Friday, January 5, 2018

Crossing The Rubicon || Chapter 15: Israel [UPDATE]

Submitted for your consideration by Gabrielle Jones Price 
with permission from the author and copyright holder.

From Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil
Published in 2004

Chapter 15

[w/updated footnotes]

No discussion of the events before, during, and after 9/11 is either complete or intellectually honest without looking at Israel. Since 9/11, three nations — the United States, the United Kingdom, and Israel — have stood virtually alone as a tripartite alliance in complete support of the Empire’s actions. One of the best questions to ask after any major event is Cui bono? “Who benefits?” And here, Israel, the largest recipient of US military and economic aid, has ranked at, or near, the top of the list in almost every world development. There is some good, and much that is bad, to be said about Israel and its actions. But almost every attempt at rational discourse on the question of the use of Israeli power has been hobbled by emotional, almost hysterical preconceptions — either pro or con — that miss some very important pieces of the new, accurate map I have been trying to draw for you.

     Many of the top members of the Bush administration have exceptionally close ties with the Israeli government. These include the former Chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board, Richard Perle; Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz; Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith; Edward Luttwak of the National Security Study Group; Dov Zakheim, the Pentagon’s Chief Financial Officer on 9/11; Elliot Abrams at the National Security Council, and Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. Some have even worked on joint planning projects with Israeli ministries. These relationships alone make Israel a subject worthy of discussion. These and many other Israeli-connected experts formed the core group at the Project for a New American Century that had drafted plans for the invasion of Iraq long before 9/11.

     This chapter is a brief effort to put some very important pieces into place. And I should say at the outset that none of my research has found any compelling data to suggest that Israel was the architect or mastermind of the attacks of September 11, as is obvious from the preceding chapters. It would have been impossible for the Israeli government to have so compromised US intelligence, military, economic, and political systems as to have had control of the operation, not to mention the full and unquestioning cooperation of the American mid-level functionaries needed to execute it.

     I’m repeating that statement here because it’s so important to prevent the very common shaming, diversionary behavior illustrated by the following vignette: A colleague of mine who has been tireless in his efforts to distribute evidence of US government complicity in the attacks approached FOX News commentator Chris Matthews at a post-9/11 book signing. After he waited in line and then tried to place some of the evidence I’ve described in this book in Matthews’s hands — a Quixotic effort in my opinion — Matthews asked him, “This isn’t one of those ‘The Israelis did it’ things, is it?”

     This shows how little real analysis is being done by the media, but it also shows the way valid questions are deflected or intentionally ignored by shame-based, propagandistic rhetoric. Any criticism of Israel tends to get dishonestly recast as anti-Semitism. So let’s get a couple of things straight. Israel is not Judaism. 

     One is a state and the other is a religion. For centuries, Muslims and Jews lived side by side in relative tranquility in the Middle East. And during the Middle Ages it was the Muslims who gave Jews fleeing European Christian persecution safe haven in the Holy Land, where each group generally practiced its own religion in peace. A single day’s reading in the Torah, the New Testament, and the Koran is enough to show that within each monotheist sacred text are passages of exclusivity and intolerance and other passages urging accord and acceptance. Islam is typical here; and while it takes a dim view of polytheist cultures like Hinduism, much of the Koran teaches that Jews should be good Jews and that Christians should be good Christians.

     The term “anti-Semitism” refers to a European social and political phenomenon (which, like much of European pre-World War II ideology, still lingers in some places, e.g., Japan). Anti-Jewish feeling, thought, and behavior are as old as monotheism itself and have undergone almost as many transformations. There’s the anti-Judaism of late antiquity; the massacres against Jews in the Crusades and the Inquisition, the murderous pogroms by rural European peasants in the 18th and 19th centuries, the middle-class resentment, mythologizing, and persecution that led to the Dreyfuss Affair in 1890s France, and a massive wave of hatred toward Jews that came upward from European folk ideology and downward from fascist and rightist parties and governments in the first half of the 20th century. Like all forms of bigotry, “Anti-Semitism” remains a serious problem all over the world. But the phrase itself has no real anthropological basis; it dates from the 1870s, when most European writers still divided up the world’s peoples according to Biblical categories — “Semites” were thought to be descended from Noah’s son Shem, while everybody else came from either Ham or Japhet. In fact, Antisemitismus was invented as part of an effort by German racist authors to replace the religion-based Jew-hatred (Judenhass) of the past with a more modern, ethnicity-driven contempt. Of course, this apparently intellectual construct barely masked a deep reservoir of anti-rational, virulent hatred. It formed the basis for the pseudo-scientific racism of the Nazi movement.

     So the term shouldn’t be used to refer to the attitudes of either side in the Arab-Israeli conflict, where it’s misleading and inapt. As is often pointed out, Arabs and Jews are both called “Semitic” peoples. More importantly, “Anti-Semitism” is worse than useless in any discussion of Israeli domestic and international affairs. To talk about Israel as if its every citizen thought, felt, and acted as a unit in some giant monolithic crowd is as unfair as assuming that every American supports all of the US government’s actions, its economic policies, and its militarism with exactly the same degree of feeling and for exactly the same reasons. Clearly, within Israel there are hugely divergent opinions on everything including the occupied territories and settlements, Palestinian history and politics, the conduct of Israel’s foreign and domestic policies, and the vexing issue of compulsory military service. And Israel has a sizeable antiwar movement opposing the invasion of Iraq by the US. So what is important (indeed, essential) to examine are the actions of the Israeli government, in exactly the same way that we have examined the actions of the US government. Supporters of the state of Israel are often hysterically unable to tolerate that kind of critique, as though they know (all-too consciously in some cases, perhaps unconsciously in others) that a clear examination of Israel’s national conduct reveals a pattern of stark horrors. This sort of denial is best maintained by ad hominem attacks, the most effective being the easy slander of anti-Semitism; if you’re having any trouble preventing criticism of Israel, call the critic a bigot and it’s all over.

     Sometimes those reactions are triggered by the genuine anxiety that remains a permanent feature of Jewish life since the Holocaust. But it’s very common for journalists (say, Chris Matthews), politicians, officials, and disinformationists to squander, sabotage, or abort an exceedingly important debate by turning on the red megaphone that warns against what isn’t there.

     To say that Israel did not perpetrate the attacks of 9/11 is not to deny that the Israeli government was very close to those attacks and may have played a role in them. There is evidence that points both ways. On the one hand it is clear that Mossad made several attempts to warn the US government that the attacks were coming — in one case even providing the US government with a list that included the names of four of the 9/11 hijackers, including Mohammed Atta and that charmed pair, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almidhar.1 Everybody knew the attacks were coming. Yet even after this information was in American hands, various agencies of the US government allowed Alhazmi and Almidhar to roam free and unmolested.

     The analysis of insider trading by the Herzliya Institute for Counterterrorism (ICT) is another example of Israeli action pointing toward, rather than away from, evidence that the CIA knew what was going on and allowed the attacks to happen.

     But perhaps the most compelling reason to discount assertions that Israel was the primary executor of the attacks is the following UPI story, which is one of the most overlooked bombshells in the whole 9/11 saga:

     A leaked Federal Aviation Administration memo written on the evening of September 11 contains disturbing revelations about American Airlines Flight 11, the first to hit the World Trade Center. The “Executive Summary,” based on information relayed by a flight attendant to the American Airlines Operation Center, stated “that a passenger located in seat 10B shot and killed a passenger in seat 9B at 9:20 a.m. The passenger killed was Daniel Lewin, shot by passenger Satam Al Suqami.” The FAA has claimed that the document is a “first draft,” declining to release the final draft, as it is “protected information,” noting the inaccuracies in reported times, etc. The final draft omits all mention of gunfire. Lewin, a 31-year old American-Israeli citizen was a graduate of MIT and Israel’s Technion. Lewin had immigrated to Israel with his parents at age 14 and had worked at IBM’s research lab in Haifa, Israel. Lewin was a co-founder and chief technology officer of Akamai Technologies and lived in Boston with his family. A report in Ha’aretz on September 17 identified Lewin as a former member of the Israel Defense Force Sayeret Matkal, a top-secret counter-terrorist unit, whose Unit 269 specializes in counter-terrorism activities outside of Israel.2

     This particular story raises a multitude of questions. Guns were on the hijacked flights? How did they get there? Why have they not been mentioned? What was someone with Lewin’s background doing sitting in front of one of the hijackers on the day of the hijackings? Was he still active? Mere coincidence is nearly impossible here. So the question becomes: did the hijackers — all nineteen of them — plan their activities to kill Lewin, or was Lewin following the hijackers even into the gates of death? Did they have to kill him to complete their mission? Who had penetrated whom, and who had compromised Lewin’s presence on the plane hijacked by Mohammed Atta? One thing is absolutely clear from my vantage point: someone at the highest levels of the Israeli government deemed Lewin expendable.

     Behind the fragile logic and the false rumors that thousands of Jews didn’t show up for work at the World Trade Center on 9/11 lie deeper truths that raise darker questions. As a classic piece of disinformation, the rumor about Jews not showing up for work — latched onto by prejudiced and undisciplined minds — made it impossible to rationally discuss such things as the Zim Israeli-American shipping lines having vacated their offices in the World Trade Center just a week before the attacks and moving to Norfolk, Virginia. Two sources told me on condition of anonymity that Zim broke its lease to make the move.

     The disinformation worked like a charm. Here’s one example: an African American poet, Amiri Baraka, nearly lost his post as Poet Laureate of New Jersey in an apparent reprisal for his embrace of this particular rumor. Just a month after 9/11, Baraka published “Somebody Blew Up America,” a passionately internationalist poem against fascism in all its forms. But he didn’t do enough homework, and a single line, “Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers / To stay home that day?” touched off a small storm of boring controversy that clogged much of the Black press, the Jewish press, and the regional mainstream press for weeks. It’s unfortunately true (and rarely noted) that Baraka has written some very bigoted poems in the past 35 years, but “Somebody Blew Up America” is not one of them. Yet it’s the one that got all the noise, and the whole episode helped to shut down any legitimate discussion of Israeli foreknowledge and possible involvement in 9/11. Those who believed the rumor think they needn’t look further, and those who rejected it think the same, for opposite reasons.

     So let’s take a critical and rational look at Israel based upon facts. Let’s stop to examine the truth behind an Israeli spy ring that was operating all over the United States before 9/11 and documented by the DEA, the FBI, and the CIA. And then, let’s try to place Israel within the context of 21st century transnational fascism and the new order evolving at the end of the age of oil.

The record 
Let’s compare the violation of UN resolutions by Israel and by Iraq.

• UN Resolutions violated, ignored: 16 
• Countries attacked, invaded, violated: Iran, Kuwait 
• Countries occupied for years: None 
• Countries currently occupying: None 
• Territory illegally annexed: None 
• Wars started: 1980, 1990 
• Possesses weapons of mass destruction: Unverified as of this writing. (However, evidence has surfaced this year showing that the United States provided Iraq with bioweapons material for, among other things, anthrax, plague, smallpox, and West Nile virus, as well as materials for the manufacture of chemical weapons during the 1980s. Iraq also likely possesses small quantities of nerve agents such as CS, GB (Sarin), and VX gasses. But these are not legally or intuitively weapons of mass destruction. These gases dissipate and become harmless roughly 30 minutes after being deployed on the battlefield.) 
• Possesses nuclear weapons: No. 
• Most notable atrocity against civilians: Mass killings of Kurds and Shi’ite Muslims numbered at less than 5,000 per incident. (New information from CIA records and testimony this year shows that Iraq — as widely reported — was not guilty of gassing as many as 100,000 Kurds in the early 1990s. It was Iran, concerned about separatist sentiments in its own Kurdish population.)3 
• Currently under a regime of UN sanctions: Yes

• UN resolutions violated, ignored: 68 
• Countries attacked, invaded, violated: Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Tunisia.
• Countries occupied for years: Egypt, Lebanon, Syria 
• Countries currently occupying: Syria 
• Territory illegally annexed: Golan Heights, Jerusalem, Palestinian Territories 
• Wars started: 1956, 1967, 1982 
• Possesses weapons of mass destruction: Yes 
• Possesses nuclear weapons: Yes 
• Most notable atrocity against civilians: 17,500 Lebanese civilians killed in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon 
• Currently under a regime of UN sanctions: No

     Most of this material was compiled by Richard B. Du Boff of Bryn Mawr University and published by al Jazeera in September of 2002. The parenthetical comments are mine.4

Ariel Sharon
Having narrowly escaped (on a technicality) prosecution in Belgium for a 1982 three-day orgy of killing and rape at the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps that occurred when he led an invasion of Lebanon and controlled the area as Israeli defense minister, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was also charged with brutal 2001 and 2002 human rights violations in the Jenin and Nablus townships of the occupied territories in Palestine. In post-9/11 Israeli incursions, many innocent civilians were killed, houses were bulldozed, and people were left homeless and without food, water, or medical supplies in areas totally surrounded by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).5

Covert operations and 9/11 connections 
An Israeli owned company, ICTS, had a contract to provide security at Boston’s Logan airport, from which 9/11 Flights 11 and 175 originated. And either directly or through subsidiaries it had contracts at every other airport where planes were hijacked on 9/11. The same company was apparently well aware that alleged shoe bomber Richard Reid was connected to al Qaeda, and yet they still allowed him to board the Paris-US flight he tried to blow up. If the UPI story about a gun on Flight 11 is correct, then this might help explain how it got through screening.6

     FBI sources were quoted in an ABC News story indicating that five employees of an Israeli-owned moving company were on the roof of their truck in New York City with photographic equipment as the attacks were occurring on 9/11. A former CIA official confirmed that the names of several had turned up in an intelligence database, and the men were subsequently deported.7

     In December of 2002 Palestinian security forces arrested a group of Palestinians for acting as agents provocateurs in collaboration with Israel. Those arrested had been posing as al Qaeda operatives in attempts to discredit Palestinians in the eyes of the US and the world and to buttress Sharon’s claims that al Qaeda cells were operating in regions where the IDF has been engaging in brutal operations. A follow-up story in Israel’s Ha’aretz confirmed some details of the Palestinian allegations and disputed others.8 Historically, there has been no connection between al Qaeda and the Palestinian cause.

     In June of 2002 six men carrying Israeli passports who had been previously detained by the INS later became the subjects of a manhunt after US authorities feared that they might be plotting terror attacks, possibly on the Alaska pipeline or a Florida nuclear reactor. Release of the men — after confirming that their passports were valid — by the INS before contacting the FBI reportedly made FBI Director Mueller “furious.”9

     In the fall of 2002 a well-financed ring of Israeli computer hackers began a sabotage and eavesdropping campaign against interests in America that had been critical of Israel and supportive of Palestinian interests. One of the targets was University of Illinois international law professor Francis Boyle. The tactics used included the rewriting of text on certain websites, the sending of phony emails intended to create animosity or discredit the victim, and deluging targets with tens of thousands of messages. The ring, operating from Israeli occupied territory, was eventually tracked down and exposed.10

     In August of 2002 a Zim Antwerp ship, operated by Israel, was seized in Germany. It was filled with weapons and munitions headed for Iran. The firm, closely connected to the Israeli government, had been licensed to export the cargo to Thailand, but German intelligence had apparently determined that the final destination was Iran.11 

     In another backfired covert operation, what was originally heralded as a dramatic January 2002 Red Sea interception of an Iranian ship filled with weapons headed for Palestine turned out to be a major embarrassment for the Israeli government. The Karine A, contrary to what the Israelis had asserted, was not a Palestinian or Iranian vessel, and the whole affair was likely manipulated to provide a propaganda edge for Ariel Sharon as US envoys met with Palestinian officials. Lloyd’s of London produced documents proving certain parts of the Israeli story false and disproving Israeli claims that the weapons had been bought in Iran by Palestinian interests.12

     In 2000, after a protracted court battle, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith (ADL) lost a civil suit in California federal court after it was found that the ADL had engaged, in cooperation with Israeli and South African intelligence agencies, in a massive domestic spying operation against American citizens and organizations such as Greenpeace and groups opposed to US involvement in the Contra war. American officials who cooperated with the ADL were sometimes given all-expenses-paid trips to Israel, where they were introduced to representatives from the Mossad and Shin Bet intelligence services. It was found that the ADL had broken many laws by storing illegal intelligence records from local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. In ruling in favor of the plaintiffs a US District Court judge permanently enjoined the ADL from engaging in any further illegal spying against “Arab-American and other civil rights groups.” Several members of the House of Representatives were plaintiffs in the suit.13

     On April 25, 2002, former Congressman Pete McCloskey of California was awarded a $150,000 judgment against the ADL in a related case. McCloskey’s suit was prompted by FBI and San Francisco police raids on ADL offices which discovered that the ADL had files on almost 10,000 people across the US, and that about 75 percent of the material had been illegally obtained. Two of the three victims in the case who won awards were Jewish. This ruling followed a March 31, 2001, ruling in a Denver court upholding a $10.5 million defamation judgment against the Anti-Defamation League for falsely labeling two Colorado residents as anti-Semitic.14 

     To think of the ADL affair as something that originated solely with Israeli impetus is to overlook some key historical data. In the wake of myriad violations of US law committed by the FBI, the military, the CIA, and other government agencies in the 1960s and 1970s, and especially after the damning revelations of the Frank Church (D-ID) and Otis Pike (D-NY) congressional investigations in the mid 1970s, American agencies were forced to divest themselves of illegal records and to cease domestic spying operations. The problem, from their point of view, was how to hold on to data they deemed irreplaceable. The ADL, a nongovernmental organization connected with a foreign government, seemed an ideal solution. The solution was not without its costs.

     In the 1980s the Los Angeles Police Department’s Public Disorder Intelligence Division (PDID) was found to have been doing what was accomplished by other agencies directly through the ADL. Ultimately some ADL connections surfaced in the PDID case. Tens of thousands of illegal intelligence records were disclosed as having been stored in the private residence and storage facilities rented and maintained by LAPD Detective Jay Paul. Paul, who was later revealed to have ties to Israeli interests, maintained many of the records on computers provided by an ultra-right-wing group, Western Goals. Sitting at the time on the board of directors of Western Goals was Iran-Contra figure and retired Army General John Singlaub, a virulent anti-Communist and CIA-connected covert operative.

     As the LAPD scandal was unfolding I served as one of the unnamed sources for the Los Angeles Times’ reporting of the scandal. Although the Times stopped well short of stating that US intelligence agencies had supported this intelligence gathering, two decades later the pattern is very clear. The ADL was there when it was needed. Yet in using the ADL as a plausibly deniable cutout, American intelligence agencies at the state and federal level paid a price. They gave the ADL license to use the data for its own purposes and created a monster that ultimately became a liability in its own right.

The art students 
A DEA report from 2001 firmly establishes that in 2000 and 2001 the United States was entered by at least 120 Israeli intelligence operatives posing as art students.15  The M.O. of the ring was to have its members conduct street and door-to-door sales of artwork in specific areas of interest. Some of those areas were in Hollywood, Florida, San Diego, and Phoenix, where many of the 9/11 hijackers had lived and trained. The investigation revealed that the areas of interest at one level were offices of the DEA and other federal agencies and the homes of those who worked there.

     Initial reports by FOX News’s Brit Hume and Carl Cameron caused great national interest and international reaction in December 2001 by revealing active government investigations into the ring before and especially after 9/11. The report disclosed that many of the ring’s activities seemed to run parallel with the movements of several of the 9/11 hijackers. Sources have told me that the information breaking the story was leaked to Hume by Vice President Dick Cheney at a DC-area a cocktail party about two months after the attacks.

     The FOX stories raised interesting questions about two Israeli-owned companies in the US. One of them, Amdocs, handles almost all telephone billing records in the United States and thus was in a position to provide invaluable intelligence information about who was being called from what phones anywhere in the country. The second company, Comverse, has multiple contracts to handle sensitive wiretap operations for government agencies, and FOX reported that the Comverse systems included a “back door” for outside parties with access to it to overhear monitored conversations.16  This is reminiscent of the back door in PROMIS software.

     Cameron’s story made it clear that federal investigators were highly concerned about indications that suspects in the spy ring and — by implication — some of the 9/11 hijackers were able to avoid detection and capture as a result of information derived from these two companies. This was a bit of disinformation that yielded great payoffs for the administration. The FOX and other stories from the same period revealed that some 60 Israelis had been detained and deported just after 9/11 for passport and visa violations.17

     Comverse becomes especially interesting because of its relationship with the Israeli instant-messaging firm Odigo. On September 11 employees of Odigo in Israel received specific instant messages warning them of the attacks two hours before they happened. Although the story received intense attention briefly, little follow-up was done in the major press, and whatever was learned was subsequently hidden behind veils of secrecy.18

     One breathtaking connection that was overlooked by the mainstream press, however, was that in January 2001, Comverse, along with Lazard Technology Partners and another venture capital group, purchased a $15 million stake in Odigo, giving it access to Odigo’s operations, accounting, and technologies.19

The FOX stories clearly implied that the Israeli operatives had not done all they could have to help prevent the attacks and suggested that the Israelis had more knowledge about the attacks than had been publicly disclosed. At one point Hume asked Cameron,
Carl, I want to take you back to your report last night on those 60 Israelis who were detained in the anti-terror investigation, and the suspicion that some investigators have that they may have picked up information on the 9/11 attacks ahead of time and not passed it on. There was a report, you’ll recall, that the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, did indeed send representatives to the US to warn, just before 9/11, that a major terrorist attack was imminent. How does that leave room for the lack of a warning?
To which Cameron replied:
I remember the report, Brit. We did it first internationally right here on your show on the 14th. What investigators are saying is that that warning from the Mossad was nonspecific and general, and they believe that it may have had something to do with the desire to protect what are called sources and methods in the intelligence community. The suspicion being, perhaps those sources and methods were taking place right here in the United States.20 
     As previously noted, the Mossad warning was specific enough to have named four of the hijackers. Again, a bit of deception by FOX, whose news director is former Reagan and Republican Party advisor Roger Ailes. Though subtle and vague, Hume’s implication was that Israeli operatives were assisting the terrorists. And it was enough to spark an Internet avalanche of speculation by biased covert operations dilettantes claiming that Israel had masterminded and executed the attacks. Once that had started, then the question about Israel, which had apparently begun with a leak from Dick Cheney, was misdirected and distorted into something that the media, e.g., Chris Matthews, could effectively dismiss out of hand. And yet the incident had cost Israel dearly in terms of prestige and credibility. Also, as we shall see below, it had served to hide some darker truths.

     Shortly after the FOX News stories, investigative journalist and former naval and NSA intelligence officer Wayne Madsen secured a copy of the DEA report that had started it all. It revealed a great deal more than FOX let on. 

     Most of the targets for walk-in sales by members of the ring were DEA offices. The DEA did not play any central role in 9/11.
• Members of the ring also made cold-calls at the private residences of DEA employees, federal judges, Secret Service agents, and other federal law enforcement and military personnel. This indicates that the ring had acquired the home addresses — quite possibly through telephone records — of DEA employees all over the country and was quietly making that fact known for reasons I will discuss below.
• On December 12, 2000, one Israeli named Shay Ashkenazi, when stopped for an INS screening after entering the US, volunteered information about the art students to authorities indicating that it was a fraud ring and actually named one of participants. Ashkenazi told the INS officers that he was a “former Israeli intelligence officer who was now traveling to ‘enjoy life.’” This means that one Israeli intelligence operative tipped off the US government to the work of other Israeli intelligence operatives.
• The ring did have very heavy operations in some areas connected with 9/11, especially the area around Hollywood, Florida, where Mohammed Atta and other hijackers lived and trained, San Diego, where Alhazmi and Almidhar lived; and Phoenix, Arizona. In fact, a group of these agents were later confirmed to have been living virtually next door to Atta’s Florida post office box and had been surveilling him for some time. Some of these agents had entered the US from Frankfurt, Germany, where Atta had also lived and planned for the attacks.
• The CIA is mentioned in only one place in the report — San Diego — where Alhazmi and Almidhar lived. The report said, “The San Diego [DEA] Division is currently working with the FBI, Department of State, and CIA personnel on advancing the investigation.”21
Espionage 101 
Those with experience in intelligence operations will recognize some patterns to this widespread operation. First of all, when mounting an operation of wide scope, governments usually allow the operation to be used for multiple purposes. Within the Israeli government there might be three or four different intelligence units that could benefit from a large-scale deployment of covert operatives. We have already seen how closely intertwined narcotics and intelligence operations are worldwide. Not only does drug dealing provide, in some cases, the necessary covert funding for the operations themselves, it is also a means of generating income for national economies. With the United States and the CIA as the “Alpha dog” in the worldwide drug trade, there are few areas of competition left to generate large cash flows. One area in which Israeli organized crime has excelled, however, is in controlling the largest market share of trafficking in the drug MDMA (Ecstasy). And the interfaces between intelligence agencies and organized crime are well documented.

     Secondly, to have a multiplicity of purposes often throws counterintelligence personnel off the scent of the real purposes of covert operations. It is common to have covert operations that resemble Chinese boxes — one inside the other. Not every member of the art student ring would have known of deeper operations intended to track the 9/11 hijackers, and for good reason. And the fact that one Israeli intelligence operative actually tipped US authorities off to the operation might well have been a plausibly deniable heads-up to US intelligence that the ring was here and on the move.

     A close reading of the DEA report suggests that on one level it was a direct intimidation effort aimed at various elements of the federal government. Nothing more disrupts criminal investigations than any hint that suspects have acquired the home addresses of investigating officers and know how to find their families. In dozens of cases, members of the ring showed up at private residences when only wives or other relatives were at home. Some of those relatives, their suspicions aroused, followed the art students and their canvases only to see that they had not called on any neighboring homes. It would have been nothing for Israeli intelligence to later hand over the addresses of these investigators to Israeli organized crime members, who are not known for their congeniality.

     Yet on a deeper level this story reveals that Israeli intelligence services were operating as an accomplice of the US government to see that certain aspects of the attacks would be successful, and that, if the need arose, other attacks could be prevented. Israeli agents compromised in the operation would not have led directly to the US government, and ultra-sensitive missions are often subcontracted between governments. As history shows, Israel has benefited enormously since the attacks, using the wave of emotion to brutally consolidate its positions — often to the point of embarrassing the United States. And, when two people are both guilty of murder, they can usually be counted on to keep their mouths shut.

     An interesting side note to the art student spy scandal is the fact that after receiving the DEA report and authenticating it, Madsen wrote a story for the newsletter Intelligence Online published by Guillaume Dasquié, author of Forbidden Truth. From there it was picked up by Le Monde and reignited as a story of worldwide interest. But in early March, Madsen also took the DEA report to TV news reporter Dale Solly at Washington’s ABC affiliate WJLA. On March 5, at the top of the 5 PM report, Solly aired an interview with Madsen. In that report Solly asked, “But what, if anything did they learn? At worst, Madsen says,” Solly continued, “they had advance knowledge of the attacks and either didn’t share all of it with US intelligence or were ignored if they did .… Late today, the FBI and DEA confirmed the arrests. The French newspaper Le Monde called this the biggest Israeli spy case in this country since the Jonathan Pollard case in 1986.” 22

     Solly, then 53, a nonsmoker and dedicated runner, died of a sudden heart attack on April 27. Anonymous sources who knew him stated that there was a considerable delay in securing a statement from the coroner that the cause of death was natural. What is harder to dismiss is the fact that one of WJLA’s newsroom directors, Phil Smith, also died of a sudden cardiac arrest within three weeks of Solly.23

     Before looking at deeper reasons why Dick Cheney would have wanted to bring the whole matter to light, it’s necessary to look at the role of Israel in American politics.

AIPAC and Israeli political influence 
Few Washington insiders will deny that the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is probably the most influential lobby in Washington. It is not difficult to find press stories about Israeli politicians boasting that the American Congress is “controlled” by Israeli interests. Again, it is critical to find the truths and the untruths in statements like this.

     I have witnessed the power of AIPAC. In mid December 2001, while in Washington, I happened to sit in on the mark-up of a House resolution in the International Relations Committee. The resolution was one condemning Iraq for its role in terrorism and its repeated violation of human rights. I walked into the hearing room in the Rayburn office building and sat in the crowded spectator area, which was occupied primarily by staff of the various members debating and voting on the measure. They had come to watch an important political event in the wake of 9/11. It proved to be more enlightening listening to the staff members — who worked in the offices of members with whom I don’t usually do business — than to the members themselves.

     The vote started slowly, with many of the votes going against the resolution. It seemed as though the harsh anti-Iraq resolution might fail. There had, after all, been no evidence released that Iraq had had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks. But then, from side doors in the rear of the hearing room, various representatives started sticking their heads in the door long enough to say “Aye.” These were some of the most powerful members of the committee including among others, Henry Hyde, Ben Gilman, and Tom Lantos. As the members who were all voting in favor of the resolution stuck their heads in the door to vote, I overhead staff members all around me saying, “Here comes the AIPAC vote.” The staffers were cynical, even fatalistic about the outcome. The measure passed by a wide margin, and it was not long afterwards that I reached the conclusion that we were going to go to war with Iraq.

     Further evidence of Israeli influence over the US Congress was seen in November 2001, when 89 out of 100 US senators signed a letter urging President Bush not to hamper Israel’s activities in retaliation for a wave of Palestinian suicide bombings that helped to turn Israel and Palestine into sausage factories. Justly playing on the point that no act of terror against innocent non-combatants is justified, the letter neglected to mention anything about the way Israel was using its massive military might to dislocate hundreds and thousands of Palestinian citizens who had nothing to do with the attacks.24

     On August 26, as if the wishes of the Israeli government were not already known, an aide to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon formally urged the US to begin the invasion of Iraq as soon as possible, saying, “Any postponement of an attack on Iraq at this stage will serve no purpose.”25

The 2002 midterm elections 
Two African American members of the House fell, in large measure, as a result of being targeted by AIPAC and pro-Israeli American Jewish organizations in their 2002 primaries before the November election. The chief crimes of Earl F. Hilliard of Alabama and Cynthia McKinney of Georgia seem to be that they had openly supported Palestinian rights and had openly questioned the conduct of the Israeli government. A fact that aided in McKinney’s demise was that she had long been a vocal critic of the CIA, covert operations, and globalization under both Presidents Clinton and Bush. And she had dared to make a public statement questioning how much the administration knew about the attacks of 9/11 before they happened. Shortly after this, a series of stories appeared suggesting that McKinney actually supported terrorism because less than a half dozen campaign donors had previously expressed support for Hamas and Hezbollah. I strongly suspect that at least some of those donations were planted in her campaign to discredit her.

     McKinney’s courageous stance made her a target of Republican interests as well as AIPAC, and the two combined in a serious effort, using heavy crossover (and possibly illegal) voting by Republicans and very large campaign donations from pro-Israel organizations and interests outside of Georgia into the coffers of her pro-Israel, pro-war, African American rival, former state judge Denise Majette. McKinney, a five-term member of the House, lost her primary. A lawsuit challenging the legality of the crossover vote is currently under appeal.

     McKinney actually won the Democratic Party vote. Nevertheless the Washington Post, Reuters, CNN, and the Congressional News Service all acknowledged that she was targeted by AIPAC and out-of-state, pro-Israel funding, and that this made the difference in her defeat.26

     Just days after the 2002 midterm elections, the Jerusalem Post published a celebratory story about how the 108th Congress would remain strongly pro-Israel, tallying up the Jewish members of both Houses. While there is an ample, but by no means uniform, correlation between Jewish identity and support for the state of Israel among American Jews, that correlation is almost absolute among Jewish members of Congress. The Jerusalem Post story noted how the 108th Congress would bolster President Bush’s agenda for regime change in Iraq. Ironically, it cited the strongly pro-Israel stance of the new senator from Minnesota, Norm Coleman, as he replaced the late Senator Paul Wellstone — perhaps the only Jewish American legislator to take a position substantively critical of Israeli policy in the occupied territories. The Post didn’t discuss that aspect of Senator Wellstone’s legacy.27

Reaching an understanding 
Israel has always spied on the US. Perhaps the most famous Israeli spy is an American Jew named Jonathan Pollard, who compromised secret US communications technology in the 1970s and 1980s and remains in maximum security lock-up. Former CIA officials have categorized Pollard as perhaps the most damaging spy ever to have betrayed his country. And in December 2001 American physicist Richard Smyth pled guilty to illegally providing Israel with nuclear triggers in 1982. He then spent 16 years on the run until he was captured.28  What happened in these cases and in the case of the art students is nothing new. For decades the Israeli desk at the CIA was the only national intelligence desk at the agency kept within the Counterintelligence Directorate. The portfolio was handled for most of that time by the legendary alcoholic and paranoid James Jesus Angleton, who — even today — many believe was an Israeli mole.

     In short, the mutually beneficial but mutually compromising relationship between America and Israel is the source of both geopolitical cooperation and domestic political sabotage. When an international institution like the UN threatens to take a position against human rights violations or aggressive warfare, Israel and the US can generally be found opposing it together. While the US maintains its permanent military outpost in the most oil-rich region on the planet, Israel fends off the legitimate claims of displaced Arabs without worrying over its own strategic encirclement. But those needs require continual surveillance and penetration of each country by the other. 

     There is a compelling case that Israel acted as a partner with US intelligence and financial interests in seeing to it that the attacks of 9/11 were carried out. Israel had the unique HUMINT and the ELINT capabilities to track, and even quietly protect, the 9/11 hijackers from capture without the hijackers knowing it. It also had PROMIS software. In that role they served as a cutout for US interests and afforded the CIA with a layer of protection. Neither the US nor Israel can afford to have these secrets come out, and each has a blackmail option against the other. If the claim that Dick Cheney leaked the art student story to Brit Hume is true, then what we witnessed was the American giant disciplining its headstrong junior partner.

     And what might be Israel’s future role? Consider the moneyed interests behind the neo-cons as a kind of corporate board. In the new world order that is emerging after 9/11, Israel is positioning itself to occupy the position of executive vice president in charge of Middle Eastern affairs. As it does so, the financial and military powers of what has become an almost openly fascist world order continue to drive humanity toward the brink of destruction. 

However, as we shall soon see, there will be more very compelling evidence to show that Israel acted as a junior partner to key US leaders to actually carry out the attacks of 9/11.

Footnotes below

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CHAPTER 15 FOOTNOTES [Those scrubbed from the net have orig. links shown]:
1 “Mossad Agents Were on Atta’s Tail,” Der Spiegel, October 1, 2002. Original link broken. Archived at
2 “Insider notes from United Press International for March 6,” UPI, March 6, 2002:
3 Peter Dale Scott, Flash 28, “A U.S. Attack on Iraq Could Create a New Anti-U.S. Coalition,” March 18, 2002, [Berkeley archives retired, not found]
4 Richard B. Du Boff, “Comparing Violations of UN Resolutions by Iraq and Israel,” Al Jazeerah, September 23, 2002, [Original not found. Archived here:[A].htm]
5 “Sabra and Shatila 20 years on,” BBC News, September 14, 2002,; “Israel/Occupied Territories: Israeli Defence Force war crimes must be investigated,” Amnesty International Press Release, November 2,
2002, [Original link is no longer online.; Full release archived here:
6 “All the 9-11 Airports Serviced By One Israeli Owned Company,” Undated,
7 “The White Van: Were Israelis detained on September 11 Spies?” ABC News, June 21, 2002, [Original link: || archived story:]
8 “Palestinians arrest al-Q’aeda ‘poseurs,’” Sydney Morning Herald, December 8, 2002,; Danny Rubinstein, “Ibrahim, the Shin bet wants you to join Qaida,” Ha’aretz, December 15, 2002, [Link not found, story archived here:]
9 “U.S. papers: FBI hunting suspected terrorists with Israeli passports,” Ha’aretz, June 28, 2002,
10 Michael Gillespie, “Israeli Computer Hackers Foiled, Exposed,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, September 3, 2002. Archived at
11 “Israeli Arms Shipment Headed for Iran Seized in Germany,” Global Vision News Network, August 29, 2002, [Archived here:]
12 “Arms Seizure backfires, wounds Israel,” Stratfor, January 2002, Archived at
13 Michael Gillespie, “Los Angeles Court Hands Down Final Judgment in Anti-Defamation
League Illegal Surveillance Case,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 1999,
14 Barbara Ferguson, “ADL Found Guilty of Spying by California Court,” The Arab News, April 25, 2002, Archived:
15 This report was originally made public by investigative journalist and former NSA analyst Wayne Madsen in late February and early March of 2002. Madsen obtained the report several months after FOX News stories by Carl Cameron and Brit Hume broke the initial story of the spy ring, but did not mention the DEA connections, which were central to understanding the context of the operation. The undated DEA report, extracted from a larger document, was written sometime in the summer of 2001. It can be found online at
16 The four-part FOX series by Carl Cameron began on Monday December 17, 2001. Although the story was subsequently removed from the FOX web site and “spiked” as some researchers have called it, transcripts are still available through web searches and through the Federal Document Clearing House. Series archived online at
17 Cameron, op. cit.; John Mintz, “60 Israelis on Tourist Visas Detained Since September 11,” Washington Post, November 23, 2001, archived here:
18 “Instant Messages Warned of WTC Attacks,” Washington Post, September 28, 2001,
19 “Odigo, Inc., the leading instant messaging provider, secures $15.35 million in private placement,” press release, Comverse, Inc., January 9, 2001, [Not Found:]
20 Cameron, op. cit. [Part Two, December 18, 2001] 
21 DEA Report, op. cit.
22 5 PM newscast, WJLA TV. The transcript of the story has since been removed from the WJLA web site. However, I was able to recover a copy of the original teleprompter script from the broadcast. [Not available]
23 “The View from Washington,” Poynteronline, September 10, 2002, [Not located. Archives at LoC here]
24 Elaine Sciolino, “89 Senators Urge Bush Not to Hamper Israel,” New York Times, November 16, 2001. Archived at
25 Jason Keyser, “Israel Urges U.S. to Attack Iraq,” Associated Press, August 16, 2002. [Unable to locate original or archive:]
26 “Georgia casts votes in bitter house duels,” Reuters, August 20, 2002, [Link not found:]; Thomas B. Edsall, “Impact of McKinney Loss Worries Some Democrats; Tension Between Blacks, Jews a Concern,” Washington Post, August 22, 2002, Archive:; Jim Burns, “McKinney Contemplating Run For Georgia U.S. Senate Seat,” CNS News, August 26, 2002: [Archived:]
27 Jamie Zacharia, “New Congress remains strongly pro-Israel,” Jerusalem Post, November 6, 2002, [Unable to locate original or archived post:]
28 “U.S. scientist sentenced for selling nuclear trigger devices,” Ananova Press Agency, December 29, 2001; “United States II: Nuclear Trigger Smuggler Pleads Guilty,” [Original link/archive not found:];  Cf. Gary Milhollin, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin Law School and Director, Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, Testimony Before the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, May 26, 2000,

Please find links to previously released excerpts below with footnotes, which are the bulk of the work for this project. Crossing the Rubicon is over 700 pages long with upwards of 1,000 footnotes requiring updating since its 2004 release. From The Wilderness web links are estimated at double or triple that amount. Mike's administrative team sincerely appreciates your support of his legacy. TRC does not receive commission from sales of Crossing the Rubicon. Book sales help the administrator who granted permission to TRC to share excerpts and official web hosting duties.

Semper fi 🗽 

Jan. 8, 2012: Petroleum Man

Jan. 9, 2012: A Simple Exercise

Jan. 20, 2012: Unholy Trinity / Part One

Jan. 21, 2012: Unholy Trinity / Part Two

Monday, January 1, 2018

TRC Redpill Theater || A Good American: William Binney

submitted for your consideration
by Gabrielle Jones-Price

Every American needs to watch this and have a long discussion with their families about the gravity of this in the current historical context.  There is a lot of work to do -- but the work isn't what many imagine it was -- even last year.

There are those who are half-woke but afraid to speak out about what they know to be true. I find young people are far more savvy about such things as folks my age -- but then folks my age and older think I'm insane because I don't watch the Nightly News or trust NPR [or intelligence agencies, but hey, that's historically for a damn good reason]. I don't poke fun, take cheap shots or utter the word 'resistance' -- it's been a year and it does nothing except win bad comedians more awards. It only brings headaches, arguments and focuses attention on feelings rather than facts.

I haven't been able to bring myself to watch any mainstream news at all in the last 8 years. I'm used to this. It's been my job to redpill loved ones the the best way I know how. I've lost a lot of friends and loved ones in this fight. It has to be re-framed to appeal to a moral compass. I think this film is a great start.

It is a new day and a new year. I know I'm not alone. The goal should be for people who 'get it' to be able to see each other. This is how we bridge gaps, come together and work toward a greater good for citizens who wish to restore what has been so utterly corrupted. It can be done. It will take many to do it.

To those ends ~ be sincere, stay human and heart-centered.
I think that's resolution enough, don't you? ~ G


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Define Bombshell : What Happens When FBI Agents Blow The Whistle

Submitted for your consideration by Gabrielle Jones Price 
with permission from the author and copyright holder.

From Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil
Published in 2004
Chapter 12
Executing A Conspiracy: Shame And Honor In The FBI — An Air Force Colonel Blows The Whistle

[w/updated footnotes]

It doesn’t take many people to execute a conspiracy, especially when the people involved are accustomed to dealing with compartmentalized information. Few organizations are more familiar with compartmentalized information, and with what happens to whistleblowers who compromise intelligence operations, than the FBI. Indeed, the bureau is almost always the first place where people seek help when the inevitable retributions begin. It is the first place I went in 1978 after resigning from the LAPD with tape-recorded death threats when I knew that the CIA was dealing drugs. Who better to know and understand what whistleblowers face when they make their momentous decisions to come forward?

     But what happens when FBI agents blow the whistle? The truth of the matter is that many FBI agents, employees, and even military personnel did speak out, both before and after 9/11. What they said is damning. And what has happened to them remains a continued warning (though not an excuse) for those who still function within the system and keep it going. The main reason why these whistleblowers have been so thoroughly smashed is because they all threatened to expose direct US connections to the attacks of 9/11 and those who carried them out.

White House orders
In a watershed moment two months after the World Trade Center attacks, the BBC’s Greg Palast disclosed that shortly after taking office the Bush administration acted to prevent an FBI investigation into two of Osama bin Laden’s brothers, Abdullah and Omar, living in a DC suburb near CIA headquarters. With the cooperation of veteran investigative journalist Joe Trento, Palast was actually able to produce a classified FBI national security report disclosing the damning evidence. The subject of the investigation was the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a charity that had been repeatedly documented as having funneled money to terrorists.1
     In the course of the broadcast Palast made these remarks:
I received a phone call from a high-placed member of a US intelligence agency. He tells me that while there’s [sic] always been constraints on investigating Saudis; under George Bush, it’s gotten much worse. After the elections, the agencies were told to ‘back off’ investigating the bin Ladens and Saudi royals, and that angered agents. I’m told that since September 11th the policy has been reversed. FBI headquarters told us they could not comment on our findings. A spokesman said: ‘There are lots of things that only the intelligence community knows and that no one else ought to know.’2 
     But the documents are more revealing, as Palast explains:
This document is marked “Secret.” Case ID — 199-Eye WF 213 589. 199 is FBI code for case type: 9 would be murder, 65 would be espionage, 199 means national security. WF indicates Washington field office special agents were investigating ABL — because of his relationship with the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, WAMY… ABL is Abdullah Bin Laden, president and treasurer of WAMY…
     The US Treasury has not frozen WAMY’s assets, and when we talked to them, they insisted they are a charity. Yet, just weeks ago, Pakistan expelled WAMY operatives. And India claimed that WAMY was funding an organisation linked to bombings in Kashmir. And the Philippine military has accused WAMY of funding Muslim insurgency. The FBI did look into WAMY, but, for some reason, agents were pulled off the trail.
     TRENTO: The FBI wanted to investigate these guys. This is not something that they didn’t want to do — they wanted to .… they weren’t permitted to…
     MICHAEL WILDES (LAWYER): I would never be surprised with that. They’re cut off at the hip sometimes by supervisors or given shots that are being called from Washington at the highest levels….3
Robert Wright
Twelve-year veteran FBI agent Robert Wright Jr. should be proud. Of all of the FBI “brick” agents who have come forward since 9/11 to describe the deliberate obstruction of investigations that could have prevented the attacks, no others have taken the risks or endured the punishment that Wright has. For good reason.

     Wright is the only agent in the FBI’s history to have conducted an investigation of terrorists that resulted in the seizure of financial assets. In 1998 he began an investigation — since terminated by the FBI — into terrorist money laundering in the United States. That investigation resulted in the seizure of bank accounts and other assets of Yassin Kadi, who has “since been identified as one of the ‘chief money launderers’ for Osama bin Laden.” Kadi is reported to have provided as much as $3 billion to al Qaeda before Wright shut him down.4 (Wright’s investigations also put a major crimp in the funding for Hamas, another Palestinian related support group that has been linked to terrorist activities in Israel).

     Based in Chicago, home of the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) where a great deal of 9/11-related insider trading was to take place, Wright was in one of the three most important financial centers of the United States. Nobody moves $3 billion without using exchanges such as the NYSE or CBOE. It’s just too much money and must move in financial streams where it would not stand out.

     In the only real coverage of Wright’s decision to come forward — which was coupled with a formal complaint against the FBI for its suppression of him — the Congressional News Service told a chilling tale as it reported on a press conference held by Wright and his legal team on May 30, 2002:
In a memorandum written 91 days before the September 11 terrorist attacks, an FBI agent warned that Americans would die as a result of the bureau’s failure to adequately pursue investigations of terrorists living in the country… Wright says that FBI management ‘intentionally and repeatedly thwarted and obstructed’ his attempts to expand the investigation to arrest other terrorists and seize their assets .…’ As a direct result of the incompetence and, at times, intentional obstruction of justice by FBI management to prevent me from bringing the terrorists to justice, Americans have unknowingly been exposed to potential terrorists attacks for years,’ he charged.5
     FBI Director Robert Mueller held a May 29, 2002, press conference where he stated, “It is critically important that I hear criticisms of the organization including criticisms of me in order to improve the organization.” Meanwhile the FBI was landing on Wright’s chest with both feet. It had issued Wright written orders not to discuss what he knew and not to disclose, either in speech or writing, the contents of an unpublished manuscript entitled Vulgar Betrayal that he had written for Congress. Wright was threatened in writing with disciplinary action, civil suits, revocation of security clearances, and even criminal prosecution if he talked. That letter was received by Wright’s attorney, David Schippers, at 5:00 pm on the same day Mueller lied to the American people about his pure intentions.6

     The next day, Wright concluded his own press conference in tears: “To the families and victims of September 11th,” he said, “on behalf of [FBI Special Agents] John Vincent, Barry Carmody, and myself — we’re sorry.”7 But the real truth of what was done to this ethical law enforcement officer is contained in a May 22 letter written by Schippers to the FBI and in the words spoken at the press conference itself.

     In writing to Wright’s superior, Chicago Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Thomas Kneir, Schippers described how Wright had voluntarily given a heads-up about a New York Times investigation into what had happened with his investigations. Wright was subsequently ordered not to talk to the press. He complied. Schippers wrote,
The FBI has failed seriously to address Robert Wright’s work-related concerns regarding the FBI’s terrorism responsibilities. In fact, we believe there has been a concerted effort by the FBI to discredit Agent Wright and minimize his concerns regarding the FBI’s failures in connection with international terrorism matters prior to September 11th, 2001. In part, this effort includes providing false and misleading information to the New York Times regarding Agent Wright and his Vulgar Betrayal investigation. Even more disturbing is the fact that the FBI has prevented Agent Wright and Special Agent John Vincent from providing written responses to the New York Times to counter that false and misleading information .... Agent Wright has also filed two complaints with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in an attempt to have his concerns addressed .... To our astonishment, the DOJ employee advised that, although the allegations were extremely serious, the Inspector General’s Office did not have the resources to conduct an investigation of this anticipated size and scope.8
     The sheer vindictiveness of a system that seeks to silence whistleblowers was most fully revealed in the press conference itself, in which it was disclosed that Wright, Schippers, and attorney Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch (a Washington, DC-based legal watchdog group) had actually met months before 9/11. They also disclosed that Wright had written most of his manuscript and decided to speak out about the repression well before the first plane hit the World Trade Center. Repeating allegations that Wright had been threatened and intimidated by the Bureau, Klayman stated that Wright’s manuscript hits both Bush and Cheney “hard.” That leaves little doubt about where the orders to crush Wright were coming from. Shippers added that Wright had even been ordered not to talk to Congress. John Ashcroft was not spared in the scathing statements. Klayman said that “Ashcroft very likely had all of this information” and didn’t use Wright’s investigative work to pull the financial plug on al Qaeda before the attacks.

     The lawyers also described how Wright had, since voicing his concerns, been demoted to performing “innocuous tasks”; his office had been moved, computer equipment had been taken away from him, and he had been forced to purchase computers with his own money (which he did, out of sheer devotion to his work). Klayman stated that his office, aware of the direct connections between Wright’s work and Osama bin Laden, had called Attorney General Ashcroft immediately after the attacks. The response was terse: “We’re tired of conspiracy theories.”

     For a time C-SPAN carried a downloadable video file of the entire compelling press conference, which received no attention in the major media.9 It has since been removed.

Kenneth Williams and the Phoenix memo: a CIA connection 
On July 10, 2001, Kenneth Williams, the senior special agent from a Phoenix FBI terrorism task force, sent a memo to FBI headquarters. That memo, resulting from a seven-year investigation, alerted FBI headquarters that a number of Muslims, suspected of radical ties, were taking flight lessons in Arizona. It was later confirmed that Hani Hanjour, who was to be listed as the suspected pilot of the airliner the government says crashed into the Pentagon, had received his flight training in Arizona.

     The memo specifically mentioned Osama bin Laden and warned that terrorists were possibly going to hijack aircraft or penetrate airport security. Williams requested that the FBI institute a nationwide survey of aviation schools to ascertain if there were large numbers of Middle Eastern students enrolled in them. The request was denied, reportedly for lack of resources.10 The excuse seems weak. A list of flight schools is readily available through the Internet, and a telephone survey would have yielded fast results. 

     Williams was not the first FBI agent in Phoenix to complain about interference and obstruction by FBI headquarters. In 1994 Special Agent James Hauswirth complained about it after retiring and wrote a letter of complaint to FBI Director Mueller in December 2001. Hauswirth wrote, “The [international anti-terrorism] program ground to a halt a couple of years ago because of the micromanaging, constant indecision, and stonewalling.”11

     There was serious reason for the Phoenix “brick agents” to be concerned. They had watched some of their suspects who were taking flight training practicing at pistol ranges, and one of them was an associate of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, imprisoned for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.12

     After disclosure of the Phoenix memo’s existence in May of 2002, FBI Director Mueller took the same tack as in the Wright case: he classified it and refused to show it to members of the Senate panel investigating 9/11. This outraged Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who threatened a subpoena and a fight.13 Unlike Wright, Williams — as a result of public pressure — was allowed to testify before the intelligence panel, and that panel has seen the memorandum that, however, remains classified. [ it still? ~ GJP]

     Another person who saw the memo was Fortune reporter Richard Behar. This is the same Richard Behar who was instrumental in destroying the credibility of IranContra figure Terry Reed in the previous chapter. It seems Mr. Behar is a trusted asset of intelligence agencies, who should not have disclosed anything the government didn’t want known. But in his May 22 story on the Phoenix memo, he did. He described the Phoenix Field office’s interest in a man named Zakaria Soubra: “Soubra, the memo said, was a student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona (according to the Los Angeles Times, he was questioned by FBI agents in 2000, after he was observed at a shooting range with another Muslim, who was a veteran of Islamic jihads in the Balkans and the Middle East…). The organization named in the memo’s title, the Islamic Army of the Caucasus, is based in Chechnya and was at one time headed by a man named Amir Khattab, who, according to news reports, is suspected of having ties to Osama bin Laden.”14

     We have previously documented that Chechen rebels were trained in camps funded and operated by the CIA, and that these operations were connected to Osama bin Laden, who was acting on behalf of the CIA in both the Balkans (Kosovo) and Chechnya. Khattab was one of the key players in those operations.

     As reported in a previous chapter, Michel Chossudovsky told us why the Williams memo was so dangerous:
With regard to Chechnya, the main rebel leaders Shamil Basayev and Al Khattab were trained and indoctrinated in CIA sponsored camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to Yossef Bodansky, director of the US Congress’ Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, the war in Chechnya had been planned during a secret summit of HizbAllah International held in 1996 in Mogadishu, Somalia.15
     Williams’s memo was sent to the desk of Supervisory Special Agent Dave Frasca at FBI headquarters in Washington, where Frasca sat on it with an anvil. We may never know what is in the rest of that memo and what Richard Behar kept hidden for the interests he apparently serves. What has been documented here, however, is yet another case of senior FBI personnel deliberately suppressing information that might have prevented the attacks of 9/11 in order to protect CIA assets who were subsequently connected to those same attacks.

     Another major inconsistency in FBI operations is that, in 1995, after receiving warnings that al Qaeda operatives might be planning to crash hijacked airliners into CIA headquarters, the FBI “descended” immediately on flight schools all over the country.16 Yet in 2001 it was too busy.

Colleen Rowley
On May 22, 2002, Minneapolis FBI Special Agent Colleen Rowley hand-delivered a 13-page memorandum to FBI Director Robert Mueller. In keeping with his customary practices, Mueller immediately classified the memorandum from the Minneapolis Field Office’s top lawyer “Secret.” That didn’t help much, because Rowley, claiming protection under the federal whistleblower statute, had also delivered copies to the Senate Intelligence Committee and two of the Committee’s members, Republican Richard Shelby and Democrat Diane Feinstein.17

     The efforts of Rowley and her fellow brick agents in Minneapolis centered on the so-called twentieth hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, who had been in FBI custody since August 15 on immigration charges. It seems that for months before 9/11, FBI headquarters (FBIHQ) had systematically blocked every effort to investigate yet another case that — had it been supported — might have prevented the 9/11 attacks. Rowley was irritated. It wasn’t long before the memorandum — edited of course — was published by the likes of TIME, the Associated Press, and Newsweek. Rowley’s move was supremely well considered and executed in such a way that there was little else for Congress to do but embrace it. And the best thing to do with Colleen Rowley is to get out of the way and let her speak for herself.
May 21, 2002
FBI Director Robert Mueller
FBI Headquarters
Washington, D.C.
Dear Director Mueller:
I feel at this point that I have to put my concerns in writing concerning the important topic of the FBI’s response to evidence of terrorist activity in the United States prior to September 11th. The issues are fundamentally ones of INTEGRITY and go to the heart of the FBI’s law enforcement mission and mandate .…
     To get to the point, I have deep concerns that a delicate and subtle shading/skewing of facts by you and others at the highest levels of FBI management has occurred and is occurring. The term “cover up” would be too strong a characterization which is why I am attempting to carefully (and perhaps over laboriously) choose my words here. I base my concerns on my relatively small, peripheral but unique role in the Moussaoui investigation in the Minneapolis Division prior to, during and after September 11th .…
     I feel that certain facts, including the following, have, up to now, been omitted, downplayed, glossed over, and/or mis-characterized in an effort to avoid or minimize personal and/or institutional embarrassment on the part of the FBI and/or perhaps even for improper political reasons:…
2*) As the Minneapolis agents’ reasonable suspicions quickly ripened into probable cause, which, at the latest, occurred within days of Moussaoui’s arrest when the French Intelligence Service confirmed his affiliations with radical fundamentalist Islamic groups and activities connected to Osama Bin Laden, they became desperate to search the computer lap top that had been taken from Moussaoui as well as conduct a more thorough search of his personal effects. The agents in particular believed that Moussaoui signaled he had something to hide in the way he refused to allow them to search his computer….
3) The Minneapolis agents’ initial thought was to obtain a criminal search warrant, but in order to do so, they needed to get FBI Headquarters’ (FBIHQ’s) approval in order to ask for DOJ … approval to contact the United States Attorney’s Office in Minnesota. Prior to and even after receipt of information provided by the French, FBIHQ personnel disputed with the Minneapolis agents the existence of probable cause to believe that a criminal violation had occurred/was occurring. As such, FBIHQ personnel refused to contact [DoJ] to attempt to get the authority. While reasonable minds may differ as to whether probable cause existed prior to receipt of the French intelligence information, it was certainly established after that point and became even greater with successive, more detailed information from the French and other intelligence sources… [i.]
Notably also, the actual search warrant obtained on September 11th did not include the French intelligence information. Therefore, the only main difference between the information being submitted to FBIHQ from an early date which HQ personnel continued to deem insufficient and the actual criminal search warrant which a federal district judge signed and approved on September 11th, was the fact that, by the time the actual warrant was obtained, suspected terrorists were known to have highjacked [sic] planes which they then deliberately crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. To say then, as has been iterated numerous times, that probable cause did not exist until after the disastrous event occurred, is really to acknowledge that the missing piece of probable cause was only the FBI’s (FBIHQ’s) failure to appreciate that such an event could occur ....
It is obvious, from my firsthand knowledge of the events and the detailed documentation that exists, that the agents in Minneapolis who were closest to the action and in the best position to gauge the situation locally, did fully appreciate the terrorist risk/danger posed by Moussaoui and his possible co-conspirators even prior to September 11th. Even without knowledge of the Phoenix communication (and any number of other additional intelligence communications that FBIHQ personnel were privy to in their central coordination roles), the Minneapolis agents appreciated the risk. So I think it’s very hard for the FBI to offer the “20-20 hindsight” justification for its failure to act! Also intertwined with my reluctance in this case to accept the “20-20 hindsight” rationale is first-hand knowledge that I have of statements made on September 11th, after the first attacks on the World Trade Center had already occurred, made telephonically by the FBI Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) who was the one most involved in the Moussaoui matter and who, up to that point, seemed to have been consistently, almost deliberately thwarting the Minneapolis FBI agents’ efforts (see number 5). Even after the attacks had begun, the SSA in question was still attempting to block the search of Moussaoui’s computer, characterizing the World Trade Center attacks as a mere coincidence with Minneapolis’ prior suspicions about Moussaoui. [ii.] …
5) The fact is that key FBIHQ personnel whose job it was to assist and coordinate with field division agents on terrorism investigations and the obtaining and use of FISA searches (and who theoretically were privy to many more sources of intelligence information than field division agents), continued to, almost inexplicably [v.] throw up roadblocks and undermine Minneapolis’ by-now desperate efforts to obtain a FISA search warrant…. HQ personnel brought up almost ridiculous questions in their apparent efforts to undermine the probable cause. [vi.] In all of their conversations and correspondence, HQ personnel never disclosed to the Minneapolis agents that the Phoenix Division had, only approximately three weeks earlier, warned of al Qaeda operatives in flight schools seeking flight training for terrorist purposes! Nor did FBIHQ personnel do much to disseminate the information about Moussaoui to other appropriate intelligence/law enforcement authorities. When, in a desperate 11th hour measure to bypass the FBIHQ roadblock, the Minneapolis Division undertook to directly notify the CIA’s Counter Terrorist Center (CTC), FBIHQ personnel actually chastised the Minneapolis agents for making the direct notification without their approval!
6) Eventually on August 28, 2001, after a series of e-mails between Minneapolis and FBIHQ, which suggest that the FBIHQ SSA deliberately further undercut the FISA effort by not adding the further intelligence information which he had promised to add that supported Moussaoui’s foreign power connection and making several changes in the wording of the information that had been provided by the Minneapolis Agent, the Minneapolis agents were notified that the NSLU [National Security Law Unit] Unit Chief did not think there was sufficient evidence of Moussaoui’s connection to a foreign power....
The e-mail communications between Minneapolis and FBIHQ, however, speak for themselves and there are far better witnesses than me who can provide their first hand knowledge of these events characterized in one Minneapolis agent’s e-mail as FBIHQ is “setting this up for failure.” My only comment is that the process of allowing the FBI supervisors to make changes in affidavits is itself fundamentally wrong .… understand that the failures of the FBIHQ personnel involved in the Moussaoui matter are also being officially excused because they were too busy with other investigations, the Cole bombing and other important terrorism matters, but the Supervisor’s taking of the time to read each word of the information submitted by Minneapolis and then substitute his own choice of wording belies to some extent the notion that he was too busy. As an FBI division legal advisor for 12 years (and an FBI agent for over 21 years), I can state that an affidavit is better and will tend to be more accurate when the affiant has first hand information of all the information he/she must attest to…. but changes of some substance as apparently occurred with the Moussaoui information which had to be, for lack of a better term, “filtered” through FBIHQ before any action, whether to seek a criminal or a FISA warrant, could be taken .... Even after September 11th, the fear was great on the part of Minneapolis Division personnel that the same FBIHQ personnel would continue their “filtering” with respect to the Moussaoui investigation, and now with the added incentive of preventing their prior mistakes from coming to light. For this reason, for weeks, Minneapolis prefaced all outgoing communications (ECs) in the PENTTBOM investigation with a summary of the information about Moussaoui. We just wanted to make sure the information got to the proper prosecutive authorities and was not further suppressed!…
7) Although the last thing the FBI or the country needs now is a witch hunt, I do find it odd that (to my knowledge) no inquiry whatsoever was launched of the relevant FBIHQ personnel’s actions a long time ago. Despite FBI leaders’ full knowledge of all the items mentioned herein (and probably more that I’m unaware of), the SSA, his unit chief, and other involved HQ personnel were allowed to stay in their positions and, what’s worse, occupy critical positions in the FBI’s SIOC Command Center post September 11th. (The SSA in question actually received a promotion some months afterward!)…
8) The last official “fact” that I take issue with is not really a fact, but an opinion, and a completely unsupported opinion at that. In the day or two following September 11th, you, Director Mueller, made the statement to the effect that if the FBI had only had any advance warning of the attacks, we (meaning the FBI), may have been able to take some action to prevent the tragedy .…
The official statement is now to the effect that even if the FBI had followed up on the Phoenix lead to conduct checks of flight schools and the Minneapolis request to search Moussaoui’s personal effects and laptop, nothing would have changed and such actions certainly could not have prevented the terrorist attacks and resulting loss of life. With all due respect, this statement is as bad as the first! Mr. Director… I think you have also not been completely honest about some of the true reasons for the FBI’s pre-September 11th failures....
…[v.] During the early aftermath of September 11th, when I happened to be recounting the pre-September 11th events concerning the Moussaoui investigation to other FBI personnel in other divisions or in FBIHQ, almost everyone’s first question was “Why? — Why would an FBI agent(s) deliberately sabotage a case?” (I know I shouldn’t be flippant about this, but jokes were actually made that the key FBIHQ personnel had to be spies or moles, like Robert Hansen, who were actually working for Osama bin Laden to have so undercut Minneapolis’ effort.)… Along these lines, let me ask the question, why has it suddenly become necessary for the Director to “handpick” the FBI management? It’s quite conceivable that many of the HQ personnel who so vigorously disputed Moussaoui’s ability/predisposition to fly a plane into a building were simply unaware of all the various incidents and reports worldwide of al Qaeda terrorists attempting or plotting to do so....
[vi.] ...for the SSA continued to find new reasons to stall…
[viii.] For starters, if prevention rather than prosecution is to be our new main goal, (an objective I totally agree with), we need more guidance on when we can apply the Quarles “public safety” exception to Miranda’s 5th Amendment requirements. We were prevented from even attempting to question Moussaoui on the day of the attacks when, in theory, he could have possessed further information about other coconspirators. (Apparently no government attorney believes there is a “public safety” exception in a situation like this?!)18
[*order as shown appearing in the book]
     Thus Moussaoui, who had paid the $7,000 for his flight lessons in cash; who was, according to press reports, not interested in learning how to take off or land; who wanted to know if the doors of an airliner could be opened in flight; and who was particularly interested in air traffic patterns around New York City, remained totally protected until after the attacks of 9/11 had taken place. And it was subsequently revealed that Zacarias Moussaoui had also fought in Chechnya where some of the players had been connected to CIA training camps.
The French had been following Moussaoui for years. In the 1990s they tracked him to London where he learned militant Islam from radical clerics including Abu Qatada. French intelligence has linked Qatada to Osama bin Laden. Qatada preaches a particularly violent brand of Islam and encourages Muslims to take up jihad wherever they can. So Moussaoui took that advice and went to Chechnya to join Muslims in their fight against Russian troops. French intelligence was aware of that move and his later trip to Afghanistan.19 
     Zacaria Soubra from the Phoenix investigation and Zacarias Moussaoui in Minneapolis had something in common, other than allegiance to Osama bin Laden, which other members of al Qaeda did not. They had both fought in Chechnya and both had met Amir al-Khattab who had been trained at CIA-operated and sponsored camps. Conveniently, Khattab was reported killed in action in Chechnya in April 2002, just before the Williams and Rowley memos became news. Khattab’s death was denied by Chechen rebel leaders.20 Was a key witness being placed out of reach?

     During my time as an LAPD officer and in the years since, I have met several FBI agents, including one former assistant director, who bragged about the FBI’s ability to conduct “black bag” burglaries (surreptitious entries) during the 1960s and 1970s. Search warrants were never even a consideration. Keep this in mind as you reread the Rowley memo on the amazing refusal of FBI leadership to grant the field agents a FISA warrant. With Moussaoui’s laptop in their possession for weeks before the attacks, it is very probable that they had already examined all of its contents. The reason why they needed the warrant was to make the evidence they had found admissible. Numerous press stories since 9/11 have indicated that the contents of that laptop will be used to convict Moussaoui of complicity in the attacks and most probably sentence him to death. I can only imagine the “off-the-record” conversations that took place between the brick agents in Minnesota and Washington as the brick agents — knowing of a certainty what was coming — tried in vain to get their search warrant.

     And who was the supervisory special agent in Washington who brutalized the Minneapolis agents; who rewrote search warrants; who lied, obstructed, roadblocked, chastised, and suppressed? It was the same agent who received the Phoenix memo and sat on it: one Dave Frasca.

In March 2000 Denver FBI agents and other reviewing agents were “furious” after other agents in the bin Laden unit and at the International Terrorism Operations Center destroyed significant quantities of e-mail intercepts (received under authorization of a warrant) for a case connected to al Qaeda. The explanation given for the destruction of material of both evidentiary and intelligence value was that an e-mail surveillance system called Carnivore had errantly intercepted emails from additional innocent parties whose privacy had been violated. As a result, “‘The FBI technical person was apparently so upset that he destroyed all the e-mail take, including the take on the suspect ....” 21 “Take” means raw intelligence that has been collected but not yet analyzed.

     This explanation is absurd, transparent, laughable, and offensive. It plainly contravenes 80 years of known FBI practice. Not only does it not make sense that the FBI wouldn’t segregate the sought-after intelligence from that which was inadvertently collected; there was, in fact, a legal requirement that they not destroy anything at all. The Associated Press quoted Henry Perritt, the head of a review panel: “The collection is supposed to be retained for judicial review .… If an agent simply deleted a whole bunch of files without the court instructing, that’s not the way it’s supposed to work.”22

     Indeed, since a FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrant was involved in this case, the destruction of anything collected or seized as a result of that warrant is one of the most serious legal violations known. This would be true with any warrant. And yet it was confirmed that the decision to do so had been made within the UBL (bin Laden) unit, the same unit involved in the preceding cases. Here again we find Dave Frasca.

     A Washington Post story confirmed the above details but did not ask the obvious questions about why the entire take had been destroyed in direct violation of legal requirements calling for judicial review. It blamed the inappropriate collections on a problem with an Internet service provider. But even the Post story acknowledged — quoting an internal FBI memo — “To state that she [the memo’s author] is unhappy with [the International Terrorist Operations Section] and the UBL Unit would be an understatement of incredible proportions.”23

     What was described here was not some frustrated, untrained agent knowingly destroying material out of an offended sense of dignity over a loss of privacy by victims who never even knew about it. What more likely happened was a deliberate destruction of intelligence information leading to Osama bin Laden that someone could not afford to have in any files where a dedicated agent might find it and start asking questions or putting people in jail. The use of the Carnivore program also suggests that whoever was running the unit had led field agents to believe that whatever they collected in this manner was legally admissible — and therefore protected from deletion. But in reality, both stories suggested that the program was still under evaluation and open to challenge. The field agents didn’t know this. The result would be a built-in ability to destroy any prosecution using this material and allow the al Qaeda suspects to go free as a result of tainted evidence, while allowing gatekeepers at FBI headquarters to know how close agents were actually getting to sensitive covert operations. 

Dave Frasca
Before concluding that Supervisory Special Agent Dave Frasca of the Radical Fundamentalist Unit at FBI headquarters was the primary agent responsible for the deliberate, willful, and arguably harmful suppression of evidence and of investigations that could well have prevented 9/11, a couple of key questions need to be addressed. Various press reports have described FBI units with oversight in these cases as the UBL (Osama bin Laden) Unit and as the Radical Fundamentalist Unit. Are they referring to the same thing? Secondly, is there any indication that any member of Congress or of any other oversight body has noticed at least some of these connections?

     Dave Frasca was, until early 2002, the chief of the Radical Fundamentalist Unit within the FBI’s Counterterrorism/Counterespionage branch. In that capacity, according to press reports, he oversaw the operations of several subunits, one of which apparently was the bin Laden or UBL unit. One ABC report said, “The Bureau’s Radical Fundamentalist Unit, headed by Supervisory Special Agent Dave Frasca, and its Osama bin Laden Unit first got a memo that Phoenix FBI agent Ken Williams sent in early July.”24 The UBL unit was created, according to a statement by an FBI official, in 1999.25

     A description of the duties of the RFU and its chief was found on the website of the high-technology, intelligence-connected SAIC Corporation, based in San Diego, which recently hired Frasca’s predecessor, retired Supervisory Special Agent Robert Blitzer. SAIC’s website gave a telling description of Frasca’s duties, as he followed in Blitzer’s footsteps. 
From 1993 to 1996, Blitzer served as chief of the Radical Fundamentalist Unit, Counterterrorism and Middle East Section at FBI Headquarters. As the leader of this unit, he was responsible for overall national coordination, oversight, and direction of all criminal and intelligence operations against the international terrorists who bombed the World Trade Center and who attempted to conduct a wave of bombings in and around New York City in early 1993.26
     According to FBI spokesman Neal Schiff, Frasca’s tenure in the RFU position lasted from 1999 until he was promoted in 2002. Frasca is currently the Assistant Section Chief of the International Terrorism Operations Section I. Schiff was ambiguous, at best, in describing the relationship between the RFU and the UBL units. While maintaining that the two were completely separate units, Schiff refused to confirm or deny that Frasca had supervisory responsibility for the UBL unit. At the same time he would not deny numerous press reports indicating that Frasca did work both units. The Phoenix memorandum was sent to the UBL unit, and Frasca apparently had a role in the decision not to follow up on it. As to the Wright case, and in contrast to statements given by Department of Justice officials on condition of anonymity confirming the RFU’s role in squashing the Wright investigation, Schiff declined to confirm or deny any relationship. “That case is still pending and I can’t comment,” he said.

     But the link between Robert Wright’s oppressors and FBI headquarters was established only days after my office received the official statements from Schiff. On December 19, 2002, ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross aired an interview with Wright and his partner John Vincent in which Wright stated, “The supervisor who was there from headquarters was right across from me and started yelling at me: ‘You will not open criminal investigations. I forbid any of you. You will not open criminal investigations against any of these intelligence subjects.’”27

     It was made clear in the story that the Wright/Vincent investigations had stemmed from the 1998 African embassy bombings and that the money trail led to Osama bin Laden. This would have placed the investigation within the UBL, Radical Fundamentalist Unit, and under the direct control of Dave Frasca. Schiff’s assertion that the two units are separate and distinct entities is belied by Senate documents, press stories, and Frasca’s own conduct post-9/11. A May 24, 2002, letter from Senator Patrick Leahy to FBI Director Mueller said: 
A press account on May 22 states that the Radical Fundamentalist Unit at FBI headquarters had decided not to pursue the recommendations in the Phoenix memorandum before September 11, 2001, since according to “officials… the FBI counterterrorism division was swamped with urgent matters.” Another press account on May 23 contains a correction by “a senior FBI official” and [stated] that the FBI’s “Osama bin Laden Unit was responsible” for the decision rejecting the recommendations ....28
     Leahy’s letter, in conformity with press stories, shows the interconnectedness of the two units, and Frasca’s roles in cases involving both units is underscored by the fact that he was the agent (and in some cases, the only agent) who provided congressional testimony on all of these matters, whether they involved the RFU or the UBL unit. Schiff was unable to resolve these contradictions and went into “no comment” mode about press stories or congressional correspondence.

     Knowing all this, it is now possible to state that Frasca almost certainly had direct oversight responsibility for all five of the previously described incidents. FBI sources I contacted confirmed, on condition of anonymity, that the RFU was the control point for all of these cases and that Frasca issued the orders thwarting investigations that could have prevented the 9/11 attacks. Looking at Frasca’s actions, both in terms of their frequency and in terms of their consistency, it stretches the imagination to accept press accounts attributing FBI “screw-ups” relevant to 9/11 to incompetence, lack of resources, or overwork. There is a pattern here, rationally explained in only one way. Someone at the FBI, or elsewhere in government, needed to make sure that al Qaeda members were left in place — either to perpetrate the attacks or to take the blame for them afterwards. And the Frasca connections — at least insofar as Minneapolis and Phoenix are concerned — were noticed. Frasca testified before both the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence committees, and many problems followed. First, Frasca told the Judiciary committee that he didn’t see the Phoenix memo until after the 9/11 attacks. Later his statement was corrected to indicate that had seen the Phoenix memo before 9/11, but that the UBL unit had rejected the request for a survey of flight schools. His statement was different from press accounts which indicated that because the memo was marked routine, the deadline for response to it was 60 days, which would have been after 9/11 — so Frasca had taken no action.

     Senators Patrick Leahy, Charles Grassley, and Arlen Specter were understandably miffed, especially when Leahy disclosed that he had acquiesced to a special request from Mueller to hold the secret hearing where Frasca testified without a stenographer or a transcript. Mueller didn’t seem to have minded, however, when the Intelligence Committee was allowed to make a transcript of Frasca’s statements for its members.

     On May 24, 2002, Leahy closed a terse and eloquent letter to Mueller on the subject, signed also by Grassley and Specter:
Finally, it has been noted that Supervisory Special Agent Dave Frasca in the Radical Fundamentalist Unit (RFU) may have been involved in handling the Phoenix memorandum and the Moussaoui investigation at FBI headquarters. [This had been previously confirmed in a number of press stories. The FBI only started changing their position after people started asking questions. - MCR] Please explain his role and the role of the RFU in evaluating the requests from the Minneapolis field office in the Moussaoui case; what connection, if any, he or others drew between the two ongoing investigations; and whether he or others brought such a connection to the attention of higher level FBI officials. If a briefing rather than a written answer would facilitate your response to the questions regarding agent Frasca, please let us know ....29 
     Some senators were a bit less polite in their remarks. Senator Richard Shelby, the Republican ranking member of the intelligence committee, was quoted as saying, “The information coming from Phoenix and the information coming from Minneapolis was stifled here at FBI headquarters.” Senator Grassley of Iowa decried “sabotage” by FBI officials.30

A secret team
To understand how someone like Dave Frasca functioned inside the FBI, one needs to understand how the CIA and other intelligence agencies place their people throughout the government. Frasca fits that pattern perfectly. For those unfamiliar with the way covert operations function within the United States government, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of two books: The Secret Team by the late Air Force Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty (the Pentagon’s liaison with the CIA during the 1960s), and CIA Diary by former CIA Case Officer Philip Agee. Other excellent case studies in this area are found in The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence by Victor Marchetti and John D. Marks. Operational patterns described by all of these men are confirmed by hundreds of declassified documents that have surfaced in investigations like those conducted by the Senate’s Church committee in the 1970s.

     To sum up the lessons clearly explained in both books, all one needs to understand is that the CIA routinely places its deep cover agents in every branch of the US government, especially within the FBI, the DEA, and federal law enforcement agencies. They even do it with municipal police departments such as LAPD, NYPD, or the Chicago PD. The CIA attempted to recruit me in 1973 as a college senior, and the proposition was made that I become a case officer with CIA and then return to LAPD, go through their Academy, and use the LAPD position as a cover. Although I declined that offer and have never taken a penny from the CIA, I was able to find out years later that the CIA, because of my family connections to the Agency and the NSA*, had actually steered several of my assignments as an LAPD intern while I was an undergraduate at UCLA. When the CIA places its agents inside the US military, the process is routinely called “sheep dipping.” [*For the unfamiliar, it may interest readers to know Mike had Q clearance due to his parent's intelligence positions. ~ GJP]

     Why would the CIA do this? Frasca’s behavior is right out of the textbook. At LAPD I saw CIA assets and contractors with access to narcotics investigations making deliberate decisions as to who got arrested and who got away. Gary Webb documented one such instance in Dark Alliance: The CIA, The Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion when he looked at massive CIA-connected cocaine shipments into Los Angeles. CIA assets doing CIA’s bidding are always protected. There is no way to conclusively state that Dave Frasca either worked or works for the CIA, either as a case officer or as an asset. But the role he played before 9/11 clearly served interests other than those of the FBI or the innocent Americans killed or bereaved by the attacks. The power of this secret team is that they are always able to protect their assets, no matter how badly they are exposed. And, as Colleen Rowley noted, Frasca was actually promoted right after 9/11.

Tyrone Powers 
On May 19, 2002, retired FBI Special Agent Tyrone Powers, currently the director of the Institute of Criminal Justice/Legal Studies and Public Service, also an assistant professor of law enforcement and criminal justice, was a guest on New York City’s radio station 98.7 KIIS. He had some interesting things to say about 9/11. According to an Internet report by Dennis Shipman based upon a transcript of the broadcast, Powers made statements that are consistent with what we have just described.
Tyrone Powers, a former African American FBI special agent, announced on NYC’s … 98.7 KIIS FM … hosted by news director and morning personality Bob Slade, that he had credible evidence strongly suggesting the Bush administration did in fact allow the September 11th attacks to further a hidden agenda .…
     Like [sic] Pearl Harbor, the US government needed a substantive excuse to enter World War II and end German hegemony over Europe generally and England particularly .… So an environment had to be created causing an anticipated furor enabling the Roosevelt administration to declare war against this “axis of evil ....”
     Does this scenario sound familiar? It ought to, because Powers argues persuasively that the Bush administration has taken a page from history in its endeavor to maintain control over rapidly dwindling oil reserves in the world generally and in the Middle East particularly ....
     Powers claims that the Bush administration superciliously perceives itself to be the last world super power; an Empire and, by some misguided albeit self-serving divine right, has to sometimes make appalling decisions to further its imperialistic aim, which is the total, unequivocal domination of the world and, more tellingly, its mineral resources.31
     During my post-9/11 investigations I verified that Powers had indeed appeared on the broadcast. I also verified his credentials, both as former FBI agent and current professor at Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland. He did not return several calls asking for further comment.

Sibel Edmonds
Initially it was bureaucratic infighting for more funding that derailed important security investigations and questions about contacts of a co-worker with targets of an FBI anti-terror investigation that prompted 33-year-old Sibel Edmonds to blow the whistle inside the FBI in 2002. Hired on an emergency basis and given a Top Secret clearance immediately after 9/11 because of her ability to speak fluent Turkish, Farsi, and Azerbaijani, Edmonds was promptly put to work translating mountains of audio recordings, videotapes, and written communications. By 2004 her complaints were to become much more serious.

     At first she heard her supervisors telling her to slow down and not rush important translations. The ostensible purpose for this foot-dragging at a time of great danger was to allow FBI managers to ask for additional funding because they were so far behind. Then she saw civilian translators leaving FBI headquarters with classified material against regulations. The last straw was when a Turkish-American colleague, married to a Major in the US Air Force, disclosed that she had ongoing relationships with a Turkish organization that was an active FBI target. The colleague, Melek Dickerson, suggested that Edmonds should meet people in the organization and get involved. It got worse when Edmonds allegedly discovered that Dickerson had attempted to arrange it so that all translations concerning the Turkish organization would be done by Dickerson exclusively. However, it was also an organization covered in the “take” given to Edmonds, and she became suspicious.

     Acting on those suspicions, Edmonds ordered files previously translated by Dickerson, checked them, and found that material information relating to terrorist investigations and espionage had been deleted, left un-translated, or marked as irrelevant.32

     Edmonds — a neophyte with no prior intelligence training — assumed the worst but failed to comprehend the possibility that she was being “pitched” to spy on an organization that may have already been penetrated. In that eventuality an intelligence operation could be used to plant false information or perhaps even to manipulate other assets who might believe they were receiving orders from Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. Sanitized translations would prevent FBI agents from compromising a CIA operation in Turkey.

     Published photos depict Edmonds as strikingly attractive; people like her are often prime subjects for recruitment as intelligence assets while being given as little information as possible as to how they are being used. In very sensitive operations if the “asset” has no knowledge that he or she is being “run,” so much the better. One term used to refer to such assets in the intelligence community is “Dixie cups” because they are often used once and thrown away. Such “assets” are expendable.

     The likelihood that Edmonds was being “pitched” was confirmed by a Senate intelligence staffer.33 Yet if she was being pitched over an operation that had to do with identifying real terrorist threats, whoever was doing it was going about it the wrong way. Following the rulebook she had been given, Edmonds did exactly what would have been expected of a loyal employee. She complained first to her immediate supervisors and finally, in March of 2002, to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and then to the FBI’s Inspector General.34

     Her contract was terminated for the convenience of the government in March 2002 but not until after she had received threats, both direct and implied, from FBI supervisors and from Dickerson.35 Her next stops were Congress and 60 Minutes where she got a much better reception as she sought to find out what had happened and correct what she felt were genuine problems. Senator Charles Grassley found her convincing and credible.36 In stories throughout 2002 Edmonds’ plight was discussed in the press but there was no discussion of advance warnings of attacks known to the FBI or the White House. Edmonds filed suit against the FBI over its refusal to respond to her Freedom of Information Act request and against the Department of Justice for an improper termination. She was followed routinely, especially to court appearances. Attorney General John Ashcroft, in response to a request from FBI Director Mueller, sought and obtained a gag order restricting what Edmonds could say about her case. The authority invoked to secure the order was the rarely used “State Secrets” privilege.37 The same privilege was invoked again by the Justice Department in April 2004 as Edmonds was subpoenaed to give a deposition in a $100 trillion civil suit against Saudi interests for their alleged connections to the 9/11 attacks. A massive public response, including activist challenges to US Marshals and the clerk in US District court over an attempt to hold a closed hearing on the motion to quash Edmonds’s subpoena, apparently caught the government by surprise. One of those who challenged the Marshal’s move to close the hearing was African-American former 26-year CIA counterterror case officer Leutrell Osborne. Osborne is also the source from whom I received the unedited Izvestia story which went into great detail about an explicit warning sent (including targets and dates) directly from Russian President Vladimir Putin just days before the attacks.38

     After the confrontation and an apparent huddle in chambers, Judge Reggie Walton decided to open the hearing. It was decided that he would issue a temporary order to quash the subpoena but would not render a final decision until sometime in June. As this book goes to press, the issue has not been decided.

     As Edmonds’s various legal matters continued into 2004 the 9/11 Commission chaired by former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean came in to the spotlight as pressure from victim families, activists, and the mounting pile of documentation flatly contradicting the Bush administration’s statements collided with the scheduled testimony of many key witnesses including Richard Clarke, John Ashcroft, Robert Mueller, George Tenet, Donald Rumsfeld, and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

     At the same time that pressure was building for Rice to testify in public, Edmonds gave testimony to the commission. According to Salon, she told the commissioners that “the FBI had detailed information prior to September 11, 2001, that a terrorist attack involving airplanes was being plotted.”39 In a number of press interviews after Rice’s testimony, and after the publication of an op-ed in which Rice stated that the administration had no specific information of a domestic threat or that airplanes might be used as weapons, Edmonds said, “That’s an outrageous lie. And documents can prove it’s a lie.”40

     Unfortunately in the same interview, Edmonds also expressed the view that when George W. Bush said that “they had” no specific information about September 11, he was telling the truth. Perhaps if Edmonds had been permitted to speak with some of her other colleagues she might feel differently; the system does an equally good job of isolating whistleblowers from the media and from each other. Alternatively, she may have been confining her criticism to the FBI out of a desire to choose her battles, or perhaps to protect some ally elsewhere in the administration whose responsibility included alerting the president. But all this is far less likely than a genuine ignorance on Edmonds’s part; she knew enough to discredit Rice, then gave Bush the benefit of the doubt in the absence of better information about the president’s knowledge — information other whistleblowers had.

Steve Butler 
Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Steve Butler was yet another person with inside knowledge who spilled the beans about US government complicity in the attacks of 9/11. While Vice Chancellor of the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, Butler wrote a chilling May 26 letter to his local paper. It read:

A contemptible offense
It’s about time conservative idiots like Steve Kelly and Rod Musgrove got a dose of reality. Of course President Bush knew about the impending attacks on America. He did nothing to warn the American people because he needed this war on terrorism. His daddy had Saddam and he needed Osama.
His presidency was going nowhere. He wasn’t elected by the American people, but placed into the Oval Office by the conservative Supreme Court. The economy was sliding into the usual Republican pits and he needed something on which to hang his presidency.
For them to accuse Democrats of being “sleazy” is laughable. Isn’t it ironic that Kelly begins his inane babble with a reference to Monica Lewinsky? How many people died because of Monica Lewinsky? And for Musgrove to call the assertions “contemptible” is another joke. Funny how he manages to make disparaging remarks about President Clinton, as well.
Face it people, Bill Clinton was a great president. This guy is a joke.
What is sleazy and contemptible is the President of the United States not telling the American people what he knows for political gain. The Democrats asking pertinent questions is their duty as public servants.
Steve Butler
     Butler’s letter was startling when I learned of it by reading mainstream stories that Butler had been suspended for it — and was facing a court martial.42 In fact a multitude of press reports, including stories from the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Newsweek, all published between September 15 and 17, 2001, disclosed that at least five of the hijackers had received US military training at bases in the US, including flight lessons. Among the latter was Mohammed Atta, who apparently received his training while wanted for terrorist activities. Atta’s US military training was confirmed by a separate story published by Knight Ridder at a time when many of the military training connections were causing the military to engage in some disingenuous doubletalk. Several subsequent stories indicated that while the five names matched up with 9/11 hijackers, it was apparently a case of more than one person having the same name. Yet the Department of Defense has not to this date disclosed the identities of the five people whose names matched those of 9/11 hijackers. Even more compelling is the fact that Newsweek reported three of the hijackers had received flight training at the Pensacola Naval Air Station.43

     All told, 14 of the 19 9/11 hijackers lived and studied for a considerable period in southern Florida. No one has done a better job of investigating the connections of these hijackers to military and intelligence operations than investigative journalist Dan Hopsicker. His investigations have also produced compelling evidence linking Rudi Dekkers, the operator of the flight school attended by Atta and others, to US intelligence operations and the destruction and/or immediate confiscation of incriminating records immediately after the attacks with the hands-on involvement of Florida Governor Jeb Bush.44  Hopsicker, a former broadcast news producer for MS-NBC, has produced a compelling video called Mohammed Atta and the Venice Flying Circus that details many of these links. He maintains a detailed website at: [inexplicably, in the summer of 2004, Hopsicker performed a startling flip-flop by choosing to agree with most of the Kean Commission’s highly questionable findings.]

     How did Steve Butler fare? In June the Air Force announced that it had concluded its investigation and that Butler was going to face nonjudicial punishment likely to consist of a letter of reprimand. Had he chosen, Butler could have insisted on a court martial and public trial wherein he could have, and most likely would have, exposed direct links between the military and the hijackers. I finally located Butler in the summer of 2004. He confirmed having written the letter, but denied any contact with or knowledge of the hijackers. His school, the DLI, was only responsible for foreign language training. English language training was conducted at other facilities.

     In spite of the US government’s position that there was no compelling case that an attack on the US by al Qaeda was imminent, there was apparently one person who was paying very close attention to the information coming in from the brick agents in the field. In July 2001 Attorney General John Ashcroft stopped flying on commercial airlines altogether, opting instead for a chartered government jet. This, according to one story, was because of threat assessments from the FBI.45

Footnotes below

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CHAPTER 12 FOOTNOTES: 1 Greg Palast, “Has Someone Been Sittingon the FBI?” BBC Newsnight, November 11, 2001,
2 Ibid. 
3 Jeff Johnson, “Tearful FBI Agent ApologizesTo September 11 Families and Victims,” Congressional News Service, May 30, 2002,
4 Ibid. 
5 Ibid
6 Ibid. 
7 Ibid. 
8 David Schippers, Letter to Thomas J. Kneir, SAC Chicago, May 22, 2002. 
9 [Original link not available on C-Span but a websearch found it linked in many articles. Full video:
10 Rich Connell, “Response to Terror: FBI Brass Accused of Apathy; Investigations:
Former agent wrote that Phoenix officials failed to make anti-terrorism a priority,”
David Johnston, “Pre-Attack Memo Cited bin Laden,” New York Times, May 14, 2002,
11 Connell, op. cit.
12 Ibid.
13 Anyone familiar with Mr. Specter’s role in the Warren Commission will appreciate the irony of his new position: outside the cover-up, shouting to be let in.
14 “FBI’s ‘Phoenix’ Memo Unmasked,”, May 22, 2002. Archived
at [Original link not found. archived it, to its credit:]
15 Michel Chossudovsky, “Who is Osama bin Laden?” Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG), Montréal, September 12, 2001,
16 Maria Ressa, “U.S. warned in 1995 of plot to hijack planes, attack buildings,”, September 18, 2001,
17 Patrick Martin, “New evidence that U.S. government suppressed September 11 warnings,” World Socialist Web Site, May 27, 2002,
18 “The Bombshell Memo: Colleen Rowley’s Memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller.
An edited version of the agent’s 13-page letter.”, May 21, 2002:
covers/1101020603/memo.htm [Orig. link not found, TIME link archived here:]
20 “Chechen warlord reported killed,” CNN, April 25, 2002
21 D. Ian Hopper, “Memo: FBI Destroyed Evidence in Bin Laden Case After Glitch With E-mail Surveillance System,” Associated Press, May 28, 2002,
news/archive/2002/05/28/national1704EDT0711.DTL [AP and SFgate links not found. More info here:]
22 Ibid.
23 Dan Eggen, “Carnivore Glitches Blamed for FBI Woes,” Washington Post, May 29, 2002,
24 “HQ Unit Accused of Quashing Pre-9-11 Probes,”, May 24, 2002,
25 Statement for the Record of Dale L. Watson, Executive Assistant Director, Counterterrorism and
Counterintelligence, Federal Bureau of Investigation — on Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry, September 26, 2002,
26 “Robert M. Blitzer Joins SAIC’s Center for Counterterrorism Technology and Analysis as Associate Director”, News Release, [No record of press release except on Zoominfo under Robert M. Blitzer: || More on SAIC:]
27 Brian Ross and Vic Walter, “Called Off the Trail?” ABC News, December 19, 2002,
28 Letter from Patrick Leahy, Charles Grassley, and Arlen Specter to FBI Director Mueller dated May 24, 2002, [Letter was not found on Leahy's site but was located on Grassley's:, another relevant link:]
29 Ibid.
30 Martin, op. cit.
31 Dennis Shipman, “Another Spook Who Sat Behind The Door: A Modern Day Tale,” Black World Today,
32 CBS News, 60 Minutes, July 13, 2003, “Lost in Translation”; Gail Sheehy, “WhistleblowerComing In Cold From the FBI,” New York Observer, April 27, 2004.
33 Ibid. 
34 S.D. EDMONDS, Plaintiff, v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, Defendant., Civil Action No. 02-1294 (ESH), UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. [Docket info: w/PACER access available. PDF:]
35 Op. cit., Sheehy. 
36 Letter from Senators Patrick Leahy and Charles Grassley to the Department of Justice Inspector General, June 19, 2002. []
37 Andrew Buncombe, “‘I saw papers that show U.S. knew al-Qa’ida would attack cities with aeroplanes’: Whistleblower the White House wants to silence speaks to the Independent,” Independent, April 2, 2004 []
38 Eric Boehlert, “We should have had orange or red-type of alert in June or July in 2001,” Salon, March 26, 2004 []
39 Ibid.
40 I learned details of Osborne’s participation in a telephone conversation with him on April 27.
41 “A copy of Lt. Col. Butler’s letter,” the Monterey County Herald, June 5, 2002, [Orig. letter not found. Article here:]
42 “Air Force Officer Suspended for Criticizing Bush,” Reuters, June 4, 2002, [Link broken. His name is listed among many other patriots here:]
43 George Wehrfritz, Catharine Skipp, and John Barry, “Alleged Hijackers May Have Trained at U.S. Bases. The Pentagon has turned over military records on five men to the FBI,” Newsweek, September 15, 2001,
44 Daniel Hopsicker, “Mohamed Atta and Rudi Dekkers Seen Together in Venice in Weeks Before September 11 Attack,” Mad Cow Morning News, February 17, 2003, [
45 Jim Stewart, “Ashcroft Flying High,” CBS News, July 26, 2001,

Please find links to previously released excerpts below with footnotes, which are the bulk of the work for this project. Crossing the Rubicon is over 700 pages long with upwards of 1,000 footnotes requiring updating since its 2004 release. From The Wilderness web links are estimated at double or triple that amount. Mike's administrative team sincerely appreciates your support of his legacy. TRC does not receive commission from sales of Crossing the Rubicon. Book sales help the administrator who granted permission to TRC to share excerpts and official web hosting duties.

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Jan. 8, 2012: Petroleum Man

Jan. 9, 2012: A Simple Exercise

Jan. 20, 2012: Unholy Trinity / Part One

Jan. 21, 2012: Unholy Trinity / Part Two