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US officials knew Al-Qaeda planned plane attacks: whistle-blower
yahoo news ^ | 4/2/04

Posted on 04/02/2004 8:05:05 AM PST by finnman69

LONDON (AFP) - US officials knew months before September 11, 2001 that Osama bin Laden (news - web sites)'s Al-Qaeda network was planning to use aircraft to carry out a terrorist attack, a former FBI (news - web sites) translator has alleged.

Sibel Edmonds told the Independent newspaper, in an interview published Friday, that a claim by US President George W. Bush (news - web sites)'s national security advisor Condoleezza Rice (news - web sites) that there had been no such warnings was "an outrageous lie".

The former translator with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation said that she had discussed her claims during a three-hour closed-door session with a US commission looking into the September 11 attacks.

"There was general information about the time frame, about methods to be used -- but not specifically about how they would be used -- and about people being in place and who was ordering these sorts of terror attacks," Edmonds said.

"There were other cities that were mentioned. Major cities -- with skyscrapers."

The 33-year-old Turkish-American translator said that, based on documents she had seen during her time with the FBI, after September 11, it was "impossible" that US intelligence officials had no forewarning of the attacks.

In a significant about-face, Bush agreed Tuesday to let Rice testify before the independent bipartisan commission looking into September 11 attacks, in which three airliners were hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon (news - web sites) in Washington.

A fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania.

The Independent reported that the White House had sought to silence Edmonds and had obtained a gagging order from a court.

Edmonds emerged as a whistle-blower in July last year when, on the CBS television network, she alleged that FBI officials deliberately slowed down the translation of September 11-related documents to make it appear that the department was sorely understaffed.

Edmonds was among many language experts who had responded to appeals for translators in the days following September 11. She was tasked with translating documents and recordings from FBI wire taps.

From the documents she saw, she told The Independent, it was clear that there was sufficient information in spring and summer of 2001 to indicate that an attack was being planned.

"President Bush said they had no specific information about September 11 and that is accurate but only because he said September 11," Edmonds told the Independent.

There was, however, general information about the use of airplanes and that an attack was just months away.

The most damning criticism of the Bush administration has come from former White House anti-terrorism czar Richard Clarke, who has alleged that it failed to give the Al-Qaeda threat enough priority.

Clarke, who left the White House last year, testified before the September 11 commission, shortly after the publication of his memoirs which were highly critical of the Bush administration's counter-terrorist efforts.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 911; 911commission; bushknew; sibeledmonds
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Even Dick Clarke never mentioned this BS. Let's get to work deconstructing this.
1 posted on 04/02/2004 8:05:06 AM PST by finnman69
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To: finnman69
http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:7QXR_dufjScJ:www.thememoryhole.org/memoryblog/archives/000049.html+%22Sibel+Edmonds%22+&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

March 25, 2004
Sibel Edmonds Interviewed
Salon has an interview with Sibel Edmonds, the former FBI translator and current whistleblower. [For background, see previous post.] From the Salon article:


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."...

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.
2 posted on 04/02/2004 8:06:47 AM PST by finnman69 (cum puella incedit minore medio corpore sub quo manifestus globus, inflammare animos)
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To: All
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3 posted on 04/02/2004 8:07:12 AM PST by Support Free Republic (Freepers post from sun to sun, but a fundraiser bot's work is never done.)
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To: finnman69
Just doesn't quit does it? The Clinton masterminds are behind all these crap if you ask me! Kerry makes the perfect dupe for them to play behind the scenes. These despicable creatures want this Country harmed so they can get back in power.

Someone told me that Kerry said that Bill Clinton will be his Secretary of State.

Scarey thoughts but explains what is happening from price increase of gasoline to terrorist attacks -- Clinton fingerprints are all over everything bad that is happening.
4 posted on 04/02/2004 8:07:39 AM PST by PhiKapMom (AOII Mom -- Support Bush-Cheney '04 -- Losing is not an Option!)
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To: finnman69
http://frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=12758

READ THIS.
5 posted on 04/02/2004 8:08:08 AM PST by OXENinFLA
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To: finnman69
It is such a non-issue. Even if we had known, would the Rats have gone along with a plan to shut down the entire air system "just in case?" Yeah, right.
6 posted on 04/02/2004 8:08:25 AM PST by Indie (We don't need no steenkin' experts!)
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To: finnman69
Obviously, this translator needs to apologize to all Americans for failing to do her job. She knew the attacks were coming yet didn't raise a stink.
7 posted on 04/02/2004 8:09:14 AM PST by mikegi
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To: finnman69
If you get 5,000,000 tips a year, how do you know which ones are true and which ones are not?

Magic?
8 posted on 04/02/2004 8:09:30 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Drug prohibition laws help fund terrorism.)
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To: OXENinFLA
Reference bump.
9 posted on 04/02/2004 8:11:06 AM PST by Rocko ('s Modern Life)
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To: finnman69
Arab translators cheered Sept. 11 [while the FBI kept the FBI free of Jews]

FBI: Jews need not apply for Arabic linguist jobs - Thread 1

FBI: Jews need not apply for Arabic linguist jobs - Thread 2

Arab translators cheered Sept. 11 [while the FBI kept the FBI free of Jews]


By Paul Sperry
WASHINGTON – In a shocking revelation, an FBI whistleblower claims some
Arab-Americans translating Arabic intercepts for the FBI spoke approvingly
of the terrorist attacks on America more than two years ago.


Former FBI translator Sibel D. Edmonds says translators of Middle Eastern
origin working for the FBI's Washington field office maintain an
"us"-versus-"them" attitude that's so strong it may be compromising al-Qaida
investigations.


She cited examples of mistranslations and security breaches within the FBI's
language division, where translators with Top Secret clearance interpret
sensitive terror-related information for agents.


"The issues and problems within the FBI's translation units range from
security failures to questions of loyalty to competence of translation personnel
to systemic problems within their low-to-mid-level management practices,"
Edmonds said.


She made the explosive charges Monday in a letter to the National
Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, an independent
panel investigating the 9-11 attacks and U.S. intelligence leading up to them.
WorldNetDaily has obtained a copy of the 9-page letter.


Edmonds, a translator who worked closely with FBI counterterrorism and
counterintelligence agents at an office within blocks of the Washington field
office, said she overheard some translators express sympathy for the 9-11
terrorist attacks.


"During my work with the bureau, I was seriously taken aback by what I
heard and witnessed within the translation department," she said. "There
were those who openly divided the fronts as 'Us' – the Middle-Easterners who
shared certain views – and 'Them' – the Americans who were the outsiders
[whose] arrogance was now 'leading to their own destruction.'"


Not long after the attacks, Edmonds said one translator said: "It is about time
that they get a taste of what they have been giving to the rest of the Middle
East."


She says the remark was made in front of the unit supervisor, also of Middle
Eastern origin.


"These comments were neither rare nor made in a whisper," Edmonds said.
"They were open and loud."


She says such attitudes call into question "the integrity and accuracy" of
information Arabic translators are feeding agents.


Edmonds says agents who don't speak Arabic have no way of knowing
whether the information they receive from translators is tainted.


"They simply have to trust the information given to them by translators," she
said, "and based on that, decide to act or not act."


Decisions to release terrorist suspects taken into custody are also based on
translations of interviews with those suspects, she argues.


Remarkably, agents don't even have direct security access to the translation
unit, Edmonds says. They have to be escorted into the area by translators.


She says she caught a Turkish translator intentionally blocking intelligence
from being translated by labeling it as "not pertinent." The translator also
intentionally mistranslated documents and other information, she says. And
she alleges the same linguist, Melek Can Dickerson, was granted security
clearance by the FBI despite ties to targets of FBI investigations.


After she brought the alleged breaches to the attention of her supervisors,
Edmonds was fired by the FBI. Her termination letter does not state a reason.


Edmonds filed a lawsuit, but Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI
Director Robert Mueller got a federal judge to block it by asserting the
extremely rare claim of "State Secret Privilege."


And her lawyers say Justice's inspector general is slow-walking an internal
review of her case, even though the office has criticized the FBI for security
lapses in recent reports, some related to the language program. In fact, a Nov.
15, 2002, IG report states: "A language specialist was dismissed for
unauthorized contacts with foreign officials and intelligence officers, receipts
of things of value from them and lack of candor in his convoluted and
contradictory responses to questions about his contacts."


Most of Edmonds' charges have been confirmed by Sen. Charles Grassley,
R-Iowa, and other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who have
quizzed the FBI about her case. Edmonds sent a copy of her 9-page letter to
Grassley, one of the FBI's biggest critics on the Hill.


The FBI blamed the security lapses on a chronic shortage of Arabic translators,
which has forced it to hire mostly immigrants from the Middle East, which
makes background checks more difficult.


The Washington field office did not return repeated phone calls seeking
comment.


But the chief of the FBI's language section, Margaret Gullota, has insisted in
congressional testimony that the FBI hasn't loosened its standards in recruiting
Arabic-speaking translators since 9-11.


Edmonds isn't the only one complaining, though.


John Cole, program manager for the FBI foreign intelligence investigations
covering India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, told Congress about what he
believed to be a security lapse regarding the screening and hiring of
translators.


And Donald Lavey, who worked in counterterrorism for 20 years at the FBI,
recalled loyalty issues with a former Arab translator in the FBI's Detroit office.
He said wiretap translations by Mideast-born agents should have a "second
opinion," because their backgrounds may "prejudice" their interpretation and
analysis.


Both he and Edmonds note that translators often exclude large sections of
Arabic dialogue as irrelevant to the investigation, when in fact, they may be
relevant.


"There are thousands of translated documents/information and documents
that were labeled as 'not pertinent to be translated' by certain translators
before and after Sept. 11, that need to, and have to, be retranslated and
re-examined," Edmonds wrote in her letter.


Also, she says some Arab-American translators, including a supervisor,
threatened to sue the FBI for discrimination after complaints were filed
against them.


"In one case, a certain individual ended up getting a supervisory position,
even though initially he was refused due to his questionable past,
incompetence and fraudulent invoices" for expenses, Edmonds said. She
declined to reveal his name.


Edmonds says she is working with some families of 9-11 victims to lobby the
9-11 Commission to investigate the Arabic translation department at the FBI.

10 posted on 04/02/2004 8:12:48 AM PST by Diogenesis (If you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us)
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To: finnman69
If this were true, it would have it would be in Clarke's book (exaggerated, underlined and highlighted).
11 posted on 04/02/2004 8:13:40 AM PST by billb
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To: finnman69
Edmonds was among many language experts who had responded to appeals for translators in the days following September 11. She was tasked with translating documents and recordings from FBI wire taps.

From the documents she saw, she told The Independent, it was clear that there was sufficient information in spring and summer of 2001 to indicate that an attack was being planned.

She translated intel that showed al Qaeda plans - after the fact. So she's technically right that the intel existed - however, it was useless at the time because it was untranslated.

Edmonds emerged as a whistle-blower in July last year when, on the CBS television network, she alleged that FBI officials deliberately slowed down the translation of September 11-related documents to make it appear that the department was sorely understaffed.

Interesting. So muckety-mucks in the FBI wanted their empire expanded. And I'm sure that was Bush's fault.

12 posted on 04/02/2004 8:14:13 AM PST by dirtboy (Howard, we hardly knew ye. Not that we're complaining, mind you...)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
I don't think she saw any papers claiming that planes were going to be hijacked and flown into buildings. She's a professional whistle blower, she blew the whistle on the way the translating departement (or whatever it's called) was being run previous to this. She thinks its fun to be in the spotlight. So she's seen papers? Ok, pull them out and show us. If she shows me one paper with top administration official's signatures on it, or proof that they looked at it, and the papers say "September is the month in which hijackers will fly planes into buildings" then I'll switch my vote to Kerry. I'll also drink a cup full of broken glass, all for the fun of it.
13 posted on 04/02/2004 8:14:36 AM PST by mudblood
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To: finnman69
Actually, Cheney flew one of the planes himself.

That's why he's in an undisclosed location.

The guy you see on TV is an impostor.

14 posted on 04/02/2004 8:14:55 AM PST by Jim Noble (Now you go feed those hogs before they worry themselves into anemia!)
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To: PhiKapMom
This woman is no Richard Clarke - she is very credible, and was seen exposing her superior from wanting to hide info damaging to American Arabs (or something similar to that).

However, it is her practical interpretation that is wrong. Fine, we had info that airplanes were going to be used as missles to hit targets in several cities. Now, what do you do with that info? Can't alert the public, as there would either be a massive shrug, or maybe even unneeded damage done to the airline industry. And what cities are you going to protect? Without specific dates and targets, this info is worthless.

Further, the F.B.I. and C.I.A. could not exchange info with each. So the F.B.I. knew the terrorists were here. Without going to the C.I.A. to attempt to obtain potential suspects, this info is also worthless, unless you're going to start investigating every Muslim immigrant in the country - imagine the uproar that would've occurred over that!

The 9/11 attacks are to be blamed only on the terrorists. Clinton tried to treat the problem as a law enforcement issue, which failed. Doesn't make him responsible (but, now that we now that policy is a failure, it is an abomination for Kerry to want to go back to that).

15 posted on 04/02/2004 8:14:57 AM PST by GreatOne (You will bow down before me, Son of Jor-el!)
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To: OXENinFLA
clearly she is hanging around with a very anti-Bush crowd.

"9-11 family member, Jersey Girl, Kristen Breitweiser, arranged to have Ms. Edmonds address the gathered media right after the Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet testified."

16 posted on 04/02/2004 8:15:41 AM PST by finnman69 (cum puella incedit minore medio corpore sub quo manifestus globus, inflammare animos)
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To: finnman69
This was mentioned on Al Fraken's show yeaterday and was thoroughly discredited. Even the dems are afraid of going there. Problem is there were too many clinton holders in high positions for this to happen unnoticed.
17 posted on 04/02/2004 8:17:05 AM PST by js1138 (In a minute there is time -- for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.)
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To: GreatOne
I don't think she ever claimed there were intercepts claiming suicide hijackings. Only yhat something involving aircraft was up.
18 posted on 04/02/2004 8:17:23 AM PST by finnman69 (cum puella incedit minore medio corpore sub quo manifestus globus, inflammare animos)
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To: finnman69
Consider what was going in the spring and summer of 2001. Bush sworn into office mid-January. His people needed to be nominated and confirmed by Congress before taking office, which was being delayed by the demoncRATS. Schedule C employees (political appointees) throughout the whole of govt should have surrendered their resignation in January. Anyone that's gone through a transition of govt relating to different parties taking power knows that the first year, h*ll, even the first 6 months is in a state of confusion with govt all but a standstill because no one is confirmed and no one can sign off on anything until the heads and staff of the office get in and organize. If the attacks were planned as the "Turkish" person indicated, it's a job of months (or years) of planning, organizing and directing. Where were the Clintoonian people and the paperwork involved leading up to the spring and summer of 2001? Where was Clarke in informing the security people of this threat prior to 2001? 911 was not Bush's fault. It's the failure of people like Clarke and Tenet and the Clintoonian Administration. If anything these holdovers wanted the Administration to fail and therefore kept the security information a secret so that if and when a 911 event occurred the demoncRATS would blame the Bush Administration (Republican). Remember the demoncRATS are good at "doing as I say not as I do" philosophy.
19 posted on 04/02/2004 8:17:32 AM PST by lilylangtree (Veni, Vidi, Vici)
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To: Rocko
The Clinton's are probably saying they're right on track. Hildebeast said something about October. Since Bubba hasn't released his book yet, could that be it?? Or, is Bubba after Kofi's job since it looks like Kofi just might retire. Or, Or, Or.....

If Hillary is indeed holding a secret which will effect the election, isn't that kind of a conspiracy?? Kinda like the bombings in Spain.

The problem with Bubba is that he lies like hell....in Court and in the media. This family does not emit "Trust Me".

20 posted on 04/02/2004 8:19:39 AM PST by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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To: finnman69
"There was general information about the time frame, about methods to be used -- but not specifically about how they would be used -- and about people being in place and who was ordering these sorts of terror attacks," Edmonds said.

now comapre that to this statement:

"President Bush said they had no specific information about September 11 and that is accurate but only because he said September 11," Edmonds told the Independent.

She contradicts herself.

21 posted on 04/02/2004 8:20:22 AM PST by finnman69 (cum puella incedit minore medio corpore sub quo manifestus globus, inflammare animos)
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To: lilylangtree

22 posted on 04/02/2004 8:20:46 AM PST by Diogenesis (If you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us)
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To: finnman69
This woman, the Turkish-American translater, was fired from her job for incompetence. She's sued to get her job back. She's also made statements that the CIA was trying to get her through mind control. In short, she is a nutcase.

Remember that the AFP is a French news source on the left (naturalment). That's all you need to put this Yahoo story, that comes from AFP.

Gald I could be of service.

Congressman Billybob

Click here, then click the blue CFR button, to join the anti-CFR effort (or visit the "Hugh & Series, Critical & Pulled by JimRob" thread). Please do it now.

23 posted on 04/02/2004 8:21:15 AM PST by Congressman Billybob (www.ArmorforCongress.com Visit. Join. Help. Please.)
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To: finnman69
This woman, the Turkish-American translater, was fired from her job for incompetence. She's sued to get her job back. She's also made statements that the CIA was trying to get her through mind control. In short, she is a nutcase.

Remember that the AFP is a French news source on the left (naturalment). That's all you need to put this Yahoo story, that comes from AFP.

Gald I could be of service.

Congressman Billybob

Click here, then click the blue CFR button, to join the anti-CFR effort (or visit the "Hugh & Series, Critical & Pulled by JimRob" thread). Please do it now.

24 posted on 04/02/2004 8:21:21 AM PST by Congressman Billybob (www.ArmorforCongress.com Visit. Join. Help. Please.)
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To: lilylangtree
Don't forget February and March were wasted since Gore's refusal to admit defeat delayed Bush's administration from getting to work.
25 posted on 04/02/2004 8:22:06 AM PST by finnman69 (cum puella incedit minore medio corpore sub quo manifestus globus, inflammare animos)
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To: finnman69
earlier thread on this topic too, worth a peek, some good comments

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1108765/posts
26 posted on 04/02/2004 8:22:26 AM PST by adam_az (Call your state Republican party office and VOLUNTEER FOR A CAMPAIGN!!!)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
Therein lies a big part of the problem. There is no doubt that the events of 911 could have been prevented. There was an intelligence failure, just as there was at Pearl Harbor and the Battle of the Bulge. But I don't recall reading about any clamor to remove FDR or Eisenhower for those fiascoes.

The blame, if it is to be apportioned, IMHO goes to the mid level FBI management, who was directly responsible for investigating these kinds of threats, and the heads of both the FBI and CIA. If there were any honor in government, both those men would have resigned shortly after 911 with public apologies to the President saying "I failed you". But that never happens in government, does it?
27 posted on 04/02/2004 8:23:34 AM PST by SoCal Pubbie
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To: finnman69

Sibel Edmonds
28 posted on 04/02/2004 8:24:32 AM PST by finnman69 (cum puella incedit minore medio corpore sub quo manifestus globus, inflammare animos)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

29 posted on 04/02/2004 8:24:46 AM PST by adam_az (Call your state Republican party office and VOLUNTEER FOR A CAMPAIGN!!!)
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To: All
The latest video shows Osama Bin Ladin swearing an oath on the Qu'ran that he warned Bush in advance of the airplane attack with a Kerry for president sign in the background.
Whose the next rat to come out of the woodwork? There is a credibility and motive dilemma here.
30 posted on 04/02/2004 8:25:25 AM PST by BipolarBob (Your secrets safe with me and my friends deep inside the earth.)
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To: GreatOne
"Fine, we had info that airplanes were going to be used as missles to hit targets in several cities. Now, what do you do with that info? Can't alert the public, as there would either be a massive shrug, or maybe even unneeded damage done to the airline industry. And what cities are you going to protect? Without specific dates and targets, this info is worthless."

Take it one baby step farther, Great One. Before 9/11, the very paradigm of hijackers actually piloting an aircraft didn't exist. You can have all the so-called "credible" evidence in the world that says that this type of attack is going to occur - and you flat out won't believe it - because nothing even remotely approaching it had ever occured previously. Up until that time, every single hijacking that had occured ended with the aircraft returning safely to earth. Yes, some people died in other hijackings, but not as a result of the plane flying into fixed objects. If Mohammed Atta had himself told you what his plans were, you would have LAUGHED.

And then 9/11.

Michael

31 posted on 04/02/2004 8:26:39 AM PST by Wright is right! (It's amazing how fun times when you're having flies.)
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To: finnman69
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Filipino's bust about 5 of 6 terrorists (most likely AL Quida) who were on their way to do this in the mid to late 90's. The media doesn't seem to want to mention that this was common knowledge for years.
32 posted on 04/02/2004 8:26:48 AM PST by Dead Dog
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To: All
9-11 was not the first time the Trade Center got hit...and there were 8 years, not 8 months to take care of this. But the first hit was never advertised as an "Act of War" although it was just that.

So why didn't Clinton go to the UN like Bush did and go into Afghanistan? Did he even call Kofi?

After, 9-11, Clinton said he wishes he was in charge for 9-11. Well, he was in charge for the first hit. Just a little ironic that he could have been an effective President but chose to be a defective President. His Legacy will be "The worst President".

33 posted on 04/02/2004 8:28:14 AM PST by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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To: finnman69
wonder why she's been so silent for so long then?
34 posted on 04/02/2004 8:28:16 AM PST by Jon Alvarez
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To: Congressman Billybob
mind control? where did she say that?
35 posted on 04/02/2004 8:29:08 AM PST by Pikamax
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To: finnman69
   
Friday, April 02, 2004
Make Comment View Comments Printable Article

The Left's Big Lie About Condi

By PowerLineBlog.com
PowerLineBlog.com | March 29, 2004

To an extent that, in my judgment, has no precedent in American history, the contemporary Democratic party has defined itself as a party of hate. The current frenzy over the self-contradictory and in some instances patently false claims of Richard Clarke has shown the Democrats at their most vituperative.

A case in point is Paul Begala's recent hysterical attack on Condoleezza Rice on CNN's Crossfire. Begala said:

[Dr. Rice] began this week with an op-ed in "The New York Times" [Ed.--actually, the Washington Post] in which she says among other things that there was no intelligence on a plot to use airplanes.

Now we have a former FBI translator who says that's false. She also said that the plan for al Qaeda before 9/11 included military attacks. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage also under oath said, no, that was false. So she told two lies in 500 words. Can you name me two lies in Dick Clarke's 50,000 word book? I haven't found any.

BLACK: Most people -- most people in this town, Republican and Democrat alike, believe her and trust her.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: No, they don't. She's a liar. She lied twice in "The Washington Post" op-ed.

Those are, of course, very strong words--or at least, they used to be, before the Democratic Party went around the bend. Here is what Rice said in her Post article:

Through the spring and summer of 2001, the national security team developed a strategy to eliminate al Qaeda -- which was expected to take years. Our strategy marshaled all elements of national power to take down the network, not just respond to individual attacks with law enforcement measures. Our plan called for military options to attack al Qaeda and Taliban leadership, ground forces and other targets -- taking the fight to the enemy where he lived. It focused on the crucial link between al Qaeda and the Taliban. We would attempt to compel the Taliban to stop giving al Qaeda sanctuary -- and if it refused, we would have sufficient military options to remove the Taliban regime.

Begala calls Rice a liar because Richard Armitage, in his testimony before the terrorism commission, "under oath said, no, that was false." Armitage, of course, said no such thing. He never referred to Rice's op-ed in his testimony, and was never asked whether he agreed with her account or not. Here is what he did say:

POWELL: So we discussed it with all of the experts who were in the previous administration and stayed over. We then brought in our new people. Mr. Armitage came in after 2 months. General Taylor came over after a while. A lot of people came in, and we put together a more comprehensive policy and we reached the conclusion in early September that it might come to that and we have to understand that we might have to go in and take this kind of large-scale military action if that was the only way to eliminate this threat.

ARMITAGE: The record I have of our discussions in the deputies, in the July time frame where we began to discuss actually using military measures if all the rest was not successful, that's a long way from having a plan, a military plan, but these were things that as the secretaries indicated, we talked about, we debated, and we realized eventually we were going to have to have in our quiver.

Now, how does Armitage's testimony (or Powell's) prove that Rice is a liar? She said: "We would attempt to compel the Taliban to stop giving al Qaeda sanctuary -- and if it refused, we would have sufficient military options to remove the Taliban regime." Powell said: "we reached the conclusion in early September that it might come to that and we have to understand that we might have to go in and take this kind of large-scale military action if that was the only way to eliminate this threat." Armitage said: "[W]e began to discuss actually using military measures if all the rest was not successful, that's a long way from having a plan, a military plan, but these were things that as the secretaries indicated, we talked about, we debated, and we realized eventually we were going to have to have in our quiver."

Armitage and Powell said, in different words, the same thing as Rice: the Bush administration decided to develop a plan to use military force if al Qaeda could not otherwise be dislodged from Afghanistan. No sane person could conclude that "Armitage under oath said, no, that was false."

Some will defend Begala on the ground that he is mentally unbalanced, and argue that his type of fanaticism does not typify the Democratic Party. But I cannot agree. Begala seems to me to be typical of the modern Democratic Party--a party that makes Joe McCarthy look calm, reasonable and scrupulous.

UPDATE: Rice's second lie, as characterized by Begala, was "that there was no intelligence on a plot to use airplanes." Here is what Rice actually wrote:

Despite what some have suggested, we received no intelligence that terrorists were preparing to attack the homeland using airplanes as missiles, though some analysts speculated that terrorists might hijack airplanes to try to free U.S.-held terrorists. The FAA even issued a warning to airlines and aviation security personnel that "the potential for a terrorist operation, such as an airline hijacking to free terrorists incarcerated in the United States, remains a concern."

Begala says that, "Now we have a former FBI translator who says that's false." Begala is referring to Sibel Edmonds. Edmonds is not new to celebrity; in October 2002, she appeared on 60 Minutes and launched sensational criticisms of the FBI's translation department. She claimed that her supervisor had told her to translate slowly, if at all, so that the agency's budget would be increased. She said that many of her co-workers were incompetent, and that one of them had deliberately failed to translate important documents and tried to recruit Edmonds into a terrorist front organization; this same co-worker, according to Edmonds, threatened to kill Edmonds and her family.

Two months ago, Edmonds gave an interview to a fawning Gail Sheehy in which she repeated her allegations against the FBI, and talked about putting her story about the translators' inefficiency and incompetence into the hands of the terrorism commission. In that interview, she also suggested that when she reported the alleged threat against her and her family to Dale Watson, then the FBI's executive assistant director, Watson induced Turkey's intelligence service to interrogate Edmonds' sister in Istanbul.

The FBI fired Edmonds in 2002, and she sued the agency. Her case is now pending. She told Sheehy that when she was fired, agents told her she would be sent to prison if she hired a lawyer not approved by the agency, and that she is frequently followed by FBI agents.

Begala did not refer, however, to what Edmonds told 60 Minutes or Sheehy. Rather, he relied on an article that appeared in Salon earlier today, in which Sibel Edmonds says:

We should have had orange or red-type of alert in June or July of 2001. There was that much information available. 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...President Bush said they had no specific information about Sept. 11, and that's accurate. But there was specific information about use of airplanes, that an attack was on the way two or three months beforehand....

Several basic points should be made here. First, Edmonds is far from a reliable witness. There is considerable reason to believe, in fact, that she is a nut, and at a bare minimum, she has an enormous axe to grind. To simply assume on the basis of her statements that Condoleezza Rice is a "liar" is ridiculous.

Second, it seems extremely odd that Edmonds has never made this claim before. She became a celebrity by bashing the FBI on 60 Minutes and elsewhere, and Ed Bradley certainly would have tried to draw out any negative information she could provide about the FBI and the Bush administration. It is very hard to believe that she just forgot to mention that she had seen documents indicating that the Bureau had a warning that airplanes were to be used as weapons by Arab terrorists.

Third, Edmonds went to work for the FBI after September 11. They put her to work translating documents, and as far as the public record shows, that is all she ever did. Documents indicating a plot to use airplanes as weapons would be relevant only if they were translated before September 11; there was, we know, a large backlog of documents, wiretap intercepts and so on that were translated after that time even though they may have been collected prior to the attacks. While it is possible that Edmonds could have seen previously-translated materials, reviewing such materials was not part of her job, and she has given no explanation of how and why she allegedly came across them.

Fourth, it is not even clear to what extent Edmonds contradicts Rice. Rice said that "we received no intelligence that terrorists were preparing to attack the homeland using airplanes as missiles." It is not clear whether she meant that "we," the White House, had received no such intelligence, or that no such report had ever been obtained by anyone in any law enforcement agency.

More fundamentally, the whole point is immaterial. Rice says that while "we" didn't get a report on using airplanes as missiles, there was concern about possible hijackings, and the FAA issued a warning to the airlines. It is not clear what, in addition, would or could have been done if the tactic of flying planes into buildings had been foreseen. It is worth remembering that in September 2001, airports were just about the only places in the United States that had any security at all. And that security appeared to be effective; the era of airplane hijackings had ended years before, after passenger screening was introduced. The principal terror threat was considered to be truck bombings, as in Beirut, Oklahoma City, and the first World Trade Center attack in 1993. (Indeed, that continues to be true, as there is still no effective defense against such attacks.) Planners could reasonably have thought that air travel was the one area where the threat of terrorism had been effectively addressed.

In short, Begala's characterization of Rice as a "liar" can only be seen as a manifestation of crazed partisanship, and another sign of the decline of the Democratic Party.


36 posted on 04/02/2004 8:31:34 AM PST by finnman69 (cum puella incedit minore medio corpore sub quo manifestus globus, inflammare animos)
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To: finnman69
Clarke is living out the axiom that if you yell the lie long and loud enough, people will believe you.

It DOES have Clinton written all over it.

As to this translator, she was hired after nine eleven, and saying that the administration knew is ridiculous, considering that she previously stated that the Arab FBI translators CHEERED when news of the WTC attack came through.

We are being fed a bunch of Stalinist propaganda, truly not seen since the Nazi/Soviet era, all with the idea of sinking Bush.

One hopes that Condi and Bush will TAKE THEIR GLOVES OFF for once and recognize the evil they are fighting is at HOME.

The collusion of the media on this stuff is also frightening. We are living in some weird alternate universe of a political horror film.

Just makes me run to church, where the real power(s) of intercession and pointed prayer are anyway. Fascinating to watch our country self destruct while the first truly Christian film to come out of Hollywood in decades is becoming the biggest blockbuster of all time.

But the really strange issue is how the Bushies want to box by Marquis of Queensbury rules and the Clintoon/Kerryites are using PLO tactics.
37 posted on 04/02/2004 8:33:10 AM PST by CalifornianConservative
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To: SoCal Pubbie
We keep leaving out the INS....and updating Airline Security which the Dems negotiated with the airlines and deemed tooo expensive. Simple door bars would have changed the terrorists plans.
38 posted on 04/02/2004 8:33:55 AM PST by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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To: mikegi
Did the papers she "saw" name the exact day and time these attacks would occur?
39 posted on 04/02/2004 8:34:17 AM PST by AngieGOP
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To: finnman69
and had obtained a gagging order from a court.

WTF is a "gagging order"?

40 posted on 04/02/2004 8:36:45 AM PST by Mr. Buzzcut
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To: Diogenesis
Great post!

Re: Also, she says some Arab-American translators, including a supervisor, threatened to sue the FBI for discrimination after complaints were filed against them.

M.O. : Infiltrate, do as much damage as possible, claim discrimination when treachery is uncovered.

Ain't diversity wonderful? Touchy, feely, et al. /sarcasm

41 posted on 04/02/2004 8:37:11 AM PST by auboy (A narrow mind is a terrible thing to waste.)
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To: finnman69
Yeah just like we know Martians are landing in New Mexico.
Ops4 God BLess America!
42 posted on 04/02/2004 8:38:22 AM PST by OPS4
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To: Wright is right!
"If Mohammed Atta had himself told you what his plans were, you would have LAUGHED."

You would have laughed, but I would have gone to the authorities.


43 posted on 04/02/2004 8:38:45 AM PST by YoSoy2 ("I'm proud of the way America used to be")
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To: OXENinFLA
Bump...good rebuttal piece.
44 posted on 04/02/2004 8:40:53 AM PST by FourtySeven (47)
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To: Mr. Buzzcut
My cousin who is an F18 pilot who flew during the Iraq War had told me that there was intelligence like what she is talking about. However, he stated that Clinton had cut the budget so bad they were literally backed up a year.
45 posted on 04/02/2004 8:42:19 AM PST by shoedog
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
If you get 5,000,000 tips a year, how do you know which ones are true and which ones are not?

Exactly.

46 posted on 04/02/2004 8:45:08 AM PST by 1Old Pro
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To: finnman69
"but not specifically about how they would be used"

I find this key sentence very interesting. She's saying we had to know they were going to use planes on 9/11 - but then she's saying there was NO SPECIFIC information.

That's insane.

And .. Condi has already said that "using planes" to them meant hijacking the planes as we have seen them used - no one ever expressed any idea that after the planes were hijacked they would be used as a missle.[paraphrase]

You can't scream Bush-knew and then say there was no specific information - how ridiculous is that!
47 posted on 04/02/2004 8:45:22 AM PST by CyberAnt (The 2004 Election is for the SOUL of AMERICA)
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To: finnman69
The 'rats have scrapped the last residue from the bottom of the barrel.
48 posted on 04/02/2004 8:47:46 AM PST by Semper Paratus
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To: finnman69
If all these armchair intel types telling the public that President Bush had the info and did not react, is a crock of bull. If the info was available, it is mixed in with thousands of other info. Why their info stood out amongst all the other equally pressing info of terrorist attacks, these armchair intel types have not been able to explain. If these critics are sooo smart, let us put them to the test. Tell them to invest all their life savings into the stock market on options and predict where the market will be in 12 months. The info is available amongst all the thousands of info from analysts. Since they seem to be sooo clairvoyant in the media interviews, can they tell me which analyst report is accurate and will they be willing to put their life savings into it? If they cannot, then they have some inkling what leaders go through.
49 posted on 04/02/2004 8:54:45 AM PST by Fee
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To: CyberAnt
You can't scream Bush-knew and then say there was no specific information - how ridiculous is that!

VERY good point!

50 posted on 04/02/2004 8:55:13 AM PST by FourtySeven (47)
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