Skip to comments."We Should Have Had Orange Or Red-Type Alert In June / July 2001" - (Salon Alert)
Posted on 03/26/2004 9:57:51 AM PST by lugsoul
"We should have had orange or red-type of alert in June or July of 2001"
A former FBI translator told the 9/11 commission that the bureau had detailed information well before Sept. 11, 2001, that terrorists were likely to attack the U.S. with airplanes.
- - - - - - - - - - - - By Eric Boehlert
March 26, 2004 | A former FBI wiretap translator with top-secret security clearance, who has been called "very credible" by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has told Salon she recently testified to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States that the FBI had detailed information prior to Sept. 11, 2001, that a terrorist attack involving airplanes was being plotted.
Referring to the Homeland Security Department's color-coded warnings instituted in the wake of 9/11, the former translator, Sibel Edmonds, told Salon, "We should have had orange or red-type of alert in June or July of 2001. There was that much information available." Edmonds is offended by the Bush White House claim that it lacked foreknowledge of the kind of attacks made by al-Qaida on 9/11. "Especially after reading National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice [Washington Post Op-Ed on March 22] where she said, we had no specific information whatsoever of domestic threat or that they might use airplanes. That's an outrageous lie. And documents can prove it's a lie."
Edmonds' charge comes when the Bush White House is trying to fend off former counterterrorism chief Richard A. Clarke's testimony that it did not take serious measures to combat the threat of Islamic terrorism, and al-Qaida specifically, in the months leading up to 9/11.
Edmonds, who is Turkish-American, is a 10-year U.S. citizen who has passed a polygraph examination conducted by FBI investigators. She speaks fluent Farsi, Arabic and Turkish and worked part-time for the FBI, making $32 an hour for six months, beginning Sept. 20, 2001. She was assigned to the FBI's investigation into Sept. 11 attacks and other counterterrorism and counterintelligence cases, where she translated reams of documents seized by agents who, for the previous year, had been rounding up suspected terrorists.
She says those tapes, often connected to terrorism, money laundering or other criminal activity, provide evidence that should have made apparent that an al- Qaida plot was in the works. Edmonds cannot talk in detail about the tapes publicly because she's been under a Justice Department gag order since 2002.
"President Bush said they had no specific information about Sept. 11, and that's accurate," says Edmonds. "But there was specific information about use of airplanes, that an attack was on the way two or three months beforehand and that several people were already in the country by May of 2001. They should've alerted the people to the threat we're facing."
Edmonds testified before 9/11 commission staffers in February for more than three hours, providing detailed information about FBI investigations, documents and dates. This week Edmonds attended the commission hearings and plans to return in April when FBI Director Robert Mueller is scheduled to testify. "I'm hoping the commission asks him real questions -- like, in April 2001, did an FBI field office receive legitimate information indicating the use of airplanes for an attack on major cities? And is it true that through an FBI informant, who'd been used [by the Bureau] for 10 years, did you get information about specific terrorist plans and specific cells in this country? He couldn't say no," she insists.
Edmonds first made headlines in 2002 when she blew the whistle on the FBI's translation department, which was suddenly thrown into the spotlight as investigators clamored for original terrorist-related information, often in Arabic. Edmonds made several reports of serious misconduct, security lapses and gross incompetence in the FBI translations unit, including supervisors who told translators to work slowly during the crucial post-9/11 period to ensure the agency would get more funds for its next annual budget. As a result of her reports, Edmonds says she was harassed at the FBI. She was fired in March 2002.
Litigation followed, and in October 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to dismiss the Edmonds case, taking the extraordinary step of invoking the rarely used state secrets privilege in order "to protect the foreign policy and national security interests of the United States." Ashcroft's move was made at the request of Mueller.
During a 2002 segment on "60 Minutes" exploring Edmonds' initial charges of FBI internal abuses, Sen. Grassley was asked if Edmonds is credible. "She's credible and the reason I feel she's very credible is because people within the FBI have corroborated a lot of her story," he said.
The Inspector General's office then launched an investigation into Edmonds' charges and told her to expect a finding in the fall of 2002. The report has yet to be released. Edmonds suspects if it is ever publicly released Ashcroft will demand that it be immediately classified. "They're pushing everything under the blanket of secrecy," she says.
That's why she felt it was so important to appear before the 9/11 commission: "It's the only hope I have left to get this issue added to the public domain."
She says those tapes, often connected to terrorism, money laundering or other criminal activity, provide evidence that should have made apparent that an al- Qaida plot was in the works.
Hmmm ... so the tapes and docuemnts show the Bush Admin had foreknowledge ... even though they weren't translated yet.
I appreciate Edmonds raising this issue, but I don't appreciate the bull**** politicizing of it.
BUT THEY DID!!!
Richard A. Clarke said so: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1105279/posts
"In June 2001, the intelligence community issued a warning that a major Al Qaeda terrorist attack would take place in the next many weeks. They said they were unable to find out exactly where it might take place. They said they thought it might take place in Saudi Arabia.
"We asked, "Could it take place in the United States?" They said, "We can't rule that out." So in my office in the White House complex, the CIA sat and briefed the domestic U.S. federal law enforcement agencies, Immigration, Federal Aviation, Coast Guard, and Customs. The FBI was there as well, agreeing with the CIA, and told them that we were entering a period when there was a very high probability of a major terrorist attack."
From a March 20, 2002 interview with Clarke by Frontline for their John O'Neill piece.
Someone really should do their homework.
From a post I did earlier, from a June 25, 2001 story:
The State Department issued a "worldwide caution"on Friday, saying U.S. citizens and interests abroad may be at risk of a terrorist attack from extremist groups. It mentioned groups with links to Bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda organization as a possible source of a threat.
My post earlier (I was doing some Lexis Nexis): TALIBAN LEADERS DISMISS U.S. REPORTS OFTERRORIST PLOT from June 25, 2001
In the tnterest of fairness, let Dubya start by releasing the McCullum's so called "Eight Action Memo" from 1940, as well as the Great Circle Map plots of the Radio Intercepts from the Japanese Naval Pearl Harbor Task Force, as well as the Vacant Sea Orders.
Interestingly, in 1944, Dewey, running against Roosevelt, was prepared to do EXACTLY THAT!!
He ws talked out out it by the Secretary of War, because it would compromise the massive cracking of Japanese Naval Codes, and we were still at war.
I read about this a year before 9-11, and wondered whether the Democrats would do the same as Dewey...
OOOPS, I forgot...The STUPID PARTY, stupid!!