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9/11: “They Knew, They Knew”

(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gasette

Ali Soufran, former special agent working with the FBI, was tracking Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden long before 9/11. He was in Yemen investigating the USS Cole bombing when he heard about the attacks on that day. His book, The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda, has released which describes how missed opportunities to defuse the 2001 plot, and argues that other attacks overseas might have been prevented, and Osama bin Laden found earlier, if interrogations had not been mismanaged. It is an frighteningly, revealing picture of the dysfunctional and factional intelligence community.

Mr. Soufran spoke with Rachel Maddow discussing the CIA’s redactions to his book, his role with the FBI before and after 9/11 and, most importantly, what was known in the CIA before 9/11 that could have prevented the attacks:

From Jeff Kaye at FDL:

In at least one other case, crucial information was kept from Soufan and other investigators by CIA officials, information that would have helped break the Cole case, and, crucially, have led FBI investigators to identify Al Qaeda operatives who had entered the United States more than eighteen months before 9/11. These two operatives, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, died on the plane that rammed into the Pentagon.

The controversies surrounding the CIA’s withholding of information about these two hijackers was told in Lawrence Wright’s 2006 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, and was further explored in Kevin Fenton’s recent book, Disconnecting the Dots: How 9/11 Was Allowed to Happen.

Here’s how Shane described the moment when Soufan realized he’d been had. For some strange reason, the NYT refrains from actually giving al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi’s names.

   [Soufan] recounts a scene at the American Embassy in Yemen, where, a few hours after the attacks on New York and Washington, a C.I.A. official finally turned over the material the bureau requested months earlier [from the CIA], including photographs of two of the hijackers.

   “For about a minute I stared at the pictures and the report, not quite believing what I had in my hands,” Mr. Soufan writes. Then he ran to a bathroom and vomited. “My whole body was shaking,” he writes. He believed the material, documenting a Qaeda meeting in Malaysia in January 2000, combined with information from the Cole investigation, might have helped unravel the airliner plot.

Yes, they let it happen. That leaves the elephant question in the room: Why?

77 comments

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  1. TMC
  2. tahoebasha3

    I have to say that I have some empathy for Mr. Soufan, who, indeed, by all accountings was in the dark as to the CIA’s information regarding al Qaeda persons, whose names it knew.  The following bit, apparently, was the beginning of deliberately withheld information:

    ….In January 2000, a 27-year-old female desk officer working in Rich Blee’s Bin Laden Station, called “Michael” in the Commission Report, was placed in charge of an operation to track several known Al Qaeda terrorists to a meeting in Malaysia.

    Learning that one of the men, a future Flight 77 hijacker, possessed a visa allowing him entry to the U.S., FBI agent Doug Miller, working at CIA, drafted a warning to his FBI bosses. According to the Justice Department’s Inspector General, it was Michael who directly ordered Miller to hold off on sending the cable, what turned out to be a permanent “hold off.” A few hours later, she sent a misleading email throughout CIA stating that the visa info had been shared with FBI. It seems circumstantially clear she knew this to be untrue, as only two days later, another FBI agent at CIA named Mark Rossini describes having a heated conversation with her in which she instructed him, “This is not a matter for the FBI. When we want them to know, we’ll let them know. And you’re not going to say anything.”. . . .

    She must have been directed to retract the memo to the FBI by “Frances” (“Michael” direct supervisor) Deputy Chief of Bin Laden Station, where circumstantial evidence connects her to the continued withholding of information from FBI investigators regarding this same future 9/11 hijacker, who by that time was known to be connected to the suspected Cole mastermind. to retract the memo to the FBI.

    The whole behavior of the CIA continued to be the same kind of measures used to withhold information from the FBI.  

    Also disturbing were efforts to obtain some information and names of some of the analysts involved, which were also thwarted by the CIA, on the basis that they were covert operatives.  This, apparently, was/is untrue altogether.  Because analysts in the CIA are public.

    Richard Clarke, the counter-terrorism advisor to President claims that the President was also unaware of the CIA’s information.  Although, Clarke had warned President Bush, et al on numerous occasions that there were impending threats to our country, which he said were ignored by the Bush Administration.

    Who, in the Bush Administration, had the closest ties with the CIA?  Here is just one instance.  I’d wager there are more, which began way back to 2001.

    Cheney’s CIA visits pressured us: analysts —

    June 6 2003

    . . . . . While visits to CIA headquarters by a sitting vice-president are not unknown, they are unusual, intelligence officials said.

    A spokeswoman for Mr Cheney declined to discuss the matter. . . . .

    Cheney had a new home built before leaving office just ten minutes walking distance to CIA Headquarters.

    The whole 9/11 official accountings reek from here to China and back.  How can information like this be construed in any other way than to see that the CIA were solidified in their efforts to conceal what they knew from the CIA, and why, indeed?  The fact that the Bush Administration ignored the many warnings had in the months prior to 9/11 is also interesting, like just, maybe, they ignored the warnings because they already knew? Whatever the case — this is blood curdling stuff!

    Jeff Kaye and Leopold Jason do great work — I read them on Truthout quite often.

     

  3. joeshwingding

    I think their actions since have shown why.

    Endless War,

    Enrichment of the few at the expense of the country,

    Installing their own thieves at the top of Iraq, Afghanistan,

    Destabilization of the ME,

    Patriot Act,

    Legalized spying on citizens,

    Wiretapping,

    Repealing civil liberties,

    Just off the top of my head

  4. Lasthorseman

    how missed opportunities to defuse the 2001 plot

    Which is the justification for our current police state mentality.

    At the time I wondered why “the left” ignored in total Bush’s North American Union boondoggle, why the anti-war people shunned 911 truthers and or why Project for the New American Century was not prime time material for the “opposition” party.

    As such

    Mr. Soufran spoke with Rachel Maddow

    OK Rachel Maddow, but Rachel in my book anyways is still lamestream commericial and thus corporate media, something I have left a tad behind.  Yes, it’s good news, in a second veil level way…..hmmm…makes me think of a comical video of one of my guys making jokes about

    Frosty Bin Laden, was a popsicyle they say.

    He was talking about them having Bin Laden frozen since 2001 so they could “roll out” his capture at a politically expedient timeframe.

  5. wilberforce

    Bin Laden ?

    How likely is it that a former CIA agent, with ties to Rumsfield and others in the Reagan/Bush/Bush cabal acted alone?

    The question here is not: did American officials know.  That at least is very clear. The question is:  were American officials directly involved in the plot.  

    I don’t know the answer. But the later coverup of various things, makes me suspect that they very probably were directly involved.  

  6. bigsurtree

    might, ultimately, someday be considered by our Supreme Tribunal, it’s comforting to know that brilliant justices like Clarence Thomas are cared for by organizations like The Heritage Foundation (and its donors) that manage to share their wealth with these great thinkers. As I was enjoying my cereal this morning, I was amused to no end to read that Virginia, the loving wife of Clarence, had been paid nealy $700,000.00 in compensation between 2003-2007 for think tank work. Isn’t it a great relief to know that the Judicial Branch is not being treated differently from the other two highly esteemed branches of government and unfairly denied the just benefits of their high stations? Oh the true benefits of marriage between one man and one woman!  

  7. banger

    and then we can come up to only one possible conclusion. Some people in the U.S. intel establishment were directly involved in the carrying out of the 9/11 attacks. There simply cannot be any other explanation. It is forbidden to talk about that almost everywhere.

    If anybody still doubts that just ask yourself why has no investigation taken place that was based on forensic evidence? Why was no inquiry set up about what caused the fall of the three buildings–at least for the sake of future building–those buildings were constructed to withstand a plane crash–if they were built of inferior materials as Alex Cockburn insists then why no investigation of that? Why no investigation of what happened in the Pennsylvania crash which is deeply paradoxical if you just take in some of the eyewitness accounts and crash debris?

    The questions that remain out there are legion and Americans just accept the MSM/Government story without any doubt at all. And so it goes and will go.

    I had at least two people tell me that even if it was true they wouldn’t believe it because to know that any American was responsible for such an an attack was too painful to live with. This shows us the reality of the national psyche–I call it sheer cowardice.

    Also, it is clear that any understanding of today’s political situation is impossible without accounting for what happened ten years ago.

  8. tahoebasha3

    My sentiments entirely:

    Also, it is clear that any understanding of today’s political situation is impossible without accounting for what happened ten years ago.

  9. wilberforce

    Those are issues that need to be looked at.  

  10. Lasthorseman

    Peace Prize with every oil change!

  11. David G. Mills

    That Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth (now some 1200+ members) put out a video in time (or nearly so) for the tenth anniversary.

    It does a pretty darn good job of pointing out all the flaws in the official story of the World Trade Center collapses.

    There are a couple of edits needed (seems rushed to be produced in time for the tenth anniversary) and it could be more polished, but the sheer volume of architects, engineers, chemists and physicists who tell what they find wrong with the official version is quite persuasive.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

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