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].

This was flatly contradicted by Michael Scheuer, the former chief of the CIA's Alec Station.

The January 2009 PBS documentary The Spy Factory focused on al-Qaeda’s communications hub in Sana’a, Yemen, which the NSA started to monitor around mid-1996. Scheuer and the CIA found out about it later that year and then fought a bitter turf war with the NSA for years over access to the NSA’s take. The turf war got so bad that the CIA even built its own intercept facility to duplicate some of what the NSA was already getting.

On the programme Scheuer, who first mentioned the issue in a 2004 Atlantic piece, outlined why Alec Station needed the verbatim transcripts, rather than the summaries of conversations the NSA sent it:

Over time, if you read enough of these conversations, you first get clued in to the fact that maybe "bottle of milk" doesn't mean "bottle of milk." And if you follow it long enough, you develop a sense of what they're really talking about. But it's not possible to do unless you have the verbatim transcript.

He added:

We went to Fort Meade to ask then the NSA's deputy director for operations [who was McNamara at this time] for the transcripts, and she said, "We are not going to share that with you." And that was the end.

In a 2008 radio interview with Scott Horton, author James Bamford commented:

… before 9/11 Scheuer knew how important the house [the communications hub] was, he knew NSA was eavesdropping on the house. He went to NSA, went to the head of operations for NSA, and … Barbara McNamara, and asked for transcripts of the conversations coming into and going out of the house. And the best the NSA would do would be to give them brief summaries every… once a week or something like that, you know, just a report, not the actual transcripts or anything. And so he got very frustrated, he went back there and they still refused.

To the credit of the 9/11 Commission staffers who conducted the interview, Lorry Fenner and Gordon Lederman, the memo indicates they challenged McNamara on this point. Later on, it says:

As to accessing the operational traffic, there were NSA embeds in CIA who could see the operational traffic. However, she doesn’t know who made sure that the embeds had the authority to share the information and whether they knew it was their responsibility to ensure that they had to pass information to NSA that would allow NSA to maximize its capabilities. In response to a specific question, she responded that she has no memory of [Deputy CIA Director] General [John] Gordon having to come to NSA to complain about CTC not having received transcripts/raw data.

McNamara then went on to complain about the CIA not sending detailees to the NSA.

Multiple accounts show that the NSA withheld relevant information before 9/11. For example, the FBI was not even informed of the Yemen hub, but had to discover it itself during the embassy bombings investigation. In addition, the hijackers called the hub from the US, and the NSA intercepted the calls, but did not trace them. Neither did it inform the bureau people linked to the hub were in the US, even though the bureau had specifically requested this.

There is no apparent reason for Scheuer to lie and his account of at least one meeting is supported by the commission staffers’ question about Gordon. That leaves us with the question: is McNamara’s memory really that bad, or is she lying to hide something? If so, what?

Originally posted here.

Good job...

Kevin. My personal opinion is that the NSA knew everything that was transpiring.

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

How could they not?

They listen to all & have access to go back & fill in the mysteries we seek.


To me it looks more like the NSA deliberately cut itself off from intelligence (e.g. by having a legal review done and then, on the basis of it, deciding it would be bad to trace in the US calls between an overseas target and the US). It did this because it knew the intelligence was being gathered elsewhere (e.g. by the CIA station in Yemen-- key question: did anyone, specifically the person who suggested Almihdhar and bin Attash looked alike in late 2000, ever work with Blee beforehand?), the FBI knew about the NSA's surveillance, and the NSA and whoever (Blee, the person he was really working for, if any) had agreed the NSA would cut itself off from the intelligence so the FBI couldn't get it, giving whoever else was intercepting the calls free rein.

Underestimating the NSA

No offense, but that appears to be a bit of an aggressive statement saying that the NSA deliberately cut itself off from intelligence because it had legal reviews done covering their butts on certain traced calls and because they knew the intelligence was being gathered elsewhere. Although the CIA station in Yemen tapped the AQ Yemen hub (because CIA was not satisfied with NSA’s Yemen product), the NSA also continued to tap the hub and knew of the calls coming from the US. Of course, part of any intelligence agency cover-up requires having an individual in a strategic position(s) to further quash evidence and investigations based on legal and / or operational grounds. There were multiple failures and cover-ups in the FBI with reoccurring individuals like Dina Corsi and Spike Bowman and in the CIA with the likes of Tom Wilshire and Richard Blee. In addition, Able Danger’s identification and further investigation of Atta and al-Qaeda’s Brooklyn Cell in early 2000 was also quashed by military attorneys and several senior officers on erroneous legal grounds.

Each intelligence agency needed its own “moles” to run cover in order for the 9/11 false flag attacks to be successful. The NSA’s Maureen “Mo” Baginski appears to be one of the key moles at NSA that was in an ideal position to quash evidence and investigations on both legal and operational grounds. Before becoming the Director of Signal Intelligence in mid 2000, Baginski appears to have been in a relatively senior compliance roll and reported to Deputy Director of Operations, Rich Taylor. Taylor’s 9/11 Commission testimony states the following about Baginski (note: Taylor was fired by Hayden in September 2000 on an airplane ride back from a conference together):

“Maureen Baginski ran the reporting staff in the Directorate of Operations with quality control and compliance issues.”

“He (Taylor) set up a special oversight body in Baginski’s reporting shop to conduct oversight of NSA’s effort, it could not be done by [redacted] shop because they had been taught to avoid even coming close to a USSID 18 violation ( aka The Wall).”

Although approximately 90% of Taylor’s Kuala Lumpur testimony is redacted from his 9/11 Commission testimony, it does contain the following sentence regarding Baginski:

“His (Taylor’s) enforcer at DDO was Baginski, so she might know about some reporting on KL but she was of course not familiar with every report produced by the DDO at the time – Baginski generally cleaned up messes and enforced standards for reporting (and was the legal compliance authority).”

Once Hayden appointed William Black to replace Barbara McNamara in June 2000 as the NSA Deputy Director, Black stated the following about Baginski in his 9/11 Commission testimony:

"He (Black) advised putting the Agency’s top analyst (Maureen Baginski) in charge of the Signal Intelligence Directorate (SID) handling Operations and Science and Technology because collection was not a problem, analysis was. They (NSA) were flooded with information."

(note: it appears Baginski "may" have reported directly to Black or possibly the Director of Operations, which would have made for a relatively thin layered inner circle)

Thus, Baginski probably would have been in a position to quash evidence based on legal / compliance grounds prior to mid 2000 and on operational grounds (and probably compliance) after that time. The fact that Baginski’s entire 8 page 9/11 Commission testimony is being withheld should raise some red flags that something is amiss with the Mo. The NSA along with every other US intelligence agency failed America miserably on 9/11, and the American people deserve to know why and to not have key individuals testimony completely withheld (or excessively redacted).

The Most Overlooked 9/11 Complicity

The NSA is basically where US intelligence begins in counterterrorism (via their wire intercepts), and the 9/11 Commission did an atrocious job investigating the failures that emanated from this agency. It appears that the 9/11 Commission did not review any of the 30+/- verbatim transcripts of terrorist intercepts that were made in the Spring/Summer 2001 or interview any of the applicable frontline translators. Per Philip Shenon’s book, The Commission, the 9/11 Commission did not start looking at any raw NSA information until the month prior to the issuance of the final report, at which time it was too late to do an adequate review (note: only two unassigned staff members in their free time reviewed NSA raw information). Even Philip Zelikow later admitted that he too was worried that important classified information had never been reviewed at the NSA and elsewhere. Unfortunately, as the Executive Director who planned out all the 9/11 Commission staff assignments, this critical failure lies strictly on Zelikow himself.

Although it appears that either Barbara McNamara or Michael Scheuer has told an outright lie regarding CIA requested verbatim transcripts from the NSA , which is important in its own right, McNamara was obviously put out to pasture in 2000, prior to when the most critical NSA failures occurred. General Michael Hayden took over the NSA directorship in March 1999 (after being appointed by Clinton’s Secretary of Defense William Cohen) and quickly got rid of officials like McNamara and Rich Taylor, the Deputy Director of Operations. Hayden brought in his own team who would eventually oversee the NSA failures related to the al-Qaeda Malaysia summit, the Mihdhar & Hazmi’s intercepted phone calls from the US to AQ’s Yemen hub in mid 2000, the 30+/- terrorist intercepts from the Spring/Summer 2001 (if only AQ gave us a specific target & date we could have got them), and the two terrorist intercepts on September 10th that implied a potential attack (it would be interesting to see if prior verbatim translations would have made those two 9/10/01 intercepts even more obvious).

Two NSA officials who were in critical positions when the majority of the above failures occurred included William Black (i.e., McNamara's replacement) and Maureen Baginski. Black was brought out of NSA retirement by Hayden to become his Deputy Director in June 2000 (after working for NSA from around 1960 to 1997, Black worked for the multi 9/11 connected SAIC from 1997 to 2000), where he quickly appointed Baginski the Director of Signal Intelligence Directorate (SID). To this date, Baginski’s 9/11 Commission testimony has been completely withheld while Black’s un-redacted testimony primarily focuses on his NSA career and organizational issues and changes after he returned in 2000 (note: out of approximately 15 NSA 9/11 Commission interviews, only Baginski’s and one other un-named NSA employees testimony has been completely withheld to date). In May 2003, Baginski received a huge job promotion when Robert Mueller named her the head of a new FBI intelligence unit, which at the time was regarded as the third most powerful position in the FBI (only in America and with 9/11 is failure so well rewarded).

The military industrial complex benefited significantly from the 9/11 attacks and the two extremely costly wars that used 9/11 as their pretext. Thus, the very heavy military oriented NSA should be one of the first places one should look for complicity, not the most overlooked intelligence agency as treated by the 9/11 Commission. For those who smell a rotten fish with the Bush / neocon favored son General Hayden (aka Radar from MASH) and the cronies he brought in approximately one year before the 9/11 attacks, the NSA needs just as much attention for their 9/11 failures and cover-ups as the CIA and FBI. The complicity of several strategically placed NSA officials like Hayden, Black, and Baginski, along with one or two other mid-level officials, would probably be sufficient to provide the necessary cover from the NSA perspective for the successful false flag attacks of 9/11. Zelikow’s worries about missing critical information from the NSA is well warranted, too bad he did not have the appropriate foresight to assign the proper resources to the NSA investigation. Then again, he probably knew what he might find, and that is why there was such a bogus 9/11 Commission inquiry into the NSA and Baginski’s completely withheld 9/11 Commission testimony.

Revolving door

'General Michael Hayden took over the NSA directorship in March 1999 (after being appointed by Clinton’s Secretary of Defense William Cohen) and quickly got rid of officials like McNamara and Rich Taylor, the Deputy Director of Operations.'

Hayden held this post until 2005 and then, from 2006 until the beginning of this year, served as CIA director, succeeding Porter Goss. His appointment to this position was only a few months after the warrantless wiretapping that had occurred during his tenure at NSA had been exposed by the NY Times.


Does anyone entertain the possibility that the 9-11 commission was set up to take an inventory of what people knew, rather than to find out information? In this way they could craft their coverup. Take Jennings, for example. His interview was conducted under secrecy. Who he met with and where me met with them were matters he could not reveal. Why was there a need for secrecy in Jennings's case and that of many other witnesses? A person like Zelikow, a man in the inner circle, if operating behind the scenes, would be in a position to cooperate, if not lead. Has anyone written about this aspect of the Commission?

Why was the 9/11 Commission set up.

The 9/11 Commission was set up to hide the culpability of the CIA working with groups inside of the FBI HQ in knowingly, intentionally and deliberately allowing the al Qaeda terrorists to murder 3000 people on 9/11. This commission was set up to quell the uproar that followed when the American public found out that that the CIA had known about Mihdhar and Hazmi since January 2000 when they attended an important al Qaeda planning meeting in Kuala Lumpur, in early January 2000 to plan both the Cole bombing and the attack on 9/11.

The documents that the 9/11 commission had access to clearly show this.

What do these documents show:

That the CIA knew on August 22, 2001 that both Mihdhar and Hazmi were inside of the US, and actually knew at that time that both Mihdhar and Hazmi were inside of the US for no other reason than to carry out a horrific al Qaeda attack, an attack that the CIA and FBI HQ had known about since April 2001.

So what did the CIA and FBI HQ do at this point:

First they tried to kept this information as a complete secret from the FBI criminal investigators on the Cole bombing even though the CIA and FBI HQ knew that the Mihdhar and Hazmi had been at the January 2000 al Qaeda planning meeting with Walid Bin Attash, aka Khallad, mastermind of the Cole bombing, actually planning the Cole bombing.

When FBI Agent Steve Bongardt accidentally found out on August 28, 2001 that both Mihdhar and Hazmi were inside of the US and called FBI HQ Agent Dina Corsi to demand that the investigation and search for Mihdhar and Hazmi be given to his group, Corsi said that Bongardt and his team would not be allowed to investigate Mihdhar because the information he would need would have to come from a NSA document and the NSA had not given permission to pass this document on to any FBI criminal investigator.

But the NSA had already approved a request for FBI Agent Dina Corsi to pass this NSA information on to the FBBI criminal investigators on the Cole bombing on August 27, 2001, the day before she tells him he is not allowed to have this information.

When Bongardt was told he and his team could not investigate and search for Mihdhar, he protested to Corsi since he did not see any connection between this NSA document and a FISA warrant, and asked Corsi to get a ruling from the FBI NSLU unit, the legal unit at the FBI because he was clearly aware that Mihdhar and Hazmi were inside of the US only in order to carry out a massive al Qaeda attack. The CIA had already connected both of these terrorists to the Cole bombing and also to the east African bombings that had killed over 200 people.

When Corsi contacted Sherry Sabol, according to a footnote buried at the end of the 9/11 Commission report, on page 538, footnote 81, Sabol told Corsi that since the NSA information had nothing to do with any FISA warrant, Bongardt and his team could take part in any investigation of Mihdhar and Hazmi.

But Corsi on August 29, 2001 told Bongardt a completely different version of what Sabol had said. Corsi tells Bongardt that the NSLU attorney had ruled he could have no part in any investigation of Mihdhar and Hazmi, effectively shutting down his investigation of these two al Qaeda terrorists.

At the time Corsi is doing this, she knows as does her boss Rod Middleton and the CIA officer who was directing her actions in shutting down this investigation of Mihdhar and Hazmi, Tom Wilshire, that the CIA and FBI HQ had been hiding the photograph of Walid Bin Attash taken at the Kuala Lumpur al Qaeda planning meeting, the very photograph that directly connected both Mihdhar and Hazmi to the planning of the Cole bombing that took place at that meeting.

Since Wilshire had been forbidden from giving the FBI Cole bombing investigators the information that came from Kuala Lumpur twice in July 2001, and Middleton was clearly part of this conspiracy to sabotage Bongardt’s investigation of Mihdhar, this criminal conspiracy to hide this Kuala Lumpur information and shut down Bongardt’s investigation of Mihdhar and Hazmi went way beyond Wilshire and Corsi and included many people at the CIA and FBI HQ including almost all of the CIA management, and FBI HQ management including FBI Director Louis Freeh himself.

It is now impossible to believe that when the CIA and FBI HQ ordered Wilshire and Corsi to shut down Bongardt’s investigation of Mihdhar and Hazmi that they did not know that as a result of their actions, that thousands of Americans were going to be murdered by the al Qaeda terrorists.

Since the 9/11 Commission had access to all of this information, the 9/11 Commission report was not only a fraud on the American people but was also a criminal conspiracy to hide what really allowed the attacks on 9/11 to succeed and protect the people at the CIA and FBI HQ who were behind this conspiracy. See www.eventson911.com for additional details and the actual government documents that prove all of this.

The 9/11 Commission Sham

Like the Warren Commission's lone gunman thesis, the 9/11 Commission (aka Philip Zelikow Commission) had its own preconceived thesis and planned the investigation accordingly to support that thesis. Philip Shenon in his book, The Commission, confirms that Zelikow outlined the entire 9/11 report beforehand, almost guarantying any contradicting information would be ignored. There are so many holes in the 9/11 Commission report that you can drive a mack truck through it, it is not worth the paper that it is written on. And to top it all off the transparency has been outright atrocious (not to mention that not one single individual or institution has been held accountable for any of the mass failures). If you look at a lot the intelligence related testimony in the Commission archives, much of it has been heavily redacted if not completely withheld. It's definitely hard to believe we are an open democracy when shite like this continues to occur.

My point

was, not so much whether the 9-11 Commission was a hoax; we know it was. But some statements in the earlier comments led me to believe that the authors thought it was merely a bad or sabotaged investigation. I didn't want to change the important topic of this thread, NSA, but wanted to propose that the questioning before the commission was often not so much to find out what happened, or to even pretend to find out what happened, as to find out who knew what, so they could deal with witnesses on an as needed basis, much the way that it appears Jennings was dealt with. I was wondering if that thought had occurred to anyone, and if they had gone anywhere with it.

Thanks for the comments and feedback.

NSA information beyond the Kuala Lumpur meeting not significant

My point was that the information the NSA had beyond the information about the meeting in Kuala Lumpur was possibly not all that significant since it now appears that the CIA and FBI HQ were completely determined to do everything they could to allow the al Qaeda terrorists to murder thousands of Americans on 9/11 regardless of what information any other agency had or wanted to do.

The CIA first used a wide ranging criminal conspiracy to hide the Kuala Lumpur meeting and the fact that Khallad, Mihdhar, and Hazmi had been that meeting planning the Cole bombing from the FBI criminal investigators on the Cole bombing, and then shut down their investigation of Mihdhar and Hazmi when they accidentally found out Mihdhar and Hazmi were inside of the US in order to take part in a massive al Qaeda attack.

At first it looked like they did this to stay out of prison for having criminally obstructed the FBI Cole bombing investigation, but the more you look at this the more it appears they were given orders to shut down this investigation and sabotage the FBI intelligence investigation because someone giving them orders actually wanted this al Qaeda attack to take place.

How else do you explain the fact that Corsi and Wilshire first contacted FBI Supervisor Craig Donnachie on August 22, 2001 and urgently asked that he start an intelligence investigation for Mihdhar and Hazmi, and then on August 28, 2001 sent the EC to him marked “Routine”, meaning no urgency at all in finding Mihdhar and Hazmi. And how else do you explain when Corsi and Wilshire actually got their intelligence investigation of Mihdhar in order to block Bongardt from any investigation of Mihdhar and then Corsi sabotaged FBI Intelligence Agent Robert Fuller's intelligence investigation of Mihdhar by telling him it was not prudent for him to contact Saudi Airlines to get Mihdhar’s credit card number, an act that doomed Fuller's investigation of Mihdhar. Fuller was so inept that he could not even find information on Mihdhar in the FBI Choicepoint data base when this information was right in front of him, a fact that makes Corsi preventing Fuller from getting Mihdhar’s credit card number even more significant.

Whoever was at the top directing them clearly did not give a wit for the lives that were going to be lost in these attack. It looks like the people at the top of the FBI HQ and CIA were determined that no FBI criminal agent or investigation was going to do anything to prevent these al Qaeda attacks from taking place, and the subsequent deaths of thousands of Americans on 9/11.