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9.11 investigation

More Lies from the Middle-East

Does anyone buy this crap
Saudi Cash: OK, let's see if I have the story straight. In 1998, the wife of the Saudi ambassador to the United States receives a letter from a Jordanian-born woman in San Diego, a woman she has never before heard of, who tells her that she is facing high medical bills. The Saudi princess authorizes a wire transfer of $2,000 a month from her account in Washington to the account of the San Diego woman. Over the next three years, tens of thousands of dollars are transferred from Washington to San Diego, apparently without any questions asked.

Now, by an amazing coincidence, it turns out that the woman who received the money is married to a man who gave money and help to two of the 9/11 hijackers.

All weekend, Saudi spokesmen covered the talk shows, denouncing the possibility that there could be anything suspicious in this connection. And given the long record of Saudi generosity, who can doubt that the princess's story must be true?

Intelligence Failure: Whether Princess Haifa was privy to it or not, it is becoming more and more evident that the 9/11 attack involved much more than just a handful of conspirators. The attackers drew support from across the Arab world and from sleeper cells inside this country. It's not easy to conceal a plot in which so many people play a part. So how did US intelligence miss it? Why was America caught so utterly by surprise?

According to a brilliant story by Heather Mac Donald in the current City Journal, America's ignorance was self-inflicted. More precisely: America's ignorance was inflicted upon it by political and media elites who feared their own cops more than they feared terrorists. Remember that legacy Bill Clinton was looking for? According to MacDonald, we found it on 9/11.

"[I]nhibitions [upon intelligence-gathering] reached their peak destructiveness with Attorney General Reno's 'Procedures for Contacts Between the FBI and the Criminal Division Concerning Foreign Intelligence and Foreign Counterintelligence Investigations,' issued in July 1995. Immediately dubbed 'the Wall'" the 1995 guidelines erected a mind-boggling and ultimately lethal set of impediments to cooperation among all relevant anti-terrorist personnel.

"Let's say—and this is a purely hypothetical example—that David Dell, an agent in the New York FBI office, has a [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] wiretap on Abdul Muhammad, an Islamic fundamentalist Yemeni affiliated with a suspected al-Qaida support cell in Brooklyn. Muhammad is not yet tied to any crime or criminal conspiracy; Dell is surveilling him to determine the extent of al-Qaida strength in New York. In a phone conversation with a fellow Yemeni in Pakistan, Muhammad mentions a dying swan and several Muslim names that Dell does not recognize. Several desks away in the FBI's downtown office, Sam Simpson is investigating the al-Qaida bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000. Simpson also worked on the al-Qaida bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998, for which he traveled to Yemen and Kenya to execute warrants.

"In a sane system, Dell and Simpson would be able to talk to each other about their cases, for although Dell doesn't recognize the names and swan references in Abdul's recent conversation, Simpson came across some of the named men while he was in Kenya and recognizes the code that Abdul is using. The content of the Abdul intercept would help Simpson's criminal case, and Simpson's knowledge of the code and identities of the men would help Dell map out the extent and possible goals of the Brooklyn cell. And if Dell interviews Muhammad, in a sane world Simpson would be in on the interview, since he might recognize the significance of some of Muhammad's replies in a way that Dell could not, and he would then be able to press Muhammad immediately for further information. Simpson might even suggest to Dell that he expand his surveillance to a grocer in Brooklyn, suspected of running an informal credit scheme, or hawallah, that may have sent money to the USS Cole conspirators.

"That reasonable (and, to repeat, entirely hypothetical) scenario is not the world of the Wall. Under the Wall, Dell and Simpson may not talk to each other, because Dell is receiving FISA information, and Simpson is working on a criminal case against terrorists. If Dell wants to pass any information to Simpson "over the Wall," he first has to get permission from FBI headquarters in Washington, which then notifies the OIPR. If permission is granted, which is by no means certain, someone from the OIPR has either to come from Washington to New York or monitor all further communications between Dell and Simpson over the phone. This bureaucratic Rube Goldberg machine radically chills communication, of course; but the deeper problem is that without Simpson's expertise, Dell may not even recognize the significance of the information he is receiving, and so it may not even occur to him to request a Wall bypass. And as far as Simpson's offering suggestions to Dell about other targets that would strengthen both their investigations, forget about it."

Read the whole story, and you'll appreciate why David Brooks has complained that if there were any justice in journalism, McDonald would be lining her mantlepiece with Pulitzer Prizes.

Gingrich On First: In Sunday's New York Times Magazine, James Traub asks why Bill Clinton, "the man who defined the 90's as Reagan did the 80's seems to have left a much less lasting imprint on his party than Reagan did." It's a question we're going to be hearing often as the Democrats search for explanations of their '02 defeat.

It's a question many conservatives may have trouble taking seriously. It's like asking "why didn't Chester Arthur leave as lasting an imprint as Abraham Lincoln?" It's just not the nature of shifty political operators to leave much in the way of a legacy behind them - except for a lingering wonder (admiring wonder among their supporters, astounded wonder among their opponents): "How did he get away with it?"

Above all things, Clinton hated making decisions. That's why he kept talking and talking and talking - admittedly very cleverly, but in the end, utterly uselessly. What Clinton liked was not political achievement but political maneuver, and of that art he was one of the most skillful practitioners since James G. Blaine.

For six years after 1994, Clinton cunningly beat back the Gingrich insurgency. Sometimes he stole their ideas. Sometimes he discredited their ideas. But ever and always, the ideas at play in the 1990s were the ideas of Clinton's opponents.

Gingrich lost every hand to Clinton. But the politics of the 1990s were always his game.

That Ledeen Deposition: A reader alerts me that the Ledeen deposition I mentioned last week can be found at a site I am very glad to learn of: web.archive.org. Four years later, Michael's dry wit under cross-examination still makes for entertaining reading.
US ties to Saudi Elites (2-Part series) 25.Nov.2002 19:29

Boston Herald

U.S. ties to Saudi elite may be hurting war on terrorism
by Jonathan Wells, Jack Meyers and Maggie Mulvihill
Monday, December 10, 2001

First of two parts.

A steady stream of billion-dollar oil and arms deals between American corporate leaders and the elite of Saudi Arabia may be hindering efforts by the West to defeat international Islamic terrorism.

U.S. business and political leaders are so wedded to preserving the gilded American-Saudi marriage that officials in Washington D.C. continue to give the oil-rich Gulf monarchy a wide berth, despite mounting evidence of support in Saudi Arabia for Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, some experts say.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, Saudi Arabia has been a reluctant ally, refusing to let the U.S. use Saudi bases as staging areas for military operations in Afghanistan.

The Saudis have also balked at freezing the assets of organizations linked to bin Laden and international terrorism, some of which are Saudi-run. Just last week, Bush administration officials embarked on their second trip this month to the kingdom to try to convince the Saudi government to cooperate.

``If there weren't all these other arrangements - arms deals and oil deals and consultancies - I don't think the U.S. would stand for this lack of cooperation,'' said William Hartung, a foreign policy and arms industry expert at the World Policy Institute. ``Because of those relationships, they have to tread lightly.''

The Saudi government's refusal to publicly join the war against terrorism is rooted in its own fragile internal politics, experts say. Inside the gulf monarchy there is a deepening schism between the authoritarian ruling elite and a politically powerless populace burdened by a rapidly declining standard of living. The Saudi royal family, headed by the ailing King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, is seen by many in the country as bloated and corrupt.

On top of that, the Saudi people, most of whom adhere to a particularly harsh brand of conservative Islam called Wahabbism, have become increasingly anti-American, alienated by their leaders' extensive dealings with the non-Islamic West. This anger was revealed starkly in the days following Sept. 11, when it was learned that 15 of the 19 suicide hijackers were Saudis.

Nevertheless, the Saudi elite and corporate America continue to do big business and reap the rich rewards of their close and longstanding associations.

Jean Charles Brisard, a French security expert and co-author of the recently released book, ``Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth,'' said the American addiction to Saudi oil and arms money threatens to undermine national security in the West.

``We have to have a critical look at 50 years of foreign policy,'' Brisard said. ``We've had to close our eyes to the support (from Saudi Arabia) of the radical fundamentalists.''

Brisard and other analysts say the extensive U.S.-Saudi collaboration is increasingly risky because to Bin Laden, a Saudi exile, and other Islamic terrorists, it is an unforgivable betrayal of Islam.

Bin Laden has already declared his aim of overthrowing the Saudi royal family and expelling all Americans and other Westerners from the kingdom's soil.

A Herald examination of corporate records, intelligence reports and published accounts - as well as interviews with terrorism and foreign policy experts - reveals an extraordinary array of U.S.-Saudi business ventures which, taken together, are worth tens of billions of dollars.

They range from deals to pipe oil and natural gas out of former Soviet republics and develop Saudi Arabia's own vast natural gas reserves, to lucrative but rarely talked about arrangements pairing private U.S. military contractors with virtually every branch of the Saudi armed forces.

In the oil industry, U.S.-Saudi ventures include:

Two consortiums involving U.S. oil giant Unocal and a pair of private Saudi oil firms - Delta Oil and Nimir Petroleum - which won rights in the mid-1990s to develop Azerbaijan's vast oil reserves. Both are multi-billion-dollar deals.

Another American-Saudi venture between U.S.-based Amerada Hess and Delta Oil - called Delta-Hess - has won the rights to drill in two other oil fields in Azerbaijan. Delta-Hess is also part of a group in line to build a $2.4 billion oil pipeline from Azerbaijan to Turkey.

A 1998 joint venture between Texaco and Nimir Petroleum has already begun drilling in a 1.5 billion barrel oil field in Kazakhstan.

For the last 13 years, half of Texaco's refining and marketing operations in the U.S. have been owned by Saudi Aramco, the government-owned company that controls all of Saudi Arabia's vasts oil reserves.

This year, some of the biggest U.S. oil firms were tapped by the Saudi government to undertake a $25 billion project to extract and sell 220 trillion cubic feet of the kingdom's natural gas.


One of the most revealing examples of how U.S.-Saudi business interests seep into foreign diplomacy is a major pipeline deal in the 1990s that almost resulted in the U.S. recognizing the Taliban regime as the legitimate government in Afghanistan.

In 1995, U.S. oil giant Unocal formed a partnership with the Saudi-owned Delta Oil and mounted a high-stakes international lobbying campaign to build oil and natural gas pipelines from oil fields in Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan and Pakistan, and out to the Arabian Sea.

The Unocal-Delta consortium, which included firms from Indonesia, Japan, Korea and Pakistan, reportedly reached a tentative agreement in January 1998 with the Taliban government under which the oil companies would pay the radical Islamic regime for the right to run oil and gas through their country.

The consortium, called CentGas, was prepared to pay the Taliban more than $100 million a year.

Unocal spokesman Barry Lane downplayed the company's dealings with the Taliban, insisting that the oil firm also discussed the pipeline deal with opposition factions in Afghanistan.

``No agreements were reached with anybody, outside of Turkmenistan and Pakistan,'' Lane said. ``This was not an Afghanistan project. Afghanistan was not the focus.''

In 1996, the Islamic extremist Taliban faction effectively gained control of Afghanistan. From 1996 to 1998, as Unocal and Delta executives were talking to the Taliban, the fundamentalist regime was allowing bin Laden and his al-Qaeda organizations set down roots in their country.

But before the pipeline deal could go through, Unocal needed the U.S. to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government in Afghanistan. To that end, company representatives arranged high-level meetings between the Taliban and State Department officials in Washington, D.C.

On at least one occasion, in December 1997, Unocal officials played host to high-ranking Taliban leaders in Texas. The American oil executives reportedly wined and dined them and took them on a shopping spree.

One of the Unocal representatives dining with the Taliban was Zalmay M. Khalilzad. Khalilzad, a former assistant undersecretary of defense in the first Bush administration, was working for Cambridge Energy Research Associates on Unocal's behalf and advocating that the Clinton administration ``engage'' with the Taliban.

Now Khalilzad is on President Bush's National Security Council and is a key adviser in the administration's quest to destroy the Taliban.

Despite the four-year effort by the Unocal-Delta consortium, which cost the U.S. firm $15 million, the pipeline project collapsed in late 1998 after terrorists allegedly under the direction of bin Laden bombed two U.S. embassies in Africa. Then-president Clinton responded by firing cruise missiles at a suspected bin Laden bunker in Afghanistan.

``There was this idea that as bad as (the Taliban) were on human rights, they were going to create a level of stability that would allow things to take place, such as this pipeline deal,'' said Hartung.


The financial bond welding the U.S. and Saudi governments begins with oil but it doesn't end there.

Between 1990 and 1999, the Saudi government paid U.S. arms makers $30 billion for a wide array of weaponry - including F-15 fighter aircraft, M-1A2 Abrams tanks, and Apache attack helicopters - as well as for the training necessary to operate and maintain the U.S.-made arsenal, according to Department of Defense statistics. Those arms and technology deals are, by law, publicly disclosed.

What is less known, however, is that for the last 25 years Saudi Arabia's rulers have also employed a handful of politically connected American companies to buttress the monarchy's military and internal security forces.

These secretive U.S. firms, sometimes referred to as ``spook outfits,'' earned billions of dollars over the last decade alone, equipping, training and managing virtually all branches of the Saudi Arabian armed forces.

As a result of these contracts, tens of thousands of American workers and their families have lived and still live on Saudi soil. This year, private American military companies placed an estimated 35,000 to 40,000 workers inside the kingdom, according to the Congressional Research Service, a non-partisan adjunct to the Library of Congress.

For many Saudi Islamic fundamentalists who oppose the royal family's longstanding alliance with the west, that heavy U.S. presence is deeply offensive.

Because of this, U.S. officials are reluctant to talk about private American military companies operating inside Saudi Arabia.

David DesRoches, a spokesman for the Defense Department, said access to information about U.S. activities inside Saudi Arabia is limited because public disclosures could compromise Saudi security. He also said Saudi officials raise objections when the U.S. releases this sort of data. ``The Saudis are touchy,'' DesRoches said.

The work being done by private U.S. military contractors inside Saudi Arabia is sanctioned by the Pentagon and much of it is carried out by retired U.S. military personnel.

Those companies are working or have recently worked with the Saudi Arabian air force, marines, navy, and national guard. One U.S. firm, O'Gara Protective Services, has been hired directly to guard members of the royal family.

The following U.S. firms are among those bolstering Saudi Arabia's armed services:

Vinnell Corp., a subsidiary of TRW, is currently in its 26th year of helping ``modernize'' the Saudi Arabian National Guard. The most recent five-year contract, awarded in 1998, was estimated at $831 million and involved 280 U.S. government personnel and 1,400 Vinnell representatives.
Vinnell has a long history of working side-by-side with U.S. intelligence agents and armed forces personnel. In the 1960s and 1970s, Vinnell earned hundreds of millions of dollars in Vietnam, first building U.S. bases and later blowing them up following the U.S. withdrawal.

The firm also engaged in some secret programs in Vietnam. In a March 1975 Village Voice interview, a Pentagon official called Vinnell ``our own little mercenary army.''

Vinnell's parent company, BDM, also has had numerous contracts in Saudi Arabia.
From 1995 to 1997, a BDM subsidiary, BDM Federal, had a $50 million contract ``developing, implementing and maintaining logistics, supply, computer, reconnaissance, intelligence and engineering plans and programs'' for the Saudi air force. The pact put 400 BDM employees in Saudi Arabia.

In 1996 and 2000, BDM Federal won two contracts: $44.4 million deal to build housing at the Khamis Mushayt military base in Saudi Arabia and a $65 million contract to provide 845 personnel for maintenance of Saudi Arabia's fleet of U.S.-made F-15 fighter jets.

Until 1998 when BDM was purchased by defense giant TRW, its largest stockholder was the Carlyle Group, an influential Washington, D.C., investment firm loaded with former high-ranking national security officials.

Science Applications International Corp., based in San Diego, had two recent contracts totaling $166 million to upgrade the Royal Saudi Naval Forces' communications and command systems.

Booz, Allen & Hamilton, based in McLean, Virginia, had a five-year contract, which apparently ended in January 2000, working for the Saudi Naval Forces. At the time it was awarded, the Pentagon estimated the contract at $21.8 million. Officials would not disclose any details about the contract's final value or current status.

Tomorrow: High-ranking U.S. policy makers who have made a bundle in deals with the Saudis.
Bush Advisers Cashed In on Saudi Gravy Train

official control 25.Nov.2002 21:11


How did the Saudis manage to get the Air Force to stand-down on September 11?

Very clever conspirators, eh?

The Official Stand-Down Order

At 9:25, [FAA Administrator Jane] Garvey, in an historic and admirable step, and almost certainly after getting an okay from the White House, initiated a national ground stop, which forbids takeoffs and requires planes in the air to get down as soon as reasonable.
The order, which has never been implemented since flying was invented in 1903, applied to virtually every single kind of machine that can takeoff - civilian, military, or law enforcement.

CityJournal is part of the Rockefeller-CIA disinformation network, btw --- in case you didn't know.