Reaction to James Bamford Interview about CIA's Protection of Almihdhar and Alhazmi
Author James Bamford was recently interviewed by Amy Goodman about his new book, The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America. He talked about some issues that are covered in the 9/11 Timeline's CIA+Hiding+Alhazmi+and+Almihdhar and Yemen+hub categories. The interview follows on from an article in the Congressional Quarterly and it is well worth reading the whole thing.
I have some comments on a couple of the aspects Bamford touches on. First, I'd like to say that Bamford is obviously a really good reporter and he's done a much better job on this than anyone who came before him (for example, Terry McDermott knew about the intercepts between San Diego and Sana'a, but relegated this information to the endnotes). Having said this, as far as I can see at the moment, he's making a couple of errors and missing some things out.
(1) Main criticism of Bamford. So far, he has only talked about the CIA's failure to inform the FBI about two of the 9/11 hijackers, Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, in January+2000. There were multiple other failures, in March+2000 when a cable came in saying Alhazmi had entered the US, in January+2001 when a source identified al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash as being at al-Qaeda's Malaysia summit, in the 11+June+shouting+match, the Moussaoui+case, and when Wilshire+was+told+Almihdhar+was+in+the+US. If the failure in January was due to a conspiracy, not a dog eating the CIA's homework—which is what we had previously been led to believe—then it is extremely likely the other failures were also due to a conspiracy to withhold information from the FBI. This protection went on until late August 2001, at the very least. Without it, there is no way on earth that the 9/11 plot could have succeeded. The FBI would simply have arrested some of the plotters as a part of its Cole bombing investigation and put the rest under surveillance (or arrested them for the various other offences they committed – like immigration+violations and driving+without+a+licence).