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Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke Speculates on a CIA 9/11 Cover-Up
August 14, 2011 1:13 AM   Subscribe

Double or Nothing: 9/11 Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke Speculates That the CIA Tried and Failed to Recruit the Hijackers, and Then Engaged in a Cover-Up. Admitting that he has no proof, he nonetheless alleges that CIA Director George Tenet and others concealed their knowledge that the suspected Al-Qaeda members were inside the country, which in turn prevented the FBI and other agencies from thwarting the 9/11 attack. Tenet et al. have responded to this charge via a prepared statement.
posted by darth_tedious (91 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
So, apart from that whole 'no proof thing', the CIA is obviously guilty as charged. Hang the lot of 'em I say, they probably assassinated Lincoln too, the bastards.
posted by joannemullen at 1:18 AM on August 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


proof is for sissies.
posted by philip-random at 1:26 AM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


The former counter-terrorism czar is a truther. Wait... what?
posted by bionic.junkie at 1:28 AM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


He clearly should have been the 9/11 counter terrorism Rasputin.
posted by srboisvert at 1:30 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


9/11 conspiracy theories ridiculous, Al-Qaeda says.

Why don't we send Bush administration officials to jail for things that actually happened?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:45 AM on August 14, 2011 [19 favorites]


Subheads and text from the first link:

Hijackers' Phones Were Tapped
The phones of two hijackers Clarke is talking about - Mihdhar and Hazmi - were tapped by the NSA... the NSA was also tapping the hijackers' phone calls inside the U.S. ...In 1999, CIA operatives tailing al-Mihdha in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, obtained a copy of his passport. It contained visas for both Malaysia and the U.S., so they knew it was likely he would go from Kuala Lumpur to America.


Other Hijackers Lived With FBI Informant
...As if this were not interesting enough, an FBI informant rented a room to two other hijackers in 2000 ... and when the Congressional 9/11 Joint Inquiry attempted to speak with the informant, the White House ordered the FBI to hide him.


Multiple Cover Ups and Obstructions of Justice

The Commission's co-chairs said that the CIA (and likely the White House) "obstructed our investigation"...

The chairs of both the 9/11 Commission and the Joint Inquiry of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees into 9/11 said that government "minders" obstructed the investigation into 9/11 by intimidating witnesses...

The 9/11 Commissioners concluded that officials from the Pentagon lied to the Commission, and considered recommending criminal charges for such false statements...

The Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission (John Farmer) - who led the 9/11 staff's inquiry - said "At some level of the government, at some point in time...there was an agreement not to tell the truth about what happened"...

posted by darth_tedious at 2:17 AM on August 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Uhhh.

Reading this makes me think I'm on drugs...or maybe I need drugs after reading it.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:59 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


bionic.junkie:The former counter-terrorism czar is a truther. Wait... what?

I don't think that's entirely accurate. Clarke is not saying 9/11 was an inside job, or that the towers were destroyed by explosives, or that it was a missile at the Pentagon or any of the other usual conspiracy theories normally associated with 'truthers'.

Which is not to say that Clarke isn't out in left field on this one. Apparently at some point Clarke asked himself, Self, why did the CIA, who knew these two dudes attended an al-Qaeda summit in Kuala Lumpur and then flew to Los Angeles, never say anything about it to me? However, Clarke's conclusion that a CIA botch job and cover up is, “the only conceivable reason that I’ve been able to come up with,” shows a lack of imagination I think. Rank incompetence seems a much more plausible explanation.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:10 AM on August 14, 2011 [20 favorites]


So do we have to torture CIA officials to to find out what happened now?
posted by klarck at 5:17 AM on August 14, 2011 [34 favorites]


dick needs more money.
posted by clavdivs at 5:38 AM on August 14, 2011


Tenet et al. have responded to this charge via a prepared statement.

It amuses me to imagine that this means they preemptively had a statement prepared for just such an occasion.
posted by elizardbits at 6:24 AM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Dammit, just when my truther cousin's Facebook stream had gone back to photos of Star Wars models.
posted by schoolgirl report at 6:31 AM on August 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


Although Clarke takes it a bit further into conspiracy theory territory, its fairly well-accepted that pre-9/11 fragmentation, disorganization, and competition among the branches of US intelligence led them to ignore or cover-up warnings about an imminent terrorist attack. cf: Frontline, "The Man Who Knew" and "The Spy Factory."
posted by googly at 6:32 AM on August 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


It kind of blows my mind that Richard fucking Clarke can say the Bush administration was involved in 9-11 coverups and y'all are like "PFFFT MORE TROOFER NONSENSE-NEXT!"
posted by chronkite at 6:43 AM on August 14, 2011 [29 favorites]


Thanks, chronkite. This is not eye-rolling bullshit, this is Richard fucking Clarke. The fuck?
posted by facetious at 6:49 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


"So, apart from that whole 'no proof thing', the CIA is obviously guilty as charged. Hang the lot of 'em I say, they probably assassinated Lincoln too, the bastards."

Absolutely classic invalid strawman argument. No one's saying that but you.

The point of this article is that someone with inside knowledge and credibility has risked both to make a public accusation about U.S. government officials. The correct response is "wow, that sounds extremely serious. we need to look into this", not "pffffft, *eyeroll*"
posted by facetious at 6:53 AM on August 14, 2011 [17 favorites]


Yeah. Good luck with that.
posted by pearlybob at 6:56 AM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


The point of this article is that someone with inside knowledge and credibility has risked both to make a public accusation about U.S. government officials.

Insider knowledge? Yes. But I don't know a whole lot of people who think Clarke has credibility. He hasn't risked anything in making this bullshit accusation. All he's done is strived to keep his name visible in a world where it's increasingly being ignored.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 7:19 AM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


The idea that the Bush administration planned, executed, or knowingly allowed 9/11 to happen has always struck me as simply absurd. The idea that they should have known and could have stopped it and botched the job so badly that someone afterwards realized and decided "the public can never know" - that I can see happening

The main problem is all the "truthers" out there who'd jump onto any sane movement for a 9/11 reexamination and fill it up with batshit
posted by crayz at 7:20 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


it's a lose lose proposition:

A) no conspiracy/cover-up, then what Clarke outlines is the result of incompetence. Tenet got promoted ergo incompetence gets promoted. Who exactly got fired for 9/11?

B) conspiracy/cover-up.

as they say, SNAFU...
posted by ennui.bz at 7:21 AM on August 14, 2011


crayz, there is a lot that smells about 9/11. It just doesn't quite ring true. It's close, but there's a number of things that don't quite add up. I think the idea of controlled demolition is probably silly, and I think it's pretty clear that the conspiracy, if such a thing existed, didn't get all the way to the President, but something's not right there.

When Congress is saying that their investigations were obstructed, and now Clarke is adding further accusations to that, there's a problem. SOMETHING happened there we should know about. It's probably not as bad as a lot of the conspiracy theorists believe, but there's lots and lots of historical precedent for false flag operations, so it's not at all unthinkable.

I mean, consider: shortly after 9/11, a HUGE intelligence bill was rammed through Congress, all prewritten and ready to go. Maybe some sub branch in intelligence somewhere had prepared a wishlist of ways they could trample on civil rights just in case, but it smells. Look up the Reichstag fire if you're unfamiliar with the idea of using a false emergency to attack civil liberties.

It's not proven that the Reichstag was a false flag operation, and probably never will be, but it looks fairly likely. And there appears to be at least some things that are being hidden from even Congress about 9/11, so something is most emphatically not right here.
posted by Malor at 7:36 AM on August 14, 2011 [16 favorites]


If 9/11 had been a deliberate project of the Bush administration

But what if it was a deliberate project of the Cheney administration? I haven't heard anyone ever call him incompetent. Evil motherfucker, sure, but never incompetent.
posted by Malor at 7:38 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


doesn't the WOT playbook call for enhanced interrogation here? waterboard them all so we can stop any new acts of terror. hurry! before the smoking gun is a mushroom cloud over manhattan!
posted by three blind mice at 7:45 AM on August 14, 2011


The collapse of the old 7 World Trade Center is remarkable because it was the first known instance of a tall building collapsing primarily as a result of uncontrolled fires.

Remarkable, indeed.
posted by Trurl at 7:48 AM on August 14, 2011


In other news, Goldman Sachs denies new scheme to create tinfoil shortage to manipulate commodities prices.

Mind you, I am in favor of waterboarding the former administration.
posted by warbaby at 8:12 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


9/11 Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke Speculates [...] Admitting that he has no proof, he nonetheless alleges

Russian to conclusions?
posted by MuffinMan at 8:30 AM on August 14, 2011


I think Clarke's position is being over stated here to bolster truther theories. To restate his thesis as I understand it. Bush's team fundamentally failed to understand the immediate threat posed by Al Qaeda. CIA knew about some of the plotters, but didn't know key specifics of the plot such as how close to operational the plot was. CIA thought they had an opportunity to infiltrate Al Qaeda by turning a couple of the plotters. To protect their future stoolies they blocked other agencies from investigating the plotters. After 9-11 the CIA covered up its bungling, cause it looked bad.

I think that exposing the shambles that was the CIA's human intelligence program would have been really bad for Tennant's career. It also would have mucked up the Iraq war rollout. The CIA had significant credibility issues and if those had been brought to light sooner, the case for war would have been weaker.
posted by humanfont at 8:32 AM on August 14, 2011 [14 favorites]


To protect their future stoolies they blocked other agencies from investigating the plotters

That seems plausible except, does one lodge thier stoolies near NSA?
posted by clavdivs at 8:48 AM on August 14, 2011


huggy bear insurance co. always cracks me up
posted by clavdivs at 8:49 AM on August 14, 2011


God, he had really been a good guy for us. Idiot.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:03 AM on August 14, 2011


That document has an extra page. I really want to backspace and get rid of it.
posted by disclaimer at 9:07 AM on August 14, 2011


It also would have mucked up the Iraq war rollout. The CIA had significant credibility issues and if those had been brought to light sooner, the case for war would have been weaker.

That seems the most sensible motive.


In any case, Clarke's made this accusation (the CIA was tailing two of the plotters) previously:
But Mr Clarke's complaint is that the President and his senior staff, in the spring and summer of 2001, failed to listen to what he advised them about the dangers posed by al-Qa'ida "when maybe we could have done something to stop 9/11". The day after the attacks, Mr Bush was already focusing on Iraq. "Look into Iraq, Saddam," Mr Clarke says he was told angrily as his officials briefed him on al-Qa'ida being almost certainly responsible for the attacks.

Mr Clarke, who now has a consultancy firm in Arlington, Virginia, remains uncertain whether al-Qa'ida could have been stopped. "I don't think we know. It's very facile to say it could have been or could not have been. There is absolutely no way of knowing. What I do believe is that had we known about the two al-Qa'ida individuals who were among the hijackers ... Had we known they were in the country, which the FBI at some level knew and which the CIA at some level knew, had my counterparts at the FBI and CIA known, had I known, then I firmly believe we could have caught those two.

"Now, you can draw all sorts of conclusions from that. One, is that, simply, there would have been 17 hijackers. Another conclusion is that we might have been able to pull strings on those two and find more of the 19. But even if we had rounded up all 19 there would have been another 19. There would have been another major attack. The point is that al-Qa'ida was on a march to have a major terrorist attack ... They would not stop until they succeeded in having one. So yes, we might have been able to stop a particular attack."
I suppose I oughta RTFA to see what's new this go 'round.
posted by notyou at 9:09 AM on August 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Surely this....
posted by The Violet Cypher at 9:24 AM on August 14, 2011


I just want to say that Richard Clarke, imho, has massive credibility for the simple reason that he is the ONE person who told the truth - that the government, whose job it is to protect its citizens, with or without actionable intelligence (I'm looking at YOU, Miss Rice), failed massively and epically. NO ONE besides him was willing to acknowledge that simple fact.

Cowards and liars, the lot of them.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:27 AM on August 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Way previously
posted by euphorb at 9:28 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


also, I don't consider myself a truther, but it seems to me that there is no way that we know (or, for that matter, ever will know) everything about 9/11. Seems unlikely to me that it was an inside job, or that it was allowed to happen - but surely we are being fed many lies, for god only knows what ultimate goal (come to think of it, probably just trying to protect people's honor - it was after all a fuck up of classic proportions, laid directly at the feet of some of the most powerful people our country has ever seen). I suspect the truther movement arises out of similar feelings, but just takes it too far, for my tastes at least.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:38 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Richard Clarke is the only person in government that I can recall ever having the decency to apologize to the families of those killed that day. I say cut him some slack. He's not a truther; he may not be right about this and the comment above blaming incompetence more than anything else makes sense.
posted by etaoin at 10:12 AM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


We know that the intelligence services on the eve of 9/11 were incompetent, parochial, and competed with each other instead of sharing information. That sort of "cover up" is easy to believe. It's very different from suggesting that anyone in the government intentionally allowed the attacks to happen.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:27 AM on August 14, 2011


The Kingdom and the Towers: Was there a foreign government behind the 9/11 attacks? A decade later, Americans still haven’t been given the whole story, while a key 28-page section of Congress’s Joint Inquiry report remains censored. Gathering years of leaks and leads, in an adaptation from their new book, Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan examine the connections between Saudi Arabia and the hijackers (15 of whom were Saudi), the Bush White House’s decision to ignore or bury evidence, and the frustration of lead investigators—including 9/11-commission staffers, counterterrorism officials, and senators on both sides of the aisle.
posted by homunculus at 10:29 AM on August 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Not only did Richard Clarke apologize, he did it during his opening remarks at the 9/11 commision hearings. I think he even got applause. Others may have apologized later, but I'm pretty sure he was the first government official to do so.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:31 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


To restate his thesis as I understand it. Bush's team fundamentally failed to understand the immediate threat posed by Al Qaeda. CIA knew about some of the plotters, but didn't know key specifics of the plot such as how close to operational the plot was. CIA thought they had an opportunity to infiltrate Al Qaeda by turning a couple of the plotters. To protect their future stoolies they blocked other agencies from investigating the plotters. After 9-11 the CIA covered up its bungling, cause it looked bad.

Thanks, humanfont. I could buy this.

My feeling (and it's never been more than a feeling) has always been that the CIA/FBI/The Bilderbergers/Dick-Cheney's-fantasy-baseball-league/whoever knew something was afoot but, for various cynical reasons concerned with the political advantage that a minor terrorist hit on American soil would afford their agenda, looked the other way ... never imagining how catastrophically successful that hit would be. But then being the world class opportunists they were, the CIA/FBI/The Bilderbergers/Dick-Cheney's-fantasy-baseball-league/whoever dove into the confusion at Ground Zero and began making the CASE FOR WAR before the dust had even settled. Evil, for sure, but far more cynical, pragmatic, mundane than many of the Truthers want to believe.
posted by philip-random at 10:51 AM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Interesting to watch over the years how quick even the left is to view as loons folks like Richard Clarke, Scott Ritter, or Bradley Manning; and on the politician side, Kucinich, Weiner, Grayson, even Howard Dean for just long enough to lose the primary. If Obama's a right-wing sellout and these folks are the lunatic left, it's a pretty narrow slice of reasonability the mainstream left has carved out for itself.

And the warning for future leftists from Weiner, Ritter, Manning, Assange, Spitzer, Edwards, Clinton: be sure to have yourself neutered before going into politics. (Wow, now that I put that list together -- that's a lot of members of the would-be liberal-leadership.)
posted by chortly at 11:09 AM on August 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


I always liked how anyone who had any doubts at all about the total veracity of the 9/11 Commission's report was immediately branded a nutter truther and discounted here.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:13 AM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


If there's anyone whose word you can trust about what lead up to 9/11, it's Cofer Black, second-in-command at Blackwater (now Xe), one of the major mercenary outfits to profit from the illegal wars that follow 9/11. Because if you can't trust the word of a war profiteer on Metafilter, then you should just go back to being a truther.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:22 AM on August 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Admit it: Even if there was an actual conspiracy among some higher-level officials during 9-11, many of us would still insist it's unthinkable because--well, it's unthinkable. Such a betrayal on such a large scale would seem to most of us beyond any conceivable reality simply at face value, regardless of what the evidence might tell us or not. And yet, to borrow a phrase from RAW, reality is what you can get away with. Whatever actually happened is and will always be indifferent to all our intuitions, gut reactions, speculations, cognitive biases and psychological defense mechanisms. No matter what we decide to believe based on the evidence we accept, we can't really know we're right because we will never have direct access to the truth.

Of course, on the other hand, even if there were no reason to question the official accounting of these events, there would still be many people convinced it was all a government false-flag operation. The various weirder conspiracies people believe--like holographic planes, etc--are just so much ornamentation.

Reality tends to be a lot more nuanced than either of these positions, but there's been a very obvious tendency on all sides to insist that whatever we might think really happened, we know it with a very high degree of certainty. It's psychologically interesting to me that we all tend to be at least as concerned with feeling "certain" about our beliefs as we do with actually testing them. (It's even occurred to me to wonder, as a thought experiment, if it's possible that some beliefs--regardless of truth value--are too psychologically harmful for the human psyche to contemplate for long.)

It is definitely the case that there were respected people at the top levels in policy making circles who argued that an event like 9-11 might be in America's best interests. Even Jeb Bush--who was then governor of the state his brother only carried to electoral victory after a pitched and highly controversial state-level legal and political battle--signed onto the idea that such an attack might be in America's best interests (remember PNAC?).

It's easy to see why there's so much interest in Truther theories, and apart from some of the more exotic variations, it even seems somewhat reasonable to me to entertain such ideas (while resisting the overwhelming impulse to reach a point of certainty). There are quite a number of unambiguous facts that really do provide a very reasonable basis for compelling narratives along some very cynical lines.

At the very least, the motives for staging such a false-flag operation couldn't have been spelled out more clearly before 9-11 ever happened, and it wasn't the truthers spelling those motives out. No, it was the cream of the crop of the very serious policy experts and power brokers in Washington who first made the case that it might actually be in the US's own strategic defense interests if some outside adversary were to launch a surprise attack on the US.

According to the PNAC report, "The American peace has proven itself peaceful, stable, and durable. Yet no moment in international politics can be frozen in time: even a global Pax Americana will not preserve itself." To preserve this "American peace" through the 21st century, the PNAC report concludes that the global order "must have a secure foundation on unquestioned U.S. military preeminence." The report struck a prescient note when it observed that "the process of transformation is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event--like a new Pearl Harbor."
posted by saulgoodman at 12:37 PM on August 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


In any case, Clarke's allegations are serious, from someone in a much more authoritative position than any of us to comment on what happened.

Whatever their motives, if some elements within the CIA were actively involved in shielding 9-11 hijackers from discovery--that is, if there was a cover up, regardless of why--that's serious, and it shouldn't be dismissed out of hand, regardless of anyone's prior ideological commitments or beliefs.

If nothing else, the American people deserve to know exactly how incompetent--or criminal--their own government's officials' actions really were.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:07 PM on August 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


"Surprise, when it happens to a government, is likely to be a complicated, diffuse, bureaucratic thing. It includes neglect of responsibility but also responsibility so poorly defined or so ambiguously delegated that action gets lost. It includes gaps in intelligence, but also intelligence that, like a string of pearls too precious to wear, is too sensitive to give to those who need it. It includes the alarm that fails to work, but also the alarm that has gone off so often it has been disconnected. It includes the unalert watchman, but also the one who knows he'll be chewed out by his superior if he gets higher authority out of bed. It includes the contingencies that occur to no one, but also those that everyone assumes someone else is taking care of. It includes straightforward procrastination, but also decisions protracted by internal disagreement. It includes, in addition, the inability of individual human beings to rise to the occasion until they are sure it is the occasion - which is usually too late. (Unlike movies, real life provides no musical background to tip us off to the climax.) Finally, as at Pearl Harbor, surprise may include some measure of genuine novelty introduced by the enemy, and possibly some sheer back luck. The results, at Pearl Harbor, were sudden, concentrated, and dramatic. The failure, however, was cumulative, widespread, and rather drearily familiar."

- Thomas Schiller, from the introduction to Roberta Wohletetter's 1962 book "Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision."

Conspiracy theories are a distraction. The real change necessary is the change that focuses on the core, systematic, long-term cultural issues that need to be improved (and improved again and again and again) within our intelligence and defense operations.

Clarke has been, and continues to be, a waste of time and focus.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 1:13 PM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Admit it: Even if there was an actual conspiracy among some higher-level officials during 9-11, many of us would still insist it's unthinkable because--well, it's unthinkable.

As if the Bush administration's actions while corpses were floating in the streets of New Orleans were insufficient evidence of their indifference to the lives of American civilians.
posted by Trurl at 1:19 PM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Clearly, the way to prevent these types of intelligence/communication failures is to make deep cuts to funding for the agencies in question. OH SHIT WAIT
posted by Rykey at 1:21 PM on August 14, 2011


The New Yorker article Homunculus linked to has the simple and relatively uncontroversial story: the terrorists were backed by US allies Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. This was particularily unacceptable for the Bush-administration because of the close personal and economic ties between the Bush and Saudi families.
This is not a conspiracy theory. I don't think Bush or his Saudi friends knew what would happen on 9/11. I think their "pawns" had gone rogue. But I do think they succesfully covered up their connections, and that they used wars as a distraction. Wars that have served both Saudis and Pakistanis well.
posted by mumimor at 1:27 PM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Regardless of whether it's any evidence of deliberate wrongdoing, doesn't it bother any of you folks on the committed anti-truther side of the certainty spectrum that the architects of the Bush foreign policy were irresponsible and callous enough to publish the idea that a massive, costly (in terms of human lives) surprise attack on America would be a good thing for America's strategic national interests? Because it seems like a very odd, very cynical line of thought to me.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:45 PM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


But saulgoodman, did you not hear what General Hayden had to say before the committee concerning this wiretapping...it's in the NOVA show, The Spy Factory.
posted by clavdivs at 2:26 PM on August 14, 2011


Why don't we send Bush administration officials to jail for things that actually happened?
He didn't try to cover it up? He didn't block an investigation? Obstruction of justice, obstruction of congressional inquiry isn't a crime?

Look - take away everything even vaguely weird about the events leading up to the attack (and there is some weird, weird stuff. Like the John O'Neil story alone is f'ing weird) and there's still a lot Bushco has to answer for. E.g. James Bamford (CIA spook) actively lied to the congressional inquiry but it was regarding Bush, Rice, etc. There's lots of other stuff.
I mean, Clarke himself withheld information to congress that could have been damaging to Bush and Rice. He was very critical of the White House in 2004-ish.
Just after 9/11 though, he was squirrely. On the other hand he was still on the NSC payroll at the time.
But if anyone knew/knows whether Bush, Rice, et.al. acted appropriately to the threats, reports, etc. going to the Oval office pre-9/11 it would be Clarke.
And yeah, here he is saying uh, no, they didn't.
Hell, people involved in gross misconduct in 9/11 were not only not fired, or even censured, but f'ing promoted.

Maybe Bob Graham (D-NY) was full of political b.s. that Cheney and the White House were actively trying to shut down, manipulate and sabotage the legitimate congressional inquiry looking into whether they actively went after AQ just before 9/11?

But at the very least Bush admin members and the flaks involved should be on the hook for criminal negligence and dereliction of duty.
Maybe worth looking into? Maybe we can stop focusing on tinfoil hats and remote piloted planes and det charges?

Aah, on the other hand we're obsessed with the 'magic bullet' and all the details around Oswald while any motivations for the assassination of JFK go merrily away.

But - think the arms for hostages thing was possible without some sort of off the books networking? (The Onion headline is priceless: "Iran Releases Hostages; Reagan Urges Nation Not to Put Two and Two Together")

But ok, just from a pure doing the job POV. Not that I mind laying it off on the CIA, but lets look at what actually happened and how many people knew this stuff:

In August, '98, Mohamed al-Owhali is interrogated and tells the FBI (and Patrick Fitzgerald) that there's a network of AQ sleeper agents planning a big attack in the U.S.
Clinton is briefed on that and Bin Laden's preparations to hijack U.S. Aircraft to release Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman, Ramzi Yousef, and Muhammad Sadiq ‘Awda. Some red-letter names there. This'd be December '98.
Beginning of the next year MI6 tells the U.S. embassy that AQ plans to use commercial aircraft as flying bombs.

German intelligence gives the CIA Marwan Alshehhi and his telephone number in the UAE in March, '99. They say he's been in contact with Mohammed Haydar Zammar and Mamoun Darkazanli.

Then ’’The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism." is released in Sept. '99 for congress. All about terrorists. Why they become terrorists, who becomes one. All that. It mentions AQ crashing an aircraft into the pentagon, the CIA or the White House.
M'kay.

So the military starts role-playing all this. "Say, what would happen..." and it's being gamed. People are made ready for it. The FAA is made ready for it. It's now a plausible scenario worth taking the time to train to defend against. Military intelligence is interested.

So end of '99 Clinton is told about AQ operatives in the U.S. and the CIA is surveilling Atta in Germany. Thanks Germany! Say, there's quite an American presence in Germany. They're allies after all. I bet a lot of people talk about Mohamed Atta to their military pals.
In fact, they do. So much so that a military intel op (Able Danger) picked him up in Brooklyn in January of 2000.
They also ID some AQ terrorist cells.
Neat!

So Alhazmi and Almihdhar (hijackers) get into the U.S. in March, the CIA don't tell nobody about it or nothin.
So nobody knows nothin. Especially not those doofs in the FBI.

Except for Niaz Khan! C'mon down! *Price is Right Theme* who in April tells the FBI all about it. He trained in Pakistan to hijack passenger airplanes and fly them into buildings. And for three weeks he and he FBI chat.

And Able Danger IDs Atta again. Is he Atta though? Maybe, maybe not because suddenly the military is full of fuckups. Why? Well, Able Danger lost support of the Land Information Warfare Activity...

*cough*

...completely coincidentally in April of 2000 they were moved to a private intelligence research center run by defense contractor Raytheon, in Texas. And suddenly no one can ID Atta, one car funerals start going awry, single cups of coffee are fucked up, bags of hammers are passed to ...but I digress.

So the French decide to get in on the act and tell us (in January 2001) AQ plans to hijack planes in the U.S.
Bush is briefed 40 times on this topic in the coming months. Rice told the 9/11 commission that "the president receives at these (Presidential Daily Briefings) more than 40 briefing items on al-Qaeda, and 13 of those (are) in response to questions he or his top advisers posed."
Also in January Clarke tells Rice the AQ cells - that WE KNOW exist in the U.S. - are a major threat.
There's a bipartisan commission that issues their final report on terrorism in January as well with 50 recommendations on how to combat terrorism in the U.S.
The commission is co-chaired by Senators Gary Hart (D-CO) and Warren Rudman (R-NH).
Rudman (to reiterate, an "R") demands to see Bush to deliver a blunt and very direct warning to him that he needs to deal early in his presidency with the question of domestic terror threats.
Hmn.
Yeah, they shitcanned all of that. Pfft. Fuck it. Whatever dude. Bush is busy.

So customs investigates three hijackers in spring, 2001, around the time FBI translators learn AQ plans to suicide pilot aircraft into skyscrapers and half of the FAA's daily intelligence summaries mention OBL.
Yawn, whatever.

So Israel (Mossad) mentions it to us in the summer, 2001. AQ. Big attack. Multiple operations. The NSA intercepts calls between Atta (who?) and KSM. Phone rings, it's the Germans again - Aircraft as missiles on U.S. Skyscrapers. All that. Tenet comes back, tells Rice in June, in an official intelligence summary, a significant attack is imminent.
yah yah yah. Lulz.

"No, OMFG seriously," writes Clark at the end of June in an e-mail to Rice, "the pattern of al-Qaeda activity indicating attack planning has 'reached a crescendo.' “A series of new reports continue to convince me and analysts at State, CIA, DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency), and NSA that a major terrorist attack or series of attacks is likely in July!"

*snigger* he said "crescendo!"

So around about July, fed up with the bullshit, someone leaks to the NYT that AQ is planning something so big the U.S. will have to respond.
Stop the presses? Replate the front page?
Hello?
Helloo?
NYT reporter Judith Miller said she was told by her editor that it wasn't worth running.
(Y'all remember Valerie Plame, right?)
Anyway she never followed up with the story. Well, shit, there wasn’t a “sense of immediacy” to the story and she had a book coming out, right? Scary germs! Gotta be skerd of 'em! You get them in the mail! Be ascared! Also Saddam Hussein! Scary!
...but I digress.

So, yeah, July, 2001. Jordan tells us AQ is planning to attack in the U.S.
Clarke runs down the hall in his shorts with the Assistant FBI Director shouting "Prepare for 3 to 5 simultaneous attacks!"
Hello?

Nada.

August and it's Israel. Again. And the Cofer Black (!) who says we're going to be hit soon. It's going to be in the U.S. And many Americans are going to die.
Thanks Cofer! (cut him a check)

Late August. Mossad is like Jehovah's Witnesses, they just won't go away. They hand the CIA a list of terrorists living in the U.S. with four 9/11 hijackers on them.
FBI and INS agents who arrest him in Minnesota know Moussaoui plans to hijack plans. They've got his f'ing LAPTOP. Ask for permission to open it...
Eh, fuck it. Why open it now? The FBI sits on it until after 9/11.

Also fuck the French. We don't need very specific information about a possible attack on U.S. soil on Sept. 7.

Oh, except to warn the generals. not to fly (on Sept. 10, NEWSWEEK has learned, a group of top Pentagon officials suddenly canceled travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns.)
The day before, Tenet, again *sigh* warns congress about the imminent attack. Not to fly. All that.

So it's your basic orgy of evidence and if it weren't so broad, if everyone and his brother didn't have a piece of this from the INS to Customs to MI6, I'd say it was a set up to make the Bush administration look like it was complicit in, if not actively, suppressing information that would enable the U.S. to operationally defend against a terrorist attack on American soil.

That and, if y'all remember, Clinton, et.al were actively kicking over AQs tea wagon for years, while, I believe the phrase "wag the dog" was going on and everyone was focused on plo-chops.

But no one wants to hear about this. As saulgoodman said, it's unthinkable.
Sibel Edmonds offered to go on t.v. and name names (unlike her censored broadcast). No one took her up on the offer.
She was just a translator. Clarke is Magilla Gorilla. But no one wants to think about this either.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:26 PM on August 14, 2011 [38 favorites]


The real change necessary is the change that focuses on the core, systematic, long-term cultural issues that need to be improved (and improved again and again and again) within our intelligence and defense operations.

Reminds me of April fools day.
"Hey, dummy, what day is it?"
"It's the first of the year."
"Aha ha ha! I knew it! April fool! Idiot, the first of the year is January 1."
"Well, technically the papal bull edict issued on the Gregorian calendar has no real authority over civil..."
"You're just an April fool!"
posted by Smedleyman at 2:31 PM on August 14, 2011


You know that moment in a doomed relationship where you finally succumb to the fact it's over and you have to face up to reality. The weird feeling of relief when you admit to yourself that you're being cheated on and it's time to face the truth and start to move on.

What the fuck happens when an entire country does that?
posted by fullerine at 3:06 PM on August 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


NotMyselfRightNow said:
"Conspiracy theories are a distraction. The real change necessary is the change that focuses on the core, systematic, long-term cultural issues that need to be improved (and improved again and again and again) within our intelligence and defense operations."
This really makes me angry. Why is it that any theory or investigation - or lack thereof - into wrongdoing, coverup, etc. automatically labelled as "conspiracy theory"? Why must people have these sanctimonious, playing-the-parent responses. Can you get off your high horse for a minute? This was the fucking national security advisor when it all went down. The guy has credibility. You may not like it, but he does. This is the CIA - the agency that dosed people with LCD without them knowing it, the agency that misled the public and the government about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, the agency responsible for the Bay of Pigs Fiasco, the agency that overthrew a number of democratically elected governments, etc. etc. etc.

He is not saying anything about the government being in on it or anything like that. He is saying the CIA screwed up and tried to hide that fact. That's not a conspiracy, that's human nature. That's why the founding fathers built in checks and balances. That's why we need true transparency in government. That's why we need accountability. Someone sure as hell screwed up, or else we wouldn't have such a catastrophic event on our hands. Calling people to task is not conspiracy, it is good government and something we didn't have during the the Bush years - and it's not much better now. These ARE the core, systemic, long term cultural issues - and we can't be afraid to look like "conspiracy theorists" - we must find out the truth and we must not be lied to.
posted by MrBubble at 3:55 PM on August 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


That's not a conspiracy, that's human nature.

Well, no, technically, under the law, it might actually be conspiracy, too. Isn't weird the common wisdom seems to be that conspiracies are like unicorns, when we still have and enforce laws against the literal criminal charge of conspiracy every day?
posted by saulgoodman at 4:05 PM on August 14, 2011


needs more lone gunman
posted by clavdivs at 5:04 PM on August 14, 2011


If I understand correctly, we're debating whether the CIA was incompetent, and then engaged in a coverup, or whether the CIA was simply doubly incompetent, yes?
posted by jeffburdges at 6:45 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I understand correctly, we're debating whether the CIA was incompetent, and then engaged in a coverup, or whether the CIA was simply doubly incompetent, yes?

I don't know, that sounds kinda trutherish, either way.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:15 PM on August 14, 2011


If I understand correctly, we're debating whether the CIA was incompetent, and then engaged in a coverup, or whether the CIA was simply doubly incompetent, yes?

I think the issue is that Richard Clarke, the former head of counter-terrorism under president Bush, is claiming that the CIA deliberately and knowingly shielded a couple of the eventual 9-11 attackers from capture/detection/intervention by the FBI because the CIA was apparently hoping to get the attackers to do double-duty working for them as informants further down the road.

Even though Clarke isn't claiming the CIA were motivated by some nefarious plan to let the 9-11 attacks occur so that Bush's foreign policy team would have the political justification they wanted for the rapid expansion of US military power they claimed would be essential to America's future (see here), he is claiming the CIA took specific steps to prevent the FBI from potentially preventing the 9-11 attacks from occurring (by preventing the FBI from capturing two of the attackers who were already known to the FBI, which might have led as it sometimes does to the entire plot unraveling).

The irony here is that law enforcement officials clearly knew there was an ongoing conspiracy of some kind to carry out an attack in the US, and the fact that everyone now popularly uses the term "conspiracy" as if it originated in science fiction rather than in the criminal legal system is completely blunting the shock of the fact that, one way or another, this is a credible, former Bush administration official alleging on the record that some elements in the CIA deliberately foiled FBI efforts to investigate two of the potential terrorists that were known to authorities before the attack.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:46 PM on August 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


I don't know, that sounds kinda trutherish, either way.

Really? Why? People don't collaborate to commit crimes in Washington?

Impeding an FBI investigation is a Federal crime. If more than one person is involved, that makes it a criminal conspiracy. No flying unicorns or space midgets required.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:49 PM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


oops. see here.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:50 PM on August 14, 2011


There is no cabal.
posted by clavdivs at 9:41 PM on August 14, 2011


Yes, but was there a criminal conspiracy?*

---
*Trick question; the answer is 'yes' regardless of who did what or why, because at a very minimum the 9-11 hijackers themselves were engaged in a criminal conspiracy.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:57 PM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Impeding an FBI investigation is a Federal crime. If more than one person is involved, that makes it a criminal conspiracy. No flying unicorns or space midgets required.

I was joking around, but we were light years past the point of conspiracy even before 9/11. It's a fact that Cheney and Bush had their illegal war on Iraq planned out before SCOTUS "elected" them. So it doesn't matter if Richard Clarke is right or wrong, or if anything he says is verifiable or not, because even if he was right, no one who has already committed that degree of treason will ever see a jail cell, let alone a needle. Obama said look forward, and if he won't get a case prosecuted on the basis of what is already public knowledge, then Clarke may as well be dismissed as a truther for all the good it would do.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:18 PM on August 14, 2011


Jesus, Clarke is already known to be a lying, dissembling freak with little in the way of sense or reason. The real conspiracy story here is how this asshole got a job with the gubbmint.
posted by clvrmnky at 8:26 AM on August 15, 2011


I will wait to pass judgement on these assertions until I see whether Clarke is releasing a new book, film, or lecture tour on the back of them. In general, I tend to believe what he's saying is possible, but I'm highly suspect of his reasons for saying so.

In other words, he was in the government and therefore I can't trust anything he says. Yes, the last two years have made me that cynical.
posted by threeturtles at 9:38 AM on August 15, 2011


The weird feeling of relief when you admit to yourself that you're being cheated on and it's time to face the truth and start to move on.

What the fuck happens when an entire country does that?


My money's on "We'll never know."
posted by Rykey at 10:00 AM on August 15, 2011


Absent some popularly trusted media confining the allegations or providing more derails it is difficult to see these going anywhere. Alternatively a US Attourney could impanel a grand jury. This seems reasonable as there are allegations of criminal misconduct. Certainly if Wikileaks justifies a grand jury, why doesn't this. They are both catastrophic failures of our intelligence services.
posted by humanfont at 10:02 AM on August 15, 2011


clvrmnky - cite, please?
posted by fingers_of_fire at 11:57 AM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Look at the interview of dick on his grand stand, see how he smiles after every sentence or when he makes his point. It is consistent and very telling, and he sucks at poker.



"I've never trusted toadstools, but I suppose some must have their good points."

-Cheshire Cat.
posted by clavdivs at 2:43 PM on August 15, 2011


so you're discrediting him by the way he looks and his little personal mannerisms, is that it? I just want to understand the level of debate going on here.

(for fuck's sake, no wonder we're going down the tubes with idiots like this around.)
posted by fingers_of_fire at 3:30 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


There is no cabal.

Cool, you got one of those t-shirts too, huh? I got mine when I joined the cabal. They told me to wear it everywhere.
posted by philip-random at 4:22 PM on August 15, 2011


It's a fact that Cheney and Bush had their illegal war on Iraq planned out before SCOTUS "elected" them

That's what's always weirded me out about folks who close their ears to this. Most people get the idea that an administration will sucker the country into prosecuting a war, killing many Americans and many people who shoot at those Americans.
Indeed, most people are a bit leery of a "capture/kill" list (if it's not explained) and think maybe the Oval office has it's own death squad going.
But outright collusion with terrorists or even suppressing information that enables an attack, no way.

You don't need a paranoid mindset to delve into this. Only reason I don't flip out about the POTUS having an assassination squad is because I know the mechanics behind it make it not be one. The legal apparatus though, and extraordinary rendition (hey, look, we're not going to electrocute your balls, we don't do that in the U.S..... but, we will send you to someone who does.) practically guarantees someone has to run. Which means you have to chase them. Which means they're going to arm themselves and build up an arsenal, cadre, etc. etc. And now the odds of having to shoot them vs. capturing them go way up.
So you essentially can make Stavro Blofeld out of Abdullah Ocalan (say), a guy who might otherwise pursue peaceful means (or at least non-terrorist means).
As pointless as it is useless.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:25 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


As pointless as it is useless.
Oh I don't know, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter trillion dollar investment opportunity.
posted by fullerine at 10:36 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


so you're discrediting him by the way he looks and his little personal mannerisms, is that it? I just want to understand the level of debate going on here.

That's one thing. So, have you cracked this, I have from available data. So, what in Dicks little timeline that leaves one piece of info out that shows his pa-pa-pa-poker face.

and fucking watch who you calling an idiot, check that shit right now.
just to give you some background, dicks hyper-thesis, heh, uses bamfords timeline, more to the point concerning Al Midar (sic sp) entering the country. So, the problem is, as Haydns says, U.S. law prevented NSA from tapping a person when entering the country, it's right there in The Spy Factory.

so, your smart, what are we all missing.

There is no cabal.
shhh, you have a t-shirt now and with it, a duty:)
posted by clavdivs at 10:54 PM on August 15, 2011


Fiction's got shit on the last ten years.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:57 AM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


word up.
posted by clavdivs at 9:16 AM on August 16, 2011


fullerine - war is indeed a racket.

The hell of it is, there are some (very limited) situations where force is warranted. Dangerous people and movements do exist and will threaten people.
Trying to make a buck off that alone is bad enough.
Manufacturing the situation such that an entire industry is supported by a stage show is mass suicide.
I supported the Iraq war because I was privy to some evidence (for example, Hussein did have yellowcake, it was not the stuff Bush was talking about) and other things that convinced me the situation was dangerous (his past history for example, setting the oil fields on fire. Sure you can be pissed at the U.S. but causing a massive environmental disaster in your own backyard ... little bit f'ing crazy).

Now? What if someone really does have something dangerous? Hey Smed! Look, we have proof. "Yeah, I've heard that one before" No, really! "Whatever."
Boom.

Reminds me of the people who vandalize fire safety equipment. Worse, really. Those idiots are just idiots. War profiteers make money and do it consciously. That's insanity. They really are worse than terrorists.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:32 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


In other 9/11 news: First responders decry exclusion from 9/11 ceremony
posted by homunculus at 1:19 PM on August 17, 2011


The Truthout article Former Counterterrorism Czar Accuses Tenet, Other CIA Officials of Cover-Up by Jason Leopold has more extensive quotes from Clarke and a link to portions of the interview that clarify his position. Even so, I stand by my earlier opinion. However plausible they may be, Clarke seems to have jumped to conclusions on this one.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:39 PM on August 17, 2011


9/11: The Tapping Point. What if, two years before the 9/11 attacks—with the installation of a cell-phone-and-Internet system in Afghanistan—the U.S. had been handed complete access to al-Qaeda and Taliban calls and e-mails? A secret deal was in place in 1999, the author reveals, but Washington dropped the ball.
posted by homunculus at 4:03 PM on August 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


News Corp Set To Air 9/11 Documentary Glorifying Bush; Producer Says He’s Not Interested In ‘Facts’
posted by homunculus at 1:30 PM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Censored by the CIA: A 23-year veteran of the agency reveals how the vetting process is used to stifle critics of the war on terror

Secrecy, leaks, and the real criminals
posted by homunculus at 10:52 AM on August 31, 2011


The Mysterious Saudi Family That Vanished Two Weeks Before 9/11
posted by homunculus at 1:48 PM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Smedleyman: there's still a lot Bushco has to answer for. E.g. James Bamford (CIA spook) actively lied to the congressional inquiry but it was regarding Bush, Rice, etc.

Are you referring to the James Bamford who has written extensively about the NSA?
posted by homunculus at 3:10 PM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ex-F.B.I. Agent Cites High-Level Dysfunction Over 9/11
In a new memoir, a former F.B.I. agent who tracked Al Qaeda before and after the Sept. 11 attacks paints a devastating picture of rivalry and dysfunction inside the government’s counterterrorism agencies. The book describes 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.

...

In the 571-page book, “The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against Al Qaeda,” Mr. Soufan accuses C.I.A. officials of deliberately withholding crucial documents and photographs of Qaeda operatives from the F.B.I. before Sept. 11, 2001, despite three written requests, and then later lying about it to the 9/11 Commission.

He 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, including photographs of two of the hijackers.
posted by homunculus at 4:24 PM on September 12, 2011


Former September 11 probe chair calls for reopening inquiry
posted by homunculus at 4:27 PM on September 12, 2011


9/11 coloring book
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:52 PM on September 12, 2011


Frontline: The Interrogator - An extended conversation with Ali Soufan, an FBI agent who was at the center of the 9/11 investigations
posted by homunculus at 9:09 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


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