History Commons Groups

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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August 4, 2009

9/11 Commission Staffer to NSA: How Can We Help You?


I recently found an interesting 9/11 Commission document about the NSA in the National Archives. The handwritten note from one of the commission’s staffers, Gordon Lederman, shows that one of his acquaintances had lunch with NSA Director Michael Hayden on May 7, 2003. Before the lunch, the acquaintance called Lederman and asked him whether he had any questions he wanted put to Hayden. According to the note, Lederman’s reply was, “I suggested that [the acquaintance] ask what the 9/11 Comm could do in its investigation that would be most useful to DirNSA [Hayden].”

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April 27, 2009

Newly Released Memo: Government ‘Minders’ at 9/11 Commission Interviews ‘Intimidated’ Witnesses


A recently released 9/11 Commission memo highlights the role of government “minders” who accompanied witnesses interviewed by the commission. It was added to the National Archives’ files at the start of the year and discovered there by History Commons contributor paxvector.

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