History Commons Groups

December 18, 2009

Writing Blind or Turning a Blind Eye? The Confused World of Amy Zegart


I recently had the misfortune to read Spying Blind: The CIA, the FBI, and the Origins of 9/11 by Amy Zegart. I have to say it is the very worst book I have ever read abut 9/11. It was even worse than this one, which, as you can appreciate, is difficult, and it was way, way worse than this one, this one and this FBI press release. I haven’t read this one yet, and I anticipate it will be a lot, lot worse even than Zegart’s attempt, but you never know.

Basically, Zegart takes the 9/11 Commission’s no-fault thesis to the nth degree by claiming the whole thing was systemic failure and holding no individual accountable for his or her failures.

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December 15, 2009

NSA Deputy Director: What Al-Qaeda Meeting?


The most senior NSA official interviewed by the 9/11 Commission with a memo of interview in the recently released batch is undoubtedly Barbara McNamara. She joined the agency in 1963 and held a series of senior management positions, culminating in being deputy director from 1997 to 2000, before being put out to pasture as the NSA’s representative to London.

This is quite the most remarkable passage of the memo:

She does not recall being personally [asked] to provide about transcripts or raw data for [counterterrorism]. NSA has analysts posted across the community. But sharing of raw data is not done routinely by NSA unless they get a specific request for a specific item. She said that she does not remember people asking for raw data, but if they wanted it NSA would have provided it, particularly if they were called by the [CIA Director] or [Deputy CIA Director] or [Assistant CIA Director for Collection].

This was flatly contradicted by Michael Scheuer, the former chief of the CIA’s Alec Station.

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December 12, 2009

Minor Reorganisation of 9/11 Timeline

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — kevinfenton @ 3:20 pm

There has been a minor reorganisation of the 9/11 Timeline. The meta-categories Al-Qaeda by Region and Specific Alleged Al-Qaeda Linked Attacks or Plots have been moved up on the list of meta-categories so that they follow on from some other al-Qaeda related meta-categories, specifically Other Al-Qaeda-Linked Figures.

In addition, a new meta-category has been created, called Miscellaneous Al-Qaeda Issues. This meta-category contains three categories, which are Alleged Al-Qaeda-Linked Attacks, Alleged Al-Qaeda Media Statements and Key Captures and Deaths. They were previously in one of the post-9/11 meta-categories, but contained entries that were dated to before 9/11, as al-Qaeda operatives plotted, issued media statements and were captured also before the 9/11 attacks. We thought it was a bit confusing for them to be there, so we moved them. It seems more logical now.

December 10, 2009

Category Added to Inslaw and PROMIS Timeline

Filed under: Miscellanenous — kevinfenton @ 3:08 pm
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As the Inslaw and PROMIS Timeline continues to grow, I have added another category. It is Internal DoJ Investigations/Internal Investigations by the Justice Department of Allegations Related to PROMIS. As you can probably guess by the title, it will cover how the Justice Department investigated itself over the allegations made against it by Inslaw and others, or rather how it kicked them into touch. Altogether, there were probably at least five or six different internal investigations, in addition to the myriad of court cases.

At the moment there are only a couple of entries in the category, although I am adding relevant material now that will hopefully be published in the not-too-distant future. Overall, there are 82 entries published in the timeline, and another twenty plus making there way through the system.

As anyone familiar with the issue can see, there is still lots of material uncovered. I figure that if I keep adding something every month I should get somewhere eventually.

December 8, 2009

Response to Maher Osseiran’s Critique of David Ray Griffin’s Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — kevinfenton @ 2:45 am
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Maher Osseiran, who has written about Osama bin Laden and his many videos, recently wrote a rather scathing critique of David Ray Griffin’s Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive? I had planned to write about the book at more length, but, sparked by Osseiran’s article, I figure I’ll address one issue now.

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December 6, 2009

A. Q. Khan Timeline Undergoes Minor Reorganisation

Filed under: A.Q. Khan Nukes — kevinfenton @ 2:37 pm
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There have been some changes to the timeline focusing on the nuclear supermarket run by Pakistani nuclear scientist A. Q. Khan. Primarily, I took the three categories covering various officials that had worked against the Khan network, British customs agent Atif Amin, US intelligence analyst Richard Barlow and former CIA NOC Valerie Plame Wilson and grouped them into a special meta-category called Counterproliferation Officials Working against A. Q. Khan Network.

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December 4, 2009

NSA Drafted ‘Retrospective’ on 9/11 Failings after Attacks


The National Security Agency drafted a “9/11 Retrospective” following the 2001 attacks, according to a document recently released by the National Archives.

Although an unclassified version of the Justice Department inspector general’s report into the FBI’s performance before 9/11 was published in full in 2006 and the executive summary of a parallel report by the CIA inspector general was released in 2007, this is the first known mention of any NSA review about its failings before the attacks.

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