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Posted: May 18, 2002

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Did Bush Know?
:: Warning Signs of 9-11 and Intelligence Failures ::

by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed

This is an edited version of Chapter 4 from the explosive 400-page exposé, "The War on Freedom: How and Why America was Attacked, September 11, 2001", by the leading British political scientist and human rights activist Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, Director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development in Brighton, UK. This book was featured on Barry Zwicker’s MediaFile documentary series, ‘The Great Deception: The War on Terrorism – An Alternative View?’, Vision TV, Canada (February 4, 2002): "The most complete book I know of, at this time, summarizing the relevant background and foreground intersecting upon the events of September 11, 2001."

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

:: Chapter 4. Warning Signs of 9-11 and Intelligence Failures ::

“What is happening in the United States took me by surprise. I anticipated that in the aftermath of Sept. 11, there would be an enormous hue and cry to find out what went wrong. There has been no hue and cry in the United States. No recriminations, nothing even similar to what happened after Pearl Harbor in 1941… The United States has drawn a veil of silence over the issue of intelligence failure.”

Wesley Wark, Canadian Intelligence Expert and Consultant to the Privy Council Office of Canada on Intelligence Policy
(Globe & Mail, 18 December 2001)

“We’ve been focusing on this perpetrator Osama bin Laden for 3 years, and yet we didn’t see this one coming,” said Vincent Cannistraro, former chief of CIA counter-terrorism operations. A U.S. Air Force General described the attack as “something we had never seen before, something we had never even thought of.” FBI Director Robert Mueller further declared that “there were no warning signs that I’m aware of.” Senior FBI officials insisted that in terms of intelligence warnings received prior to 11th September: “The notion of flying a plane into a building or using it as a bomb never came up.”[1] According to this official version of events, no one in the Bush administration had the slightest idea of the identities of those who orchestrated the 11th September attacks, the nature of their plans, or their targets.

Contrary to these prolific claims, there is compelling evidence that the U.S. intelligence community had extensive forewarning of the 11th September attacks on New York and Washington. Further evidence suggests that the attacks may, in fact, have been in the interest of certain elements of the Bush administration (see Chapter VII).

Using Planes as Bombs

The Pentagon commissioned an expert panel in 1993 to investigate the possibility of an airplane being used to bomb national landmarks. Retired Air Force Col. Doug Menarchik, who organised the $150,000 study for the Defense Department’s Office of Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, recalled: “It was considered radical thinking, a little too scary for the times. After I left, it met a quiet death.” Other participants have noted that the decision not to publish detailed scenarios issued to some extent from fear that this may give terrorists ideas. Nevertheless, a draft document detailing the results of the investigation was circulated through the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Senior agency officials decided against a public release.[2]

The veracity of the Pentagon’s “radical thinking” was confirmed in 1994 when there occurred three attempted attacks on buildings using airplanes. The first, in April of that year, involved a Federal Express flight engineer facing dismissal.

Having boarded a DC-10 as a passenger, he invaded the cockpit, planning to crash the plane into a company building in Memphis. Fortunately, he was overpowered by the crew.

The second attempt occurred in September. A lone pilot crashed a small plane into a tree on the White House grounds, just short of the President’s bedroom.

The third incident occurred in December. An Air France flight in Algiers was hijacked by members of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA)— who are linked to Al-Qaeda—aiming to crash it into the Eiffel Tower. French Special Forces stormed the plane on the ground.[3]

Al-Qaeda’s Plans: Project Bojinka

Western intelligence had been aware of plans for such terrorist attacks on U.S. soil as early as 1995. Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had detailed information about the possible use of hijack/suicide attacks by terrorists connected to Osama bin Laden. The New York Times reported that:

“In 1994, two jetliners were hijacked by people who wanted to crash them into buildings, one of them by an Islamic militant group. And the 2000 edition of the FAA’s annual report on Criminal Acts Against Aviation, published this year, said that although Osama bin Laden ‘is not known to have attacked civil aviation, he has both the motivation and the wherewithal to do so,’ adding, ‘Bin Laden’s anti-Western and anti-American attitudes make him and his followers a significant threat to civil aviation, particularly to U.S. civil aviation.’”[4]

Moreover, the U.S. intelligence community was aware of bin Laden’s specific intentions to use hijacked civilian planes as weapons. In this regard, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that:

“The FBI had advance indications of plans to hijack U.S. airliners and use them as weapons, but neither acted on them nor distributed the intelligence to local police agencies. From the moment of the September 11th attacks, high-ranking federal officials insisted that the terrorists’ method of operation surprised them. Many stick to that story. Actually, elements of the hijacking plan were known to the FBI as early as 1995 and, if coupled with current information, might have uncovered the plot.”[5]

Details of these advanced indications have been noted in a report by the respected German daily, Die Welt: “Western secret services knew as far back as 1995 that suspected terror mastermind Osama bin Laden planned to attack civilian sites using commercial passenger planes.” Quoting sources “close to western intelligence agencies,” the newspaper reported that: “The plan was discovered in January 1995 by Philippine police who were investigating a possible attack against Pope John Paul II on a visit to Manila…

“They found details of the plan in a computer seized in an apartment used by three men who were part of Bin Laden’s al‑Qaeda network. It provided for 11 planes to be exploded simultaneously by bombs placed on board, but also in an alternative form for several planes flying to the United States to be hijacked and flown into civilian targets. Among targets mentioned was the World Trade Center in New York, which was destroyed in the September 11 terror attacks in the United States that killed thousands.”

This plot “re-surfaced during the trial in New York in 1997 of Pakistani Ramsi Yousef, the mastermind of the attack on the World Trade Center in 1993... [The] U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and CIA would have known about the plan at the latest at this time.”[6] As the Washington DC-based Public Education Center (PEC) observes, “Federal investigative sources have confirmed that Murad”—who was “a close confidant and right-hand man to Yousef, who was convicted of crimes relating to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center”—“detailed an entire plot to dive bomb aircraft in the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, VA.” along with other U.S. buildings. “Yousef independently boasted of the plot to U.S. Secret Service agent Brian Parr and FBI agent Charles Stern on an extradition flight from Pakistan to the United States in February 1995,” continues the PEC report. “The agents later testified to that fact in court… [T]he plan targeted not only the CIA but other U.S. government buildings in Washington, including the Pentagon.”[7]

Rafael M. Garcia III, Chairman/CEO of the Mega Group of Computer Companies in the Philippines, who often works with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in his field of expertise, was involved in the intelligence operation that uncovered Project Bojinka. Garcia was responsible for the decoding of Yousef’s computer. “This was how we found out about the various plots being hatched by the cell of Ramzi Yousef. First, there was the plot to assassinate Pope John Paul II,” he observes. “Then, we discovered a second, even more sinister plot: Project Bojinka, or a Yugoslav term for loud bang.[8] This was a plot to blow up 11 airlines over the Pacific Ocean, all in a 48-hour period. The planes would have come from Seoul, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, Bangkok, Singapore, and Manila…

“Then we found another document that discussed a second alternative to crash the 11 planes into selected targets in the United States instead of just blowing them up in the air. These included the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia; the World Trade Center in New York; the Sears Tower in Chicago; the TransAmerica Tower in San Francisco; and the White House in Washington, DC… I submitted my findings to NBI officials, who most certainly turned over the report (and the computer) either to then Senior Superintendent Avelino Razon of the PNP [the Philippine National Police] or to Bob Heafner of the FBI… I have since had meetings with certain U.S. authorities and they have confirmed to me that indeed, many things were done in response to my report.”[9]

The World Tribune similarly reports, citing an intelligence source involved in the Philippine operation, that: “The hijacked aircraft were to be crashed into structures in the United States, including the World Trade Center, the White House, Pentagon, the Transamerica tower in San Francisco and the Sears Tower in Chicago.”[10] Paul Monk, Senior Fellow at the Australian Thinking Skills Institute and a Professor at the Australian Defense University, cites “confidential sources” in Manila and Washington detailing that: “Project Bojinka was an AQ [Al-Qaeda] plan to hijack eleven airliners simultaneously, exploding many of them at various places over the Pacific, but flying at least two of them into major federal government buildings in the United States. The flights to be hijacked were specified. They were all United Airlines, Northwest Airlines and Delta flights…

“The plan has been masterminded by one Ramzi Yousef, who was arrested in Islamabad in the wake of Murad’s interrogation. Both Murad and Yousef were extradited to the United States, tried and convicted for complicity in the 1993 attack on the WTC. The date of Yousef’s conviction was 11 September 1996. From that point, given the fascination terrorists have with anniversaries, 11 September should surely have become a watch date.”[11]

Detailed elaboration on this matter is provided by the Washington DC-based media watch group, Accuracy In Media (AIM). AIM has harshly criticised the media for largely ignoring the U.S. intelligence community’s advanced knowledge of Project Bojinka:

“In 1995, the CIA and the FBI learned that Osama bin Laden was planning to hijack U.S. airliners and use them as bombs to attack important targets in the U.S. This scheme was called Project Bojinka. It was discovered in the Philippines, where authorities arrested two of bin Laden’s agents, Ramzi Yousef and Abdul Hakim Murad. They were involved in planting a bomb on a Philippine airliner. Project Bojinka, which Philippine authorities found outlined on Abdul Murad’s laptop, called for planting bombs on eleven U.S. airliners and hijacking others and crashing them into targets like the CIA building…

It required aviators like Japan’s kamikaze pilots who were willing to commit suicide. Bin Laden had no such pilots in 1995, but he set out to train young fanatics willing to die for him to fly airliners. Abdul Murad, whose laptop had revealed the plan, admitted that he was being trained for a suicide mission. Bin Laden began training pilots in Afghanistan with the help of an Afghan pilot and a Pakistani general.

Project Bojinka was known to the CIA and the FBI. It was described in court documents in the trial in New York of Ramzi Yousef and Abdul Murad for their participation in the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. Since the CIA had been mentioned as one of the targets in Project Bojinka, it should have had an especially strong interest in any evidence that bin Laden was preparing to carry it out. The most obvious indicator, and one that should have been watched most carefully, was the recruitment of young, dedicated followers to learn to fly American airliners. That would require keeping a close watch on flight schools where that training is given.”[12]

Post-Bojinka Intelligence Gathering

And indeed, the surveillance of flight schools is exactly what subsequently occurred, indicating that the threat posed by Project Bojinka was not dismissed—rather, it was taken seriously and used as the basis for intensive intelligence gathering. As Garcia testifies, in meetings with “certain U.S. authorities… they have confirmed to me that indeed, many things were done in response” to the findings of Project Bojinka.[13] The Washington Post, noting the plans outlined in Project Bojinka, reported that: “Since 1996, the FBI had been developing evidence that international terrorists were using flight schools to learn to fly jumbo jets.” This evidence began to accumulate shortly after the FBI learned of Project Bojinka. “A foiled plot in Manila to blow up U.S. airliners and later court testimony by an associate of bin Laden had touched off FBI inquiries at several schools, officials say.”[14] It should be noted that this report indicates that Al-Qaeda’s plans for Project Bojinka were considered by U.S. intelligence to be a credible threat, and thus “touched off” further investigations.

Early in the same year, U.S. officials had identified crop-dusters and suicide flights as potential terrorist weapons. Elaborate steps were adopted to prevent an attack from the air during the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. U.S. aircraft were deployed to intercept suspicious aircraft in the skies over Olympic venues, while agents monitored crop-duster flights within hundreds of miles of downtown Atlanta. According to Woody Johnson, head of the FBI’s Atlanta office at the time, law enforcement agents fanned out to regional airports throughout northern Georgia “to make sure nobody hijacked a small aircraft and tried to attack one of the venues.” From 6th July to 11th August, when the Games ended, the FAA had banned all aviation within a one-mile radius of the Olympic Village where athletes were resident. Aircraft were also ordered to stay at least three miles away from other sites, beginning three hours before each event until three hours after each event ended.[15] These extensive measures in 1996, in response to the general threat of a possible terrorist attack, should be duly noted—there is a stark contrast between these measures and the almost total lack of preventive measures in response to warnings of the 11th September attacks.

By 1999, the Federal Aviation Administration’s annual report on Criminal Acts Against Aviation noted the threat posed by bin Laden, recalling that a radical Muslim leader living in British exile had warned in August 1998 that bin Laden “would bring down an airliner, or hijack an airliner to humiliate the United States.” The 2000 edition of the annual report, published early in 2001, reiterated concerns that although bin Laden “is not known to have attacked civil aviation, he has both the motivation and the wherewithal to do so… Bin Laden’s anti-Western and anti-American attitudes make him and his followers a significant threat to civil aviation, particularly to U.S. civil aviation.”[16]

Meanwhile, the surveillance of Al-Qaeda operatives on U.S. soil continued. Between 2000 and 2001, the CIA had made the FBI aware of the names of about 100 suspected members of bin Laden’s terrorist network thought to be headed to, or already in, the United States. A 23rd August 2001 cable specifically referred to Khalid Al-Midhar and Nawaq Alhazmi, who were allegedly aboard the hijacked airplane that crashed into the Pentagon.[17]

Six months before 11th September, U.S. agencies became aware through authoritative intelligence warnings that bin Laden was planning to implement Project Bojinka soon. Three months later, these warnings were repeated. The warnings were, again, not dismissed. On the contrary, the U.S. intelligence community took the reports very seriously. Newsbytes, an online division of the Washington Post, reported in mid-September that:

“U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies received warning signals at least three months ago that Middle Eastern terrorists were planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture, according to a story in Germany’s daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ).

The FAZ, quoting unnamed German intelligence sources, said that the Echelon spy network was being used to collect information about the terrorist threats, and that U.K. intelligence services apparently also had advance warning. The FAZ, one of Germany’s most respected dailies, said that even as far back as six months ago western and near-east press services were receiving information that such attacks were being planned. Within the American intelligence community, the warnings were taken seriously and surveillance intensified, the FAZ said.”[18]

The last comment—“Within the American intelligence community, the warnings were taken seriously”—is crucial. It clearly indicates that in response to the ECHELON warnings, the entire U.S. intelligence community—all U.S. intelligence agencies—were on alert for a Project Bojinka-style attack, and consequently intensified surveillance. The New Yorker further reports that according to Richard A. Clarke, U.S. National Coordinator for Counterterrorism in the White House, about ten weeks before 11th September, the U.S. intelligence community was convinced that a terrorist attack by Al-Qaeda on U.S. soil was imminent. Seven to eight weeks prior to the 11th September attacks, all internal U.S. security agencies were warned of an impending Al-Qaeda attack against the Untied States that would likely occur in several weeks time. This warning coincided with the second ECHELON warning cited before:

“Meanwhile, intelligence had been streaming in concerning a likely Al Qaeda attack. ‘It all came together in the third week in June,’ Clarke said. ‘The C.I.A.’s view was that a major terrorist attack was coming in the next several weeks.’ On July 5th, Clarke summoned all the domestic security agencies—the Federal Aviation Administration, the Coast Guard, Customs, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the F.B.I.—and told them to increase their security in light of an impending attack.”[19]

It is apparent then that all U.S. intelligence agencies were fully expecting an impending attack by Al-Qaeda by the beginning of July 2001, and moreover that the U.S. intelligence community was aware that “terrorists were planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American… culture.” In other words, the U.S. intelligence community was anticipating a Project Bojinka-style attack. Among the buildings identified as “symbolic of American culture” in Al-Qaeda’s Project Bojinka plans, known by U.S. intelligence, was the World Trade Center. That the WTC was an extremely likely target is further clear from the fact that operatives linked to Osama bin Laden had previously targeted the Twin Towers in a failed bombing attempt. As a consequence, the entire domestic intelligence and security apparatus seems to have been alerted to increase relevant security and surveillance.

Warnings of the impending attack continued to be received thereafter. Approximately 4 weeks prior to 11th September, the CIA received specific information of an attack on U.S. soil. The Associated Press reports that: “Officials also said the CIA had developed general information a month before the attacks that heightened concerns that bin Laden and his followers were increasingly determined to strike on U.S. soil.” A CIA official affirmed that: “There was something specific in early August that said to us that he was determined in striking on U.S. soil.” AP elaborates that: “The information prompted the CIA to issue a warning to federal agencies.”[20]

It was further revealed by a United Press International (UPI) report by U.S. terrorism correspondent Richard Sale on ECHELON’s monitoring of bin Laden and other terrorist groups that:

“The targets of Echelon center on the penetration of the major components of most of the world’s telephone and telecommunications systems. This could cover conversations NSA targets. Also included are all the telexes carried over the world’s telecommunications networks, along with financial dealings: money transfers, airline destinations, stock information, data on demonstrations or international conferences, and much more.”

ECHELON’s effectiveness against bin Laden’s network was further revealed in relation to a case against him in a U.S. District Court in Manhattan, illustrating that the National Security Agency was able to penetrate bin Laden’s most secure communications. The case, Sale noted, “is based mainly on National Security Agency intercepts of phone calls between bin Laden and his operatives around the world—Afghanistan to London, from Kenya to the United States.”

The technology had been used since at least 1995. Ben Venzke, Director of Intelligence and Special Projects for iDefense, a Virginia information warfare firm, is also quoted: “Since Bin Laden started to encrypt certain calls in 1995, why would they now be part of a court record? ‘Codes were broken,’ U.S. officials said, and Venzke added that ‘you don’t use your highest levels of secure communications all the time. It’s too burdensome and it exposes it to other types of exploitation..’” The UPI report clarifies that much of the evidence in the case had been obtained in ECHELON intercepts subsequent to the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa.[21] Given that U.S. officials “believe the planning for the Sept. 11 attacks probably began two years ago,” information on preparations for the attacks should have been available to, and picked up by, ECHELON.[22]

Confirmation that U.S. intelligence had been successfully monitoring Al-Qaeda’s communications right through to the aftermath of 11th September came from Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, a conservative Republican with wide contacts in the national security establishment. On the day of the attacks, Hatch stated that the U.S. government had been monitoring Osama bin Laden’s communications electronically, and had thus intercepted two bin Laden aides celebrating the attacks: “They have an intercept of some information that included people associated with bin Laden who acknowledged a couple of targets were hit.”[23]

ABC News further reported that shortly before 11th September, the U.S. National Security Agency intercepted “multiple phone calls from Abu Zubaida, bin Laden’s chief of operations, to the United States.” The information contained in these intercepted phone calls has not been disclosed.[24]

Given that ECHELON was monitoring Osama bin Laden and Al‑Qaeda, and even breaking their secure codes, the implications are alarming. As Canadian social philosopher Professor John McMurtry of Guelph University, Ontario, has noted in this connection:

“The pervasive Echelon surveillance apparatus and the most sophisticated intelligence machinery ever built is unlikely not to have eavesdropped on some of the very complicated organisation and plans across states and boundaries for the multi-site hijacking of planes from major security structures across the U.S.—especially since the suicide pilots were trained as pilots in the U.S., and the World Trade Centre had already been bombed in 1993 by Afghan ex-allies of the CIA. Since the prime suspect, Osama bin Laden, is himself an ex-CIA operative in Afghanistan, and his moves presumably under the intensest scrutiny for past successful terrorist attacks on two U.S. embassies in 1998, one has to reflect on the connections.”[25]

Air Authorities Were Warned of Bojinka

It is worth noting here that around the time of the first ECHELON warnings, near the end of June 2001, Airjet Airline World News also issued a warning, specifying Project Bojinka: “During the trial a Secret Service agent testified that Yousef boasted during his extradition flight to New York that he would have blown up several jumbo jets within a few weeks if his plan had not been discovered. The government said the defendants even devised a name for their airline terror plot named, ‘Project Bojinka’… The airlines are at risk—They need to take all appropriate measures and counter-measures to ensure the safety of their passengers.”[26] The White House National Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Richard Clarke, had also given direct warning to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to increase security measures in light of an impending terrorist attack in July 2001.[27] The FAA refused to take such measures.

Former Federal Air Safety Inspector Rodney Stich, who has 50 years of experience in aviation and air safety, had warned the FAA about the danger of skyjacking, specifically highlighting the fact that cockpit doors weren’t secure, and further that pilots should be allowed to carry basic weapons. The FAA refused to implement his suggestions, and when it became apparent the threat was real, they blocked efforts to arm pilots, or to place air marshals on planes, among other security measures. In an extensive study of the subject, Stich observes that:

“Federal inspectors… had years earlier reported the hijacking threat and the simple inexpensive measures to prevent hijackers from taking control of the aircraft. Numerous fatal hijackings further proved the need for urgent preventative measures. Instead of taking the legally required corrective actions, arrogant and corrupt FAA management personnel destroyed official reports of the dangers and the need for corrective actions; warned air safety inspectors not to submit reports that would make the office look bad when there is a crash related to the known problems; threatened inspectors who took corrective actions or continued to make reports—even though crashes from these uncorrected safety problems continued to occur.”[28]

The Los Angeles Times corroborates this assessment: “Federal bureaucracy and airline lobbying slowed and weakened a set of safety improvements recommended by a presidential commission—including one that a top airline industry official now says might have prevented the Sept. 11 terror attacks…

“The White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, created in 1996 after TWA Flight 800 crashed off Long Island, N.Y., recommended 31 steps that it said were urgently needed to provide a multilayered security system at the nation's airports... The Federal Aviation Administration expressed support for the proposals, which ranged from security inspections at airports to tighter screening of mail parcels, and the Clinton administration vowed to rigorously monitor the changes. But by Sept. 11, most of the proposals had been watered down by industry lobbying or were bogged down in bureaucracy, a Times review found.”[29]

The U.S. government thus bears direct responsibility for this state of affairs, by consistently failing to comply with its avowed responsibility to “rigorously monitor” and enforce the required changes. Larry Klayman, Chairman and General Counsel of Judicial Watch, the Washington-based legal watchdog, comments that: “It is now apparent—given the near total lack of security at U.S. airports and elsewhere—that the U.S. government has not been forthright with the American people…

“During the last eight years of scandal during the Clinton administration, and the first eight months of the Bush Administration, reports this morning confirm that little to nothing was done to secure our nation’s airports and transportation systems as a whole—despite warnings. Instead, cosmetic reform of education, social security, taxes, and other less important issues were given precedence. In addition, the American people were led to believe that appropriate anti-terrorist counter measures were being taken. Instead of telling the truth so the problems could be addressed, politicians painted a rosy picture in order to be elected and re-elected.”[30]

This is clearly more than a case of incompetence. This systematic inaction, despite escalating warnings of a terrorist threat to the U.S. from the air, indicates wilful and reckless negligence of the highest order on the part of the U.S. government, rooted in sheer indifference to the potential loss in American lives.

Intensification of Surveillance After Confirmation of Bojinka Plans

It is against this backdrop that the multiple intelligence warnings of an impending terrorist act by bin Laden’s operatives should be assessed. Clearly, on the basis of the 1995 revelations about Project Bojinka, coupled with the authoritative warnings in 2001 from America’s own ECHELON network among others, “the American intelligence community” was aware that bin Laden was planning imminent attacks on U.S. soil through the hijacking of civilian airliners to be used as bombs against key buildings “symbolic of American culture.” Among the buildings in Washington and New York known to be on bin Laden’s list of targets was the World Trade Centre.

Project Bojinka, in other words, was underway. U.S. intelligence agencies subsequently intensified their surveillance, and in doing so began tracking suspected terrorists. This indicates that the U.S. intelligence community had intensified surveillance by its various agencies in direct response to fears of a Project Bojinka-style attack on U.S. soil, orchestrated by Osama bin Laden.

It is appropriate then to consider in more detail the findings of this surveillance. WorldNetDaily, the Internet news service of the U.S.-based non-profit Western Journalism Center, reports some pertinent revelations in this respect:

“The FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies also knew that two of the hijackers were in the country, according to the Los Angeles Times. They were on a terrorist watch list. But the airlines were not notified… The FBI had several terrorists under surveillance, according to the Oct. 1 issue of Newsweek. They intercepted communications just prior to Sept. 11 that suggested something very big was about to happen… Still, there were more clues. Zacarias Moussaoui was arrested after flight trainers tipped off the feds that he wanted to learn how to fly a 747 but wasn’t interested in takeoffs or landings. Zacarias was traveling on a French passport. When contacted, the French government reported that he was a suspected terrorist [linked to Osama Bin Laden].”[31]

Reuters reported in relation to Zacarias that: “The FBI arrested an Islamic militant in Boston last month and received French intelligence reports linking him to Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden but apparently did not act on them,” a French radio station said on Thursday…

 “Europe 1 radio reported that U.S. police arrested a man with dual French and Algerian nationality who had several passports, technical information on Boeing aircraft and flight manuals. The man had been taking flying lessons, it added. Asked for information by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, French security services provided a dossier clearly identifying him as an Islamic militant working with bin Laden.”[32]

At the time of his arrest, Zacarias had been in possession of technical information on Boeing aircraft and flight manuals. It was on 26th August that the FBI headquarters was informed by French intelligence that Zacarias had ties to Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. Despite the confirmation of his involvement in bin Laden’s terrorist network, a special counterterrorism panel of the FBI and CIA reviewed the information against him, but concluded there was insufficient evidence that he represented a threat. The Minnesota flight school, Pan Am International Flight Academy, where Zacarias had been training, also warned the FBI in no uncertain terms.

As the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported, “Moussaoui raised suspicions at the Pan Am International Flight Academy in Egan [Minnesota]” when he attended the Academy in August 2001 to learn how to fly jumbo jets. He “first raised eyebrows when, during a simple introductory exchange, he said he was from France, but then didn’t seem to understand when the instructor spoke French to him… Moussaoui then became belligerent and evasive about his background… In addition, he seemed inept in basic flying procedures, while seeking expensive training on an advanced commercial jet simulator.”[33]

Even the flight school’s own employees “began whispering that he could be a hijacker.” Director of Operations at the Academy John Rosengren recounts how Zacarias’ instructor was “concerned and wondered why someone who was not a pilot and had so little experience was trying to pack so much training into such a short time… ‘The more he was able to talk to him, the more he decided he was not pilot material… There was discussion about how much fuel was on board a 747-400 and how much damage that could cause if it hit anything.’”[34] So the instructor contacted the FBI, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported:

 “An instructor at a Minnesota flight school warned the FBI in August of his suspicion that a student who was later identified as a part of Osama bin Laden’s terror network might be planning to use a commercial plane loaded with fuel as a weapon, a member of Congress and other officials said yesterday. The officials, who were briefed by the school, said the instructor warned the FBI in urgent tones about the terrorist threat posed by the student, Zacarias Moussaoui.

According to U.S. Representative James L. Oberstar of Minnesota, the instructor called the bureau several times to find someone in authority who seemed willing to act on the information. His warnings could not have been more blunt. Oberstar noted that: ‘He told them, ‘Do you realize that a 747 loaded with fuel can be used as a bomb?’

Congressional officials said the account by the school, the Pan Am International Flight Academy in Eagan, outside Minneapolis, raised new questions about why the FBI and other agencies did not prevent the hijackings… [The flight instructor] was a former military pilot who grew suspicious after encounters in which Moussaoui was belligerent and evasive about his background and because he was so adamant about learning to fly a 747 jumbo jet despite his clear incompetence as a pilot. Moussaoui, 33, was arrested in August on immigration charges. But despite the urging of the school and federal agents in Minnesota and despite a warning from the French that Moussaoui was linked to Muslim extremists, FBI headquarters resisted opening a broader investigation until after Sept. 11.”[35]

Indeed, the U.S. government actively prevented a further investigation from being conducted. Local FBI investigators in Minneapolis had immediately viewed Zacarias as a terrorist suspect and sought authorisation for a special counterintelligence surveillance warrant in order to search the hard drive of his home computer. The government’s Justice Department plus top FBI officials blocked an FBI request for a national security warrant to search Zacarias’ computer, claiming that FBI agents lacked sufficient information to meet the legal requirements to justify the warrant. The block remained in place even after the notification from French intelligence that Zacarias was linked to bin Laden.[36]

According to ABC News, however, at the time the Justice Department justified the refusal of a warrant by claiming that there was insufficient evidence connecting Zacarias to any known terrorist group: “Moussaoui was taken into custody on August 16, but to the outrage of FBI agents in the field, headquarters was slow to react and said he could not be connected to any known terror group.”[37] This was despite the information from French intelligence demonstrating the latter’s links to Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. While some law enforcement officials justify the block as a legal necessity, others strongly disagree that such justification has any real basis in law. “That decision is being questioned by some FISA experts, who say it’s possible a warrant would have been granted,” reported Greg Gordon. “The special court that reviews FISA requests has approved more than 12,000 Justice Department applications for covert search warrants and wiretaps and rejected only one since the act was passed in 1978, according to government reports.”[38] MS-NBC has similarly reported that:

“…other law enforcement officials are equally insistent that a more aggressive probe of Moussaoui—when combined with other intelligence in the possession of U.S. agencies—might have yielded sufficient clues about the impending plot. ‘The question being asked here is if they put two and two together, they could have gotten a lot more information about the guy—if not stopped the hijacking,’ said one investigator.”[39]

 The New York Times comments that the Moussaoui case “raised new questions about why the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies did not prevent the hijackings.”[40]

The U.S. response to Mohamed Atta, the alleged lead hijacker, was even more extraordinary. The German public TV channel, ARD, reported on 23rd November, 2001, that Mohamed Atta was subject to telephone monitoring by the Egyptian secret service. The latter had found that Atta had made at least one recent visit to Afghanistan from his home in Hamburg, Germany. The FBI had also been monitoring Atta’s movements for several months in 2000, when he traveled several times from Hamburg to Frankfurt and bought large quantities of chemicals potentially usable in making explosives. Atta’s name had also been mentioned in a Hamburg phone call between Islamic fundamentalists monitored by the German police in 1999.[41]

In January 2001, Atta was permitted reentry into the United States after a trip to Germany, despite being in violation of his visa status. He had landed in Miami on 10th January on a flight from Madrid on a tourist visayet he had told immigration inspectors that he was taking flying lessons in the U.S., for which an M-1 student visa is strictly required. Jeanne Butterfield, Executive Director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, points out that: “Nine times out of 10, they would have told him to go back and file [for that status] overseas. You’re not supposed to come in as a visitor for pleasure and go to work or school.”[42]

PBS’ Frontlines also takes note of “The failure of the INS to stop the attack’s ringleader, Mohamed Atta, from entering the U.S. three times on a tourist visa in 2001, even though officials knew the visa had expired in 2000 and Atta had violated its terms by taking flight lessons.”[43]

This failure should be evaluated in context with the fact that Atta had been under FBI surveillance for stockpiling bomb-making materials. Furthermore, Canadian TV reported that Atta had already been implicated in a terrorist bombing in Israel, with the information passed on to the United States before he was first issued his tourist visa.[44]

Yet despite these blatant terrorist connections, Atta was still allowed into the United States freely, and made repeated trips to Europe, each time returning to the U.S., and being admitted by U.S. customs and immigration without obstructionnot because visa regulations were lax, but because they were willfully violated. The London Observer notes in surprise that Atta:

“… was under surveillance between January and May last year after he was reportedly observed buying large quantities of chemicals in Frankfurt, apparently for the production of explosives and for biological warfare… The U.S. agents reported to have trailed Atta are said to have failed to inform the German authorities about their investigation. The disclosure that Atta was being trailed by police long before 11 September raises the question why the attacks could not have been prevented with the man’s arrest.”[45]

Atta also appears to have been under continual surveillance by the FBI. He was among the suspected terrorists linked to bin Laden training at U.S. flight schools, which the FBI had already known about for years. As the BBC observed: “The evidence... reinforces concerns that the international intelligence community may have known more about Atta before September 11 than was previously thought, but had failed to act.”[46]

There was a similar lack of response in relation to other suspected terrorists under U.S. surveillance. Human Events reported that:

“The FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies knew about the presence of at least two of the terrorists in the United States, but failed to get the information to airlines. Khalid Al-Midhar and Nawaq Alhamzi, who were on Flight 77 that hit the Pentagon, were already on the so-called watch list. But federal officials failed to notify airline officials who might have been able to stop at least one of the terror attacks, reports the Los Angeles Times.”[47]

The CIA and FBI knew three weeks before the attacks that these two hijackers, including one with a link to the bombing of the U.S. destroyer Cole in October 2000, were in the United States. Yet despite being on a terrorism watch list, which details individuals banned from entering the country due to their apparent links to terrorist activities, they were neither barred from entry into the U.S. nor apprehended later. The Washington Post has further pointed out, incredulously, that more than 50 people were probably involved in preparations for the operation within the U.S.without agencies doing anything about it:

“The scattered details that have emerged about the plot put this failure in stark relief: More than 50 people were likely involved, Justice Department officials have said, and the plot required extensive communications and planning to pull off. The group's size—not to mention the complexity of its endeavor—should have offered many opportunities for intelligence infiltration. Yet the conspirators proceeded unmolested. What is striking is how safe these people apparently felt, how unthreatened by law enforcement. Some of the terrorists were here for long periods. They left and entered the country unimpeded. Some were reportedly on the so-called ‘watch list,’ a government catalogue of people who ostensibly are not permitted to enter the country. Yet this apparently caused them no problems.”[48]

Further corroborative revelations have surfaced, indicating the extent of the FBI’s failure to act. According to reports in Newsweek, the Washington Post and the New York Times, after 11th September U.S. military officials gave the FBI information “suggesting that five of the alleged hijackers received training in the 1990s at secure U.S. military installations.”[49] Newsweek has further elaborated that U.S. military training of foreign students occurs as a matter of routine, with the authorisation—and payment—of respective governments, clarifying in particular that with respect to training of Saudi pilots, “Training is paid for by Saudi Arabia.” The hijackers, we should note, were almost exclusively Saudi; 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis, mostly from wealthy families:

“U.S. military sources have given the FBI information that suggests five of the alleged hijackers of the planes that were used in Tuesday’s terror attacks received training at secure U.S. military installations in the 1990s. Another of the alleged hijackers may have been trained in strategy and tactics at the Air War College in Montgomery, Ala., said another high-ranking Pentagon official. The fifth man may have received language instruction at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Tex. Both were former Saudi Air Force pilots who had come to the United States, according to the Pentagon source… NEWSWEEK visited the base early Saturday morning, where military police confirmed that the address housed foreign military flight trainees… It is not unusual for foreign nationals to train at U.S. military facilities. A former Navy pilot told NEWSWEEK that during his years on the base, ‘we always, always, always trained other countries’ pilots. When I was there two decades ago, it was Iranians. The shah was in power. Whoever the country du jour is, that’s whose pilots we train.’

Candidates begin with ‘an officer’s equivalent of boot camp,’ he said. ‘Then they would put them through flight training.’ The U.S. has a long-standing agreement with Saudi Arabiaa key ally in the 1990-91 gulf warto train pilots for its National Guard. Candidates are trained in air combat on several Army and Navy bases. Training is paid for by Saudi Arabia.”[50]

Knight Ridder news service provided more specific details of the findings. Mohamed Atta had attended International Officers School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama; Abdulaziz Alomari had attended Aerospace Medical School at Brooks Air Force base in Texas; and Saeed Alghamdi had been to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California.

The U.S. government has attempted to deny the charges despite the name matches, alleging the existence of biographical discrepancies: “Officials stressed that the name matches may not necessarily mean the students were the hijackers because of discrepancies in ages and other personal data.” But measures appear to have been taken to block public scrutiny of these alleged discrepancies. On 16th September, news reports asserted that: “Officials would not release ages, country of origin or any other specific details of the three individuals.” This situation seems to have continued up to the time of writing.

Even Senate inquiries into the matter have been studiously ignored by government law enforcement officials, who when pressed, have been unable to deny that the hijackers were training at secure U.S. military installations. When Newsweek reported that three of the hijackers were trained at the secure Pensacola Naval Station in Florida, Senator Bill Nelson faxed Attorney General John Ashcroft demanding to know if it was true.

When queried by investigative journalist Daniel Hopsicker about Ashcroft’s reply, a spokesman for Senator Nelson explained: “In the wake of those reports we asked about the Pensacola Naval Air Station but we never got a definitive answer from the Justice Department. So we asked the FBI for an answer ‘if and when’ they could provide us one. Their response to date has been that they are trying to sort through something complicated and difficult.”

Hopsicker also queried a major in the U.S. Air Force’s Public Affairs Office who “was familiar with the question,” and who, unlike U.S. law enforcement, believed that the matter was clear-cut. She explained the Air Force’s official ‘denial’ as follows: “Biographically, they’re not the same people. Some of the ages are 20 years off.” But when questioned to illustrate the specific discrepancy, she was forced to admit there was none. Hopsicker relates that: “‘Some’ of the ages? We told her we were only interested in Atta. Was she saying that the age of the Mohamed Atta who attended the Air Force's International Officer’s School at Maxwell Air Force Base was different from the terrorist Atta’s age as reported? Um, er, no, the major admitted.” Hopsicker asked if he could contact the other alleged “Mohamed Atta” who is supposed to have been confused with the hijacker, who had trained at the International Officer’s School at Maxwell Air Force Base, to confirm that they were, in fact, two different individuals. The major declined without explanation, stating that she did not “think you’re going to get that information.”

By mid-October 2001, the FBI’s investigations into these matters were being wrapped up, although no specific answers to this issue, palatable enough to be released to the public, were found. “On Oct. 10, FBI Agents were ordered to curtail their investigation of the Sept. 11 attack in an order describing the investigation of the terrorist hijackings as ‘the most exhaustive in its history,’” reported Hopsicker. “‘The investigative staff has to be made to understand that we’re not trying to solve a crime now,’ said one law enforcement official…

“The order was said to have met with resistance from FBI agents who believed that continued surveillance of suspects might have turned up critical evidence to prove who orchestrated the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Officials said FBI Director Robert Mueller, who was sworn in last month, believed that his agents had a broad understanding of the events of Sept. 11. It was now time to move on.”[51]

The simple question brought up by these revelations is, how did terrorists receive clearance for training at secure U.S. military and intelligence facilities, and for what purpose?

As early as three days after the 11th September attacks, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III claimed that these findings were new and had not been known by the FBI previously. The Washington Post noted that he had: “described reports that several of the hijackers had received flight training in the United States as ‘news, quite obviously,’ adding, ‘If we had understood that to be the case, we would have—perhaps one could have averted this.’”[52] But astonishingly, the same Post article illustrated that Mueller had lied about the FBI’s lack of knowledge. The Post reported in the same article that, contrary to the FBI Director’s initial testimony, the FBI had in fact known for several years that terrorists were training at U.S. flight schools—yet, absolutely nothing had been done about it:

“Federal authorities have been aware for years that suspected terrorists with ties to Osama bin Laden were receiving flight training at schools in the United States and abroad, according to interviews and court testimony… A senior government official yesterday acknowledged law enforcement officials were aware that fewer than a dozen people with links to bin Laden had attended U.S. flight schools.”[53]

A report for the Online Journal by Daniel Hopsicker, former Executive Producer of a business news show airing internationally on NBC, confirms that:

“Authorities are probing the European business associations of a Venice flight school owner, whose school at the Venice airport trained the nucleus of foreign national terrorist pilots, looking for possible links to international organized crime groups… Three of the airliners involved in the September 11 terrorist attack—two in Manhattan, and one wrested to the ground over Pennsylvania—were piloted by terrorists who had trained at two flight schools at the Venice, Florida airport.”[54]

“Almost all of the terrorist pilots,” Hopsicker reports, “received their initial training in Venice,” at either of two flight schools owned respectively by Arne Kruithof and Rudi Dekkers. “Together, these two schools trained the core cadre of foreign terrorist pilots.” But U.S. intelligence allowed this training to continue unimpeded, even amidst escalating warnings of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil through the use of hijacked civilian airplanes, and despite having monitored the terrorists for several years. “The FBI was swarming Huffman Aviation by 2 a.m., just 18 hours following the attack. They removed student files from two schools at the Venice airport: Huffman Aviation and the Florida Flight Training Center just down the street,” owned by the above two individuals.

Indeed, it appears that the reason the FBI was able to move so quickly is that “federal authorities have been aware for years that suspected terrorists with ties to Osama bin Laden were receiving flight training at schools in the United States.” Hopsicker further observes:

“Experts have been wondering how a conspiracy of such size and duration could have gone unnoticed by U.S. intelligence agencies and law enforcement. At least 15 of the far-flung network of terrorist pilots got their money from the same (so far-unnamed) source. While in the Venice area last year, the terrorist suspects opened checking accounts during the summer.

We called someone who used to work at something like the CIA. ‘How could the agency not have known about 15 foreign pilots all paid from one source?’ He chose his words carefully. ‘I would assume that they did know. It would seem almost impossible for them not to.’”[55]

Hopsicker also points out that the suspicious background and activities of Rudi Dekkers, the owner of Huffman Aviation where most of the terrorists who went on to implement the 11th September attacks were trained, are worthy of a further intelligence inquiry. There are a number of glaring anomalies noted by Hopsicker, a few of which are mentioned here. Dekkers’ chronology of his flight training of hijackers Atta and Al-Shehhi, for instance, directly contradicts the testimony of other flight instructors at Jones Aviation Flying Instructors, Inc.

Additionally, “Dekkers had purchased his aviation school at just about the time the terrorist pilots moved into town and began their lessons,” according to an aviation employee at Venice Airport. Another observer at the Airport admitted: “I’ve always had some suspicions about the way he breezed into town out of nowhere. Just too many odd little things. For example, he has absolutely no aviation background as far as anyone can tell. And he evidently had no use for, nor knowledge of, FAA rules and regs.” Special Operations Commando leader from the nearby McDill Air Force Base observed: “Rudi’s greedy, and when you’re greedy you can be used for something.”[56]

According to law enforcement officials, Dekkers has also reportedly been recently indicted in his native country, Holland, on financial charges that may include fraud and money laundering.[57] Yet despite his dubious background, activities and connections, in addition to his role in training most of the terrorists responsible for 11th September, he does not appear to have been investigated by the FBI. Indeed, his innocence seems to have been presumed from the outset: “Forty-eight hours after the Sept. 11 attack, a flight school owner named Rudi Dekkers, known to have trained virtually the entire terrorist pilot cadre… seemed impervious to suspicion.”[58]

Most intriguing in this whole affair is the revelation of a Venice Airport executive, as reported by Hopsicker, that Britannia Aviation, which operates from a hangar at Rudi Dekker’s Huffman Aviation at Venice Airport, had a “green light” from the Justice Department’s Drugs Enforcement Administration (DEA), and that the local Venice Police Department “had been warned to leave them alone.” Britannia Aviation had been awarded a five-year contract to run a large regional maintenance facility at the Lynchburg, Virginia, Regional Airport. At the time of the award, virtually nothing was known about the company. When Britannia was chosen over a respected and successful Lynchburg company boasting a multi-million dollar balance sheet and more than 40 employees, aviation executives there began voicing concerns to reporters at the local newspaper.

“… it was discovered that Britannia Aviation is a company with virtually no assets, employees, or corporate history. Moreover, the company did not even possess the necessary FAA license to perform the aircraft maintenance services for which it had just been contracted by the city of Lynchburg… When Britannia Aviation’s financial statements were released after prodding by the local aviation community, they revealed Britannia to be a ‘company’ worth less than $750.”

It also emerged that the company had, according to one of its executives Paul Marten, “for some time been successfully providing aviation maintenance services for Caribe Air, a Caribbean carrier,” that Hopsicker notes is, in fact, “a notorious CIA proprietary air carrier which, even by the standards of a CIA proprietary, has had a particularly checkered past…

“Caribe Air’s history includes ‘blemishes’ like having its aircraft seized by federal officials at the infamous Mena, Arkansas, airport a decade ago, after the company was accused by government prosecutors of having used as many as 20 planes to ship drugs worth billions of dollars into this country.”

Yet as already noted, an executive at Venice Airport informed Hopsicker that a DEA source at the airport “reluctantly told me that Britannia had a ‘green light’ from the DEA at the Venice airport, whatever that means. He also said the local Venice Police Department (which has mounted round-the-clock patrols at the airport since Sept.11) had been warned to leave them alone.”

Why does Britannia—a company reportedly with CIA connections that is operating illegally out of the same flight school which trained Al-Qaeda hijackers—have a “green light” from the Justice Department’s DEA, and effective immunity from local police inquiries? Daniel Hopsicker comments that: “The new evidence adds to existing indications that Mohamed Atta and his terrorist cadre’s flight training in this country was part of a so-far unacknowledged U.S. government intelligence operation which had ultimately tragic consequences for thousands of civilians on September 11…

“Far from merely being negligent or asleep at the switch… the accumulating evidence suggests the CIA was not just aware of the thousands of Arab student pilots who began pouring into this country several years ago to attend flight training, but was running the operation for still-unexplained reasons...

It was ‘Islamic fundamentalist’ Osama bin laden who cloaked his covert activities under the cover of religious charities. Were we now discovering that our own government intelligence agencies used the same ruse? What was going on here? … [W]hy did a transparent dummy front company like Paul Marten’s Britannia Aviation have a ‘green light’ from the DEA? A green light for what?”[59]

The above accounts certainly show that although U.S. intelligence agencies were aware of Al-Qaeda terrorists training in U.S. flight schools, and had apparently been surveilling their activities for years, they did not attempt to apprehend them—despite the escalating warnings of an imminent attack by Osama bin Laden’s operatives. This was a consequence of a decision by the FBI command. ABC News reported that only a few weeks before the attacks in early August, the FBI office in Phoenix alerted FBI headquarters to the unusual influx of Arab students with Al-Qaeda connections training at local flight schools. This warning was ignored.[60] It therefore appears that Mueller had attempted to mislead the public about the scope of the FBI’s knowledge.

However, his admission that such knowledge could have empowered the U.S. to avert the attacks, taken into account with the fact that the FBI did indeed possess such knowledge, brings up the pertinent question of why the FBI failed to do so, despite being perfectly capable of doing so, according to the FBI Director’s own indirect admission. In what seems to be an attempt to explain away the FBI’s rather shocking inaction, while Osama bin Laden’s terrorist lackeys were undergoing extensive training at U.S. military facilities, financed by Saudi authorities as Newsweek reports—and while innumerable credible warnings received by the U.S. intelligence community repeatedly predicted air attacks on “symbols of American culture” by bin Laden-linked terrorists, via the hijacking of civilian planes—the senior U.S. government official cited above claimed that “there was no information to indicate the flight students had been planning suicide hijacking attacks.” The Post recorded him as follows: “We were unable to marry any information from investigations or the intelligence community that talked to their use of this expertise in the events that we saw unfold on the 11th.”[61]

In this context, to interpret the FBI’s failure to act as mere incompetence, compounded by bureaucracy, strains the limits of reason. It also flies in the face of the most elementary methods of intelligence gathering. As demonstrated in the preceding documentation, there was abundant intelligence information predicting an imminent attack by Al-Qaeda operatives on U.S. soil. Moreover, this information indicated that Osama bin Laden was orchestrating the hijacking of civilian planes to be used as bombs against key U.S. buildings in Washington and New York. Reports show that this information was “taken seriously” by “the American intelligence community.” Hence, U.S. intelligence agencies were already well aware that plans to implement Project Bojinka were in progress—and had accordingly intensified surveillance in direct response.

The FBI and the CIA had known quite specifically that key targets of the plan were buildings constituting “symbols of American culture” located in Washington and New York, including the World Trade Centre. Furthermore, as a consequence of surveillance, the FBI had known for several years that suspected terrorists with ties to bin Laden were undergoing training at U.S. flight schools and secure U.S. military facilities—and in the latter case, with high-level U.S. military clearance, financed by the Saudi Arabian government. Marrying this information together, as we have done here, clearly demonstrates that the obvious course of action was to apprehend, interrogate and follow up investigations into the Al-Qaeda operatives under surveillance, particularly those training at U.S. flight schools.

Yet nothing of the sort was done. Despite being under direct surveillance by the U.S. intelligence community during 2000 and 2001—surveillance which intensified after receipt of credible warnings of an imminent Project Bojinka-style attack by Al-Qaeda—these hijackers, including Mohamed Atta, were allowed to travel freely into and out of the U.S. They were apparently granted high-level clearance to undergo military training at secure U.S. facilities with Saudi government funding as well.

The freedom with which Al-Qaeda operatives entered and left the U.S. should be understood in the context of testimony from Michael Springmann, former head of the Visa Bureau at the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, between 1987 and 1989. Springmann, has had 20 years of experience in the U.S. government, and is now a practising lawyer in Washington DC. He stated on BBC’s ‘Newsnight’ that: “In Saudi Arabia I was repeatedly ordered by high level State Dept officials to issue visas to unqualified applicants. These were, essentially, people who had no ties either to Saudi Arabia or to their own country.”[62]

In another interview with CBC’s Radio One, he stated that according to confirmation he received from U.S. government officials, the “CIA was recruiting terrorists to fight against the then Soviets.” Osama bin Laden, moreover, “was their asset, and was working with them.” There were “as many as a hundred” recruits, people “with no ties to any place in particular… Afghanistan was the end user of their facilities. They were coming to the U.S. for training as terrorists. The countries that had supplied them did not want them back.” Springmann testified that CIA officials had consistently violated State Department regulations to issue visas to these people.

“CBC: Does this demonstrate a relationship between the CIA and Osama Bin Laden dating back as far as 1987?

“SPRINGMANN: That’s right, and as you recall, they believe that this fellow Sheikh Abdurrahman who was tied to the first New York World Trade Center bombing had gotten his visa from a CIA case officer in the Sudan. And that the 15 or so people who came from Saudi Arabia to participate in the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon had gotten visas through the American consulate general in Jeddah.

“CBC: So what does that suggest, that this pipeline was never rolled up, that it’s still operating?

“SPRINGMANN: Exactly. I thought that it had been, because I’d raised sufficient hell that I thought that they’d done it. I had complained to the Embassy in Riyadh, I had complained to diplomatic security in Washington, I had complained to the General Accounting Office, I had complained to the State Department Inspector-General’s Office, I had complained to the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the State Department and apparently the reverberations from this were heard all over the State Department.

“CBC: If what you say may be true, many of the terrorists who allegedly flew those planes into those targets, got their U.S. visas through the CIA and your U.S. consulate in Jeddah. That suggests a relationship ongoing as recently as obviously September. But what was the CIA presumably recruiting these people for as recently as September 11th?

“SPRINGMANN: That I don’t know. And that’s one of the things that I tried to find out through a series of Freedom of Information Act requests starting ten years ago. At the time the State Department and the CIA stonewalled my requests. They’re still doing so.

“CBC: If the CIA had a relationship with the people responsible for September 11th, are you suggesting therein that they are somehow complicit?

“SPRINGMANN: Yes, either through omission or through failure to act… By the attempts to cover me up and shut me down, this convinced me more and more that this was not a pipedream, this was not imagination...

“CBC: But when you take the events of 87, when visas were being issued to people unqualified for them, it suggests that happened again to the same people responsible for the attacks on New York and Washington, that’s a quantum leap. How do you justify that?

“SPRINGMANN: For all I know, for all we know, this may have not been the intended consequence, it could’ve been a mistake, it could’ve been a misjudgement. Or for all we know, it could’ve been an effort to get the U.S. directly involved in some fashion. I mean it’s only a few thousand dead and what’s this against the greater gain for the United States in the Middle East?

“CBC: But you’re quite sure that Mohamed Atta and others had their visas issued in Jeddah?

“SPRINGMANN: Well this is what I was told by reading an article in the Los Angeles Times.”[63]

Despite Springmann’s prolific warnings and complaints that had alerted the State Department to his opposition to these events, the U.S. government responded not by rolling up the pipeline, but by opening it up even further. This occurred in the face of increasing evidence of Saudi connections to terrorism. The St. Petersburg Times reports that: “After the Persian Gulf War in 1991, the visa situation became murkier. FBI agents complained that their Saudi counterparts hampered investigations into terror attacks, including a 1996 bombing on Dhahran that killed 19 U.S. servicemen. The Americans also suspected that the Saudi monarchy was doing little to root out terrorism on Saudi soil and to stop anti-American threats…

“Yet, instead of tightening visa requirements, the U.S. government made it easier for Saudi visitors to come to America. Under a program called U.S. Visa Express, introduced four months before the Sept. 11 attacks, Saudis were allowed to arrange visas through 10 travel agencies—often without coming to the U.S. Embassy or consulate for interviews.”[64]

We should recall that these preposterous measures, which are in stark violation of the State Department’s mandatory regulations for the issuing of visas, were instituted by the Bush administration at a time when the U.S. intelligence community was on alert for an imminent Al-Qaeda attack. This is not an issue of the supposed need to tighten borders further, but of why existing regulations were ignored and violated. Furthermore, it is a matter of record that U.S. intelligence was already well aware at this time that key figures in the Saudi establishment supported Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network (See Chapter VI). Indeed, Springmann himself had warned the State Department repeatedly that unqualified applicants were being issued U.S. visas by the CIA. Yet, the U.S. government apparently allowed the fraudulent visa arrangement to continue, unabated.

High-Level Government Blocks on Intelligence Investigations

There is good reason to believe that the FBI’s failure to apprehend suspected terrorists, who were linked to bin Laden and operating within the U.S., was the result of high-level blocks from the FBI command and Justice Department. Evidence for this comes from the authoritative testimony of U.S. attorney David Philip Schippers, former Chief Investigative Counsel for the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, and head prosecutor responsible for conducting the impeachment against former President Bill Clinton. His long record of impeccable expertise and extensive experience makes him a highly credible source.[65]

Two days after the attacks, Schippers went public in an interview with WRRK in Pittsburgh, PA., stating that he had attempted to warn U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, along with other federal officials, about the terrorist attacks weeks before they occurred. He stated that he had received information from U.S. intelligence sources, including FBI agents, that a massive attack was being planned by terrorists, targeting the financial arteries of lower Manhattan. Schippers had attempted to bring this information to the attention of John Ashcroft, six weeks before the tragedy of Black Tuesday.[66] Schippers went public again in October 2001, reiterating that, several months prior to September, impeccable sources in the U.S. intelligence community, including agents of the U.S. government’s law enforcement agency, the FBI, had approached him with information about the impending attacks.

According to Schippers, these agents knew, months before the 11th September attacks, the names of the hijackers, the targets of their attacks, the proposed dates, and the sources of their funding, along with other information. At least two weeks prior to 11th September, the FBI agents again confirmed that an attack on lower Manhattan, orchestrated by Osama bin Laden, was imminent. However, the FBI command cut short their investigations into the impending terrorist attacks and those involved, threatening the agents with prosecution under the National Security Act if they publicised information pertaining to their investigations.

The agents subsequently sought the council of David Schippers in order to pressure elements in the U.S. government to take action to prevent the attacks. Schippers warned many Congressmen and Senators, and also attempted to contact U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft without success, managing only to explain the situation to a lower-ranking Justice Department official who promised a return call from Ashcroft the next day. The Attorney General did not return the call despite the gravity of the situation. Schippers is now legally representing one FBI agent in a suit against the U.S. government in an attempt to subpoena their testimony, so that he can legally speak about the blocked investigations on public record. In a Talk Radio interview on the Alex Jones Show, based in Austin, Texas, Schippers stated:

“Have you ever heard of Yossef Bodansky? … He is the guy that wrote the book about Bin Laden. He was hooked up with some Congressional leaders in the House—kind of an unofficial, for lack of a better word, a strike force, a task force on terrorism [Bodansky was Director of the U.S. Congress’ Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare (Ahmed)]. They sent out a warning on February 19, 1995, saying there was going to be a massive attack by the terrorists in the heartland of the United States and it was going to be a federal facility. Everybody ignored it. By the way, I have seen that warning… I don’t have it in front of me so I can’t go into the specifics of it too heavily but at the same time, there was in that warning that there was going to be a massive attack in Washington – it took them six years to do it. The targets were going to be Washington, the White House and the Capitol Building – and that they were going to use airliners to attack them.”[67]

In an interview with Geoff Metcalf on WorldNetDaily, Schippers clarified this as follows:

“I [had] information indicating there was going to be a massive attack in lower Manhattan [from FBI sources]. I couldn’t get anybody to listen to me… about a month-and-a-half before Sept. 11. The original thing that I heard—and you might ask Mr. Bodansky about that… He was one of the people behind the warning that came out Feb. 19, 1995, and this was the [original] warning that I saw: that there was going to be an attack on the United States by bin Laden’s people, that the original target—and this is the way it reads—the original target was supposed to be the White House and the Capitol building, and they were going to use commercial airliners as bombs.”[68]

Alex Jones commented in his interview with the former Chief Counsel: “Now later you got it from FBI agents in Chicago and Minnesota that there was going to be an attack on lower Manhattan.” David Schippers responded by explaining how his subsequent warnings were ignored: “Yes—and that’s what started me calling…

“I started calling out there. First of all, I tried to see if I could get a Congressman to go to bat for me and at least bring these people out there and listen to them. I sent them information and nobody cared. It was always, ‘We’ll get back to you,’ ‘we’ll get back to you,’ ‘we’ll get back to you.’ Then I reached out and tried to get to the Attorney General, when finally we got an attorney general in there that I would be willing to talk to. And, again, I used people who were personal friends of John Ashcroft to try to get him. One of them called me back and said, ‘Alright I have talked to him. He will call you tomorrow morning.’ This was like a month before the bombing…”[69]

The call never came. In an interview with the Eagle Forum of Illinois concerning the evidence of a terrorist attack, “this time on the financial district in south Manhattan,” Schippers stated: “Five weeks before the September 11 tragedy, I did my best to get a hold of Attorney General John Ashcroft with my concerns. The best that I could do was get in touch with an underling in that office who told me that all investigations start out at lower levels such as his.”[70] The Washington DC-based public interest law firm Judicial Watch which investigates and prosecutes government corruption and abuse, reported in mid-November 2001 that it was joining forces with Schippers to represent his FBI Special Agent against the U.S. Justice Department:

“… an active FBI Special Agent filed a complaint last week concerning FBI/Justice Department interference in and mishandling of terrorist investigations. The FBI Special Agent, who wishes to remain anonymous at this time, alleges that he was retaliated against when he continued to push for and pursue certain terrorist investigations over the objections of his FBI and Justice Department supervisors. The FBI Special Agent, who is represented by Judicial Watch and David Schippers, Esq., filed the complaint last week with the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General (IG) and Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).

Based on the evidence, the FBI Special Agent believes that if certain investigations had been allowed to run their courses, Osama bin Laden’s network might have been prevented from committing the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks which resulted in the deaths of nearly 5,000 innocents. Judicial Watch is requesting a full scale, independent investigation into its client’s concerns and seeks to hold accountable those responsible for preventing the full investigation of terrorist activity here in the United States and abroad.”[71]

David Schippers elaborated on these matters towards the end of February 2002 in an interview with this author. He confirmed that U.S. intelligence had “established the sources of the money flow of bin Laden” as early as 1996, but by 1999 intelligence officers began facing fundamental high-level obstructions to their investigations into these matters. Schippers is maintaining the anonymity of his sources to avoid undue pressure on them from elements in government and intelligence agencies.

The earliest warning of attacks was issued by the U.S. Congress’ Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare in February 1995, which specified in general terms that Al-Qaeda was planning a terrorist attack on lower Manhattan, through the use of hijacked civilian planes as bombs. According to Schippers, the same individuals who issued this authoritative warning had been working ever since on uncovering further information on the same threat. He stated that the warning “had started out just a general threat, but they narrowed it and narrowed it, more and more with time,” until the “same people who came out with the first warning” informed him in “May 2002” that “an attack on lower Manhattan is imminent.” Schippers elaborates that these U.S. intelligence officers had approached him as a result of “growing frustration” at the higher echelons of the intelligence community who were refusing to take action in response to the imminent threat to U.S. national security.

In addition to the several FBI agents who had spoken to Schippers directly, other U.S. intelligence sources told him that “there are others all over the country who are frustrated, and just waiting to come out.” The frustration of these intelligence officers, Schippers explained, was because of the obstructions of a “bureaucratic elite in Washington short-stopping information,” with the consequence that they have granted “terrorism a free reign in the United States.”

Schippers was also able to confirm the specific nature of some of the FBI investigations, which had been cut short under high-level orders, noting for instance that the agents who had approached him claimed that “they had Atta [the chief hijacker] in their sights.” The agents also claimed to have been aware of the names and activities of “very strange characters training at flight schools,” which they had attempted to “check out.”

Such investigations were blocked from above, to the fury of agents on the trail of individuals who appear to have gone on to perpetrate the atrocities of 11th September—including chief hijacker Mohammed Atta himself. There was simply no adequate justification for these blocks, legal or otherwise, the agents argue, adding that the obstructions came down for no apparent reason. Accordingly, one of them remarked to Schippers that “if they had been permitted to follow through with their investigations, 9-11 would never have happened.”[72]

The conservative New American magazine has also interviewed several FBI agents who have corroborated Schippers’ testimony. In a March 2002 report, the magazine reported that:

“Three veteran federal law enforcement agents confirmed to THE NEW AMERICAN that the information provided to Schippers was widely known within the Bureau before September 11th. Because these individuals face possible personal or professional retaliation, they agreed to speak with us on condition of anonymity. Two of them, however, have expressed a willingness to testify before Congress regarding the views they have shared with us.”

A former FBI official with extensive counterterrorism experience told the magazine: “I don’t buy the idea that we didn’t know what was coming.” He referred to the extraordinary speed with which the FBI had produced detailed information on the attack and the hijackers responsible: “Within 24 hours [of the attack] the Bureau had about 20 people identified, and photos were sent out to the news media. Obviously this information was available in the files and somebody was sitting on it.”

Another active FBI counter-terrorism investigator stated that it was widely known “all over the Bureau, how these [warnings] were ignored by Washington... All indications are that this information came from some of [the FBI’s] most experienced guys, people who have devoted their lives to this kind of work. But their warnings were placed in a pile in someone’s office in Washington... In some cases, these field agents predicted, almost precisely, what happened on September 11th. So we were all holding our breath… hoping that the situation would be remedied.”

The first former FBI agent’s further damning comments to the New American are particularly worth noting:

“This is pretty appalling. The FBI has had access to this information since at least 1997. We’re obviously not doing our job. I never expected to see something like this happen in our country, but in a way I wasn’t shocked when it did. There’s got to be more to this than we can see—high-level people whose careers are at stake, and don’t want the truth coming out... What agenda is someone following? Obviously, people had to know— there had to be people who knew this information was being circulated. People like [Al-Qaeda terrorists] don’t just move in and out of the country undetected. If somebody in D.C. is taking this information and burying it—and it’s very easy to control things from D.C.—then this problem goes much, much deeper... It’s terrible to think this, but this must have been allowed to happen as part of some other agenda.”[73]

It should be noted here that high-level blocks were also placed on FBI and military intelligence investigations of possible terrorist connections related to members of the bin Laden family and Saudi royals. The London Guardian has elaborated that U.S. intelligence had faced high-level blocks in their investigations into bin Laden terrorist connections:

“FBI and military intelligence officials in Washington say they were prevented for political reasons from carrying out full investigations into members of the bin Laden family in the U.S. before the terrorist attacks of September 11…

U.S. intelligence agencies… are complaining that their hands were tied… They said the restrictions became worse after the Bush administration took over this year. The intelligence agencies had been told to ‘back off’ from investigations involving other members of the Bin Laden family, the Saudi royals, and possible Saudi links to the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Pakistan. ‘There were particular investigations that were effectively killed.’”[74]

The documentation provided previously, in tandem with David Schippers’ revelations regarding the detailed information possessed by U.S. intelligence on the 11th September terrorist attacks and who was planning them, is damning evidence that, in spite of sufficient information, there was deliberate inaction, in line with high-level Bush administration directives. Indeed, this inference is corroborated by a report in The Herald which notes the FBI’s arrest of alleged Al-Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui “at a Minnesota flight school in August last year, and a July report from the agency’s Phoenix, Arizona, office which warned that Middle Eastern students” who “had a connection to Osama bin Laden” were “enrolling for flying lessons in considerable numbers…

“U.S. lawmakers remain astounded that the Phoenix memo and Moussaoui’s arrest failed to set alarm bells ringing at FBI headquarters, even after one agent speculated at a high-level meeting that Moussaoui might have been taking lessons to enable him to crash an aircraft into the World Trade Centre in New York.”[75]

We should ask, of course, on what basis did the FBI agent assert at this high-level meeting the possibility that the World Trade Centre in New York would be the target of a hijacking suicide attack by a suspected Al-Qaeda terrorist? Only a few days prior to the 11th September attacks, FBI agents in Minnesota recorded in an official internal FBI document that Zacarias “might be planning on flying something into the World Trade Center.”[76]

In context with the documentation discussed previously, it is clear that the agents did not do so randomly in an information vacuum—indeed, this is not how intelligence operates. On the contrary, there was very precise information available to the FBI and other intelligence agencies on Al-Qaeda’s Project Bojinka plans, specifying targets in Manhattan, which provided reasonable grounds to believe that the World Trade Centre was the most probable target of an imminent Al-Qaeda attack. The Herald report illustrates, however, that although this information was widely known and discussed in the U.S. intelligence community—including the top strata—further investigation and preventive measures were blocked under “high-level” directives.

Multiple Intelligence Warnings Converged on 11th September

As September neared, multiple authoritative intelligence warnings surfaced with increasing intensity, warning of a terrorist attack against the U.S. We should recall that in response to ECHELON’s warnings, U.S. intelligence agencies were already on alert for evidence of a very specific Project Bojinka-style operation, which would target key buildings in Washington and New York. The White House National Coordinator for Counterterrorism, based on CIA confirmation, had alerted all domestic security and intelligence agencies of an impending Al-Qaeda attack, to be implemented in several weeks time, at the beginning of July. According to Chief Investigative Counsel David Schippers, U.S. sources had informed him as early as May that the intelligence community had credible information of an imminent attack targeting the “financial district of lower Manhattan,” and that intelligence officers throughout the country were frustrated by high-level blocks on investigations and information. The FBI appears to have had specific information indicating that the World Trade Centre was thus the most probable target. Against this background, the multiple warnings of an impending attack by Osama bin Laden from a variety of credible authorities should have increasingly reinforced the overall intelligence confirmation of the attacks. USA Today reports that:

“Since passenger-filled commercial planes slammed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon 5 weeks ago, a conventional wisdom has emerged that the terrorist attacks were so extraordinary that they couldn't have been predicted...

In fact, a growing mountain of evidence suggests that the hijackings not only were imaginable, they also were foreshadowed. The Bush administration received what Secretary of State Colin Powell describes as a ‘lot of signs’ throughout the summer that terrorists were plotting U.S. attacks. Among them: al-Qa’eda mentions of an impending ‘Hiroshima’ on U.S. soil.”[77]

The London Telegraph reported a few days after the 11th September attacks that:

“Israeli intelligence officials say that they warned their counterparts in the United States last month that large-scale terrorist attacks on highly visible targets on the American mainland were imminent…

 The Telegraph has learnt that two senior experts with Mossad, the Israeli military intelligence service, were sent to Washington in August to alert the CIA and FBI to the existence of a cell of as many of 200 terrorists said to be preparing a big operation… [They] linked the plot to Osama bin Laden.”[78]

Russian President Vladimir Putin, a leading actor in the new international coalition against terrorism and a close ally of President Bush and Prime Minister Blair, informed interviewers on MS-NBC that the Russian government had warned the U.S. of imminent attacks on airports and government buildings in the strongest possible terms for several weeks prior to the 11th September attacks.[79] These warnings were quite specific in that they indicated the hijacking of airplanes to be used against civilian buildings. According to Russian press reports, Russian intelligence had notified the U.S. government of air attacks against civilian buildings and told them that 25 pilots had been specifically trained for the suicide missions.[80]

French intelligence had also warned their U.S. counterparts of an impending attack in September. The respected French daily Le Figaro reported that:

“According to Arab diplomatic sources as well as French intelligence, very specific information was transmitted to the CIA with respect to terrorist attacks against American interests around the world, including on U.S. soil. A DST [French intelligence] report dated 7 September enumerates all the intelligence, and specifies that the order to attack was to come from Afghanistan.”[81]

According to the London Independent, the U.S. government “was warned repeatedly that a devastating attack on the United States was on its way.” The newspaper cited an interview given by Osama bin Laden to a London-based Arabic-language newspaper, al-Quds al-Arabi, in late August. At about the same time, tighter security measures were ordered at the World Trade Center, for unexplained reasons.[82]

Further confirmation of the impending attacks came from the occurrence of other very specific warnings. Three days after the terrorist attacks, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein pointed out that: “Bin Laden’s people had made statements three weeks ago carried in the Arab press in Great Britain that they were preparing to carry out unprecedented attacks in the U.S.”[83]

 In the summer of 2001, an Iranian man phoned U.S. law enforcement and warned of an imminent attack on the World Trade Center in the week of 9th September. German police confirmed the calls, but further stated that the U.S. Secret Service refused to reveal any further information on the matter. The caller’s identity has not been disclosed.[84]

According to MS-NBC, in the week before 11th September, a caller to a Cayman Islands radio talk show gave several warnings of an imminent attack on the U.S. by bin Laden. The identity of the caller has not been disclosed.[85]

The U.S. also received an authoritative warning from the Egyptian President, a U.S. ally and close friend of the Bushes, which was based on the country’s intelligence. The Associated Press reported that:

“Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak says he warned the United States that ‘something would happen’ 12 days before the Sept. 11 terror attacks on New York and Washington… ‘We expected that something was going to happen and informed the Americans. We told them,’ Mubarak said. He did not mention a U.S. response.”[86]

Another authoritative warning came from Garth L. Nicolson, Chief Scientific Officer and Research Professor at the Institute for Molecular Medicine in Huntington Beach, California. Nicolson has been called to testify as an expert before the U.S. Senate in relation to Department of Defense investigations of Gulf War chemical and biological incidents.[87] Professor Nicolson testified that:

“My wife, Dr. Nancy Nicolson and I received at least three warnings of the attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. The nature of these warnings (the specific site, date and source) indicated to us that they were credible. We have many contacts in the retired intelligence community, including Special Forces, and domestic and foreign intelligence services. Mostly these were individuals that we assisted with their health problems from the Gulf War, Vietnam or other conflicts.

The most dramatic source was a Head of State of a North African country. This occurred during a visit to Tunisia in July 2001. This head of state was travelling under cover and met with us at our hotel. He warned us as to the correct date and one of the targets, the Pentagon. We were not given any information as to the method or any other targets.

The information was passed on to the Director of Policy, DoD, the National Security Council, the leadership in the House of Representatives and the Inspector General of the U.S. Army Medical Corps, who happened to be visiting us a month or so before Sept. 11.

To our knowledge no action was ever taken on this information. There has been some mention in the press that others also warned the U.S. Government that on Sept. 11, 2001 there would be a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. I do not know if any of the information from our sources or other sources was ever taken seriously by the National Security Council.”[88]

Yet another warning from multiple intelligence agencies just before 11th September put the American intelligence community on alert. The New York Times reported:

“One intercept [of bin Laden’s communications] before the Sept. 11 attack was, according to two senior intelligence officials, the first early warning of the assault and it set off a scramble by American and other intelligence agencies… That message, which was intercepted by the intelligence services of more than one country, was passed on to the United States, officials from three countries said. ‘… we assumed it would be soon,’ a senior intelligence official said.”[89]

On 7th September, the U.S. State Department issued a worldwide alert warning that “American citizens may be the target of a terrorist threat from extremist groups with links to [Osama bin Laden’s] al-Qaeda organization.” According to ABC News, the “report cited information gathered in May that suggested an attack somewhere was imminent.”[90] It is worth reiterating here that Schippers was notified in the same month by key figures in the U.S. intelligence community, who had been working on the Al-Qaeda threat for years, that the attacks would target lower Manhattan. These reports show that U.S. intelligence agencies were on alert for an imminent attack by bin Laden very shortly before 11th September. Moreover, U.S. intelligence had privately anticipated that lower Manhattan would be the target.

Given the previous multiple warnings from various intelligence agencies, compounded and reinforced by the findings of America’s own intelligence network, it is clear that bin Laden’s Project Bojinka-style plan, to which the U.S. was alerted only a few months earlier, was soon to be implemented. The World Trade Center was among the known targets of Project Bojinka. Additionally, 11th September was the anniversary of the conviction of Ramzi Yousef for the first World Trade Center bombing several years ago.

According to Philippine Chief Superintendent Avelino Razon, “U.S. federal officials were aware of Project Bojinka and… the Philippines’ crack terrorist team was continuing to work closely with them… ‘I remember that after the first World Trade Center bombing Osama bin Laden made a statement that on the second attempt they would be successful,’ Razon stressed. He said they could have chosen to carry out the attack on September 11, to mark the anniversary of Yousef’s conviction for the first attack several years ago.”[91] As previously noted, Australian analyst Paul Monk points out that 11th September should have been a “watch date.”

According to Newsweek, the FBI, which as noted previously already had many terrorists under surveillance, were intercepting their communications. Shortly before 11th September they wrote comments such as: “There is a big thing coming,” “They’re going to pay the price,” We’re ready to go.”[92]

Just before the attacks, U.S. intelligence received information from Osama bin Laden himself that something “big” would happen on 11th September. NBC News reported at the beginning of October that Osama bin Laden had phoned his mother two days before the World Trade Center attacks and told her: “In two days you’re going to hear big news, and you’re not going to hear from me for a while.” According to NBC, a foreign intelligence service had recorded the call and relayed the information to U.S. intelligence.[93]

The convergence of these multiple warnings would have reinforced earlier warnings, thus clearly indicating that Project Bojinka was to be implemented in September, with some information—including the admission of bin Laden himself—specifying 11th September in no uncertain terms. In particular, we should remind ourselves of the testimony of David Schippers, which was based on information received from FBI agents—that amid these multiple warnings, and on the basis of its own intensive surveillance and intelligence gathering operations, the FBI had specific details of an impending air attack on civilian buildings in lower Manhattan in September 2001. Yet nothing was done.

Further indication of the extent of the American intelligence community’s forewarning, particularly in relation to the specific timing of its planned execution, can be found from analysis of financial transactions before 11th September. Only three trading days before 11th September, shares of United Airlines—the company whose planes were hijacked in the attacks on New York and Washington—were massively “sold short” by as yet unknown investors.

This was done by buying dirt-cheap “put” options, which give the owner a short-term right to sell specific shares at a price well below the current market—a long-shot bet. When the stock prices unexpectedly dropped even lower, in response to the terrorist attacks, the options multiplied a hundredfold in value, making millions of dollars in profit. These “short” options plays are a sure sign of investors with foreknowledge of an event that would occur within a few days, and drastically reduce the market price of those shares. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that:

“Investors have yet to collect more than $2.5 million in profits they made trading options in the stock of United Airlines before the Sept. 11, terrorist attacks, according to a source familiar with the trades and market data. The uncollected money raises suspicions that the investors—whose identities and nationalities have not been made public—had advance knowledge of the strikes.

… October series options for UAL Corp. were purchased in highly unusual volumes three trading days before the terrorist attacks for a total outlay of $2,070; investors bought the option contracts, each representing 100 shares, for 90 cents each [a price of less than one cent per share, on a total of 230,000 options]. Those options are now selling at more than $12 each. There are still 2,313 so-called ‘put’ options outstanding [representing 231,300 shares and a profit of $2.77 million] according to the Options Clearinghouse Corp.

…The source familiar with the United trades identified Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown, the American investment banking arm of German giant Deutsche Bank, as the investment bank used to purchase at least some of these options…”[94]

But the United Airlines case was not the only dubious financial transaction indicating, in the Chronicle’s words, “advanced knowledge of the strikes.” The Israeli Herzliyya International Policy Institute for Counterterrorism documented the following transactions related to 11th September, involving American Airlines—whose planes were also used in the attacks—and other companies with offices in the Twin Towers:

“Between September 6 and 7, the Chicago Board Options Exchange saw purchases of 4,744 put options on United Airlines, but only 396 call options… Assuming that 4,000 of the options were bought by people with advance knowledge of the imminent attacks, these ‘insiders’ would have profited by almost $5 million.

On September 10, 4,516 put options on American Airlines were bought on the Chicago exchange, compared to only 748 calls. Again, there was no news at that point to justify this imbalance;… Again, assuming that 4,000 of these options trades represent ‘insiders,’ they would represent a gain of about $4 million [the above levels of put options were more than six times higher than normal].

No similar trading in other airlines occurred on the Chicago exchange in the days immediately preceding Black Tuesday.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., which occupied 22 floors of the World Trade Center, saw 2,157 of its October $45 put options bought in the three trading days before Black Tuesday; this compares to an average of 27 contracts per day before September 6. Morgan Stanley’s share price fell from $48.90 to $42.50 in the aftermath of the attacks. Assuming that 2,000 of these options contracts were bought based upon knowledge of the approaching attacks, their purchasers could have profited by at least $1.2 million.

Merrill Lynch & Co., with headquarters near the Twin Towers, saw 12,215 October $45 put options bought in the four trading days before the attacks; the previous average volume in those shares had been 252 contracts per day [a dramatic increase of 1200%]. When trading resumed, Merrill’s shares fell from $46.88 to $41.50; assuming that 11,000 option contracts were bought by ‘insiders,’ their profit would have been about $5.5 million.

European regulators are examining trades in Germany’s Munich Re, Switzerland’s Swiss Re, and AXA of France, all major reinsurers with exposure to the Black Tuesday disaster [AXA also owns more than 25% of American Airlines stock].”[95]

These multiple, massive and unprecedented financial transactions point unequivocally to the fact that the investors behind these trades were speculating in anticipation of a mid-September 2001 catastrophe that would involve both United Airlines and American Airlines, and offices in the Twin Towers—a clear demonstration of their foreknowledge or involvement in the 11th September attacks. Ernest Welteke, President of the German Bundesbank, has concluded that it is certain that a group of speculators knew the attack was coming. According to the New York Times, he stated: “There have been fundamental movements in these markets [i.e. the airlines], and the oil price rise just ahead of the attacks is otherwise inexplicable.”[96]

The London Times reports that the U.S. government has a similar perspective: “American authorities are investigating unusually large numbers of shares in airlines, insurance companies and arms manufacturers that were sold off in the days and weeks before the attacks. They believe that the sales were by people who knew about the impending disaster.”[97]

But as noted by U.S. investigative journalist and former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) narcotics detective Michael C. Ruppert, who rose to fame for uncovering the CIA role in drug-running operations in the 1980s, and who has been interviewed by both the House and the Senate for his expertise on CIA covert operations: “It is well documented that the CIA has long monitored such trades—in real time—as potential warnings of terrorist attacks and other economic moves contrary to U.S. interests.”[98] The UPI also reported that the U.S.-sponsored ECHELON intelligence network closely monitors stock trading.[99]

The London Times further points out that the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) is a “stock market watchdog” possessing a “transaction monitoring department that checks suspicious share movements.” The FSA, however, has not issued any informative statement on the investigation into the share movements before 11th September: “The FSA would not comment on its instructions from the CIA.”[100] In other words, there are both intelligence and civilian monitoring systems that monitor share transactions for the express purpose of tracking suspicious movements, and which, therefore, would have received warning. Elaborating, Ruppert observes that:

“It has been documented that the CIA, the Israeli Mossad and many other intelligence agencies monitor stock trading in real time using highly advanced programs reported to be descended from Promis software. This is to alert national intelligence services of just such kinds of attacks. Promis was reported, as recently as June, 2001 to be in Osama bin Laden’s possession and, as a result of recent stories by FOX, both the FBI and the Justice Department have confirmed its use for U.S. intelligence gathering through at least this summer. This would confirm that CIA had additional advance warning of imminent attacks.”[101]

Ruppert further describes the CIA’s tracking of financial transactions as follows:

“One of the primary functions of the Central Intelligence Agency by virtue of its long and very close history of relationships with Wall Street… the point where the current executive vice president of the New York Stock Exchange is a retired CIA general counsel, has had a mandate to track, monitor, all financial markets worldwide, to look for anomalous trades, indicative of either economic warfare, or insider currency trading or speculation which might affect the U.S. Treasury, or, as in the case of the September 11 attacks, to look for trades which indicated foreknowledge of attacks like we saw.

One of the vehicles that they use to do this is a software called Promis software, which was developed in the 1980s, actually 1979, by Bill Hamilton and a firm called INSLAW, in [the] Washington D.C. area. And Promis is very unique for two reasons: first of all, it had the ability to integrate a wide range of databases using different computer languages and to make them all into one readable format. And secondly, in the years since, Promis has been mated with artificial intelligence to even predict moves in markets and to detect trades that are anomalous, as a result of those projections.

So, as recently as last year, I met with members of the RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] national security staff, who came down to Los Angeles where I am, who are investigating stolen applications of Promis software and its applications, and we reconfirmed at that time that, not only the U.S., but Israel, Canada, and many other countries use Promis-like software to track real-time trades in the stock markets to warn them of these events.”

However, he clarifies that such software is not necessary for intelligence agencies to note the ominous implications of the trades going on shortly before 11th September:

“The key evidence… was the trades themselves, the so-called put options and the short selling of American Airlines, United Airlines, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and a couple of reinsurance companies in Europe, which are just really off the maps. You wouldn’t need software to look at these trades and say, ‘Oh my God, this is directly connected to the World Trade Center.’

Herzliyah, International Policy Institute in Israel which tracks counter-terrorism, also tracks financial trading. That’s a clear cut sign about how closely the two are related. And their reports are very clear that between September 6 and 7 the Chicago Board Options Exchange, CBOE, saw purchases of 4,744 put options on UAL, but only 396 call options. On September 10, the day before the attacks, 4,516 put options were placed on American Airlines, against only 748 calls, calls being bets that the stock will go up, puts being that the stock will go down. No similar trading in any other airlines occurred on the Chicago Exchange in the days immediately preceding Black Tuesday. That means that someone had advance knowledge that only the stocks of these two airlines would be adversely impacted. Had it just been an industry-wide slump, then you would have seen the same kind of activity on every airline, not just these two. But what is also very anomalous, very out of whack here, is the fact that the number of put options placed, that the level of these trades was up by 1,200 percent in the three days prior to the World Trade Center attacks.”[102]

The Wall Street Journal reported some disturbing developments in the investigation into this suspicious share trading at the beginning of October 2001. The ongoing investigation by the Security and Exchange Commission had by then been joined by a U.S. Secret Service probe into purchases of an exceptionally large number of five-year U.S. Treasury notes, just prior to the attacks. Among the Treasury note transactions was a single $5 billion trade. The Journal points out that:

“Five-year Treasury notes are among the best investments in the event of a world crisis, especially one that hits the U.S. The notes are prized for their safety and their backing by the U.S. government, and usually rally when investors flee riskier investments, such as stocks.”[103]

The day after the Journal report came out, chief of the FBI’s financial crimes unit Dennis Lormel attempted to downplay the significance of these trades, claiming in testimony before a Congressional committee that “To date there are no flags or indicators” showing that terrorists used strategies such as “short selling” to profit from the 11th September attacks.[104] However, FOX News cited German central bank president Ernst Welteke, who explained toward the end of September that “a study by his bank strongly points to ‘terrorism insider trading’ not only in shares of heavily affected industries such as airlines and insurance companies, but also in gold and oil.”[105] Admitting that there has been a great deal of “speculation and rumours,” Welteke also stated that “there are ever clearer signs that there were activities on international financial markets which must have been carried out with the necessary expert knowledge.”[106]

Similarly, USA Today cited co-founder of PTI Securities Jon Najarian, described as an “active player” on the Chicago Board Options Exchange, confirming that: “The volumes were exceptional versus the norm.”[107] Principal of Broadband Research John Kinnucan commented: “I saw put-call numbers higher than I’ve ever seen in 10 years of following the markets, particularly the options markets.”[108]  As CBS 60 Minutes reported: “Sources tell CBS News that the afternoon before the attack, alarm bells were sounding over unusual trading in the U.S. stock options market.”[109]

These trades strongly suggest that certain well-connected and wealthy investors had advance knowledge of the attacks. To date, both the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and the FBI have been tight-lipped about their investigation of the trades. “The SEC and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have said nothing about their investigation into suspect trades,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.[110] Indeed, the FBI appears to have taken measures to block public knowledge of the progress of the investigation.

The Investment Dealers Association (IDA), a trade association for the Canadian securities industry, posted on its web site an SEC list of 38 stocks. The SEC had requested Canadian security firms to investigate suspicious trading in these stocks between 27 August and 11 September 2001. But as soon as U.S. officials became aware that the full list of stocks had been posted online, they demanded the removal of the list from the Investment Dealers Association’s site. The IDA complied, but reporters were able to copy the list before its removal.[111]

The list of stocks includes the parent companies of American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, Southwest, United and U.S. Airways, as well as Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruise lines, aircraft maker Boeing and defense contractor Lockheed Martin. Several insurance companies are on the list—American International Group, Axa, Chubb, Cigna, CNA Financial, John Hancock and MetLife. Several giant companies that were former tenants in the World Trade Center were also on the list: the largest tenant, investment firms Morgan Stanley; Lehman Brothers; Bank of America; and the financial firm Marsh & McLennan. Other major companies on the list were General Motors, Raytheon, LTV, WR Grace, Lone Star Technologies, American Express, Bank of New York, Bank One, Citigroup and Bear Stearns.[112]

A probe of suspicious stock trading in these companies would attempt to isolate the investors, or group of investors, involved therein, thus uncovering those who had foreknowledge of the attacks.

Why did U.S. officials object to publication of a list of stocks in which suspicious trading occurred? Moreover, why have the results of the investigation so far, and any progress being made, not been made public?

Given that there are both intelligence and civilian systems that monitor share transactions for the express purpose of tracking suspicious movements, and given further that the transactions just prior to 11th September were so unprecedented, massive and specific, these systems would have received advance warning. These monitoring systems would also have clearly pointed to a specified time for the attacks as occurring between early and mid-September. U.S. intelligence would have been alerted as early as 7th September that American and United Airlines, along with the World Trade Center, were potential targets. The question remains, again, as to why nothing was done in response.

The London Independent has noted in relation to such events that: “To the embarrassment of investigators, it has also emerged that the firm used to buy many of the ‘put’ optionswhere a trader, in effect, bets on a share price fallon United Airlines stock was headed until 1998 by ‘Buzzy’ Krongard, now executive director of the CIA.”[113] 

There is, indeed, abundant evidence discussed by Ruppert that the relationship between Wall Street and the CIA is akin to a ‘revolving door.’ For instance, elaborating on the Independent’s observations, Ruppert notes that one of the key firms involved in the put options for United Airlines, Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown, was until 1998 managed by A. B. “Buzzy” Krongard. Before then, until 1997, Krongard was Chairman of the investment bank AB Brown, which was acquired by Banker’s Trust in 1997. He then became, as part of the merger, Vice-Chairman of Banker’s Trust-AB Brown. He joined the CIA in 1998 as counsel to CIA Director George Tenet, to be later promoted to CIA Executive Director by President Bush in March 2001. BT was acquired by Deutsche Bank in 1999, forming the single largest bank in Europe. Ruppert has also documented other crucial details relating to the interrelationship between the CIA, banks and the brokerage world.[114]

Long-standing links between Western intelligence and finance appear to have been instrumental in the foreknowledge of certain corporations about the attacks. Veteran U.S. journalists Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair reported in their respected current affairs newsletter, Counterpunch, that “an internal memo was sent around Goldman Sachs in Tokyo on September 10 advising all employees of a possible terrorist attack. It recommended all employees to avoid any American government buildings.”[115]

11th September Warnings Were Not Ignored by U.S. Authorities

Indeed, there is evidence that the threat was not ignored, at least not in certain selected respects. The San Francisco Chronicle reported one day after the attacks that Mayor Willie Brown received a phone call eight hours before the hijackings from what he described as his air security staff, warning him not to travel by air:

“For Mayor Willie Brown, the first signs that something was amiss came late Monday when he got a call from what he described as his airport security—a full eight hours before yesterday’s string of terrorist attacks—advising him that Americans should be cautious about their air travel… Exactly where the call came from is a bit of a mystery. The mayor would say only that it came from ‘my security people at the airport.’”[116]

San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown was booked to fly from the Bay area to New York City on the morning of September 11.[117] Clearly, it seems that certain high-level U.S. security authorities anticipated some sort of grave danger, and believed it to be urgent, threatening and certainly real enough to inform a U.S. City Mayor about to catch a flight to New York—but not the general public.

The London Times reported that the famous novelist, Salman Rushdie, received a similar warning to avoid U.S. and Canadian airlines. According to Rushdie’s own testimony, the warning came directly from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The Times reports:

“The author Salman Rushdie believes that U.S. authorities knew of an imminent terrorist strike when they banned him from taking internal flights in Canada and the U.S. only a week before the attacks. On September 3 the Federal Aviation Authority made an emergency ruling to prevent Mr Rushdie from flying.”[118]

Another news report records that “the FAA has confirmed it stepped up security levels relating to Rushdie,” but “the airlines weren’t willing to upgrade their security” in relation to the wider public.[119] It is public knowledge that Rushdie is under 24-hour protection of UK Scotland Yard’s Special Branch, and that all his travel plans are approved by the MI5 for domestic travel within the UK, and by the MI6 for international travel. The MI5 and MI6 are the British equivalent of the American CIA. Clearly, it appears that British intelligence anticipated a grave danger, under the guidance of U.S. authorities, and believed it to be urgent, threatening and real enough to inform Rushdie—but once again not the general public.

Another report points to the Pentagon’s dubious role. Newsweek reported that on 10th September 2001, the day before the attacks, “a group of top Pentagon officials suddenly canceled travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns.”[120] An earlier report by Newsweek, published two days after the attacks, referred to the same event in more detail:

“… the state of alert had been high during the past two weeks, and a particularly urgent warning may have been received the night before the attacks, causing some top Pentagon brass to cancel a trip. Why that same information was not available to the 266 people who died aboard the four hijacked commercial aircraft may become a hot topic on the Hill.”[121]

Apparently, top Pentagon officials had known not only of an imminent threat to “security” in relation to their “travel plans,” but had even anticipated its exact timing and taken measures to protect themselves—but not the general public. Together, these reports strongly suggest that high levels of the U.S. military intelligence community knew something very significant—and took it seriously.

It is noteworthy that these reports also strongly suggest foreknowledge among high-level elements of the U.S. military intelligence community, that attacks would occur mid-September, and even more specifically on the 11th of that month. As WorldNetDaily editor and veteran American journalist Joseph Farah rightly observes:

“Now, you’re probably wondering why Willie Brown and Salman Rushdie [and senior Pentagon officials] are more important to the U.S. government than you and me and Barbara Olson. I’m wondering the same thing…

These selective warnings—and I have no doubt there were many more we have not yet heard about—suggest strongly that the FBI, CIA and other federal agencies had the information, knew something big was up, something that involved terrorist attacks on airliners, but failed to disclose the information to the airlines and the flying public in general. I think heads should roll at the FBI and CIA. I think there ought to be an investigation into what the FAA knew and when it knew it. I think, once again, the federal government has neglected its main responsibility under the Constitution—protecting the American people from attack.”[122]

The U.S. Intelligence Community

As early as 1995, the U.S. had information relating to the plans to launch air attacks on the World Trade Center—information that was repeatedly confirmed by the American intelligence community since then, all the way to the year 2001. Yet these agencies neglected almost entirely to do anything to prevent or prepare for these attacks as far as the general public was concerned.[123] Indeed, all such possible measures were cut short. Such was the case with the investigations by FBI agents confirming the impending 11th September terrorist attacks, whose leads were severed by the FBI command without explanation—a situation apparently maintained with the complicity of the Attorney General, a Presidential appointee. The U.S. government’s leading law enforcement agency thus deliberately ignored its own findings, and blocked these findings from being publicised.

We should particularly consider ECHELON’s warnings of a Project Bojinka-style attack by Al-Qaeda on U.S. soil, targeting “symbols of American culture,” first 6 months and then 3 months prior to September. According to the Newsbytes division of the Washington Post, “the warnings” that terrorists planned to hijack civilian airplanes and use them as bombs “were taken seriously” by “the American intelligence community”, as a consequence of which “surveillance intensified.” Furthermore, White House Counter-terrorism chief Richard A. Clarke confirms that the CIA fully anticipated an impending Al-Qaeda attack on U.S. soil in June 2001, and that the entire intelligence community was alerted by the beginning of July, just over six weeks prior to 11th September.

Warnings indicated that Project Bojinka would be implemented in the next several weeks. The World Trade Center was a confirmed target of Project Bojinka. The testimony of David Schippers confirms that knowledge that the impending attack would target key buildings in lower Manhattan, of which the World Trade Center is most prominent as a terrorist target, was fairly widespread among high-levels elements of the U.S. intelligence community. This seems to lead the chain of responsibility for the failure to act right to the top: the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI).

The term “intelligence community” is a specific terminology coined by U.S. intelligence agencies to refer to all the 13 official government agencies that have an “intelligence” role. The Newsbytes report on the ECHELON warnings, apart from noting that the entire intelligence community was alerted to an impending Project Bojinka-style terrorist attack, also indicates that surveillance, i.e. intelligence gathering efforts, were increased in direct response to the ECHELON warnings. This means that U.S. intelligence agencies had adequate information with which to marry their specific findings, e.g. the FBI’s surveillance and investigations of Al-Qaeda operatives training at U.S. flight schools.

The official line has been that intelligence agencies had no reason to believe that these people with links to bin Laden were about to use their training to perform a terrorist act—but the documentation presented here shows that this is entirely false: the intelligence community already knew what Al-Qaeda was planning—it was just a matter of who and when.

Indeed, as a direct consequence of the intensification of surveillance, U.S. intelligence began finding out who. And as a direct consequence of the convergence of urgent warnings from multiple credible sources, including the interception of communications by Osama bin Laden himself, the probable date of the attacks also grew increasingly evident. Yet when FBI agents began finding out who (e.g. Al-Qaeda operatives training at U.S. military and flight facilities), the investigations were blocked by the FBI command and Justice Department. When multiple warnings together pointed clearly to the probability of an imminent attack by bin Laden, likely to occur on 11th September, these warnings were ignored.

The idea that the failure to act was a result of the incompetence resulting from unintentional bureaucratic stumbling blocks within the American intelligence community, fails to address the reality and nature of the multiple warnings received by that community. It is also based on a lack of understanding of the nature of intelligence gathering and the intelligence structure in the United States.

There are 13 official government agencies that constitute the U.S. intelligence community, with a huge budget of $30 billion. The Director of Central Intelligence is charged by law with the coordination and dissemination of intelligence gathered from all U.S. agencies, including the FBI. Additionally, many FBI agents work directly at CIA headquarters. The CIA, in line with its mandate for central managerial oversight of the U.S. intelligence community, produces ‘strategic level’ intelligence assessments for the U.S. government, drawing upon all available intelligence sources. A discussion follows of the nature and purpose of CIA strategic level intelligence assessments, regularly presented to leading members of the White House Cabinet.[124]

There is also a State Department Working Group set up to accomplish the same task in which the CIA participates.[125] A body of experts known as the Counterterrorism Security Group (CSG) exists, which was effectively chaired by White House Counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke. The CSG constitutes a connecting point for all federal agencies, whose members are “drawn mainly from the C.I.A., the National Security Council, and the upper tiers of the Defense Department, the Justice Department, and the State Department,” and who meet “every week in the White House Situation Room.” The CSG assesses all reliable intelligence related to counterterrorism received by these agencies and departments.[126]

The regular intelligence assessments produced by the CIA for the top decision-makers of the U.S. government, which draw on all available intelligence sources, are known as ‘strategic level’ assessments. ‘Strategic level’ refers to the highest level of decision-making—at the national or alliance level. For example, during the Second World War, when Churchill and Roosevelt met to discuss their long-range plans, they were considering strategic level issues. ‘Strategic intelligence’ is thus designed to answer the category of questions that arise at the level of strategic decision-making: e.g. is country X about to turn hostile? If so, what would be their overall capability to attack?[127]

The threat of a large-scale terrorist attack orchestrated by operatives located in a particular country (in this case Afghanistan), and harboured/supported by the ruling regime of that country (in this case the Taliban), would certainly come under this “strategic” category. Such a threat, and its various dimensions and implications, should therefore have been passed directly to members of the White House Cabinet, including President Bush himself. According to established procedures by which the CIA keeps U.S. decision-makers informed, President Bush and other key members of his Cabinet would have received CIA intelligence assessments on the imminent Al-Qaeda operation.[128] This seems to lend significant weight to the conclusion that the CIA, the DCI, the State Department, the President, and key figures around him in the White House, were ultimately responsible for doing nothing in the face of the mounting evidence of an impending threat to U.S. national security.

Furthermore, since the ECHELON warnings were “taken seriously,” this means that the U.S. intelligence community should have been on alert and anticipating a Project Bojinka-style attack. The DCI would consequently have been doing its best to evaluate and coordinate information coming in from all sources to prevent the attack. Given that the U.S. intelligence community anticipated a Project Bojinka-style attack by Al-Qaeda operatives on U.S. soil, and had consequently intensified surveillance, all credible information and warnings that were subsequently collected were reviewed against this backdrop, with the specific intention of gathering further intelligence on bin Laden’s plans. This subsequent data, therefore, would have been understood in context with the plans of which the U.S. intelligence community had already become aware—six months and then three months prior to 11th September.

Thus, from both a statutory and an organisational standpoint, the argument of incompetence or bureaucratic blocking is extremely weak. Even to argue that elements of the Bush administration had significant knowledge of what would happen, but not enough detail to take measures to prevent the attacks, is based on a very shallow appraisal of the nature and number of intelligence warnings received. As evidenced on public records, these warnings were not only extremely detailed, but also extremely specific as to probable perpetrators, methods, targets, and dates.[129] As the Intelligence Note Book of the Canadian Forces Intelligence Branch Association clarifies in relation to methods of intelligence gathering:

“… one always wants to have as many different sources as possible confirming one’s intelligence assessment. When many different sources are combined in this way to produce one final assessment, this is known as ‘fused,’ ‘multi-source’ or even ‘all-source’ intelligence. Really, the sources used are a technicality, of more concern to the intelligence personnel producing the assessment than to the end-user. The end-users’ primary interest in the sources used will simply be to reflect how certain the conclusions are. The more different sources there are indicating a conclusion, the more certain we can be about that conclusion.”[130]

Indeed, the numerous warnings received and intercepted by the U.S. intelligence community in regard to 11th September certainly met the four established criteria of what constitutes an intelligence success in strategic warning. Robert K. Betts, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University, and Director of National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations,[131] refers to these criteria as follows:

“Intercepted information about the location and timing of attack was so rich as to make the deduction of warning obvious.

The event involved was truly vital to U.S. security rather than just one among many important problems, so leaders had no reason to avoid focusing on the warning.

There was no problem of estimating the enemy’s political intent to resort to force, as in pre-war crises.

There was nothing to be lost from prompt and vigorous military reaction to warning...”[132]

Hence, there cannot be any excuse within the U.S. intelligence community for ignoring or blocking further leads and subsequent warnings. When the ECHELON warnings were followed by warning after warning to the U.S. intelligence community from Israel, Russia, France, Egypt, along with numerous leads and warnings within the U.S. itself, according to the established procedures of intelligence gathering, the intelligence community should have grown increasingly certain of what was about to occur, by whom, and when. This is particularly clear given that the ECHELON warnings were taken seriously by the U.S. intelligence community—thus providing the backdrop of credibility against which subsequent reliable warnings could be assessed. Yet, we find that the very opposite happened.

Either pertinent CIA intelligence assessments were not passed on to the Cabinet, in violation of mandatory standard procedures, or they were, and the warnings were deliberately ignored by the nation’s top decision-makers. The former scenario is implausible, simply because it is contrary to established procedures. The CIA produces strategic level intelligence assessments, drawing on all sources in the U.S. intelligence community, which are presented to the President and other top decision-makers. These assessments are directly concerned with issues of national security. It is therefore reasonable to believe that the escalating threat to national security posed by Al-Qaeda was, in accordance with routine mandatory procedures, passed on to the President and select members of his Cabinet.

The only other alternative is that the procedures were violated. But, there is no good reason to believe this. If we arbitrarily conjecture that procedure was not followed, and the threat was not passed on to top-decision makers, then one would have to instead conclude that responsibility rests with significant high-level elements of the U.S. military intelligence community, who would bear responsibility for keeping top U.S. decision-makers in the dark. The question would then remain: why and for what purpose, if any, did they do so?

Arguably, there is no good reason to accept that this scenario is plausible. On the contrary, there is good reason to accept the probability that, considering their dire gravity, warnings on the impending Al-Qaeda operation did reach the top. According to mandatory procedures, the imminent threat to U.S. national security posed by Al-Qaeda should have been passed on to top decision-makers through CIA intelligence assessments.[133]

If established procedures were followed, as they should have been, and top decision-makers were informed, then the blame lies not only at the highest levels of the DCI, CIA, FBI, the Justice Department, the National Security Agency, and the State Department, but also with the White House Cabinet. According to these procedures, the relevant members of the Cabinet would have received notification of the warnings and subsequent developments in accordance with the CIA’s ‘strategic level’ assessment of the Al-Qaeda threat, as well as related relays of intelligence warnings. This is a more reasonable hypothesis, simply because it is in accordance with the known rules of intelligence warning in relation to issues of U.S. national security.

In the opinion of this author, therefore, the data provided here weighs strongly in favour of the conclusion that significant elements of the Bush administration did indeed receive advance warning of the attacks, but refused to act in the interests of the general public by pursuing measures to prevent the attacks.

Even at the minimal possible level of responsibility on the part of the Bush administration, the evidence on record strongly suggests that the U.S. government had enough advance warning to be at least certain of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil through the hijacking of civilian planes—but despite this, failed to institute even the most minimal of preventive measures.

For instance, the attacks could have been blocked even if the government had ensured that recommended security measures and precautions were pursued by the Federal Aviation Administration at airports, on planes, and so on. Yet the U.S. government, despite longstanding knowledge of the threat of impending suicide attacks from the air—a threat that was about to become a reality in 2001, according to highly credible intelligence warnings—did nothing of the sort.

Indeed, the facts on record are sufficient to provide reasonable grounds to believe that the ‘intelligence failure’ was in fact not a failure at all, but a directive—or rather, the inevitable culmination of carefully imposed high-level directives and blocks that restrained agencies from acting on the very clear intelligence received. Of course, a full-blown inquiry into the causes of the ‘intelligence failure’ that allowed the 11th September attacks to occur is essential to determine what U.S. government, military and intelligence agencies knew, when they knew it, and why they failed to act. Outside of such an inquiry, it is impossible to conclusively determine the exact degree of advance warning received by particular U.S. government, military and intelligence agencies.

Ongoing attempts by the Bush administration to actively block such an inquiry into the causes of the so-called 9-11 ‘intelligence failure,’ however, only serve to further support the conclusion just outlined. CNN reported at the end of January 2002 that:

“President Bush personally asked Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle Tuesday to limit the congressional investigation into the events of September 11, congressional and White House sources told CNN...

The request was made at a private meeting with congressional leaders Tuesday morning. Sources said Bush initiated the conversation… He asked that only the House and Senate intelligence committees look into the potential breakdowns among federal agencies that could have allowed the terrorist attacks to occur, rather than a broader inquiry that some lawmakers have proposed, the sources said. Tuesday’s discussion followed a rare call to Daschle from Vice President Dick Cheney last Friday to make the same request… Some Democrats, such as Sens. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and Robert Torricelli of New Jersey, have been calling for a broad inquiry looking at various federal government agencies beyond the intelligence community.”[134]

The pretext for the administration’s proposals, according to Daschle, is that “resources and personnel” would be taken “away from the war on terrorism,” in the event of a wider inquiry that is not limited to the assumption that the administration’s inaction was solely a consequence of “breakdowns among federal agencies.”

Paradoxically, the Bush administration thus justified blocking a wider inquiry into the intelligence failure that allowed the 11th September attacks to occur, by the need to support the administration’s attempts to counter terrorism. In other words, the administration suppressed an inquiry into the greatest terror attack in U.S. history—in the name of fighting terrorism.

It is unfortunate that CNN chose not to point out that an integral dimension of any meaningful counterterrorist programme is the gathering of intelligence with the view to avoiding a terrorist attack—which is exactly what Bush’s proposals will help prevent. Not only is it clear that the Bush administration was not serious about averting terrorism prior to 11th September, it also appears that the administration has maintained the same attitude—despite the obvious consequences.

The documentation collated here demonstrates beyond doubt that innocent American civilians paid with their lives because high-level elements of the Bush administration engineered blocks on U.S. intelligence agencies in order to fulfil and protect another agenda. Unless a full-blown independent inquiry into this process is mounted soon, there is little doubt that more innocent Americans will pay with their lives again.

 

Notes:

[1] Cited in Public Education Center, www.publicedcenter.org/faaterrorist.htm ; Washington Post, 2 January 2001.

[2] Warrick, Jo and Stephens, Joe, ‘Before Attack, U.S. Expected Different Hit, Chemical, Germ Agents Focus of Preparation,’ Washington Post, 2 October, 2001.

[3] Wald, Matthew, ‘Earlier Hijackings Offered Signals That Were Missed,’ New York Times, 3 October 2001.

[4] New York Times, 3 October 2001.

[5] Novak, Robert, Chicago Sun-Times, 27 September 2001.

[6] Agence France Press, ‘Western intelligence knew of Laden plan since 1995,’ 7 December 2001. Printed in Hindustan Times.

[7] PEC Report, ‘Terrorist Plans to Use Planes as Weapons Dates to 1995: WTC bomber Yousef confessed to U.S. agents in 1995’ Public Education Center, Washington DC, www.publicedcenter.org/faaterrorist.htm .

[8] A dubious etymology. ‘Bojin’ means ‘to be afraid’ in Serbo-Croatian, and the suffix -ka is a diminutive. More likely it referred to an act done by or with Boeings.

[9] Garcia, Raphael M., ‘Decoding Bojinka,’ Newsbreak Weekly, 15 November 2001, Vol. 1, No. 43. Also see Cooley, John, Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, American and International Terrorism, Pluto Press, London, 1999, p. 247.

[10] Geostrategy-Direct.Com, ‘1995 plan selected U.S.-bound airliners from East Asia,’ World Tribune, 19 September 2001, www.worldtribune.com/wta/Archive-2001/me_binladen_09_19.html . Also see Irvine, Reed, ‘Letting the Cat Out of the Bag,’ Human Events, 24 September 2001.

[11] Monk, Paul, ‘A Stunning Intelligence Failure,’ Australian Thinking Skills Institute, Melbourne, www.austhink.org/monk/index.htm .

[12] AIM Report No. 18, ‘Catastrophic Intelligence Failure,’ Accuracy In Media, Washington DC, 24 September 2001, www.aim.org/publications/aim_report/ 2001/18.html .

[13] Garcia, Raphael M., ‘Decoding Bojinka,’ op. cit.

[14] Washington Post, 24 September 2001. The Post also discusses Project Bojinka and the plans to hurl civilian jets into key U.S. buildings, including the WTC. Also see Ressa, Maria, ‘U.S. warned in 1995 of plot to hijack planes, attack buildings,’ CNN, 18 September 2001.

[15] Fineman, Mark and Pasternak, Judy, ‘Suicide Flights and Crop Dusters Considered Threats at ’96 Olympics,’ Los Angeles Times, 17 November 2001.

[16] Cited in Grigg, William Norman, ‘Could We Have Prevented the Attacks?’, The New American, 5 November 2001, Vol. 17, No. 23.

[17] Grigg, William Norman, ‘Could We Have Prevented the Attacks?’, op. cit.

[18] Stafford, Ned, ‘Newspaper: Echelon Gave Authorities Warning of Attacks,’ Newsbytes, 13 September 2001, www.newsbytes.com/news/01/170072.html. ECHELON is a vast intelligence information collection system capable of monitoring all the electronic communications in the world. It is operated by the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. While no government agency has ever confirmed or denied its existence, an EU committee that investigated ECHELON for more than a year confirmed that the system does exist in early September 2001. The EU committee reported that Echelon sucks up electronic transmissions “like a vacuum cleaner”, using keyword search techniques to sift through enormous amounts of data. The system covers the whole world’s electronic communications with 120 satellites. For more on ECHELON see Bamford, James, Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency, Doubleday, 2001.

[19] Wright, Lawrence, ‘The Counter-Terrorist,’ New Yorker, 14 January 2002. Under pressure from Congress, the White House has finally officially admitted that the U.S. intelligence community had information that Al-Qaeda was planning an imminent attack through hijacking. However, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice has gone on record denying that U.S. intelligence had any other specific information, such as that the planes might be used as missiles (BBC Newsnight, 16 May 2002). This denial, however, is patently false, as demonstrated by the reports on the public record discussed here.

[20] Solomon, John, ‘CIA Cited Risk Before Attack,’ Associated Press, 3 October 2001.

[21] United Press International (UPI), 13 February 2001. This report provides empirical information disproving an earlier WorldNetDaily report alleging that the Clinton administration sold powerful encryption software to Al-Qaeda that would allow the network to encrypt, and thus block U.S. surveillance of, the network’s encrypted communications. This report shows that regardless of Osama bin Laden’s attempts at encryption, the codes were broken by ECHELON and his communications monitored.

[22] New York Times, 14 October 2001.

[23] Associated Press, ‘World Trade Center collapses in terrorist attack,’ 11 September 2001. In an interview with ABC News the same day, Hatch elaborated that both CIA and FBI officials had informed him of the same. In response, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld denounced the report as an unauthorised release of classified information. The White House later cited the leak as good reason to withhold information concerning U.S. counterterrorist actions from Congress.

[24] ABC News, ‘Missed Opportunities,’ World News Tonight, 18-20 February 2001.

[25] The Record, 12 September 2001; Economic Reform, October 2001.

[26] Airjet Airline World News, Washington DC, 23 June 2001, http://airlinebiz.com/wire .

[27] Wright, Lawrence, ‘The Counter-Terrorist,’ op. cit.

[28] Stich, Rodney, The Real Unfriendly Skies, Diablo Western Press, Reno, Nevada, 2000. Also see www.unfriendlyskies.com .

[29] Pasternak, Judy, ‘FAA, Airlines Stalled Major Security Plans,’ Los Angeles Times, 6 October 2001.

[30] JW Press Release, ‘Government Incompetence, Lack of Honesty with American People Lead to Terrorist Disasters of September 11, 2001,’ Judicial Watch, Washington DC, 12 September 2001.

[31] Farah, Joseph, ‘The failure of government,’ WorldNetDaily Exclusive Commentary, 19 October 2001, www.wnd.com.

[32] Reuters, 13 September 2001.

[33] Star-Tribune, 29 December 2001.

[34] New York Times, 8 February 2002.

[35] Shenon, Philip, ‘FBI ignored attack warning: Flight instructor told agency of terror suspect’s plan,’ San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Dec. 2001.

[36] Seper, Jerry, ‘Justice Blocked FBI Warrant,’ Washington Times, 3 October 2001.

[37] ABC News, ‘Missed Opportunities,’ World News Tonight, 18-20 February 2001.

[38] Gordon, Greg, ‘FAA security took no action against Moussaoui,’ Corpus Christi Caller Times, 13 January 2002.

[39] Isikoff, Michael and Klaidman, Daniel, ‘Access Denied,’ MS-NBC, 1 October 2001.

[40] New York Times, 22 December 2001.

[41] ARD, 23 November 2001.

[42] Washington Post, 28 October 2001.

[43] Smith, Hedrick, ‘Inside The Terror Network: should we have spotted the conspiracy?’, PBS Frontline, www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline .

[44] Swain, Diana, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 14 Sept. 2001.

[45] The Observer, 30 September 2001.

[46] BBC News, 26 November 2001.

[47] Capital Briefs, ‘Basic Failure,’ Human Events, 24 September 2001, Vol. 57, No. 35, p. 2.

[48] AIM Report No. 18, ‘Catastrophic Intelligence Failure,’ op. cit.

[49] Wheeler, Larry, ‘Pensacola NAS link faces more scrutiny,’ Pensacola News Journal, 17 September 2001.

[50] ‘Alleged Hijackers May Have Trained at U.S. Bases,’ Newsweek, 15 September 2001.

[51] Cited in Hopsicker, Daniel, ‘Did terrorists train at U.S. military schools?’, Online Journal, 30 October 2001.

[52] Fainaru, Steve and Grimaldi, James V., ‘FBI Knew Terrorists Were Using Flight Schools,’ Washington Post, 23 September 2001.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Hopsicker, Daniel, ‘Death in Venice (Florida),’ Online Journal, 28 September 2001.

[55] Hopsicker, Daniel, ‘What are they hiding down in Venice, Florida?’, Online Journal, 9 October 2001.

[56] Hopsicker, Daniel, ‘Was the CIA running a terrorist flight school?’, Online Journal, 7 November 2001.

[57] Hopsicker, Daniel, ‘Jackson Stephens active in Venice, FL,’ Online Journal, 25 November 2001.

[58] Hopsicker, Daniel, ‘Rudi Dekkers and the Lone (nut) Cadre,’ Online Journal, 24 October 2001.

[59] Hopsicker, Daniel, ‘Venice, Florida, Flight School Linked to CIA: Firm has ‘green light’ from local DEA,’ Online Journal, 2 March 2002.

[60] ABC News, ‘Missed Opportunities,’ op. cit.

[61] Fainaru, Steve and Grimaldi, James V., ‘FBI Knew Terrorists Were Using Flight Schools,’ op. cit.

[62] BBC Newsnight, ‘Has someone been sitting on the FBI?’, 6 November 2001.

[63] Interview with Michael Springmann, ‘Dispatches,’ CBC Radio One, 16 Jan. 2002, http://radio.cbc.ca/programs/dispatches/audio/020116_springman.rm .

[64] Freedberg, Sydney P., ‘Loopholes leave U.S. borders vulnerable,’ St. Petersburg Times, 25 November 2001.

[65] David P. Schippers served as Chief Counsel to the United States House of Representatives managers for the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in the U.S. Senate from 1st Jan. to 28th Feb. 1999. He served as Chief Investigative Counsel for the United States House of Representatives’ Committee on the Judiciary during 1998. From April to September he handled the investigative issues and investigations relating to the committee’s oversight investigation of the U.S. Dept. of Justice and all of its sub-agencies. From Sept. to Dec. 1998, he was charged with reviewing and reporting on the Referral of the Office of Independent Counsel concerning possible impeachment offenses committed by President Clinton. He was then responsible for conducting the impeachment inquiry authorised by the House of Representatives and reporting the results to the Committee on the Judiciary. An attorney in private practice since 1967, Schippers is the senior partner in the Chicago law firm, Schippers & Bailey, which specialises in trust law, labour law, trials and appeals in the state and federal courts of Illinois and throughout the country. From 1963 to 1967, Schippers served as a member and later the chief of the Organised Crime and Racketeering Section of the U.S. Department of Justice at Chicago. He prepared and tried many major criminal cases in the federal courts and was also involved in a great number of major grand jury investigations. He previously served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office as an assistant United States attorney, trying major criminal cases on behalf of the government and preparing and arguing appeals on behalf of the government. Schippers earned both his undergraduate and J.D. degree from Loyola University in Chicago. He has served as a teacher of trial advocacy and advanced trial advocacy to senior law students at the Loyola University School of Law. He has also taught trial advocacy at the Williamette University School of Law in Salem, Oregon., and at the United States Air Force Air University in Montgomery, Alabama. Schippers served as one of five members of the Illinois State Police Merit Board from 1987 to 1993. He is the recipient of the Loyola University Law Alumni Medal of Excellence, the Loyola University Alumni Association citation for distinguished service to the legal profession and the Award of Appreciation from the Federal Criminal Investigators Association.

[66] Jasper, William F., ‘OKC Bombing: Precursor to 9-11?’, New American, 28 January 2002, Vol. 18, No. 2.

[67] David P. Schippers, ‘Government Had Prior Knowledge,’ Interview on Alex Jones Show, Talk Radio, Austin, Texas, 10 Oct. 2001, transcript available at www.infowars.com/transcript_schippers.html .

[68] David P. Schippers, ‘David Schippers Tells Metcalf Feds ignored warnings of WTC attacks,’ WorldNetDaily, 21 October 2001, http://wnd.com/news/ article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=25008 .

[69] David P. Schippers, ‘Government Had Prior Knowledge,’ op. cit.

[70] EFI Report, ‘What does nationally-renowned attorney David Schippers think of this possibility?’ Eagle Forum of Illinois, 30 September 2001, www.ileagles.net/schippers.htm .

[71] JW Press Release, ‘Active FBI Special Agent Files Complaint Concerning Obstructed FBI Anti-Terrorist Investigations,’ Judicial Watch, Washington DC, 14 November 2001. Also see ‘David Schippers Goes Public: The FBI was warned,’ Indianapolis Star, 13 October 2001.

[72] Telephone interview with Chief Investigative Counsel David P. Schippers by Nafeez M. Ahmed, Institute for Policy Research & Development, Brighton, 26 February 2002.

[73] Grigg, William Norman, ‘Did We Know What Was Coming?’, The New American, Vol. 18, No. 5, 11 March 2002, http://www.thenewamerican.com/tna/2002/03-11-2002/vo18no05_didweknow.htm .

[74] Palast, Gregory and Pallister, David, ‘FBI claims Bin Laden inquiry was frustrated,’ The Guardian, 7 November 2001. For further discussion see Chapter VI.

[75] Bruce, Ian, ‘FBI “super flying squad” to combat terror’, The Herald, 16 May 2002.

[76] Isikoff, Michael, Newsweek, 20 May 2002. See Ruppert, Michael C., ‘The Lie Won’t Stand’, From The Wilderness Publications, 16 May 2002.

[77] Editorial, ‘Evidence mounts that September 11 was predictable,’ USA Today, 15 September 2001.

[78] Wastell, David and Jacobson, Philip, ‘Israeli security issued warning to CIA of large-scale terror attacks,’ The Telegraph, 16 September 2001. It has been claimed that the U.S. intelligence community receives numerous warnings such as this which are red-herrings, thus explaining why the latest warning from Israeli intelligence was not taken seriously. This argument fails, however, in light of the fact that the U.S. already knew for certain that Osama Bin Laden was planning to implement Project Bojinka very soon. Given this knowledge, the urgent warnings from other intelligence agencies, including Israel, would have obviously provided increasing confirmation of the plans, not disconfirmation. If not, then one wonders what other sort of criteria would be necessary for U.S. intelligence to take a warning from Mossad seriously!

[79] MS-NBC, 15 September 2001.

[80] Russian press reports translated by a former CIA official, cited in Ruppert, Michael C., ‘This Was Not An Intelligence Failure,’ From The Wilderness Publications, 24 September 2001. See Izvestia, 12 September 2002.

[81] Le Figaro, 31 October 2001.

[82] Gumbel, Andrew, ‘Bush did not heed several warnings of attack,’ The Independent, 17September 2001.

[83] San Francisco Chronicle, 14 September 2001.

[84] Ananova, ‘German police confirm Iranian deportee phoned warnings,’ 14 September 2001.

[85] MS-NBC, 16 September 2001.

[86] Associated Press, ‘Egypt Leader Says He Warned America,’ 7 December 2001. Also see Atlanta Journal and Constitution, 8 Dec. 2001.

[87] Nicolson was formally the David Bruton Jr. Chair in Cancer Research and Professor at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and Professor of Internal Medicine and Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. He was also Adjunct Professor of Comparative Medicine at Texas A & M University. Among the most cited scientists in the world, having published over 480 medical and scientific papers, edited 13 books, served on the Editorial Boards of 12 medical and scientific journals and currently serving as Editor of two (Clinical & Experimental Metastasis and the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry), Professor Nicolson has active peer-reviewed research grants from the U.S. Army, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society and the National Foundation for Cancer Research. In 1998 he received the Stephen Paget Award from the Cancer Metastasis Research Society and the Albert Schweitzer Award in Lisbon, Portugal.

[88] Statement by Professor Garth L. Nicolson to the Institute for Policy Research & Development, 3 January 2002.

[89] Bonner, Raymond and Tagliabue, John, ‘Eavesdropping, U.S. Allies See New Terror Attack,’ New York Times, 21 October 2001.

[90] Ruppe, David, ‘Who Did It? U.S. Searches for Terror Clues,’ ABC News, 11 September 2001.

[91] AFP, ‘Similar plot first uncovered in Philippines, says police chief,’ Sydney Morning Herald, 13 September 2001.

[92] Newsweek, 1 October 2001.

[93] NBC News, 4 October 2001.

[94] San Francisco Chronicle, 29 September 2001.

[95] ‘Black Tuesday: The World’s Largest Insider Trading Scam?’, Herzliya International Policy Institute for Counter-terrorism, 21 September 2001.

[96] Eichenwald, Kurt, et al, ‘Doubt Intensifies That Advance Knowledge of Attacks Was Used for Profit,’ New York Times, 28 September 2001.

[97] Doran, James, ‘Millions of shares sold before disaster,’ The Times, 18 September 2001.

[98] Ruppert, Michael C., ‘Suppressed Details of Criminal Insider Trading Lead Directly into the CIA’s Highest Ranks,’ op. cit. The CIA has also confirmed its use of Promis software outside the United States, while not denying its monitoring of stock option trading activity from abroad. For further discussion see Flocco, Tom, ‘Profits of Death—Insider Trading and 9-11,’ FTW Publications, 6 December 2001: “In a returned phone call from the Central Intelligence Agency, press spokesman Tom Crispell denied that the CIA was monitoring ‘real-time,’ pre-September 11, stock option trading activity within United States borders using such software as the Prosecutor‘s Management Information System (PROMIS). ‘That would be illegal. We only operate outside the United States,’ the intelligence official said…” [emphasis added]

[99] UPI, 13 February 2001.

[100] Doran, James, ‘Millions of shares sold before disaster,’ op. cit.

[101] Ruppert, Michael C., ‘A Timeline Surrounding September 11th,’ FTW Publications, 2 November 2001, www.copvcia.com/stories/nov_2001/lucy.html . For further information on Promis, the software descended from it, as well as the use of this new software by the CIA to monitor stock trading, see FTW Publications, 26 October 2001, www.copvcia.com/members/magic_carpet.html ; FTW Publications, Vol. IV, No.6, 18 September, 2001, www.copvcia.com/members/sept1801.html ; FTW Publications, Vol. 3, No 7, 30 September 2000, www.copvcia.com/stories/may_2001/052401_promis.html . Also see Washington Times, 15 June 2001; FOX News, 16 October 2001.

[102] Michael C. Ruppert, ‘Guns and Butter: The Economy Watch,’ Interview with Kellia Ramares and Bonnie Falkner, KPFA 94.1 FM, Berkeley, CA, 12 October 2001. Available online at ‘The CIA’s Wall Street Connections,’ Centre for Research on Globalisation, Montreal, 3 November 2001, http://globalresearch.ca/articles/RUP111A.html .

[103] Wall Street Journal, 2 October 2001.

[104] Hamilton, Walter, Los Angeles Times, 18 October 2001.

[105] FOX News, ‘EU searches for suspicious trading,’ 22 September 2001.

[106] Hooper, John, ‘Terror “made fortune for Bin Laden”,’ The Observer, 23 September 2001.

[107] USA Today, October 2001.

[108] Montreal Gazette, 19 September 2001.

[109] CBS, 60 Minutes, 19 September 2001.

[110] Pender, Kathleen, ‘Terrorism’s long, tangled money trail,’ San Francisco Chronicle, 7 October 2001.

[111] For discussion see for example Grey, Barry, ‘Suspicious trading points to advance knowledge by big investors of September 11 attacks,’ World Socialist Web Site, 5 October 2001.

[112] Ibid.

[113] The Independent, 10 October 2001, www.independent.co.uk/story.jsp? story=99402

[114] Ruppert, Michael C., ‘Suppressed Details of Criminal Insider Trading Lead Directly into the CIA’s Highest Ranks,’ From The Wilderness (FTW) Publications, 9 October 2001, http://copvcia.com . The discussion in this paper on financial transactions leading up to 11th September is based on Ruppert’s analysis. His comments on the CIA-Wall Street alliance are crucial, and have been reproduced here: “Clark Clifford – The National Security Act of 1947 was written by Clark Clifford, a Democratic Party powerhouse, former Secretary of Defense, and one-time advisor to President Harry Truman. In the 1980s, as Chairman of First American Bancshares, Clifford was instrumental in getting the corrupt CIA drug bank BCCI a license to operate on American shores. His profession: Wall Street lawyer and banker. John Foster and Allen Dulles – These two brothers ‘designed’ the CIA for Clifford. Both were active in intelligence operations during WW II. Allen Dulles was the U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland where he met frequently with Nazi leaders and looked after U.S. investments in Germany. John Foster went on to become Secretary of State under Dwight Eisenhower and Allen went on to serve as CIA Director under Eisenhower and was later fired by JFK. Their professions: partners in the most powerful – to this day – Wall Street law firm of Sullivan, Cromwell. Bill Casey – Ronald Reagan’s CIA Director and OSS veteran who served as chief wrangler during the Iran-Contra years was, under President Richard Nixon, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. His profession: Wall Street lawyer and stockbroker. David Doherty – The current Vice President of the New York Stock Exchange for enforcement is the retired General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency. George Herbert Walker Bush – President from 1989 to January 1993, also served as CIA Director for 13 months from 1976-7. He is now a paid consultant to the Carlyle Group, the 11th largest defense contractor in the nation, which also shares joint investments with the bin Laden family. A.B. ‘Buzzy’ Krongard – The current Executive Director of the Central Intelligence Agency is the former Chairman of the investment bank A.B. Brown and former Vice Chairman of Banker’s Trust. John Deutch – This retired CIA Director from the Clinton Administration currently sits on the board at Citigroup, the nation’s second largest bank, which has been repeatedly and overtly involved in the documented laundering of drug money. This includes Citigroup’s 2001 purchase of a Mexican bank known to launder drug money, Banamex. Nora Slatkin – This retired CIA Executive Director also sits on Citibank’s board. Maurice ‘Hank’ Greenberg – The CEO of AIG insurance, manager of the third largest capital investment pool in the world, was floated as a possible CIA Director in 1995. FTW exposed Greenberg’s and AIG’s long connection to CIA drug trafficking and covert operations in a two-part series that was interrupted just prior to the attacks of September 11. AIG’s stock has bounced back remarkably well since the attacks. To read that story, please go to www.copvcia.com/stories/july_2001/ part_2.html.”

[115] Counterpunch, 14 September 2001.

[116] Matier, Philip, ‘Willie Brown got low-key early warning about air travel,’ San Francisco Chronicle, 12 September 2001.

[117] Cockburn, Alexander and St. Clair, Jeffrey, Counterpunch, 14 Sept. 2001.

[118] Doran, James, ‘Rushdie’s air ban,’ The Times, 27 September 2001.

[119] Ananova, ‘Rushdie “given U.S. air ban week before terrorist attacks”,’ 27 September 2001.

[120] Newsweek, 24 September 2001.

[121] Hirsh, Michael, ‘We’ve hit the targets,’ Newsweek, 13 Sept. 2001.

[122] Farah, Joseph, ‘The failure of government,’ op. cit.

[123] For instance, in spite of the multiple dire warnings, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) failed to upgrade its security in accordance with repeated recommendations.

[124] CFIBA, ‘International Intelligence Agency Links,’ Canadian Forces Intelligence Branch, Association, www.intbranch.org/engl/elinks/us.html .

[125] Statement from Michael C. Ruppert, former LAPD narcotics detective and expert on CIA covert operations, to IPRD, 15 January 2001.

[126] Wright, Lawrence, ‘The Counter-terrorist Threat,’ op. cit.

[127] CFIBA, ‘Types of Intelligence,’ Intelligence Note Book, Canadian Forces Intelligence Branch Association, www.intbranch.org/engl/intntbk/intro.html .

[128] Ibid.

[129] Ibid. Any attempt to claim that intelligence received by the U.S. intelligence community was not sufficient must therefore somehow show that the facts on record, as documented here, are not facts at all.

[130] CFIBA, ‘Types of Intelligence,’ op. cit.

[131] Betts also served on the staff of the original Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and has been a consultant in the U.S. intelligence community.

[132] Betts, Richard K., ‘Intelligence Warning: Old Problems, New Agendas,’ Parameters (U.S. Army War College Quarterly), Spring 1998, p. 26-35.

[133] The implausibility of the idea that the CIA failed to pass on the warnings to President Bush Jr. and other top-decision makers in the White House through its regular strategic intelligence assessments, is further clear from the President’s strong links to the U.S. intelligence community through his father, former President Bush Sr., who was Director of the CIA. Indeed, the degree to which the current Bush Cabinet is drawn directly from the interlocking U.S. military, intelligence and corporate community, further demonstrates the implausibility of this scenario.

[134] CNN, ‘Bush asks Daschle to limit Sept. 11 probes,’ 29 January 2002. Also see Fineman, Howard, ‘The Battle Back Home,’ Newsweek, 4 February 2002. Fineman reports that Cheney called on Daschle “to pre-emptively protest public hearings by other committees.”

Mr. Nafeez Ahmed is a British political analyst and human rights activist based in London. He is Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development and a Researcher at the Islamic Human Rights Commission. This article is based partly on research in Ahmed’s new book on the U.S. role in the 9/11 attacks, The War on Freedom: How and Why America was Attacked, September 11, 2001.

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