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9/11 Inquiry Reveals WTC Threat in 1998
Reuters via Yahoo ^ | Wed Sep 18, 6:49 PM ET | Tabassum Zakaria

Posted on 09/18/2002 4:01:21 PM PDT by B-bone

9/11 Inquiry Reveals WTC Threat in 1998

Wed Sep 18, 6:49 PM ET

By Tabassum Zakaria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. congressional hearing was told on Wednesday that three years before the Sept. 11 attacks intelligence agencies had information about a group that planned to fly an explosive-laden plane from a foreign country into the World Trade Center.

The information obtained in August 1998 about the group of "unidentified Arabs" was passed to the FBI and the Federal Aviation Administration, but "the FAA found the plot highly unlikely given the state of that foreign country's aviation program," said Eleanor Hill, staff director of the joint Sept. 11 inquiry of the House and Senate intelligence committees.

This was one of many details revealed at the first public hearing into intelligence failures by America's spy agencies to detect plans by Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network to conduct the Sept. 11 strike.

While most of the rising volume of threat reports about an impending attack during spring and summer of 2001 pointed to a strike overseas, some of it suggested targets inside the United States, Hill told the hearing.

But none of the threats provided a specific time, date, and place of the attack. "My own view is ... no one will ever really know whether 9/11 could have been prevented," she said.

On Sept. 11, four hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon ( news - web sites) near Washington and a Pennsylvania field, killing about 3,000 people. The United States blames bin Laden and his al Qaeda network.

Despite concerns about bin Laden and al Qaeda, intelligence agencies had not directed adequate resources to analyzing them, Hill said.

Before the Sept. 11 attacks, the CIA's Counterterrorist Center had only five analysts assigned full-time to bin Laden's network worldwide, and the FBI's terrorism analytic unit had only one analyst looking at al Qaeda long-term, she said.

THREAT REPORTS

In March 2001 an intelligence source claimed a group of bin Laden's operatives were planning an attack in the United States in April 2001. That April, information was obtained that "unspecified terrorist operatives" in California and New York were planning terrorist attacks in those states, Hill said.

In May 2001 intelligence agencies had information that bin Laden supporters were planning to infiltrate the United States through Canada to conduct an attack using explosives.

In that same month, the Defense Department acquired information that it shared with other intelligence agencies indicating that seven bin Laden associates had departed various locations for Canada, Britain and the United States.

In June 2001, Hill said, CIA's counterterrorist center had information that key operatives in bin Laden's organization "were disappearing while others were preparing for martyrdom."

The National Security Agency, which eavesdrops on global communications, reported at least 33 communications between May and July 2001 indicating a "possible, imminent terrorist attack," she said.

There were also threat reports that terrorists were considering using airplanes as weapons as a method of attack.

In August 2001, a month before the attacks, intelligence agencies had information about a plot to either bomb the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi from an airplane or crash an airplane into it, Hill said.

In April 2001, a source said that bin laden would be interested in commercial pilots as potential terrorists.

A year earlier, in April 2000, a source walked into the FBI's Newark office and claimed he had been to an al Qaeda training camp in Pakistan where he learned hijacking techniques and received arms training and was supposed to meet five to six others in the United States to hijack a jumbo jet.

"They were instructed to use all necessary force to take over the plane because there would be pilots among the hijacking team," Hill said. The source passed a polygraph but the FBI was not able to verify his story, she said.

Before Sept. 11, the Counterterrorist Center had 40 analysts to analyze terrorism issues worldwide, and the only terrorist tactic it analyzed in-depth was the use of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, Hill said.

"We now know that our inability to detect and prevent the Sept. 11 attacks was an intelligence failure of unprecedented magnitude," Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said. "Some people who couldn't seem to utter the words 'intelligence failure' are now convinced of it."

"In the days before Sept. 11, many were quick to blame the success of the terrorists' diabolical plot on failures of intelligence or preparedness," Sen. Bob Graham, a Florida Democrat and chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said. But he said there was no smoking gun at this point.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: forewarning; graham; islam; kenya; mohammedanism; nairobi; plots; terrorplots
It's all Bush's fault. /sarcasm
1 posted on 09/18/2002 4:01:21 PM PDT by B-bone
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To: B-bone
Yep. For the oil barons too.
2 posted on 09/18/2002 4:04:46 PM PDT by eureka!
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To: B-bone
Just exactly when was the World Trade Center bombed the first time? You mean these idiots can't figure out when the first time it was under threat?

Take all day for a meeting about the obvious. That's why they won't call me to testify. "Hello, McFly..." as I walked up behind each one and rubbed my knuckles across their heads.

3 posted on 09/18/2002 4:05:36 PM PDT by BJungNan
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To: B-bone
Flame me if you want but is it possible Crazy Cynthia might have been right in asking that infamous question last summer?
Even a broken clock is right twice a day!!
4 posted on 09/18/2002 4:06:33 PM PDT by Riverman94610
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To: B-bone
The information obtained in August 1998

.... but was it passed on to the then president? or his staff? That would make the Clintons the most culpable.

5 posted on 09/18/2002 4:09:39 PM PDT by NYer
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To: B-bone
A U.S. congressional hearing was told on Wednesday that three years before the Sept. 11 attacks intelligence agencies had information about a group that planned to fly an explosive-laden plane from a foreign country into the World Trade Center.

The last time I checked, our government still allowed Saudi Arabia Airlines to fly into Washington Dulles Airport.

While they are strip-searching Bob Dole and Al Gore....

6 posted on 09/18/2002 4:16:24 PM PDT by 07055
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To: NYer
".... but was it passed on to the then president? or his staff? That would make the Clintons the most culpable. "

Uh, yes.

But, was there controlling legal authority. Also, it depends on the meaning of 'then president'.

I'm sure whatever they did though, they did it for the children.
7 posted on 09/18/2002 4:17:50 PM PDT by B-bone
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To: 07055
"While they are strip-searching Bob Dole and Al Gore.... "

I think letting Saudi Arabia still fly into the US andour continued relations with their government is a complex web. I trust Dubya is making the appropriate statements in private and taking teh appropriate precautions.

As the to strip-searching... (searching for the abuse button) ... what a thought and near the dinner hour, too. Looks like the diet is a go for the next 24 hours. Yuck. No wonder we have problems hiring competent screeners.
8 posted on 09/18/2002 4:22:15 PM PDT by B-bone
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To: B-bone
the to = to the
9 posted on 09/18/2002 4:22:58 PM PDT by B-bone
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To: 07055
I wonder if Saudi is the country named in the article.

By the way, does Egyptair also fly into Dulles?

10 posted on 09/18/2002 4:27:19 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: B-bone
Here's a headline for ya,

"WTC bombing in 1993 reveals WTC threat"
11 posted on 09/18/2002 4:28:49 PM PDT by Texas_Jarhead
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To: aristeides
Egyptair?

I don't recall seeing that one listed on the Dulles website. But don't they still fly into JFK airport?

12 posted on 09/18/2002 4:32:47 PM PDT by 07055
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To: B-bone
For crying out loud! The f'ing ragheads tried to blow up the WTC in 1993! Why should we be suprised that they might try again? X42's sitting-on-my-hands attitude (except for interns)toward islamic ragheads is why we had so many good-for-nothing attacks against terrorism under Klintoon! One blown-up aspirin factroy and a few cruise missiles into a training camp is the historical legacy of the Klitoon presidency! Remember how X42 promised to track down those responsible?? They wouldn't found the WTC van bombers if an idiot raghead tried several times to get his deposite back!
13 posted on 09/18/2002 4:44:14 PM PDT by texson66
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To: Texas_Jarhead
Bingo!!!
14 posted on 09/18/2002 4:49:06 PM PDT by Right_in_Virginia
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To: Right_in_Virginia
To me this is a circular tragedy: We did not have the authority to shoot down civilian aircraft-gone-astray until AFTER 9-11. We did not have the authority to profile at airports until AFTER 9-11 (even though we do not do it now.)We had to wait until AFTER the attacks to prevent them. Now the NYT and the WP and the LAT and their America-hating fellow- travelers are salivating at this news at the same time wailing that we have to wait until AFTER Iraq erupts to do anything about them. (Gone for more duct tape - my head is leaking.)
15 posted on 09/18/2002 7:18:58 PM PDT by linton59
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To: Riverman94610
Cynthia who?

16 posted on 09/18/2002 7:43:54 PM PDT by terilyn
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To: linton59
"(Gone for more duct tape - my head is leaking.)"

Yours and mine both...

17 posted on 09/18/2002 7:45:53 PM PDT by terilyn
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To: Riverman94610
Just because the intel agencies knew, doessn't mean the president knew... they don't ALWAYS forward info or brief the white house... maybe it wasn't deemed credible?

In any event, I doubt this was even mentioned as part of Bush's intelligence briefing before/after taking office...
18 posted on 09/18/2002 7:46:31 PM PDT by Chad Fairbanks
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To: Riverman94610
Even a broken clock is right twice a day!!

That's why you bust their faces and rip their hands off.
19 posted on 09/18/2002 7:47:02 PM PDT by justshe
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To: justshe
and then rearrange their internal workings...
20 posted on 09/18/2002 7:48:25 PM PDT by Chad Fairbanks
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To: B-bone
How come the family of the victims have to tag along on all these things. I used to feel guilty that I was beginning to dislike them, now I have no shame about it, I wish they'd shut up. And this Stephen Push fellow...has anyone checked his political background. Me thinks he's bucking for a political career. Why must we have to hear public policy from a guy who's only connection is that his wife was working at the WTC on 9/11. ENOUGH.
21 posted on 09/18/2002 7:49:01 PM PDT by Hildy
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To: justshe
In the nicest possible way of course ;)

And if that doesn't work...you just vote 'em out of office in a big way...along with their daddy.

Hey Jihad Cindy - You L-E-W-S!
22 posted on 09/18/2002 7:49:32 PM PDT by terilyn
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To: Chad Fairbanks
...and then rearrange their internal workings...

Hence the term......clean their clock!

Violent little things, aren't we?
23 posted on 09/18/2002 7:52:22 PM PDT by justshe
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To: justshe
In a mechanical sorta way, yeah... ;0)
24 posted on 09/18/2002 7:54:24 PM PDT by Chad Fairbanks
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To: B-bone
Well ... I will always believe Clinton had the agencies so involved in chasing spooks behind every tree, they couldn't do their job. Both agencies focused too much on "right wing" groups which Clinton thought were out to get him.

And ... there were laws which kept the agencies from obtaining other important information.

I'm not trying to excuse them, but the Clintons did do a number on our intelligence community. I will always blame the Clinton administration for 9/11.
25 posted on 09/18/2002 7:54:37 PM PDT by CyberAnt
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To: B-bone
Links of Interest:
NewsMax.com: "Clinton Audio Exclusive: Pre-September 11 Bin Laden Strike Wouldn't Have Worked" (August 7, 2002)

FREE REPUBLIC.com: "Warnings About Osama Bin Laden - before September 11, 2001 - posts at FreeRepublic"

FEDERAL RESEARCH DIVISION: "THE SOCIOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY OF TERRORISM: WHO BECOMES A TERRORIST AND WHY?" -Author Rex A. Hudson (September, 1999)

26 posted on 09/18/2002 9:08:03 PM PDT by Cindy
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