Reaction to James Bamford Interview about CIA's Protection of Almihdhar and Alhazmi

Author James Bamford was recently interviewed by Amy Goodman about his new book, The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America. He talked about some issues that are covered in the 9/11 Timeline's CIA Hiding Alhazmi and Almihdhar and Yemen hub categories. The interview follows on from an article in the Congressional Quarterly and it is well worth reading the whole thing.

I have some comments on a couple of the aspects Bamford touches on. First, I'd like to say that Bamford is obviously a really good reporter and he's done a much better job on this than anyone who came before him (for example, Terry McDermott knew about the intercepts between San Diego and Sana'a, but relegated this information to the endnotes). Having said this, as far as I can see at the moment, he's making a couple of errors and missing some things out.

(1) Main criticism of Bamford. So far, he has only talked about the CIA's failure to inform the FBI about two of the 9/11 hijackers, Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, in January 2000. There were multiple other failures, in March 2000 when a cable came in saying Alhazmi had entered the US, in January 2001 when a source identified al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash as being at al-Qaeda's Malaysia summit, in the 11 June shouting match, the Moussaoui case, and when Wilshire was told Almihdhar was in the US. If the failure in January was due to a conspiracy, not a dog eating the CIA's homework—which is what we had previously been led to believe—then it is extremely likely the other failures were also due to a conspiracy to withhold information from the FBI. This protection went on until late August 2001, at the very least. Without it, there is no way on earth that the 9/11 plot could have succeeded. The FBI would simply have arrested some of the plotters as a part of its Cole bombing investigation and put the rest under surveillance (or arrested them for the various other offences they committed – like immigration violations and driving without a licence).

Continued here.

A REALLY good reporter

would interview Richard Gage.

Has James Bamford heard of Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth?

Is it even possible that he has not?

The Two Hardest Words to Say in D.C. Politics.

Inside Job.

Another Two Hard Words for D.C. Insiders to stomach.

Constitutional America.
The CONSTITUTION is NOT going to "collapse" into pulverized dust no matter how much thermate/explosives or planes they throw at it

The key question

Who ordered Alec Station to withhold the intel? Tenet? Was Tenet acting on White House orders? One should note there were similar problems at the FBI ITOS. FBI agent Dina Corsi obstructed Cole investigators and made up nonsense to justify her conduct. FBI agent Maltbie and RFU Unit Chief Frasca obstructed the Moussaoui investigation.

I don't know if anyone ordered it.

Why assume that anyone ordered Alec Station to do it? Alec Station chief Rich B was clearly withholding information from his superiors, for example, he claimed to CIA leadership that the Malaysia surveillance was continuing when he must have known that was not true. There's no record of him telling anybody about Almihdhar after Gillespie discovered he and Alhazmi were in the US on 22 August. How come? This was confirmation of his belief that the forthcoming major attack would be in the US.

After the attack, everybody in the chain of command at the CIA thought they had screwed up, there was no particular reason to single out Rich B and Wilshire (who had moved on to the FBI by this time anyway) immediately for blame. If Tenet, Black and the CIA leadership were shafted by Rich B, what possible comeback would they have? When he figured it out months after the attacks (assuming for a moment this happened), Tenet what could Tenet do - go on national TV and tell everybody 9/11 was allowed to happen by one of his own officers to whom he gave a big promotion to station chief in Kabul after 9/11? I don't think he could do that, especially if Rich B really is the son of a former senior CIA official.

The executive summary of the CIA IG report

stated that "In the period January through March 2000 some 50 to 60 individual read one or more of six Agency cables containing travel information related to these terrorists. These cables originated in four field locations and Headquarters. They were read by overseas officers and Headquarters personnel, operations officers and analysts, managers and junior employees, and CIA staff personnel as well as officers on rotation from NSA and FBI."

Are we to believe all these officials knew but the Director of the CIA didn't? Or the head of the CTC didn't?

The way I see it is...

... that Black and Tenet were being briefed by Rich B. The cables you mention did not say that the information had been deliberately withheld from the FBI. In fact, there was a cable (written by Michelle) that said (wrongly) the information had been shared with the FBI. How would Tenet or Black know that the information had been withheld from the FBI unless Rich B or Wilshire told them? Rich B clearly did lie to his superiors when he claimed the Malaysia surveillance was ongoing when he must have known the meeting had ended. On the other hand, it is possibly Rich B lied to them because they told him to.

That is one thing

I don't get about Tenet. He claimed the failure to share intel was due to faulty cable trafficking procedures or faulty watchlisting procedures. OTOH, he made a huge deal about how freaked out he was about a possible attack. If it was that big a deal then one would think he would have wanted regular updates (face to face meetings or at least phone calls) with Freeh/Pickard. It doesn't make sense for Tenet to have relied on a cable trafficking system in such a high threat environment. For example, I don't understand why Pickard, Watson, Rolince, Middleton and Frasca weren't in the July 10 briefing with Rice.

You asked a key question in your Bamford writeup...who was tracking the al Qaeda operatives? We all know the FBI has jurisdiction in the US yet CIA didn't share the intel. So was another outfit tracking the hijackers? Some have alleged that Mossad operatives were doing so. Is this true and if so why on earth would Tenet agree to such idiocy? Prince Bandar suggested the Saudis were tracking the al Qaeda operatives "with precision." Is this true and again why would Tenet keep the FBI out of the loop and let (presumably) Saudi intel track al Qaeda inside the US?

The thing with Tenet is that...

... the stuff about believing the next attack was going to be in Malaysia came from Alec Station, in particular Wilshire. If you look at the accounts of the 10 July meeting or any other discussion by or with Tenet in the summer of 2001 there is no mention of him knowing or thinking the next attack was going to be in Malaysia. It was said in the 10 July meeting that the target could be the US. Rich B later said he thought the attack would be in the US. In e-mails sent to the CTC Wilshire kept saying Malaysia. Something is obviously wrong here, but what exactly?

Incidentally, I just opened Tenet's book again and I see the title of Chapter 8 is "They're coming here" Rich B's comment at a meeting in July. I really wonder about Tenet's inclusion of this comment in the book.

The way I see it, Rich B is the guy who briefs Black and Tenet, if information is to get to them, then it comes through Rich B. If he doesn't want them to know something, they don't know it. It's a similar deal at the FBI, Wilshire could get information from Rolince's subordinates and then not pass it on to Rolince (while maybe the subordinates would figure he had). Those two guys had a lock on information going up the CIA and FBI.

Regarding the surveillance, I doubt it would be left to the Saudis or the Israelis, although they may certainly have had parallel operations. There's no way to know for sure but top of my shortlist is a group of loyal Langley alumni, sort of neo-plumbers.


You may be the sharpest 9/11 researcher out there.

I hope you're working on a book, something like "9/11 Best Case" or "9/11 Just the Facts..."

You could seriously do some damage to the OCT if you put nose to grindstone.

70 Disturbing Facts About 9/11

John Doraemi publishes Crimes of the State Blog

johndoraemi --at--