I Have A Question About The NSA And 9/11

"You can do an investigation, and if you don't really want to research an area, you just don't look at it. If you don't ask them all of the questions, or you don't let them tell you the whole story, ya know... then you can write a report based on half-truths." - 9/11 Family Member, September Eleventh Advocate, "Jersey Girl" Mindy Kleinberg

Source: www.cindysheehanssoapbox.com

Jon Gold
Updated: 5/5/2013

Hopefully, you remember the time right after 9/11. A time when we were told repeatedly that there were absolutely no warnings, and that no one had any idea something like that could happen. If not, feel free to browse the "9/11 Denials" section available at www.historycommons.org.

On May 15th, 2002, the first indication that they were aware of a threat became public. Since that time, so many more "indications" that they were aware of a threat have come to light.

On September 10th, 2001, the NSA intercepted two messages having to do with the attacks, but "the NSA will claim that they are not translated until September 12, and that even if they had been translated in time, “they gave no clues that authorities could have acted on.” One states, “the match is about to begin” and the other states, “tomorrow is zero hour.” Later reports translate the first message as, “the match begins tomorrow.”

During the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11, which both Bush and Cheney asked Tom Daschle not to have, those two messages were leaked. Supposedly by Richard Shelby.

Can you guess who was enraged that the information was leaked? Here's a hint, it was Dick Cheney. According to CNN, "Vice President Dick Cheney phoned the House and Senate committee chairmen Thursday to complain about the leaks. Cheney thinks an investigation by the attorney general is a "good idea," a senior administration official told CNN." According to CBSNews, "Vice President Dick Cheney complained to lawmakers Thursday about what the administration is calling inappropriate leak of the intercepts to the press. At President Bush's direction, Cheney called Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Rep. Porter Goss, R-Fla., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, "to express the president's concerns about this inappropriate disclosure," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said."

It's interesting to note that Scooter Libby's staff were regularly reading "unvetted transcripts of National Security Agency intercepts" even though "policy makers are not supposed to have direct access to raw intelligence. The information is supposed to first be scrutinized and vetted by professional analysts in the intelligence community to ensure that the information is sound. This filtering process, which has been in place for some 50 years, is also intended to prevent intelligence from being used to service a particular political agenda." It is unclear, however, if Libby's staff were reading those transcripts before 9/11. Scooter Libby was Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff.

During the time of the 9/11 Commission, the NSA was hardly looked into according to Phil Shenon. You can read about it here, here, here, here, and here.

The 9/11 Commission was mandated to give a “full and complete accounting” of the attacks of September 11, 2001 and recommendations as to how to prevent such attacks in the future." Since they barely investigated the NSA, I think it's safe to say that they failed meeting the requirements of their mandate (reason #2,527,203).

I have several questions about the NSA and 9/11, but my big question is this… did the NSA give Cheney or anyone else in the Bush Administration information about 9/11 prior to the attacks?

I think that's a reasonable question, don't you? Especially when you consider how angry Cheney was about the leak (something you don't want us to know about at the NSA Dick?), and how the 9/11 Commission seemingly wasn't that interested in the NSA.

On Facebook, I asked author James Bamford this question, and here is what he said:

"With regard to whether NSA gave Cheney or anyone else in the Bush Administration information about 9/11 prior to the attacks, my answer is no since NSA was caught totally by surprise. The two messages, even if they were translated on 9/10, offered no clue as to what, when, or where. However, in my book, The Shadow Factory, and my PBS documentary, The Spy Factory, I show that NSA knew at least two of the terrorists were in the U.S. and failed to pass on details about them to any other agency. Had they done so, the plot might have been prevented."

I responded with:

"I believe that is the myth with regards to all alphabet agencies. That they were caught totally by surprise. We don't actually know what the NSA intercepted prior to 9/11 because we haven't been allowed to see it. We know they were monitoring many of the hijackers phone calls (but we don't know what was said). Thanks for the reply!"

NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake claims that the "NSA knew a great deal about the 9/11 threats and Al Qaeda, electronically tracking various people and organizations for years."

Some related information:

Early 1999: NSA Monitoring Hears 9/11 Hijacker Names, This Information Is Not Shared with CIA or FBI

Summer 1999: NSA Intercepts More of Almihdhar’s Calls

Late Summer 1999: NSA Intercepts Calls Mentioning 9/11 Hijacker Almihdhar, Does Not Disseminate Information

December 29, 1999: NSA Tells CIA about Planned Al-Qaeda Summit Involving Future Hijackers

Early 2000-Summer 2001: NSA Intercepts Communications between 9/11 Hijackers in US and Al-Qaeda Communications Hub

(Spring 2000): NSA Does Not Inform FBI that 9/11 Hijacker Almihdhar Is in US, Reason Unclear

Early April 2000: 9/11 Hijacker Alhazmi Talks to 9/11 Facilitator in Dubai, Possibly Using Phone Monitored by NSA

Summer 2000: NSA Continues to Intercept Calls between 9/11 Hijackers and Yemen Communications Hub

Mid-October 2000-Summer 2001: NSA Intercepts Calls between Hijacker in US and Al-Qaeda Communications Hub

May 2001: NSA Analyst Warns of Terrorist Planes into Buildings Plot; But Described as ‘Obsessed’ By Superiors

May-July 2001: NSA Picks Up Word of ‘Imminent Terrorist Attacks’

The 9/11 Commission And The NSA


Author James Bamford's conflicting views on NSA and 9/11:

Q: What do you believe are the principal reasons for the NSA's refusal to hand over the information on the two 9/11 hijackers to the FBI? Was it legal? Bureaucratic? And does that culture persist despite the improved communications between agencies?

Bamford: In my view, the principal reason that the NSA failed to pass key information on to the CIA and FBI was Gen. Hayden's reluctance to involve NSA in anything domestic—even though he had an obligation to pass this information on and there was no legal prohibition against it. He could have easily obtained a FISA warrant to eavesdrop on al Mihdhar's and al Hazmi's international calls, and the FBI could have gotten a FISA warrant to tap into their domestic calls. Had that been done, the agencies would almost certainly have discovered that a terrorist plot was under way.

Q: 9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser wrote about the CIA's withholding of intelligence from the FBI (see www.huffingtonpost.com/kristen-breitweiser/enabling-danger-part-one_b_5951.html): "Once, twice, maybe even three times could be considered merely careless oversights. But at least seven documented times? To me, that suggests something else." To her it was "purposeful." One such instance at a June 11th meeting in NYC was a shouting match. Mustn't we, in the search for the truth, at least consider the possibility that it was deliberate and search for an answer, or explanations, as to why?

Bamford: I think that both the NSA and the CIA did deliberately—or purposefully—withhold key information, and this has never been properly investigated by the 9/11 Commission or any other body.

Danger Room InterviewJames Bamford:

DR: 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.

Cheney slams Obama

Cheney slams Obama over Benghazi: ‘We were always ready on 9/11’