History Commons Groups

October 31, 2009

People of the Veil: A Novel by A CIA Rapist

Filed under: Books We Read — kevinfenton @ 12:00 pm

I recently read People of the Veil by Andrew Warren. Warren is a CIA officer accused of date rape I blogged about yesterday. Understandably, I didn’t stumble on the book just by chance, but bought it specifically because I was curious what a book by an alleged CIA rapist would look like.


October 30, 2009

Was Disgraced CIA Chief Involved in Al-Libi Rendition?

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline,Torture and Abuse — kevinfenton @ 7:01 am
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A few months ago, our day was illuminated by the news that the CIA’s chief of station in Algeria, Andrew Warren, was under investigation for a pair of date rapes. I did not pay the matter too much mind at the time, but have recently realized that Warren may have been involved in one of the defining events of the war on terror.


October 29, 2009

Reaction to Coleen Rowley on Real News Network: Where’s Wilshire?

The Real News Network recently carried an interview of former FBI lawyer Coleen Rowley by Paul Jay (part 1, part 2 and part 3), dealing with what it called the “unanswered questions about the lead up to 9/11.” Rowley was stationed at the bureau’s Minneapolis office during the Zacarias Moussaoui case in August and September 2001, but later became a whistleblower and left the organisation.

While many aspects of the interview are good and interesting, it leaves out what is probably the most important known fact about the Moussaoui case: the identity of the most senior FBI headquarters official involved fully involved in the case.


October 28, 2009

‘The single database that contains terrorist-related intelligence and law enforcement information in a single repository’

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Document Collection — kevinfenton @ 3:21 pm

According to a 9/11 Commission document, the US has a “single database that contains terrorist-related intelligence and law enforcement information in a single repository, enabling detailed link, pattern, and trend analysis.”

The commission document is a draft briefing request for the Pentagon, apparently written by commission Counsel Daniel Marcus sometime in August 2003. It requests an “orientation/briefing” from the Joint Intelligence Task Force-Combating Terrorism on five issues, the fourth of which is the database. The request can be found on page 55 of the pdf file.

The request was found in the 9/11 Commission’s files at the National Archives by History Commons contributor Erik Larson and uploaded to the 9/11 Document Archive at Scribd.

I thought the mention of the database was interesting, and just wanted to pass it on. I’m sure somebody else can make better sense of it than I.

Rumsfeld: Worse than Clinton

Filed under: Document Collection — kevinfenton @ 3:11 pm
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This made me laugh. It’s from a 9/11 Commission memo summarising an interview with RAND staffers:

Did the military trust Clinton to use force responsibly? Yes, they disliked Clinton until they saw Rumsfeld.

You can find that on page 81 of the PDF file.

October 26, 2009

‘Fuzzy’ Documents at 9/11 Document Archive Resolved

Filed under: Document Collection — kevinfenton @ 2:18 am

As I previousy noted, some of the documents we found in the 9/11 Commission files at the National Archives and uploaded to the 9/11 Document Archive did not display correctly there. The problem was that they were fuzzy or blurred and it was real hard to read some of them. I have now re-uploaded the approximately 600 (out of over 8,000) documents this problem affected and all of them should display OK now.

AFAIK, the problem was with Scribd’s application, but they fixed in back in April (2nd or 3rd). So the only documents that had to be re-uploaded were ones originally uploaded before then.

If you find any documents there that are still fuzzy, please let either Erik or I know, and we will try and fix it.

October 25, 2009

The Conventional Wisdom on the CIA’s Italian Job and Why It Might Be Wrong

One of the most famous CIA counterterrorist operations after 9/11 is the extraordinary rendition of Islamist extremist Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr (a.k.a. “Abu Omar”) from Milan, Italy, to Egypt in 2003. Although it generated little publicity at the time, Abu Omar was later released in Egypt and called home. The Italian authorities intercepted the call, found he had been tortured, and started to investigate.


October 24, 2009

Photo of the Station Chief as a Young Man

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — kevinfenton @ 8:41 am

One of the people this blog focuses on is Richard Blee (timeline of activities here), who was part of–and appears to have headed–a group of CIA officers and others who, in the run-up to 9/11, withheld information from the FBI, in particular the agents investigating the USS Cole bombing.

During my various googlings, I have found a picture of him. Here it is:

(warning: this is a big graphic)


October 20, 2009

‘Fuzzy’ Documents at 9/11 Document Archive

Filed under: Document Collection — kevinfenton @ 1:33 pm

As anyone who has spent any amount of time at the 9/11 Document Archive at Scribd will know, some of the 9/11 Commission documents we (i.e. Erik) found at the National Archives and uploaded there were fuzzy and either hard-to-read or unreadable. We never really worked out what caused it, as the documents we uploaded were fine, and they were fine when we downloaded them again, but just displayed fuzzy in the web application Scribd uses.

We contacted Scribd and, although we don’t know whether they did anything, the problem went away after a while.

I went through the documents we uploaded a couple of days ago, and the fuzzy issue seemed to have affected the first approximately 600 (out of a total of 8,000 documents). I am now going through the fuzzy documents and “unfuzzying” them (i.e. downloading and re-uploading them). This will take a while, but the first approximately 150 have already been done. Hopefully, I will be finished by next week or so.

October 19, 2009

Awareness of Military Cell at FAA Headquarters of Events on Day of 9/11

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — kevinfenton @ 1:18 am

As people who follow the issue closely are aware, there has been some debate over the involvement of a group of military officers stationed at FAA headquarters–generally referred to as the “military cell”–in the events of 9/11. Although I don’t mean to recap the whole debate here, the basic jist is that the 9/11 Commission claimed that the military were unaware of the hijacking of United 93 until a few minutes before it crashed, but what about the military cell–were they too unaware of what was going on?

Yesterday, I was reading through the commission documents we have posted at the 911 Document Archive at Scribd, and I came across a transcript of FAA communications on the day of 9/11. You can find the following at page 59 (approximately 9:45 a.m. – 9:50 a.m.):

MR. : Tactical Net–

MR. : And this is Cleveland Center. Who’s up?

MR. : It is the Command Center with about five or six people listening.

MR. : Okay. Mr. [inaudible], the chief, just asked if we have any military up or not? Are we pursuing that? We’d like to be able to track this guy (United 93) so we know what’s going on, especially when we lose a transponder.

MR. : We have been in contact with the military cell here in the building and they’re working the issue. I’m not sure where they are with–

Obviously, this does not prove that the military cell at the FAA was aware of the hijacking of United 93 (still less that they passed it on to other elements in the military), but a contemporary reference stating their involvement is certainly interesting evidence.

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