Skip to comments.96 Hint Of Suicide Hijack Scheming [see Bush frame-up bolded in article]
Posted on 05/18/2002 12:57:13 PM PDT by white trash redneck
The White House dug in for a protracted political battle as new details emerged about a 1999 report to U.S. intelligence that predicted terrorists might try to fly airliners into government buildings. And the FBI learned in 1996 of similar planning by terrorists, according to The New York Times.
The Times also says in its Saturday editions that the FBI had been aware for several years that Al Qaeda-linked men were training as pilots in the United States and elsewhere.
The Washington Post said Saturday that a top-secret briefing memo presented to President Bush in 1998 focused on efforts by Osama bin Laden to strike at targets in the U.S.
And the Los Angeles Times on Saturday named the Phoenix FBI agent who became suspicious about Middle Eastern men taking flying lessons in the U.S., and quotes colleagues as saying Kenneth Johnson is such a good agent that his warnings should have been heeded.
The F.B.I. knew by 1996 of a specific threat that terrorists in bin Laden's network might use a plane in a suicide attack against the headquarters of the C.I.A. or another large federal building in the Washington area, law enforcement officials acknowledged to The New York Times.
In his 1996 confession, a Pakistani terrorist, Abdul Hakim Murad, said he planned to use the training he received at flight schools in the U.S. to fly a plane into C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, Va., or another federal building, the Times reports.
Murad, who was captured in the Philippines in 1995 and convicted in New York on charges of conspiring to blow up 12 American jumbo jets over the Pacific at the same time, received flight training at schools in New York, North Carolina, California and Texas, the Times says.
Information from that confession formed a basis for the analysis prepared for U.S. intelligence agencies in 1999 warning that bin Laden-associated terrorists could hijack a jet and fly it into government buildings such as the Pentagon, the Times adds.
But the officials told the newspaper that the FBI had discounted the possibility of a suicide attack using planes, partly because it had largely failed to draw together evidence gathered piecemeal over time that Al Qaeda pilots were training here.
Last week, the F.B.I. acknowledged the existence of a memo written last summer in which an agent in its Phoenix office (the agent identified by the Los Angeles Times as Johnson) urged his superiors to investigate Middle Eastern men who had enrolled at American flight schools and who might be connected to bin Laden, the New York Times says.
The Washington Post reports that a 1998 memo to the president was entitled, Bin Laden Determined To Strike In U.S and focused mainly on past efforts by the alleged terrorist mastermind to infiltrate the U.S. and hit targets here.
The document, known as the President's Daily Briefing, underscored that bin Laden and his followers hoped to "bring the fight to America," in part as retaliation for U.S. missile strikes on al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan in 1998, the Post quotes knowledgeable sources as saying.
Mr. Bush had specifically asked for an intelligence analysis of possible al Qaeda attacks within the U.S., because most of the information presented to him over the summer about al Qaeda focused on threats against U.S. targets overseas, sources told the Post.
But one source said the White House was disappointed because the analysis lacked focus and did not present fresh intelligence.
Federal law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times that the FBI agent who wrote the memo warning about Islamic extremists in U.S. flight schools is a mild-mannered 10-year veteran with a gift for counterterrorism.
The Phoenix-based agent, named by the Times as Kenneth Williams, couldnt be reached for comment by the newspaper about the July 2001 warning, and FBI spokesmen in Phoenix and Washington would not confirm that Williams was the one who wrote the memo.
But his former colleagues at the FBI told the L.A. Times that Williams' knowledge of terrorism alone should have been enough for superiors to immediately act on his suspicions. "Nobody listened to him," the Times quotes one top former FBI official as saying.
In Washington, while Democrats demanded answers about possible administration missteps in handling early warning signs, the administration sought to put related criticism of Mr.Bush out of bounds.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Friday: I think that any time anybody suggests or implies to the American people that this president had specific information that could have prevented the attacks on our country on September 11, that crosses the lines.
But reports surfaced that two years before the Sept. 11 attacks, during the Clinton administration, an analysis prepared for U.S. intelligence warned, Suicide bomber(s) belonging to al-Qaida's Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives (C-4 and semtex) into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the CIA or the White House.
Until the 1999 report became public, the Bush administration had asserted that no one in government had envisioned a suicide hijacking before it happened.
Democrats suggested an expansion of inquiries into what the White House and federal law enforcement knew about possible terror attacks and when they knew it.
Our nation is not well served when the charges of `partisan politics' is leveled at those who simply seek information that the American people need and deserve to know, said House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, a Democrat from Missouri.
Democrats insisted their motive was simply to help avoid Sept. 11-like attacks in the future.
Fleischer said the administration was aware of the 1999 report prepared by the Library of Congress for the National Intelligence Council, which advises the president and U.S. intelligence on emerging threats.
He said the document did not contain direct intelligence pointing toward a specific plot, but rather included assessments about how terrorists might strike.
What it shows is that this information that was out there did not raise enough alarm with anybody, Fleischer acknowledged.
Former President Clinton, golfing Friday in Hawaii, also played down the intelligence value of the 1999 report.
That has nothing to do with intelligence, he said. All that it says is they used public sources to speculate on what bin Laden might do. Let me remind you that's why I attacked his training camp and why I asked the Pakistanis to go get him, and why we contracted with some people in Afghanistan to go get him because we thought he was dangerous.
Fleisher reprimanded Democratic members of Congress by name, but singled out a speech by Hillary Rodham Clinton on the Senate floor Thursday for particular criticism.
Mr. Bush commented on the controversy for the first time Friday, calling Washington the kind of place where second guessing has become second nature.
"Had I know that the enemy was going to use airplanes to kill on that fateful morning, I would have done everything in my power to protect the American people," Mr. Bush told U.S. Air Force Academy football team members who were visiting the White House on Friday.
CBS News Senior White House Correspondent Bob Schieffer reports that other top officials were less forthcoming. The usually talkative Attorney General John Ashcroft just stared when reporters asked him about the terror warnings. FBI Chief Robert Mueller also refused to comment.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a Democrat from South Dakota, said the president was missing the point. I think the question is, why didn't he know? If the information was made available, why was he kept in the dark? If the president of the United States doesn't have access to this kind of information, there's something wrong with the system.
More details also surfaced revealing the White House was in the midst of plotting a strike against al-Qaida when the terrorist attacks occurred.
The White House acknowledged publicly for the first time this week that before the attacks Mr. Bush's foreign policy team had devised a strategy to dismantle Osama bin Laden's network with military and intelligence operations. The plan was finished Sept. 4, but it never got to the president's desk for approval.
A proposed presidential directive outlined an extensive CIA program to arm anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan. The plan, which later became the cornerstone of Mr. Bush's response to the attacks, was approved by the president's team Sept. 4 and was awaiting his review after a trip to Florida that began Sept. 10.
White House officials say there were vague, uncorroborated threats of hijackings in the spring and summer of 2001, but they insist there was no reason to believe terrorists would slam hijacked planes into buildings.
Democrats noted that suicide hijackings were not unthinkable before Sept. 11. There has been evidence of plots to slam planes into the Eiffel Tower, U.S. targets and even an economic summit in Genoa, Italy, attended by Mr. Bush last year.
As the administration dealt with the growing criticism, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said more terrorist attacks on America are probable.
The likelihood is because it's not possible to defend at every place at every moment that there will be another terrorist attack. We should just face that reality, he said.
Now let's think - what man was president in 1998, received that top-secret briefing, and is responsible for dropping whatever ball was dropped?
What a convenient misprint...
The compost has reached a new low.
I bet that there is a plaque on their cafeteria wall that reads: "It's the agenda, stupid"
That all goes along with the "dumbing down" of America. It's as if they want to keep us "barefoot and pregnant", sort of.
It's probably a subliminal message, if you ask me. The media believes if they say things like this often enough, it will become truth.
BTW, I e-mailed them, too, but I don't expect it will do any good.
Also suggest everybody send the White House complaints deamnding they undertake an investigation of CBS and Dan Rather .... lying to frame Bush is beyond outrageous.
The radio will be for the Twentieth Century what the press was for the Nineteenth. With the appropriate change, one can apply Napoleon's phrase to our age, speaking of the radio as the eighth great power. Its discovery and application are of truly revolutionary significance for contemporary community life. Future generations may conclude that the radio had as great an intellectual and spiritual impact on the masses as the printing press had before the beginning of the Reformation.
The November Regime [the Nazi term for the Weimar Republic] was not able to understand the full significance of the radio. Even those who claimed to have awakened the people and gotten them involved in practical politics were without exception almost blind to the possibilities of this modern method of influencing the masses.
At best, they saw it as an easy way to distract the masses from the difficulties of our national and social life through games and entertainment. Only reluctantly did they think of using radio for political purposes. As in all other things, they viewed radio through the mildew of an ostensible objectivity. They left the radio and its development to its technical and administrative experts, limiting their own use of it for partisan purposes to times of particular domestic crises.
It goes without saying that the National Socialist revolution, which is modern and intent on action, as well as the popular upheaval we have led, must change abstract and lifeless methods in the radio. The old regime was content simply to fill empty offices or change the faces, without however changing the spirit and content of public life. We on the other hand intend a principled transformation in the worldview of our entire society, a revolution of the greatest possible extent that will leave nothing out, changing the life of our nation in every regard.
This process, which has been visible to the layman in the last six months, was naturally not random. It was systematically prepared and organized. We have used our power in the last six months to carry out this transformation. We spent the period before 30 January in winning power, having then the same goals that we have carried out in the six months since we took power.
It would not have been possible for us to take power or to use it in the ways we have without the radio and the airplane. It is no exaggeration to say that the German revolution, at least in the form it took, would have been impossible without the airplane and the radio.
by Joseph Goebbels - "Der Rundfunk als achte Großmacht," Signale der neuen Zeit. 25 ausgewählte Reden von Dr. Joseph Goebbels (Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP., 1938), pp. 197-207.
This probably needs to stay bumped. I don't have a *ping* list, maybe MeeknMing or backhoe or someone else could do the honors.
Don't they remember that it's the smart half of the population that has web access?
Unfortunately, I heard the same story last night on the Pittsburgh NBC affiliate, WPXI. And trust me, the local democrats are not the sharpest tools in the shed.
I couldn't believe it. I e-mailed them, but... wow.
So if a 14 year old can pick out an obvious mistake, what about the editors of the website.