Question : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread


-- Cherri (whatever@who.cares), May 04, 2002


I think we need an investigation. The first thing to do would be to guarantee that it be non-partisan. Otherwise whatever party whose "ox was gored" would scream "Oh, you're just trying to use the tragedy for political advantage." You can absolutely depend on the truth of that statement, whatever the facts.

Possible solution: appoint someone like David Broder to run the show, and get out of his way. Let him choose the members of the investigating team, and what to investigate. Congress does nothing but provide the effort with adequate financing.

Actually, the freedom this group has to investigate should be within a broad mandate, to report on not only the specifics of the WTC attack, but also why Al Qaeda got so large and dangerous, and the effectiveness or lack of effectiveness of what the U.S. did along the way. Therefore the Reagan-George Bush Sr., Clinton, and George W. Administrations should be looked at.

-- Peter Errington (, May 04, 2002.

LOL! Never fails, some repug always comes along and tries to blame Clinton, even when it happened on Dumbya's shift.

-- hee haaw! (they never @ give. up), May 04, 2002.

I agree, no one who has been in the last 4 administrations or served under then will have any say in the investigations except to testify. Perhaps some United Nations committee, with investigators from around the world who would not be influenced by money or politics.

-- Cherri (whatever@who.cares), May 04, 2002.


THE NATION Inquiry of Intelligence Failures Hits Obstacles

Sept. 11: The lawmakers leading the investigation voice concerns that the CIA and Justice Department are undermining efforts.


May 4 2002

WASHINGTON -- WASHINGTON -- Lawmakers leading the investigation of intelligence agencies' failures surrounding the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are increasingly concerned that tactics by the CIA and the Justice Department are actively impeding their efforts, congressional sources said Friday.

Members of the Senate and House intelligence committees are so frustrated with the tactics, sources said, that they intend to complain directly to CIA Director George J. Tenet and Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft.

Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, declined to discuss the committee's concerns with the CIA and the FBI in detail but said: "There are problems we are going to have to address." The flare-up centers on obstacles congressional investigators say the agencies have strewn in their path. The CIA, for example, has refused to allow investigators to send their contact information to agency employees by e-mail to make it easier for the employees to volunteer information, congressional sources familiar with the investigation said.

At the Justice Department, the intelligence committees' requests for records take weeks to wind their way through the department's bureaucracy and sometimes are simply not acted upon, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

The perceived heel-dragging has bogged down an inquiry that already was sidetracked last week by the resignation of its lead investigator. Congressional investigators are under pressure to complete their work before ranking Intelligence Committee members' terms expire at the end of the year.

"There's no time to waste," one source said, adding that the targets of the inquiry seem intent on exploiting that deadline. Although the agencies have cooperated somewhat, he said, their recent tactics are a significant impediment.

CIA officials flatly rejected the suggestion that they are less than cooperative. "The CIA has provided extraordinary support to the investigation staff," CIA spokesman Bill Harlow said. "We have provided thousands of pages of documents, facilitated numerous interviews, housed members of their staff in our headquarters and provided briefings on counterterrorism, all while fighting a war.

"We have had 15 members of the agency staff working full time since before there was a congressional investigation collecting material to aid their efforts."

Justice Department officials also brushed aside investigators' complaints. "The attorney general has worked cooperatively with Congress on all matters related to Sept. 11 and will continue to do so," said Barbara Comstock, director of public affairs.

Members of the intelligence committees discussed the perceived lack of cooperation in meetings this week. Describing the mood among members, one aide said, "You have to use the word 'angst.'"

By Friday, the ranking members of the committees had agreed to take the issue directly to the heads of the CIA and the Justice Department. Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and Shelby, and Reps. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) and Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) were going to request meetings.

A CIA official, who asked not to be identified, said he was unaware of any planned meetings: "I can tell you that none of the leadership of these committees have called Director Tenet to advise him of any unhappiness."

The friction underscores the stakes of an investigation that could yield embarrassing details about what the nation's $30-billion intelligence community knew or didn't know leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The congressional probe was launched in February. It aims to determine whether the terrorist attacks could have been prevented, and to consider ways to improve the nation's intelligence capabilities.

Sources close to the investigation said they recently obtained documents indicating that an FBI agent in Arizona had warned headquarters concerning his suspicions about Arabs training at area aviation schools months before the attacks.

Small teams of investigators have been based at the Justice Department and the CIA, gathering documents and conducting interviews. They have come back with a litany of complaints about tactics they say are designed to slow their progress and restrict their access to documents and potential informants, sources said.

All interviews with agency employees are supervised by CIA officials who have prevented investigators even from collecting business cards or phone numbers from interview subjects, sources said.

The CIA official said employees have been urged to cooperate with the probe and that a notice listing investigators' contact information is scheduled to be distributed next week.

Investigators also complain that they have been stationed in a location at the agency where employees cannot get to their offices without passing by, and probably attracting the notice of, the CIA's congressional affairs staff.

"In a sense, they've put a wall up so no one can get to the investigators," a congressional source said.

The CIA official acknowledged that investigators were placed near the agency's congressional affairs office but said that was to assist the investigators.

Investigators also say their requests for certain documents have been rebuffed, often by agency employees who explain that they first need clearance from all other spy agencies that contributed material to the documents.

And when investigators do get to view documents, sources said, it has been only under the supervision of CIA staffers.

Former CIA officials say that they would be surprised if the agency were intentionally hindering the investigation and that much of the tension might be because of legitimate security concerns.

"In my experience, I have been absolutely astonished at the amount of detail the intelligence community and the CIA in particular give the Congress," said Jeffrey Smith, a former general counsel for the CIA.

He said the only exceptions tend to be when there is a need to protect sensitive information.

As for the intelligence agency refusing to circulate investigators' contact information, Smith said, partly in jest: "Frankly, anybody at CIA who wants to leak to the committee who can't figure out how to do it" probably shouldn't be working there.

-- Cherri (whatever@who.cares), May 04, 2002.

FBI Warned of Training Before 11th
Fri May 3, 1:57 AM ET

By JOHN SOLOMON, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Two months before the suicide hijackings, an FBI agent in Arizona alerted Washington headquarters that several Middle Easterners were training at a U.S. aviation school and recommended contacting other schools nationwide where Arabs might be studying, law enforcement officials said.

The FBI sent the intelligence to its terrorism experts in Washington and New York for analysis and had begun discussing conducting a nationwide canvass of flight schools when the Sept. 11 tragedies occurred, officials told The Associated Press.

At least one leader of the 19 hijackers, Hani Hanjour, received flight training in Arizona in 2001 but his name had not surfaced in the FBI intelligence from Arizona, the officials said.

None of the Middle Eastern men identified by the Arizona counterterrorism agents or any information contained in their July 2001 memo pointed to the suicide plot that leveled the World Trade Center and killed thousands in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, officials said.

"None of the people identified by Phoenix are connected to the Sept. 11 attacks," FBI Assistant Director John Collingwood said Thursday night.

"The Phoenix communication went to appropriate operational agents and analysts but it did not lead to uncovering the impending attacks," Collingwood said.

Officials said FBI counterterrorism agents in Phoenix had "suspicions" about why several Arab men were seeking airport operations, security information and pilot training and recommended, among other things, that the FBI begin alerting local agents when Middle Easterners sought visas for training at local aeronautical schools, officials said.

The FBI's concerns about the U.S. flight schools is the latest revelation about information, much of it sketchy, that the government possessed before Sept. 11 concerning the possibility of terrorism in the skies. For example:

_AP reported last month that Filipino authorities alerted the FBI as early as 1995 that several Middle Eastern pilots were training at American flight schools and at least one had proposed hijacking a commercial jet and crashing it into federal buildings.

_A month after the 2001 memo from Arizona to FBI headquarters, FBI agents in Minnesota arrested a French citizen of Moroccan descent, Zacarias Moussaoui, after a flight school instructor became suspicious of his desire to learn to fly a commercial jet.

Moussaoui has since emerged as the single most important defendant in the post-Sept. 11 terrorism investigation, charged with conspiring with the hijackers and Osama bin Laden to kill thousands of Americans. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

About the same time as the Phoenix memo and Moussaoui's arrest, U.S. intelligence issued a late summer warning that there was heightened risk of a terrorist attack on Americans, possibly even on U.S. soil, officials have said.

Law enforcement officials said in retrospect the FBI believes it should have accelerated the suggested check of U.S. flight schools after Moussaoui's arrest but does not believe it would have led to the hijackers.

FBI officials said a supervisory agent in Arizona wrote a several-page memo to FBI headquarters in July 2001 laying out information his counterterrorism team had developed in an unrelated investigation. A portion of the memo dealt with an Arizona flight school, officials said.

The memo indicated agents were suspicious about why several nonresident Arab men were seeking training at a commercial aeronautical school in Prescott, Ariz.

Collingwood said the men "were enrolled in various aspects of civil aviation engineering, airport operations and pilot training." The agents were particularly concerned that some were attempting to learn about airport security operations, officials said.

The Phoenix memo urged FBI headquarters to assemble a list of U.S. aviation academies and to instruct field offices across the country to "liaison" with their local schools where other Middle Easterners might be training, officials said.

The information was shared with intelligence analysts who monitored terrorist threats and was even sent to the FBI office in New York that had the most experience with terrorism cases, officials said.

After the suicide attacks, the FBI quickly descended upon flight schools nationwide, identifying academies in Florida, Arizona and elsewhere where the leaders of the 19 hijackers trained.

Hanjour, believed to have piloted the jetliner that crashed into the Pentagon trained at a flight academy in Phoenix between January and March 2001, the government has said in court documents.

Some witnesses have also said they believe another hijacker, Ziad Samir Jarrah, trained on an Arizona flight simulator in the months before the attacks. But the FBI has no evidence that either man was connected to the Prescott school identified in the July 2001 memo, officials said.

The FBI also investigated whether an Algerian pilot who spent time in Arizona may have helped train the hijackers before leaving the United States before the attacks.

That man, Lotfi Raissi, was later apprehended in Britain, but U.S. officials failed to persuade a court there to extradite him to the United States. Law enforcement officials say their suspicions about his connections to the hijackers have since fizzled.

An Arizona businessman who assisted U.S. intelligence said he alerted the FBI in the mid-1990s that one or more Middle Eastern pilots were training or working in his state and appeared suspicious.

Harry Ellen said he told an FBI agent in Phoenix in late 1996 or early 1997 that he met an Algerian pilot and several Middle Eastern men at an Arizona mosque. Ellen assisted U.S. intelligence during the 1990s but later had a falling out over his business and personal dealings in Asia and the Middle East.

"I brought this to the attention of an agent in the local FBI whom I knew," Ellen said. "They did not seem particularly interested in the presence of these people. I stressed it was very odd that the Algerian man was involved in aviation."

"One of the other men I believe was probably Mr. Raissi, although he would have been thinner and younger at the time," Ellen said.

Law enforcement officials said that while Ellen helped the FBI, agents in Arizona have no record or recollection of him providing information about pilots.

-- Cherri (whatever@who.cares), May 05, 2002.

Cherri, anything but a U.N. committee. (Just one point of a great many I could make here: Zimbabwe just got a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Commission.)

-- Peter Errington (, May 05, 2002.

Dumbya and ol' Dickey Boy each drove one of the planes into the WTC. Everyone knows this, but listening to the Repugs you would think they were some kind of heroes.

-- dumbya duck (run@duck.hide), May 05, 2002.

Man you're like a broken record. Don't you have any other channels?

-- (, May 05, 2002.

Other things to investigate:

The sinking of the Lucitania. This may have been a British plot to get the Americans into WWI.

The sinking of the Maine. This may have been a plot by WR Hearst and the United Fruit Company to manipulate the Americans into war with Spain leading to the annexation of Puerto Rico, Guam and the Phillipines and criminal hegemony in Latin America.

The attack on Fort Sumpter. This may have been a fabrication of the fascist Abraham Lincoln so as to consolidate the power of the Federal Government and lead on to the policy of "Manifest Destiny" in which the Western US was conquered from Mexico. (the reconquistas are finally getting their revenge. Viva Aztalan!)

"The Shot Heard 'Round the World". This may have been a staged event by the tea industry intended to inflame the American peasantry against the British. Who stood to gain from "The War of Independance"?

We demand Devoid Broder to investigate!

-- (, May 05, 2002.

Lars, you're full of shit, if you have my meaning.

-- Peter Errington (, May 05, 2002.

Peter, anyone else who said that would see the wrath of my righteous smoteness.

But you know tongue-in-cheekism when you see it. Still, David Broder?

-- (, May 05, 2002.

Lars, hell yes David Broder. The name of the game here is to have the investigation run in such a non-partisan manner that all the miserable excuses that one would normally expect (e.g. "Oh those Republicans, thev've never forgiven Clinton for.. whatever..and they're still after him") would not have a chance.

-- Peter Errington (, May 05, 2002.

This is a silly thread. Reinvestigating reinvestigations usually stretches the focus so far that the only people happy are the current investigators pleased with what they find as the latest 'truth'. That lasts about as long as the newsy ops on TV or print. Then it settles for a copula years and we do it over again.

I think this whole phenom took root because of thoroughly lousy public educations dished out since the 60's. People just can't think criticaly. They substitute a 'thinking for themselves' philosophy that leaves out anything they might have learned from someone skilled in favor of the thought de jour.

-- Carlos (, May 06, 2002.

Carlos, you talk about reinvestigating investigations. A lot of what needs to be examined has never been publically investigated in the first place.

Do you know why it was easy for the killers to invade the cockpits? I think I do (and that idiocy on the part of the pilot's union was involved.)

Are you aware of all the excuses that Clinton has been making since 9- 11 (and devasting refutations by Dick Morris, whom rightly or wrongly I believe here).

Do you know why the cruise missle strike after the embassy bombings turned out to be a Godsend for Osama (hint: telecommunications was involved).

I could continue at great length.

Don't be like some kind of Clintonite, fleeing from accountability and bleating "Oh, let's just get on."

-- Peter Errington (, May 06, 2002.

For the ones you list Peter, you investigate & I'll move on. Not because truth might not be interesting or useful but rather because if it's actually missing you're not likely to find it anyway. Chances are better you'll get almost something like the truth. Almost enough. And it goes on and on and on to make conversation and little else. If I thought a missing truth actually mattered I'd help ya pal but these are just strokers.

-- Carlos (, May 07, 2002.

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