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
More material has been added covering the NSA’s surveillance of Ahmed al-Hada, father-in-law of alleged Pentagon hijacker Khalid Almihdhar. Both President Bush and Vice President Cheney used the non-exploitation of calls between his phone in Yemen and the hijackers in the US to justify the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program in January 2006. Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell attributed the failure to trace the calls to a 1981 executive order earlier this year, and Mukasey bizarrely then claimed that one of the calls was between the US and Afghanistan, rather than Yemen. This confused the media somewhat, and a group of congressmen asked Mukasey for an explanation.
There are additional entries about the day of 9/11. A senior official later disputed Richard Clarke’s account of the day’s events, some Pentagon security cameras did not show the crash site, and the fighters who later responded to the Pentagon attack attended anti-terrorism training earlier in the day. There is a dispute over which gate American 11 left from at Boston airport, where suspicious passengers arrived on September 10, when Larry Silverstein’s publicist cancelled an appointment at the WTC for 9/11. Other entries point out United 93’s autopilot was turned off, top air force officials continued with a meeting when they learned the WTC had been hit, and crew on United 93 had previously attended antiterrorism training. Pilots on American 77, American 11 and United 93, were allocated… Continue reading
by Jon Gold
Latest Update 11/08/08
Thanks to www.historycommons.org, DHS, and simuvac. This is dedicated to the 9/11 Truth Movement.
Before I begin, I would like to say that theorizing about what happened on 9/11, when you’re not being given answers to your questions about that day by the people who SHOULD be able to do so, is PERFECTLY normal. As is suspecting that the reason these answers aren’t being given is “sinister” in nature. As Ray McGovern said, “for people to dismiss these questioners as “conspiratorial advocates”, or “conspiratorial theorists”… that’s completely out of line because the… The questions remain because the President who should be able to answer them, WILL NOT.” When you think about everything this Administration has done in almost 8 years, the idea that they might not be giving us the answers we seek because of something “sinister” is not crazy. In fact, it’s the most logical conclusion one can come to at this point. After seven plus years of obfuscation, spin, lies, and cover-ups regarding the 9/11 attacks, it is unavoidable to think that criminal complicity is the reason why.
That being said, we have not proven it beyond the shadow of doubt. We do not have documentation that shows they planned it. We do not have a signed confession from someone. We have pieces of the puzzle, and to most of us that have been doing this a long time, those pieces… Continue reading
by Kevin Fenton
Introduction to Chapter 15 of Disconnecting the Dots , for publication at 911Truth.org :
In January 2000, several high-ranking al-Qaeda operatives, including alleged Flight 77 hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, held a summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The meeting was monitored by the CIA and a local Malaysian service, although the agency reportedly failed to exploit this opportunity to learn what bin Laden’s organization was planning. In addition, the CIA deliberately withheld information about the two men, in particular that Almihdhar had a US visa, from the FBI. The agency then allegedly suffered the misfortune of losing Almihdhar, Alhazmi and another al-Qaeda operative in Bangkok, Thailand. The surveillance of the Malaysia summit was run by Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, its chief Richard Blee and his deputy Tom Wilshire. On January 12 and 14 Blee gave his superior, Cofer Black, incorrect briefings about what was happening with the surveillance. Chapter 15 picks up the story on January 15.
I know nobody read that cable
After the CIA allegedly lost Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, and Khallad bin Attash in Bangkok, it asked the Thais… 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
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Published at Colorado911Visibility.org
Press Contact: Robert Boutton (323) 300-5376 www.SecrecyKills.com
In a never-before-seen interview, Richard Clarke, former White House Counterterror “Tsar” to Presidents Clinton and Bush, goes on record about what he believes happened at CIA in the run-up to the 9/11 attacks, accusing then-CIA Director George Tenet and two of his deputies of deliberately not informing the White House, FBI, and Defense Department about two future hijackers inside U.S., then covering up from the 9/11 investigations. His comments air and stream Thursday, August 11, 2010 at 7 p.m. MDT on Colorado Public Television (CPT12) and simultaneously go live on SecrecyKills.com , along with CIA reaction.
News of the premiere set off attacks on Clarke from three of those he singled out. Tenet and former CIA officials Cofer Black and Richard Blee, chiefs of CounterTerrorist Center and Bin Laden Station respectively on 9/11, have issued a one-page joint statement to the producers calling Clarke’s comments “reckless and profoundly wrong.” Significantly, this is the only statement Blee has issued publicly since the intelligence failure of September 11th and, indeed, the first time his real name has been made public in the major media.
Filmmaker-journalists John Duffy and Ray Nowosielski conducted the interview in 2009 for a documentary to be released on the 9/11 tenth anniversary entitled “Who Is Rich Blee?”, promising further revelations from Commission Chairman Tom Kean and other government insiders, produced by transparency advocates SecrecyKills.com in association with media company Globalvision, winner of the George Polk Journalism Award.…Continue reading
by Kevin Fenton
Published at 911truth.org
Following the airing of allegations by former counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke that the CIA deliberately withheld from him information about Pentagon hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, former CIA director George Tenet, former CIA Counterterrorist Center chief Cofer Black and Richard Blee, a mid-level agency official who occupied two key counterterrorist positions before 9/11, have responded with a joint statement.
Clarke said that information about the two men was deliberately withheld from him in January 2000, at the time of a key al-Qaeda meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which the CIA monitored. Clarke alleged that, based on his knowledge of how the CIA works, Tenet authorised the deliberate withholding. Clarke added that the information was clearly important in the summer of 2001, when the CIA knew that Almihdhar was in the country and, in the words of one of Blee’s former deputies, was “very high interest” in connection with the next al-Qaeda attack. However, the CIA continued to withhold some information from both Clarke and the FBI.
Mark Rossini, one of Blee’s former subordinates at Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, has previously admitted deliberately withholding the information from the FBI. According to Rossini, in early January 2000 he and a colleague, Doug Miller, knew they should notify the FBI that Almihdhar had a US visa and presumably intended to soon visit the US. Miller even drafted, but did not send, a cable informing the FBI of Almihdhar’s visa. However, Rossini says he… 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
By Rory O’Connor and Ray Nowosielski
October 14, 2011
A growing number of former government insiders — all responsible officials who served in a number of federal posts — are now on record as doubting ex-CIA director George Tenet’s account of events leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Among them are several special agents of the FBI, the former counterterrorism head in the Clinton and Bush administrations, and the chairman of the 9/11 Commission, who told us the CIA chief had been “obviously not forthcoming” in his testimony and had misled the commissioners.
These doubts about the CIA first emerged among a group of 9/11 victims’ families whose struggle to force the government to investigate the causes of the attacks, we chronicled in our 2006 documentary film “Press for Truth.” At that time, we thought we were done with the subject. But tantalizing information unearthed by the 9/11 Commission’s
final report and spotted by the families (Chapter 6, footnote 44) raised a question too important to be put aside:
Did Tenet fail to share intelligence with the White House and the FBI in 2000 and 2001 that could have prevented the attacks? Specifically, did a group in the CIA’s al-Qaida office engage in a domestic covert action operation involving two of the 9/11 hijackers, that — however legitimate the agency’s goals may have been — hindered the type of intelligence-sharing that could have prevented the attacks?…Continue reading
Originally published at Newsweek by Jeff Stein on 1/14/15
Just before Christmas, former FBI special agent Mark Rossini greeted me with his usual good cheer when we met for drinks in a midtown Manhattan restaurant. He told me his life had finally taken a turn for the better. He’s spending most of his time in Switzerland, where he works for a private global corporate-security firm. “Life’s good,” he said.
Good, but with a few major changes. Rossini was drinking club soda instead of the expensive cabernets he quaffed when I first knew him as a high-flying FBI official in Washington a decade ago, when he was a special assistant to the bureau’s chief spokesman, John Miller (now with the New York City Police Department). “I’ve cut back,” he said. “Feeling good.”
But when I ask him how he’s really doing, the light in his eyes dims. “Well, you know, I still miss the job,” he said, shaking his head. A boneheaded move—showing confidential FBI documents to his actress-flame Linda Fiorentino, who said she was researching a script about L.A. wiretapper extraordinaire Anthony Pellicano—cost him his career in 2008 and nearly landed him in jail.
“What’s past is past,” he said. But not all of it. He quickly told me of an encounter the day before on a street in Yonkers, where he keeps an apartment. He’d run into a close family friend who’d lost relatives at the World Trade Center on 9/11. “Mark,” she… Continue reading