Khalid Al Mihdhar

Cheney shoots Hayden in the foot over wiretapping

VP Dick Cheney recently justified the NSA's "domestic wiretapping program" by saying:

"If you'll recall, the 9/11 Commission focused criticism on the nation's inability to uncover links between terrorists at home and terrorists overseas. The term that was used is "connecting the dots" -- and the fact is that one small piece of data might very well make it possible to save thousands of lives. If this program had been in place before 9/11, we might have been able to prevent it because we had two terrorists living in San Diego, contacting terrorist-related numbers overseas. The very important question today is whether, on five years' reflection, we have yet learned all the lessons of 9/11."

The two terrorists in question are American 77 hijackers Khalid Al Mihdhar and Nawaf Al Hazmi. The terrorist-related number (why does he use the plural, what other number?) is 00 967 1200578, an Al Qaeda communications hub in Sana'a, Yemen. Unfortunately for Cheney, he forgot that one of the main things the administration is trying to cover up about 9/11 (for example the 9/11 Omission Report does not mention them) is that Al Hazmi made calls from the US to the hub and that the NSA intercepted them, as the hub was one of its hottest targets. So thanks for the slip, Dick.

DCI Tenet Lied Under Oath About CIA Knowledge of Hijackers

The CIA freely admits that it followed American 77 hijackers Khalid Al Mihdhar and Nawaf Al Hazmi, as well as Nawaf's brother Salem, halfway around Asia in January 2000. However, it claims to have lost them in Thailand on 8 January 2000, one week before they entered the US. Allegedly, Thai intelligence didn't notify the CIA that Al Hazmi had entered the US until 5 March 2000, when a cable was drafted to this effect and sent to Langley.

In testimony before the joint House and Senate select intelligence committee investigating the Sept. 11 attacks CIA Director George Tenet claimed that:
“I know that nobody read that cable”; and
“Nobody read that cable in the March timeframe.”

However, the CIA's Office of Inspector General later drafted a report on the CIA's performance before 9/11 and some passages of it were redacted and used in evidence at the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui. Here's the relevant one:
“... in early 2000, numerous CIA officers in different divisions accessed one or more operational documents that reported Khalid al-Mihdhar's passport contained a multiple entry visa for the United States and that Nawaf al-Hazmi had departed Thailand on a flight bound for Los Angeles. Most of the officers who accessed the documents were in the Counterterrorism Division at that time.”