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9.11 investigation

Prior Knowledge -- Part 1 of 2

This article provides a referenced introduction to some of the information available that leads to the conclusion that the government of the United States was aware of the possibility (if not likelihood) of the attacks that occurred on 9-11, and made decisions that allowed them to occur.
You are welcome and encouraged to share this document in whole or in part with others in any way except for profit. This is Part 1 of 2 parts. Prior Knowledge of 9-11 -- DRAFT -- ---> Please Comment <--- 1. Purpose and Scope This article provides a referenced introduction to some of the information available that leads to the conclusion that the government of the United States was aware of the possibility (if not likelihood) of the attacks that occurred on 9-11, and made decisions that allowed them to occur. Sections 2 and 3 provides some of the direct evidence of the prior knowledge of our government. The subsequent sections provide indirect or circumstantial evidence that shows how the actions of our leaders and our government, and how our history are consistent with the hypothesis that the attacks were preventable but allowed to happen. Section 3 examines the breathtaking failure of the Air Force to respond to defend our national airspace on 9-11. Section 4 examines the specific decisions made by our government that allowed the attacks. Section 5 examines the historical precedents for our government to employ deception to conduct warfare. Section 6 examines the evidence of possible motives for deciding not to prevent these attacks. 2. Direct Evidence of Prior Knowledge The direct evidence of Prior Knowledge in this section is a straightforward refutation of the two major statements of the administration about its failure to prevent the attacks: 2.1) "Prior to 9-11 such an attack was unthinkable;" 2.2) "Even if such a threat was conceivable, we had no detailed intelligence that was actionable (i.e. would have allowed us to prevent these specific attacks)." After providing this direct refutation of these positions, we summarize our conclusions in Section 2.3. Acknowledgements: The information in this section came mostly from Mike Ruppert's excellent timeline (http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/02_11_02_lucy.html); and from the links at Propaganda Matrix on prior knowledge (http://www.propagandamatrix.com/archiveprior_knowledge.html). 2.1 Statement by the administration: "Prior to 9-11, such an attack was unthinkable." 2.1.1 Refutation of the statement: "In 1994, Muslim militants from Algeria hijacked an Air France jetliner and killed three passengers before the terrorists were captured during a stop in Marseille. It came out that they had hoped to blow up the jet over the Eiffel Tower, debunking the notion that a suicidal airline attack on a prominent target was unthinkable before Sept. 11." (By The Associated Press | New York Times Thursday 16 May, 2002) 2.1.2 Refutation of the statement: "In 1995, six years before the Sept. 11 attacks, Philippine police took down an al Qaeda cell in Manila that, among other things, had been plotting to fly explosives-laden planes into the Pentagon -- and possibly some skyscrapers. The CIA knew about the plot, known as Operation Bojinka. So did the FBI. 'We told the Americans about the plans to turn planes into flying bombs as far back as 1995,' a Philippine inspector says. 'Why didn't they pay attention?' (Source: Matthew Brzezinski in the Sunday Post Magazine, December 30, 2001) 2.1.3 Refutation of the statement: "A file found on Yousef's computer consisted of a printout of U.S. airline schedules, which initially baffled investigators. The file, named Bojinka, listed the travel itineraries of 11 long-haul flights between Asia and the United States, mostly on United and American airlines. All the flights had several legs, and were grouped under five headings bearing code names of accomplices such as Zyed, Majbos or Obaid. Each accomplice would leave the bombs on the first leg of the flight, and then eventually return to locations like Lahore, Pakistan. Obaid, for instance, would fly from Singapore to Hong Kong on United Flight 80, which continued as United Flight 806 to San Francisco. Under the flight plan, Yousef had written: 'SETTING: 9:30 PM to 10:30 PM. TIMER: 23HR. BOJINKA: 20:30-21:30 NRT Date 5.' .....But, Philippine and U.S intelligence officials said, the Bojinka operation called for a second, perhaps even more ambitious phase, as interrogators discovered when they pressed Murad about his pilot's licence. All those years in flight school, he confessed, had been in preparation for a suicide mission. He was to buy, rent, or steal a small plane, fill it with explosives and crash it into CIA headquarters. There were secondary targets the terrorists wanted hit: U.S. Congress, the White House, the Pentagon and possibly some skyscrapers. The only problem, Murad complained, was that they needed more trained pilots to carry out the plot." (Source: Matthew Brzezinski in the Toronto Star) 2.1.4: Refutation of Statement: 'Murad's idea is that he will board any American commercial aircraft pretending to be an ordinary passenger, then he will hijack said aircraft, control its cockpit and dive it at the CIA headquarters,' one Filipino police report from 1995 said. 'There will be no bomb or any explosive that he will use in its execution. It is a suicidal mission that he is very much willing to execute,' it continued. (Source: Fox News, Tuesday, March 5, 2002) 2.1.5 Refutation of the Statement: Philippine police investigating a possible attack on the Pope uncover plans for Operation Bojinka, connected to World Trade Center (WTC) bomber Ramsi Youssef. Parts of the plan call for crashing hijacked airliners into civilian targets. Details of the plan are disclosed in Youssef's 1997 trial for the 1993 WTC bombing. [Source: Agence France-Presse, Dec. 7, 2001] 2.1.6 Refutation of the Statement: Oct. 24-26, 2000 - Pentagon officials carry out a "detailed" emergency drill based upon the crashing of a hijacked airliner into the Pentagon. [Source: The Mirror, May 24, 2002] 2.1.7 Refutation of the Statement: MI6 warned the American intelligence services about a plot to hijack aircraft and crash them into buildings two years before the September 11 attacks. Liaison staff at the American embassy in Grosvenor Square in London were passed a secret report by MI6 in 1999 after the intelligence service picked up indications from human intelligence sources (Humint) that Osama Bin Laden's followers were planning attacks in which civilian aircraft could be used in "unconventional ways". [Source: The London Times, June 9, 2002] 2.1.8 In any case, the possibility of suicide hijackings has been known to U.S. counter-terrorism officials for several years. On Christmas Eve 1994, Algerian terrorists hijacked an Air France Airbus and planned to blow it up over the Eiffel Tower in Paris. French troops stormed the plane as it was refueling in Marseilles and killed the hijackers. The hijackers' organization, the Armed Islamic Group, is now believed to be part of Bin Laden's Al Qaeda network. In 1996, a terrorist captured in Manila told Philippine police that Al Qaeda planned to hijack 11 U.S. airliners simultaneously and to fly a plane into CIA headquarters near Washington. [Los Angeles Times September 27, 2001] 2.1.9 In 1996 -- as reported by the German paper Die Welt on Dec. 6, and by Agence France Presse on Dec. 7 -- Western intelligence services, including the CIA, learned after arrests in the Philippines that Al Qaeda operatives had planned to crash commercial airliners into the Twin Towers. Details of the plan, as reported by a number of American press outlets, were found on a computer seized during the arrests. The plan was called "Operation Bojinka." Details of the plot were disclosed publicly in 1997 in the New York trial of Ramsi Youssef for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. [http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/051602_liewontstand.html] 2.2 Statement: "Even if such a threat was conceivable, we had no detailed intelligence that was actionable (i.e. would have allowed us to prevent these specific attacks)." 2.2.1 Refutation of the Statement: According to a story in Izvestia on Sept. 12, Russian intelligence warned the U.S. last summer that as many as 25 suicide pilots were training for suicide missions involving the crashing of airliners into important targets. 2.2.2 Refutation of the Statement: In an MSNBC interview on Sept. 15, Russian President Putin stated he had ordered Russian intelligence to warn the U.S. government "in the strongest possible terms" of imminent assaults on airports and government buildings before the attacks on Sept. 11. 2.2.3 Refutation of the Statement: Jordanian intelligence, the GID, makes a communications intercept deemed so important that King Abdullah's men relay it to Washington, probably through the CIA station in Amman. To make doubly sure the message got through it was passed through an Arab intermediary to a German intelligence agent. The message: A major attack was planned inside the U.S., and aircraft would be used. The code name of the operation was "The Big Wedding." "When it became clear that the information was embarrassing to Bush Administration officials and congressmen who at first denied that there had been any such warnings before Sept. 11, senior Jordanian officials backed away from their earlier confirmations." This case was authenticated by ABC reporter John K. Cooley. [Source: International Herald Tribune (IHT), May 21, 2002] 2.2.4 Refutation of Statement: Mossad officials traveled to Washington last month [August, 2001] to warn the CIA and the FBI that a cell of up to 200 terrorists was planning a major operation, according to a report in the Sunday Telegraph here yesterday. The paper said the Israeli officials specifically warned their counterparts in Washington that "large-scale terrorist attacks on highly visible targets on the American mainland were imminent." (Source: Jerusalem Post, September 17, 2001) 2.2.5 Refutation of the Statement: As reported in the German daily Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung (FAZ) on Sept. 14, the BND (German intelligence service) warned both the CIA and Israel in June that Middle Eastern terrorists were "planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture." 2.2.6 Refutation of the Statement: The National Security Agency intercepts telephone conversations between bin Laden aide Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Mohammed Atta and does not share the information with any other agencies. [Source: Jonathan Landay, Knight Ridder Newspapers, June 6, 2002] 2.2.7 July 2 FBI officials tell law enforcement agencies of threats to U.S. targets overseas. They say domestic attacks can't be ruled out. [Source: USA Today, ibid.] 2.2.8 July 6 White House officials meet to discuss what Rice later calls a "very high concern" about attacks in Paris, Rome and Turkey. Non-essential travel by U.S. counterterrorism staff is suspended. [Source: USA Today 06/04/2002 - http://www.usatoday.com/news/attack/index/missed-clues-timeline.htm] 2.2.9 mid-July Another "spike" in reported terrorism threats suggests that Bush might be a target during an economic summit in Italy, Rice says. CIA goes on a "full-court press" to disrupt possible attacks, Rice says. [Source: USA Today, ibid.] 2.2.10 Refutation of the Statement: July 2001 - The G8 summit at Genoa, Italy is surrounded by anti-aircraft guns, and local airspace is closed off after Italian and Egyptian officials (including President Hosni Mubarak) warn American intelligence that airliners stuffed with explosives might be used to attack President Bush. U.S. officials state that the warnings were "unsubstantiated." (But Italy took action by providing anti-aircraft artillery and missles.) [Source: Los Angeles Times, Sept. 27, 2001] 2.2.11 Refutation of the Statement: July 26, 2001 - CBS News reports that John Ashcroft has stopped flying commercial airlines due a threat assessment. Ashcroft told the press that he didn't know anything about what had caused it. 2.2.12 Refutation of the Statement: August 2001 - The FBI arrests an Islamic militant linked to bin Laden in Boston. French intelligence sources confirm that the man is a key member of bin Laden's network and the FBI learns that he has been taking flying lessons. At the time of his arrest the man is in possession of technical information on Boeing aircraft and flight manuals. [Source: Reuters, Sept. 13, 2001] 2.2.13 Refutation of the Statement: August 2001 - President Bush receives classified intelligence briefings at his Crawford, Texas ranch indicating that Osama bin Laden might be planning to hijack commercial airliners. [CBS News; CNN, May 15, 2002] (As far as I know, the details of this briefing have not yet been made available to the press or to the Congressional committee investigation.] 2.2.14 Refutation of the Statement: Sept. 10, 2001 - On Sept. 10, Newsweek has learned, a group of top Pentagon officials suddenly cancelled travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns. [Source: Newsweek, Sept. 24, 2001 issue, story by Evan Thomas] 2.2.15 Refutation of the Statement: The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said yesterday that the September 11 "hijackers could have been stopped" had U.S. officials acted on intelligence information available before the terrorist attacks. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, in an interview that aired yesterday on CNN, called September 11 the "worst example of what happens when information is not shared and is not acted upon." "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," Mr. Leahy said on CNN's "Novak, Hunt & Shields." [Reported in the Washington Times; June 9, 2002] 2.2.16 Refutation of the Statement: U.S. intelligence overheard al-Qaeda operatives discussing a major pending terrorist attack in the weeks prior to Sept. 11 and had agents inside the terror group, but the intercepts and field reports didn't specify where or when a strike might occur, according to U.S. officials. The disclosures add to a growing body of evidence to be examined in congressional hearings that open today into how the CIA, FBI and other agencies failed to seize on intelligence pointing to the deadliest terror attack in U.S. history. [USA Today, June 4, 2002] 2.2.17 FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged for the first time Wednesday [May 29, 2002] that the bureau failed to recognize potential clues to terrorist activity before Sept. 11, and that headquarters was not aggressive enough in investigating the man who now is the only person U.S. officials have charged in the attacks. In an unusual two-hour session with reporters, Mueller said that Special Agent Coleen Rowley, general counsel in the FBI's Minneapolis office, was "absolutely right" when she said in a letter last week that headquarters should have done more to help Minnesota agents' inquiry into Zaccarias Moussaoui last August. 2.2.18 Shortly after the attack, Le Monde reported on a meeting between French and U.S. intelligence: "Their discussion turned to some of the serious threats made against American interests in Europe, specifically one targeting the U.S. Embassy in Paris," Le Monde continued. "During these talks, the DST directed the American visitors' attention to a Moroccan-born Frenchman [Zaccarias Moussaoui] who had been detained in the United States since August 17 and who was considered to be a key high-level Islamic fundamentalist. But the American delegation, preoccupied above all with questions of administrative procedure, paid no attention to this 'first alarm,' basically concluding that they were going to take no one's advice, and that an attack on American soil was inconceivable. It took September 11 for the FBI to show any real interest in this man, who we now know attended two aviation training schools, as did at least seven of the kamikaze terrorists." [The Village Voice, Posted May 28th, 2002] 2.2.19 US authorities and special services were much better informed about the terrorist acts being prepared, than they try now to present it. One of these days, Kuwait Al-Kabas reported that Jordan and Moroccan special services gave CIA notice of Al-Qaida preparing an operation under code name "Great Wedding." Last summer, Jordan secret service intercepted several Al-Qaida reports about Great Wedding operation with aircraft. Jordan side reported about these data to CIA representative in US embassy in Amman. While Moroccan intelligence managed to inculcate its secret agent under name Hasan Dabu in a secret Al-Kaida cell in the US. The agent reported about preparing a series of terrorist acts in different US cities for summer-autumn of 2001. [Source: Pravda May 24, 2002] 2.2.20 The Associated Press reported earlier this month that FBI headquarters did not act on a memo last July 10 from its Phoenix Arizona office (also known as the Phoenix memo) from agent Kenneth Williams warning there were a large number of Arabs seeking pilot, security and airport operations training at at least one U.S. flight school and which urged a check of all flight schools to identify more possible Middle Eastern students. [Fox News May 16, 2002] The author of the Phoenix memo identified the students as possible terrorists because of their animosity towards America and speculated on the use of aircraft as weapons. [copy of memo at http://www.bvalphaserver.com/modules.php?name=Sections&sop=viewarticle&artid=402] 2.2.21 On May 23, 2002, ABC news reported that another source in the FBI who expressed concerns about the situation with flight training by Arabs in Phoenix. [ABC http://propagandamatrix.com/FBI_Warned_of_Sept_11_Hijacker.htm] 2.2.22 On Sept. 10, NEWSWEEK learned, a group of top Pentagon officials suddenly canceled travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns. [Newsweek, September 24 issue] 2.3 Conclusion The refutation in this section of official claims of being surprised shows that there were many reports given to the United States Government by our allies (including Israel, Germany, France, Russia, Egypt and Jordan) that provided urgent warnings during the summer of 2001 that an attack was immanent. Specifically, one of these warnings (particularly that from Russia (2.2.3), which indicated that up to 25 terrorists were taking intensive flight training) would have been sufficient to indicate that several of the threat scenarios identified in Section 2.1 were active and would have been sufficient to take action to prevent attacks on our primary symbolic targets. We have already experienced the importance of the WTC to terrorists in this regard; and we were additionally warned about the Pentagon (2.1.2). There is no evidence of ANY such action by our government to respond to this information by taking steps to protect commercial aviation or these targets; or even to alert them adequately. The intelligence was actionable enough for Ashcroft to stop flying commercial aircraft in early July, for the Genoa conference to be protected by massive surface to air missiles against air attack in late July, and for key officials of the Pentagon to cancel their flights on September 11. There is additional evidence, but this should suffice to make the point that there was sufficient information available to take action to reduce the risks of such threats. In addition to the direct evidence that there was definitely actionable information of these threats that was provided to us by our allies, it seems beyond credibility that our own intelligence services (who are funded at higher levels than all of the others combined) was not only unable to connect the dots presented here, but was unable to effectively to develop any useful information on this subject. Yet, that seems to be what we are being asked to believe. On the contrary, it seems the record shows that rather than taking ANY action along these lines from the information available, the government and the military were especially inattentive to the tasks of preventing these attacks. In Section 3, we will detail the incredible fact that after these warnings, throughout a major crisis in our airspace, no military aircraft were scrambled. In subsequent sections, we will examine the specific actions of our leaders during that day (Section 4), and of our government prior to and after the attack (Section 5). In the case of our leaders, their actions are consistent with the hypothesis of prior knowledge and lack of concern for prevention. In the case of our government, the record seems to indicate that the actions (which were extensive) they chose to take based on the knowledge presented in this section had very little to do with prevention. (In fact, the record shows some evidence of prior and continuing intentions to suppress effective investigation and preventive actions.) Instead they made plans for war with Afghanistan and the war on Terrorism. 3. NORAD Non-Response to Attacks It seems inconceivable in any case, and specifically in the case of all of these urgent warnings from the intelligence services of our allies, that the most powerful military power in the history of humanity and one that has emphasized and mastered air supremacy was completely incapable of defending the most sensitive air-spaces in our nations Capitol around the White House and the Pentagon. Yet, that seems to be what we are asked to believe. The most dramatic and clear evidence of the difficulties with this aspect of the official of story that the reason that the attacks were not prevented was due to a lack of information, occurs in the details of [the airline flight#] that was hijacked and hit the Pentagon. In brief, the plane that attacked the Pentagon was still in the air after both planes had hit the WTC. This flight originated at the Dulles Airport outside of Washington, DC. Fifty minutes before [this airline flight#] hit the Pentagon in was over Ohio and the FAA had closed the entire Northeast air corridor after realizing that multiple hijackings had occurred. How can it be possible that no air force resources were mobilized to protect Washington DC in the first place? Even without the direct knowledge that this plane had been hijacked and was heading to Washington DC from Ohio, one would think that the air force should have taken action to protect the area with just the information that several planes had been hijacked. The Pentagon was being evacuated as a precaution. However, it was clear by that time (30-50 minutes prior to impact) that this plane had been hijacked and was flying toward Washington DC. [Source: Jared Israel] Even if the government had no prior knowledge of the threat to aviation and symbolic targets from the warnings described above in Section 2, the government had clear knowledge that planes had been hijacked, were being used for weapons, and one was headed for Washington DC for much more than a half hour before it attacked the Pentagon. And NOTHING was done to prevent it. John Judge, at the National Press Club on June 10, 2002, described the high degree of protection and alert that are typical in Washington DC. The claim made by the Pentagon after the attack said that "we have no mechanism" for response to aircraft in this air space is a bald face deception. Routinely, ANY aircraft straying off-course are intercepted and led away from the area. This led John to hypothesize that a stand-down of defenses was the only reasonable way that such an absence of response might occur. [Many agree.] He gives three informal indications that this may have been the case, including one source who stated that "that three days before September 11th half of the combat ready planes in the United States were taken down offline;" and a report from another source who spoke with "pilots who were in the air the hour that the second plane hit the WTC, scrambled out of Otis, who turned their attention to Flight 77, the Pentagon flight, and made clear that they were going to go to try to intercept that flight coming back across from Ohio to DC and were called back, according to these pilots, were called back off the flight by the Command." [Source: http://www.unansweredquestions.org/transcript.php#john] John also points out that both the Pentagon and the White House have surface to air missiles to guard against such an attack. In the event, flight 77 also flew directly over the White House on its way to the Pentagon. In addition, the planes that were finally scrambled to intercept flight 77 were sent from from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia (which is over 100 miles south of the Pentagon) rather than from Andrews Air Force Base which is about 10 miles away. [Sources: NORAD press release dated September 19 on the use of Langly and John Judge on the readiness and proximity of Andrews AFB] To date no plausible explanation has been given for this extraordinary lapse in the defense of the airspace of our nation's Capitol; and no access has been given to any of the personnel involved in the events who might provide any answers beyond those provided by the NORAD press release (http://www.attackonamerica.net/8minutesaway.htm). It took NORAD over 8 days to provide this press release. NORAD is responsible for monitoring and defending the skies over the United States and Canada from threats from the air. Additional and extensive details on the absence of our military response can be found at MalcontentX and Jared Israel. This is the most breathtaking and inconceivable reality in the failure of our government to protect its citizens from these attacks. Because the interception of ANY aircraft who have strayed off-course in any of the NORAD airspace is routine and documented, the fact that there was no effective response in this case requires an explanation. How can it be in the environment of warnings experienced during the several months prior that no action was taken to protect the national capitol's airspace when it was known for more than 30 minutes (many would argue for at least 50 minutes) that 1) hijacked aircraft were being used as weapons and 2) such a hijacked aircraft was heading to Washington, DC? Although the answers given are generally a form of mumbled incompetence, the extremely high level of this lapse gives rise to at least a suspicion that such a lapse could not have occurred without some assistance. It is a cause for serious concern, serious questions, and much better answers than have been provided so far. 4. Actions of Our Government The actions of our government prior to 9-11 clearly indicate that the protection of its citizens from these threats was not a top priority: even by informing us of this threat. Throughout this time, particularly under the Bush administration, even the investigation of the threat by the FBI was strongly discouraged (see Section 5.3). After the event: 1) plans previously developed to attack Afghanistan were implemented forcefully (i.e. with the suppression disagreement as unpatriotic); 2) and all attempts to understand and investigate such a massive failure of so many protective mechanisms was suppressed (for nominally the same reason). The government now claims that it is too busy protecting us to answer any questions about how it happened that it was so incredibly unable to protect us from this threat. Those who have investigated and tested the system have determined that it is no safer than it was prior to 9-11 (except perhaps for the willingness of passengers to confront the terrorists in the future). This section identifies some of the specific decisions made by our government that allowed these attacks to occur. These decisions are part of the public record. [As I am writing this Time Magazine of August 4, 2002 is telling a similar story; but many of these details are missing from that story.] 4.1 Decisions to NOT Detain Osama Bin Laden President Clinton signed a finding authorizing the CIA to take custody of Bin Laden by any means necessary [?reference?]. Bush continued this policy [?reference?]. Although several opportunities to take custody of Osama Bin Laden have been refused by our government over the years, this is one of the most dramatic, widely reported and certainly the most recent. "A French newspaper claims a US intelligence agent met Osama bin Laden in a Gulf hospital two months before the terror attacks on New York. Le Figaro said the meeting took place between July 4 and 14 (of 2001), while bin Laden was being treated for a serious kidney ailment at the American Hospital in Dubai. During his stay at the hospital, bin Laden was visited by members of his family and the local representative of the CIA, said Le Figaro." [ Sources: The Mirror Sunday 4 August 2002; also credited was Ananova Ltd. There are many other sources (just google "Bin Laden" CIA Dubai July 2001). The original source is the Le Figaro article dated 10/31/01.] "Russia's president Vladimir Putin said in an interview released yesterday that he had warned the Clinton administration about the dangers posed by Bin Laden. 'Washington's reaction at the time really amazed me. They shrugged their shoulders and said matter-of-factly: 'We can't do anything because the Taliban does not want to turn him over'." [Source: The Guardian, Friday September 21, 2001 (remainder of this article is provided in Section 5.6] [There are several other prior examples where foreign government offered to "turn him over" to Clinton. I will include a few.] 4.2 Lack of Focus on Countering Terrorist Threat Although Clinton's administration held weekly meetings to monitor the activities of al Qaeda, the Bush team did not meet regularly on the subject and rarely at that. [Source: Counterspin broadcast 5/14/2002] Richard Clarke, Bush team's lead on counter-terrorism, in late July informed officials from a least a dozen federal agencies that "something very big is going to happen here and it is going to happen soon". [Source: Washington Post May 17, 2002] He was apparently unable to find others who were able to share the urgency of his concern. Richard Clarke, who had also been Clinton's lead on counter-terrorism, struggled for eight months with an administration that wanted nothing to do with the ideas of the previous administration. "The Bush administration sat on a Clinton-era plan to attack al-Qaida in Afghanistan for eight months because of political hostility to the outgoing president and competing priorities, it was reported yesterday. The plan, under which special forces troops would have been sent after Osama bin Laden, was drawn up in the last days of the Clinton administration but a decision was left to the incoming Bush team. However, a top-level discussion of the proposals took place only on September 4, a week before the al-Qaida attacks on New York and Washington. In the months in between, the plan was shuffled through the bureaucracy by an administration distrustful of anything to do with Bill Clinton and which appeared fixated on national missile defense and the war on drugs, rather than the struggle against terrorism." [Guardian, August 5, 2002] "The plan to take the counter-terrorist battle to al-Qaida was drafted after the attack on the warship the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000. Mr Clinton's terrorism expert, Richard Clarke, presented it to senior officials in December, but it was decided that the decision should be taken by the new administration. According to today's Time magazine, Mr Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger and Mr Clarke outlined the threat in briefings they provided for Condoleezza Rice, George Bush's national security adviser, in January 2001, a few weeks before she and her team took up their posts. At the key briefing, Mr Clarke presented proposals to "roll back" al-Qaida which closely resemble the measures taken after September 11. Its financial network would be broken up and its assets frozen. Vulnerable countries like Uzbekistan, Yemen and the Philippines would be given aid to help them stamp out terrorist cells. Crucially, the US would go after Bin Laden in his Afghan lair. Plans would be drawn up for combined air and special forces operations, while support would be channeled to the Northern Alliance in its fight against the Taliban and its al-Qaida allies. Mr Clarke, who stayed on in his job as White House counter-terrorism tsar, repeated his briefing for vice president Dick Cheney in February. However, the proposals got lost in the clumsy transition process, turf wars between departments and the separate agendas of senior members of the Bush administration. It was, the Time article argues, "a systematic collapse in the ability of Washington's national security apparatus to handle the terrorist threat". [Guardian, August 5, 2002) The Time report quotes Bush officials as well as Clinton aides as confirming the seriousness of the Clarke plan. The sources said it was treated the same way as all policies inherited from the Clinton era, and subjected to a lengthy "policy review process". The proposals were not re-examined by senior administration officials until April, and were not earmarked for consideration by the national security heads of department until September 4. "If we hadn't had a transition," a senior Clinton administration official is quoted as saying, "probably in late October or early November 2000, we would have had [the plan to go on the offensive] as a presidential directive." However, Donald Rumsfeld, the defense secretary, was more interested in the national missile defense plan, and the new attorney general, John Ashcroft, was more interested in using the FBI to fight the "war on drugs" and clamping down on pornography. In August, he turned down FBI requests for $50m for the agency's counter-terrorist program. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, appeals from the Northern Alliance's leader, Ahmed Shah Massoud, for more US aid fell on deaf ears. He was assassinated on September 9. On September 9, 2001 Donald Rumsfeld threatened to urge a veto if the Senate proceeds with a plan to divert $600 million from missile defense to counter-terrorism. This is additional confirmation of the administration's clear decision to give counter-terrorism a lower priority than other items on its agenda, such as missile defense. 4.3 Efforts to Suppress and Interfere with Investigations 4.3.1 In 1996, John O'Neil warned: "No longer is it just the fear of being attacked by international terrorist organizations overseas -- attacks against Americans and American interests overseas. A lot of these groups now have the capability and the support infrastructure in the United States to attack us here if they choose to do so." As head of counter terrorism in the FBI's New York office, he investigated the bombings of the World Trade Center (1993), Oklahoma City (1995), Dhahran (1996), the US Embassies in Africa (1998) and the USS Cole in Yemen (1999). Last August, the 30-year FBI veteran resigned to protest the Bush administration's obstruction of his investigations. He became Head of Security at the World Trade Center just days before Sept. 11; and he perished when he returned to a tower to help others. Former FBI Director Louis Freeh and the FBI's Deputy Director Tom Pickard were at his funeral. John O'Neil complained bitterly last summer [2001] that the United States was unwilling to confront Saudi Arabia over Osama bin Laden and that oil ruled American foreign policy, according to a new book published in France. [New York Times, November 12, 2001, referencing the French book Bin Laden: the forbidden truth, by Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie] We also know (as O'Neil probably did not) that the Bush administration was deeply involved in negotiations with the Taliban to construct a pipeline through the region from February until early August of 2001 (See Section 5.8). During this time he experienced his own abilities to investigate Bin Laden being severely curtailed, and his recommendations for action against Bin Laden being ignored. In July, shortly before his resignation, Bush explicitly orders the FBI to back off Osama Bin Laden, who had been the focus of his investigation. A good timeline on the events surrounding his departure from the FBI is found at: http://www.democrats.com/view.cfm?id=7479 When he arrived to assume his new responsibilities at the World Trade Center, he is reported to have said: "Get ready for an attack, and soon." The night before the attack, he was reported by the New Yorker as saying that he expected something very big to happen soon. He is also on record that Osama Bin Laden would try to complete his efforts to destroy the WTC. 4.3.2 One of the most remarkable things about the way that special agent Colleen Rowley was interfered with by the FBI is that the official in Washington who received her affidavit seeking permission to follow-up on the investigation of Zaccarias Moussaoui after his arrest modified the document before submitting it for approval. This sort of interference is extremely unusual, if not unheard of or illegal, because it is modifying the sworn submission of evidence. The usual practice would be to return it to the sender for modification. In this case the modifications made by the submitting officer at FBI Headquarters removed details that were relevant to the case and resulted in the request being denied. [interview with Mike Ruppert] SA Rowley's complaints received a lot of attention from the congress and the media. Specifically, the question that arises is: how could it be that no one connected Rowley's request with the previous memos from the Phoenix office about the highly suspicious activities of flight trainees there and the suggestion that other flight schools be canvassed [see sections 2.2.20 and 2.2.21 above for references to the Phoenix memos] or with the French identification of Zaccarias Moussaoui as a known terrorist [section 2.2.18]? "The extraordinary thing about Moussaoui's case-like the Phoenix memo-is that it was never brought to the attention of top officials in Washington who were, almost literally, sleepless with worry about an imminent terrorist attack. Nobody in the FBI or CIA ever informed anybody in the White House of Moussaoui's detention. That was unforgivable. "Do you think," says a White House antiterrorism official, "that if Dick Clarke had known the FBI had in custody a foreigner who was learning to fly a plane in midair, he wouldn't have done something?" [Time, August 2002] 4.3.3 Robert Wright's story is more difficult to piece together because he is on government orders to remain silent............... Wright has said that FBI bureaucrats "intentionally and repeatedly thwarted his attempts to launch a more comprehensive investigation to identify and neutralize terrorists." And that "FBI management failed to take seriously the threat of terrorism in the U.S." Wright was careful not to illegally disclose any confidential details about what he knew, but tears filled his eyes as he apologized to the families of September 11 victims for the Bureau's mistakes leading up to 9/11. [LA Weekly August 2-8, 2002] The implication of Wright's remarks seem to be that he and others were prevented from effectively pursuing terrorists that could have made a difference in preventing the 9-11 attacks. Wright chronicled his allegations against the Bureau in a complaint filed with the Inspector General's Office of the Department of Justice. The FBI, in turn, has threatened to discipline or fire Wright if he publicizes the details of the complaint. The Inspector General's Office has failed to act, referring the matter to Congress instead. And there, finally, investigators got interested, and called Wright in for an interview, said sources close to the investigation. It remains to be seen how far and how vigorously these leads will be pursued. [LA Weekly August 2-8, 2002] (The LA Weekly article indicates that some of the difficulties about making the details public is that they may have included aspects of the Oklahoma City bombing investigation that are embarrassing to the FBI. These aspects included evidence that Timothy McVeigh did not act alone and may have been aided by Muslim extremists.) 4.3.4 David Schippers, along with Judicial Watch, is representing Robert Wright. Schippers is most famous for his role as lead counsel spearheading the House impeachment of former President Bill Clinton. Based on the information that he received from Wright and other FBI agents, Schippers tried repeatedly during the summer of 2001 to talk with Attorney General Ashcroft or any senior FBI officials to take urgent action on these concerns. He was unsuccessful. He was unable to elicit ANY response from the agency. (Schippers is also interested in the rumors of embarrassments in the FBI investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing mentioned in the LA Weekly article.) 4.3.5 FBI and military intelligence officials in Washington say they were prevented for political reasons from carrying out full investigations into members of the Bin Laden family in the US before the terrorist attacks of September 11. US intelligence agencies have come under criticism for their wholesale failure to predict the catastrophe at the World Trade Centre. But some are complaining that their hands were tied. [Greg Palast, The Guardian -- November 7, 2001] Q: We spent a trillion dollars on intelligence the last decade, how did we not see the 9/11 attacks coming? A: the CIA and FBI were told not to look. .... Agents told if they look too closely at the Saudis, they could get their "head chopped off". Under Clinton the word was "go slow", after Bush it became "back off". There was a brick wall of resistance to any investigations involving the Saudis. ... During the few days after 9-11 when all commercial traffic was grounded, the Bush team organized chartered flights to pick up all Saudi nationals wishing to leave the country and took them home. This was undertaken against the objections of the FBI who obviously wanted to question them, especially members of the Bin Laden family. So you can see how far above the FBI this kind of interference goes. [Flashpoints Radio interview with Greg Palast, February 21, 2001 http://www.flashpoints.net/index-2002-02-21to27.html] 4.3.6 Heeding the pleas from the FBI's New York City office, where Mawn and O'Neill were desperate for new linguists and analysts, acting FBI director Pickard asked the Justice Department for some $50 million for the bureau's counter-terrorism program. He was turned down. In August, a bureau source says, he appealed to Attorney General Ashcroft. The reply was a flat no. [TIME, August 2002] 4.3.7 August 2001 - As reported in the IHT both a French magazine and a Moroccan newspaper simultaneously report that a Moroccan agent named Hassan Dabou had penetrated Al Qaeda to the point of getting close to bin Laden, who was "very disappointed" that the 1993 bombing had not toppled the WTC. Dabou was called to the U.S. after reporting this, which curtailed his ability to stay in touch with the organization and gather additional intelligence that might have prevented the attacks. [The IHT, May 21, 2002] 4.4 Prior Plans for War Against Afghanistan July 15, 2001 - Members of the G8, meeting in Genoa, Italy, discuss the Taliban, pipelines, and the handing over of Osama bin Laden. According to Pakistani representative Ambassador Naiz Naik, the U.S. delegation, led by former Clinton Ambassador to Pakistan Tom Simmons warned of a "military option" if the Taliban did not change position. [Source: Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, "Bin Laden: La Verite Interdite," pp76-7.] July 2001 - Immediately after the G8 Summit three American officials -- Tom Simmons (former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan), Karl Inderfurth (former assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs) and Lee Coldren (former State Department expert on South Asia) -- meet with Pakistani and Russian intelligence officers in Berlin and tell them that the U.S. is planning military strikes against Afghanistan in October. A French book released in November, "Bin Laden - La Verite Interdite," discloses that Taliban representatives often sat in on the meetings. British papers confirm that the Pakistani ISI relayed the threats to the Taliban. [Source: The Guardian, Sept. 22, 2001; the BBC, Sept. 18, 2001; The Inter Press Service, Nov. 16, 2001; Alexander's Gas and Oil Connections, Feb. 21, 2002] Sept. 9, 2001 - President George W. Bush is presented with detailed war plans to overthrow Al Qaeda, according to U.S. and foreign sources speaking to NBC News. [Source: MSNBC, May 16, 2002.] 4.5 Prior Movement of British Troops to Region Sept. 1-10 2001 - In an exercise, called Operation "Swift Sword" and planned for four years, 23,000 British troops are steaming toward Oman. Although the 9-11 attacks caused a hiccup in the deployment, the massive operation was implemented as planned. At the same time two U.S. carrier battle groups arrive on station in the Gulf of Arabia just off the Pakistani coast. Also at the same time, some 17,000 U.S. troops join more than 23,000 NATO troops in Egypt for Operation "Bright Star." All of these forces are in place before the first plane hits the WTC. [Sources: The Guardian; CNN; Fox; The Observer; International Law Professor Francis Boyle, the University of Illinois.] 4.6 Prior Movement of US Troops to Region According to a Sept. 26, 2001 story in Britain's The Guardian, correspondent David Leigh reported that "U.S. department of defense official, Dr. Jeffrey Starr, visited Tajikistan in January. The Guardian's Felicity Lawrence established that U.S. Rangers were also training special troops in Kyrgyzstan (during the summer of 2001). There were unconfirmed reports that Tajik and Uzbek special troops were training in Alaska and Montana." [I am sure that there are many other sources and examples of the movement of our forces to the region prior to 9-11] 4.7 Prior Threats to Afghanistan July 15, 2001 - Members of the G8, meeting in Genoa, Italy, discuss the Taliban, pipelines, and the handing over of Osama bin Laden. According to Pakistani representative Ambassador Naiz Naik, the U.S. delegation, led by former Clinton Ambassador to Pakistan Tom Simmons warned of a "military option" if the Taliban did not change position. [Source: Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, "Bin Laden: La Verite Interdite," pp76-7.] "The threats of war unless the Taliban surrendered Osama bin Laden were passed to the regime in Afghanistan by the Pakistani government, senior diplomatic sources revealed yesterday. The Taliban refused to comply but the serious nature of what they were told raises the possibility 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 pre-emptive strike in response to what he saw as US threats. 'The Americans indicated to us that in case the Taliban does not behave and in case Pakistan also doesn't help us to influence the Taliban, then the United States would be left with no option but to take an overt action against Afghanistan,' said Niaz Naik, a former foreign minister of Pakistan, who was at the meeting. 'I told the Pakistani government, who informed the Taliban via our foreign office and the Taliban ambassador here.'" [The Guardian -- September 21 2001] The interesting thing about this event is that, at the time, the Pakistani's were still the principle sponsors of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Many have interpreted this exchange, in this context, as a threat made as directly and publicly as possible under the circumstances of our not having diplomatic relations with the Taliban. The Pakistani diplomat reporting this exchange said clearly that the level of diplomats involved and the context were such that idle speculation of our intentions to attack the Taliban were not a possibility. 4.8 Prior Offers to Build Pipeline and Threats Until early August, the US government saw the Taliban regime "as a source of stability in Central Asia that would enable the construction of an oil pipeline across Central Asia" from the rich oilfields in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, through Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the Indian Ocean. Until now, says the book, "the oil and gas reserves of Central Asia have been controlled by Russia. The Bush government wanted to change all that." [Bin Laden: the forbidden truth, Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie] According to this book, the Bush administration began to negotiate with the Taliban immediately after coming into power in February. US and Taliban diplomatic representatives met several times in Washington, Berlin and Islamabad. During the course of these negotiations, the two parties were unable to agree upon a deal, because our negotiating agents constantly upped the ante on the rather naive Taliban representatives: playing intimidation, bait & switch, and "shell" games relentlessly. The Taliban negotiators, understandably, became distrustful of the entire process, and less and less confident they were being dealt with in good faith. In July, possibly as a way to mollify the Taliban, Bush directs FBI to back off Osama Bin Laden. [Recently released French Book, "Bin Laden, La Verite Interdite" (Bin Laden, the Forbidden Truth] John O'Neil resigns from the FBI, a few weeks later. The last meeting between US and Taliban representatives took place in early August, five weeks before the attacks on New York and Washington, the analysts maintain. On that occasion, Christina Rocca, in charge of Central Asian affairs for the US government, met the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan in Islamabad. The Taliban representatives were reportedly told: Accept our offer of "a carpet of gold or you'll get a carpet of bombs." On August 6, just a few days after this threat is delivered to the Taliban, Bush receives a very serious terrorist attack warning. (The White House has refused to make the details of this briefing clear.] At this point, it should have been clear to the Bush that, having just four days before threatened the Taliban with military action, there would be a very good chance that something serious might happen, perhaps in the nature of a preemptive strike. And Bush decides against taking serious action on the counter these threats.

Better Format here 09.Aug.2002 12:08

ananda

I tried to post a correction to this
format here, but it did not make it.

You can find this in a better format
here.