A German newspaper, FAZ
September 14, 2001 6:21 PM   Subscribe

A German newspaper, FAZ is reporting that the U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies received warnings at least three months ago that Middle Eastern terrorists were planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to destroy important symbols of American and Israeli culture.
posted by andre_111 (10 comments total)
And we've heard stuff like this how many times since the attacks? How many warnings/leads/tips do people think security/policing organizations get on an hourly basis? What was anyone supposed to do? Everyone in the world on lockdown until ... forever?

Now, if there had been a warning along the lines of: "On September 11, AA flight 11 from Logan ..." then there'd be an interesting story, but even then don't forget that false alarms are sometimes used as diversionary tactics.
posted by sylloge at 6:31 PM on September 14, 2001

This isn't just a tip. Assuming the information came from the Echelon system, it would be have in the form of some type of electronic communication obtained by eavesdropping. A lot more credible than someone calling in with a terrorist threat. Of course we will probably never know the whole story...
posted by andre_111 at 6:49 PM on September 14, 2001

Right, sorry if I sounded snarky. Still, the same reasoning applies: I'm sure that there was no-one who just decided not to follow up some event that they had a credible information and the place/time for.

I get that you are not suggesting that somewhere, some CIA agent decided to sleep in later that morning and not bothering stopping an event they were certain about, but it seems to have been implied elsewhere that this was something easily prevented.
posted by sylloge at 6:59 PM on September 14, 2001

Ok, but haven't we also heard that the bad guys used strong encryption? Did and can we decrypt their communications or not? This article strongly implies that we can.
posted by jeffbarr at 7:13 PM on September 14, 2001

I was certainly not implying that anyone was slacking off.
I was just wondering how the intelligence agencies reacted to this information, assuming that the article is valid.
posted by andre_111 at 7:39 PM on September 14, 2001

There is no solid evidence of anything thus far. On my site I had earlier posted a note in Dutch (I can't translate) that said a big one was going to happen. And I also posted from German an Iranian who was being deported. He had warned, or tried to, the US that there would be a major terrorist action. He was called a nut.
There is no reason for Israel to have witheld info since it is in their interest to keep in our good graces and to remain friends. An aside: some 30 Israelis are appraently dead in the attack. Israel in fact (their newspaper) suggests that Bein Laden is simply the guy putting the pieces together and he has used a Palestinian batch of people, got financing from Iraq, and also some dudes in Lebanon. True? Who know. Again it would be in their self interest to point a finger at the immediate enemy (Arafat's paramilitary force).
We may some day know more. I think not, though.
posted by Postroad at 7:57 PM on September 14, 2001

Postroad, interesting comment re: Israel. Of course, they paid a nice chunk of change to Johnathan Pollard, IIRC, for top secret US intelligence info, so my cynical side says that their withhold of info, if true, sure is no surprise.

Heard a report on ABC earlier that there could be up to 50 terrorist cells in the US already. Wouldn't be surprised if Israel's newspaper's info has the ring of truth to it.
posted by PeteyStock at 11:44 PM on September 14, 2001

There is no reason for Israel to have witheld info since it is in their interest to keep in our good graces and to remain friends.

Heh, just to play Devil's advocate...

Was the level of resolve against terrorism in the U.S. the same before the attack as after? I don't remember seeing any $40 billion dollar anti-terrorists packages before. I don't remember just about every American on the street giving lip service to stopping this crap cold. I don't remember the U.S. Congress bending over backwards to send our troops out to get the terrorists responsible. I also don't remember the world, pretty much universally, standing up publically against terrorism. Pakistan? Afghanistan?

Yeah, I'd say Israel had nothing to gain by withholding information.

I want to thank you though for saying that because you just added to my little horrible skeptic conspiracy theory.
posted by fooljay at 3:11 AM on September 15, 2001

They have warnings of everything, everyday. Just because you can look back and say there was a warning doesn't mean it was actionable.
posted by smackfu at 11:03 AM on September 15, 2001

Anyone here fluent in Hebrew (I think...)?
posted by fooljay at 1:37 PM on September 15, 2001

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