Skip to comments.28 Pages of 9/11 Report Revealed (Debka Alert!)
Posted on 08/01/2003 8:22:27 AM PDT by ElusiveSpondulix
1. Al Qaeda Terror Conspiracy Vs America Traced to 1991
The contentious 28 pages of the 900-page US congressional report on the September 11, 2001 al Qaeda terrorist attacks on America reach back into a murky past and forward into an uncertain future, pinpointing their powerful interaction for the first time.
When the report produced by a joint House-Senate inquiry panel came out on Thursday July 24, those pages hit the US President George W. Bush between the eyes. According to a senior Washington source, speaking to Debka, the president judged at once that the authors, particularly the Democratic lawmakers on the inquiry body, had not confined themselves to probing into the intelligence failings leading up to the attacks but broadened the scope of the inquiry to fashion a weapon for use in the vendetta waged against him since he decided to go to war on Iraq, as well as generating fodder for his rivals in the up-and-coming election campaign. This weapon, he believed, was also aimed at the heads of his inner circle of advisers: vice president Richard Cheney, CIA director George Tenet, FBI chief Robert Mueller and the senior White House staff, especially national security adviser Condoleezza Rice.
One of those advisers was quoted to us as referring to the 28 critical pages as an attempt to blow up the White House.
A source who has read the entire report described those few pages as an incendiary concoction of highly sensitive intelligence materials relating to war, foreign relations, domestic politics and even the Presidents campaign for reelection in 2004. Its connotations are potentially detrimental to the president and even more so to Americas world standing amid its preoccupations with two wars.
As soon as he had perused the contentious section, Bush stamped the explosive 28 pages classified, delaying only to put in telephone calls to the CIA and FBI Directors. The president stated that publication would be injurious to national security and jeopardize an ongoing investigation.
He told his staff that he would personally handle its contents and forbade any one else to deal with the subjects named without his say-so.
A Debka intelligence source who knows how the material was gathered and put together noted the presidents use of the word personal. Some White House staffers would much have preferred not to have read the contentious pages because leaks might turn the presidents accusing finger in their direction.
But the cat may soon be out of the bag anyway. The president could not prevent the congressional committee sending out unexpurgated copies to a long list of recipients in and outside America. Several dozen full texts have reached a number of European and Middle Eastern capitals.
Riyadh is one.
2. Bush and Saudi Prince Butt Horns
The voluminous congressional report on the 9/11 terrorist attacks especially the 28 axed pages - became an instant best seller in the top circle of princes, read avidly by Crown Prince Abdullah, defense minister Prince Sultan, his son the Saudi ambassador to Washington Prince Bandar, foreign minister Saud al Faisal, interior minister Prince Nayef and governor of Riyadh Prince Salman.
After deciding to bury the document before it circulated any further, Abdullah sent foreign minister Saud al-Faisal post haste to Washington with a demand for the 28 pages to be declassified to give the Saudis a chance to defend themselves against accusations of complicity in the 9/ll hijackings.
The Saudis knew perfectly well about the presidents decision to black the explosive pages which also refer to them, according to our source. They demanded that Saud al Faisal be received in the White House without delay as though it was a matter of life and death. In fact, it was a matter of self-interest. They manufactured a crisis to give themselves a chance to say loud and clear for all to hear that the allegations in the unpunished section were lies. It was important for the royal house to demonstrate to Saudi religious and tribal leaders, as well as to al Qaeda supporters at home - overt and clandestine that Riyadh will brook no accusations such as are contained in the report and is doing everything in its power to fend them off.
In the view of Debkas counter-terror sources, this was a Saudi exercise to pacify al Qaeda sympathizers in the kingdom and ease internal tensions.
Even more important, the unpublished substance of the report gave the Saudis another excuse for huffily withholding cooperation from Washington in the sensitive interrogations of the terrorist suspects rounded up in the kingdom.
To pre-empt the Saudis, Bush immediately agreed to receive the Saudi foreign minister on Tuesday, July 29, but declared firmly ahead of al-Faisals arrival that the disputed pages would not be declassified.
Understanding he had been outmaneuvered, Prince al-Faisal waxed sarcastic as he came out of his interview with Bush: The President praised Riyadh as a strong ally in the war on terror as well as a joint victim of terrorists Declaring that his country had captured some 500 terrorists and had nothing to hide, he added: It is inconceivable that this president would try and cover up any aspects of 9/11.
Our sources disclose that the Saudi prince grumpily complained in the ears of his advisers about being classed as a victim of terror.
President Bush and the Saudi foreign minister al-Faisal fell out some time before the 9/11 report was published. In early March, when Riyadh understood that nothing would deter the Bush administration from launching an invasion of Iraq, Prince Saud al Faisal visited the White House to discuss terms for Saudi assistance, chiefly in the form of air bases close to the Iraqi border being made available to the US Air Force. In return, the Saudi royal house sought a presidential pledge not to open up Americans strategic oil reserve for fear world prices would be driven down. Bush and his advisers were willing to accede in return for a counter-promise from Riyadh to step up production in order to bring oil prices down to the 20-22 dollars per barrel level.
On the spot, the Saudi foreign minister phoned Crown Prince Abdullahs palace and obtained his consent to the deal. It was personally guaranteed by the two princes.
However, as Debkas Washington and Gulf sources affirm, Bush kept his side of the bargain; the Saudi princes did not. Instead of raising production, they reduced it, sending oil prices rocketing over 30 dollars per barrel up until the present.
On a later occasion, President Bush sharply reproved the Saudi foreign minister, complaining that Riyadhs breach of faith had the effect of canceling out some key Iraq war gains. In private conversation, the president accused the Saudis of mining the war for the sake of financial profit and damaging the American economy. The price of oil continues to be high, weighing down on President Bush plans to kick off his re-election campaign with the glad tiding of falling energy prices. Instead, the price of oil has become a campaign handicap.
When they met at the White House on Tuesday, Saud al Faisal found his host in an exceptionally blunt mood after he had just seen the Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon off.
Riyadh Exaggerates Scale of Terrorist Crackdown
Bush after pointing out that what had been written could not now be unwritten, moved onto the offensive. If anyone had cause for a grievance, he said, it was Washington not Riyadh. The president proceeded to tear into the reports Riyadh put about of the Saudi security authorities merciless crackdown against al Qaeda terrorists and their accomplices up and down the kingdom, punctuated by heroic firefights. None of it was true, said Bush. There may be more Saudi security troops out and about than before al Qaedas triple attacks in Riyadh on May 12.. But, the president insisted, they are mostly passive. The only times clashes occur is when a Saudi force stumbles on a terrorist cell and comes under attack first.
Furthermore, while Saudi spin specialists spread stories around the American media claiming CIA and FBI officers are free to join Saudi interrogations of detained Saudi terrorists, and even put in their own questions, very little has changed since 1995. Aside from a handful of cases immediately after May 12, the Saudis consistently deny American investigators access to suspects. Even when suspects are caught on the strength of leads from US intelligence, American agents are only permitted to read censored transcripts of their interrogations, no direct access.
Bush also charged the Saudis with practicing the revolving door method to inflate their arrest figures. Most are freed after a few days, some even without being questioned. Another grave accusation he leveled from US intelligence input was that Saudi funds continue to flow to al Qaeda and other terrorist groups in Europe and the Middle East. Notwithstanding Saudi assurances that they had clamped down on the funds reaching Muslim charities, large sums are still funneled through Gulf emirates.
To stem the US presidents diatribe, the Saudi foreign minister offered to allow American investigators to question Omar al-Bayoumi, According to the congressional report, this Saudi Arabian helped two of the Saudi hijackers who died in the 9/11 attacks to settle in San Diego with the help of funds provided by high-placed Saudis within the countrys ruling elite. One of those high-placed Saudis was Princess Haifa al-Faisal, the wife of Saudi ambassador to Washington Prince Bandar bin Sultan. She has repeatedly denied knowing the destination of the money she forwarded.
What emerges clearly from the report is that, however circuitous the routes, the financing for at lest two of the September 11 suicide hijackers came from two principal sources: ruling circles in Riyadh and close allies of Washington working out of the Saudi embassy in the heart of Foggy Bottom.
As for Saud al Faisals gesture regarding al-Bayoumi, he forgot to mention a small point: Under the law of his country, a citizen has the right to refuse to answer the questions of foreign investigators. Al Bayoumi would merely be tagged onto the list of unavailable Saudi citizens Washington wants to question which has been growing since 1995. The Riyadh authorities come up with the most inventive excuses for their brush-offs. They dont know the suspects address, or he is still under their own investigation and, when all else fails, the detainee is said to have sadly passed away in his cell.
3. From Late 1980s, US Double Agents Aided Bin Ladens Expansion
Some of the names and events appearing in the blacked-out 28 pages of the congressional report on the September 11, 2001, come up in the main body of the document and will be familiar to American newspaper readers. However, Debkas intelligence experts note that this panel was the first to dig as far back as 10 years ago and delve into the root-causes of the 9/11 calamity.
Its authors fix on late 1991, early 1992 as the starting line. It was then that the Afghan mujaheddin fighting against the Russians were converted from a pro-American to an anti-American combat force.
In the late 1980s, word was already going round the medressas of Peshawar and the bazaars of the Middle East that the brilliant guerrilla commander, whom Saudi intelligence had head-hunted for the CIA, Osama bin Laden, was going around saying that the force of fundamentalist Islam that had been potent enough to defeat the Communist empire was equal to taking on American imperialism.
In the early nineties, the 28 censored pages reveal, those words became deeds.
Here comes the most sensitive section of the blacked pages.
At the time, Saudi security and the Pakistani military intelligence were casting about for a military-religious force to install a stable Sunni Muslim regime in Kabul that would squash the endless internecine warfare between tribes and sects. Such a regime was needed above all as a buffer against the radical ayalloyahs in Tehran who threatened to export their Shiite Muslim revolution to Pakistani Shiites, especially in Baluchistan, to the Saudi Shiites who inhabit the oil regions of the kingdom, and to the Shiites of Lebanon. The princes of Riyadh took fright from the creation of Tehrans first military Shiite terror force, the Hizballah, in Lebanon and its threat to the stability of Gulf regimes in general.
Against this backdrop, Saudi intelligence created, funded and armed the Taliban army of Afghanistan.
The report does not explain how Osama bin Laden and his militia came to be integrated in the formation of the Taliban. Two possibilities are suggested: Anti-American factions at the Saudi court or inside Saudi intelligence provided Saudi-born bin Laden with hefty sums of money to establish a base of influence and control over the Taliban leaders. The unpublished section of the report rules out the prevalent theory that the Saudi-born terrorist financed the project out of his own pocket. Alternatively, a leading world intelligence agency antagonistic to the United States gave bin Laden his first leg up.
Double Agents Wrought Damage from Within
The report speaks of the artful use of double agents operating clandestinely inside the CIA and FBI, and names some who were recruited by the United States in the years between the 1980s and the mid-1990s. Some of these double agents were accepted by US elite units, such as the 82nd Airborne Division, the Rangers and even the Delta Force, as instructors or regular troops, while at the same time providing military training for bin Ladens followers in their Afghan bases. The American turncoat Aldrich Ames, who was captured in 1994 and sentenced to life imprisonment for spying for the Soviet Union and later Russia, was one of those double agents and a prime mover in weaving these agents into the United States armed forces, claiming they contributed to Americas most vital intelligence interests.
He was not the only one, only the most notorious.
The dual action of these penetration agents enabled Osama bin Laden to truthfully boast to his Saudi and Pakistani sponsors as well as tohis Taliban partners that his organization enjoyed the most sophisticated American training resources a tremendous prestige booster at the time.
The congressional report goes on to reveal that the double agents were fully apprised of the plan the al Qaeda founder developed in 1992 for his first act of terror inside America - the initial attempt to bring down New Yorks Twin Towers in February 1993.
He had come up with the monstrous notion of locating a truck in a space under one of the towers and loading it with the exact amount of explosives required for rocking the tower inward so that it crashed into the second one, bringing both down. Already then, he was looking forward to the deaths of thousands of Americans.
In the event, bin Laden miscalculated the quantity of explosives and the Twin Towers were saved.
In 1994, his followers came up with a bolder plan, to hijack in one day 12 Boeing 747 airliners full of passengers from Far Eastern airports, fly them to North America and crash them over strategic locations, like the White House, Capitol Hill, New Yorks Trade Center. That attempt was aborted, but the lawmakers who penned these 28 pages ask why, after that episode, US intelligence failed to connect the relevant events with the related intelligence data and come up with al Qaedas ultimate goal, the September 11, 2002 hijackings. All the signs were present and there to see and pointed to the bin Laden organizations three objectives:
1. The destruction of New Yorks Trade Center.
2. Attacks on strategic sites in Washington DC
3. The taking of the highest possible number of American lives.
Debkas intelligence sources reveal that the compilers of the congressional report offer some answers to their question.
Bin Laden Gathers Momentum
The first cause was the efficiency of anti-American double agents planted inside US intelligence in opening the door of America and its intelligence agencies to clandestine penetration by bin Ladens undercover men. They were equally efficient in covering these penetration agents tracks and keep them safe from exposure. When a protégé was discovered, the double agent protecting him often a trusted American intelligence officer, like Ames would be on hand to prevent him being brought to book, arguing that his fall would blow an entire vital American counter-intelligence network somewhere in the world, e.g. Southeast Asia, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf .
The result was an intelligence fraud of staggering proportions. Under the guise of recruiting agents able to undermine the enemy, hostile elements were introduced into key departments of American intelligence and US elite forces, where they dedicated themselves to betrayal and destroying these services from within. The fraudulent sell was achieved by putting a reverse spin on key figures and events.
The Osama bin Laden manifestation, for instance, was long presented by the double agents working undercover against the United States as a brilliant American intelligence penetration of the fundamentalist Islamic labyrinth. The transition of his headquarters and main force from Afghanistan to Sudan in 1994 won praise as a feat pulled off by Washington and Riyadh to persuade the Taliban to expel hostile extremists. US-based double agents and bin Ladens men were given permission to help plan and execute the move.
Some of those penetration agents later jumped the fence and returned to their real master, bin Laden. The real significance of the Islamist networks relocation was that it was spreading its wings and gathering momentum to spring on two goals: A. To amalgamate with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, an operational partnership that gave the organization its most vibrant operational arm which functions to this day. B. To lift al Qaeda out of the narrow confines of Afghanistan and open up new terrain in the Horn and East Africa where jumping of bases were set up for operations in Arabia, Egypt and the Middle East at large.
The networks established in al Qaedas years in Sudan are at peak operational strength in 2003.
4. Bush Slams Lid on US Intelligences Pandoras Box
According to Debkas Washington sources, President George W. Bush believes that two senators are responsible for the profoundly intrusive approach to American intelligence adopted by the congressional inquiry the Republican Richard Shelby, whose relations with CIA director George Tenet are adversarial, and a leading Democratic presidential nomination hopeful, Bob Graham.
The 28 critical pages cover not only Tenets term as CIA director but go back to an earlier period when he served as deputy director. Full publication could end his career in the CIA. With American forces hunting Saddam Hussein in Iraq closing in on their quarry, this would be the worst possible moment for the president to be confronted with a crisis at the top of US intelligence.
Tenet is also a key figure in the team made up also of secretary of state Colin Powell and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice for raising international troops to back up American forces in Iraq. The president has bought their thesis that foreign troops will only be forthcoming in conditions of relative calm in Iraq and neighboring Middle East countries. Any upsets in Syria, Lebanon, Israel or the Palestinian Authority, they say, will set Iraq on fire again. This is why Tenet acted to abort steps by John Bolton, secretary of state on disarmament, to pressure Damascus to give up the secrets of Saddam Husseins weapons of mass destruction concealed in Syria and the Lebanese Beqaa Valley.
Vice president Richard Cheney, defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz just back from touring Iraq do not oppose cooling the pressure in principle as long as it gets results. But they believe military and diplomatic heat will produce more from the Syrians and Iranians. They are certain that the uncovering of Saddams unconventional weapons arsenal in Syria, or exposure of his illegal weapons programs as a part of a shared project financed additionally by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Libya (See separate article on this) would turn developments round and vindicate their line of approach. In the meantime, all three are holding their peace out of loyalty to the president.
Bush himself treads carefully between the two camps. His plan to persuade former secretary of state James Baker to undertake defined tasks in Iraq - such as the rehabilitation of the national oil industry and the management of US-Iranian interchanges over Iraq - has run into serious obstacles.
Baker performed a number of unsung diplomatic missions for previous presidents, notably George Bush senior. He carried out the transformation of Mongolia from a sterile buffer between China and Russia into a thriving pro-American enclave and key American electronic intelligence-gathering base in that part of the world. Baker failed in his attempt to effect a similar metamorphosis in Western Sahara. At 73, he is not sure if he wants to undertake a physically taxing, long-term mission in Iraq.
The president is also loath to convey the impression that he cannot cope and needs to call out his fathers cavalry.
The 9/11 report has made a Baker appointment even less likely.
Its fallout will undoubtedly lead to demands for further inquiries against politicians and intelligence heads from the early 1990s, a Pandoras Box best left unopened if possible. Recalling to government service a senior figure, who would have to face searching questions that might delve into his past intelligence associations, would play into the hands of the presidents rivals, chiefly Senator Graham of Florida.
Bush is certain that Graham, a central figure in the congressional inquiry, steered its conclusions towards a controversy that would dominate his bid for the presidency. The president axed the key 28 pages in order to prevent Graham holding them up as proof of the ineffectiveness of both presidents Bush in coping with al Qaeda and Iraq not only in 2003, but as far back as 1991.
No part of the congressional report, including the blocked out section, answers the most important question: Has the American intelligence community reorganized and purged itself of the hostile intruders who snarled its operations up until the September 11 disasters? If it has, is US intelligence now capable of anticipating future terrorist attacks in time to take preventing action?
Unleash the Hogs of Peace.
P.J. O'Rourke Parliament of Whores
She must be a scary VP pick for the 2004 ticket as far as the dems are concerned.
Wouldn't want any suspects to accidentally admit they are funded and hosted by the Princes....
Bump for truth.
CAVEAT LECTOR [Rick Brookhiser]
Debka.com, a site that Jonah has mentioned before, predicts sandstorms and snowstorms in Iraq; says the allies didn't bring enough troops; foresees a fierce fight for Baghdad. Maybe they are right in my experience, they are right about half the time but a word on them is in order.
Debka is the name of an Israeli folk dance. The site comes from Israel, and seems to run the leavings of Israeli intelligence. Some of their items are stuff that was new yesterday, and hence, though true, is no longer vital, and so gets passed on to Debka. Some of it is stuff that an intelligence officer said, "Why are you putting this crap on my desk? Give it to Debka!"
There is also a steady tone of marginally anti-American doomsaying. In the big picture, Debka supports the United States, thought 9/11 was terrorism, etc., etc. But in virtually every specific case, it takes the view that Americans are dumb cattle who don't know what they're doing. I assume this attitude is compounded from 1) the desire for sensationalist copy 2) Israeli arrogance more common before the intafadas than now, but still sometimes surfacing: only we understand the region, only we know how to fight, and so forth and so on.
Posted at 09:47 PM
('The Corner' in National Review, March 23, 2003)
This latest Debka 'exclusive' doesn't have the ring of truth to it.
I seriously doubt that a Republican-controlled committee would issue a report criticasl of Bush, especially in the run-up to an election year.