Originally published at Aljazeera America by Jason Leopold on 10/30/13
The National Security Agency advised its officials to cite the 9/11 attacks as justification for its mass surveillance activities, according to a master list of NSA talking points.
The document, obtained by Al Jazeera through a Freedom of Information Act request, contains talking points and suggested statements for NSA officials (PDF) responding to the fallout from media revelations that originated with former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Invoking the events of 9/11 to justify the controversial NSA programs, which have caused major diplomatic fallout around the world, was the top item on the talking points that agency officials were encouraged to use.
Under the subheading “Sound Bites That Resonate,” the document suggests the statement “I much prefer to be here today explaining these programs, than explaining another 9/11 event that we were not able to prevent.”
NSA head Gen. Keith Alexander used a slightly different version of that statement when he testified before Congress on June 18 in defense of the agency’s surveillance programs.
Asked to comment on the document, NSA media representative Vanee M. Vines pointed Al Jazeera to Alexander’s congressional testimony on Tuesday, and said the agency had no further comment. In keeping with the themes listed in the talking points, the NSA head told legislators that “it is much more important for this country that we defend this nation and take the beatings than it is… Continue reading
By Peter Dale Scott
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 29, No. 1, July 29, 2013
For almost two centuries American government, though always imperfect, was also a model for the world of limited government, having evolved a system of restraints on executive power through its constitutional arrangement of checks and balances.
Since 9/11 however, constitutional practices have been overshadowed by a series of emergency measures to fight terrorism. The latter have mushroomed in size, reach and budget, while traditional government has shrunk. As a result we have today what the journalist Dana Priest has called two governments: the one its citizens were familiar with, operated more or less in the open: the other a parallel top secret government whose parts had mushroomed in less than a decade into a gigantic, sprawling universe of its own, visible to only a carefully vetted cadre – and its entirety…visible only to God.1
More and more, it is becoming common to say that America, like Turkey before it, now has what Marc Ambinder and John Tirman have called a deep state behind the public one.2 And this parallel government is guided in surveillance matters by its own Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, which according to the New York Times, “has quietly become almost a parallel Supreme Court.”3 Thanks largely to Edward Snowden, it is now clear that the FISA Court has permitted this deep state to expand surveillance beyond the tiny number of known and suspected Islamic terrorists, to any incipient protest movement that might challenge the policies of the American war machine.…Continue reading
by Peter Dale Scott
November 22, 2011
Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus (The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 9, Issue 47 No 2)
I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency [the National Security Agency] and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.” – Senator Frank Church (1975)
I would like to discuss four major and badly understood events – the John F. Kennedy assassination, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11. I will analyze these deep events as part of a deeper political process linking them, a process that has helped build up repressive power in America at the expense of democracy.
In recent years I have been talking about a dark force behind these events — a force which, for want of a better term, I have clumsily called a “deep state,” operating both within and outside the public state. Today for the first time I want to identify part of that dark force, a part which has operated for five decades or more at the edge of the public state. This part of the dark force has a name not invented by me: the Doomsday Project, the Pentagon’s name for the emergency planning “to keep the White House and Pentagon running during and after a nuclear war or some other major crisis.”1
My point is a simple and important one: to show that the Doomsday Project of the 1980s, and the earlier emergency planning that developed into it, have played a role in the background of all the deep events I shall discuss.…Continue reading
By Kevin Fenton
Although the story of the CIA’s actions in the run-up to 9/11 is complicated, at a fairly early point in any examination of them it becomes clear the agency committed multiple failures, and that these failures enabled the attacks to go forward. The key issue that remains in dispute ten years on is whether these “failures” were deliberate or simply the product of overwork and incompetence. Making an informed judgment means taking the time to look at all the failures, put them in order, and analyze what it all means.
Perhaps the most comprehensible problem is the scope of the CIA’s failings. There was not one error by some lowly neophyte, but a massive string of failures. As Tom Wilshire, one of the key CIA officials involved in the withholding of the information commented to the Congressional Inquiry, “[E]very place that something could have gone wrong in this over a year and a half, it went wrong. All the processes that had been put in place, all the safeguards, everything else, they failed at every possible opportunity. Nothing went right.”
In addition, some of the failures were extremely serious. For example, the alleged failure by Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, to inform CIA Director George Tenet that Flight 77 hijacker Khalid Almihdhar was in the country in August 2001 is simply beyond comprehension. Added to this, the failures were committed by a small group of intelligence officers, centered on Wilshire and his… Continue reading
This is Part II of our three-part one-of-a-kind interview series with author and researcher Paul Thompson. For additional background information please visit the complete 9/11 Timeline Investigative Project at HistoryCommons.org and Richard Clarke’s interview by John Duffy and Ray Nowosielski at SecrecyKills.com .
Paul Thompson joins us to discuss the latest revelations by former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke and his explosive allegations against three former top CIA officials — George Tenet, Cofer Black and Richard Blee — accusing them of knowingly withholding intelligence about two of the 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, who had entered the United States more than a year before the attacks. He provides us with… Continue reading
This is Part I of our three-part one-of-a-kind interview series with author and researcher Paul Thompson. For additional background information please visit the complete 9/11 Timeline Investigative Project at HistoryCommons.org and Richard Clarke’s interview by John Duffy and Ray Nowosielski at SecrecyKills.com .
Paul Thompson joins us to discuss the latest revelations by former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke and his explosive allegations against three former top CIA officials — George Tenet, Cofer Black and Richard Blee — accusing them of knowingly withholding intelligence about two of the 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, who had entered the United States more than a year before the attacks. He provides us with the most comprehensive history and context… Continue reading
Just one of the Legacies of 9/11
by Kevin Fenton Boilingfrogs
Two of the terrorist hijackers who flew a jet into the Pentagon, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, communicated while they were in the United States to other members of al Qaeda who were overseas. But we didn’t know they were here, until it was too late.
The authorization I gave the National Security Agency (NSA) after September the 11th helped address that problem in a way that is fully consistent with my constitutional responsibilities and authorities. The activities I have authorized make it more likely that killers like these 9/11 hijackers will be identified and located in time.
-President Bush, December 17, 2005
In the aftermath of 9/11, reams of newsprint were given over to discussing the CIA and FBI failures before the attacks; the agency had some of the hijackers under surveillance and allegedly lost them, the bureau was unable even to inform its own acting director of the Zacarias Moussaoui case. However, the USA’s largest and most powerful intelligence agency, the National Security Agency, got a free ride. There was no outcry over its failings, no embarrassing Congressional hearings for its director. Yet, as we will see, the NSA’s performance before 9/11 was shocking.
It is unclear when the NSA first intercepted a call by one of the nineteen hijackers. Reporting indicates it began listening in on telephone calls to the home of Pentagon hijacker Khalid Almihdhar’s wife some time around late 1996. However, although Almihdhar certainly… Continue reading
by Philip Shenon
September 10, 2010
The Daily Beast.com
Why didn’t the commission investigating the devastating 2001 al Qaeda attacks thoroughly scrub the NSA’s files? Philip Shenon on the crucial records the government has never explored.
Are many of the secrets of 9/11 still hidden in top-secret government files?
Almost certainly, say former staff members of the 9/11 Commission. With the nation scheduled to mark the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks this weekend, former staffers tell The Daily Beast it is clear that the 9/11 Commission, which went out of business in 2004, failed to conduct a thorough inspection of the government’s most important library of raw intelligence on al Qaeda and the 9/11 plot. And nobody appears to have inspected that intelligence since.
The archives, maintained by the National Security Agency at its headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, were reviewed — in a cursory fashion — only in the final days of the commission’s investigation, and then only because of last-minute staff complaints that the NSA’s vast database was being ignored.
Throughout its investigation, staffers complained, the commission’s leaders were fixated on what could be found in the terrorism files of the CIA and the FBI, the two big targets for criticism in the panel’s final report, and largely ignored the NSA, the government’s chief eavesdropping agency.
When the commission did get into… Continue reading
January 08, 2010
by Paul Craig Roberts
What are we to make of the failed Underwear Bomber plot, the Toothpaste, Shampoo, and Bottled Water Bomber plot, and the Shoe Bomber plot? These blundering and implausible plots to bring down an airliner seem far removed from al-Qaida’s expertise in pulling off 9/11.
If we are to believe the U.S. government, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged al-Qaida “mastermind” behind 9/11, outwitted the CIA, the NSA, indeed all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies as well as those of all U.S. allies including Mossad, the National Security Council, NORAD, Air Traffic Control, Airport Security four times on one morning, and Dick Cheney, and with untrained and inexperienced pilots pulled off skilled piloting feats of crashing hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center towers, and the Pentagon, where a battery of state of the art air defenses somehow failed to function.
After such amazing success, al-Qaida would have attracted the best minds in the business, but, instead, it has been reduced to amateur stunts.
The Underwear Bomb plot is being played to the hilt on the TV media and especially on Fox “news.” After reading recently that The Washington Post allowed a lobbyist to write a news story that preached the lobbyist’s interest, I wondered if the manufacturers of full body scanners were behind the heavy coverage of the Underwear Bomber, if not behind the plot itself. In America, everything is for sale. Integrity is gone with the wind.
Recently I read a column by an author who has a “convenience theory” about the Underwear Bomber being a Nigerian allegedly trained by al-Qaida in Yemen.…Continue reading
The Corbett Report
17 July, 2009
Government sources immediately began blaming North Korea for the recent cyberterror attacks on South Korea and the U.S., despite having no evidence to back up those claims. Now, an examination of the evidence by independent computer experts show that the attack seems to have been coordinated from the UK. The hysterical media coverage in the attack’s wake, however, echoing the government line that it was likely the work of North Korea, served to cement in the minds of many that this was an act of cyberwarfare.
The idea that this surprisingly unsophisticated attack could have come from a well-organized, hostile state or terrorist group comes as a blessing in disguise to those groups, agencies and advisors who have been calling for greater and greater federal snooping powers in the name of stopping a “cyber 9/11″ from happening.
The “cyber 9/11″ meme stretches back almost to 9/11 itself. Back in 2003, Mike McConnell, the ex-director of the National Security Agency (NSA), was fearmongering over the possibility of a cyber attack “equivalent to the attack on the World Trade Center” if a new institution were not created to oversee cyber security. Since then, report after report has continued to use the horror of 9/11 as a way of raising public hysteria over “cyber terrorism,” a subject more often associated with juvenile hackers and lone misfits than radical terrorist organizations.
The real reason behind the invocation of 9/11 in the context of “cyber terror”… Continue reading
Images and Words
Anthony Hall is like many other 9/11 skeptics. At some point, after examining the events of 9/11 and the international consequences of that foul deed, (particularly the
consequences that befell countries with a predominantly Arab/Muslim population), Mr. Hall decided to speak out. The difference between Hall and most 9/11 skeptics, is that Mr. Hall is a sitting academic at a university in Lethbridge, Alberta, in Canada.
Hall joined a growing list of Canadian academics who have chosen to speak out publicly; John McMurtry , Graeme MacQueen , Michael Keefer , and of course, Michel Chossudovsky , a pioneer in 9/11 skepticism.
He made his debut as a skeptic of the 9/11 Official Conspiracy Theory (OCT) on September 6, 2008 in Edmonton, Alberta, with a reading of his paper, The Lies and Crimes of 911 . The paper is an excellent introduction to a series of complex, related studies, that encompass globalization, US imperial tendencies, and false-flag terrorism. Hall is well-versed in these issues, and won an Alberta Book Award for his volume, The American Empire and the Fourth World .
The cover features provocative imagery; Apache-like helicopters in place of stars on the American flag, giving no doubt as to Hall’s intent. The image is a very un-subtle, ironic reinterpretation of one of the prime symbols of the American dream; the very banner of Liberty itself is subverted to shock the viewer into a reevaluation of the iconic Red, White and Blue. Just as… Continue reading
Terrell (Terry) E. Arnold was the number 2 counter-terrorism official at the U.S. State Department, and is one of the world’s leading experts on terror.
Arnold served as the Deputy Director, Office of Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Planning, at the U.S. State Department. He is also the former Chairman of the Department of International Studies at the National War College.
Arnold has worked as a crisis management consultant for several Federal agencies, including The State Department, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Customs Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He is the author of numerous books on terror*. Arnold is a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II and the Korean war.
I spoke with Arnold by phone.
GW: Your essay It is Vital to Move Beyond 9/11 is insightful and hard-hitting, and I agree with virtually everything you say. I have previously written on many of the topics you touch on, such as false pretenses for war , torture and illegal spying .
Initially, you write:
“As an alleged post 9/11 defense, the War on Terrorism is a gigantic fraud.”
As a leading counter-terrorism expert, I am curious to hear why you believe this.
Terry Arnold: The military approach doesn’t cover all of the elements of the problem. We need to capture and confine the individuals who are up to… Continue reading
The super-secretive National Security Agency has been quietly monitoring, decrypting, and interpreting foreign communications for decades, starting long before it came under criticism as a result of recent revelations about the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. Now a forthcoming PBS documentary asks whether the NSA could have prevented 9/11 if it had been more willing to share its data with other agencies.
Author James Bamford looked into the performance of the NSA in his 2008 book, The Shadow Factory, and found that it had been closely monitoring the 9/11 hijackers as they moved freely around the United States and communicated with Osama bin Laden’s operations center in Yemen. The NSA had even tapped bin Laden’s satellite phone, starting in 1996.
“The NSA never alerted any other agency that the terrorists were in the United States and moving across the country towards Washington,” Bamford told PBS.
PBS also found that “the 9/11 Commission never looked closely into NSA’s role in the broad intelligence breakdown behind the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. If they had, they would have understood the full extent to which the agency had major pieces of the puzzle but never put them together or disclosed their entire body of knowledge to the CIA and the FBI.”
In a review of Bamford’s book, former senator and 9/11 Commission member Bob Kerrey wrote, “As the 9/11 Commission later established, U.S. intelligence officials knew that al-Qaeda had held a planning meeting in Malaysia, found out the names of two recruits who had been present — Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi — and suspected that one and maybe both of them had flown to Los Angeles.…Continue reading
U.S. Officers’ “Phone Sex” Intercepted; Senate Demanding Answers By Brian Ross, Vic Walter and Anna Schecter
Despite pledges by President George W. Bush and American intelligence officials to the contrary, hundreds of US citizens overseas have been eavesdropped on as they called friends and family back home, according to two former military intercept operators who worked at the giant National Security Agency (NSA) center in Fort Gordon, Georgia.
The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), called the allegations “extremely disturbing” and said the committee has begun its own examination.
“We have requested all relevant information from the Bush Administration,” Rockefeller said Thursday. “The Committee will take whatever action is necessary.”
WATCH THE NIGHTLINE STORY
“These were just really everyday, average, ordinary Americans who happened to be in the Middle East, in our area of intercept and happened to be making these phone calls on satellite phones,” said Adrienne Kinne, a 31-year old US Army Reserves Arab linguist assigned to a special military program at the NSA’s Back Hall at Fort Gordon from November 2001 to 2003.
Kinne described the contents of the calls as “personal, private things with Americans who are not in any way, shape or form associated with anything to do with terrorism.”
WATCH Kinne discuss why it was ‘awkward’ listening to her fellow Americans.
She said US military officers, American journalists and American aid workers were routinely intercepted and “collected on” as they called their offices or homes in the United States.
Watch “World… Continue reading
NINE-ONE-ONE — This three number combination is etched into the public psyche and instantly conjures up images of America’s most recent Day of Infamy. The images of chaos and terror were speedily delivered via satellite to anyone near a television set. At first, these images burst into the minds of the TV audience without context, but television viewers were not left long to worry their beautiful minds with troublesome questions like: “Who perpetrated these crimes?”
The narrative vacuum was quickly filled by the “official” story. This version of the events of 9/11 is forever enshrined in the volume known as The 9/11 Commission Report.
Proceeding apace with the development of the official story was an entire universe of unofficial stories. These alternative points of view were helpfully framed by President George Walker Bush on November 10th, 2001:
“We must speak the truth about terror. Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th; malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists, themselves, away from the guilty.” (1)
More than a few watching the President address the UN that day were puzzled by the phrase “outrageous conspiracy theories” regarding 9/11. As they logged on to their dial-up Internet connections that evening, trying to understand what the President was talking about, they were privy to the nascent chatter that over time has morphed into a kaleidoscope of alternative narratives, fueled by 9/11 skepticism.
As new… Continue reading
Mar 30, 2006:
Lost in last week’s hubbub over the media breakthroughs for 9/11 truth was the latest twist in the Sibel Edmonds saga. The FBI whistleblower last Thursday filed a court motion demanding that the federal judge hearing her First Amendment case be recused for deliberately hiding his financial background.
The judge, Reggie Walton, is also currently hearing the perjury case involving I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, former chief of staff to Dick Cheney, on allegations that Libby leaked the name of a CIA operative to the media. Edmonds is seeking to show Judge Walton is in violation of federal law (The Ethics in Government Act) because of his refusal to meet financial disclosure provisions.
A few months after September 11th, the FBI hired Edmonds as a translator for Farsi and Turkish. She says she discovered that documents already translated (and suppressed) prior to 9/11 had contained details of a pending attack on the US with airplanes. In addition, one of her colleagues attempted to recruit her as a spy for a Turkish lobbying group. When she spoke out about these experiences – and other finds suggesting corruption, money laundering and drug deals at the top levels of the US government – she was fired. Attorney General John Ashcroft slapped Edmonds with a gag order under the seldom-used State Secrets Act. In the most bizarre and Orwellian twist, Ashcroft “retroactively classified” many of the statements Edmonds had already made. This included information published in the press prior to the gag… Continue reading
by Michael Kane
January 18, 2005 (FTW) – In an argument of over 600 pages and 1,000 footnotes, Crossing the Rubicon makes the case for official complicity within the U.S. government and names Dick Cheney as the prime suspect in the crimes of 9/11. Since the publication of this book (to which I had the privilege of contributing a chapter), many people have asked to hear the case against Cheney argued “short & sweet.”
I will make it as short as possible, but it can never be sweet.
There are 3 major points made within this book that are crucial to proving Cheney’s guilt. I shall first list them and then go on to prove each point as laid out in Crossing the Rubicon.
By Michael Kane, March 27, 2004
Case study: How the Commission went easy on Rumsfeld, Myers and Wolfowitz
“I had no idea hijacked airliners would be used as weapons.”
So said Rumsfeld, in his opening remarks to the Kean Commission on March 23, 2004. His final statement on the topic while under oath was, “I plead ignorance.”
Officials at NORAD have said that when the hijackings first occurred, they initially thought it was part of the Vigilant Guardian drills running that morning. Despite some confusion, once Flight 11 struck the World Trade Center at 8:45 AM, everyone should have known this was not a test.
Former White House terrorism adviser Richard Clarke’s testimony, one day later, was interesting, but amounted to little more than a distraction. There were more cameras on Clarke than on anyone else during the two-day national broadcast of the commission hearings. In reality, his testimony was nowhere near as interesting as the joint appearance by Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Myers the day before. I do not question Clarke’s sincerity at this time, just the timing, which he did not choose. His book was released at a time chosen by the White House, and the testimony depended on the book. He had finished it well over 6 months before, but it was held up by the White House security clearance.
As a result, the book came out on the eve of Rumsfeld’s sworn testimony to the 9/11 Commission. Very clever if intentional, because it distracted everyone from two issues completely ignored by the commissioners, and overshadowed by Clarke and his book when they questioned Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld:
ISSUE #1 On the morning of September 11, 2001, NORAD was running war games involving the scenario of hijacked airliners, while the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) was running a drill for the scenario of an errant aircraft crashing into a government building, at the exact same time as an identical scenario was perpetrated in reality.…Continue reading