History Commons Groups

January 21, 2009

Questions for James Bamford

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — kevinfenton @ 3:22 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

A new documentary by author James Bamford will soon air on PBS (website here). There will also be a Q and A with him and you can submit questions. I have been trying to get in touch with Bamford for a while, so I wrote a bunch of questions and submitted them. Here they are, a bit of a mixed bag:

Did the NSA’s inspector general write reports covering the NSA’s failures before (a) the 1998 embassy bombings, (b) the 2000 USS Cole bombing, (3) 9/11? In each case the NSA had intercepted calls to/from al-Hada that could have been exploited to prevent the attacks, but did nothing with them. If the inspector general did draft such reports, what do they say?

Ahmed al-Hada was involved in the embassy bombings, why was he not arrested? He was also involved in the Cole attack, why was he not arrested then?

How many calls were there between the 9/11 hijackers in the US and the al-Qaeda communications hub in Sana’a, Yemen, run by Ahmed al-Hada?

How did you find and film in Ahmed al-Hada’s house?

The NSA intercepted calls between Almihdhar and Alhazmi in the US and al-Qaeda’s global communications hub in Yemen, but claims it failed to trace them. According to FBI agent Dan Coleman, the FBI had a standing request to be informed of such calls and the FBI actually made a map of al-Qaeda global organization by tracing calls to/from al-Hada. Is the NSA’s claim credible?

Alec Station deputy chief Tom Wilshire and one of his assistants, “Michelle,” prevented FBI agents Doug Miller and Mark Rossini from informing the FBI that 9/11 hijacker had a US visa. Why might Wilshire and Michelle have blocked this notification to the FBI?

Where is Ahmed al-Hada? Where is Hoda al-Hada? If in custody, when were they captured?

NSA director Michael Hayden falsely claimed to the Congressional Inquiry in his prepared statement for October 17, 2002 that “NSA had no knowledge before September 11th that any of the attackers were in the United States.” However, the NSA’s representative to the FBI sent the NSA’s general counsel an e-mail on August 27 or 28, 2001 stating “al-Midhar is already in the US.” Why did Hayden make this false claim? Should he be prosecuted for it? The e-mail can be found here: http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/defense/448.pdf

You mentioned CIA manager Tom Wilshire several times in your book, but omitted his role in the Zacarias Moussaoui case. Wilshire was a senior official involved the case and at least partially responsible for the failures to pass information about it up the chain at the FBI and to obtain a warrant to search his belongings. All the official reports into the 9/11 failures also omit his role in the case, which was only revealed during the Moussaoui trial. Why did you leave this out of your book?

CIA manager Tom Wilshire was aware there was to be a major al-Qaeda attack in the summer of 2001 and that Khalid Almihdhar was “very high interest” in connection with this attack. After the FBI learned Almihdhar was in the US, Wilshire, then on loan to the bureau, failed to tell any of his colleagues working on the case that Almihdhar was “very high interest” in connection with an imminent attack. Should he have done this? Would it have let to more resources being devoted to the case?

“Rich B,” chief of Alec Station during al-Qaeda’s Malaysia summit in January 2000, falsely stated to his superiors on January 12 that the summit’s attendees were still under surveillance in Malaysia. However, they had dispersed, Alhazmi, Almihdhar and bin Attash going to Thailand four days previously. Alec Station had sent and received messages about this dispersal. He gave another incorrect briefing two days later. Why did Rich B incorrectly brief his superiors? Is it true he is the son of a famous former CIA manager? What was his role in the expansion of rendition and black sites after 9/11?

In 2006, former New York Times reporter Judy Miller made headlines with a claim she had failed to run a story about a pre-9/11 warning based on an NSA intercept in Yemen. The intercept seemed focused on something happening on July 4, the day Almihdhar returned to the US. Is this intercept related to Ahmed al-Hada’s phone?

Was there a special unit at the NSA that focused on Ahmed al-Hada’s phone? Were the calls translated in real time?

4 Comments »

  1. These are questions that the USG not only Bamford should answer.

    Comment by Jane Novak — January 22, 2009 @ 12:37 am | Reply

  2. If you get answers to these questions, which I doubt that you will. But would you send them to me.
    Thank-you
    PS I thought Ahmed al-Hada was killed. Am I wrong?

    Comment by Gary G. Swenchonis — January 22, 2009 @ 11:51 pm | Reply

  3. Will forward answers. I am hoping they will at least pick one of them. I don’t think they can have ten questions from the same guy.

    Ahmed al-Hada was reported captured after his son died in a grenade explosition in early 2002. He was reported free by MSNBC in 2005, so maybe he escaped or was released. In his 2006 book The Looming Tower author Lawrence Wright said he was “currently in Yemeni custody.” It’s on page 378. Hopefully, they haven’t released him, but you can never be too sure.

    Comment by kevinfenton — January 25, 2009 @ 4:04 am | Reply

  4. […] under: Complete 911 Timeline — kevinfenton @ 10:26 am A couple of weeks ago I submitted several questions to James Bamford, who was doing a public Q and A to mark the showing of a PBS Nova documentary he […]

    Pingback by Bamford Answers One Question: What NSA IG Report? « History Commons Groups — February 10, 2009 @ 10:26 am | Reply


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