"PBS: NSA could have prevented 9/11 hijackings" - Muriel Kane - Raw Story - January 27, 2009

PBS: NSA could have prevented 9/11 hijackings
by Muriel Kane - Published: Tuesday January 27, 2009

The super-secretive National Security Agency has been quietly monitoring, decrypting, and interpreting foreign communications for decades, starting long before it came under criticism as a result of recent revelations about the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program. Now a forthcoming PBS documentary asks whether the NSA could have prevented 9/11 if it had been more willing to share its data with other agencies.

Author James Bamford looked into the performance of the NSA in his 2008 book, The Shadow Factory, and found that it had been closely monitoring the 9/11 hijackers as they moved freely around the United States and communicated with Osama bin Laden's operations center in Yemen. The NSA had even tapped bin Laden's satellite phone, starting in 1996.

"The NSA never alerted any other agency that the terrorists were in the United States and moving across the country towards Washington," Bamford told PBS.

PBS also found that "the 9/11 Commission never looked closely into NSA's role in the broad intelligence breakdown behind the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. If they had, they would have understood the full extent to which the agency had major pieces of the puzzle but never put them together or disclosed their entire body of knowledge to the CIA and the FBI."

In a review of Bamford's book, former senator and 9/11 Commission member Bob Kerrey wrote, "As the 9/11 Commission later established, U.S. intelligence officials knew that al-Qaeda had held a planning meeting in Malaysia, found out the names of two recruits who had been present -- Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi -- and suspected that one and maybe both of them had flown to Los Angeles. Bamford reveals that the NSA had been eavesdropping for months on their calls to Yemen, yet the agency 'never made the effort' to trace where the calls originated. 'At any time, had the FBI been notified, they could have found Hazmi in a matter of seconds.'"

Former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer told PBS, "None of this information that we're speaking about this evening's in the 9/11 Commission report. They simply ignored all of it."

Not only was then-Director Michael Hayden never held accountable for the NSA's alleged failure, but he went on to oversee the Bush administration's vast expansion of domestic surveillance. In 2006, he was appointed as director of the CIA.

When asked whether the NSA's warrantless eavesdropping violated FISA law, Hayden insisted, "I have an order whose lawfulness has been attested to by the attorney general, an order whose lawfulness has been attested to by NSA lawyers who do this for a living. No, we're not violating the law. ... I'm asserting that NSA is doing its job."

NSA's power to eavesdrop on ordinary Americans has vastly increased since 2001, and the government's secret watch list now includes over a half a million names. PBS raises serious questions about whether important clues are still being missed simply as a result of the sheer volume of data being collected.

The Spy Factory will be shown over most PBS stations on February 3, 2009 at 8 pm.


the White House ignored it and shut down further investigation" OR utilized that information to ensure the success of the attacks OR they were well aware of what was going on because they initiated the attacks through devious back channels in the "terrorist/intelligence world."

I think it's safe to say they didn't simply ignore it. At least not everyone in the administration.

Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? Do we deserve to know how and why 9/11 happened?

Contact James Bamford with your comments and questions:

Contact James Bamford with your comments and questions:


The NSA could have prevented 911?

The NSA was a KEY PART of Operation 911.


Operation Iraqi Liberation.

Sometimes the Simple Truth is just simple,

For those who don't believe me talk to insiders within the Establishment that know things have got out of control and are willing to speak the truth.

Patriotsquestion911.com as well as a healthy Dose of Common Sense will get skeptics to the Real Truth,

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

I watched- PATHETIC!

perpetuate the myth...they are now keeping us safe....spying is OK considering the circumstances.

"And since the NSA reports

"And since the NSA reports directly to the White House, the whole allegation that "turf wars" between the different intelligence agencies caused 9/11 holds no water. In reality, the NSA and other intelligence services conveyed sufficient information to the White House to stop 9/11, but the White House ignored it and shut down further investigation."

Yes, but all of this would appear to only do one of two things -- confirm the ineptitude model, or confirm the general criminal aspects of the Bush WH, all of which we already know from the torture, fraudulent elections, fake WMDs, etc.

My concern with Bamford is that he doesn't believe 9/11 was an inside job at all.

Here he is on Democracy Now. He describes the absurdity of the situation, but never connects the dots that it was purposeful, only that it was "ironic", or out of ineptness, because of White House agendas, etc. He never gets to "inside job" . . . just failures and blockages, but zero intent. This is not unlike Colleen Rowley, who is so opposed to imagining a mole or inside job that she treats that idea like a joke.

JAMES BAMFORD: Well, that’s the ultimate irony, was they eventually travel across country from San Diego, and they set up their final base of operations—these are the—this is the crew that was about to attack the Pentagon—about a month before, they set up their base of operations in Laurel, Maryland, of all places, that happens to be the same city that NSA is headquartered. So they set up their base of operations in this Valencia Motel, and almost across the Baltimore-Washington Parkway is NSA headquarters. The director’s office is on the eighth floor, and, except for some trees, he could almost see the motel where they’re staying. So, NSA is over there trying to find terrorists, and here is the 9/11 terrorists sitting right opposite the NSA on the other side of the parkway making their final plans.

Mohamed Atta flew there for summit meetings. And they had to take three hotels at one point to put all the people there. So, as NSA is looking for them, they’re having their final summit meetings there, and they’re walking around the Safeway, they’re exercising in Gold’s Gym, they’re eating in the restaurants there, they’re mingling with NSA employees. That’s NSA’s company town. It’s just the ultimate irony that here you have the terrorists and the eavesdroppers living side by side in the month before the final attack.

I really think anything with Bamford is designed to be limited hangout, to provoke shock and then stop dead at ineptitude and Bush White House blunders. That's what limited hangout is all about -- stopping anyone from considering things further. And if Bamford -- the super spy guy -- doesn't believe any aspect of inside job, why, the nutty conspiracy theorists who are internet geeks must have no idea what they're talking about.

Here's more confirmation:

JAMES BAMFORD: Well, first of all, looking back on the pre-attack, it was clear right after the attack that General Hayden, the Director of NSA, realized the big mistake he had made, that these guys not only were in the US, and he never told anybody they were communicating from the other side of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, and he never let anybody know. So, obviously, he was very chagrined at the fact that, you know, his actions were contributing factors to the whole 9/11 attack by not being more aggressive in going after their communications and telling people where they were.

Gosh, he must've just been kicking himself that he never let anyone know . . .

I agree with Victronix

Bamford, PBS, Rowley, et al are attempting to lock in the ineptitude model, innocently or otherwise. A question we might ask ourselves: How long has the NSA known about the upcoming PBS documentary? Answer, since the day it was conceived. which means they already have their response, and counter response, ad infinitum all worked out. Even with the ineptitude model, if I were a victim family member I'd be outraged. Of course, PBS will dance around and/or ignore the most incriminating evidence. We will need to counter with a solid case for a new investigation without it, which really won't be that hard because we have been doing it all along. If they want to cry "system failure" again, we need to make them, and particularly Obama, explain to the public precisely where it broke down and demand that people get fired. I think we really need to push this. They won't fire anyone because if they do, people might start to talk. And an "internal" investigation (coverup) is unacceptable. This is a smart move on their part. By allowing and planning for this level of exposure, they are betting things will intensify briefly and melt away with the snow come spring. Thankfully, no amount of ineptitude can explain WTC7. In a volatile way, it's good for us because it keeps the 9/11 story from slipping into oblivion. Granted, they are creating a smoke screen that will be tough to penetrate, but we don't need to completely penetrate it, we need to capitalize on the media exposure and put our best spokespersons up front. As the short list of "acceptable" questions begins to arise, we need to very politely DEMAND that questions like "What happened to WTC7," and "What about the NORAD stand down" be added to the list. They refuse to go down OUR rabbit hole because they know they can't win. But likewise, we really can't win if we go down their rabbit hole because it's a set up. We need simply to watch and listen and hold our ground, utilizing our best stuff. Let's not get carried away by their BS. It's a good day for LIHOP.


I think Bamford suspects, but isn't sure and so won't go with it publicly. There is a lot of stuff he doesn't know and he knows he doesn't know it. If things were explained to him, he may well view the matter differently.

My Take On Bamford

Perhaps no journalist/author knows as much about the NSA and communication gathering as Bamford. I think he does probably figure that some high ups' in government knew what was going to happen on 9/11.

He also knows to come out publicly and endorse the view of Bush administration complicity would be seriously affect his career, in a very negative way as far the ability to make money.

We should support Bamford and respectfully prod him to look more into foreknowledge and active perpetration by Bush/Cheney.


Contact James Bamford with your comments and questions:


Story on Raw Roundup

I used to believe PBS Nova stuff, then I put down the Kool-Aid.

Isn't it funny how your level of awareness evolves. I used to believe these bullshit shows. Now I realize they are part of the tapestry of propaganda woven to placate the masses without revealing the naked truth. PBS is for the pseudo intellectual Kool-Aid drinker. Just the same, it is prone to propagating the lies that keep the masses sleeping.

I noticed in the video clip that they show a line of gigantic satellite dishes at about 1:02. The implication is that these dishes have something to do with the NSA. I am pretty sure that the dishes shown are part of the Very Large Array in the New Mexico Desert. These dishes are radio telescopes used to explore deep space.

It isn't that big of a deal, but it shows that they are not above using fake pictures to make the program look a certain way, without regard for the accuracy of what they are showing.

I call it the CHEESE FACTOR. What we have here is disinfotainment.


I've never heard that term before...

What we have here is "disinfotainment."

~In Lak'esh
(Mayan: You are another me)

yeah, it came to me as I was writing the comment.

It seems to fit.

While Disinfotainment, at a minimum it suggest...

that much was covered up by the Omission Commission.

What it doesn't say may lead people to the TRUTH.

I agree. There is some exposure here.

I think limited hangout fits well here also.

Well Said

"I used to believe these bullshit shows. Now I realize they are part of the tapestry of propaganda woven to placate the masses without revealing the naked truth."

Those who disseminate our information also have tremendous influence over our government and our money (2 other means of societal control).

Our minds (thoughts and feelings) are constantly steered by media into non-productive or counter-productive activity that does cause one to lose sight of more important facts or endeavors.

You are so right ROBinDALLAS.

PBS is part of the problem, not part of the solution. They do not bite the hand that feeds them. I recently watched "New York, The Center of the World" Episode 8. It has a lot of WTC footage and sticks right tight to the official story of 9/11. It's nauseating.

PBS should be pressured by all of us to release the 1990 documentary "The Engineering and Construction of the Twin Towers". They cooperated with the 9/11 perps to scrub that video from their archive. Wouldn't you just love to see it and find out why?


Bamford is pushing

the overreaction theory. Like Mayer and Suskind. He sets it up by telling us how committed Hayden was to protecting civil liberties before 9/11. Why didn't Hayden use FISA? The whole point of FISA was to protect civil liberties.

The overreaction theory only works if one is unwilling to question the pre-9/11 conduct of officials like Hayden. Here is a Wired interview exchange with Bamford:

DR (Danger Room): NSA has long had all these relationships with the telecommunications companies, as well. One thing that confused me: Before 9/11, while Hayden was supposedly fighting against any eavesdropping on Americans, you write, the NSA was trying to convince one telecom, Qwest Communications, to help the agency conduct domestic surveillance. Those two don't fit.

JB: It would've been nice if everything fit into a nice little package, but it didn't. That was one of the outlying issues. The time line seemed to be off. You know, I could see [Hayden] doing that after 9/11, but before 9/11 he was very careful. It's hard to say. Again, I'm just one guy trying to write this book. But that's why there really needs to be a congressional investigation into what went on at NSA.

The only thing I can think of is that [Hayden] may not have been trying to get access to the actual voice conversations. What he may have been trying to get from Qwest was their database of subscribers — subscriber names, subscriber telephone numbers. It's one of the things that NSA has always tried to get. I mean, going back to the early days, they had the world's largest collection of telephone books.

Hayden would've known that was at least questionable, if not illegal, because I think he made a comment about that very kind of access before 9/11.

Wired interview with Bamford

And the allegations by AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein:

The project was described in the ATT sales division documents as calling for the construction of a facility to store and retain data gathered by the NSA from its domestic and foreign intelligence operations but was to be in actuality a duplicate ATT Network Operations Center for the use and possession of the NSA that would give the NSA direct, unlimited, unrestricted and unfettered access to all call information and internet and digital traffic on ATTÌs long distance network.

AT&T suit

In summary:

1) Hayden failed to use FISA.

2) Hayden failed to inform the FBI even though they asked to be told about Yemen hub communications.

3) Hayden was involved in pre-9/11 warrantless surveillance programs.

4) After 9/11, Hayden kept his job while helping to (further) implement warrantless surveillance programs. He later received promotions to DDNI and CIA Director. As CIA Director he opposed the declassification of the CIA IG report claiming it would "consume time and attention revisiting ground that is already well plowed" and distract CIA from the WoT. He also supported the torture program and launched an investigation of CIA IG Helgerson.

Where is the good faith?

We should all write PBS ombudsman, Michael Getler

and let him know all about the gaps in the program, after it airs.

Flood his inbox and at least we will be sending PBS a very strong message that the American people are watching and we don't buy this foolishness anymore.

I'm sure someone will post something about this program the day after it's broadcast.

We're going to see more and more energy going into reinforcing the incompetence meme and setting the stage for a limited hangout when that nonsense is finally shown to be untenable.

Thanks for the post.

The truth shall set us free. Love is the only way forward.

The NOVA Website


Investigating 9/11

In 2002, the U.S. House and Senate Intelligence committees asked attorney Eleanor Hill to lead their investigation into why the intelligence community failed to foresee 9/11. Hill was a 20-year veteran of inquiries into government lapses and abuses, including Iran-Contra. Throughout the late 1990s, she also had served as Inspector General of the Department of Defense, a role that gave her insight into the workings of various intelligence agencies.

As Staff Director of the Joint Congressional Inquiry on the September 11th Attacks, Hill oversaw the hearings and report that reviewed the nation's highly classified intelligence files and probed what our intelligence community knew regarding the terrorist threat prior to the attacks. James Bamford, coproducer and writer of NOVA's "The Spy Factory," spoke to Hill about the experience.

The Interview with Eleanor Hill:

Hijacker Guilt Is Unconfirmed Mythology

Hijacker guilt has always been assumed.

Precise self-guidance of the 9/11 planes was a technical reality.

And precise aircraft impacts with the lowest floors of WTC zones that were re-fireproofed suggests clandestine activity designed to create an appearance of plane impacts generating building collapses.

(the powerful psychological finale')

A pre-9/11 sting of the accused may have complicated the mythological script, but not stopped the attacks.

Ensuring accused patsies were on-board the planes allowed for the media script of foreign terrorist involvement to immdeiately unfold.

One cannot have a story without a cast of characters.

Very interesting

"And precise aircraft impacts with the lowest floors of WTC zones that were re-fireproofed suggests clandestine activity designed to create an appearance of plane impacts generating building collapses."



Floors 92 and above were re-fireproofed between 1995-2000 within WTC 1. WTC 1 was struck at floor 94 by AA 11. Floors 77 and above were re-fireproofed between 1995-2000 within WTC 2. WTC 2 was struck at floor 78 by UA 175.

Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster: Passive Fire Protection

World Trade Center Building Performance Study

Sibel Edmonds.

We try to connect this story to Sibel Edmonds as often as we can when this comes up around the internet. Great opportunity to get her name back out there in the consciousness. Peace.


I wonder if the validity of her gag order can now be challenged, with new folks in all of the (supposedly) key positions?

PBS is seeking truth about 9/11???? OK.

Well fine. I got a great idea for PBS--while they are asking about important clues still missing concerning the events of 9/11.

They can go into their video archive and re-release the 1990 documentary entitled "The Engineering and Construction of the Twin Towers". They will know which one I am talking about. It's the one they were forced to scrub from their library by the Bush Crime Family CIA, NSA, DOD, etc... You know, the film that shows the actual details of how the WTC towers were constructed. That's right. The one that will blow the top off of the 9/11 investigations by revealing how those towers were turned to dust in seconds.

Go for it PBS---I freakin' dare ya.