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SecrecyKills.org Statement on the Delay in Releasing "Who is Rich Blee?"
Follow-up to the story we ran 9/11/11 announcing the CIA's threats of the SecrecyKills.com team. More documentation and an excellent piece from former FBI attorney Coleen Rowley can be found at SecrecyKills.com.
– Ed.

September 14, 2011
SecrecyKills.com



While producing our investigative podcast "Who Is Rich Blee?", intended to be released on Sunday, our team managed to deduce the likely identities of two CIA employees at the heart of a notorious failure in the run up to the September 11th tragedy.

Savvy internet searches based on minimal background details helped us determine candidates for the two CIA employees. When the names were used by our interviewers repeatedly during interviews and never corrected by the interviewees, we began to feel more certain. Ironically, it was the response from CIA that provided final confirmation.

On Thursday, we submitted our script to CIA along with a request to interview the two employees. We wanted to be fair in giving them a chance to tell their sides of the story. Instead, the Agency sent us a message threatening that if we went forward with the names included in the piece that it would be a potential violation of federal criminal law.

A prominent civil liberties attorney has advised us that the law cited, the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, has never been used to convict a journalist. The law pertains to government employees who violate their security clearances, certainly not those who find "classified information" in open-source materials posted on the Net.

The threat of prosecution under this act may be a baseless attempt by CIA to intimidate journalists exposing wrongdoing by their employees. Or it may announce an intention by the U.S. government to dangerously expand precedent in the application of this law. That would certainly be in line with a general anti-transparency movement in recent years.

Some background:

In January 2000, a 27-year-old female desk officer working in Rich Blee's Bin Laden Station, called "Michael" in the Commission Report, was placed in charge of an operation to track several known Al Qaeda terrorists to a meeting in Malaysia.

Learning that one of the men, a future Flight 77 hijacker, possessed a visa allowing him entry to the U.S., FBI agent Doug Miller, working at CIA, drafted a warning to his FBI bosses. According to the Justice Department's Inspector General, it was Michael who directly ordered Miller to hold off on sending the cable, what turned out to be a permanent "hold off." A few hours later, she sent a misleading email throughout CIA stating that the visa info had been shared with FBI. It seems circumstantially clear she knew this to be untrue, as only two days later, another FBI agent at CIA named Mark Rossini describes having a heated conversation with her in which she instructed him, "This is not a matter for the FBI. When we want them to know, we'll let them know. And you're not going to say anything."

"Its one of the most troubling aspects of our entire report, that particular thing," revealed the 9/11 Commission chairman Tom Kean to us in 2008. Newsweek's Michael Isikoff, who first broke the CIA withholding story in 2002, goes even further. "That was a pretty stunning intelligence lapse. Probably one of the biggest intelligence lapses of our time."

In an interview we released in part in August, the former counterterror adviser to the President, Richard Clarke, claimed the information about the travel of two future hijackers to the U.S. had not just been withheld from FBI but also from the White House. Former CIA agent Bob Baer confirmed to us that whoever was in charge of the Mihdhar surveillance op (which we know to be Michael) would by standard protocol have held direct responsibility for sending this fax to Clarke.

Michael's direct supervisor was a redhead who the Associated Press identified by her middle name "Frances" in a story earlier this year. Sometime after the bombing of the USS Cole in late 2000, we

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