The CIA in Kuwait: Parallels to a 9/11 Suspect
Kevin Ryan is the co-editor of The Journal of 9/11 Studies. He blogs at DigWithin.
As discussed in my book, Another Nineteen, there are good reasons to believe that some 9/11 suspects were involved in previous deep state operations. For example, evidence suggests that Stratesec manager Barry McDaniel and Carlyle Group director Frank Carlucci might have participated in the Iran-Contra crimes. There are also interesting links between several 9/11 suspects and Ted Shackley, a leader of the “CIA within the CIA.” Shackley was close friends with Frank Carlucci and had a long, close relationship with Richard Armitage, whose State department provided express visas to the alleged hijackers. Additionally, Porter Goss, who led the initial cover-up of the 9/11 crimes, had worked with Shackley in several CIA operations.
Perhaps the most interesting link between Shackley and 9/11 is that Shackley’s activities in Kuwait paralleled those of Wirt Walker, the KuwAm Corporation director. KuwAm was the parent company of Stratesec, the security company for several 9/11 facilities. As I’ve written before, these companies appeared to be part of a private intelligence network.
Shackley had a long career in covert CIA operations and was the agency’s Associate Deputy Director of Operations from 1976 to 1977. Described by former CIA Director Richard Helms as “a quadruple threat – Drugs, Arms, Money and Murder,” Shackley was a central character in many off-the-books operations. He was a leader of the CIA’s anti-Castro plan Operation Mongoose, its secret U.S. war in Laos, and the overthrow of Salvadore Allende in Chile.
Although Walker is officially only the son of a CIA man, his past has much in common with that of Shackley. In the 1980s, both men were strongly linked to the Bush family network, to Kuwait, and to aviation. They both ran security companies as well. Walker became close to the Kuwaitis at the same time as its government was working closely with Shackley and another CIA operative. Moreover, the people pulling the strings from the Kuwaiti side in those relationships were close relatives of KuwAm chairman Mish’al Al-Sabah.
After leaving the CIA in 1979, Shackley formed his own company, TGS International, which appeared to be focused on obtaining access to places like Kuwait and Iran. TGS functioned as a broker for Boeing 747 aircraft, attempted to sell various goods to Iran, and did construction work in Kuwait. Several of TGS’ shareholders were Iranian exiles, including former SAVAK agent Novzar Razmara.
At the same time, Shackley took part in the Reagan campaign operation that resulted in the American hostages in Iran being held until Reagan was inaugurated in 1981. Following this, Shackley and some of his former CIA friends, Thomas Clines and Richard Secord, became involved in the Iran-Contra affair.
When Walker’s KuwAm was just getting off the ground, Shackley was beginning to secure contracts with the Kuwaiti government. George H.W. Bush had helped Shackley get started in Kuwait around that time. Bush’s contacts there went back to the days when Kuwait and other oil-rich royals in the region helped fund his Zapata Off-Shore operation.
In his book Blond Ghost, David Corn wrote that, “Shackley viewed Kuwait as a tremendous source of profits.” Those profits appeared to be tied to the Kuwaiti royal family’s interests. In 1982, the year that KuwAm was incorporated in Washington, the Kuwaiti government specifically requested that the U.S. Navy award Shackley’s firm a $1.2 million contract to rehabilitate a warehouse for the Kuwaiti Air Force, although Shackley and his company had little or no experience in that kind of work. Toward the end of 1983, Shackley’s company signed a $6.3 million deal with the U.S. Navy to perform construction at the Ali Al-Salem Air Base, forty miles outside of Kuwait City.
TGS was also involved in suspicious dealings on the other side of the world. In October 1984, when Congress had cut off funding to the Contras, Jeb Bush, brother of Stratesec director Marvin Bush, put the Guatemalan politician Dr. Mario Castejon in touch with Oliver North. This led Castejon to propose that the U.S. State Department supply miscellaneous, ostensibly non-military, assistance to the Contras. The proposal was passed to the CIA through TGS International.
Shackley continued working in Kuwait by way of another of his ventures called Research Associates International (RAI), which specialized in “risk analysis” by providing intelligence to business interests. Shackley also testified that RAI was a security company. “We design security systems,” he said, confirming yet another similarity between his business activities and those of Walker. RAI’s primary customer was Trans-World Oil, run by a Dutch citizen named John Deuss. The work involved smuggling oil into South Africa in violation of an embargo.
Another CIA operative was working with the Kuwaiti royals at the same time as Walker and Shackley. In the case of Robert M. Sensi, CIA connections to the Kuwaiti royal family were confirmed. While working for the Washington office of Kuwait Airways, which was owned by the Kuwaiti government, Sensi operated covertly as a CIA asset. He organized the 1980 flights for William Casey to Europe for meetings on the deal to hold the hostages. In the mid-1980s, he helped set up CIA fronts in Iran along with Iranian exile Habib Moallem.
Sensi’s work for the Kuwaitis and the CIA came to light in a late 1980s series of articles in the Washington Post that covered legal proceedings in which Sensi had been accused of embezzling funds from Kuwait Airways. During the proceedings, the CIA admitted that Sensi had worked for the agency for years and Sensi’s supervisor at the company, Inder Sehti, admitted that Sensi had been allowed by the Kuwaiti government to use a slush fund for CIA purposes. Apparently, those purposes included managing the U.S. visits of Kuwaiti royal family members. Presumably, this would have included the travel arrangements for young Mish’al Al-Sabah when he came to live with Walker’s family.
Sensi claimed that he was nominally working for Kuwait Airways and the Kuwaiti royal family was funding his activities. He also claimed to be acting under the direction of the Kuwait ambassador to the United States. When Sensi signed on to the job, in 1977, the Kuwait ambassador to the U.S. was Khalid Muhammad Jaffar. In January 1981, while Sensi was still using the Kuwaiti funds for CIA work, Jaffar was succeeded by the father of Nayirah, the girl who later lied as part of the propaganda that started the Gulf War. Nayirah was a first cousin of KuwAm’s Mish’al Al- Sabah.
Sensi also clarified that, as a CIA asset, he was “being run directly by CIA director William Casey, in close concert with Vice President Bush.” This is an interesting connection between Walker and Sensi, in that Walker worked with Casey at Glore Forgan a decade earlier and with Bush’s son at Stratesec. Of course, Walker and his family had connections to the deep state going back generations.
The Kuwaiti royal who approved the use of this CIA slush fund for Sensi was Jabir Adbhi Al-Sabah, the vice chairman of Kuwaiti Airways and Kuwait’s chief of civil aviation. Like Nayirah, Jabir Adbhi Al- Sabah was closely related to KuwAm’s Mish’al Al-Sabah, as a first cousin once removed. What’s more, Jabir’s colleague, the chairman of Kuwaiti Airways, was none other than Faisal al-Fulaij, the Kuwaiti nominee for the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). Al-Fulaij was deeply involved in the operations of BCCI and its U.S. subsidiaries.
In 2005, a different Mish’al Al-Sabah, who was another first cousin of KuwAm’s Mish’al, provided yet more evidence that Kuwait had al Qaeda ties. This Al-Sabah was brought to trial in Kuwait for certain inflammatory claims he had made. Mish’al Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Assistant Undersecretary for State Security Affairs at the time of the 9/11 attacks, made these claims in an interview on a U.S.-funded Kuwaiti television program called Al Hurra. Al-Sabah was charged with claiming that “that there is an old base for the al-Qaeda organization in Kuwait.” He also accused two Kuwaiti government MPs “of belonging to al-Qaeda.” During a five and a half hour closed-door inquisition, he recanted the claims. Despite this retraction, other evidence exists that links KuwAm and al Qaeda.
KuwAm’s Aviation General was the parent of two wholly-owned subsidiaries: Commander Aircraft Company, which manufactured Commander-brand aircraft, and Strategic Jet Services, which provided aircraft brokerage and refurbishment services. Aviation General, Commander Aircraft, and Strategic Jet Services were all located in Hangar 8 of Wiley Post Airport in Bethany, OK, near Oklahoma City.
In another apparent coincidence, CIA asset Robert Sensi had listed an Oklahoma City address as his residence for a period of time. The address that Sensi gave was for the Oklahoma City Halfway House, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center located 11 miles from Wiley Post Airport.
FBI summary documents prepared for the 9/11 investigations state that Mohamed Atta was spotted at Wiley Post Airport within six months of the 9/11 attacks. Atta was witnessed flying at Wiley Post along with two other alleged 9/11 hijackers, Marwan Al-Shehhi and Waleed Al-Shehri. Other FBI summary documents indicate that Saeed Al-Ghamdi was also seen flying in to Wiley Post Airport on an unspecified date and that Hani Hanjour had made inquiries to a flight school there.
Therefore it is a remarkable fact that Wirt Walker and his companies were located at this same airport. But the surprises don’t stop there. Wiley Post has approximately 24 hangars and Hangar 8 is set off away from the rest. Although Aviation General and its subsidiaries all went bankrupt or were sold off in the few years after 9/11, Hangar 8 still houses three businesses. At first glance, the most interesting of these new Hangar 8 companies is the flight school called Oklahoma Aviation. This is due to an incredible coincidence regarding the young man who heads the company, Shohaib Nazir Kassam.
In March 2006, Kassam was a government witness against Zacarias Moussaoui. He was, in fact, Moussaoui’s flight instructor. Kassam moved to Oklahoma in 1998, at the age of 18, coming from Mombassa, Kenya. He was originally from Pakistan. Two years after he arrived in Oklahoma, he completed his training to become a flight instructor. He was only 21 years of age when he spent 57 hours training Zacarias Moussaoui to fly.
To emphasize, the man who now occupies Wirt Walker’s offices in Hangar 8 at Wiley Post Airport not only knew Zacarias Moussaoui, he was Moussaoui’s primary flight instructor. These interesting links to 9/11 suggest that the lease for the Hangar 8 offices might be held by a deep state entity.
It certainly seems that there is more to the story of KuwAm’s aviation companies, and those related to Hangar 8. If nothing else, an investigation must consider that it is not simply a coincidence that Moussaoui’s primary trainer is now occupying the offices of Walker’s former businesses at Wiley Post Airport. And although KuwAm companies operated out of Wiley Post, they were all officially headquartered at the famous Watergate Hotel in Washington DC, in office space leased by the Saudi and Kuwaiti governments.
Another of KuwAm’s companies that held its meetings at The Watergate, Stratesec, provided security services for several facilities that were central to the crimes of 9/11. In the years leading up to 9/11, the company had security contracts at Dulles Airport, where Flight 77 took off that day, and with United Airlines, which owned two of the other three hijacked planes. Stratesec had also run security for Los Alamos National Laboratories, where, at the time, scientists were developing nanothermite materials of the type that have been found in the WTC dust. At the World Trade Center, Stratesec was responsible for the electronic security system for the complex in the period leading up to, and including, the day of 9/11.
Any investigation into 9/11 should consider the parallel activities of Wirt Walker and “private CIA” leader Ted Shackley. These men were strongly linked to the Bush family network and to Kuwait. Although Walker is certainly a suspect in 9/11 insider trading, his known connections to the CIA are currently only familial. However, if Walker was operating in the same private network as Shackley before 9/11, it would give reason to believe that, like Shackley’s cohorts Armitage, Carlucci, and Goss, the security company Stratesec and its leaders should be a primary focus of a new 9/11 investigation.