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9/11: THREATS ABOUT AIRPLANES AS WEAPONS PRIOR TO 9/11
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Sunday, September 11, 2011 12:44:32 PM
9/11: THREATS ABOUT AIRPLANES AS WEAPONS PRIOR TO 9/11
By: Dr. Matthew Robinson
Associate Professor of Criminal Justice
Appalachian State University
President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and other White House officials have consistently denied knowing about the 9/11 plot or receiving information that (or even imagining that) commercial aircraft could be used as weapons. For example, Bush said repeatedly there were no warnings of any kind ... “Never in anybody’s thought process ... about how to protect America did we ever think the evil doers would fly not one but four commercial aircraft into precious US targets ... never.”
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said that “the President did not – not – receive information about the use of airplanes as missiles by suicide bombers ... Until this attack took place, I think it’s fair to say that no one envisioned that as a possibility.”
Then National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said: “I don’t think that anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile ... even in retrospect there was nothing to suggest that.”
Further, Vice President Cheney advised Democrats in Congress to “be very cautious not to seek political advantage by making incendiary suggestions ... that the White House had advance information that would have prevented the tragic attacks of 9/11.” He also said that any serious probe of 9/11 foreknowledge would be tantamount to “giving aid and comfort to the enemy.”
So, read the following reports, all from major news agencies in the United States, and see if you think they are telling the truth (just don’t conduct any serious probe into this foreknowledge, or you might be considered the enemy!) Yes, many of the reports came before Bush became President, but the point is, he knew. Everyone in the White House and Congress knew.
What is really amazing is that people who were there and who had access to the information – in the White House and in the Congress – have provided strong evidence that the statements above are false. For example, White House Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke acknowledges that the CIA knew there were al Qaeda terrorists in the US, and the FBI knew there were Arabic people taking lessons at flight schools, including some asking strange questions about crashing planes. Clarke says “red lights and bells should have been going off. They had specific information about individual terrorists from which one could have deduced what was about to happen” (p. 237).
Clarke offers the following as evidence·
In 1995, Clarke asked the FAA to ground all US flights over the Pacific because of a terrorist threat against airliners. This “Bojinka Plot” was discovered by Philippine police responding to a fire in an apartment building in Manilla. This was a plan by al Qaeda to blow up 12 commercial airliners and 9/11 mastermind KSM.
In 1996, while preparing for the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, Clarke asked the Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta FBI Field Office and the head of FAA security, “What if somebody blows up a 747 over the Olympic stadium, or even flies one into the stadium?” Admiral Cathal Flynn, head of FAA security, replied, “... we could ban aircraft from over the stadium during the events ...”. The FBI agent also added: “Don’t let them hijack an aircraft in the first place.” (pp. 106-107). The preparations made to prevent this kind of attack became the “Atlanta Rules.” These rules were used in several CSG designated “National Security Special Events.” Clarke says: “The Secret Service and Customs had teamed up in Atlanta to provide some rudimentary air defense against an aircraft flying into the Olympic Stadium. They did so again during the subsequent National Security Special Events and they agreed to create a permanent air defense unit to protect Washington.” The Treasury Department did not want to pay for the permanent air defense unit so it was not established (p. 131).
In 1996, President Clinton established new security mechanisms at the nation’s airports. They included not allowing passengers to board planes without a government issued photo ID that matched the name on the ticket, increases in random passenger and cargo searches, a temporary ban on parked cars near terminals, and temporary discontinuation of curbside check-in. Also Vice President Al Gore would head a Commission on Aviation Safety and Security that would recommend permanent changes to airport security. According to Richard Clarke this Commission “requested and got funding for programs involving baggage screening, carry on luggage checks, passenger profiling, screener training, research on aircraft hardening, and to hire more FAA security agents.” It did not “agree to recommend that the federal government assume the role of airport passenger and luggage screening ... It was clear even at the time that the Gore Commission had not been sufficiently ambitious about the job of airport security and passenger screening” (p. 130).
Further, former Senator Bob Graham, who held the highest Democratic position on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and who organized and co-chaired the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 (House-Senate Congressional Inquiry), asserts that President Bush’s statements and those of his Administration about the 9/11 attacks are inaccurate. Graham says: “The first was that it was a surprise, a bolt from the blue. The second was that no one could have imagined such an attack carried out in such a manner. The third, that since no one could have envisaged the use of commercial aircraft as a weapon of mass destruction, no one could be held accountable. The forth was that for all of the devastation, the attack was basically quite simple, requiring nineteen people and a sum of money estimated between $175,000 and $250,000" (p. 112). These are all false!
In fact, the threats were many, and we knew it was coming ... Graham says there were at least 12 instances in which intelligence found information outlining terrorist plans to use airplanes as weapons, there were at least 12 instances in which the plot could have been interdicted but mistakes by individual people assured it did not happen (and yet not a single person has been held accountable for their failures), and the plot was very complex and resilient. In fact, as Graham notes: “I find a pattern of substantial logistical, personnel, and kills development and financial support consistent with what the President was told in his fateful August 6 briefing. I further suspect that the pattern of such support was more pervasive than is currently known or acknowledged” (p. 113). Graham also says this structure of support was maintained by a nation-state [and no he does not say it was Iraq!].
Graham asserts that “after September 11, members of the Bush administration would claim that nobody could have imagined that planes might be used as weapons, during the course of our inquiry, we found that the possibility had been imagined, investigated, and interdicted more than once, and that in one case the Pentagon had been a target”! His examples include:
Algerian terrorists who in 1994 tried to fly an Air France plane into the Eiffel Tower;
Project Bojinka in 1995 to blow up 11 planes simultaneously and crash a twelfth into CIA headquarters and thirteenth into the Pentagon;
An August 2001 plot to fly a plane into a US embassy in Nairobi or bomb it from a plane (p. 81).
But of course, there is much, much more evidence! Consider for yourself the following:
• 1990-1996: Mary Schiavo, former Inspector General for U.S. Dept. of Transportation (1990-1996) resigned after the FAA tried to classify her report detailing lax security at the nation's major airports. Agents were able to sneak fake bombs, hand grenades, guns and knives through metal detectors. Congress, according to Schiavo, was not interested in making it hard on the airline industry, so they swept it under the rug!
• 1993 – A Pentagon expert postulates that an airplane could be used as a missile to bomb national landmarks. This idea is not published in the “Terror 2000" report.
• 1994 – Phoenix FBI discovers videotapes two men trying to recruit an FBI informant to be a suicide bomber, one of which is linked to Sheikh Abdul-Rahman (the blind Shiekh incarcerated in New York for his role in the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993).
• 1994 – Three planes are crashed or attempted to crash into buildings this year. A Fed Ex employee tries to crash a DC-10 into a company building in Memphis but is overpowered by the crew. A lone pilot crashes a small plane onto the White House grounds. An Air France flight is hijacked by terrorists linked to al Qaeda, with the goal to crash it into the Eiffel Tower, but French Special Forces storm plane before it takes off.
• Bob Graham asserts that since at least 1994, intelligence agencies received information indicating terrorists were contemplating using aircraft as weapons, and this information did not lead to any specific intelligence assessment of this form of threat or any government reaction to it.
• December 1994 – Ramzi Yousef plants a small bomb on Philippine Airlines flight to Tokyo as part of a trial run of Operation Bojinka.
• January 1995 – Philippines disrupts Operation Bojinka to explode 11 or 12 passenger planes over the Pacific Ocean and to crash others into prominent US buildings. Philippines warns US of targets for attack, including CIA headquarters, Pentagon, nuclear power plant, TransAmerica Tower (San Francisco), Sears Tower (Chicago), and World Trade Center. Plotter Abdul Hakim Murad is handed over to FBI in April 1995 and he identifies 10 other men in flight training who were involved.
• April 1995 – Senator Sam Nunn outlines an attack on the US Capitol using a radio-controlled airplane (idea taken from Tom Clancey’s book, Debt of Honour).
• 1996 – FBI investigates US flight schools after finding a business card for a school in the possession of Abdul Hakim Murad (who had been training at about 6 schools since 1990).
• January 1996 – US intelligence receives information of a planned suicide attack on the White House by a plane flying from Afghanistan.
• July - August 1996 – US officials identify crop dusters and suicide flights as threats to the Atlanta Olympics. They ban planes from getting too close to events, deploy Black Hawk helicopters and US Customs jets to intercept suspicious aircraft, monitor crop-duster flights near downtown, place armed fighter jets on standby at local air bases, screen passengers to Atlanta more carefully, and send law enforcement agents to regional airports to make sure nobody hijacked a small airplane (these become known as the “Atlanta Rules”).
• October 1996 – US intelligence learns of an Iranian plot to hijack a Japanese plane over Israel and to crash it into Tel Aviv.
• November 1996 – Ethiopians take over a passenger airliner, let it run out of fuel, and crash it into Indian Ocean off Comoros Islands.
• 1997 – FBI and CIA have concerns that an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will be used to attack a US embassy or delegates overseas.
• January 1997 – “Atlanta Rules” used to protect against airplane attack for Clinton inauguration.
• February 1997 – White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security (Gore Commission) issued its final report, reference failed Operation Bojinka, and call for increased aviation security. The commission “believes that terrorist attacks on civil aviation are directed at the United States, and that there should be an ongoing federal commitment to reducing the threats that they pose.”
• December 1997 – Retired CIA agent and counter terrorism consultant Randy Baer meets with a former police chief from Qatar and learns that Khalid Shiekh Mohammed (KSM) was sheltered in Qatar by Interior Minister Abdallah bin Khalid al-Thani. He is also told that KSM is a key aide to UBL and that KSM “is going to hijack some planes.”
• 1998 – FAA “Red Teams” conduct testing of screening checkpoints at domestic airports and successfully smuggle through guns, bombs, etc. and are successful in some case 85% of the time ... high level FAA officials are made aware of the problem and do nothing
• 1998 – FBI’s international terrorism squad investigates possible Middle Eastern man taking flight lessons at a Phoenix airport. FBI agent Ken Williams starts an investigation into the possibility of terrorists learning to fly.
• 1998 – President Clinton is warned of a possible plan to hijack a plane to gain the release of Oman Abdul Rahman.
• May 1998 – A FBI pilot sends a memo to a supervisor warning of a large number of Middle Eastern men receiving flight training in Oklahoma airports.
• August 1998 – CIA asserts Arab terrorists plan to fly a bomb-laden plane from a foreign country to the World Trade Center ... FBI and FAA do not think the state of aviation in unstated country makes the attack possible.
• September 1998 – US intelligence learns that UBL’s next operation might be a crashed airliner loaded with explosives into a US airport.
• October 1998 – FAA issues 3 warnings to airports and airliners urging a high degree of vigilance against threats to civil aviation posed by al Qaeda ... threat specifically mentioned a metropolitan airport in the Eastern US.
• Fall 1998 – US intelligence learns of a plot to attack New York and Washington DC with airplanes ... learns that plans to attack are preceding well and 2 individuals have successfully evaded checkpoints at a New York airport.
• November 1998 – US intelligence learns of a plan by a Turkish extreme group to crash an airplane packed with explosives into a famous tomb during a government ceremony.
• 1998-1999 – FBI issues warnings of possible terrorists training at US flight schools.
• 1999 – US intelligence learns that an al Qaeda agent studied at a flight school in Norman, Oklahoma (hijackers Mohammed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi visited school there in 2000 and Zacarias Moussaoui trained there in 2001).
• September 1999 – FBI in Oklahoma City visits a flight school in Norman Oklahoma to investigate UBL’s personal pilot Ihab Ali who attended there in 1993.
• 1999 – Britain’s M16 domestic intelligence agency reports to US that al Qaeda plans to use commercial aircraft in unconventional ways possibly as flying bombs.
• 1999 – FBI learns that terrorists are planning to send students to US for flight training. FBI’s Counterterrorism Section issues a notice to 24 field offices to pay close attention to Islamic students from the target country engaged in training. Ken Williams’ squad receives this memo too. No investigation is conducted by any office. A 2000 notice sent out shows there was no indication uncovered that terrorist group is recruiting students.
• September 1999 – US intelligence suggests “Suicide bomber(s) belonging to al Qaeda’s Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land aircraft packed with high explosives ... into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or the White House...”. Report is made by the National Intelligence Council which advises the President and US intelligence on emerging threats.
• October 1999 – EgyptAir flight 900 crashes into the Atlantic Ocean off of Massachusetts. The eventual conclusion of the National Transportation Safety Board is it was intentional crash, which killed 33 Egyptian military officers.
• 1999 – “Atlanta Rules” used to protect against airplane attack for North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 50th Anniversary in DC.
• 2000 – FBI learns that a Middle Eastern nation has been trying to purchase a flight simulator in violation of US restrictions.
• April 2000 – Niaz Khan, a British citizen from Pakistan, tells FBI of a plot to fly airliners into building. He was trained on a mock cockpit of 767, including how to hijack a plane and how to smuggle guns and other weapons on board. He flew to US and was told to meet with a contact to then meet up with others to fly a plane into a building. He passes a polygraph given by FBI but he is deported to London.
• July–August 2000 – “Atlanta Rules” used to protect against airplane attack for Republican Convention in Philadelphia and Democratic Convention in New York.
• August 2000 – Italian intelligence wiretaps al Qaeda cell in Milan, Italy and overhears plan to attack enemies of Islam with aircraft. Warning is sent to US in March 2001.
• October 2000 – Pentagon conducts an emergency drill for a crashed airline that had been hijacked and flown into the Pentagon.
• September 2000 - September 2001 – NORAD conducts regional war games exercises simulating hijacked airliners used as weapons to crash into targets; one target is World Trade Center. In another exercise, jets conduct a mock shoot down of airliners over Atlantic Ocean. In another, the Pentagon is the target (but this one was called off). Exercises are called Vigilant Guardian and Northern Vigilance, and another is being held at the National Reconnaissance Office which included an airplane being used as a flying weapon.
• January 2001 – “Atlanta Rules” used to protect against an airplane attack for Bush inauguration.
• January - August 2001 – FAA issues 15 warnings to airliners ... Bush officials claim information is so vague it does not warrant additional security ... but the warnings remain classified today.
• February - July 2001 – Trial of embassy bombers in New York features testimony of 2 UBL associates that received flight training in Texas and Oklahoma. One UBL aide gives evidence to government about pilot training.
• March 2001 – Fox’s show The Lone Gunmen depicts an attack by terrorists using a remote-controlled 727 aircraft against the World Trade Center (the real attackers turn out to be US government agents who want to justify continued, large military budgets by creating fear of terrorism).
• April 2001 – NORAD special operations personnel imagine a scenario where a terrorist group hijacks plane and flies it into the Pentagon ... the plan is rejected as too unrealistic.
• April 2001 – FBI translators Sibel Edmonds and Behrooz Sarshar learn of a warning given to FBI by an FBI informant that al Qaeda is planning to attack US and Europe with airplanes and that al Qaeda agents are being trained in US as pilots. Edmonds says: “President Bush said they had no specific information about September 11, and that’s accurate. However, there was specific information about use of airplanes, that an attack was on the way two or three months beforehand, and that several people were already in the country by May of 2001." Says US claims about not knowing of 9/11 plan were outrageous lies ..."That's an outrageous lie and documents can prove it's a lie."
• April 2001 – FAA sends a warning to US airlines that Middle Eastern terrorists could try to hijack or blow up US planes and that carriers should demonstrate a high level of alertness.
• May 2001 – Pentagon practices for crashed 757 into Pentagon.
• June 2001 – German intelligence warns CIA, M16, and Mossad that Middle Eastern terrorists are planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack “American and Israeli symbols, which stand out.”
• June 2001 – NORAD conducts Amalgam Virgo 01 and Amalgam Virgo 02, the latter of which involves two simultaneously hijacked commercial airliners. Fighters are to respond and consider shooting down planes.
• June 2001 – Men in Cayman Islands are overheard by Cayman Islands and British intelligence discussing plans to conduct hijacking attacks in New York City. Information is forwarded to US intelligence.
• June 2001 – Counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke gives a direct warning to FAA to increase security measures in light of impending terrorist attack and FAA refuses to implement them.
• July 2001 – Attorney General John Ashcroft stops flying commercial aircraft due to an unknown threat assessment ... Ashcroft will not answer questions about it.
• July 2001 – FBI agent Ken Williams sends a message warning of suspicious activities involving group of Middle Eastern men taking flight training lessons in Arizona: subtitle of memo is “Osama bin Laden and Al-Muhrjiroun supporters attending civil aviation universities/colleges in Arizona.”
• July 2001 – US intelligence reports a spike in warnings against G-8 summit in Genoa, Italy. Head of Russia’s Bodyguard Service reports that al Qaeda will try to kill President Bush ... Egyptian intelligence discovers communication from UBL saying he would assassinate Bush and other leaders during the G-8 summit using an “airplane stuffed with explosives” ... US and Italy are sent urgent warnings ... Germany sends warning of UBL paying German neo-Nazis to fly remote-controlled aircraft packed with explosives into conference hall ... Bush and other leaders stay on an aircraft carrier and a luxury ship away from the area.
• July 2001 – FAA issues a warning telling airlines to use the highest level of caution and another saying “terror groups are known to be planning and training for hijackings, as we ask you therefore to use caution.”
• July 2001 – Egyptian intelligence passes on message to CIA that 20 al Qaeda members had slipped into US and that 4 of them were training on Cessnas.
• August 2001 – Britain warns US of al Qaeda attack involving multiple airline hijackings.
• August 2001 – Russian President Vladimir Putin warns US that suicide pilots are training for attacks on US.
• August 2001 – US intelligence learns of a plot to crash airplane into US Embassy in Nairobi.
• August 2001 – Actor James Woods relays concerns of four Arabic-looking men who look suspicious in first class aboard his flight ... flight staff notifies FAA ... Woods is not interviewed by FBI until after 9/11 ... all four are believed to have been involved on 9/11 and were believed to be on one of their practice runs for 9/11.
• August 2001 – the “bin Laden Determined to Strike In US” memo is given to President Bush while he was on vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas ... it reads in part: “bin Laden wanted to hijack US aircraft to gain the release” of Oman Abdul Rahman and others and tells of “suspicious activity in the US consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.”
• August 2001 – Zacarias Moussaoui is arrested in Minneapolis, MN with letters that connect him to Malaysia (where a meeting of al Qaeda operatives occurred under the watch of the CIA in 2000) and some of the hijackers. He also has an unexplained $32,000 bank balance, two knives, fighting gloves, shin guards, and has prepared for violence through physical training. He paid $8,300 for flight training, mostly in cash, to use a 747 aircraft simulator. He asked “how much fuel is on board a 747 and how much damage could it cause if it hit anything”? He has no aviation background, little previous training, and no pilot’s license, he wants to fly only as an ego-boosting thing, he is extremely interested in the operation of the plane’s doors and control panel, and wants to know how to communicate with flight tower. He is evasive and belligerent when asked about his background. He mostly practices flying in the air rather than taking off or landing. The flight school sends information to the FBI and receives little interest, so it contacts them again as says: “Do you realize how serious this is? This man wants training on a 747. A 747 fully loaded with fuel could be used as a weapon.” Moussaoui is arrested but not connected to the 9/11 attackers until after 9/11.
• August 2, 2001 – FBI headquarters Radical Fundamentalist Unit agent calls FBI Minneapolis office supervisor that he is getting people “spun up” over Zacarias Moussaoui. The supervisor says he is trying to get people at FBI headquarters “spun up” because he is trying to make sure Moussaoui does “not take control of a plane and fly it into the World Trade Center.”
• August 23-27, 2001 – FBI agents in Minneapolis are convinced Zacarias Moussaoui is planning to do something with a plane. One agent writes he might “fly something into the World Trade Center.” They decide to pursue a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant – in more than 10,000 requests over 20 years, every single warrant has been granted – yet FBI headquarters decides against it due to a mistaken understanding by its legal experts of the FISA rules.
• August 24, 2001 – A Minneapolis FBI agent contacts CIA’s Counter Terrorism Center and calls Moussaoui a “suspect 747 airline attacker” and a “suspect airline suicide attacker.” FBI headquarters chastises the Minneapolis office for contacting headquarters without permission.
• Bob Graham explained the Moussaoui failure by the FBI, and in doing so, discussed in depth the warnings that should have been clear. From June to July 2001, the National Security Agency (NSA) noted an increase in threat activity (the third such rise since the winter). The US military declared ThreatCon Delta and all ships in the Persian Gulf were sent to sea. And Attorney General John Ashcroft began traveling only on government jet. Graham says this was “opposed to the commercial aircraft Attorneys General normally take, despite the fact that senior FBI and CIA officials knew of no specific threat against the Attorney General” (p. 72). In July 2001, when the FBI’s Phoenix office sent a memo voicing concern that UBL might be using US flight schools to infiltrate America’s civil aviation system, it was ignored by superiors and never reached the FBI’s Minneapolis office (which arrested Zacarias Moussaoui one month later for suspicious activities at a flight school). This is called stove-piping (when information did not move across FBI field offices).
• This “Phoenix memo” was sent by Kenneth Williams, who first became concerned with Libyans with suspected terrorist ties working for US aviation companies in the 1990s. Williams was later told about Arabs in a local mosque involved in aviation training. In April 2000, Williams watched a man name Zakaria Mustapha Soubra, a Lebanese national studying aeronautical safety in Arizona. Williams interviewed Soubra at his apartment and Soubra was defiant. He had photos of UBL and injured mujahedeen fighters on his wall. Soubra’s car outside had a license plate on it that came back of a man named Mohammed al-Qudhaeein who had been detained in 1999 for trying to get into the cockpit of an America West flight from Phoenix to Washington, DC. Al-Qudhaeein was traveling to a party at the Saudi embassy and his ticket had been paid for by the Saudi government. The FBI did not even investigate the case! In 2000, al-Qudhaeein was put on the State Department’s TIPOFF terrorist watch list after US intelligence learned he might have received explosives and car bomb training in Afghanistan. In August 2001, al-Qudhaeein applied for a visa to reenter the US but was denied entry! Perhaps he was an additional hijacker?
• Williams was taken off of counterterrorism to work an arson case in early 2001. The arson case was closed in April 2001 and he wrote an electronic communication (EC) to FBI headquarters in Washington, DC (this is the Phoenix memo). The continuing investigation of Soubra found six associates also involved in aviation training. While Williams did not know it, it was discovered that Soubra knew Hani Hanjour through a local religious center and carpooled with him to flight school. On at least five occasions, they were at the same flight school on the same day and at least once, they flew together! In July 2001, Williams finished his EC and sent it to the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters. READ the memo on pp. 44-45. Williams’ recommendations, if followed, would have prevented 9/11. Graham says that “had William’s recommendations been acted upon promptly, liaisons with the flight schools would have found at least one and perhaps as many as three other hijackers still developing their flying skills” (p. 47). ECs are sent to the specified units and then forwarded to the individual assigned to the lead. Williams sent the EC and requested that both the Radical Fundamentalist Unit and the Usama bin Laden Unit consider his recommendations. Both of these are operational units (that investigate specific crimes) but it did not go to an analytic unit (which considers long-term, strategic issues). It was ultimately forwarded to an FBI intelligence analysts in Portland, Oregon along with a note specifying Williams’ theory. The agent did not take any action or share it more widely and the lead was closed by officers in the RFU and UBLU on August 7, 2001. As it turns out, way back in 1983, the INS asked the FBI for assistance in locating Libyan nationals engaged in aviation or nuclear-related education! In 1998, the head of the FBI Oklahoma City Field Office contacted headquarters to express concern about the large numbers of Middle Eastern males at Oklahoma flight schools. In 1999, the FBI received word that a terrorist organization was planning to send students to the US for aviation training. In response, the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters sent a communication to twenty-four field offices asking them pay close attention to Muslim students from the country who were engaged in aviation training in their areas. No FBI field offices followed up on this instruction. The investigation was dropped in November 2000 when the INS failed to respond to an FBI letter asking them to search databases for individuals from the target country studying in the US!
• Graham asserts that had the Minneapolis FBI Field Office seen these memos and requests, it might have broken the 9/11 plot when it arrested Zacarias Moussaoui. Moussaoui was not a typical flight school student for he did not have a pilot’s license, was not employed by an airline, and had not logged any flight hours. His suspicious activities concerned flight school employees – he had extreme interests in operation of the plane’s doors and control panel, he repeatedly said he would love to fly from London’s Heathrow Airport to JFK Airport in New York, and he paid $6,800 in cash. Employees say he discussed how much fuel is on a Boeing 747 and the damage such a plane could do if it were to hit something. A flight manager contacted a friend at the FBI and Moussaoui was arrested for being “out of status” (overstayed his visa). Minneapolis informed FBI headquarters of Moussaoui’s detention by the INS and it asked the CIA and the FBI’s legal attache in Paris for any information they could get on him. The FBI and INS went to his hotel and seized his laptop computer and belongings, yet they were told they need a warrant to search them. The FBI could have gotten a FISA warrant but it decided against this route! So they decided for the French to search his belongings and not get a FISA warrant. According to Graham, the FBI’s legal attache in Paris reported that Moussaoui had been in Chechnya assisting Chehen rebels which could have been enough to secure a FISA search warrant. The FBI mistake was thinking that Moussaoui had to be connected to an organization that the State Department listed as a foreign terrorist organization (which was not a FISA requirement). FISA does not require it be a “recognized foreign power” just a foreign power. So they spent about 3 weeks trying to connect the Chechen group to al-Qaeda! The FBI did not even try for a normal criminal search warrant and did not even make his presence public, which could have disrupted the plot!
• According to Graham, Minneapolis sent a memo to FBI headquarters stating that Moussaoui’s “possession of weapons and his preparation through physical training for violent confrontation” gave them reason to believe he “and others yet unknown” were conspiring to take control of an airplane. Minneapolis contacted the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center for more information on Moussaoui and a Minneapolis case agent sent an email on August 21, 2001 to the supervisory special agent in the RFU who was handling the matter. It said: “It is imperative that the [US Secret Service] be appraised of this threat potential indicated by the evidence ... if [Moussaoui] seizes an aircraft from Heathrow to NYC, it will have the fuel on board o reach DC.” Yeah, not to mention the World Trade Center! On August 23, two FBI agents visited the Airman Flight School in Oklahoma City where Moussaoui first learned to fly ... one of the agents had visited the school in 1999 to investigate the training there of UBL’s personal pilot!
• August 2001 – FAA issues a warning to airlines that terrorists have made breakthroughs in disguising weapons as cell phones, key chains, and pens.
• August 2001 – Spanish police record conversations from calls in Britain to Spain saying “in our classes, we have entered the field of aviation, and we are even going to cut the Eagle’s throat.”
• August - September 2001 – NORAD practices for hijackings of planes from the states of Utah and Washington.
• September 2001 – NSA intercepts phone calls from Abu Zubaida, UBL’s chief of operations, into US (which are still classified) ... British intelligence intercepts call from UBL to man in Pakistan with specific information as to attack including time frame (which are still classified).
• September 2001 – Author Salman Rushdie is banned by US from taking internal US flights due to “intelligence of something about to happen.”
• September 2001 – Sydney Olympics officials reveal that “A fully loaded, fueled airliner crashing into the opening ceremony before a worldwide television audience at the Sydney Olympics is one of the greatest security fears for the Games.” Australia puts 6 planes in the air at all times to intercept wayward aircraft (planning is also underway for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah to defend against plane attacks when 9/11 occurs).
• September 4, 2001 – FBI headquarters sends a message to US intelligence community about the Zacarias Moussaoui investigation. Warning is given to the FAA but the FAA does not issue a security alert to the nation’s airports.
• September 9-11, 2001 – NORAD runs Operation Northern Vigilance which deploys fighters to Alaska and Northern Canada to monitor Russian air force exercise in Russian arctic. US fighters are thus diverted from US. Exercise is cancelled at 9 am on 9/11.
• September 10, 2001 – Eight hours prior to the attacks, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown receives warning from his security people at the airport to be cautious when traveling ... he is headed for New York
• September 10, 2001 – President Bush is staying at the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort on Longboat Key, FL. Surface to air missiles are placed on roof of the resort.
• September 2001 – Pentagon officials, including US generals, are warned not to fly and cancelled trips for the morning of September 11
So, there it is. Tell me again how we did not see this coming and how President Bush and members of his Administration can honestly say they had no idea using commercial planes as missiles was even a possibility?!?
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