Reaction to Coleen Rowley on Real News Network: Where’s Wilshire?

The Real News Network recently carried an interview of former FBI lawyer Coleen Rowley by Paul Jay (part 1, part 2 and part 3), dealing with what it called the “unanswered questions about the lead up to 9/11.” Rowley was stationed at the bureau’s Minneapolis office during the Zacarias Moussaoui case in August and September 2001, but later became a whistleblower and left the organisation.

While many aspects of the interview are good and interesting, it leaves out what is probably the most important known fact about the Moussaoui case: the identity of the most senior FBI headquarters official fully involved in the case.

The official, a CIA officer named Tom Wilshire who was on loan to the bureau, is ubiquitous in the intelligence failures before 9/11. He was involved not just in the Moussaoui case, but also in the deliberate withholding from the FBI of visa information about one of the hijackers, Khalid Almihdhar, in January 2000, the failure to notify the FBI of Alhazmi and Almihdhar’s entry into the US after he reviewed the Malaysia cables in May 2001, the preparations for the 11 June 2001 "shouting match" meeting between CIA officers and the bureau’s Cole investigators, and the failed hunt for Almihdhar in the weeks before the attacks.

By late August 2001, Wilshire knew al-Qaeda was about to attack US interests, knew Almihdhar was likely to be involved and knew Almihdhar was in the US. However, despite being on loan to the FBI at that time, Wilshire told none of the agents searching for Almihdhar that he was likely to be part of a near-term attack. The bureau only sought Almihdhar as a witness to the Cole bombing, and the search was assigned to a single rookie agent who had other stuff to do. The agent failed to find him in bizarre circumstances that have never been fully explained. Had Wilshire mentioned that, by the way, this guy is about to blow something up, maybe the bureau would have devoted more resources to looking for him.

Wilshire’s involvement in the Moussaoui case was conclusively revealed in July 2006, when his substitution for testimony at the case was posted to the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Attached to the testimony is an e-mail, sent on 24 August 2001 to the three officials in the bureau’s Radical Fundamentalist Unit handling the case. It reads: "Dave, Please advise when you get a chance this AM where we are re the Minneapolis Airplane IV crowd. Has the tasking gone out to try and obtain more bio info on the guys, (redacted). Do we have photos yet? Can the agency get the photos so they can get them on the wire to assets?"

This may be only one e-mail, but in it he is asking for an update, which means he must have previously been aware of the case. It is also eminently possible that this was not his last involvement. In addition, the use of the phrase “Minneapolis Airplane IV crowd” (apparently a reference to the disaster movie parodies, of which only two were made) indicates both familiarity with the case and a certain, shall we say, dismissive attitude.

The Congressional Inquiry (presumably), Justice Department Inspector General and 9/11 Commission all knew of Wilshire’s involvement in the case, but both the inquiry and the commission declined to make any mention of it. The inquiry even had Wilshire testify publicly before it (albeit from behind a screen), but failed to ask him a single solitary question about the case. The writer of the Justice Department Inspector General’s report spends one hundred and twenty pages discussing Moussaoui (more in the classified version), but never once does she trouble herself to actually name the top guy fully involved in the case at FBI HQ (although he is the “consultant” who e-mails Dave Frasca on page 151). This despite him rating 80+ mentions (under the alias "John") in the report in connection with his participation in the Almihdhar affair.

One of the major failures in the Moussaoui case was the failure to pass notice of the case on up the FBI chain of command. Famously, CIA Director George Tenet and other agency managers were repeatedly briefed on the case, whereas the bureau’s senior management had never heard of him before the attacks. This, together with the failure to find Amihdhar--also overseen by Wilshire--made the bureau a laughing stock after the attacks. Who should we blame for this failure to pass information on to senior management? Somebody in Minneapolis? Rita Flack, a lowly intelligence operations specialist at FBI HQ? Or the most senior official fully involved in the case at HQ--Wilshire?

At this point in time there is no evidence that conclusively proves intentional wrongdoing by Wilshire—or any of the other FBI officials at headquarters—in the Moussaoui matter. However, Wilshire clearly did deliberately withhold information about Almihdhar from the bureau for a period of more than twenty months. We need to ask the question whether his poor performance in the Moussaoui case was genuine--perhaps caused by the excessive time demands covering up for Almihdhar placed on him ;-)--or deliberate. And we won’t know that for sure until we get more information.

Originally posted here.

I showed this to her...

I'll let you know if she says anything about it.

Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? The facts speak for themselves.

She replied to the original post

Click on the "Originally posted here" link and scroll down to see her comment. Good of her to drop by.

One of the other commentators also found a link showing Dina Corsi was promoted after the attacks.


Here's what she said on facebook.

I just posted a short comment. Someday maybe we'll all get a chance to meet up?! You've got to remember that after someone becomes a whistleblower, they aren't really ever trusted after that. So after May 2002, even tho' I was still the legal person until April 2003, it was never quite the same. After I spoke out about Iraq War, it REALLY wasn't... Read More the same. I was then treated by nearly everyone as a pariah and had to give up my GS-14.

The agent--who later resigned--that I think would know a lot and would be interesting to ask questions of would be Ali Soufan who had been assigned to the Cole bombing under John O'Neill. He was one of only 6 or 7 Arabic speaking agents and was dismissed from the interrogation of Zubaydah when the CIA decided to conduct "harsh interrogation tactics". Soufan kept his mouth shut about the "torture issue" for years but finally spoke out and when he did, he did a great job.

Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? The facts speak for themselves.


We would obviously love to talk to Soufan, but whether he wants to talk to us, I don't know. Reading between the lines, he thinks the information was kept from him deliberately, but doesn't know why. Whereas I would say that, based on what we know at the moment, the information was kept from Soufan and the others in order to enable an attack. Having said that, there's a small chance that there is other evidence we don't know about that provides a relatively innocent explanation, but I really doubt it.

From an article linked on Soufan's site

In the months before the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on America, Mr Soufan was leading an FBI investigation into the 2000 bombing of the American warship, the USS Cole, in Yemen. He asked the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) - several times - for information he knew they had about the bombers and their meetings in Malaysia, but the information was not handed over.

In fact, the masterminds of the USS Cole bombing had met up with two plotters of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks in America. The CIA knew they were in America. They had known for over a year.

When Mr Soufan came to know of this fact on Sept 12, 2001, he ran into the bathroom and threw up, said The New Yorker.

Speaking to The Straits Times, Mr Soufan declines to elaborate on this moment, or to discuss his involvement in the 9/11 investigation.

He will say only that it was a 'painful' time, and that The New Yorker article was 'very accurate'.

Just sharing-Battling terrorism (The Straits Times (Singapore), 29 Aug. 2008)

He won't talk about it. Other key agents/officials involved won't talk about it. The intel agencies are sitting on the 9/11 interviews, which have been "pending classification review" for about five years. Farmer is selling the notion of bureaucratic inefficiencies which only makes sense if one pretends that there is no such thing as corruption. The overreaction theory/model of 9/11 (used to justify police state powers) only makes sense if one pretends the bizarre conduct by CIA, FBI, NSA and White House officials didn't happen.

Farmer is selling bureaucratic inefficiences

but he's also selling it as THE definitive explanation.

In order to intentionally defuse the questions being pondered by growing numbers of people about the OCT, he offers a small token of a / some "truth" - Bush admin. f*&^&ed up, should be embarrassed, ashamed, blah, blah, blah - that he (they) are trying to pacify and divert people's questioning away from THE truth.

To a large degree, unfortunately, I think it worked, although hopefully only temporarily. because so many people believe that Bush, as a representative and representation of his administration, was a bumbling nincompoop, a blithering idiot. They may not like it, but they can understand it and relate to it. I mean, who wouldn't want to cover up / bend the truth a bit about their own failings?

Using this knowledge, Farmer (they) have attempted to close the door on the entire issue in one slick, fell swoop, by relegating all other explanations / alternate theories to the 911 trash heap.

He writes as much himself in the very first part of the book (The Untold Story - page 5, Introduction) and it's hugely significant. The last sentence in this quote is the key to the whole book - why it was written and what the entire motivation for it was.

It's subtle, but one doesn't really have to read between the lines to understand what his (their) point was - IF you're reading it from the perspective of already knowing what the actual truth is (i.e., the OCT doesn't fit the evidence, and that the evidence shows the exact opposite of bumbling.)

"In the grand scheme of things, then, the government's deception about how we were defended on 9/11 may seem minor. This book in no way seeks to overstate it's significance. In it's own way, however, the government's failure to tell the truth about what happened on 9/11 has had far-reaching effects.

Because the government's story didn't make sense, it raised as many questions as it answered, thus fueling conspiracy theories that persist regarding 9/11. One purpose of The Ground Truth is to lay at least some of these theories to rest by identifying and establishing the deception that did occur."

Used goods

' so many people....can understand it and relate to it. I mean, who wouldn't want to cover up / bend the truth a bit about their own failings?'

Yes--but in so reasoning, they make the mistake of supposing that the higher-ups in the Bush/Cheney administration are basically just like average folks, when its own behavior indicated quite the contrary.

There may have been a time when the perception of incompetence, whether accurate or not, meant political damage for a government. But clearly, that was not the case with the recent administration. They were only too happy to have people go on and on about how bumbling and incompetent they were, as they went on their merry way, accomplishing what they set out to. They paid no political penalties whatsoever that I can see for this widespread perception. What's the worst that happened to them? 'Brownie' having to resign as FEMA director after Katrina?!

Some might say, 'Ah, but McCain was defeated by Obama; sure it took eight years, but they did pay a political price in the end.' And what would that price be exactly? Gates remains in charge at DOD. And his former colleagues there and from the Bush White House and Justice Department appear not to face the slightest propsect of prosecution for their crimes by their successors (even the widely acknowledged ones of torture and warrantless wiretapping).

Far from a political liability, the 'incompetence' claim was transformed in the Bush era into something more like a first line of defense!

So if there was no motive for hiding incompetence, then just what in blazes was it that they WERE hiding?!

Alas, the powers that be will probably continue this pattern of offering the public used goods as if they were the latest rage--packaging the same old cover stories as if they were earthshaking 'previously untold stories'--for as long as a significant portion of the public continues to buy it. And--again alas-- that part of the public appears to continue to buy it if only because they don't even want to think about, let alone mention, other possibilities.

Perfect example of "verbal gatekeeping"...

I haven't yet purchased the book...but the paragraphs exposed by Mokeyboy are PURE gatekeeping at its finest.

One of the elements of the Cheney-Rumsfeld-Bush[s] years [decades long], is that more and more evidence of their lying and manipulations keep being exposed seemingly on a non-stop basis. And the revelations continue to reestablish that the Cheney-Bush Administration was lying out its butt...lying all the time...and was abusing their power at will.

Cheney was just recently exposed by CREW...[Committe for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington...I think?]...via a FOIA request as having "very bad memory" regarding the Valerie Plame affair...IE: the Cheney-Bush White House acting treasonously by exposing an undercover CIA operative after her husband Joe Wilson discredited the "yellowcake from Niger" story that Cheney-Bush used to crank up the war.

So, if this steam of exposing the LIES and COVER-UPS by the Cheney-Bush Regime, the CIA and the Pentagon are handled the right way, efforts like John Farmer's and NIST's work should be used to make the point that many very bad and illegal things happened during the last eight years, and that the lies and the cover-up continue...and that most of this "work" is actually gatekeeping.

...and here is some of the evidence...

John Farmer's gatekeeping book...
The 9/11 Commission's gatekeeping Report...
NIST's gatekeeping Reports...
NORAD's three different gatekeeping timelines...

Just a few examples...and I haven't even mentioned the gatekeeping by the corporate media...nor have I mentioned the VERY OFFENSIVE AND HYPOCRITICAL gatekeeping by the "corporate media wannabes" known as the "alternative media?"...which is another HUGE lie all in itself.

The well deserved distrust of their own governement by citizenry of the USofA may be the the best background in front of which our truths will be heard...and the general distrust continues and most likely will for a long time.

The linkage between the always replenished "youth" and the advancement of the information age is unlikely to fail...IE: the youth falling into ther own "Great Graying Nap" [as has happened to their elders in many ways], nor a halting of the advancement of communications and information sharing and technilogical improvements.

WE...are our own media.

The DVDs, the websites, the books, the links, the on-line movies and videos, the handouts, the banners, our "presence" in the streets and at peace rallies, the radio shows and call-ins...terrestrial and streamed, the bevy of wonderful speakers, authors, presenters and experts, the carcks in the door for PBS and other local cable TV outlets, the world-wide support for both 9/11 TRUTH and PEACE...and the TRUTH and truth seeking...

...are why we continue to grow and to have the impact that we are having all around the world...

See you in the you in the local papers...hear you on the radio calling in...see you on local with you online...

9/11 TRUTH for World PEACE

Robin Hordon
Kingston, WA

BTW...if anyone has any good DVDs that they might not ever hand out...I'll do it for ya. I'm very low on funds and can only afford to print out 1/4 page flyers... 27388 Woodside RD NE 98346

Soufan ended as

Employee of Giuliani Partners - as you know- that says it all.

I think Al Midhar and al-Hazmi were most likely Saudi agents.
That will explain a lot.

Real History

thanks, Kevin, for this concise summary of a complex chain of events.

"We need to ask the question whether his poor performance in the Moussaoui case was genuine... or deliberate."

May more information be forthcoming, and soon.


If that email was sent to Dave as in Dave Frasca then it would seem unlikely that even if Tom Wilshire had sent more or asked upwards for more then it wouldn't have changed much as yet another person to get promoted post 9/11 was Davy boy Frasca himself who seems to have stood on five investigations by intelligence services- I'm reading Crossing the Rubicon (AKA War and Peace! massive book!)
Douglas Hilton
London, UK PLc, subsidiary of US Corp.