Sept 11 Journal

~ Monday, April 12, 2004
Connected and unconnected dots

by Ronald Bleier

April 12, 2004

Many of the dots have now been connected. Critically important dots are provided by the now public PDB of August 6, 2001 (see below), by Richard Clarke’s book and his public testimony and by Condoleezza Rice’s disingenuous public testimony. It is becoming clearer that the 9/11 hijackers succeeded not because of a structural failure of the U.S. bureaucracy and the intelligence services. Rather the events of 9/11 came about because the Bush administration deliberately ignored warnings and most importantly squashed investigations that involved Saudi Arabia, Bin Laden and the Taliban.

The Bush administration’s deliberate refusal to take action to defend the U.S. would explain why Coleen Rowley’s FBI unit in Minneapolis was frustrated by FBI HQ in Washington and was not allowed to follow through on the Moussaoui case, and why other ominous warnings, including one in Arizona were not pursued. Active administration malfeasance would also explain why no one at the FBI or anywhere else in government with any responsibility for these investigations was fired or reprimanded. It’s clear that the Bush administration would not want to risk tales they might tell about orders they received from above.

Why would the Bush administration impede investigations into possible terror attacks against U.S. interests and even against the homeland?

Bush administration ties to the Saudis are well known. White House connections to the Taliban are more murky. But it is known that US officials were negotiating with the Taliban over an oil pipeline through Afghanistan to Pakistan. Months before 9/11 they permitted a Taliban envoy to travel in the U.S. for meetings with government officials and the media. At some point, U.S. –Taliban negotiations broke down and the Bush administration threatened the government of Afghanistan with war. Shortly before 9/11, President George W. Bush was presented with a military plan to attack the Taliban. Evidently a similar plan was put into operation about 3 weeks after 9/11.

The Israeli connection is far from clear. Many think that the FBI must have been aware that the Mossad was tracking Moslem fundamentalists in this country in the pre 9/11 period. In all likelihood, the FBI knew that Israeli agents were living on the same street as Mohammed Atta, the hijacker’s ringleader. Shortly after 9/11, several Israelis were picked up by U.S. authorities and held for more than a month before they were released to Israel.

There are still dots to be connected, but those dots are the missing information well known to top Bush administration officials and others in government which could lay bare White House refusal to pursue Al Qaeda terrorists.

A sufficient number of dots have been connected for the public to understand that had the Bush administration taken the same proactive approach as was taken in the case of the aborted Millennium 2000 terrorist attacks, there is every likelihood that the 9/11 hijackings could have been prevented.

We now have a better understanding of why John Ashcroft refused to fly commercial aircraft in the summer of 2001. We would still like to be clearer why the Bush administration did not share similar warnings with the public. Even if the hijackings had gone forward, had relevant information been distributed, who knows how many could have been saved, especially from Tower #2.

Presidential Daily Briefing Transcript:
Bin Laden determined to strike in US

The following is a transcript of the August 6, 2001, presidential daily briefing entitled Bin Laden determined to strike in US. Parts of the original document were not made public by the White House for security reasons.

Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate bin Laden since 1997 has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the US. Bin Laden implied in U.S. television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and "bring the fighting to America."

After U.S. missile strikes on his base in Afghanistan in 1998, bin Laden told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington, according to a -- -- service.

An Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) operative told - - service at the same time that bin Laden was planning to exploit the operative's access to the U.S. to mount a terrorist strike.

The millennium plotting in Canada in 1999 may have been part of bin Laden's first serious attempt to implement a terrorist strike in the U.S.

Convicted plotter Ahmed Ressam has told the FBI that he conceived the idea to attack Los Angeles International Airport himself, but that in ---, Laden lieutenant Abu Zubaydah encouraged him and helped facilitate the operation. Ressam also said that in 1998 Abu Zubaydah was planning his own U.S. attack.

Ressam says bin Laden was aware of the Los Angeles operation. Although Bin Laden has not succeeded, his attacks against the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 demonstrate that he prepares operations years in advance and is not deterred by setbacks. Bin Laden associates surveyed our embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam as early as 1993, and some members of the Nairobi cell planning the bombings were arrested and deported in 1997.

Al Qaeda members -- including some who are U.S. citizens -- have resided in or traveled to the U.S. for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks.

Two al-Qaeda members found guilty in the conspiracy to bomb our embassies in East Africa were U.S. citizens, and a senior EIJ member lived in California in the mid-1990s.

A clandestine source said in 1998 that a bin Laden cell in New York was recruiting Muslim-American youth for attacks.

We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a ---- service in 1998 saying that Bin Laden wanted to hijack a U.S. aircraft to gain the release of "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel Rahman and other U.S.-held extremists.

Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.

The FBI is conducting approximately 70 full-field investigations throughout the U.S. that it considers bin Laden-related. CIA and the FBI are investigating a call to our embassy in the UAE in May saying that a group or bin Laden supporters was in the U.S. planning attacks with explosives.

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