The Rice Spin
Tracing the oil trail to 9/11
The dark specter of the drug trade
Flight School Warned F.B.I. of Suspicions
A sleeper agent
Ptech had access to the FAA's entire computer system
The Phoenix Memo
Will the 2004 Election Be Called Off?
COLUMN from The Plain Dealer, 9-15-06, by Tom Feran
[9-11 predicted in X-Files spinoff?]
``After five years and a few more days, maybe enough time has passed to bring up an odd fact about September 11, 2001, and the attack they said no one possibly could have imagined.
Six months before it happened, it was on TV. Imagine that.
It was such an eerie coincidence, it could have come out of "The X-Files." And it did ...
It happened in the debut episode of "The Lone Gunmen," a quirky spinoff of "The X-Files," which was nearing the end of its run. The ironic title, a callback to the JFK assassination, referred to three patriotic conspiracy geeks who helped "X-Files" agents Mulder and Scully and published a tiny muckraking newspaper: Melvin Frohike (the short one), Richard "Ringo" Langly (the long-haired one) and John Fitzgerald Byers (the bearded one who formerly worked for government).
"The X-Files" veered heavily into paranormal phenomena. The often-comic "Gunmen" focused on corporate crime. Its first episode, on Fox on March 4, 2001, opens with the three trying to expose a computer processor chip that's secretly rigged to invade the privacy of users.
But they're soon looking into the apparently faked death of Byers' father, Bertram, an idealistic civilian employee of the Defense Department. The probe leads them to hack into a government computer and download a file dealing with terrorism against civilian aircraft.
Bertram turns up alive and tells his son the file is a plot by a "small faction" in the government to crash a jet in New York City. They plan to juice up arms sales by blaming the crash on "tin-pot dictators" who are "begging to be smart-bombed."
He knows which flight is targeted. He and his son board it to search for a bomb. There isn't one. Langly and Frohike, on the ground, hack into the navigation system and find the plane is being flown by remote control to an "unscheduled stop" at the corner of Liberty and Washington in lower Manhattan.
"World Trade Center," Byers says. "They're going to crash it into the World Trade Center."
From the cockpit, the twin towers loom ahead in the night sky. Langly's frantic hacking frees the manual controls. The pilot pulls the 727 into a steep climb. The jet narrowly misses the towers, but clips the broadcasting antenna atop one. Too close for comfort.
"X-Files" writer-producer Frank Spotnitz scripted the episode with Chris Carter, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban.
"We were brainstorming about what a huge attack on the United States might look like," he told me this week. "When we hit on the hijacking, we liked it as a story point because early in the show you think there's a bomb on the plane. You would not realize until much later that the airplane itself was the weapon."
What was his reaction on September 11?
"I remember it vividly," he said. "The moment I turned on the TV, the first thing I thought of was Lone Gunmen.' For some period of time I had this anxiety [the terrorists] had seen it, too, and that the show had given them the idea. But that was not the case," because the actual attack was planned earlier.
What surprised Spotnitz was that no one else seemed to notice. The show had a high-profile premiere, in place of the "The X-Files," but when he mentioned the story line, months later at an industry panel, "it was like people had blocked it until then," he said.
No investigators ever contacted him or the other "X-Files" writers. They were not among the screenwriters whom military intelligence asked to brainstorm terrorist scenarios later in 2001.
What bothered Spotnitz, however, was the idea the plot was unimaginable. It gave too much credit to terrorists. The trade center was car-bombed in 1993. It was the biggest target in America's biggest city.
"That's why we put it in the episode," he said. "It did seem like a big symbolic target. If we could have imagined it, why couldn't our government?"
Maybe truth is stranger than fiction. Maybe it just gets harder to tell the difference.''
To reach Tom Feran: email@example.com
NEWS ARTICLE from The Associated Press, 4-29-04, ClariNet story from Cfirstname.lastname@example.org (AP)
``Bremer Faulted Bush Before Terror Attacks
WASHINGTON (AP) -- L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, said in a speech six months before the Sept. 11 attacks that the Bush administration was "paying no attention" to terrorism.
"What they will do is stagger along until there's a major incident and then suddenly say, 'Oh my God, shouldn't we be organized to deal with this,'" Bremer said at a McCormick Tribune Foundation conference on terrorism on February 26, 2001.
Bremer spoke at the conference shortly after he chaired the National Commission on Terrorism, a bipartisan body formed by the Clinton administration to examine U.S. counterterrorism policies ...
The foundation is a charitable organization founded by Robert McCormick, former editor and publisher of The Chicago Tribune.
At the speech, delivered in Wheaton, Ill., Bremer, whose diplomatic jobs included a stint as ambassador-at-large for counterterrorism, said a war against terrorism would be unending.
"If you call it a war, you suggest there's a victory," he said. "I would argue there is no final victory in the war against terrorism any more than there is in the so-called war against crime."''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 3-28-04, By Robert Cohen, Newhouse News Service
``Key questions, evidence in 9/11 hearings
WASHINGTON -- The Sept. 11 Commission spent more than 15 hours collecting testimony this past week from some of the top national security officials of the Clinton and Bush administrations.
Here are the key questions the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States is grappling with, and some of the evidence that may ultimately lead the panel to its conclusions.
QUESTION: Could Sept. 11 have been prevented?
ANSWER: Yes, said the commission's chairman, Thomas Kean, president of Drew University and a former Republican governor of New Jersey. Kean said he thought that was true before he was named to the commission, and he has heard nothing to change his mind. The plot could have been disrupted at many points, according to the commission's reports and witness testimony, which amount to a series of "what ifs."
What if the United States had gotten terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden in 1996 before he established his Afghanistan training camps?
What if Afghan tribal fighters or U.S. missiles had taken out bin Laden in 1998?
What if the United States had decided to overthrow the Taliban to eliminate al-Qaida's sanctuary?
What if the FBI and the CIA had pooled their information about terrorists, or if immigration officials or airline security had stopped some of the suicide hijackers? ...
QUESTION: Was anyone to blame?
ANSWER: There is plenty of blame to go around. The commission found: Immigration and visa controls failed to keep the suicide hijackers out of the country; airline security proved no deterrent; air defenses were beaten; the FBI dropped the ball ...
So far, only one top official in either administration has Publicly accepted a share of the blame. That was [former White House counterterrorism chief Richard] Clarke, who told Americans on Wednesday [3-24-04]: "Those entrusted with protecting you failed you. And I failed you." ...
QUESTION: Did the war against Iraq divert resources and focus from terrorism?
ANSWER: In his testimony last week, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime a significant accomplishment in the war on terrorism.
In contrast, Clarke said the war in Iraq has been counterproductive. "By fighting the war in Iraq, the president has actually diminished our ability to fight the war on terrorism," he said ...''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 4-9-04, By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent
``... 9-11 commission asks about Aug. 6, 2001, bin Laden memo
WASHINGTON -- Under sharp questioning, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice insisted yesterday [4-8-04] that President Bush fully understood the threat of terrorism before Sept. 11, 2001, but no intelligence foretold the deadliest attack ever on American soil ...
Democratic members questioned why alarms didn't ring when Bush was presented with an Aug. 6, 2001, classified memo entitled ''Bin Laden determined to attack inside United States.''
Former Sen. Bob Kerrey, a Democratic member of the commission, described the memo as saying that ''the FBI indicates patterns of suspicious activity in the United States consistent with preparations for hijacking.''
Rice dismissed the document ...
Commission members unanimously asked the White House to declassify the memo, whose title had not been revealed previously ...
Relatives of victims killed on Sept. 11 sat in the audience behind Rice, scribbling notes and shaking their heads at times as she rebutted accusations by former counterterrorism aide Richard Clarke that Bush had fumbled opportunities to eliminate al-Qaida.
Unlike Clarke, Rice offered no apology for the government's failure to prevent the attacks ...
Rice said, Bush ''understood the threat and he understood its importance.'' She said Bush came into office determined to develop a ''more robust'' policy to combat al-Qaida and told his national security adviser he was ''tired of swatting at flies.''
Picking up on her testimony, Kerrey noted that Bush failed to order a military strike in response to an attack on the destroyer USS Cole that killed 17 U.S. sailors three months before Bush took office.
''Dr. Rice, we only swatted a fly once ... '' That was a reference to a 1998 missile strike Clinton ordered against suspected terror training camps.
Former Gov. Jim Thompson, a Republican commission member from Illinois, also expressed unhappiness about Bush's failure to respond to the Cole. ''Blowing up our destroyers is an act of war against us, is it not?'' he asked ...
Rice's testimony ... came after weeks of White House resistance. Bush yielded after repeated public requests from members of the commission -- as well as quiet proddings of Republicans in Congress -- that an on-the-record rebuttal was needed in response to Clarke's explosive charges.
Clarke told the commission last month that the Bush administration gave a lower priority to combatting terrorism than had Clinton, and that the decision to invade Iraq undermined the war on terror.
Clarke, interviewed on ABC ..., challenged her on only one factual point. He said he had asked ''several times'' before the Sept. 11 attacks to brief Bush on terrorism, while Rice said he had not ...''
See Rice Testimony:
NEWS ARTICLE from The Los Angeles Times, 4-9-04, By Maura Reynolds, Times Staff Writer
``WASHINGTON -- ... Rice described a White House inner circle that spent its time on broad strategy and left it up to the bureaucracy to decide how to meet the escalating threat, with no real follow-up from the White House.
At one point, asked about a memo written to her by White House counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke warning that the parochial interests of the agencies would thwart action unless the White House kept the pressure on, Rice said she thought Clarke was just trying to "buck me up." ...
In a sense, it came down to two concepts of how a president should operate: the Bush team's view that the chief executive should delegate authority, and the view espoused by Clarke and others that the White House should actively work to ensure that effective action is taken, including "shaking the trees" to move sometimes-hidebound government agencies ...
Repeatedly ..., Rice told the commission that warnings and memos that reached her desk, including a critical Aug. 6  CIA report on Al Qaeda plans to attack the United States, were too vague to permit concrete action.
Though the still-classified memo was entitled, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States," Rice said, "This was not a threat report to the president or a threat report to me. If there was any reason to believe that I needed to do something or that [Chief of Staff] Andy Card needed to do something, I would have been expected to be asked to do it. We were not asked to do it," Rice said ...
At least some of the 10 commissioners saw the issue a different way: Not did the administration do what it was asked, but did it ask what it should do?
"But don't you ask somebody to do it?" countered commissioner Timothy J. Roemer, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana. "You're not asking somebody to do it. Why wouldn't you initiate that?" ...
John W. Dean III, himself a veteran of Washington scandal who has written a new book on the Bush administration's penchant for secrecy, said he was also struck by the passivity at the heart of Rice's arguments.
"If Richard Nixon had been given that info, I can assure you he wouldn't have taken months to act on it," said Dean ...''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Los Angeles Times, 4-9-04, By Josh Meyer, Times Staff Writer
``HEARINGS ON THE SEPT. 11 ATTACKS Clarke Labels It a 'Nonevent'
Former White House counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke said Thursday that national security advisor Condoleezza Rice did nothing to disprove his criticisms of the Bush administration's war on terrorism.
If anything, Clarke contended, his former boss' lengthy testimony before the Sept. 11 commission raised additional questions about whether Rice and President Bush could have done more to counter the threat posed by the global terrorist network ...
"It was pretty much a nonevent," Clarke said of Rice's testimony ... Overall, he said, it supported his statement that the White House didn't consider the avalanche of threats in the summer of 2001 to be an urgent concern.
His sharp and specific criticisms of the Bush administration two weeks ago were largely responsible for the commission's decision to demand that Rice testify, which the White House reluctantly permitted ...
Clarke expanded on those criticisms in a book that shot to the top of the best-seller lists, becoming part of the political debate during a presidential election year ...
Rice rejected claims by Clarke that the administration did not mobilize against Al Qaeda immediately upon taking office in January 2001, testifying that the president received more than 40 briefing items on Al Qaeda before Sept. 11, "and 13 of those were in response to questions he or his top advisors posed."
Clarke's response: "I say if the president was briefed about Al Qaeda that many times, why didn't he ever get involved in it personally, except to say once, 'Let's not swat flies'?"
Clarke said he listened particularly carefully to Rice's testimony about whether she had been told, by Clarke, about the potential for Al Qaeda strikes within the United States during the summer of 2001.
Rice acknowledged under questioning that Clarke told her in January 2001 that Al Qaeda "sleeper cells" were in the United States and that the CIA and other intelligence agencies had reported picking up alarming signs of an imminent attack.
Yet when asked by Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste whether she passed those concerns up the chain of command to the president, Rice said: "I really don't remember, commissioner, whether I discussed this with the president."
Clarke said Rice's inability to remember such a key detail was significant ...
Clarke also called on the White House to release the contents of a classified briefing paper the president received Aug. 6, 2001, saying that it would prove the administration was well aware of the possibility of a hijacking or other type of terrorist attack on U.S. soil ...''
EDITORIAL from The Los Angeles Times, 4-9-04,
``Is America Safer Now? ...
Rice ... dodged questions about a memo to her from then-anti-terrorism chief Richard Clarke urging White House pressure to force various agencies to cooperate against terrorist threats. Rice tried to dismiss Clarke's memo as an attempt to "buck me up" to resist bureaucratic inertia, but it was more than that. No matter how much Rice tried to spin it, Clarke was warning that the U.S. was dangerously open to attack ...
Rice [was not] able to point to any officials punished for intelligence failures. With the U.S. mired in a two-front battle against Iraq's Shiite and Sunni Muslims, the breakdown of intelligence before 9/11 looks more like a continuing and systemic problem ... She and other officials still bear the consequences of bad intelligence in Iraq that bogs down U.S. troops, and in Afghanistan, where the Taliban is back on the rise.
No matter how much Rice portrays President Bush as having been alert to terrorist dangers before 9/11, the more important concern is why he isn't doing more to solve the intelligence gaps that led to the disaster.
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 4-10-04
``WASHINGTON (AP) -- ... The so-called presidential daily briefing, or PDB, delivered to Bush on Aug. 6, 2001 -- a month before the Sept. 11 attacks -- said there were various reports that Osama bin Laden had wanted to strike inside the United States as early as 1997 and continuing into the spring of 2001, sources told The Associated Press ...
The sources who read the presidential memo would only speak on condition of anonymity because the White House has not yet declassified the highly sensitive document, entitled ''Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside the United States.'' ...
The document ... included FBI analytical judgments that some al-Qaida activities were consistent with preparation for airline hijackings ...''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 4-11-04
[August 6, 2001, PDB (presidential daily briefing) memo declassified]
``CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) -- President Bush was told more than a month before the Sept. 11 attacks that al-Qaida had reached America's shores, had a support system in place for its operatives and that the FBI had detected suspicious activity that might involve a hijacking plot.
Since 1998, the FBI had observed ''patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks,'' according to a memo prepared for Bush and declassified yesterday [4-10-04] ...
The Aug. 6, 2001 PDB [presidential daily briefing] referred to evidence of buildings in New York possibly being cased by terrorists ...
The PDB made plain that bin Laden had been scheming to strike the United States for at least six years. It warned of indications from a broad array of sources, spanning several years ...
After President Clinton launched missile strikes on bin Laden's base in Afghanistan in 1998 in retaliation for bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 231 people, ''bin Laden told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington,'' the memo said.
The memo cited intelligence from other countries in three instances, but the White House blacked out the names of the nations ...
Al-Qaida members, some of them American citizens, had lived in or traveled to the United States for years, the memo said ...''
TRANSCRIPT of News Conference held on 4-13-04
`` ... QUESTION: Mr. President, before the war, you and members of your administration made several claims about Iraq: that U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators with sweets and flowers; that Iraqi oil revenue would pay for most of the reconstruction; and that Iraq not only had weapons of mass destruction but, as Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said, we know where they are ...
BUSH: Well, the oil revenues, they're bigger than we thought they would be at this point in time. I mean, one year after the liberation of Iraq, the revenues of the oil stream is pretty darn significant.
One of the things I was concerned about, prior to going into Iraq, was that the oil fields would be destroyed, but they weren't. They're now up and running ...''
Is it possible that Bush deliberately did nothing to prevent the 9-11 attacks so as to have an excuse to seize key territory in the Middle East to guarantee oil access (regardless of the costs to Americans)?
What would the American public do if it began to believe that the gasoline supply is unreliable?
Is the highest priority of the Bush administration to make the world safe for the owners of oil wells?
FEATURE ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 3-21-04, By John Freeman, Special to The Plain Dealer
``Tracing the oil trail to 9/11
On Sept. 13, 2001, the United States imposed a nationwide no-fly zone in response to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Yet more than 140 individuals were not only exempt from this rule, they were permitted to leave the country. Nearly all of them were Saudi, and roughly two dozen were kin to Osama bin Laden.
How did this happen? Were these individuals seriously questioned? Who let them leave? Given that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi, why was there such a rush to squander what could be an intelligence mother lode?
Investigative journalist Craig Unger first reported this story in Vanity Fair magazine last October . In "House of Bush, House of Saud," he places the scenario in the context of a decades-old relationship between the ruling family of Saudi Arabia and America's most pre-eminent political dynasty: the Bush family ...
Unger takes us to the late 1950s and early 1960s, when George H.W. Bush was an oil man in Texas. His early success included drilling the first off-shore well for a tiny Middle Eastern country called Kuwait. Bush abandoned oil in 1966 to move into politics and wound up head of the CIA just as Saudi businessmen close to the royal family ... began investing into Bush's home state ...
Our [alliance] with the Saudis proved so convenient that it again was used to prop up the mujahideen in Afghanistan, who were fighting the Soviet army. Saudis matched our support dollar for dollar, and a scion of the family closest to the Saudis was sent to fight and to build roads: Osama bin Laden ...
When oil prices were dropping, a Saudi investor close to the royal family bailed out a tiny Texas oil company by the name of Harken Energy, when one of its directors was George W. Bush.
Unger writes that the real payoff began when the elder Bush left office and began working for the Carlyle Group, an investment firm that used its government contacts to buy defense contractors on the cheap, secure lucrative contracts and then sell them at a high profit. In addition to Bush, the Carlyle group once had George W. Bush on its board ... It goes almost without saying that Saudis also invested directly in Carlyle funds
In a little over a dozen years, the Carlyle Group grew from a tiny firm of just four men into a multibillion-dollar company with 70,000 employees. It was the major way, Unger argues, that $1.4 billion flowed from the House of Saud to the Bush family and their interests ...
Unger avails himself of recent publications to fill out a story that is as disturbing as it is urgent. Drawing on "The Price of Loyalty," Ron Suskind's book about former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, he argues that when Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld entered office in January 2001, they were so preoccupied with Iraq that they ignored a plan organized by counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke to go after al-Qaida.
In June of that year, the American embassy announced a program to allow Saudis to obtain U.S. visas without actually appearing at the consulate in person, Unger writes. This disastrous policy allowed some of the Sept. 11 highjackers to waltz into the country.
According to Unger, the president was briefed Aug. 8  on intelligence indicating that terrorists planned an attack on U.S. soil. Soon afterward, Bush took the longest presidential vacation in 32 years - a monthlong retreat at his Crawford ranch ...
And Unger borrows this from Gerald Posner's "Why America Slept": Prince Ahmed bin Sultan, a member of the Saudi royal family, reportedly knew about the attacks before Sept. 11 ...
It seems likely that "House of Bush, House of Saud" will be labeled conspiracy theory, but Unger's research is cautious, elemental and well foot-noted ... [the oil trail to 9/11]''
ARTICLE from MadCowMorningNews, 11-14-02, by Daniel Hopsicker, Issue Number 33
``Mounting evidence in the investigation into the terror flight schools in Venice FL is raising questions of whether an officially-sanctioned drug trafficking operation there discouraged the FBI from taking action against the terrorists that might have averted the World Trade Center disaster.
The dark specter of the drug trade is throwing an increasingly long shadow across the terrorist conspiracy's activities in Venice, where Mohamed Atta and his close associates, many of whom were German, frequently used cocaine. According to a credible eyewitness, when their supplies ran low they would procure more from a flight school at the Venice Airport.
In an exclusive 3-hour videotaped interview at a secret location, 21-year old Amanda Keller, Mohamed Atta's former live-in girlfriend, revealed that supposed "Islamic fundamentalist" Mohamed Atta and his closest associates in Venice were habitual cocaine users. [This seems very strange behavior for a fundementalist suicide bomber.]
"They were always drinking," Keller told us. "Always. Beer or wine, or sometimes rum. Once I had met everyone there (at a ' safe house' located in an condominium owned by Rudi Dekkers across the street from the Venice Airport) they felt comfortable with me and pulled out the coke." ...
Numerous eyewitnesses, including their apartment manager, their next-door neighbors, and a former Huffman Aviation insider, who vividly remembers her then-hot pink hair, have verified Amanda Keller's relationship with Mohamed Atta. The two shared an apartment together for two months across the street from the Venice Airport.
"These guys had money flowing out their ass," Keller stated. "They never seemed to run out of money. They had massive supplies of cocaine. Whenever they'd run out, they'd go over to the flight school. I followed them one day with Sabrina (a German friend of Atta's) to see where they were going, and saw them go into Florida Flight Training."
The Florida Flight Training Center is owned by Arne Kruithof, one of the two 'Magic Dutch Boys' who run flight schools at the Venice Airport ...
FBI inactivity explained?
... "The FBI Knew Terrorists Were Using Flight Schools," read a Washington Post headline one week after the attack. "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," the article stated.
What they left unanswered was why they did nothing to shut it down.
Indications of the FBI's "guilty knowledge" were widespread in the aftermath of the attack, including the widely-reported fact that the FBI was at Huffman Aviation with search warrants at 2.30 a.m. the night after the attack.
Now we have uncovered evidence indicating that the FBI was on the scene even earlier...
"How do you think the FBI got here (Huffman Aviation) so fast after the attack?" asked one Huffman Aviation insider. "They knew what was going on here. Hell, they were parked in a white van outside my house less than four hours after the buildings collapsed."
"We heard that 16 of the 19 terrorists had been on Interpol's Most Wanted list," this aviation executive continued. "But early on I gleaned that these guys had Government protection. They were let into this country for a specific purpose. It was a business deal." ...
Far from merely being negligent or asleep at the switch ... the evidence indicates the CIA was not only aware of the thousands of Arab student pilots who began pouring into the U.S. to attend flight training beginning in 1999, but was in truth running the operation ...''
NEWS ARTICLE from The New York Times, 12-21-01, By PHILIP SHENON
``Flight School Warned F.B.I. of Suspicions
WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 -- An instructor at a Minnesota flight school warned the F.B.I. 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 today.
The officials, who were briefed by the school, said the instructor warned the Federal Bureau of Investigation in urgent tones about the terrorist threat posed by the student, Zacarias Moussaoui. Mr. Moussaoui, a French citizen of Morrocan descent, was indicted last week on charges of conspiring in the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
Representative James L. Oberstar of Minnesota, who ... is the ranking Democrat on the House Transportation Committee, said the instructor called the bureau several times to find someone in authority who seemed willing to act on the information.
Mr. Oberstar said the instructor's warnings could not have been more blunt. The representative said, "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 Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies did not prevent the hijackings.
Officials said the Arizona branch of the school alerted the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this year after finding that a student spoke little English. The Saudi student, Hani Hanjour, has been described as being at the controls of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon ...''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Boston Globe, 9-16-01, By Broward Liston, Globe Correspondent
This story ran on page A24 of the Boston Globe on 9/16/2001.
``DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The largest of the Florida flight schools linked to the FBI's 19 hijacking suspects said it has no intention of changing its admission policy or altering its screening practices for foreign students in light of Tuesday's events.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, home to 24,000 students and one of the nation's most respected flight engineering programs, was where alleged hijacker Waleed al-Shehri got his commercial pilots license and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in 1997.
Although al-Shehri was sponsored by Saudi Arabian Airlines, he apparently never went to work for the government-owned corporation after graduation. Instead, law enforcement sources say, he remained in the United States as a ''sleeper'' agent until activated. He was aboard American Airlines Flight 11 when it crashed into the World Trade Center in New York Tuesday ...
At least five flight schools in Florida have been linked to the hijackers ...
Alleged hijacker Abdulrahman Alomari attended Flight Safety International in Vero Beach, the same flight school John F. Kennedy Jr. attended. Another student, Adman Buchari, was held for 24 hours and questioned by authorities. A third man, Ahmer Kamfhar, is believed to be on the run and armed with an AK-47, authorities said.
Flight Safety International, like Embry-Riddle, is a school with an international reputation for excellence that has suddenly grown a new reputation as a school for international terror ...''
TRAIL OF TERROR by Jim Rarey
Bojinka: The Dog That Didn't Bark
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional hero Sherlock Holmes once solved a case because a dog that would have been expected to bark didn't. Something is missing from the numerous allegations about the government's foreknowledge of the 9/11 terrorist attack. That thing is any mention of "Project Bojinka" by government officials and most of the national media ...
In the Philippines in January of 1995, a fire broke out in an apartment 200 yards from the Vatican's embassy in Manila. This was two weeks before a scheduled visit of the Pope to the Philippines. When police investigated they found bomb making material and other items suggesting a plot to assassinate the Pontiff. They also found computer disks containing the details of Project Bojinka (big bang).
The Philippines police determined that at least three operatives were involved in the plots with ties to Al Queda, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan. Abdul Hakim Murad was arrested when he returned to the apartment, apparently to retrieve the computer disks. Wali Khan Amin Shah, an Afghani, was arrested in Malaysia. Ramzi
Yousef, the alleged mastermind of Bojinka, was arrested in Pakistan and returned to New York by FBI agent John O'Neill (then FBI counter-terrorism chief whose main focus was on Osama bin Laden and Al Queda). More about O'Neill later.
The terrorist actions detailed on the computer disks comprised three separate elements. The first, for which the three were tried and convicted in 1996, was a plot to leave bombs on 11 U.S. commercial flights departing from various cities in the far East to be destroyed simultaneously on the same day.
The FBI said Yousef staged a trial run in 1994 leaving a bomb on a Philippine flight that killed a Japanese businessman. Yousef was also charged as the mastermind of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and was later tried and convicted of that terrorist strike in which four others were already serving life sentences.
The second element was a plan to load a small plane with explosives and fly it into CIA headquarters in Virginia. Abdul Murad admitted he had trained as a pilot in North Carolina and was slated to be the suicide pilot on that mission. This element of Bojinka has received some exposure in the national media.
The third element of Bojinka had by far the most potential for catastrophic casualties and impact on the American public. It involved the simultaneous hijacking of several commercial domestic flights and crashing them into selected targets that included the Pentagon, the Sears Tower and the World Trade Center. Obviously, the plot required a member of each hijacking team to be capable of flying the big jets. No commercial pilot could be expected to deliberately fly his plane into such targets even with a pistol at his head or a knife (box cutter) at his throat.
The details of Project Bojinka were furnished by Philippine police to the American Embassy in Manila and to the CIA and FBI. Yet, to this day, high government officials in the administration and congress maintain they had no idea that such a plot was contemplated, much less possible. But Project Bojinka was not the first red flag raised on the 9/11 scenario.
In a 1993 book, "Target America: Terrorism in the U.S." author and terrorism expert Yossef Bodansky detailed the training of suicide pilots in Iran for just such missions beginning in the early 1980's. A terrorist training school had been set up at an airfield in Wakilabad, Iran for the training. Iran Air (the national airline) maintained a Boeing 707 and 727 at the airfield (built by western companies) and occasionally furnished a Boeing 747 for that training ...''
ARTICLE by Daniel Hopsicker, February 5  -- Venice, Florida.
``FBI shut down Saudi terror cell investigation in Boston -- the group had access to all the FAA computer system for 2 years pre-911
A software company called Ptech, founded by a Saudi financier placed on America's Terrorist List in October 2001, had access to the FAA's entire computer system for two years before the 9/11 attack ...
Saudi "money man" Yasin al-Qadi, named by the Bush Administration as a financial backer of the al-Qaeda terrorist network, had funded a software start-up in Boston named Ptech, reported the Boston Globe over a year ago.
Al-Qadi, a Saudi businessman whose US assets were frozen after the Sept. 11 attacks amid allegations that he has funded terrorist groups, is from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he also headed the Saudi-based Muwafaq (Blessed Relief) Foundation.
Treasury officials allege the "charity" is an al-Qaeda front used to funnel millions of dollars to the terrorist organization, and Al-Qadi was named a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the United States on October 12, 2001. A US Treasury Department statement stated that "Muwafaq is an Al-Qaeda front that receives funding from wealthy Saudi businessmen" ...
Ptech's customers included sensitive government and intelligence agencies such as the FBI and the Air Force. "But until last fall," the GLOBE reported on Jan. 22, 2003, "few seemed aware an early financial backer of Ptech was Yasin al-Qadi, a Saudi businessman named as a suspected terrorist financier by the Bush Administration in October 2001." ...
The tale begins almost right after the 9/11 attack, when, in October of 2001, handful of ex-Ptech employees alerted the FBI to evidence indicating that the firm had Saudi terror connections ...
Almost a year later the Boston FBI had still done nothing about it. They had, in fact, shut down their cursory investigation and taken no action ...
Thus Ptech was still operating at the highest levels of American society in the Spring of 2002, when the firm showed up hustling business at the door of Wall Street's JP Morgan Chase. The question is "why?" ...
Indira Singh, who later became a whistleblower, was an unwitting eyewitness to the "train wreck."
"I invited Ptech to come down and give a presentation and a customized demo to JP Morgan Chase," states Singh, who was a consultant to the bank on "risk architecture," an arcane software specialty which calculates enterprise risk. In one of the story's many ironic twists, Singh was at the time designing a system to help JP Morgan Chase detect terrorist money laundering.
When Ptech showed up, Singh quickly realized that she was witnessing her worst fears about compromised security come true ...
Moreover, she learned, Yasin Al-Qadi had been fingered by the Bush Administration in October 2001, over six months before. So how was it that Ptech was still making presentations to top American companies six months later? ...
When Singh flew to Washington D.C. to meet some of the ex-Ptech employees to verify their allegations, she received another shock. "I met with five extraordinarily scared people. These people were scared for their lives, and for their families. Some were about to leave the country. They told me, 'Indira, you don't know who you're dealing with.'
Sadly, when she told us what happened next, it came as no surprise: When Singh alerted authorities, and her employer, what she encountered was the inexplicable wrath of a top Wall Street Bank, as well as an official wall of silence at the FBI ...
After talking to the Boston FBI, Singh said she had been ''shocked'' and ''frustrated'' to learn that the FBI had not alerted any of the government agencies using Ptech software that there were questions about the company's ties to suspected terrorist fund-raisers ...
When we first heard whistleblower Indira Singh tell her story it sounded so incredible that we would have found it unbelievable, except that we had already encountered stories like it in Venice, of witnesses bullied and intimidated by authorities into silence.
For example, the FBI was all over tenants at the Sandpiper Apartments across the street from the Venice Airport, to keep them from talking about Mohamed Atta's two-month long 'shack-up' with an American girlfriend named Amanda Keller.
In addition to warning Keller not to talk, a warning she took so seriously she left town and disappeared from view, FBI agents bullied and intimidated apartment residents who remembered the pair, and even the apartment manager of the complex, Charles Grapentine, an ex-marine, who told us grimly, "They called me a liar, and told me to keep my mouth shut. Nobody likes to hear that: that they didn't see something they know they saw."
Atta and Amanda's next door neighbor, a 50-year old housewife named Stephanie Frederickson, confirmed the apartment manager's remarks.
"The question they asked was always the same," she told us. "You aren't saying anything to anybody, are you?"
Now, it seems that FBI agents in Boston were engaged in equally-dubious behavior. Mistakes, malfeasance, and even missed opportunities to avert the Sept 11 attack... There's been a regular drumbeat of depressing news about the FBI.
Singh told us that disgruntled Boston FBI agents told her privately that their hands were tied on Ptech, because, they said, "Saudis have been given a free pass for 9/11."
"And that," says Singh, "is when I began to get really scared."''
FEATURE ARTICLEfrom Fortune Magazine, 5-22-02, by Richard Behar
``FBI's 'Phoenix' Memo Unmasked
Fortune's investigative reporter, the only journalist to see confidential document, reveals its true name and nature.
What happens when bosses ignore memos from subordinates? The country is now learning the answer to that question in a most painful way.
On July 10, 2001, an FBI agent in Phoenix wrote a memo raising serious concerns about Middle Eastern men attending U.S. flight schools. The memo never made its way up the chain of command ...
Recently, I had a chance to read the memo -- apparently the first journalist to have done so. It was shown to me by a reliable government source, who permitted me to take notes but wouldn't let me copy it. What I learned is chilling. The memo raises questions about what federal law enforcement officers knew and what they did or didn't do to protect the U.S. from terror attacks in the months before Sept. 11. After reviewing the memo, one cannot help but conclude that the FBI dropped the ball ...
The memo was written by Phoenix FBI Special Agent Kenneth J. Williams, described as a member of "Squad 16," and it was approved by a man named William A. Kurtz. The title reads: "Zakaria Mustapha Soubra; IT-OTHER (Islamic Army of the Caucasus)." The "synopsis" says: "Usama bin Laden and Al-Muhjiroun supporters attending civil aviation universities/colleges in Arizona." And the memo bears the FBI codes: "Derived from G-3" and "Declassify on X1."
Soubra, the memo said, was a student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz. (According to the Los Angeles Times, he was questioned by FBI agents in 2000, after he was observed at a shooting range with another Muslim, who was a veteran of Islamic jihads in the Balkans and the Middle East. No charges were brought against him, and he is currently a senior at Embry-Riddle.
The organization named in the memo's title, the Islamic Army of the Caucasus, is based in Chechnya and was at one time headed by a man named Amir Khattab, who, according news reports, is suspected of having ties to Osama bin Laden.
The FBI's probe of Soubra, according to the Williams memo, was instituted on April 17, 2000, nearly 17 months before last year's terror attacks. Williams warns in his July 10 memo of a possible "effort by Usama bin Laden to send students to the U.S. to attend civil aviation universities and colleges."
Williams also refers to a "fatwa by Al-Muhjiroun, spiritual leader Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed Fostok." (Fostok, according to news reports, once ran a London-based radical group called the Islamic Liberation Party, dedicated to overthrowing Western society. He was arrested for suggesting that it was permissible to kill then British Prime Minister John Major, which he denied and was released without any charges being filed.) ...
FBI officials apparently didn't do much with the Phoenix memo ... So the question is: Had senior FBI officials, the CIA, and the Bush Administration seen the Phoenix memo, could they have stitched together enough clues to prevent the terror attacks? ...''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Daily Chronicle, 6-3-04, By Terence Hunt - AP White House Correspondent
``Bush consults attorney in CIA leak case
WASHINGTON - President Bush has lined up an outside lawyer for legal advice if needed in the grand jury investigation of who leaked the name of a covert CIA operative last year ...
Earlier, Bush's chief spokesman, Scott McClelland ... confirmed that Bush had contacted Washington attorney Jim Sharp. [Sharp represented retired Maj. Gen. Richard Secord in the Iran-Contra scandal of the late 1980s.] ...
A federal grand jury has questioned numerous White House and administration officials to learn who leaked the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame, wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, to the news media. Wilson has charged that officials made the disclosure in an effort to discredit him ...
"It speaks for itself that the president initially claimed he wanted to get to the bottom of this, but now he's suddenly retained a lawyer," said Jano Cabrera, spokesman for the Democratic National Committee. "Bush shouldn't drag the country through grand juries and legal maneuvering. President Bush should come forward with what he knows and come clean with the American people."
Plame was first identified by syndicated columnist and TV commentator Robert Novak in a column last July . Novak said his information came from administration sources.
Wilson has said he believes his wife's name was leaked because of his criticism of Bush administration claims that Iraq had tried to obtain uranium from Niger, which Wilson investigated for the CIA and found to be untrue.
Disclosure of an undercover officer's identity can be a federal crime. The grand jury has heard from witnesses and combed through thousands of pages of documents turned over by the White House, but returned no indictments.
The probe is being handled by Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, appointed after Attorney General John Ashcroft stepped aside from case because of his political ties to the White House ...
Wilson has suggested in a book [The Politics of Truth] that the leaker was Lewis "Scooter" Libby, chief of staff to Vice President Cheney ...
Wilson also said it's possible the leak came from Elliott Abrams, a figure in the Reagan administration Iran-Contra affair and now a member of Bush's National Security Council. And Karl Rove, Bush's chief political adviser, may have circulated information about Wilson and Plame "in administration and neoconservative circles" even if Rove was not himself the leaker, Wilson wrote.
Another possibility is that two lower-level officials in Cheney's office - John Hannah or David Wurmser - leaked Plame's identity at the behest of higher-ups "to keep their fingerprints off the crime," Wilson speculated.''
BuzzFlash, 4-6-04, by Maureen Farrell
``Will the 2004 Election Be Called Off?
On Dec. 31, 2003, New York Times columnist and former Nixon speech writer William Safire offered his standard New Year's predictions. This time, however, one item stood out. ... Safire predicted that "the 'October surprise' affecting the U.S. election" would be "a major terror attack in the United States." ...
In Nov. 2003, you might recall, Gen. Tommy Franks told Cigar Aficionado magazine that a major terrorist attack (even one that occurred elsewhere in the Western world), would likely result in a suspension of the U.S. Constitution and the installation of a military form of government ...
Right around the same time, former Clinton administration official David Rothkopf made similarly distressing observations. In a Washington Post op-ed entitled, "Terrorist Logic: Disrupt the 2004 Election," he described a meeting in which nearly 75 percent of the professional participants ... also foresaw another terrorist attack occurring on American soil before the next election ...
If martial law is imposed, Air Force General Ralph E. Eberhart will be able to ... deploy troops to America's streets. Gen. Eberhart, you might recall, is the former Commander of NORAD, which was in charge of protecting America's skies on Sept. 11. But instead of being scrutinized for NORAD's massive failures, he was promoted and now heads the Pentagon's Northern Command ... What kind of situation would have to occur to grant Eberhart "the far-reaching authority that goes with 'extraordinary operations'"? Nothing. He already has that authority ...
On Sept 11, 2003, William Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News asked, "Why don't we have the answers to these 9/11 questions?" ... before addressing a variety of concerns, which, thanks to the 9/11 commission, are finally making their way into our national consciousness. And now that another whistle blower, FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, has come forward, saying, "'I saw papers that show US knew al-Qaeda would attack cities with airplanes," ...
So, what the heck. If others can do it, I can, too. So I'll go out on a limb a make a prediction of my own: If the truth continues to seep out ... suspending the election may be the only way Bush can win. My darkest fear is that G.W.'s handlers believe this, too.''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 5-15-04, By Matt Kelley and John J. Lumpkin, Associated Press
``U.S. commander limits interrogation tactics
WASHINGTON -- The senior U.S. commander in Iraq has moved to limit the military's allowable interrogation tactics, the Pentagon disclosed Friday [5-14-04] ...
The order from Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez on Thursday [5-13-04] let military intelligence chiefs know that requests for such methods, which had been allowed with specific permission since September , would be turned down, officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity ...
Seven soldiers are facing military charges related to the abuse and humiliation of prisoners captured by the now infamous photographs at Abu Ghraib.
The soldiers and their lawyers have said military intelligence officials running the interrogations told military police assigned as guards to abuse the prisoners to make interrogations easier ...
Until Thursday, ... stressful techniques were allowed with approval from Sanchez.
Those included depriving detainees of sleep for more than 72 hours, putting them in "sensory deprivation" with such tactics as hoods, or forcing them into "stress positions" such as kneeling or standing uncomfortably for more than 45 minutes ...''
NEWS ARTICLE from news.independent.co.uk, 5-17-04, By David Usborne in New York
``Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary, personally authorised a loosening of the rules under which military personnel could attempt to squeeze information from detainees in prisons in Iraq, ... according to The New Yorker magazine ... [in an] article, written by the highly regarded reporter Seymour Hersh ...
As described in The New Yorker, Mr. Rumsfeld, together with his undersecretary for defence intelligence, Stephen Cambone, decided last autumn  to expand a secretive Pentagon programme ... Mr. Hersh wrote: "According to interviews with several past and present American intelligence officials, the Pentagon's operation, known inside the intelligence community by several code words, including Copper Green, encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency." ...
The article in The New Yorker article contends that among those who approved or were at least aware of the secret interrogations' programme when it was first deployed in Afghanistan included the National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, and President George Bush ...
A critical moment, the magazine said, came when the commander at the Guantanamo Bay prison, Maj-Gen Geoffrey Miller, travelled to Iraq last autumn and recommended the adoption of tactics developed for suspects in Afghanistan.''
LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The Plain Dealer, 5-19-04, By Tallis George-Munro
``Students of U.S. and Latin American history in the 20th century will probably not be surprised to learn that sex abuse and physical torture are commonly used as interrogation techniques by U.S. armed forces.
For anyone who wishes to know, even a casual examination of the U.S. military intervention in Central America in the 1980s will reveal documented evidence that U.S. military and intelligence specialists trained and supplied death squads in the region. Tens of thousands of individuals, including priests, nuns, teachers, labor leaders, farmers, students, rebel insurgents and U.S. citizens were tortured and murdered by U.S.-backed death squads.
Ironically, and somewhat appropriately, a key figure who skillfully coordinated the human rights violations and mass murder in Central America has just been overwhelmingly approved by the Senate as the new U.S. ambassador to Iraq. John Negroponte is his name, and during the 1980s he was the U.S. ambassador to Honduras.
So while Congress and the president carry on their public relations campaign of feigned "shock and disgust" over the videos showing U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, Ambassador Negroponte will assume control over a mismanaged counterinsurgency campaign and "set things right."''
Tallis George-Munro, Euclid
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