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US told Saudis about Qaeda plane threat pre-9/11
Reuters ^ | Dec 9, 2005 | Reuters

Posted on 12/09/2005 9:30:01 AM PST by blogblogginaway

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States told Saudi Arabia more than three years before the September 11 attacks that Osama bin Laden might be targeting civilian airplanes, according to a newly declassified State Department cable.

The June 1998 cable, obtained by George Washington University's National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act, said the United States had no specific information that al Qaeda was planning such an attack, and did not say it might fly planes into buildings.

A copy of the cable, first reported by The New York Times on Friday, was obtained by Reuters. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on September 11, 2001, were Saudi nationals.

The cable, from the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh to U.S. government officials, said concerns were based on threats bin Laden had recently made against military aircraft in an interview with U.S. network ABC.

"We could not rule out that a terrorist might take the course of least resistance and turn to a civilian target," the cable said, noting bin Laden had said his group did not differentiate between civilians and the military.

The cable said three U.S. officials had met with Saudi officials at Riyadh's King Khaled International Airport on June 16, 1998, "to discuss the Osama bin Laden threat, and press for enhanced vigilance by Saudi security screeners and police patrols around the airport."

"We noted that while we have no specific information that indicates bin Laden is targeting civilian aircraft, he made a threat during the June 11 ABC News interview against 'military passenger aircraft' in the next 'few weeks,'" the cable said.

The cable is the latest of several signs made public that U.S. officials had concerns, long before the 2001 hijacked airplane attacks on New York and Washington, that al Qaeda might be targeting aircraft.

Others include a highly classified President's Daily Brief report to former President Bill Clinton dated December 4, 1998, which was titled "Bin Ladin Preparing to Hijack US Aircraft and Other Attacks."

The CIA has also said it had told the Federal Aviation Administration in 1999 that "Osama bin Laden remains interested in targeting U.S. interests including on U.S. territory. He is well prepared to consider kidnappings and hijackings as well as bombings."

On August 6, 2001, President George W. Bush's daily intelligence brief said the FBI had detected "patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York."

It did not warn of an airplane attack on buildings, but said the FBI was conducting about 70 investigations throughout the United States that it considered were related to bin Laden.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 1998; 911; alqaeda; binladen; bojinka; cia; gorelickwall; obl; operationbojinka; prequel; saudiarabia

1 posted on 12/09/2005 9:30:02 AM PST by blogblogginaway
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To: blogblogginaway

This is as specific as the briefing Bush received in August 2001 that the press insisted was the smoking gun proving Bush failed to prevent 9-11. Will they blame Clinton for not taking action to capture Bin Laden now?


2 posted on 12/09/2005 9:33:23 AM PST by saganite (The poster formerly known as Arkie 2)
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To: blogblogginaway
Interesting -- BTTT

Carolyn

3 posted on 12/09/2005 9:33:50 AM PST by CDHart (The world has become a lunatic asylum and the lunatics are in charge.)
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To: blogblogginaway

Whoa! Terrorists were targeting civilian airliners?? Shocking.


4 posted on 12/09/2005 9:34:25 AM PST by Lunatic Fringe (North Texas Solutions http://ntxsolutions.com)
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To: blogblogginaway
Others include a highly classified President's Daily Brief report to former President Bill Clinton dated December 4, 1998, which was titled "Bin Ladin Preparing to Hijack US Aircraft and Other Attacks."

Bush didn't lie??? /Sarc

5 posted on 12/09/2005 9:36:07 AM PST by fanfan (" The liberal party is not corrupt " Prime Minister Paul Martin)
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To: blogblogginaway

I do not recall the 9/11 Commission making mention of this, did I miss it?


6 posted on 12/09/2005 9:36:38 AM PST by Just mythoughts
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To: blogblogginaway
Others include a highly classified President's Daily Brief report to former President Bill Clinton dated December 4, 1998, which was titled "Bin Ladin Preparing to Hijack US Aircraft and Other Attacks."

And how many times did slick turn down a chance to take bin laden?

7 posted on 12/09/2005 9:37:07 AM PST by b4its2late (More Republicans in Congress need to grow a pair.)
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To: blogblogginaway

So Clinton, Not-so-bright and Burglar-man knew.


8 posted on 12/09/2005 9:37:12 AM PST by rod1
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To: blogblogginaway

Memo must have fallen out of Sandy Burglar's socks.


9 posted on 12/09/2005 9:37:20 AM PST by Inwoodian
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To: blogblogginaway

Gee, did the diseased looking Richard Clarke forget about this?

Could he apologize to me, the rest of America, and all the good people he slandered, for the fact he and his boss were incompetent?


10 posted on 12/09/2005 9:41:51 AM PST by digger48
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To: fanfan

I think we found some more of Clintoon's legacy.


11 posted on 12/09/2005 9:43:14 AM PST by TheDon (The Democratic Party is the party of TREASON!)
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To: blogblogginaway

Maybe Clinton would have seen that memo if someone had taped it to the top of Monica's head.


12 posted on 12/09/2005 9:44:47 AM PST by digger48
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To: blogblogginaway
Bojinka
13 posted on 12/09/2005 9:46:12 AM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Monthly Donor spoken Here. Go to ... https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Inwoodian
Memo must have fallen out of Sandy Burglar's socks.

LOL! But didn't you mean into Sandy Burglar's socks?

14 posted on 12/09/2005 9:52:45 AM PST by citizen (History shows Muslims are Jihadists....The real radical Muslims are the live-and-let-live moderates.)
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To: blogblogginaway

So, did the Gorelick Wall go up after Clinton was informed?


15 posted on 12/09/2005 9:55:03 AM PST by airborne (Al-Queda can recruit on college campuses but the US military can't!)
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To: digger48

Excellent point!!!!!
Thanks for a great chuckle!


16 posted on 12/09/2005 9:57:38 AM PST by acapesket (never had a vote count in all my years here)
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To: airborne

Clinton to MSM:

Spike it!


17 posted on 12/09/2005 9:58:17 AM PST by EQAndyBuzz (Liberal Talking Point - Bush = Hitler ... Republican Talking Point - Let the Liberals Talk)
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To: EQAndyBuzz

Something else the MSM will never get out to the world.


18 posted on 12/09/2005 9:58:49 AM PST by EQAndyBuzz (Liberal Talking Point - Bush = Hitler ... Republican Talking Point - Let the Liberals Talk)
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To: saganite
Will they blame Clinton for not taking action to capture Bin Laden now?

Everybody gets three guesses and, two of them don't count.

19 posted on 12/09/2005 9:58:50 AM PST by capydick ("A good conscience is a continual Christmas")
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To: blogblogginaway

I fully expect to see the MSM in wild paroxysms of outrage over the revelation that the Clinton administration had years of warnings about the potential threats Al Qaeda posed to civilian airliners. Those objective, hard-working MSM reporters will be all over this story, because they thought that the PDB of Aug. 6, 2001 should have put President Bush and than nation on red alert for hijacking threats, so we can be certain that the MSM will realize that 3+ years of similar knowledge should have allowed ample opportunity for the Clintonistas to act. I'm sure that we will soon see Richard Clarke, Joe Wilson, Wesley Clark, et al giving interviews to declare that Bill Clinton and Algore ignored these threats for years and bear a heavy responsibility for the weak security stance we displayed on 9/11.

Actually, it may be that the best chance of getting Bill Clinton's attention would have been to have Monica pass warnings from the CIA directly to the C-in-C.........


20 posted on 12/09/2005 10:07:15 AM PST by Enchante (Democrats: "We are ALL broken and worn out, our party & ideas, what else is new?")
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To: saganite

They will ignore this like they are ignoring Able Danger.


21 posted on 12/09/2005 10:28:28 AM PST by KC_Conspirator (This space outsourced to India)
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To: KC_Conspirator

"They will ignore this like they are ignoring Able Danger."


Yep! Why Bush isn't pressing for Able Danger to be able to testify (which would put the final nail in the Dem coffin) makes me wonder if there isn't more to this story.


22 posted on 12/09/2005 11:01:51 AM PST by Blzbba ("Shop Smart. Shop S-Mart" - Ashe, Housewares)
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To: blogblogginaway
Others include a highly classified President's Daily Brief report to former President Bill Clinton dated December 4, 1998, which was titled "Bin Ladin Preparing to Hijack US Aircraft and Other Attacks." The CIA has also said it had told the Federal Aviation Administration in 1999 that "Osama bin Laden remains interested in targeting U.S. interests including on U.S. territory. He is well prepared to consider kidnappings and hijackings as well as bombings."

Unfortunately for America as a whole, we will NEVER hear this on any National News Program, except for perhaps Fox News. I imagine they could produce copies of the exact D.P.B, put them on TV and the simpleton lefties would still parse this into oblivion. It's almost 5 years later and the Clintons (yes they both ran the White House)continue to escape any blame for their Crime and Mis-Management against humanity YET AGAIN. The longer I live, the more I realize I live in a totally parallel world from The Left. What I mean is I've actually read books such as The Venona Secrets. I have one lefty friend who actually read the copy I gave him for Christmas a few years ago. Does anybody even believe the average Leftist Liberal can read a 600 page book nowadays? I'm sure he was the exception. LOL

23 posted on 12/09/2005 11:06:45 AM PST by Pagey (The Clintons ARE the true definition of the word WRETCHED!)
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To: blogblogginaway

A lot of nothing. Everyobody has known since the 60's that civilian airliners are a primary target of terrorists. To say that Al-queada is targeting them is to say nothing more than that they are following in the steps of their predecessors (Arafat, et al).

Since the report does not give specifics of how the planes would be targeted or used, means this is not actionable intelligence, just a general warning to expect more of the same.

If this report is a smoking gun, then someone has been smoking controlled substances.


24 posted on 12/09/2005 11:58:07 AM PST by PsyOp (The commonwealth is theirs who hold the arms.... - Aristotle.)
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To: PsyOp

But there are still some unanswered questions to me

1: Why the FBI HQ resisted opening a broader investigation after it catched Moussaoui?
2: Why did the government’s Justice Department plus top FBI officials blocked an FBI request for a national security warrant to search Moussaouis laptop?
3: Why Ashcroft has been advised to travel only by private jet instead of commercial airlines a few days before 9/11?
4: Why there was no reaction to the very precise warnings of several foreign intelligence (Israel, Russia, Egypt, France, British, Jordan) ?


25 posted on 12/12/2005 6:11:24 AM PST by cologne_blood
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To: cologne_blood
But there are still some unanswered questions to me

1: Why the FBI HQ resisted opening a broader investigation after it catched Moussaoui?

Why the assumption that they have not? Just because it doesn't make it to the top CNN's Headline news, does not mean it is happening. Effective counter-terrorism rely on secrecy. Terrorists watch the news for information. If one of theirs gets caught, they pay close attention. To avoid sending them all to ground, investigators will try to keep as much from the media as possible. Make no assumptions in this regard.

2: Why did the government’s Justice Department plus top FBI officials blocked an FBI request for a national security warrant to search Moussaouis laptop?

I don't know anything about this. But since FBI is part of the Justice department, your question seems a bit confused. which part of the Justice department denied FBI? could be adepartmental turf battle, or an attempt to keep information compartmentalized and keep it off the evening news where it could tip off Moussaouis confederates. Remember, the FBI is still suffering from it's reno/clinton hangover and there have been several leaks of sensitive information for political purposes without regard to national security concerns.

3: Why Ashcroft has been advised to travel only by private jet instead of commercial airlines a few days before 9/11?

I don't know that he was. But this sounds a lot like the Micheal Moore claims that members of the Saudi Royal Family and Bin Ladens reletives were cleared to leave the U.S. before u.s. airspace was re-opened to the general public after 9/11. Claims which turned out be false, in spite of being picked up by the mainstream media.

4: Why there was no reaction to the very precise warnings of several foreign intelligence (Israel, Russia, Egypt, France, British, Jordan)?

Exactly which warnings are you talking about? When were these issued and what source?

26 posted on 12/12/2005 1:39:48 PM PST by PsyOp (The commonwealth is theirs who hold the arms.... - Aristotle.)
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To: PsyOp

Hi PsyOp, thanks for your reply

1&2:
Moussaoui had been arested by Minnesota FBI Agents on August,15th and they immediately requested a search warrant for his laptop but the request was denied.
A few days later France intelligence gives the FBI bureau Minnesota a large file about Moussaouis connection to radical islamists, but again FBI HQ refuses search warrant for the laptop. On August,21th the Minnesota FBI e-mails FBI HQ saying it's “imperative” that the Secret Service be warned of the danger a plot involving Moussaoui might pose to the President's safety. Nothing happens again.
A Day later John O Neill quits FBI in Frustration.

3. You may read this: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/07/26/national/main303601.shtml

And he was not the only one who had been warned before 9/11 to fly commercial lines. On September,3rd the islam critic author Salman Rushdie is banned by US authorities from taking internal US flights. He says the FAA told his publisher the reason was because it had “intelligence of something about to happen.
BTW: The Story about the flight of the bin laden relatives is true.

4:
– The Italian government shared "general" information of possible attacks in March 2001 based on bugs in apartments in Milan.

– An Iranian in custody in New York City told local police last May of a plot to attack the World Trade Center.

– German intelligence alerted the Central Intelligence Agency, Britain's MI-6 intelligence service, Israel's Mossad in June 2001 that Middle Eastern terrorists were training for hijackings and targeting American and Israeli interests.

- On June,13th Egyptian president Mubarak warns the US of an attack with airplanes

- Jordan intelligence makes a communications intercept deemed so important that King Abdullah's men relay it to Washington through the CIA station in Amman. To make doubly sure the message gets through it is passed through an Arab intermediary to a German intelligence agent. The message states that a major attack, code named "The Big Wedding", is planned inside the US and that aircraft will be used.

- In August Russian President Putin warns the US that suicide pilots are training for attacks on US targets.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,53065,00.html


So why were told that 9/11 was a big surprise and why it took 1 hour!!! to scramble F16?


27 posted on 12/13/2005 3:06:01 AM PST by cologne_blood
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To: cologne_blood

With regard to the laptop, there are three possible answers.
1. FBI HQ did not want the filed office rooting around in the computer for fear that sensitive information might be leaked to the press and alert Moussaouis confederates to a breach of their security (effective counter-terrorism dictates that the terrorists believe they have not been compromised).
2. Clinton holdovers at FBI HQ could not make up their mind as to whether Moussaouis should be treated as a terrorist, a criminal, or potential democrat presidential candidate. Sometimes stupid decisions are a result of stupidity, not conspiracy.
3. Disinformation. The terrorists know that the FBI has Moussaouis laptop. Make them think no one has looked at it. Remember Desert Storm? Stormin' Norman played the press like a violin and got them to report all kinds of disniformation to Saddam and his generals. You don't think the FBI can do it, too?

One of my favorite Quotes is from Winston Churchill regarding the allied breaking of the Enigma code. "In war, the truth must be protected by a bodyguard of lies." He allowed a british city to be bombed to protect that secret.

As for all the warnings, you have to remember that prior to 9/11 all terrorist threats to aircraft were thought to be hijackings for hostages and demands. In spite of "imminent" warnings, this was a well know type of threat. Unless you have information as to place, time, and suspect, there is little you can do except keep a careful watch for the tools of the trade--guns and bombs. Box cutters were not on the list of preferred terrorist tools at that time.

No one thought that the hijackers would use box-cutters to take control of the planes and turn them into kamakazi bombers (fictional novels notwithstanding).

Warning governmetn officials not to fly commercial when there are heightened hijack threats is not unusual. It is very common when flying oversease (military personnel are often warned not to fly in uniform, to pack their dog tags and ID in their check baggage, and to get a civilian passport). Hijackers have shown a propensity towards executing military/US govt personnel they find on the planes they hijacked in the past.

Another problem is that, thanks to holywood, people think this country's intelligence agencies are more powerful and capable than they are. And all the intelligence gathering tools in the world are useless if you don't have good people to go through it. Computers only report, they can't interperate. Like the FBI under Clinton, the CIA was politicized. It has also suffered from years of abuse and budget cuts and artificial restrictions imposed by democrat administrations, and witch-hunts.

The bottom line is that it is easier to believe in conspiracies, than to believe that we aren't all-powerful. People screw up, lie about it, blame others. It happens in government just like it does in the home.

9/11 was a surprise because we expected an old-fashioned style hi-jacking. And it took an hour to scramble the F-16 because it probably took the guys responsible for scrambling 45 minutes to grasp what was really happening and pick up the phone.

The terrorists hit us with a move we had never seen before, had no reason to expect, and caught us with our pants down. We knew their tactics, they knew we knew, so they changed them in a dramatic way.


28 posted on 12/13/2005 2:20:51 PM PST by PsyOp (The commonwealth is theirs who hold the arms.... - Aristotle.)
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To: PsyOp

Hmmmmm...sorry but your possible answers make no sense to me.
By the arrest of Moussaoui the other cells had to assume that that the FBI will scan the laptop, because this would be the normal procedure in such a case.
And as far as i remember there was no press release that the search warrant for the laptop was refused, so the cells could not know if the laptop was searched or not.
And remember that the FBIHQ told the field officers not to do any further investigation on Moussaoui, who was already identified as well-connected to the islamist scene by the french intelligence!
Some weeks ago, the phoenix memo by FBI agent Ken Williams has also been ignored.

"As for all the warnings, you have to remember that prior to 9/11 all terrorist threats to aircraft were thought to be hijackings for hostages and demands"
And why the G8 summit in Geneva was then protected by SAM?

Remember, it was already clear that:
-AQ already had plans to attack the US (WTC, Sears Tower, CIAHQ) with kamikaze aircraft (Murad interrogation in 1995)
-AQ was hot for WTC after the 1993 bombing ("Next time we will do better")
-There was precise intelligence warnings from around the world that AQ was planning something with hijacked aircrafts late 2001
-The phoenix memo titled "Osama bin Laden supporters attending civil aviation universities/colleges in Arizona" & Moussaouis arrest

You don´t have to have an Einstein to connect the dots, because the dots are already connected.
It was a clear picture.

And so it is a mystery to me, why on that tragic day it took one hour to scramble F16. There are clear directives by the FAA and the military for aircraft-highjackings and in every case in the last decades they were followed: Scramble within 10 minutes.

But not on that very day with 4! simultaneous highjackings. With all the clues this is remarkable to me and so the quote of an defense official "I don't think any of us envisioned an internal air threat by big aircraft.I don't know of anybody that ever thought through that" is a bad joke.





29 posted on 12/14/2005 12:58:38 AM PST by cologne_blood
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To: cologne_blood

"Hmmmmm...sorry but your possible answers make no sense to me."

I don't know what I can say to that. I guess you'll have to take it up with the people involved. Let me know if you come up with better answers than the ones I gave that can be supported by actual facts, and not just by what was reported by some media hack.


30 posted on 12/14/2005 9:21:55 AM PST by PsyOp (The commonwealth is theirs who hold the arms.... - Aristotle.)
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To: PsyOp

I don't know what I can say to that.

You could take comment on the stuff that i gave you.
No media hack, that is hard fact.


31 posted on 12/17/2005 12:36:19 PM PST by cologne_blood
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