham also concludes that President Bush directed the FBI “to restrain and obfuscate” investigations into these ties, possibly to protect US-Saudi relations.
August 9, 2005: New York Times Reveals Able Danger Unit that Identified Four Hijackers Before 9/11
A front page article in the New York Times reveals the existence of a highly classified military intelligence unit called Able Danger, which had identified Mohamed Atta and three other 9/11 hijackers as likely members of an al-Qaeda cell operating in the United States more than a year before the attacks. [New York Times, 8/9/2005] Members of the unit had recommended that the FBI be called in to take out the cell, but Pentagon lawyers had blocked their request.
March 9, 2006: FBI Agent Testifying at Trial Blames FBI ‘Criminal Negligence’ for Not Stopping 9/11
FBI agent Harry Samit testifies at the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui (see March 6-May 4, 2006). Samit was one of the main agents involved in Moussaoui’s arrest and bombarded his superiors with messages about the danger Moussaoui posed (see August 21, 2001 and August 21, 2001). Under direct examination he relates what happened in August 2001 (see August 22, 2001). The prosecutor asks Samit several times what he would have done if Moussaoui had told the truth, and Samit is usually allowed by the judge to say how it would have helped the investigation and made 9/11 less likely. [US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division, 3/9/2006] However, under cross examination Samit says he was not fooled by Moussaoui’s lies and that he immediately suspected him of preparing to hijack an airplane, but the investigation was thwarted by FBI headquarters, and the Radical Fundamentalist Unit in particular. He admits that he told the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General that FBI headquarters was guilty of “obstructionism, criminal negligence, and careerism,” and that its opposition blocked “a serious opportunity to stop the 9/11 attacks.”
June 11, 2011: New Documents Claim Intelligence on Bin Laden, al-Qaeda Targets Withheld From Congress' 9/11 Probe
It was an exclusive story Truthout published May 23 in the wake of Bin Laden's death, focusing on a little-known intelligence unit ordered to stop tracking his movements prior to 9/11, that led Iron Man to contact Truthout to share previously undisclosed documents he recently obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which appear to cast further doubt on the official narrative and suggests high-level military and intelligence officials withheld key evidence from Congressional lawmakers probing the attacks.
September 8, 2011: FBI found ties between 9/11 hijackers and Saudis in Florida; Congress kept in dark
Just two weeks before the 9/11 hijackers slammed into the Pentagon and World Trade Center, members of a Saudi family abruptly left their luxury home near Sarasota, leaving a brand new car in the driveway, a refrigerator full of food, fruit on the counter — and an open safe in the master bedroom. In the weeks to follow, law enforcement agents not only discovered the home was visited by vehicles used by the hijackers, but phone calls were linked between the home and those who carried out the death flights — including leader Mohamed Atta — in discoveries never before revealed to the public.
Ten years after the deadliest attack of terrorism on U.S. soil, new information has emerged that shows the FBI found troubling ties between the hijackers and residents in the upscale community in southwest Florida, but the investigation wasn’t reported to Congress or mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report.
March 13, 2012: Classified documents contradict FBI on post 9/11probe of Saudis, Graham says
Graham would not disclose the content of the documents, which are marked “Secret,” but said the information they contain is at odds with the FBI’s public statements that there was no connection between the hijackers and Saudis then living in Sarasota. “There are significant inconsistencies between the public statements of the FBI in September and what I read in the classified documents,” Graham said. “One document adds to the evidence that the investigation was not the robust inquiry claimed by the FBI,” Graham said. “An important investigative lead was not pursued and unsubstantiated statements were accepted as truth.”
March 25, 2012: Secret Service Failures on 9/11: A Call for Transparency
The U.S. Secret Service failed to do its job on September 11, 2001 in several important ways. These failures could be explained if the Secret Service had foreknowledge of the 9/11 events as they were proceeding. That possibility leads to difficult questions about how the behavior of Secret Service employees might have contributed to the success of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Answering those questions will require the release of existing interview transcripts as well as follow-up questioning, under oath, of a few key people within the agency.
March 27, 2012: US acted to conceal evidence of intelligence failure before 9/11
"The plan was simple" Davis said. "Because the Taliban wanted American equipment for their new phone network, this would allow the FBI and NSA, the National Security Agency, to build extra circuits into all the equipment before it was flown out to Afghanistan for use. Once installed, these extra circuits would allow the FBI and NSA to record or listen live to every single landline and mobile phone call in Afghanistan. The FBI would know the time the call was made and its duration. They would know the caller's name, the number dialed, and even the caller's PIN."
April 10, 2013: Government Responds to 9/11 Records Request 11 Years Later
The conservative government accountability organization Judicial Watch recently received an official response letter to a Freedom of Information Act (FIOA) request the group submitted in September 2002 — nearly 11 years ago. “It is a sad reminder that when it comes to being accountable, when it comes to following the law, the federal government doesn’t give a rat’s tail,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton told The Daily Caller. “And this is why we have had to sue well over a hundred times to get access to government information.”
The initial request to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the National Security Agency, which languished under both the Bush and Obama administrations, was part of a larger Judicial Watch project looking into the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
April 18, 2013: Did the 9/11 hijackers have accomplices?
“My goal is to have the investigation reopened and do a full inquiry into the Saudi aspects and then make the results available to the American people,” Graham said.
Such an inquiry should not be led by the FBI, according to Graham.
“They are the ones who have significantly been responsible for us not knowing 10 years ago what the Saudi role was by withholding information and withholding witnesses,” he said.
May 8, 2013: Air Force Sidelines 17 ICBM Officers:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Air Force stripped an unprecedented 17 officers of their authority to control — and, if necessary, launch — nuclear missiles after a string of unpublicized failings, including a remarkably dim review of their unit's launch skills. The group's deputy commander said it is suffering "rot" within its ranks.
June 5, 2013: FBI: Knew About Saudi 9/11 Hijacker Ties—But Lied to Protect “National Security”
Mystery of Sarasota Saudis deepens as Justice moves to end FOI lawsuit citing national security
The FBI apparently has known for a decade about links between powerful Saudi interests and the alleged 9/11 hijackers, and has been forced to tacitly admit that it lied about it for all of these years.
In case the import is not clear, let us state emphatically: this is a huge development.
In court filings seeking to stave off a media Freedom of Information request, the FBI has stated that releasing documents relating to this issue will harm “national security.” As proof of the sensitivity of the matter, the FBI gave the judge a document dated April 4, 2002, in which the FBI states that its own inquiries “revealed many connections” between a well-connected Saudi family with a house in South Florida and “individuals associated with the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001.”
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September 11, 2001: NORAD Stands Down - 9/11 Live: The NORAD Tapes