History Commons Groups

September 23, 2009

In Praise of Wikipedia


I know that Wikipedia takes some stick, in particular from traditional media, about some problems that creep in, but I have to say that I quite like it. Here’s one reason. We have a few entries about an FBI agent called Robert Fuller, who was involved in the failed search for Pentagon hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi in the weeks before the attacks. The entries cover what he did at this time and they’ve been up for quite a while.

However, if you look at the Wikipedia entry on him, you get a brief outline of this and also, tagged onto the bottom, a couple of recent news stories that mentioned him. Specifically, he was involved in the interrogation of celebrated detainee Salim Hamdan (of v. Rumsfeld fame) and failed to read him his rights. In addition, he interrogated Omar Khadr, getting him to incriminate Maher Arar (Canadian citizen rendered from New York to Syria and tortured there, now back home and cleared of any wrongdoing). Finally, there is a story of his handling of an informant who got so frustrated with the bureau that he set himself on fire in front of the White House.

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September 12, 2009

Gulshair Shukrijumah: Atta’s Able Danger Link?


As ABC news confirmed yesterday, alleged lead 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta attended a Florida mosque run by Gulshair Shukrijumah, a radical Islamist imam. Although ABC revealed key new details, including that an FBI informer had been interested in Atta, but had been pulled away from him by his handlers, public information previously indicated Atta and fellow alleged hijacker pilot Marwan Alshehhi had attended the mosque. Based on this, in early 2007 I wrote an entry in the 9/11 Timeline called “Atta and Alshehhi Attend Florida Mosque,” which put together a comment in the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry report and media accounts.

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September 11, 2009

Atta-Shukrijumah Link Another Blow to KSM’s Credibility


Today saw the eighth anniversary of 9/11 and, as usual, there were a slew of articles. The most interesting was this one on ABC, which probably requires three posts to digest fully. I have previously expressed extreme scepticism at some of the statements reportedly made by alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) under waterboarding and other torture, and this report further confirms my suspicions he told his interrogators a pack of lies, which they and then the 9/11 Commission believed to an unhealthy extent.

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Former Powell Chief of Staff: Cheney Is a ‘Sith Lord’


There was a great interview with Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, at a website called The Public Record yesterday. I’d never heard of the website before, but it seems pretty sound. The whole interview is worth reading and covers lots of interesting ground, but here are just a few of the key excerpts:

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Identity of CIA Officer Responsible for pre-9/11 Failures, Tora Bora Escape, Rendition to Torture Revealed

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline,Document Collection — kevinfenton @ 1:52 am
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The name of the CIA officer who ran Alec Station, the agency’s bin Laden unit, in the run-up to 9/11 can be revealed. Known by a variety of aliases in the media until now, such as “Rich” in Steve Coll’s Ghost Wars, “Richard” in the 9/11 Commission report and “Rich B” in George Tenet’s At the Center of the Storm, his real name is Richard Blee.

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September 7, 2009

9/11 Training Exercise Planned for Simulated Plane Crash Five Minutes before Pentagon Attack Took Place

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline,Document Collection — Matt @ 10:02 am

Five minutes before the Pentagon was hit on September 11, 2001, a training exercise being run by a US intelligence agency just over 20 miles from the Pentagon was set to include the scenario of a small private jet plane crashing into a building. It is unclear whether the scenario was played out, or if the exercise had been called off by that time.

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September 6, 2009

Newly Found Document Indicates Bush Administration Knew Repeat of 9/11 Unlikely by 2003


The title of a 2003 Senior Executive Intelligence Brief (SEIB) item indicates that by late 2003 the CIA had concluded it would be hard for al-Qaeda to pull off another 9/11. The item was entitled “Terrorism Complexities Make Repeating September 11 Difficult” and was circulated to top policy officials on December 16, 2003.

The precise circulation of SEIBs varied from administration to administration, but they were usually seen by officials such as the secretary of state, attorney general, vice president and others of similar rank. SEIB items are often used as presidential daily brief items, so it is likely that President George Bush also saw the information in mid-December 2003.

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September 3, 2009

Who Is the Mysterious CIA Interviewee?

Filed under: Torture and Abuse — kevinfenton @ 2:10 pm
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One of the biggest pieces of news in the last couple of weeks has been the release of the CIA inspector general’s report into the usefulness, or rather lack thereof of its torture techniques. It has been practically everywhere, but one thing that has been lost is that there were a whole bunch of supporting documents released from the inspector general’s investigation. One of these caught my eye in particular.

It is a memorandum drafted by an inspector general employee about a 16 July 2003 interview of a female CIA officer who appears to be very involved in the agency’s rendition and torture programme.

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