More material has been added covering the NSA’s surveillance of Ahmed al-Hada, father-in-law of alleged Pentagon hijacker Khalid Almihdhar. Both President Bush and Vice President Cheney used the non-exploitation of calls between his phone in Yemen and the hijackers in the US to justify the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program in January 2006. Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell attributed the failure to trace the calls to a 1981 executive order earlier this year, and Mukasey bizarrely then claimed that one of the calls was between the US and Afghanistan, rather than Yemen. This confused the media somewhat, and a group of congressmen asked Mukasey for an explanation.
There are additional entries about the day of 9/11. A senior official later disputed Richard Clarke’s account of the day’s events, some Pentagon security cameras did not show the crash site, and the fighters who later responded to the Pentagon attack attended anti-terrorism training earlier in the day. There is a dispute over which gate American 11 left from at Boston airport, where suspicious passengers arrived on September 10, when Larry Silverstein’s publicist cancelled an appointment at the WTC for 9/11. Other entries point out United 93’s autopilot was turned off, top air force officials continued with a meeting when they learned the WTC had been hit, and crew on United 93 had previously attended antiterrorism training. Pilots on American 77, American 11 and United 93, were allocated to their flights shortly before 9/11.
Regarding the CIA and counterterrorism, the US declared Sudan a state sponsor of terrorism and placed Osama bin Laden on its watchlist in 1993, the CIA was aware of the term al-Qaeda by the time it set up its dedicated bin Laden unit, Alec Station, in 1996, and President Clinton was criticised for using a missile strike after the 1998 embassy bombings as a distraction from the Monica Lewinsky scandal. The CIA realized President Bush was planning to invade Iraq in the spring of 2002, but prevented the 9/11 Commission from namin
g an officer involved in a pre-9/11 failure. In addition, an al-Qaeda leader was arrested in Pakistan in 2007 and interrogated at a secret CIA prison, a former Italian president said 9/11 was committed by the CIA and Mossad, and Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell falsely claimed the US was not allowed to track the hijackers inside the US.
Other entries about bin Laden say that the US realized he was an important financier of militants in 1993, but missed an opportunity to capture or kill him in February 1999, as well as another around the same time, allegedly due to a major weapons deal with Gulf royalty close to bin Laden. After 9/11, bin Laden issued a video in which he did not claim responsibility for 9/11, and President Bush decided not to seal the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, helping bin Laden to escape from Tora Bora.
Alleged hijacker Satam Al Suqami traveled around the Middle East between 1998 and 2000, then spent half a year in Turkey. After staying in the US for a few weeks, he took a trip to the Bahamas, possibly a failed attempt to prevent his permission to stay in the US expiring.
Miscellaneous entries cover training exercises involving aircraft hijackings, counterterrorism exercises with unlikely WMD scenarios, and an allegation by Vice President Cheney about co-operation between Iraq and terrorism. A congressman recently argued against government financing for treating first responders, but then backed away from this, and Attorney General Michael Mukasey failed to distinguish himself at Ali Mohamed’s trial.
Originally posted here. Please also bear in mind that the History Commons is in need of donations.