Despite Pentagon stonewalling and intimidation of whistleblowers, the story that a hardline Republican congressman says is “bigger than Watergate” refuses to go away.
Five former operatives of a US military intelligence project say they identified Mohamed Atta and three other men later alleged to have been the lead 9/11 hijackers as suspected al Qaeda terrorists working in the United States more than a year before September 11, 2001. The five whistleblowers say their superiors at the US Special Operations Command chose to suppress the information and keep it from law enforcement authorities, thus protecting Atta and Co. – at the very least in effect, if not as a matter of intent. They were forced to destroy their data on Atta; and their program, Able Danger, was killed by the Bush administration prior to September 11.
Years after the destruction of the World Trade Center, they told their story to the 9/11 Commission, only to be soundly ignored. When they finally came forward as whistleblowers last year, they were placed under gag orders by the Pentagon. The most prominent of them, Col. Anthony Shaffer, was investigated on charges that he stole pens and overcharged the Defense Department for $67 in phone calls. He claims the investigation of him to date has cost the taxpayers $2 million.
That, at any rate, is the Able Danger saga as we know it so far.
In the latest wrinkle, blog reporter Rory O’Connor (Mar 1, archived below) says a Pentagon inspector general’s investigation has identified… Continue reading
What is striking about agent Samit’s account, like the account of his office-mate Coleen Rowley, is the assumption of “criminal negligence” on the part of FBI headquarters, and RFU head David Frasca and Michael Maltbie in particular. Best I can see, criminal complicity has not been ruled out whatsoever.
I’m grateful for the testimony of Mr. Samit, and for Rowley’s whistleblowing, but how exactly can either know for sure that the RFU‘s obstructionism was the result of careerism or ‘criminal incompetence’ rather than something else? I don’t claim to know the reasons, but Samit and Rowley certainly cannot know for sure, either.
Remember, there is evidence that Frasca intentionally and without good cause (and thus not negligently) obstructed the flow of information up the FBI’s chain of command. You may recall the ‘Time’ magazine story early in 2002 which detailed agent Rowley’s charges. The story’s authors claimed that Ken Williams’ infamous “Phoenix Memo” was received by Frasca a couple of months in advance of 9/11:
Rowley’s letter lays out the case that the FBI made fateful miscalculations by failing to see a possible connection between the Minneapolis investigation of flight student Moussaoui and the hunch of Phoenix agent Kenneth Williams — posited in a report to HQ two months earlier — that al-Qaeda operatives were attending U.S.…
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
by Derek Rose
New York Daily News
The feds bungled a key opportunity to possibly nix the 9/11 terror plot, it was reported yesterday.
An Arabic-speaking FBI agent had requested information about a Jan. 5, 2000, Al Qaeda meeting in Malaysia, but the CIA never turned it over, The New Yorker reported.
The ambitious FBI detective, Ali Soufan, was so upset when he eventually got the information – after 9/11 – that he vomited.
Soufan, who had been investigating the 2000 attack on the U.S. Navy destroyer Cole that killed 17 sailors, realized the two plots were linked.
“And if the CIA had not withheld information from him he likely would have drawn the connection months before Sept. 11,” The New Yorker reported. The intelligence Soufan had sought showed that a one-legged jihadi named Khallad – a key Al Qaeda lieutenant linked to the Cole bombing – had attended the Malaysia meeting where the Sept. 11 plot was hatched.
According to the magazine, the CIA also learned in March 2000 that Al Qaeda operative Nawaf Alhazmi was in the United States, but the CIA never alerted the FBI. Alhazmi ended up on the American Airlines flight that crashed into the Pentagon.
The CIA may not have told the FBI about Alhazmi and another Qaeda operative, Khalid… Continue reading
By Mark Mazzetti
New York Times
WASHINGTON, July 3 — The Central Intelligence Agency has closed a unit that for a decade had the mission of hunting Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants, intelligence officials confirmed Monday.
The unit, known as Alec Station, was disbanded late last year and its analysts reassigned within the C.I.A. Counterterrorist Center, the officials said.
The decision is a milestone for the agency, which formed the unit before Osama bin Laden became a household name and bolstered its ranks after the Sept. 11 attacks, when President Bush pledged to bring Mr. bin Laden to justice “dead or alive.”
The realignment reflects a view that Al Qaeda is no longer as hierarchical as it once was, intelligence officials said, and a growing concern about Qaeda-inspired groups that have begun carrying out attacks independent of Mr. bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Agency officials said that tracking Mr. bin Laden and his deputies remained a high priority, and that the decision to disband the unit was not a sign that the effort had slackened. Instead, the officials said, it reflects a belief that the agency can better deal with high-level threats by focusing on regional trends rather than on specific organizations or individuals.
“The efforts to find Osama bin Laden are as strong as ever,”… Continue reading
Lawyers Point to Fine Line Between Sting and Entrapment
by Walter Pincus
September 2, 2006
Standing in an empty Miami warehouse on May 24 with a man he believed had ties to Osama bin Laden, a dejected Narseal Batiste talked of the setbacks to their terrorist plot and then uttered the words that helped put him in a federal prison cell.
“I want to fight some jihad,” he allegedly said. “That’s all I live for.”
What Batiste did not know was that the bin Laden representative was really an FBI informant. The warehouse in which they were meeting had been rented and wired for sound and video by bureau agents, who were monitoring his every word.
Within a month, Batiste, 32, and six of his compatriots were arrested and charged with conspiracy to aid a terrorist organization and bomb a federal building. On June 23, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales held a news conference to announce the destruction of a terrorist cell inside the United States, hailing “our commitment to preventing terrorism through energetic law enforcement efforts aimed at detecting and thwarting terrorist acts.”
But court records released since then suggest that what Gonzales described as a “deadly plot” was virtually the pipe dream of a few men with almost no ability to pull it off on their own. The suspects have raised questions in court about the FBI informants’ role in keeping the plan alive.
The plot featured self-proclaimed militant religious leaders who referred to themselves as kings, talked of establishing their own nation inside the United States, called their headquarters an embassy and discussed plans to train their recruits to use bows and arrows.…Continue reading
by Sibel Edmonds & Bill Weaver
National Security Whistleblowers Coalition
Published in CommonDreams.org
September 5, 2006
A wag once famously said that Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot was a play where nothing happened . . . twice. The two former co-chairmen of the 9-11 commission report, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, have released a new book, “Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9-11 Commission.” This book goes Beckett one better — it is the third act of veneer over substance, self-aggrandizement over serious analysis, and cliché over perspicacity. It is another calculated attempt by the former commissioners to place themselves in the media spotlight, and to overcome the humiliation of their widely criticized and mostly debunked report. It is a vapid and substanceless attempt to claim moral high ground and present the co-chairmen as heroes of honesty. It would be a farce, except that it has no story line, save the aggrandizement of the authors. At least they are consistent in doing nothing and proclaiming that to be a sign of their devotion to the country and the government. Beckett once said that “habit is the ballast that chains the dog to its vomit,” and by this measure the chain restraining Kean and Hamilton is a short one indeed.
British Army expert casts doubt on ‘liquid explosives’ threat, Al Qaeda network in UK Identified
Filed by Nafeez Ahmed
Lieutenant-Colonel (ret.) Nigel Wylde, a former senior British Army Intelligence Officer, has suggested that the police and government story about the “terror plot” revealed on 10th August was part of a “pattern of lies and deceit.”
British and American government officials have described the operation which resulting in the arrest of 24 mostly British Muslim suspects, as a resounding success. Thirteen of the suspects have been charged, and two released without charges.
According to security sources, the terror suspects were planning to board up to ten civilian airliners and detonate highly volatile liquid explosives on the planes in a spectacular terrorist operation. The liquid explosives — either TATP (Triacetone Triperoxide), DADP (diacetone diperoxide) or the less sensitive HMTD (hexamethylene triperoxide diamine) — were reportedly to be made on board the planes by mixing sports drinks with a peroxide-based household gel and then be detonated using an MP3 player or mobile phone.
But Lt. Col. Wylde, who was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal for his command of the Belfast Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit in 1974, described this scenario as a “fiction.” Creating liquid explosives is a “highly dangerous and sophisticated task,” he states, one that requires not only significant chemical expertise but also appropriate equipment.
Terror plot scenario “untenable”
“The idea that these people could sit in the plane toilet and simply mix together these normal household fluids to create a high explosive capable of blowing up the entire aircraft is untenable,” said Lt.…Continue reading
by 9.11 Blogger
WNY Media Network
Bob Woodward’s State of Denial provides evidence of the politicization of the 9/11 Commission’s investigative process, conclusions, and certain omissions from its report, as well as then national security advisor Condoleezza Rice’s likely role in burying unflattering, damning evidence through the appointment of Bush/Rice loyalist Philip Zelikow as the Commissions’ chief investigator and Zelikow’s reward (perhaps) of a top senior-level position in the State Department, which Rice now heads. First, some background.
One of the burning questions in newspapers, cable TV news, and blogs is why the 9/11 Commission report did not mention the July 10, 2001 meeting called by then-CIA Director George J. Tenet and his counterterrorism chief, J. Cofer Black, with then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. Tenet and Black hoped to impress on Rice the compelling need to act immediately against bin Laden because there was “a huge volume of data” suggesting strongly that a major attack was imminent.
“But both men came away from the meeting feeling that Ms. Rice had not taken the warnings seriously,” writes Woodward.
The July 10 meeting between Tenet, Black and Rice went unmentioned in the various reports of investigations into the Sept. 11 attacks, but it stood out in the minds of Tenet and Black as the starkest warning they had given the White House on bin Laden and al-Qaeda. Though the investigators had access to all the paperwork on the meeting, Black felt there were things the commissions wanted to know about and things they didn’t want to know about.…Continue reading
It took longer than expected, but Trey Parker and company have joined with the growing ranks of the opportunists who distort 9/11 skepticism for fun and profit (unlike the screeds by Alexander Cockburn , Matthew Rothschild and Matt Taibbi , at least the South Park episode had its humorous moments).
They included the obligatory “the Jews did it” canard, and the focus taken was shallow and purposely exploitative. The underlying idea was: “the conspiracy theorists are retarded, because they believe the government was competent enough to pull off 9/11.”
The psychological principle that unifies the distortions of Cockburn, Rothschild, Taibbi and the creators of South Park is avoidance. 9/11 skepticism is an easy target for ridicule, because it includes ridiculous theories (911truth.org is well aware of them , and has cautioned readers to be careful with them). But a commentator can take any attitude he wishes toward these theories. Our attitude has been to largely ignore them, and instead focus on the most striking and disturbing evidence of official complicity in the attacks.
The distortionists make sure to lump together the speculative with the completely ridiculous, and to avoid altogether the ‘elephant in the living room’ of complicity with our with our “enemies”.
The undeniable, indisputable and ugly political reality of our times is that the US intelligence apparatus simply cannot be completely separated from the networks of its supposed enemies. That is the story, and by itself it is cause for impeachment and treason trials for our top officials.… Continue reading
Angus Reid Global Monitor : Polls & Research
October 14, 2006
Abstract: – Many adults in the United States believe the current federal government
has not been completely forthcoming on the issue of the 9/11 terrorist attacks,
according to a poll by the New York Times and CBS News. 53 per cent of respondents
think the Bush administration is hiding something, and 28 per cent believe it
Many adults in the United States believe the current federal government has
not been completely forthcoming on the issue of the 9/11 terrorist attacks,
according to a poll by the New York Times and CBS News. 53 per cent of respondents
think the Bush administration is hiding something, and 28 per cent believe it
Only 16 per cent of respondents say the government headed by U.S. president
George W. Bush is telling the truth on what it knew prior to the terrorist attacks,
down five points since May 2002.
Al-Qaeda operatives hijacked and crashed four airplanes in the U.S. on Sept.
11, 2001, killing nearly 3,000 people. In October, after Afghanistan’s Taliban
regime refused to hand over al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the U.S. launched
the war on terrorism.
On Aug. 6, 2001, a Presidential Daily Briefing titled "Bin Laden Determined
to Strike in U.S." mentioned "patterns of suspicious activity in this
country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks,
including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York."
On May 17, 2002, Bush discussed the… Continue reading
Statement Regarding al Qaeda Threats
by Patty Casazza, Monica Gabrielle, Mindy Kleinberg, and Lorie Van Auken
Astonishingly, five years post 9/11 the public is made aware about an urgent July 10, 2001 meeting that took place between former CIA Director George Tenet and then, National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice. This information comes
from Bob Woodward’s newly released book, “State of Denial”.
Despite this Administration’s rhetoric that they had “no warnings” leading up to 9/11, it has become abundantly clear, that key Administration officials were made aware of the vast array of Al Qaeda threats and warnings that existed in years prior, and more importantly, in the weeks leading up to September 11, 2001.
When we add the July 10, 2001 meeting to the plethora of other clear warnings that our government had, a very concise view of the al Qaeda threat emerges. Those other warnings include, but are not limited to:
* Warnings from leaders of other nations and foreign intelligence apparatus’ of terrorist threats
* June 30, 2001 Senior Executive Intelligence Briefing (SEIB) entitled “bin Laden Threats Are Real”
* The threat of President Bush’s assassination at the G-8 Summit by al Qaeda in July of 2001… Continue reading
By Carla Binion
October 21, 2006
Consortiumnews Editor’s Note: Many Americans are in denial about what
is happening to the United States. They don’t want to believe that a totalitarian
structure could be put in place in their own country. They don’t want to view
the various pieces of George W. Bush’s “anti-terror” system in that
broad a context. They hope that someone or something — the Supreme Court
maybe — will strike down the excesses of the Republican-controlled Congress
and the Executive Branch.
Though there are still obstacles that stand in Bush’s way — the Nov.
7 elections, for instance — America’s march down a road to a new-age totalitarianism
has advanced farther than many understand, as freelance reporter Carla Binion
argues in this disturbing guest essay:
On October 17, George W. Bush signed into law the Military Commissions Act
of 2006. This new law gives Bush power similar to that possessed by Stalin or
Hitler, and grants agencies within the Executive Branch powers similar to those
of the KGB or Gestapo.
Bush justifies this act by claiming he needs it to fight the “war on terror,”
but a number of critics, including former counterterrorism officials, have said
the administration has greatly exaggerated the threat and used illogical methods
to combat terrorism. (Examples are listed below.)
Except for MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, few television news reporters have bothered
to mention that the Military Commissions Act has changed the U.S. justice system
and our approach to human rights. As Olbermann said of the new law on his October
17 Countdown program, the new act “does away with habeas corpus, the right
of suspected terrorists or anybody else to know why they have been imprisoned.”
Jonathan Turley, George Washington University Constitutional Law Professor,
was Olbermann’s guest.…
November 15, 2006
THE HIGHJACKING OF A NATION
Part 1: The Foreign Agent Factor
By Sibel Edmonds
In his farewell address in 1796, George Washington warned that America must be constantly awake against “the insidious wiles of foreign influence…since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.”
Today, foreign influence, that most baneful foe of our republican government, has its tentacles entrenched in almost all major decision making and policy producing bodies of the U.S. government machine. It does so not secretly, since its self-serving activities are advocated and legitimized by highly positioned parties that reap the benefits that come in the form of financial gain and positions of power.
Foreign governments and foreign-owned private interests have long sought to influence U.S. public policy. Several have accomplished this goal; those who are able and willing to pay what it takes. Those who buy themselves a few strategic middlemen, commonly known as pimps, while in DC circles referred to as foreign registered agents and lobbyists, who facilitate and bring about desired transactions. These successful foreign entities have mastered the art of ‘covering all the bases’ when it comes to buying influence in Washington DC. They have the required recipe down pat: get yourself a few ‘Dime a Dozen Generals,’ bid high in the ‘former statesmen lobby auction’, and put in your pocket one or two ‘ex-congressmen turned lobbyists’ who know the ropes when it comes to pocketing a few dozen who still serve.…Continue reading
Triple Cross: Journalist Peter Lance on How Bin Laden’s Master Spy Penetrated the CIA, the Green Berets and the FBI – And Why Patrick Fitzgerald Failed to Stop Him
Listen to Segment || Download
New details have emerged about how an al Qaeda spy named Ali Mohamed penetrated the CIA, the Green Berets and the FBI before the 9/11 attacks. We speak with investigative journalist Peter Lance about his new book, “Triple Cross.” [includes rush transcript]
Ali Mohamed was a member of Osama bin Laden’s inner circle who operated freely within the United States for years before 9/11. Despite being a top al Qaeda operative, he managed to become a naturalized US citizen, join the US Army, get posted to the military base where Green Berets and Delta Force train and infiltrate both the CIA and FBI. And while he was an FBI informant he smuggled bin Laden in and out of Afghanistan and helped plan the attacks on US embassies in Africa. He ended up playing a pivotal role in 9/11.
Journalist Peter Lance joins me here in our firehouse studio. He is a five-time Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter and a former ABC News correspondent. His new book is called “Triple Cross: How Bin Laden’s Master Spy Penetrated the CIA, the Green Berets and the FBI – And Why Patrick Fitzgerald Failed to Stop Him.”
* Peter Lance, five-time Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter and a former ABC News correspondent. His latest book is “Triple Cross.” His previous books include “1000 Years For Revenge” and “Cover Up.” Website: Peterlance.com
This transcript is available free of charge.…Continue reading
by Michael Keefer
December 4, 2006
The first thing to say by way of preliminaries (and I’d better get it in quickly before someone suggests that I’ve turned up late or over-weight for a pre-match weighing-in) is that I’m not overjoyed with the pugilistic metaphor of my title.
But some sort of response to the volley of attacks on 9/11 researchers and activists with which the Counterpunch website marked the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 seems called for.
Michael Keefer strikes just the right tone in responding to Alexander Cockburn’s attempt to banish “conspiracy nuts” from the kingdom of the left.Keefer accounts for Cockburn’s hostility to conspiracy by locating him in the “class of academics and public intellectuals, for whom a migration of power into military, deep-political, and corporate-media hands may…. be difficult to acknowledge.” We’d add that when those intellectuals are wedded to a brand of analysis that cannot satisfactorily account for what they see transpiring before their eyes, that difficulty is only magnified.
Slowly but surely, the academic left is coming to understand that the deep politics paradigm offers the most promising analytic tools for understanding the dynamics of geopolitical struggle. Don’t be surprised by the discomfort associated with the paradigm shift to continue to produce rhetorically overheated, but substantively lacking, complaints like Cockburn’s for quite some time. But really, that’s his problem.
Counterpunch co-editor Alexander Cockburn set the tone of these pieces with an article describing theologian and ethicist David Ray Griffin, the author of The New Pearl Harbor (2004) and of The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (2005), as a “high priest” of the “conspiracy nuts”"whom Cockburn denounces as cultists who “disdain all answers but their own,” who “seize on coincidences and force them into sequences they deem to be logical and significant,” and who “pounce on imagined clues in documents and photos, [".] contemptuously brush[ing] aside” evidence that contradicts their own “whimsical” treatment of “eyewitness testimony and forensic evidence.”
It’s a characteristically forceful performance, if at times slipshod. One small sign of carelessness may be the manner in which Cockburn slides from calling 9/11 skeptics a “coven” to comparing them, a few sentences later, to “mad Inquisitors” torturing the data (as the old joke goes about economists) until the data confess.” Readers brought up to think that the victims and perpetrators of witch-crazes have not customarily been the same people may find this unintentionally amusing.
Despite the sometimes distinctly nasty tone of this polemic, the idea of exchanging even metaphorical blows with Cockburn and his colleagues is unappealing. The overall quality of the essays that he and Jeffrey St. Clair publish in Counterpunch makes it easy on most days of the week to agree with Out of Bounds Magazine‘s description of it (trumpeted on Counterpunch‘s masthead) as “America’s best political newsletter.” And I’ve admired Cockburn’s own political essays for many years: he’s written movingly, sometimes brilliantly, on a wide range of subjects1 even if his flashes of brilliance sometimes alternate with breathtaking pratfalls: among them his dismissal, as recently as March 2001, of the evidence for global warming; his scoffing, in November 2004, at the rapidly gathering indications that the US presidential election of 2004 had been stolen; and a year later, his mockery of the well-established theory of peak oil and his adherence to the genuinely daft notion that the earth produces limitless quantities of abiotic oil.2 One can forgive a journalist’s slender grasp of the rudiments of scientific understanding. But given his self-appointed role as defender of the progressive left against a horde of fools, It’s dismaying to find him sliding as frequently as he does into positions that seem not just quirky but (dare I say it) unprogressive. Continue reading
by John J. Albanese
March 15, 2007
I must profess embarrassment. After 5 years of 9/11 activism KSM’s confession
today has brought my world crashing down. After years of paranoid conspiracy
theories I must now accept the government’s word that this confession
is the genuine bona fide article – the final smoking gun behind 9/11.
It is therefore out of respect for our legal system that I will reproduce KSM’s
I, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, being of sound mind and body, un-coerced by torture,
and fully enjoying the legal representation and due process afforded me under
the Constitution of the United States of America, hereby confess to the following
crimes associated with 9/11:
While the morning rain and the threat of afternoon rain prevented “Annie and the Vets” from providing music at the 4/11/2007 Impeach Bush/Cheney rally, a substantial crowd gathered in the last-minute sunshine on Lytton Plaza in downtown Palo Alto, amidst a giant replica of the flawed 9/11 Commission Report, two smoking towers labeled Constitution and Bill of Rights, many colorful banners calling for impeachment, and a huge “Deception Dollar” banner.
The first marches demanding a Congressional Investigation into 9/11 were held in Palo Alto in January 2002, followed by further marches in January of 2003 demanding “Pre-Emptive Impeachment.” Marches for impeachment are now a monthly occurrence and converged yesterday with a monthly 9/11 Truth action. The rally began with a bit of history and Congresswoman Eshoo’s response to the previous rally on March 14th. Eshoo wrote:
“I’ve lived through an impeachment process and witnessed firsthand how it tears the country apart. The election in November was a resounding rejection of the President’s policies and the policies of his party. I think it’s time to bring the country together and move forward. In my view, impeachment will heavily distract from the important work of reversing the disastrous course this Administration has set and will virtually bring to a halt progress on important issues including healthcare and global warming.”
The primary organizer of the rally, Carol Brouillet, read her response to Eshoo:
There is a tremendous difference between the charges leveled against Bill Clinton and those that are being directed towards Bush… Continue reading