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October 4, 2008

Khalid Almihdhar and His Connections to the USS Cole Bombing

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — kevinfenton @ 7:28 am
Tags: , ,

One of the main arguments used by British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a key speech on 4 October 2001 that held al-Qaeda responsible for 9/11 was that one of the 19 hijackers “has also been identified as playing key roles in both the East African Embassy attacks and the USS Cole attack.”

Two days later, the New York Times identified the mystery hijacker “as Mr. Almihdhar. United States investigators said they had clearly linked Mr. Almihdhar to the Cole attack and ‘possibly’ to the embassy bombings, senior American government officials said today.”

So what was Khalid Almihdhar’s role in the USS Cole bombing? Was it a “key” role, as Tony Blair claimed? And how come a known al-Qaeda operative managed to evade surveillance, help blow up a destroyer, then enter the US and fly a plane into the Pentagon?

This is all the more interesting in the light of recent revelations (original here) that the CIA had protected Almihdhar and his partner Nawaf Alhazmi from the FBI in January 2000. There are some very pertinent questions that need to be asked here: If he had not been protected by the CIA, would the Cole bombing have occurred? Was he still being protected at the time of the bombing? And were any of the other Cole bombers protected by the CIA (as well as by the Yemenis)?

Despite these numerous questions, here I would only like to focus on evidence of Almihdhar’s involvement in the Cole bombing and other ship-bombing operations planned by al-Qaeda. There is quite a lot of evidence indicating his involvement.

(1) A largely redacted passage in the 9/11 Congressional inquiry report indicates that Almihdhar spoke on the phone to Khallad bin Attash, one of the Cole bombing masterminds, in mid-1999. This call was monitored by the NSA.

(2) According to a detainee, Almihdhar was aware of a ship bombing operation by December 1999 and knew the plan had been conceived by Cole bombing mastermind Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. The 9/11 Commission Report says, “A detainee says that 9/11 hijacker Khalid al Mihdhar told him about the maritime operation sometime in late 1999 and credited Nashiri as its originator.” Obviously, the plot at this point was not to attack the Cole, but the USS Sullivans. This attack was attempted in early January 2000 and failed. The 9/11 Commission credits this information to “Intelligence report, interrogation of detainee, Dec. 2, 2001.” Concerns have been raised about the methods used to extract information from detainees, and it should be borne in mind that this may make the information unreliable.

(3) In late 1999, Almihdhar attended, or at least began to attend a training course for al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan. The course was also attended by fellow Pentagon hijacker Alhazmi, bin Attash and one of the eventual Cole bombers, Ibrahim al-Thawar. Although the caveat on detainee information applies, the existence of the course was confirmed by alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM), bin Attash and Abu Jandal, a militant held by the authorities in Yemen, where he was questioned by the FBI.

(4) Perhaps a month before the failed attack on the Sullivans in Aden, Yemen, Almihdhar travelled to Yemen. Although Almihdhar was a Saudi national, he lived in Yemen with his family, so there may be an innocent explanation for this. However, when detainees were asked to explain why Almihdhar went to Yemen at this time instead of attending/finishing the scheduled training course in Afghanistan they gave differing explanations. According to endnote 50 on page 493 of the 9/11 Commission Report, KSM claimed that Almihdhar couldn’t take the course and quit after a week, bin Attash claimed that Almihdhar was both pulled out early by Osama bin Laden and completed the course, and Abu Jandal claimed that Almihdhar completed the course. These differing explanations may be because the operatives are trying to hide something. It is possible that they are aware that Almihdhar’s participation in the attack on the Sullivans would implicate someone else and they want to protect that someone else.

(5) While in Yemen, Almihdhar spent some time with his family in San’a, the capital. His family included Ahmed al-Hada, his father-in-law and a top al-Qaeda operative. Al-Hada ran a communications hub for bin Laden and facilitated the passing of messages to and from operatives in various parts of the world (this communications hub had been under NSA surveillance since the mid-1990s). An investigator later told MSNBC that the hub’s phone was used to “put everything together” before the Cole bombing, and US News and World Report also reported it was used as a “planning center” for the Cole attack. It is therefore possible that the hub was used by the conspirators before the Sullivans bombing, as it was by the African embassy bombers.

(6) Bin Attash, an alleged mastermind of the operation, telephoned Almihdhar shortly before the attempted bombing of the Sullivans. They talked about meeting early in the New Year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The NSA monitored this call.

(7) The attempt to bomb the Sullivans failed on 3 January and Almihdhar left Yemen the next day. Almihdhar’s travel was tracked by the CIA and foreign intelligence agencies.

(8) Almihdhar then met numerous other al-Qaeda operatives involved in the failed attack on the Sullivans and the subsequent attack on the Cole at al-Qaeda’s Malaysia summit. The summit’s attendees included bin Attash and al-Nashiri, the two operatives credited with being the operation’s masterminds. Three other operatives involved in the operation are also said to have been present: KSM, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Fahad al-Quso.

(9) After leaving the summit, Almihdhar travelled with Alhazmi and bin Attash to Thailand, where bin Attash, and possibly Almihdhar and Alhazmi, met al-Quso and al-Thawar.

(10) After arriving in the US, Almihdhar continued to call the communications hub in Yemen where his family lived and which was used to “put everything together” before the Cole bombing.

(11) In June 2000, Almihdhar left the US and returned to the communications hub in Yemen. According to the 9/11 Commission, this was because he wanted to see his second child, of which he had been informed by his wife in calls made from the hub (it is unclear how the 9/11 Commission would know this; the calls were intercepted by the NSA, but there is no record of the 9/11 Commission viewing any documents related to these NSA intercepts or talking to anybody about them).

(12) Almihdhar then received a call from bin Attash and went to see KSM. This is based on detainee information, so the caveat about such information applies, although there is other information to suggest Almihdhar was travelling in Asia at this time.

(13) When the Cole was bombed, Almihdhar was in Yemen, and left shortly after.

(14) Almihdhar visited Malaysia in October 2000 to discuss a third ship bombing operation, to be carried out in Singapore, with a local operative.

(15) He visited Malaysia again for the same purpose in June 2001.

The CIA was obviously highly aware of his links to the bombing, see for example here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. There is more, but too much to list, check the Alhazmi and Almihdhar category from May 2000 on.

Does this constitute smoking gun proof of Almihdhar’s involvement in the attack on the Cole? I guess that depends on your definition of “smoking gun,” but, at the very least, it is an impressive list of circumstantial evidence.


  1. Kevin,

    Fahad al-Quso was never at Kuala Lumpur, or at the Kuala Lumpur al Qaeda planning meeting, he got stuck in Bangkok on January 6, 2000 attempting to reach Kuala Lumpur because he did not have a proper visa for Malaysia. This point is absolutely critical to understanding the events on 9/11.

    This information and in fact the entire story on 9/11 with respect to the US intelligence agencies is all in the book, “Prior Knowledge of 9/11” at http://www.eventson911.com. Kevin, I give Paul a copy of this book on January 2007, which I think he gave to you. Read the chapter on the Cole bombing to see why Quso could never have been at Kuala Lumpur.
    This point was absolutely critical in finally connecting all of the dots and putting the entire story on 9/11 together in this book.


    Comment by rschop — October 7, 2008 @ 2:41 pm | Reply

  2. RSchop, I apologize for not approving your comment earlier. Thanks for contributing. I will be interested to see the exchange between you and Kevin on this issue.

    Comment by Max — October 8, 2008 @ 10:59 pm | Reply

    • Max, 8 months ago, you posted your interest in the exchange between Kevin Fenton and myself. There are now numerous posts here by both Kevin and myself attempting to explain the actions at the CIA and FBI HQ on why they kept secret the information not only on the Kuala Lumpur al Qaeda planning meeting that took place in January 2000 but the fact that when they found both Mihdhar and Hazmi inside of the US on August 22, 2001, knew they were here to take part in a huge al Qaeda attack that would kill thousands of Americans, why they not only kept this secret but then deliberately shut down FBI Agent Steve Bongardt’s investigation of Mihdhar. What did you think of this horrific information?

      Comment by Rschop — May 15, 2009 @ 4:27 pm | Reply

  3. Re al-Quso in Kuala Lumpur. Al-Quso himself alternately claimed to have have gone to KL and not to have gone there when interviewed by the FBI in Yemen. There are also reports saying he was photographed and videoed in KL.

    The claim that Yemenis needed visas to get into Malaysia seems strange to me. Why would a Yemeni need a visa to go to Malaysia? They certainly don’t now and I also found a website that said that citizens of North and South Yemen did not require visas – presumably the material there was written some time ago. These guys travelled all the time, but they didn’t know they needed a visa? And they couldn’t get one on Bangkok? That is hard to swallow. Basically, I’m pretty sceptical of the claim he couldn’t get a visa and I’m not sure whether he went there or not.

    Comment by kevinfenton — October 9, 2008 @ 2:32 am | Reply

  4. Kevin, thanks for your reply. In order to get to Kuala Lumpur or even into Malaysia Fahad al-Quso required a visa. Both he and his travel companion were stopped in Bangkok when they were trying to reach Kuala Lumpur on January 6, 2000 because they had no visas for Malaysia

    It is now obvious that the Kuala Lumpur meeting had been set up only to plan the attacks on 9/11, attacks that were to be based on the successful hijacking of Air India 814. This attack had occurred just the week before by Kashmiri extremists closely aligned with al Qaeda. The pan for the Air India attack were to be combined with the second part of KSM’s Bojinka plot to hijack 10-11 planes in the US and fly them into the WTC Towers, the Pentagon, the US Capitol and other land marks in the US.

    When the attack on the USS the Sullivans failed on January 3, 2000, Fahad al-Quso was sent to Kuala Lumpur with all of the remaining money from the Sullivan’s attack, but with very poor prior trip planning, to give money to Khallad Bin Attash, money that was to be given to Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi to be used in their flight training in the US. That is why Quso did not have a visa for Malaysia.

    Since Soufan determined that Fahad al-Quso had stayed at the Washington Hotel in Bangkok, and had made calls from the Washington Hotel to a phone booth in front of the condominium where the Kuala Lumpur meeting was taking place took and to his own house back in Yemen, it is impossible to believe that he was able to then get a visa on January 7, 2000, and get on a flight in order to get up to Kuala Lumpur before Khallad left Kuala Lumpur for Bangkok on January 8, 2000.

    If Khallad was flying over to Bangkok on the 8th of January, what was the purpose of Quso going on to Kuala Lumpur on January 7th?

    So why has it been reported that Quso was in Kuala Lumpur at the al Qaeda planning meeting that took place from January 5-8, 2001.

    It turns out Quso in Kuala Lumpur was a fact that was never reported by any investigation. But when FBI Agent Ali Soufan sent his request to the CIA HQ in April 2001, asking for information on Khallad and if the FBI knew about any meeting in Kuala Lumpur in January 2000, the CIA went ballistic. They thought for sure that the FBI Cole investigators had uncovered information in their search for Khallad, about the meeting in Kuala Lumpur, and the fact that Khallad, Mihdhar and Hazmi had all been at this al Qaeda planning meeting planning the bombing of the USS Cole.

    After receiving Soufan’s request, Tenet and Black moved Wilshire over to be liaison to ITOS head Michael Rolince in mid_May 2001, with the acquiescence of Rolince and Freeh for the expressed purpose to spy on the FBI criminal investigators on the Cole bombing and find what they knew about the meeting in Kuala Lumpur. It is unclear why the Director of the FBI would allow a CIA spy to take such a high position at the FBI, unless Tenet had some horrific piece of information over Freeh. It is clear that Tenet was aware that Freeh had criminally obstructed the FBI investigation of the Cole bombing in November 2000

    Wilshire’s first job was to find out what the FBI Cole investigators knew about the meeting at Kuala Lumpur. Wilshire obtained three photos from the CIA while at his new office at the FBI and was trying to find Khallad in the photos of Mihdhar. Wilshire had miss remembered a cable sent to the CIA Bin Laden unit after Khallad had been identified in the Kuala Lumpur photos on Jnaury4, 20001, a cable that Wilshire thought said that Khallad had been identified in the same photo with Mihdhar.

    In fact the CIA/FBI joint source had been given at least two photos from Kuala Lumpur, one photo of Mihdhar and one photo of Khallad. Khallad was identified immediately in the photo of Khallad taken at Kuala Lumpur. This was the photo later given to the FBI New York office on August 30, 2001

    Wilshire contacted CIA officer Clark Shannon to get his opinion on whether Khallad had been identified from the Kuala Lumpur photos, and was told by Shannon that he was sure Khallad had been identified in the Kuala Lumpur photos. Shannon, who clearly was working under the direction of Wilshire, then contacted FBI IOS Agent Dina Corsi, who was working in in the FBI Bin Laden unit, a unit that also reported to Rolince, in an office close to Wilshire. Shannon told Corsi to get the three photos of Mihdhar from Wilshire, the photos Wilshire had obtained from the CIA and present these to the FBI Cole investigators in New York who worked for FBI Agent Ali Soufan, to see if these investigators, could recognize Fahad al-Quso in any of these photos.

    This request was nothing but a ruse, to find out if the New York agents on the Cole bombing investigation had uncovered any information on the meeting in Kuala Lumpur and on Mihdhar and Hazmi in their search for Khallad, at that time thought by the FBI Cole investigators to be the mastermind of the Cole bombing.

    This meeting was set up for June 11, 2001, and Corsi presented the three photos of Mihdhar that she had gotten from Wilshire. At that point Shannon asked the Cole investigators if they recognized anyone in these photos. Since all photos had Mihdhar in them and one photo only had Mihdhar and Hazmi in it, and the CIA knew exact;y what both Mihdhar and Hazmi looked like, it is impossible to believe that the CIA had any interest at all in seeing if the FBI Cole investigators could recognize Quso. They were only interested to find out if the FBI Cole investigators had uncovered information on Mihdhar and Hazmi in their search for Khallad.

    I am sure Shannon almost feel off his chair when the Cole investigators said they did not recognize anyone in these photos.

    So why was the CIA sure that the FBI Cole investigators had found out about Mihdhar and Hazmi?

    The CIA clearly knew that the FBI Cole investigators were aware that Khallad had flown over to Bangkok on January 8, 2000. They were sure that the FBI had looked at that flight manifest and had found Mihdhar and Hazmi siting right next to Khallad in adjacent seats on that flight. In fact that was how the CIA had uncovered Nawaf’s last name, by looking at the manifest for this very flight. It turns out that the FBI Cole investigators knew about that flight but had never gone back to look over that manifest. While Soufan and his team were sure an al Qaeda planning meeting had taken place in Kuala Lumpur in early January 2000, they also never thought to go to their own NSA cable archive at the New York office to find the cable from the NSA in December 1999, that stated that Khalid, Nawaf and Saleem were traveling to an important al Qaeda planning meeting in Kuala Lumpur, the first part of January 2000.

    It turns out Soufan sent FBI Director Freeh a request in November 2000 asking if he would ask the CIA and CIA Director Tenet about any information the CIA had on a al Qaeda planning meeting in Kuala Lumpur and about Khallad and had been told that there was no such information. But Freeh himself had been given this very information by the NSA in December 1999, and by the CIA in January 2000, and by not giving this very information to Soufan had criminally obstructed his own FBI investigation of the Cole bombing!

    Read Chapter 19, the Cole Investigation in “Prior Knowledge of 9/11”. This is all explained much greater detail in this book. It was the fact that Wilshire had miss remembered the identification of Khallad from the Kuala Lumpur photos that was my first indication that withholding this information from the FBI Cole investigators had been part of a massive criminal conspiracy at the CIA that had involved the CIA Bin Laden unit, the CIA Yemen station and all of the mangers at the CIA including Tenet and Black, and had even ensnared FBI Director Louis Freeh, and the ITOS unit at FBI HQ in many criminal actions. From there I went to find at least 3 other wide spread criminal conspiracies at the CIA and FBI HQ to keep the information that came from Kuala Lumpur secret from the FBI Cole bombing investigators.

    But what was the horror story to end all horror stories, when the CIA and FBI HQ knew on August 22, 2001 that both Mihdhar and Hazmi were inside of the US, and knew they were about to take part in a huge al Qaeda attack that would kill thousands of Americans, both the CIA and the FBI HQ managers and agents went on to sabotage any chance that FBI Agent Steve Bongardt would have to start an investigation of Mihdhar and Hazmi and find them in time to prevent the attacks on 9/11.

    See the absolutely horrific source documents on my web site http://www.eventson911.com. These are the source documents that when added to the DOJ/FBI IG report prove that the CIA had deliberately allowed the al Qaeda terrorists to carry out the attacks on 9/11.
    The first is the account of Ali Soufan, the second is evidence entered into the Moussaoui trail including the actual NSA release from the NSA caveats that Corsi got on the morning of August 28, 2001. I have the actual copy of this release, and it is horrific! In spite of already receiving this release, later that day Corsi tells Bongardt that he and his team can not investigate Mihdhar, because the NSA caveats prevented the NSA information from being given to FBI criminal agents. She had already been granted that release on August 27, 2001, just hours after requesting this release and had received the hard copy of this release from the NSA caveats on the morning of August 28, 2001.

    Bongardt knew that Mihdhar was in the US in order to take part in an al Qaeda attack aimed at some US target and protested Corsi’s ruling that he could not investigate Mihdhar,. Bongardt asked Corsi to get a legal ruling from the NSLU at FBI HQ, since he was sure that the NSA information had no connection at any FISA warrant, the reason for the NSA caveats in the first place. When Corsi told Bongardt the next day, on August 29, 2001 that he and his team had to stand down, from any investigation of Mihdhar, it is now clear from the testimony of Sherry Sabol, the attorney Corsi contacted, that Corsi had criminally fabricated Sabol’s ruling.

    Sabol had ruled that Bongardt and his team could take part in any investigation of Mihdhar, an investigation that could easily have prevented that attacks on 9/11. At the time Corsi told Bongardt that he and his team would never be allowed to take part in any investigation of Mihdhar, Corsi already knew that Mihdhar and Hazmi had been at Kuala Lumpur with Khallad, planning the Cole bombing, knew that this directly connected both Mihdhar and Hazmi to the planning of this attack and knew that this meant that the investigation of Mihdhar should have gone to Bongardt and his team . But not only does Corsi not give any of this information to Bongardt and his team, she even withholds the fact that she is aware that the CIA had been hiding the photograph of Khallad taken at Kuala Lumpur from the FBI. What very few people have ever reported is that Corsi also told Bongardt that if even one one piece of paper ever surfaced at the FBI with his name and the name Khalid al-Mihdhar, he was through at the FBI, his career would be over and his pension gone!

    As I put all of this information in this book, it is impossible to believe that when both the CIA and FBI HQ were sabotaging Bongardt and his team from investigating Mihdhar, that they did not know that thousands of Americans were going to perish in these al Qaeda attacks they were allowing to take place!

    As indicated in the book Wilshire was in email contact with Maltbie and Frasca the last part of August and was aware that other people at FBI HQ in the ITOS unit were sabotaging the investigation of Moussaoui.

    While it is clear these attacks were carried out by the al Qaeda terrorists , it is also clear that both the CIA and FBI HQ deliberately allowed these attacks to take place, even when they knew literally thousands of Americans were going to die in these attacks.

    It is also clear that the 9/11 Commission and the DOJ/FBI IG report were obfuscated to hide the criminal actions at both the CIA and FBI HQ that had allowed these attacks to occur. How can the 9/11 Commission claim that they could not get the very documents that are now on my web site, http://www.eventson911.com, when they had subpoena power to get any documents they wanted, including all of Tom Wilshire’s emails back to his CTC managers in July 2001. It is further clear that main stream news media, while aware of this information has knowingly concealed this horrific information from the public in an act of treachery to the American people unmatched in American history.

    Comment by rschop — October 28, 2008 @ 6:15 pm | Reply

  5. One of questions people ask is why haven’t these agents come forward? For example why did Rossini and Miller wait so long to tell Bamford that they were ordered to withhold the intel and pressured not to share this with the DOJ IG?

    The journalists who get access to these agents don’t seem to be willing to ask the uncomfortable questions.

    Comment by Mike — October 30, 2008 @ 3:18 pm | Reply

  6. Rossini and Miller. I think they waited to come forward publicly because nobody asked them. Also, they did something wrong in January 2000, so they are far away from the attacks in time. Other agents, like Corsi and Gillespie (assuming for a moment Gillespie is not a dupe and knew what was going on) did things wrong much closer to the time of the attacks (in late August 2001, or in June 2001 in Shannon’s case), so they would me much less likely to confess due to fear. If somebody duped me (and I’m assuming Miller, Rossini, Corsi, et al. were not told what was really going on – whatever that was) and got me to act as an accessory to the murder of 3,000 people, I would certainly be in two minds about confessing.

    Regarding the journalists, I think there is more than one factor at work, like:
    (1) Need to have continued access to sources. You write Mike Hayden was in on it, you won’t get the interview you need for your next book;
    (2) Disbelief, they can’t really believe Wilshire and Rich B did that;
    (3) Lack of stone-cold proof. If a guy like James Bamford were to come out and accuse, say, Corsi of helping murder 3,000 people, he would need some pretty strong proof, and he would really need to interview her first, or at least try. Maybe he thinks he doesn’t have it. If Bamford said something and the media dug into him, his book could tank. Why would he want that? If you are a top MSM figure and you write Wilshire did it on purpose (and I’m pretty sure he must have) then that defines your career.

    You could probably think of more reasons, but that’s a decent start.

    Comment by kevinfenton — October 30, 2008 @ 5:07 pm | Reply

  7. I agree with Kevin, no one asked them perhaps because everyone was aware that both Rossini and Miller had no real information, and getting them to talk on the record with no real information was only going to get them in trouble with their bosses at the FBI. It was clear that the FBI would never let either Miller or Rossini talk on the record for several reasons.

    Miller’s CIR on Mihdhar had been blocked on January 5, 2000 by Tom Wilshire, at the time deputy chief of the CIA bin Laden unit. Wilshire then went on to be liaison to Michael Rolince, head of the FBI ITOS unit and at that position committed numerous criminal acts, clearly with the acquiescence of Freeh and Rolince, to block the FBI Cole investigators from learning about the information that the CIA had in its possession, particularly the al Qaeda planning meeting at Kuala Lumpur, where the Cole bombing had actually been planned.

    Wilshire had even enlisted FBI agents right at the FBI HQ, including FBI IOS Agent Dina Corsi at the Bin Laden unit under the ITOS, and perhaps others, to help carry out the many CIA criminal actions to hide the information the CIA had on this Kuala Lumpur meeting from the FBI criminal investigators.

    It is now clear from the DOJ/FBI IG report that both Corsi and Wilshire had even worked together to sabotage any chance FBI Agent Steve Bongardt and his team of Cole investigators would have to investigate and find Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi in time to prevent the attacks on 9/11 after it was learned at the CIA that both were inside of the US preparing to take part in a huge al Qaeda attack.

    As I wrote in the book, “Prior Knowledge of 9/11”, it is imposable to believe that the CIA was not fully aware that thousands of Americans were going to perish as a result of their actions in shutting down Bongardt’s investigation of Mihdhar.

    Allowing Miller to talk would also just further expose the FBI culpability in allowing the al Qaeda terrorists to carry out the attacks on 9/11, even exposing the actions of Louis Freeh, Director of the FBI who was personally responsible in criminally obstructing FBI Agent Ali Soufan’s investigation of the Cole bombing, by pretending to be unaware that the CIA had significant information on the Kuala Lumpur meeting in November 2000, when Freeh himself had been given this very information by the CIA in January 2000.

    Letting Miller and Rossini talk in public would just expose both the CIA and FBI to more inquires as to why they had deliberately allowed the attacks on 9/11 to take place, inquiries that would ultimately point right directly at the White House.

    Comment by rschop — October 31, 2008 @ 3:32 pm | Reply

  8. One would like to think that intel agents and journalists would have more concern for the victims and the truth. I referred to Miller and Rossini but the same applies to Corsi, Middleton, Wilshire, etc. I find it hard to understand how Bamford can write that Hayden was concerned that Corsi wouldn’t be able to locate the terrorists his NSA had been listening to for 18 months. I’ve listened to his interviews. He admits in one that NSA had the legal authority to get FISA warrants and should have alerted the FBI so they could get the warrants. In another interview he talks about Hayden’s extreme concern for civil liberties and suggests that explains the 18 month failure. When asked about Hayden’s promotions he admits it doesn’t make much sense. When asked about the pre-9/11 surveillance he says it doesn’t sound right. When someone asked him the key question–did you find out why the CIA refused to share the intel–he said he wasn’t able to find out. In his book he includes the strange account of the CIA official who suggests the CIA is withholding intel to find out about a likely attack in Southeast Asia. It’s incredible that we still don’t know what was truly going on at the CIA. Were agents fooled? Did they refuse to question orders? Weren’t they curious as to what al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar were up to? There are so many questions that haven’t been answered. I just find it strange that Bamford basically repeats the same talking points we’ve heard for seven years with a couple of new details that don’t really clarify anything.

    Here are an interesting couple of paragraphs from a recent paper by Peter Dale Scott:

    “The CIA’s concealing of information from the FBI about Oswald and the hijackers was necessary for the designated culprits to play their allotted roles in the deep events. In both cases the FBI later complained that the withholding of information was crucial in enabling the deep events to occur. It would be wrong to assume that the withholding of information, though deliberate, had the assassination and plane hijackings in mind. It is perhaps more likely that Oswald and al-Mihdhar were being protected by the CIA for some other operation — possibly against Cuba (in the case of Oswald), or to penetrate existing al-Qaeda cells in the US (in the case of al-Hamzi and al-Mihdhar).

    But someone in the CIA with knowledge of these sensitive files, and intent on a criminal deep event, could have used the sensitive identities of Oswald and al-Mihdhar as designated culprits in the plots, knowing that the CIA would be virtually coerced into cover-up because of the embarrassing manipulations of their files on these individuals.”

    My questions:

    1. How and why would someone at the CIA frame the institutional CIA in such a manner?

    2. Why should we believe the CIA’s secret, illegal operations were good faith pursuits? If the goal was to infiltrate al Qaeda cells in the US that should have been done by the FBI. Leaving the FBI out of the loop tends to suggest the secret, illegal operations were not well intentioned.

    3. Everyone at the CIA lied to cover up their involvement in well intentioned CIA secret operations which were exploited by rogue CIA officials? Why would they do that for someone at the CIA who betrayed them in such a manner?

    That said, I find Scott’s comments interesting because he is suggesting that CIA officials may not have been protecting al Qaeda operatives for the purpose of carrying out 9/11. Granted this doesn’t track with the circumstantial evidence (for example Wilshire’s email about associates of Khallad being involved in the next attack). Scott appears to be saying that someone made sure al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar were named hijackers and in doing so made all these agents look awful (as in complicit). So the question becomes who exactly were al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar? What did the agents believe they were doing by protecting them…did they think they were facilitating a terrorist attack or did they think they were protecting a very important operation?

    Again, I have a hard time imputing a good faith motive to the CIA’s illegal, secret operation. Also, we are forced to go by what we are told. CIA told us al Qaeda was the concern. They told us al Qaeda operatives were at the Malaysian meeting. Al Qaeda operatives at the meeting were behind the Cole attack. Tenet declared war on al Qaeda in 1998. CIA looked at the manifests and told us al Qaeda operatives were the hijackers. What troubles me about the straightforward interpretation is the failure to conceal complicity. If CIA was protecting al Qaeda operatives so they could pull off 9/11 then why didn’t they do a better job of concealing this conduct? Scott may be wrong but at least he answers this question by suggesting they withheld the intel for reasons other than facilitating 9/11.

    Comment by Mike — November 2, 2008 @ 3:18 am | Reply

  9. 1. How and why would someone at the CIA frame the institutional CIA in such a manner?

    Answer: Why: we can’t know that for sure, because we can’t see into people’s heads, but the most senior official is Rich B and he is reportedly nuts – “unyielding zealot” is what Coll called him. One option is that he wanted to pursue some policies more aggressively (such as extraordinary rendition, which he was involved in before and after 9/11). 9/11 clearly was used as the justification for US policy changes at home and abroad. These policy changes could have been predicted before the attack, so presumably he desired the changes it brought about. Why he would use the CIA specifically – he was a CIA officer, it was the tool at his disposal, if he wanted to bring about the changes he seems to have desired it was his only option.

    2. Why should we believe the CIA’s secret, illegal operations were good faith pursuits? If the goal was to infiltrate al Qaeda cells in the US that should have been done by the FBI. Leaving the FBI out of the loop tends to suggest the secret, illegal operations were not well intentioned.

    Answer: Given the circumstances we should not assume that the probable illegal monitoring of the hijackers was a good-faith pursuit. Primarily, this is because Wilshire and Rich B were aware there was soon to be an attack and were aware that Almihdhar was probably to be involved and was in the US. Yet, Wilshire kept protecting him. On the other hand, Wilshire and Rich B may possibly not have known the exact nature and specific targets of the attack, although you would expect the surveillance of the hijackers to turn this up. The 23 July e-mail is very important here, as it shows that Wilshire knew Almihdhar was “high interest” in relation to the attacks. Its omission from the 9/11 CR and the DoJ OIG report is incomprehensible.

    3. Everyone at the CIA lied to cover up their involvement in well intentioned CIA secret operations which were exploited by rogue CIA officials? Why would they do that for someone at the CIA who betrayed them in such a manner?

    Answer: You have to think of the thought processes of CIA officers. First they think it is bin Laden, then a few of them find out Wilshire and Rich B maybe concealed info from the FBI, especially over a year and a half before the attacks. In the CIA, concealing info from the Bureau, especially John O’Neill is not the greatest crime and they know Wilshire and Rich B, who at this time must be key leaders in the GWOT. So they are predisposed to believe it was an honest mistake (albeit involving an illegal domestic operation). Plus, they don’t know that Wilshire and Rich B knew that Almihdhar would probably be involved in or linked to the attacks. Presumably, they don’t know a bunch of other stuff as well, like Wilshire’s involvement in the Moussaoui case and the search for Almihdhar in late August 2001.

    Plus, they don’t want to go there. Say Tenet figured it out in 2006 or whenever. What would he do? Admit that he found out about an illegal black operation conducted without his knowledge shortly after 9/11 but decided not to investigate it and then promoted the guy who was running it to station chief in Kabul? For all we know, Tenet could have OK’d the illegal surveillance before 9/11 – but, say, wasn’t getting full reports about it and didn’t realise it had a connection to the forthcoming attacks. What could he do? Admit publicly that he had authorised an illegal operation that had got 3,000 Americans killed?

    Comment by kevinfenton — November 2, 2008 @ 8:04 am | Reply

  10. So the question becomes who exactly were al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar?

    Mihdhar and Hazmi were long time al Qaeda terrorists who were recruited by Bin Laden himself to become pilots in the al Qaeda “planes” operation. Their English was too limited to allow them to be successful in learning how to fly in US flight schools. After they flunked out of flight school Bin Laden scaled back the attacks on 9/11 to from 10-11 aircraft to 4 aircraft, and limited the targets to just 4 targets, the WTC Towers, the Capital Building and the Pentagon.

    What did the (CIA) agents believe they were doing by protecting them…did they think they were facilitating a terrorist attack or did they think they were protecting a very important operation?

    To answer that question you have look at the people who were keeping this information secret from the FBI.

    After January 4, 2001 the CIA agents at the CIA Bin Laden unit, the CIA Yemen station, possibly the CIA Thailand station, the handler for the CIA/FBI Joint source, and clearly all the upper level CIA managers were aware that the CIA was now culpable in allowing the attacks on the USS Cole to take place. To hide their culpability in allowing these attacks was then their motivation for keeping the Kuala Lumpur meeting secret from the FBI criminal investigators on the Cole bombing.

    Tom Wilshire, deputy chief of the Bin Laden unit, was under the control of his supervisor, the head of the Bin laden unit, a supervisor who worked directly for Cofer Black head of the CTC center. Wilshire had been forbidden twice from transferring the information on the Kuala Lumpur meetings to the FBI in July 2001. He had recruited FBI HQ Agent Dina Corsi to help him and the CIA keep the information on the Kuala Lumpur meetings secret from the FBI.

    When Black and Tenet moved Wilshire over to be liaison to FBI ITOS unit head Michael Rolince in mid-May 2001, both Rolince and FBI Director Freeh had to know that Wilshire was going to be the CIA spy inside the FBI and they still allowed this move to take place.

    It turns out that Wilshire’s first job was to find out exactly what the FBI Cole investigators knew about the meeting in Kuala Lumpur, which is why Wilshire set up the meeting in New York FBI field office on June 11, 2001 between the FBI Cole investigators and the CIA, and then to make sure if the FBI was not aware of this meeting and of Mihdhar and Hazmi, to make sure this CIA information was kept away from the FBI Cole investigators.

    Wilshire was also ordered to keep tabs on the Moussaoui FBI investigation, and to make sure that others at the ITOS were effectively sabotaging this investigation, but not to do this personally himself. Maltbie’s email back to Wilshire on August 24, 2001 confirms this.

    After August 22, 2001 both Corsi and Wislhire knew that by sabotgaing FBI Agent Steve Bongradt’s investigation of Mihdhar, that thousands of Americans would perish in a huge al Qaeda attack as a result of their actions. All of the high level CIA managers were also ware of this same horrific result of their actions when Gillespie issued the world wide alert for Mihdhar and Hazmi on August 23, 2001.

    Wilshire felt obligated to carry out orders of people over himself at the CIA. But Wilshire and Corsi also knew that if Bongardt took over the investigtaion of Mihdhar and the photograph of Khallad came over to the FBI, both of them and many other people at the CIA and FBI would have gone to prison for many years for having criminally obstructed the Cole bombing investigation.

    One would like to think that intel agents and journalists would have more concern for the victims and the truth.

    It is clear that these people never gave a rats ass for the people who were killed on 9/11, even including the main stream media journalists, if you can imagine that. If they did then why are all of these main stream journalists deliberately concealing from the American people the information that is now in the public domain, information that now conclusively proves that the CIA had deliberately allowed the al Qaeda terrorists to carry out the attacks on 9/11.

    All of this information comes from a careful analysis of the information in the DOJ/FBI IG report combined with the account of FBI Agent Ali Soufan, and the material from the Mousaaoui trial, and Woodward’s book “State of Denial”. This is in effect the official story on 9/11.

    There is not enough information at this point to know why the people above the level of Wilshire allowed the attacks on 9/11 to take place even though we know that they had ordered Wilshire and others at the FBI ITOS unit to shut down all investigations of al Qaeda terrorists found to be inside of the US, even when they were aware of a huge al Qaeda attacks about to take place inside of the United States.

    There is enough information to come to the conclusion that the upper managers at the CIA knew that the attack they had been warned about would be an attack on the World Trade Center Towers using hijacked aircraft and that these attacks would take place some time after August 22, 2001. After September 9, 2001 the CIA knew that the attack would take place in just days, see the book, “Prior knowledge of 9/11”, to see how it was possible to come to these conclusions. This book is on http://www.eventson911.com.

    Also on this site is all of the source documents that came directly off of official US government web sites that conclusively prove that the CIA working with FBI HQ agents had deliberately allowed the attack on 9/11 to take placed. A summary of the complete account of the events of 9/11 is also located on this site.

    Comment by rschop — November 2, 2008 @ 9:29 pm | Reply

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