Village Voice
Bush's 9-11 Secrets
Tue Aug 12 02:03:20 2003
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Bush's 9-11 Secrets
The Government Received Warnings of Bin Laden's Plans to Attack New York and D.C.
By James Ridgeway
The Village Voice

Thursday 31 July 2003
http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0332/mondo4.php

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Even though Bush has refused to make parts of the 9-11 report public, one thing is startlingly clear: The U.S. government had received repeated warnings of impending attacks—and attacks using planes directed at New York and Washington—for several years. The government never told us about what it knew was coming.

See for yourself. The report lists 36 different summaries of warnings dating back to 1997. Among them:

"In September 1998, the [Intelligence Community] obtained information that Bin Laden's next operation might involve flying an explosive-laden aircraft into a U.S. airport and detonating it."

"In the fall of 1998, the [Intelligence Community] obtained information concerning a Bin Laden plot involving aircraft in the New York and Washington, D.C. areas."

"In March 2000, the [Intelligence Community] obtained information regarding the types of targets that operatives of Bin Laden's network might strike. The Statue of Liberty was specifically mentioned, as were skyscrapers, ports, airports, and nuclear power plans."

Maybe the Bush team dismissed warning signals as the discoveries of an overly hyped up Clinton team. But John Dean, a White House counsel under Nixon who has become a guide to deciphering reports on 9/11, says this is unlikely. Condi Rice, Bush’s national security adviser, "stated in a May 16, 2002, press briefing that, on August 6, 2001, the President Daily Brief (PDB) included information about Bin Laden's methods of operation from a historical perspective dating back to 1997."

Rice also said at this briefing that the PDB pointed out that Bin Laden might hijack an airline and take hostages to gain release of one of their operatives. She said the warning was "generalized"—no date, place, or method.

As Dean notes, how could Rice, having known all this, say that the administration had no idea "these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon"?

"In sum, the 9-11 Report of the Congressional Inquiry indicates that the intelligence community was very aware that Bin Laden might fly an airplane into an American skyscraper," says Dean. "Given the fact that there had already been an attempt to bring down the twin towers of the World Trade Center with a bomb, how could Rice say what she did?"

We don't know because Bush has invoked executive privilege to withhold from Congress this key briefing on August 6, 2001.

We do know that despite years of warnings from the intelligence community, the government apparently had taken no steps to protect the eastern seaboard or any other American border from attack. There were no fighter aircraft ready to respond immediately to a threat. The government undertook no measures to increase airport security.

This entire affair has been forced into a discussion of what the CIA knew or didn’t know, and what it told or didn't tell the White House. But the questioning needs to focus on what Bush knew or didn't know. And what he did or didn't do in response to what his intelligence advisers told him.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/081203A.shtml
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CHECK OUT THIS SEARCH: 9-11 Bush CIA FBI Condi Rice


TIME.com: Could 9/11 Have Been Prevented?
... proposals amounted to "everything we've done since 9/11.". ... Every few days, the CIA
director would call Tom ... Secret Service was July 20, when Bush would arrive in ...
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,333835,00.html

THE TWO VISITORS
As the first cool nights of fall settled on northeast Afghanistan, Ahmed Shah Massoud was barely hanging on. His summer offensive had been a bust. An attempt to capture the city of Taloqan, which he had lost to the Taliban in 2000, ended in failure. But old allies, like the brutal Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, had returned to the field, and Massoud still thought the unpopularity of the Taliban might yet make them vulnerable. "He was telling us not to worry, that we'd soon capture Kabul," says Shah Pacha, an infantry commander in the Northern Alliance.

Around Sept. 1, Massoud summoned his top men to his command post in Khoja Bahauddin. The intention was to plan an attack, but Zahir Akbar, one of Massoud's generals, remembers a phone call after which Massoud changed his plans. "He'd been told al-Qaeda and the Pakistanis were deploying five combat units to the front line," says Akbar. Northern Alliance soldiers reported a buildup of Taliban and al-Qaeda forces; there was no big push from the south, although there were a number of skirmishes in the first week in September. "We were puzzled and confused when they didn't attack," says a senior Afghan intelligence source. "And Taliban communications showed the units had been ordered to wait."

What were they waiting for? Some of Massoud's closest aides think they know. For about three weeks, two Arab journalists had been waiting in Khoja Bahauddin to interview Massoud. The men said they represented the Islamic Observation Center in London and had a letter of introduction from its head, Yasser al-Siri. The men, who had been given safe passage through the Taliban front lines, "said they'd like to document Islam in Afghanistan," recalls Faheem Dashty, who made films with the Northern Alliance and is editor in chief of the Kabul Weekly newspaper. By the night of Sept. 8, the visitors were getting antsy, pestering Massoud's officials to firm up the meeting with him and threatening to return to Kabul if they could not see Massoud in the next 24 hours. "They were so worried and excitable they were begging us," says Jamsheed, Massoud's secretary.

The interview was finally granted just before lunch on Sunday, Sept. 9. Dashty was asked to record it on his camera. Massoud sat next to his friend Masood Khalili, now Afghanistan's ambassador to India. "The commander said he wanted to sit with me and translate," says Khalili. "Then he and I would go and have lunch together by the Oxus River." The Arabs entered and set up a TV camera in front of Massoud; the guests, says Khalili, were "very calm, very quiet." Khalili asked them which newspaper they represented. When they replied that they were acting for "Islamic Centers," says Khalili, he became reluctant to continue, but Massoud said they should all go ahead.

Khalili says Massoud asked to know the Arabs' questions before they started recording. "I remember that out of 15 questions, eight were about bin Laden," says Khalili. "I looked over at Massoud. He looked uncomfortable; there were five worry lines on his forehead instead of the one he usually had. But he said, 'O.K. Let's film.'" Khalili started translating the first question into Dari; Dashty was fiddling with the lighting on his camera. "Then," says Dashty, "I felt the explosion." The bomb was in the camera, and it killed one of the Arabs; the second was shot dead by Massoud's guards while trying to escape. Khalili believes he was saved by his passport, which was in his left breast pocket-eight pieces of shrapnel were found embedded in it. Dashty remembers being rushed to a helicopter with Massoud, who had terrible wounds. The chopper flew them both to a hospital in Tajikistan. By the time they arrived, Massoud was dead. The killers had come from Europe, and they were members of a group allied with al-Qaeda. Massoud's enemies had been waiting for the news. Within hours, Taliban radio began to crackle: "Your father is dead. Now you can't resist us." "They were clever," says a member of Massoud's staff. "Their offensive was primed to begin after the assassination." That night the Taliban attacked Massoud's front lines. One last time, his forces held out on their own.

As the battle raged, Clarke's plan awaited Bush's signature. Soon enough, the Northern Alliance would get all the aid it had been seeking-U.S. special forces, money, B-52 bombers, and, of course, as many Predators as the CIA and Pentagon could get into the sky. The decision that had been put off for so long had suddenly become easy because a little more than 50 hours after Massoud's death, Atta, sitting on American Airlines Flight 11 on the runway at Boston's Logan Airport, had used his mobile phone to speak for the last time to his friend Al-Shehhi, on United Flight 175. Their plot was a go.

That morning, O'Neill, Clarke's former partner in the fight against international terrorism, arrived at his new place of work. He had been on the job just two weeks. After Atta and Al-Shehhi crashed their planes into the World Trade Center, O'Neill called his son and a girlfriend from outside the Towers to say he was safe. Then he rushed back in. His body was identified 10 days later.

— Reported by Massimo Calabresi, John F. Dickerson, Elaine Shannon, Mark Thompson, Douglas Waller and Michael Weisskopf/Washington; Hannah Bloch and Tim McGirk/Islamabad; Cathy Booth Thomas/Dallas; Wendy Cole and Marguerite Michaels/ Chicago; Bruce Crumley/Paris; James Graff/Brussels; David Schwartz/Phoenix; and Michael Ware/Kabul

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