History Commons Groups

August 21, 2011

The NSA & 9/11: Failure to Exploit the US-Yemen Hub & Beyond: Just one of the Legacies of 9/11

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — kevinfenton @ 2:21 pm
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This article was originally posted at Boiling Frogs Post:

Two of the terrorist hijackers who flew a jet into the Pentagon, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, communicated while they were in the United States to other members of al Qaeda who were overseas. But we didn’t know they were here, until it was too late.

The authorization I gave the National Security Agency after September the 11th helped address that problem in a way that is fully consistent with my constitutional responsibilities and authorities. The activities I have authorized make it more likely that killers like these 9/11 hijackers will be identified and located in time.

-President Bush, December 17, 2005

In the aftermath of 9/11, reams of newsprint were given over to discussing the CIA and FBI failures before the attacks; the agency had some of the hijackers under surveillance and allegedly lost them, the bureau was unable even to inform its own acting director of the Zacarias Moussaoui case. However, the USA’s largest and most powerful intelligence agency, the National Security Agency, got a free ride. There was no outcry over its failings, no embarrassing Congressional hearings for its director. Yet, as we will see, the NSA’s performance before 9/11 was shocking.

It is unclear when the NSA first intercepted a call by one of the nineteen hijackers. Reporting indicates it began listening in on telephone calls to the home of Pentagon hijacker Khalid Almihdhar’s wife some time around late 1996. However, although Almihdhar certainly did stay there later, it is unclear whether he lived there at that time. The house, in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a, was a key target for the US intelligence community as it was Osama bin Laden’s communication hub, run by Almihdhar’s father-in-law Ahmed al-Hada.

Carry on reading here.

August 22, 2009

FBI Document Shows Cole Bombers Called Yemen Hub


One of the more interesting things I have found going through the 9/11 Commission files is this extract, taken from an FBI summary of its investigation into the 9/11 attacks:

UBL can be directly connected to the attack on the USS Cole in October 12, 2000 (ADENBOM 265A-NY-277013). The 200578 telephone number which was originally identified as significant through the KENBOM/TANBOM investigation was also used during the planning of the attack on USS Cole. FBI investigators have learned the 200578 telephone number is subscribed to by AHMED AL-HADDA, whose daughter is married to KHALID AL-MIHDHAR (Flight 77). The ADENBOM investigation has also linked ALMIHDHAR to both NAWAF AL-HAZMI (Flight 77) and KHALLAD, now identified as TAWFIQ MOHAMED BIN SALEH BIN ROSHAYED BIN ATTASH.

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January 21, 2009

Questions for James Bamford

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

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December 24, 2008

Former FBI Director: 9/11 Hijacker’s Phone Played “Integral Role” in Cole Investigation


At the 9/11 Commission hearing on Law Enforcement and the Intelligence Community in April 2004, in response to a question about the FBI’s failings from commissioner Tim Roemer, former FBI Director Louis Freeh said:

… It would have been helpful — it would have been helpful — for the FBI at that particular point in time to know the names of those two individuals [Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi]; that the information which was generated in the January 2000 physical surveillance, not by the CIA but by a liaison agency [Malaysia’s Special Branch] — if that information and the initiation for that surveillance, which were phone calls to a central number, which you’re well aware of, which plays a integral role not only in the East African bombings case but also in the Cole investigation;…

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