Tenet’s C.I.A. Unprepared for Qaeda Threat, Report Says

The New York Times has the whitewash story.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 — The former head of the Central Intelligence Agency, George Tenet, recognized the danger posed by Al Qaeda well before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but failed to adequately prepare the C.I.A. to meet the threat, according to an internal agency report that was released in summary form today.

Mr. Tenet was sometimes too occupied with tactics instead of strategy, and he was lax in promoting an information-sharing environment within the C.I.A., the agency’s Inspector General’s office says in a report released today.

An inspector general’s team that reviewed the agency’s performance found that C.I.A. officers “from the top down” worked hard against Al Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, before the 9/11 attacks.

“They did not always work effectively and cooperatively, however,” the team concluded, in what amounted in part to sharp criticism of Mr. Tenet’s management skills and style.

“The team found neither ‘a single point of failure’ nor a ‘silver bullet’ that would have enabled the intelligence community to predict or prevent the 9/11 attacks,” the inspector general’s office said. “The team did find, however, failures to implement and manage important processes, to follow through with operations, and to properly share and analyze critical data.”

“The agency and its officers did not discharge their responsibilities in a satisfactory manner,” the report said at one point. The document was completed in June 2005 but was kept classified until now.

No C.I.A. employee violated the law, nor did any of their errors amount to misconduct, according to the review team led by Inspector General John Helgerson.

Mr. Tenet, who resigned from the C.I.A. in 2004 and was succeeded by Porter J. Goss, has defended his and his agency’s actions, and he did so again today. The C.I.A.’s anti-terrorism efforts were embodied in “a robust plan, marked by extraordinary effort and dedication” long before Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Tenet said in a statement.

“Without such an effort, we would not have been able to give the president a plan on Sept. 15, 2001, that led to the routing of the Taliban, chasing Al Qaeda from its Afghan sancturary and combating terrorists across 92 countries,” Mr. Tenet said. Furthermore, he said, an inspector general’s report in August 2001 praised the agency’s anti-terrorism efforts.

The current head of the C.I.A., Gen. Michael V. Hayden, issued a statement making clear that he did not favor publication of the inspector general’s report because, he thought, it would “consume time and attention revisiting ground that is already well plowed.”

The report was released today as part of an arrangement with Congress, which recently endorsed the recommendations of the independent, bipartisan commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks.

The report’s executive summary was made public at midday Eastern time on the agency’s web site, www.cia.gov.

In some ways it is reminiscent of the findings of the 9/11 commission. That body concluded that “a failure of imagination” had made intelligence agencies unable to fully discern the growing peril of Al Qaeda, and that communication lapses within the C.I.A. and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and between those agencies had hobbled efforts to “connect the dots” of intelligence data and effectively pursue Al Qaeda terrorists, even after some of them had entered the United States.

The inspector general’s report said that, while its team differed with some findings of the Senate and House intelligence committees, which also probed the failures leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks, “it reaches the same overall conclusions on most of the important issues.”

An internal investigation at the F.B.I. also found fault with some of its actions before the 9/11 attacks. But, while some officials in both the F.B.I. and C.I.A. have come under heavy criticism, none has been disciplined.

The head of the C.I.A. was once in charge of all federal intelligence agencies. That was the case during Mr. Tenet’s tenure, and the report noted that he said as far back as 1998 that “we are at war” with Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

However, the document went on, Mr. Tenet and his top aides failed to create “a documented, comprehensive plan to guide the counterterrorism effort at the intelligence community level.” One meeting “soon devolved into one of tactical and operation, rather than strategic, discussions,” the report said.

It concluded that Mr. Tenet “did not use all of his authorities” in leading a strategic effort against Osama bin Laden, and that “the management approach” within the C.I.A.’s counter-terrorism center “had the effect of actively reinforcing the separation of responsibilities” among key units.

Incompetence Theory

The above is nothing more than the latest endorsment of the "incompetence theory"...that our government meant well, but was just too stupid/lazy/fractious to guard against 9/11.

People like the incompetence theory, because it makes them feel better, since according to this theory,. the government is a) essentially well-meaning, and b) dumber than they are. These people tend to react rather negatively...sometimes even violently, when they're forced to contemplate the possibilities of LIHOP or (God forbid) MIHOP.

Notice no mention of the 1999 CIA visit when

Osama bin-Laden was in an American Hospital in Dubai getting his dialysis treatment from an American Doctor.

The first responders should have such health coverage.

It was even closer to 9/11 than that

Actually, according to the article that ran in Le Figaro in the fall of 2001, it was in July of that year--just two months before 9/11--that bin Laden was visited in the Dubai hospital by the local CIA station chief.

People liking it wouldn't be bad, if they were consistant

Right, you think CIA has bollocksed it up, eh? Too right. So, scream for the sacking of whose responsible and push for a review--maybe even a budget cut.

The week after 9/11 I had to listen to this cow from the CIA explain how "this is a very difficult job and we get millions(billions?) of dollars to do it". This was supposed to be an explaination. All I was thinking was "yeah, and maybe we should STOP giving you loads of cash until you can justify the expense".

I see this all the time with people who believe the incompetence theory:

-Bush is incompetent--but they don't scream for impeachment or resignation
-the CIA/FBI/FEMA/abc_____ was incompetent--but they don't demand to look at their budgets
-the FAA/Pentagon dropped the ball--but they don't demand someone in charge get the sack.

Incompetence is NOT an excuse. Sack em-- sack the lot of them.

Impeachment. Accountability. A better world.

Way to go Col. Jenny

As a forensic accountant (CPA,DABFA) I am all for holding people accountable for their misdeeds. There isn't any quick fix for this type of problem - other than to demonstrate real justice.
But how can you demonstrate real justice when the top law officer in the country (Atty General Gonzales) gets away with lying to Congress.

Unfortunately the entire military complex has been trained to obey orders without thinking whether it is a legal order or not. It is nothing new. There has always been a certain amount of excessive force used. Who was it that said "War is hell" ?

The military needs to be retrained that the oath that they take upon entering the service about "protecting our Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic" should be the first consideration of all the armed services. Especially with this administration that rewards doing the wrong thing and punishes those who aren't willing to do what he wants them to do.

It has become apparent that when a General retires because he disagrees with the president there is always a willing General wanna-be who will say whatever he has to to get the job.

After the head of NORAD on 9/11/2001 successfully botched the fighter response the president rewarded him with a promotion to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a medal.

The CIA agent (Wilson) who disagreed with the President about Iraq and his reward was a leak to the press that his wife was an agent.

Each member of Congress has taken oaths that include similar phrases. Even the Boy Scouts of America have their Scout Oath which states in part On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my Country. I am an Eagle Scout - class of 1959 and I believe that I am doing my best to do my Duty to God and my Country by seeking the truth about 9/11, supporting the 9/11 movement and raising my voice through blogs like this one.
I am not rich enough to Produce a DVD or run for President but I do feel obligated as a citizen of this Country to put forth what I believe is the difference between right and wrong.

I believe that what George W Bush has done and is doing is wrong but I don't think it is his fault. I blame his parents because he was not raised to be a good citizen of this country.
The Coup of the 2000 presidential election via the Florida voter fraud shows how corrupt the entire Bush family is. I have no respect for the name Bush. It is evil with different letters.

I better stop before I say something that I will regret. Fortunately I am in my 60s and can see how bad it has become. I only keep going to keep my Scout Oath and try to restore the rights that the citizens of America have lost. I am sad that I could not pick up on the evil that has grown from the CIA and secret governments when JFK was executed by them in 1963.

Incompentence Conspiracy Theory

“It has been said that the intelligence agencies have to be right 100% of the time. And the terrorists only have to get lucky once. This explanation for the devastating attacks of September 11th, simple on its face, is wrong in its value, because the 9-11 terrorists were not just lucky once. They were lucky over and over again. When you have this repeated pattern of broken protocols, broken laws, broken communication, one cannot still call it luck. If at some point, we don’t look to hold the individuals accountable for not doing their jobs, properly, then how can we ever expect for terrorists to not get lucky again?” Mindy Kleinberg, 9/11 Family Steering Committee in an address to the 9/11 Commission, March 31, 2003

“The purpose of a government investigatory commission is to place blame where it does the least harm politically.” —Paul Craig Roberts

“Our aim has not been to assign individual blame” 9/11 Commission Report

“I can't think of a single person being held accountable anywhere in government for what went on and what went wrong prior to Sept. 11, it seems that nobody in government makes any mistakes anymore.” Senator Charles Grassley

“Sometimes the policymakers themselves seize upon incompetence as a cover. [For example, when the Iran-Contra affair was discovered, President Reagan plead incompetence.] His admission of incompetence was eagerly embraced by various analysts and pundits who prefer to see their leaders as suffering from innocent ignorance rather than deliberate deception.” Michael Parenti

“Officials who ‘failed’ (like Myers and Eberhard, as well as Frasca, Maltbie and Bowman of the FBI) were given promotions.”

“We're an empire now, and when we act we create our own reality."

50 to 60 !!??

Regarding travel by alleged American 77 hijackers Khaled Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi to Malaysia, where they were monitored, and to the US, it says:
"In the period January through March 2000, some 50 to 60 individuals read one or more of six Agency cables containing travel information related to these terrorists."

50 to 60 !!?? That must be everybody in Alec Station and then some. They're telling us that every single one of these 50 to 60 officers was so absent-minded they forgot to put the two of them on the watchlist and inform the FBI. You have absolutely got to be sh@tting me. How can anybody read that and not fall off their chair laughing? The CIA busted a gut to keep the FBI away from them.

You can find the whole executive summary here:

General reaction

What a load of old cobblers. This is only the executive summary and maybe the actual report is better, but it is, to put it mildly, not very good. Basically, the CIA knew who some of the hijackers were, it was listening to their phone calls, the NSA overheard them talking about hijacking an airliner, the calls can be traced to the US, and the CIA was doing all it could to keep the FBI from learning about the hijackers before it was too late. The information it had is plenty to roll up the plot, my opinion is the CIA didn't roll up the plot because it didn't want to. Hell, for all I know it was helping them. Some more specific comments:

There was some information about alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in the summer of 2001 (the CIA knew he was sending operatives to the US for a suicide operation). The CIA OIG says optimum use of this information was not made because he had been assigned to the renditions branch (he had been indicted, they wanted to kidnap him), and it wasn't shared with Alec Station and the rest of the Counterterrorism Center. This is codswallop because Alec Station and renditions were run by the same manager at this time and had been integrated. Even before they were integrated former Alex Station chief Michael Scheuer had a big say in renditions. It also says there was a failure to produce any (redacted) coverage of KSM between 1997 and 2001. One can only wonder about the lack of such coverage and the nature of the real relationship between KSM and Langley.

Quote about Almihdhar and Alhazmi:
"... an FBI officer assigned to the CTC on 5 January 2000 drafted a message about the terrorists' travel that was to be sent from CIA to the FBI in the proper channels. Apparently because it was in the wrong format or needed editing, the message was never sent."
Translation: There was nothing wrong with the message.
Comment: Had it been sent, 9/11 would not have happened. It was blocked by Alec Station deputy chief Tom Wilshire.

"On the same date, another CTC officer sent a cable to several Agency addressees reporting that the information and al-Mihdhar's travel documents had been passed to the FBI. The officer who drafted this cable does not recall how this information was passed."
Comment: It wasn't passed. She (the officer who drafted the cable) said somebody told her it was passed (it's in the FBI OIG report). She was talking about this with Wilshire, so it was probably him that told her this lie.

"The team has not been able to confirm that this information was passed."
Translation: It wasn't passed, but let's fudge the issue.

"Whatever the case, the Team found no indication that anyone in CTC checked to ensure FBI receipt of the information, which, a few UBL Station officers said, should have been routine practice."
Comment: What a surprise!

It then says there were more cables in March 2000 about Alhazmi and Almihdhar, but nobody in Alec Station did anything about it again.

"In the months following the Malaysia operation, the CIA missed several additional opportunities to nominate al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar for watchlisting; to inform the FBI about their intended or actual travel to the United States; and to take appropriate operational action. These included a few occasions identified by the Joint Inquiry as well as several others."
Comment: The Joint Inquiry said they missed a bunch of opportunities to watchlist the two of them. The CIA OIG is saying it is actually worse than the JI said.

"The consequences of the failures to share information and perform proper operational followthrough on these terrorists were potentially significant... surveillance... would have had the potential to yield information on flight training, financing, and links to others who were complicit in the 9/11 attacks."
Translation: We let 9/11 happen.
Comment: The heavy lifting was done by Wilshire, they will probably give him a medal. Well done, Tom!

I recommend...

Great ..

So it WAS the CIA.. even Mossads New York Times says so ..
because they didn't keep their agent Tim Osman on a tight leash .
Maybe we can finally be spared listening to all that Osama-Al Qaeda bull-crap ?

"Listen carefully now : DO NOT DESTROY OIL-WELLS" Dubya

I guess Condi never told them about the PDB

You know the one titled "Bin Ladin determined to attack America" or some such?

Maybe a failure of imagination prevented it from being forwarded to, um, the agency responsible for dealing with external threats?

Nah. The failure of imagination was them thinking we would swallow this tot...

Impeachment. Accountability. A better world.

"Failure Of Imagination..."

“In essence, the Commission could have produced a final product where the resulting conclusions and recommendations could be trusted. Instead, at the end of the day, what we got were some statements that truly insulted the intelligence of the American people. Violated our loved ones’ memories, and might end up hurting us, one day soon.

One such statement is that 9/11 was a ‘failure of imagination’. A failure of whose imagination? What exactly does that mean? When you have a CIA director with his hair on fire, a system blinking red, 52 FAA warnings, an August 6th, 2001, PDB entitled ‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the United States’, leads on several 9/11 hijackers including Alhazmi, Almihdhar and Marwan Al-Shehi, warnings from many foreign governments, a Phoenix memo warning of Islamic extremists taking flying lessons, the arrest of would-be terrorist Zacarias Moussauoui, facts imparted to one agent, Agent Frasca at the RFU at the FBI, 9/11 was truly a failure alright.

But I would certainly not call it a failure of imagination.

Once again these warnings and threats were not received in a vacuum. Nor were they so common an occurrence that they should have been ignored in the wholesale and brazen manner in which they were.

To me it seems rather clear that there were enough warnings making their way to the appropriate people that meant that the proverbial dots should have and could have been connected. And thus, in light of all the incoming information in 2001, exactly whose failure was it to understand that our new enemy was terrorism, exactly who failed us by not having the agencies do anything in a defensive posture to protect Americans from just this possibility?” - 9/11 Family Member Lorie Van Auken at the 2005 9/11 Congressional Briefing

Donate To 9/11 First Responders

Nor the Bush and bin-Laden

Nor the Bush and bin-Laden family connections both financial and social.