Join 3,551 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


September 19, 2002
2:05 PM   Subscribe

I'm sorry, WHAT? MSNBC and Newsweek (plus Fox and a few others not in this specific link) are reporting that an FBI agent/informant had a direct link to the 9/11 hijackers- he lived with them.
posted by XQUZYPHYR (20 comments total)

 
Someone else can handle all the "Odd Couple" jokes. I'm too busy retreiving the fragments of my exploded head.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:07 PM on September 19, 2002


WHAT.
THE.
FUCK.
FBI?
posted by interrobang at 2:10 PM on September 19, 2002


Federal Bureau of Incompetence?ë
posted by swerve at 2:11 PM on September 19, 2002


oh, well clearly we should remove his head.
posted by delmoi at 2:12 PM on September 19, 2002


I agree, this is a failure. But reading the article it's pretty clear that "FBI agent/informant" is misleading. The person who lived with the terrorists was an informant, not an agent. There was an agent who communicated with the informant who was aware that these particular individuals were renting a room.
posted by pardonyou? at 2:15 PM on September 19, 2002


hrm, wait.

seems like this guy was never told who his roomates actualy were, dispite the fact that the CIA did.

Heh.
posted by delmoi at 2:16 PM on September 19, 2002


At first, FBI director Bob Mueller insisted there was nothing the bureau could have done to penetrate the 9-11 plot. That account has been modified over time and now may change again. First few lines why read on?

Tell us the truth please as your insulting us with your excuses. FBI, Federal Buts and Insults.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:36 PM on September 19, 2002


seems like this guy was never told who his roomates actualy were, dispite the fact that the CIA did.

Yeah, it probably doesn't mean much. Just another 9/11 coincidence.

The 6,347th...
posted by soyjoy at 2:37 PM on September 19, 2002


These guys lived with the informant in 2000. Then they moved out. Then in 2001, they were identified as terror suspects. Unless you think the FBI is at fault for not seeing into the future, this isn't evidence of allowing the hijackings to happen, or incompetently letting them happen. It is just another 9-11 coincidence.
posted by Mushkelley at 3:16 PM on September 19, 2002


Informants can be pretty flakey, even those that work for the FBI.
Any tip now from an informant about a terrorist attack would be taken seriously. What the article doesn't say is why the guy was an informant. It may have been to evade criminal prosecution or because the FBI was helping him with immigration problems. A tip 18 months ago from an informant about a pending terrorist attack would have likely bet met with skepticism that the guy was just throwing anything out to get favorable treatment from the FBI.
posted by stevefromsparks at 3:17 PM on September 19, 2002


STOP DISCUSSING THIS NOW!!!!
or veal haff to keel ewe

you know, national security concerns and all.
posted by quonsar at 3:26 PM on September 19, 2002


Jeez, XQUZYPHYR, where do you get off calling this guy "agent/informant?" Informant, yes, agent, no. That's like calling Whitey Bulger an FBI agent. In fact, run with that - we all know that the FBI turned a blind eye to Whitey's crimes to get his information. But are the FBI responsible for all the crimes he did, even the ones they didn't know about? Are they responsible for the crimes his associates committed during the same time? Are they responsible for everyone who gets whacked in the Boston mob scene now, if they once hung with Bulger? Our intelligence agencies bungled a lot of shit that might have helped us prevent this, but I'd wager you'll find many, many more instances of the hijackers crossing paths with FBI/CIA/NSA folks. If we didn't know what was being plotted, what the hell were we supposed to do about it?
posted by Banky_Edwards at 3:30 PM on September 19, 2002


The [Senate] panel is tentatively due to begin public hearings as early as Sept. 18, racing to its end-of-the-year deadline. But some members are now worried that they won’t get to the bottom of what really happened by then.

yeah, right.

Support for legislation creating a special blue-ribbon investigative panel, similar to probes conducted after Pearl Harbor and the Kennedy assassination, is increasing. Only then, some members say, will the public learn whether more 9-11 secrets are buried in the government’s files.

yeah, right.

It is just another 9-11 coincidence.

yeah, right.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:37 PM on September 19, 2002


These guys lived with the informant in 2000. Then they moved out. Then in 2001, they were identified as terror suspects. Unless you think the FBI is at fault for not seeing into the future, this isn't evidence of allowing the hijackings to happen, or incompetently letting them happen.

Absolutely! This is just another case of hindsight and this case even needs corrective lenses to get to 20/20. The informant obviously didn't feel that these individuals were important enough to even mention and his contact at the Bureau obviously didn't find any reason to ask about them - how does this equate to the entire system being incompetently run?

I guess what really amuses me is that in one thread on MeFi you can find people ranting about the TIPS program today and how it violates civil rights and privacy laws and in another thread you can find virtually the same people ranting about why the same sort of surveillance wasn't selectively utilized years ago utilizing standards of racial profiling that they're probably ranting about in another thread. We'd need precogs or time cops to keep these freakin' people happy!
posted by RevGreg at 3:51 PM on September 19, 2002


Who - or what - are you so defensive of, Reverend?
posted by dash_slot- at 4:17 PM on September 19, 2002


The CIA was first alerted to them in January 2000, when the two Saudi nationals showed up at a Qaeda “summit” in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. FBI officials have argued internally for months that if the CIA had more quickly passed along everything it knew about the two men, the bureau could have hunted them down more aggressively.
posted by modofo at 4:25 PM on September 19, 2002


Who - or what - are you so defensive of, Reverend?

I used no names because I'm not interested in flaming anyone in particular or creating some huge discussion of the subject. It's also why I didn't cite the actual threads I'm speaking of. I found some really amusing examples of people saying one thing in one thread and something completely contradictory in another thread. It wasted a huge amount of my time but I enjoyed myself immensely...
posted by RevGreg at 5:29 PM on September 19, 2002


I found some really amusing examples of people saying one thing in one thread and something completely contradictory in another thread.

i, for one, would like to see some of these humor-filled examples....if you have the time that it.
posted by clavdivs at 7:50 PM on September 19, 2002


...that is.
posted by clavdivs at 7:50 PM on September 19, 2002


Who, or what, are you so accusatory of, dash_slot? And why?

First, this is not a new revelation. MSNBC is highlighting something that was glossed over in a lot of reports, but if you go looking you'll find it was right there all the time. So much for the media being any smarter than the FBI ...

The key problem here is that the CIA sat on the knowledge these guys were connected with other known terrorists -- from December 2000 (when they learned of it) until August 2001, apparently after CIA Director Tenet, jittery over rumors of a major attack, told his agents to re-examine all their files. I don't think the FBI can be blamed seriously for not making the connection in the intervening 19 days. They probably could have been more diligent with their existing informant regarding his houseguests -- but given the short time they were there, and the tenuousness of their relationship, it seems he has a lot of houseguests; and he was not himself under surveillance. The FBI was using him to find out information about Hamas, not al Qaeda. They probably should check out everyone connected with him for good measure, but that they didn't is more of a tragedy than a blunder.

Incidentally, MSNBC doesn't name the "landlord", but he publicly identified himself a year ago -- some accounts say he contacted reporters -- as Abdussattar Shaikh, a retired professor at SDSU, an India-born Muslim who apparently was cooperating with the FBI for presumably patriotic reasons.
posted by dhartung at 11:15 PM on September 19, 2002


« Older Cassius Marcellus Coolidge's body of work has been...  |  Snow White and the Seven Shao ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments