Kevin Fenton's blog

CIA Criminal Revolving Door: CIA Officer “Albert” Involved in False Intelligence Linking Al-Qaeda to Iran, Iraq

A recent book by former FBI agent Ali Soufan shows that the same CIA officer was involved in generating intelligence that falsely linked al-Qaeda to first Iran and then Iraq. The officer was also involved in a notorious torture episode and was reprimanded by the Agency’s inspector general.

The officer, who Soufan refers to as “Fred,” but whose real first name is “Albert” according to a February 2011 Associated Press article, served at the CIA station in Jordan in 1999. During that time, al-Qaeda, aided by a collection of freelance terrorists headed by Abu Zubaidah, attempted to commit a series of attacks in the country, known as the Millennium Plot. However, the attacks were foiled by the local Jordanian intelligence service, working with the CIA and FBI.

During the investigations of the plotters, Albert drafted a series of official cables that were later withdrawn. Although the withdrawing of the cables was first mentioned in a July 2006 article by Lawrence Wright for the New Yorker, Wright did not mention what was in the cables or by whom they were drafted. The content of one of them and the drafter were first revealed upon the publication of Soufan’s book in mid-September 2011.

According to Soufan, one of the twelve withdrawn cables falsely stated that the group of terrorists later arrested for the Millennium Plot in Jordan was linked to Iran. Albert’s reasoning for this was that the group had trained in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, an area of high activity by the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah. Therefore, the group in Jordan had to be working with Hezbollah and be backed by Iran.

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Analysing the CIA Response to Richard Clarke's Allegations: Who Knew What When?

by Kevin Fenton, 911truth.org

Following the airing of allegations by former counterterrorism "tsar" Richard Clarke that the CIA deliberately withheld from him information about Pentagon hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, former CIA director George Tenet, former CIA Counterterrorist Center chief Cofer Black and Richard Blee, a mid-level agency official who occupied two key counterterrorist positions before 9/11, have responded with a joint statement.

Clarke said that information about the two men was deliberately withheld from him in January 2000, at the time of a key al-Qaeda meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which the CIA monitored. Clarke alleged that, based on his knowledge of how the CIA works, Tenet authorised the deliberate withholding. Clarke added that the information was clearly important in the summer of 2001, when the CIA knew that Almihdhar was in the country and, in the words of one of Blee's former deputies, was "very high interest" in connection with the next al-Qaeda attack. However, the CIA continued to withhold some information from both Clarke and the FBI.

Mark Rossini, one of Blee's former subordinates at Alec Station, the CIA's bin Laden unit, has previously admitted deliberately withholding the information from the FBI. According to Rossini, in early January 2000 he and a colleague, Doug Miller, knew they should notify the FBI that Almihdhar had a US visa and presumably intended to soon visit the US. Miller even drafted, but did not send, a cable informing the FBI of Almihdhar's visa. However, Rossini says he and Miller were instructed by a female CIA officer known as "Michael" and Blee's deputy, Tom Wilshire, to withhold the information.

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An Explosive New 9/11 Charge

by Philip Shenon, the Daily Beast

In a new documentary, former national-security aide Richard Clarke suggests the CIA tried to recruit 9/11 hijackers—then covered it up. Philip Shenon on George Tenet’s denial.

With the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks only a month away, former CIA Director George Tenet and two former top aides are fighting back hard against allegations that they engaged in a massive cover-up in 2000 and 2001 to hide intelligence from the White House and the FBI that might have prevented the attacks.

The source of the explosive, unproved allegations is a man who once considered Tenet a close friend: former White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, who makes the charges against Tenet and the CIA in an interview for a radio documentary timed to the 10th anniversary next month. Portions of the Clarke interview were made available to The Daily Beast by the producers of the documentary.

In the interview for the documentary, Clarke offers an incendiary theory that, if true, would rewrite the history of the 9/11 attacks, suggesting that the CIA intentionally withheld information from the White House and FBI in 2000 and 2001 that two Saudi-born terrorists were on U.S. soil—terrorists who went on to become suicide hijackers on 9/11.

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Former Counterterrorism Czar Accuses Tenet, Other CIA Officials of Cover-Up

by: Jason Leopold, Truthout

With the tenth anniversary of 9/11 just a month away, the intelligence failures leading up to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have started to attract fresh scrutiny from former counterterrorism officials, who have called into question the veracity of the official government narrative that concluded who knew what and when.

Indeed, recently Truthout published an exclusive report based on documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and an interview with a former high-ranking counterterrorism official that showed how a little-known military intelligence unit, unbeknownst to the various investigative bodies probing the terrorist attacks, was ordered by senior government officials to stop tracking Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda's movements prior to 9/11.

And now, in a stunning new interview made available to Truthout that is scheduled to air on a local PBS affiliate in Colorado tonight, former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, for the first time, levels explosive allegations against three former top CIA officials - George Tenet, Cofer Black and Richard Blee - accusing them of knowingly withholding intelligence from the Bush and Clinton White House, the FBI, Immigration and the State and Defense Departments about two of the 9/11 hijackers who had entered the United States more than a year before the attacks. Moreover, Clarke says the former CIA officials likely engaged in a cover-up by withholding key details about two of the hijackers from the 9/11 Commission.

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

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.

War Games, Blackwater, KSM - Updates to the 9/11 Timeline as of March 16, 2010

The largest group of entries added to the 9/11 Timeline over the last couple of weeks concerns military exercises and the day of 9/11. FAA training exercises in December 2000 included scenarios [Bad link] and there was a Boeing 767 [Bad link] in the summer of 2001, as well as a simulated suicide terrorist attack against New York [Bad link], and a mock [Bad link] the next day. Early on the day of the attacks, [Bad link] were participating in a training exercise, and controllers at Reagan National Airport [Bad link] of the approach of Flight 77.

Al-Zawahiri’s Tapes, Air Security – Updates to the 9/11 Timeline as of February 15, 2010

Most of the entries published over the last couple of weeks are about video and audio messages released by al-Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri. We have a call for jihad in Somalia from January 2007, a request for media questions from December of that year, and a call for revenge for Israeli attacks in Gaza the following March. This was followed by his answers to the questions in two parts, the last of which was a platform for him to claim the rumors Israel was behind 9/11 were planted by the nefarious mullahs of Tehran.

July 2001 Communication between KSM and Bin al-Shibh Intercepted, Later Obtained by Moussaoui Prosecutors

Kevin Fenton has updated this article; visit the original via the link at the bottom - loose nuke

A July 2001 telephone call between alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) and 9/11 coordinator Ramzi bin al-Shibh was intercepted, apparently by the NSA. Prosecutors and FBI agents working on the Zacarias Moussaoui case later obtained detailed information about the call, and shared it with the 9/11 Commission.

A memo about the meeting with the commission was found at the National Archives by History Commons contributor Erik Larson, who posted it to the 9/11 Document Archive at Scribd.

DC Air National Guard on 9/11, The Many Deaths of Osama bin Laden – Updates to the 9/11 Timeline as of February 3, 2010

After a hiatus of a couple of weeks, dozens of new entries have been published in the 9/11 Timeline over the last few days. The largest chunk of them covers events at the DC Air National Guard, based at Andrews Air Force Base, on the day of the attacks. Initially, officers assumed that the first crash into the WTC was an accident. However, after the second crash, Andrews learned the Secret Service wanted fighters launched. Although the Secret Service then said it didn't on the phone, pilots started overwriting recent exercise data on their flight disks.

Bin Laden and More of His Messages - Additions to the 9/11 Timeline as of January 5, 2009

The vast majority of entries published by the 9/11 Timeline over the past couple of weeks concern the elusive Osama bin Laden. First, there are entries about audio recordings he has reportedly released over the last couple of years, about the Muhammad cartoons, Palestine, Palestine again, Gaza, Israel, the badness of Barack Obama, US policy, and Afghanistan.

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.

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].

Pre-9/11 Movies – Additions to the 9/11 Timeline as of December 15, 2009

Three entries recently published in the 9/11 Timeline cover films with 9/11-style themes made before the attacks. 1977's ''Black Sunday'' had terrorists crashing an explosive-laden blimp into the Superbowl stadium, 1996's ''Executive Decision'' featured a planned suicide attack with a commercial jet, and a late 2001 Chuck Norris vehicle originally entitled ''The President's Man: Ground Zero'' was too close to real events for comfort and CBS refused to air it.

Elsewhere, al-Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri was unsurprisingly unimpressed with Barrack Obama, two of the 9/11 hijackers asked a neighbour for their towel back shortly before the attacks, and some of the 2006 "liquid bomb" plotters were convicted in Britain in September, although others were acquitted. Their alleged leader Rashid Rauf was hit by a drone last year, although doubts about his death persist.

Finally, some Democrats kicked up a stink after the famous August 6 Presidential Daily Brief item was made public in 2002, former CIA agent Larry Kolb thought the US was less safe than ever in 2007, and alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four associates expressed a desire to plead guilty to charges against them in military commissions late last year.

Reposted from here.

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

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.

In chapter 2, “Two Fake Bin Laden Videos in 2001,” Griffin discusses a recording that he calls the “October Video,” in which bin Laden makes statements some people regard as incriminating concerning the 9/11 attacks. Griffin points out that the contents of the video were previewed in the British media, but that when British Prime Minister Tony Blair then referred to them in a speech, he did not release the video.

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.

The document released by the National Archives is an undated memo of an interview conducted by the 9/11 Commission of an unnamed NSA manager. The manager served as a congressional liaison in the late 1990s and then as a counterintelligence chief from 2000 to 2003. The memo was released last week and was also uploaded to the 9/11 Document Archive at Scribd by History Commons contributor Erik Larson.