Enzo Titolo

Politics, Paranoispiricies, neologisms, diary, creative, ruminations

Thursday, April 27, 2006

2006 NYS Attorney General Candidates' 9/11/01 Questions

2006 is an election year for the Office of NYS Attorney General.

I'm quite disappointed that our current AG, Eliot Spitzer, has been stonewalling an investigation of the attacks on 9/11/01 and how they affected NYS. I was a big Spitzer fan, but I'm not voting for him, unless in the waning days of his tenure he opens up an investigation with subpoena powers. Not likely, word has it that a major staffer in his office has some links with folks that would rather not open up this can of worms.

Then there's AG candidate Mark Green, another old advocacy favorite of mine. He's the author of 'Reagan's Reign of Error,' written over twenty years ago at the height of Reagan's popularity, and Green is a former 'Nader Raider,' who was Mayor Giuliani's nemesis for years in his role as NYC Public Advocate. Giuliani so hated Green that he attempted to amend the NYC Charter so that, in the case of the Mayor's vacating of that office, the Public Advocate couldn't step in as acting-Mayor through the next Mayoral election. Giuliani further put it to Green when he pretty much drafted Michael Bloomberg to run as his successor, necessitating a party switch for the lifelong Democrat (since he would have lost in that party's primary), and the limousine liberal putting up tens of millions of his own dollars to finance his campaign.

Interestingly, in the aftermath of the 9/11/01 attacks on the WTC, during the campaign between Bloomberg and Green, Giuliani attempted to extend his term beyond his charter mandated two-term term limit. Giuliani, and many people in the wake of the shocked aftermath of the terror attacks, believed that only Giuliani could possibly govern NYC. The courts didn't agree, and neither did Bloomberg, his hand-picked successor, who said that he could govern the city in 2002, or during any emergency, just fine.

Green, however, abandoned his good-government and rule-of-law principles and said that he'd step aside for Giuliani to continue his term throughout the duration of the emergency! This waffling or pandering showed Green to be perceived as a wimpy opportunist. Perhaps he thought he was being magnamimous, or he doubted his abilities. It was an awful posture for Green to assume, since Giuliani supporters weren't won over, since Giuliani hated Green even more than Green hated him, and Green's supporters hated Giuliani even more than they loved Green!

This, and a bruising Democratic primary battle with Ferrer (who ran in 2001 as a conservative Democrat), enabled Bloomberg, a newly converted Republican in a town with 5x as many Democrats to squeak past Green, who had previously served as a two term Public Advocate garnering the highest percentage of votes in those elections. Bloomberg did a pretty good job, balancing the budget, creating a promising 311 NYC information line, keeping crime rates low, and getting smoking banned in bars. His major flaw being the brutal clampdown on protestors and passers-by during the Republican National Convention in which people were swept of the streets and put into pre-emptive detention for days, which is illegal, to prevent lawful protests in Manhattan during the convention. Bloomberg ruled the table, and he handily beat Ferrer in the last election in which Baghdad's voter turnout in their last elections exceed NYC's by more than two-to-one.

Green sat the last election cycle out, but some of us New Yorkers and former Green fans still remember his cave-in to post-9/11/01 government fear mongering, personnified by Giuliani's ghoulish power-grab attempt. Mark Green as NYS Attorney General candidate needs to pledge that he'll investigate the 9/11/01 attacks on NYC, the failure to prevent the attacks, the mysterious circumstances during the attacks, and the failures afterward. At the very least, there are many unanswered questions and many flaws in protecting the public that are either flagrantly negligent or even criminal.

The Village Voice recently raised some questions and issues about the attacks.

But there are things that the NY State AG should specifically investigate including:

Air Defenses of our city failing on 9/11/01:

Why wasn't NYC protected from attacks by the Air Force, especially since the WTC was a previous target, and there was plenty of notice after the first hijacking when the FAA heard early on that they 'had several planes'?

Why did the Air Force send fighters from Cape Cod when there are closer bases?

Did the multiple Air Force war games that day, some of which drilled for multiple hijackings and a plane crashing into a building affect their defense of NYC?

What is being done to prevent this complete defense failure from happening again?

We spend billions on air defenses, why is Tokya and Taipei getting better protection from our Air Force than NYC? Shouldn't NYC have Air Force protection a few minutes away at all times?

Generally, planes that go off course or turn off their transponders are immediately confronted by Air Force planes. Why were none of the hijacked planes intercepted by fighter planes? Has the Air Force corrected this breach of security?

Unusual Stock Trading leading up to the day of the attacks:

Were there unusually high put-option trades (bets that stocks would fall in value) on UA, AA, the insurers of WTC, and some of the major tenants? Who placed these trades? Is there a pattern? What is the outcome of the investigations done so far?

Doesn't the SEC and the CIA monitor unusual trading volumes, sometimes in real time? Did this happen the week before 9/11/01?

Why did WTC 7 fall when it wasn't hit by a plane? Why did WTC 1 & 2 fall?

The WTC 7 collapse has never been determined nor investigated fully. If a fire took a steel framed building (constructed in the 1980s) down for the first time in history, then this needs to be determined. Or if the PA was scrimping somehow on construction and maintenance, then this needs to be determined before they rebuild the WTC.

Why would three skyscrapers fall from fires when this has never happened before in history?

Some reporters and firefighters report hearing explosions before and after the planes hit. Why did some building employees report explosions in the basement?

Were Columbia University's Lahmont Doherty Geological Observatory (which measures local earthquakes) measurements coinciding with the timing of the building collapses, or did they register shocks before the collpses?

Did the EPA do anything illegal or irresponsible in declaring downtown safe so soon after the attacks?

Why was the evidence after the attacks removed so quickly and sold off overseas so quickly?

This was evidence at a crime scene. Was it scrutinized fully? If not, who made this decision and why?

Also, if the towers did fall because of the planes' fuel, then examining the evidence would make it safer for all buildings that might get hit by a plane. The Empire State Building was hit by a bomber, for example.

Why did the first responders have such failing communications equipment? Wasn't this problem identified after the first WTC attack in 1993? We had the entire Giuliani era to address this problem. What steps were taken during his era?

Has there been progress in the nearly five years since the second attacks?

Why were the exits to the WTC not all working in 2001?

Wasn't this problem identified after the first WTC attack in 1993? Is the PA liable for this repeated failure?

Should the PA have NYS oversight in developing and inspecting the new WTC's emergency systems? Is the PA qualified to be in the real estate development and ownership business?

Is the PA exempt from any building rules that most landlords and developers must comply with? If so, are other PA projects that the public uses, including airports, dangerous or safe? Should the PA's building safety exemptions be modified?

Perhaps the PA should be sticking to developing the ports and the economy with regard to shipping? NYC's economic heritage was based on its shipping, and since the PA took over the port we've lost a great deal of shipping in NYC, while trucks spew gasses and waste that contributes to our population's high asthma rate.

Why did the Port Authority security tell the office workers in WTC 2 not to evacuate and to return to their offices after WTC 1 was hit, especially in light of the previous attack in 1993?

Is the PA liable for this deadly move?

Was the PA putting the perceived needs of their tenants, employers, ahead of their tenants' employees' safety? Can they be trusted again as a safe landlord.

Were there flight recorders/black boxes recovered?

Flight recorders are designed to withstand more intense fires and impacts and few have ever been lost. Some rescue workers reported that the FBI took them. Were they recovered and taken? What information was recovered?

The NTSB is a highly respected authority on air catastrophes. Have they been able to review any of the planes' evidence and make an authoritative report?

Is it true that John Ashcroft and the US military stopped flying on domestic commercial flights before 9/11/01? Were NY'ers given these warnings?

Is it true that members of the Executive Branch took Cipro anti-biotic before 9/11/01 and the ensuing Anthrax attacks in October 2001 which affected NY'ers?

What is the status of the Anthrax Attacker investigation?

We last heard that the strain of the weapon was only found in US labs. Are these labs more secure? Isn't manufacturing biological weapons illegal according to treaties that the US signed?

Is there anything to the 'squibs' or 'puffs of smoke' on video tapes that indicate explosions preceding below the three WTC buildings' collapses?

Is there any evidence that terrorists put explosives in these buildings? Some demolition experts say that the smoke, heat and duration of the fires indicate explosives. Were the planes or the buildings rigged with explosives?

If so, then other attacks might be able to be prevented, and perhaps we can gather more evidence about these attacks so we can find who supplied the attackers.

When you look at this time line of events culled from mainstream articles before and after the attacks, it is clear that there are many patterns and unanswered questions that need investigation, especially from a NYS perspective.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Another Question - EP-3e $

Presidents Bush and Hu of China had a Whitehouse meeting this week. Media coverage focused on some protocol 'gaffes,' such as our announcing their national anthem as being for the 'Republic of China' (which is Taiwan's name), rather than the Peoples' Republic of China. [In my wildest dreams, I'd love for Taiwan's ex-pats to somehow take over China, but I'm starting to let that one go...]

Then there was the screaming lady (a physician) at the press conference telling Hu that he's doomed, and that Bush should push him for human rights and the encourage the freedom of the Falun Gong. Bush instead told Hu, "You're OK!"

Isn't it strange that this lady got Epoch Times day-Press-credentials (the pro-Falun anti-China broadsheet) for this event? I've already gone off about how male escort Jeff Guckert / Gannon could possibly get such credentials to serve the Bush Administration's propaganda needs. Considering how using the Press ruse has been used to kill world leaders before.. (think of how Al Qaida got Ahmed Shah Massoud of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance on 9/9/2001, and think of how on the morning of 9/11/01 a shabby van with middle eastern men inside wanted to interview the President before he headed to the school.) You'd think that the Secret Service would finally be more careful who is allowed to get those Day Press Passes. Or maybe they were and are careful...

Television stations in China were even more careful, blacking out the screaming lady's spectacle until the US Secret Service literally covered her mouth and pulled her out of there to await charges. The Chinese coverage also 'missed' the mis-appellation of their country's name was mis-translated to the correct name for the benefit of the home crowd. Though it is interesting to think of the many Chinese in America working and in graduate schools catching this. I don't know if they care to compare notes.

The US just makes the darndest mistakes with Chinese diplomacy, like our 'accidental' bombing of their embassy during the 1999 Serbian bombing campaign. There was no way that that could be covered up, and there were some big rowdy demonstrations against the US for that one. I don't blame them. Any tourist map of any city would list where every embassy is. Either we were showing them who's still boss, or someone in that embassy was using it to help the Serbs kill U.S. troops. And the Chinese have a major chip on their shoulders about Western domination of humiliation of their culture, people, and sovereignty going back to the awful Opium Wars. Meanwhile, Chinese memories are long, and when the West was mostly dirty and ignorant, these guys were building a wall to cut us out of their society with abacii, paper money, gun powder, fireworks, and pasta noodles.

Honestly, though, I can't see how an exercise and meditation program is worth persecuting! I've seen these folks demonstrating peacefully and exercising in the parks. They seem perfectly positive and gentle. But then again the French have rioted over ballets, so maybe in China any group with millions of dedicated adherents is a threat to be trampled down on HARD.

Since China went Corporatist/Capitalist (or Neo-Feudal -- more on that neologism another time), they are fine with private property and greed, as long as the Party retains control and full cooperation and compliance. So here's this group of people probably forsaking greed, seeking justice and balance, in a society totally out of balance environmentally and in terms of corruption and extremes of poverty and wealth, and how these extremes serve only a few within their nation and the West... I guess that meditation and t'ai ch'i is revolutionary!

The Falun Gong assert that their thousands of prisoners are being robbed of their body parts, I assume for the Chinese rich or the connected, or maybe on the global market.... It is so shocking as to sound insane, but on further thought, I don't put it beyond the Chinese or the world market to steal prisoners' organs for the benefit of the wealthy and free. And Falun Gong members' organs are likelier to be healthier in that the members exercise, meditate (less damaging stress), and might eat better.

BUT, all these tragic issues and protocol comedies of manners aside (a State Luncheon instead of a dinner? Hu meeting with Bill Gates before the President!), another tense protocol moment between China and the US came to Enzo's mind.

The EP-3 Reconnaisance Plane incident over China in the spring of 2001 was Bush' first crisis. A US crew from an advanced signals monitoring plane (not 'spy plane' since it was not in China) was brought down by a kamikaze Chinese air pilot, Wei Wang. The US asserted that we were in international airspace dozens of miles from Hainan Island. China tends to take an expansive view of what constitutes its territory. And I'm not talking about Tibet or Taiwan. They claim much more sea territory than is internationally accepted in Law of the Sea treaties. If, for example, there is a "China Sea" then I wouldn't be surprised if China were to claim all of it, much like Mexico claiming the entire Gulf of Mexico up to a couple of miles off Florida and Alabama.

The US didn't accept these air and sea territory claims, and the official story was that we didn't fly into their official air space or their plane. Their hotdog suicide pilot almost managed to take our plane out completely, but the US pilot was awesomely skillful, bringing the plane down to a rough landing on the pleasure and military installation island of Hainan. I bet someone on our side would have preferred the plane crashing or being shot down, since the crew, despite an almost free fall speed crash to near-certain death, actually went about destroying their collected data and sophisticated equipment, but much of it survived since the whole thing happened so fast -- this stuff is extremely sophisticated signals and data gathering equipment, perhaps state of the art. We were probably getting good stuff, but the Chinese commenced to take the plane apart and they kept it for quite a while. Meanwhile, US public sympathy for the crew gave the Chinese time to reverse engineer the plane.

Chinese Suicide pilot Wang Wei became a national hero. I think they had a parade and named his high school after him. There might still be a holiday for him. He was definitely called a national hero honored with a day of mourning.

Meanwhile, the US Crew was being interrogated/questioned as 'guests' of the Chinese. They held up quite well, especially considering their ordeals. Bush came off as nervous and tic-y, but Colin Powell kept a straight face. The whole thing ended up being a whose-fault-is-it kind of situation, but the Chinese had our plane and our crew.

It also came down to a payment for 'hosting' the spy 'guests' and for landing 'privileges' that the plane did not ask for in advance. The way it played in the US was that we stated that we 'greatly regretted' that their pilot bumped into us and we didn't have time to ask them to emergency land on their base, and that we 'allowed' the Chinese to 'save face' and translate the US statement as a deep 'apology' for their domestic consumption. It took almost a couple of weeks for all this to play out.

The Chinese billed us one million dollars for taking apart our plane (which we told them that we didn't want them to do), putting it into a bunch of crates to be carried off by a transport plane, and for our pilots' 'hospitality' costs. The US replied with a $34,000 counter-proposal.

My question is: what did the US pay the Chinese for this incident? The closest I can get to an answer is that once we got our airmen back and our plane back in boxes, the Pentagon was planning on paying only the $34,000.

I am sure that the answer to this question is something that the US Department of State and the Chinese Communist Party does not want to be addressed. You can spin an apology/regret translation, but you can't spin a deposited check.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

C.S.A. the Confederate States of America

You don't have to see this movie...

If you wonder what would have happened if the South won the war look at
any newspaper, especially from 1875-1898 (Jim Crow's beginnings), 1916
(the Wilson / KKK / lynchings era) and any day since 1967 (the Nixon
Southern Strategy). The Party of Lincoln is today's Republican GOP. The
formerly racist Democrats of the Civil War era hasn't been able to win
a national election since 1968 without running a Southerner.

Let's face it, the North 'won' the War militarily, but lost the Peace.
I don't know why we bothered to fight to keep states in the union that
didn't want to be a part of it. It seems unconstitutional.

As for slavery, it would have probably died off on its own accord
because the present system of 'wage slavery' is much better for the
ruling class. The land and capital owners don't have to feed, clothe,
house, or care for their employees now. And with mechanization,
transportation, communication, and globalization, wage slavery
employees can be discarded much more easily than capital-intensive

Just think of the current immigration/guest worker debate, and look at
our falling wages and increasing wealth disparities in this context.
Think also of the crisis that continues to face Blacks in the USA
today, with so many males incarcerated, the squalid state of public
housing, and all the drugs infiltrating poor populations (much of them
from places like Afghanistan). There is something rotten in the USA
today, and it is subtle so that many of us are unaware of how these
things connect, and who benefits from this continuing disparity. We've
replaced the blatant immorality of slavery with the status quo.

If the North had truly won the War and the Peace, then the Slaves would
have gotten their 40 acres and a mule and things would be a lot better

Maybe this movie would have been more interesting if it were about the
real unrealized USA, if Lincoln weren't assassinated.

Friday, April 07, 2006

A few quick follow-up questions

Regarding Russia, isn't Condi Rice supposed to be a Russian/Soviet expert? Is she going to be blamed for the US 'losing' Russia? It looks as if they are joining up with China against us, and that we are losing all those Color Elections and Revolutions from last year...
Does George W Bush still feel, when he looks into Putin's eyes, that he can really trust that guy?

Remember Jeffrey Gannon / Guckert, the prostitute turned into a planted
Whitehouse journalist? He threw softballs and got a lot of scoops, including the start of the Iraq War and the Plame Coverup.
Was it ever investigated how he got his credentials to get so close to the President? Someone must have thrown some influence around, or is the Secret Service or FBI completely asleep?
How close to his sources he was? How did he get so much insider access?
Whom was he visiting so often when he wasn't going to press conferences? Did the Whitehouse release those visitor logs?

Last autumn 2005, Harry Reid led a Democratic Senate walkout due to an intelligence committee stonewall. What was that related to? Able Danger? Pre-Iraq War intelligence 'failures?'
Did that committee finally start meeting, making progress and including Democrats? When's the report due?

Just asking...

Triple Leak Hypocrisy - these leaks and lies are killing US!

It has recently been disclosed in Libby's court documents that on the word of Vice President Cheney President Bush authorized selective leaks of the classified National Intelligence Estimate that was to somehow prove in the media that there were going to be found WMD in Iraq, thus justifying our invasion there on pre-emptive national security grounds.

These grounds were being challenged because after three months in Iraq the WMD weren't found and because American Hero Ambassador Joseph Wilson, experienced in African diplomacy, business, and security issues found in 2002 that the Niger yellowcake Uranium story was probably a canard. He was sent there by the CIA, and he reported that back. Nonetheless, in Bush' 2003 State of the Union Address to Congress, the President repeated this canard. In June of 2003 Wilson started circulating this meme to the press and in July he published an OpEd about it.

At which point the Bush/Cheney Admin started to smear Wilson, his conclusions, and even started spreading the rumor that his wife, a CIA WMD expert, sent him to Niger as a nepotistic boondoggle. Imagine, Niger, one of the poorest places on the planet, being a junket.

Hypocrisy #1:

Wasn't this whole Iraq war supposed to be about enhancing WMD security against terrorists? These leaks might kill US!

The post-invasion lies in July 2003 and the Whitehouse sanctioned leaking, whisper campaigning, and outing of one of the CIA's top African WMD experts probably serious damaged our ability to collect real intelligence on the source and distribution of much of the world's uranium! Africa is a hot spot for Al Quaida, too. What little we could find out before, and we were, let's face it, practically flying blind for our 40 million dollars, now we can find out even less.

The Whitehouse's politically-inspired leaks and character assassination of Wilson and his intelligence officer wife has probably ended their careers as people that can be useful to help guard our national security. Valerie Plame Wilson was one of the world's leading WMD experts. Now she's out of business, and so are her intelligence assets (informers, handlers, sources) across Africa, and forget about the front companies she used. The whole intelligence operation is probably trashed now, and people that were part of it might be at risk now, too.

Plus, our national security is compromised. What we don't know about this region and its uranium resources can sneak up on us without warning, in the form of a mushroom cloud, to use the Administration's terrifying words from 2003.


On a tangentially related issue, how pitiful is it to have much of your staff attack a man's wife to get payback and score political points! And to do all this at reckless disregard for our national security. Isn't this an impeachable high crime? Isn't this traitorous?

Every time Bush puts on his cowboy hat and 'regular tough guy' routine, he is being a hypocrite, because at heart he is a scheming High School girl.

Hypocrisy #2:

Bush is only against national security leaks that affect him politically, like the NSA domestic spying and wiretapping disclosure.

But when his staff leaks on his behalf, it is fine and worth stonewalling investigation for as long as possible, even if those leaks compromise and threaten CIA operatives, their front companies, and their enablers working on active missions.

Meanwhile, let's face it, unless there is a dual impeachment of Bush and Cheney, no one in this Bush Administration debacle is going to serve time for these crimes. Bush will abuse his pardon powers one Friday afternoon or on a holiday weekend and they will all quietly get off, like Cap Weinberger did one Christmas Eve when Bush1 saw Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh got a little too close to proving that fellow co-conspirators in the Reagan Administration sold arms to embargoed enemy Iran [while we were arming their enemy Iraq

(including with WMD)] and used the profits to arm the embargoed hothouse revolutionaries, the Contras, against Nicaragua, and who knows what else was involved in that can of worms...

This whole Patrick Fitzgerald prosecution is like Kabuki Theatre. It will play out in a ritualized stylized format with barely comprehensible gestures eventually signifying nothing (if you don't know Japanese or the conceits of that theatre form).

This sort of limited-term Presidential politics is being played like a football team in which the highest point getter keeps possession of the ball and runs the clock down. That is, they: Lie, stall and stonewall for years and for as long as possible. Keep the public bored and distracted from legalistic details. Keep abusing power. Maybe prop up your friends and distract or rally the public with bombing Iran, an invasion, or a trumped up terror-threat (fear or fervor). Then pardon the whole gang when most aren't looking and after most don't even care.

Hypocrisy #3:

Bush committed in 2003 to finding the leakers of the Valerie Plame CIA Operative's cover and to fire them in 2003.

But Bush knew all along the whole network of leakers and liars, including himself. When is he going to keep his word by firing Cheney, Rove, Hadley, and then resign? Not likely.

It is not enough to Impeach Bush, we must co-Impeach Bush and Cheney.

o| On another, related tangent, I am alarmed and saddened that three of our nation's top counter-terrorist experts have been 'put out of business' during the Bush2 era.

1. Valerie Plame Wilson. WMD/Africa expert.

2. John P. O'Neill was the FBI's top anti-jihadist-terrorism expert from 1995 until he was practically forced out in 2001 due to agency and State department politics when he started making too many connections to the Saudis and wouldn't back down under pressure.

"O'Neill's rise through the ranks at the bureau began to slow as ... by losing a bureau cell phone and Palm Pilot, improperly borrowing a car from a safe house, and losing track of a briefcase with sensitive documents for a short period." (from Wikipedia)
Word has it that O'Neill's colleagues may have 'helped' him lose his briefcase during a staff conference, setting him up. Fed up with all that, he left the Agency and joined the Port Authority as Chief of Security for the World Trade Center in August 2001. He died during the attacks on the WTC the following month.

3. Linda Franklin, an FBI counter-terrorism analyst died from a gunshot while she was leaving a Home Depot during the Beltway 'Sniper' Shootings spree in October 2002. She worked with distinction at the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center, the only FBI division slated at the time to move to Homeland Security. Ms. Franklin was a cyber-security expert. Her murder was not tried or thoroughly investigated, since there were so many other charges against Army veteran and Nation of Islam convert John Allen Muhammad. It seems strange to me that the FBI wouldn't do their own investigation and push for a prosecution against the murderer of one of their own.

In any case, at least Valerie Plame Wilson is still alive, even though her life is still at risk because of the Bush Administration for serving our country.

These three counter-terrorism experts in the CIA and FBI sacrificed a great deal for our country and accomplished a lot to make us safer.

Monday, April 03, 2006

How the FBI Let 9/11 Happen questions

Reason magazine, which seems to be a center-right-libertarian publication, gave good skeptical coverage of the FBI's obstruction/incompetence in the lead up to 9/11/01 vis-a-vis the Mousaoui case in this article
"How the FBI Let 9/11 Happen:
Since I couldn't find a bulletin board on their site, I respond to its writer here.

Mr. Taylor,

First of all, the official 9/11/01 story is a consipiracy theory. Whenever you get different people banding together to cause something to happen, that is a conspiracy. I'm sorry, but I don't see how your good recent article in Reason debunks the 9/11/01 'conspiracy freaks.' I also don't see how everything is clear now about what happened to our country (now 'homeland' security state) during the summer and autumn of 2001.

Considering how much we don't know about 9/11/01 and how many aberrant things happened leading up to that date and following, the commonly accepted narrative is also actually a freaky theory. The FBI's incompetence that your article highlights is indeed remarkable, but it coincided with simultaneous incompetences across the Federal Government, including the Air Force, the FAA, the CIA, the DoD, the Secret Service, the National Security Council, and the White House.

This was juxtaposed with strange competencies, like allowing the Bin Laden famiily to efficiently leave the country, when most everyone else couldn't charter a flight to hop across the country. The FBI was great at getting the private video tapes of the Pentagon attack, the black boxes, keeping those flight recorders under wraps, and getting the student records of the Florida flight school attackers shortly after the attacks.

Some of the black boxes were supposed to be incinerated/lost, such as the WTC flights I believe, but Atta's passport was found by an agent a few blocks away, intact. The FBI was great at finding that passport.

Before the attacks the FBI didn't stop the flight school terrorists, but within hours they were absconding with their records. Meanwhile, for the first time in its history, the respected and independent NTSB doesn't get to investigate only these plane incidents...

The Air Force couldn't stop the attacks, since for some reason they claimed that NORAD only looked 'out' but they could intercept Payne Stewart's plane in 1999. But they made up for it a few weeks later with a successful regime change in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, a few months later we didn't box Osama in at Tora Bora and he fled to Pakistan, so we have to continue the war on terror, since he's still at large.

You could say that the Federal government is diverse and that some units do better than others, and the same ones might have good days and bad days. But there seems to be a lot of failures that allowed the attacks to happen and allowed the investigations to be stymied. Maybe these incompetents are only good at doing nothing, preventing the 'blame game' when something happens, and somehow making it work to their advantage by getting re-elected, keeping ones pension or even being promoted -- all while replacing our controversial Saudi bases with Iraqi ones to fight 'terror' (even though there's a lot more terror coming from our allies in Saudi and Pakistan), and losing a major Democratic-leaning city in a Republican state, replacing most of the Democrats with golf courses.

Then there's that Anthrax terrorism the following month, targetting Democrats in Congress. I remember two strange news items from that era. The strain was from the US weapons labs, and some of the Florida-based terrorists were hospitalized for what seemed like Anthrax. But before that there was the reputed link to Saddam's labs, and this helped the Patriot Act to sail through Congress. It is strangely efficient again how the Department of Justice can have such a comprehensive set of laws drafted so quickly, but they still haven't had the time after all these years to propose any changes to the hobbling FISA laws. They must be busy with all their post-9/11 prosecutions of Moussaoui and the Dirty Bomber.

Is it true that weeks before 9/11/01 AG Ashcroft stopped flying on commercial flights? What was that about?

The higher ups' obstruction of the Special Agents' good counter-terrorism investigative/prevention work across the nation could indicate that a rogue element of the US government, including the folks in charge of the Radical Fundamentalist Unit and the OBL unit, went beyond 'Let It Happen' to 'Let It Happen On Purpose (LIHOP).'

If there were to be rogues in government allowing or aiding the attacks on the country, for say, an enhanced security and military state apparatus searching for a new Cold War, wouldn't at least some of them esconce themselves in counter-terrorism?

Here are some other interesting open questions or issues:

1. Of those obstructionist FBI leaders who failed, they failed laterally or upward. Not one of these failures got fired! Meanwhile, the 9/11/01 whistleblowers at the FBI are gagged by unprecedented uses of the State Secrets Act, or they are threatened, investigated, or fired.

From your article: "Samit also testified that he was told pressing too hard to obtain a warrant on Moussaoui would hurt his career."

Not a single person in the CIA or the FBI has been documented to be disciplined, demoted, or fired for pre-9/11/01 counter-terrorism incompetence.

George Tenet got a Medal of Freedom! Frasca and Maltbie are still at the FBI.

I don't know how working for the Federal Government works, but I suppose that being fired for gross incompetence might endanger one's pension, much less pay. It might even make them less healthy if they make their agency full of people who carry guns or deal with crooks look bad.

At least the Stasi would have shot or Gulaged these guys if they failed so miserably! But maybe Frasca and Maltbie didn't 'fail...' Maybe they did 'a heck of a job...'

I believe that the Air Force commander who wasn't there during the hijackings to scramble fighters to protect the Pentagon (!) and the WTC (which was already a known and previously attacked terror target), which were both in no-fly zones was promoted!

In forty years of Cold War with the Soviets, thirty years of which involved fast-moving (faster than commercial aircraft) intercontinental ballistic missiles, it seems strange that the Pentagon doesn't have any defenses to protect the building from missiles or aircraft. If it does, then why didn't they work?

We've spent TRILLIONS of dollars on 'Defense' for decades. Not defending our capitol and its military headquarters from a commercial plane hours after multiple hijackings were happening across the east coast is an utter failure.

Think of the guff we gave Carter for those copters unsuccessfully rescuing the Tehran Embassy hostages because of a sandstorm! At least Carter tried to do something. I don't think a single missile or bullet was fired to defend the Pentagon in 2001. We still have Rumsfeld, the guy who put the Vietnam era to 'rest' so ignominously, in charge there.

But within hours of the Pentagon explosion, all the footage of the occurance is efficiently confiscated by the FBI, never to be publicly shown again.

What about that General who put sticky-notes over Mohammed Atta's face in the 2000 Able Danger investigation? Why was Atta off limits to the Able Danger investigators when all the dots connected to him? I think that this was General Schoomaker was pulled out of retirement to run NorthCom, which is the new DoD unit in charge of domestic operations, like defending the 'homeland' from invasions, civil unrest, diseases, disasters, maybe martial law.

2. Al-Qu'aida was a late-1970s (Carter-Brezhinsky era) US/Pakistan/Saudi invention. The name comes from the 'database' of jihadis trained to fight the Soviets. Bin Laden was 'our' guy.

Brezhinsky, a few years just before the attacks, opined that the US needed another Pearl Harbor to get us behind the military again so that we can secure our access to Eurasian energy resources. This same theme was picked up by the neo-cons' Project for a New American Century report.

Closer to the attacks, the head of the Pakistani Intelligence Service wired Atta $100,000. Wasn't this Pakistani fellow meeting senior Washington D.C. officials, perhaps the US Presiident, in September 2001?

Funny how when the President was running for office, the world leader's name he didn't know was Mushareff. Yet, even though the Clinton administration chilled relations with that country, there we were, before 'War on Terra' broke out, meeting with our old cold warrior buddies, the ISI, who were actively involved with Bin Laden and the (Saudi backed) Taliban. Didn't Bush also meet with senior Saudis around then, too?

Didn't Atta have links to US military training?

Didn't least two of the Saudi hijackers stay in San Diego with the FBI's main counter-terrorism informant there? Why did he neglect to inform us about these fellows? Or maybe he did... Weren't the the ones on watch lists?

Were these the same Saudi hijackers who came into San Diego who received funding from the Saudi royal family?

Then there's those close friends of the Saudis and the Bushes, the 'good' Bin Ladens, many of whom were allowed to fly out of the country on special flights while the rest of America was grounded. They were not allowed to be investigated by the FBI. However, if you or I were a sibling of a murderer or a saboteur, wouldn't we probably be closely investigated and not allowed to leave the country? Is this incompetence, too?

Who was that Al Quaida official who told the CIA agents intorrogating him (disguised as Saudi agents) that they should just call Prince so-and-so and he'll straighten this whole thing out, since he is working for him. This is one of those three Princes with intelligence or arms ties that in his 40s strangely died of heart disease or of 'thirst' within weeks of each other. Dead men don't tell tales.

The powerful Pakistani ISI chief was finally retired after his wire transfer to Osama became public.

Incompetence, or Letting It Happen On Purpose?

The 8/6/01 PDB "Bin Laden Determined to Attack the US" didn't rouse the President from his vacation, certainly not as much as brain-wasted Terri Schiavo's death could.

Then there's that unusual level of put-option activity on UA, AA, Morgan Stanley (didn't they have 22 floors in the WTC?) through Alex Brown Bank the day before the attacks? Doesn't this bank have longstanding ties with the CIA? Doesn't the CIA have software that monitors unusual stock market trading patterns to tip them off? Was this not working on 9/10/01? Who placed those highly profitable trades/bets? Why hasn't the SEC revealed this publicly yet?

Is there anything strange about when the new leaseholder bought terrorism insurance for the WTC? Is there anything strange about 7 WTC collapsing the evening of 9/11/01? A 47 story tower built about 15 years prior, with the SEC and CIA offices inside, collapses perfectly straight down, even though it wasn't hit by a plane and wasn't supposed to have big fires in it. Did leaseholder Silverstein misspeak during that documentary when he said that the building had to be 'pulled'?

Is it good fortune that the Mayor had the firefighters evacuated from that building so that more of them wouldn't die? At least someone was competent that day, although I dislike the competance with which Giuliani absconded with the public records of his administration.

Another question I'd love to see investigated is the perhaps unusually high number of war-games the day of the attacks. Was it a record number of wargames? Some of these simulations involved hijacking scenarios. Did these war games affect our defenses that day? Is that why (in the 9/11 Commission report) the Air Force guy asks the FAA guy reporting the hijackings to him if this is 'real world'? Was it a good idea to have many aviation war games during a sumer in which there were many warnings about hijackings?

3. If a rogue element of the military were involved in Making or Letting It Happen, then using a classified wargame would be a good tactic to get troops to do your bidding, keeping their mouths shut, each thinking that they were only firing blanks, for example, or targeting mock blips, or controlling mock drones.

Don't they say that in every firing squad there is one rifle with blanks so each of the shooters thinks that they weren't responsible for the execution?

Meanwhile down South that horrible day, the President sat in a classroom for several minutes after hearing about the second plane attack on the WTC. In an interview about that day, he claimed to have seen the first plane hit on television. Maybe he saw the smoking building, but there was no video of the first plane hitting, and the second one hit while he was listening to the kids read. Maybe he was just addled. Or maybe he was remembering some other footage he saw around that time.

Still, considering that the President's location was public knowledge, it is strange that he stayed in that school for a half hour after the second attack, about an hour after the first planes were hijacked. Was the Secret Service incompetent, too? Or did they know that the President was safe?

One of my impressions of that day was how on-the-run Bush was for so long. It was strange that instead of showing some leadership in DC or NYC that day, he headed to Offut Air Force Base in Nebraska. Isn't that where the nuclear missiles are commanded from? He was clearly rattled that day.

Another tidbit from that era explaining or spinning why the President was on the run was a report that the Secret Service heard a code word that indicated that the President's plane was in danger. I recall it was subsequently reported that this was a mistake or a misinterpretation. But this was the explanation for whe President flew away from Washingto, D.C. to be on an unpredctable flight path. So, at first he's safe in the school, where he's publicly known to be, then he's safer flying away, then it is found out that he was safe all along.

Then there are the reports of Warren Buffet also being in Offut that day with several CEOs, some of which were from corporations affected by the attacks, but I have no idea if that is true. Was the billionaire Wizard of Omaha scheduled to be out there that day? Do VIPs get to visit bases for meetings? If not, does he get special military protection during emergencies?

Still, it is strange to think that Al Quaida would be feared or thought to know the military/secret service code for Air Force One... The only people who should know that code word would be the Secret Service and parts of the military. Al Quaida would have to have been quite well-infiltrated into our system to accomplish that. It was all they could do to bomb American buildings that have been in the same place for decades.

If I had my money on it, I'd think it more likely that we could have Al Quaida infiltrated better than they us, considering that a Marin teenager improbably named Johnnie Walker could personally meet Osama just by showing up to his camp... And also considering that we co-founded Al Quaida.

Who in the government might want to keep Bush on the run by threatening Air Force One with a Code Word? Or who in government would threaten the President? Who could benefit from showing the President that they mean business? Did someone bluff the President to Offut?

Is someone in the military calling the real shots and letting Bush be the public face for the decisions? Did the President think that he had to go to Offut to personally oversee 'the button?' There were a lot of misunderstandings that day, so Bush might have averted a worse disaster that day by heading west and keeping an eye on things as the Commander In Chief, making sure no one had an itchy button finger after hearing some code word from a voice that sounded like the President's but wasn't...

I don't know. The thing is we don't know. Everyone said that 'everything is going to change' since 9/11, but we don't even know what happened that day on 'our' side. There are a lot of basic questions being asked, and a lot of evidence that is still being blocked, and meanwhile the President and the Vice President only answered questions once about that important day, together, without any recordings whatsoever, and no public disclosures. If that day changed everything, then it is because we the people let it change everything, and if so, we deserve to know who, what, how, and why it happened.

Maybe it was a lot of incompetent indicidents... An improbably high number. Even if so, it is high time to stop the butt-covering and start figuring out where we've been going wrong, because Americans are dying in our cities, on our coasts, and in wars because of these 'incompetancies' or because of some sort of soft coup. We need to find out, and journalists and bloggers seem to be one of last refuges and hopes for our democracy.

How the FBI Let 9/11 Happen
Never mind Moussaoui, the smoldering gun was right there all the time

Anyone paying attention to the Zacarias Moussaoui trial gets it now. All the 9/11 blanks are filled in, and the picture is complete. Sorry, conspiracy freaks and blind partisan hacks. Dull, common, gross incompetence is again at the heart of a deadly government cluster-hump.

Do not linger on Moussaoui's bizarre suicide-by-testimony or the literal cheerleading for his executionHe knew. He lied. And 2,749 people died.

Neither of these is the real story of this case. Rather, the story is the definitive proof Moussaoui's case provides that the U.S. government—pre-PATRIOT Act, pre-NSA wiretaps and all—had and missed clear opportunities to stop 9/11. The FBI uniquely and repeatedly punted carefully gathered evidence of an attack in favor of adherence to bureaucratic hierarchies and power trips.

The testimony of FBI agent Harry Samit forever buries the quaint notion that 9/11 was unforeseen and unpreventable. Beginning with Moussaoui's August 16, 2001 arrest Samit mounted a global and indefatigable investigation of the man and concluded that an attack involving hijacked airplanes was imminent.

The flipside of Samit is Michael Rolince, former head of the FBI's International Terrorism Operations Section. Rolince is the man who previously deflected questions about the FBI's pursuit, or lack thereof, of pre-9/11 terror suspects with the line, "Would CNN have really aired their photos if we'd asked them?"

Rolince smugly insisted at trial that Samit's "suppositions, hunches and suspicions were one thing and what we knew" was another. Yet Rolince, in service of the government's desire to link Moussaoui to 9/11 and trigger the death penalty, also tried to argue that, had Moussaoui spilled his guts, everything would have changed. 9/11 might have been prevented. In short, Samit's investigation and leads were not enough; Moussaoui had to speak up for the FBI brass to hear anything.

When defense lawyer Edward MacMahon cross-examined Rolince, possibly the first and only time a government security official has been so challenged on 9/11, the disconnect between the official story and reality was plain. Rolince knew nothing of the August 18, 2001 memo Samit had sent to his office warning of terror links. In that memo, Samit warned that Moussaoui wanted to hijack a plane and had the weapons to do it. Samit also warned that Moussaoui "believes it is acceptable to kill civilians" and that he approved of martyrdom. Rolince testified he never read the memo.

On August 17 Samit sent an e-mail to his direct superiors at FBI headquarters recounting Moussaoui's training on 747 simulators. "His excuse is weak, he just wants to learn how to do it... That's pretty ominous and obviously suggests some sort of hijacking plan," Samit wrote.

Rebuffed by his superiors and ignored by Rolince, Samit still sought out more info worldwide and from sources as diverse as the FBI's London, Paris, and Oklahoma City offices, FBI headquarters files, the CIA's counterterrorism center, the Secret Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Federal Aviation Administration, probably the National Security Agency, and the FBI's Iran and OBL offices.

He was sufficiently alarmed by what he heard that Samit sent an August 21 e-mail requesting that the Secret Service be informed about Moussaoui's intentions to see the White House and that he was interested in flight training.

Samit testified that on August 22 he had learned from the French—the French!—that Moussaoui had recruited a fighter to go to Chechnya in 2000 to fight with Islamic radicals with previous links, so the CIA told Samit, to Osama bin Laden. The FBI brass remained unmoved.

Defense attorney MacMahon then displayed an August 30, 2001 communication addressed to Samit and FBI headquarters agent Mike Maltbie from a Bureau agent in Paris. It passed along that French intelligence thought Moussaoui was "very dangerous" and had soaked up radical views at London's infamous Finnsbury Park mosque. The French also said Moussaoui was "completely devoted" to bin Laden-style jihadism and, significantly, had traveled to Afghanistan.

Yet on August 31 Maltbie stopped Samit from sending a letter to FAA headquarters in Washington advising them of "a potential threat to security of commercial aircraft" based on the Moussaoui case. Maltbie said he would handle that, but it is not clear if he ever did.

"Minneapolis believes Moussaoui, [Moussaoui's roommate Hussein] Al Attas and others not yet known were...engaged in preparing to seize 747s," the aborted warning said.

Samit did directly tell FAA officials in Minneapolis of his concerns on September 5.

In total, the information Samit pulled together dovetailed with his belief that, based on interviews with the suspect, Moussaoui had been to Afghan terror training camps. Because he did not have proof of the suspected terror camp connection, however, Samit never passed this hunch on to the FBI headquarters. Maltbie and Maltbie's boss, David Frasca, chief of the radical fundamentalist unit at headquarters, were clearly pressing Samit for facts only, as Rolince's disdain for "suppositions" from far-off Minneapolis confirms.

So? The 9/11 Commission investigation detailed that British intelligence directly told U.S. officials on September 13, 2001, that Moussaoui had attended a training camp in Afghanistan. "Had this information been available in late August 2001, the Moussaoui case would almost certainly have received intense, high-level attention," the commission concluded. As it turns out, Samit had that info in late August 2001 and nobody cared. CIA Director George Tenet was briefed on the Moussaoui threat on August 23. The case received intense, high-level attention. Nobody cared.

Back in 2004, Thomas Kean, the chairman of the 9/11 commission, said he was troubled that Moussaoui's arrest never made it up to the top of the FBI hierarchy.

"If it had maybe there would have been some action taken and things could have been different," Kean was quoted by The New York Times.

Yet now it is clear that senior FBI officials Maltbie and Frasca did know about Moussaoui's arrest. In fact, they knew the case so well that they denied Samit's request for a warrant to search Moussaoui's computer and belongings. Samit also testified that he was told pressing too hard to obtain a warrant on Moussaoui would hurt his career.

This decision to deny a warrant gave rise to the myth that "The Wall" between overseas intelligence and criminal investigations made the PATRIOT Act necessary. To this day this myth is cherished among right-wing radio talkers and has, just now, morphed into a clumsy justification for the White House's sidestepping the FISA court and directing its own wiretap frenzy via the NSA. This is all pure fantasy.

Instead of clueless Carter-era restrictions on domestic spying or insufficient distrust of civil liberties, Samit cited "obstructionism, criminal negligence and careerism" by top FBI officials as what stopped his investigation.

There is also the curious Bureau flip-flopping on Moussaoui and his laptop. Back in November 2001 the FBI dropped Moussaoui from the 9/11 plot. In his place the Bureau put Ramsi Binalshibh, as part of the hijacking team that crashed United Airlines Flight 93 into a field in Pennsylvania.

FBI Director Robert Mueller back then also told prosecutors that there was no information on the computer seized from Moussaoui that linked him to the September 11 attacks. At that same time, Rolince himself was not convinced that Moussaoui was tied to 9/11, saying "Whoever that fifth person was is probably still alive. Clearly we are looking into the pool of people who crossed paths with the hijackers." Only sometime later did that someone become Moussaoui and his un-searched info.

While Samit was spending a solid three weeks trying to get Washington to act on his pre-9/11 terror fears, future 9/11 hijacker Hani Hanjour was raising suspicions with his flight training in Phoenix (suspicions Samit was not told about until after 9/11). Margaret Chevrette of the Pan Am International Flight Academy reported her worries to the FAA and somehow those concerns also made their way to CIA chief Tenet and into CIA memos of August 2001, but the FBI never acted on them. Yet on September 12, FBI agents interviewed Chevrette for more information on Hanjour—reflecting the fact that another local FBI agent (Arizona-based Kenneth Williams, author of the July 2001 Phoenix memo) had notified FBI headquarters of the danger posed by Middle Eastern terrorists training at U.S. flight schools.

There were also repeated attempts by the New York City FBI office to get follow-up on Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi and an August 2001 request from a New York FBI agent who warned that "someday someone will die" if New York did not win approval to launch a criminal investigation of al-Mihdhar. Al-Mihdhar was on American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon.

Minneapolis, Phoenix, New York. Three different Bureau offices were hot on the terror plot in the days leading up to 9/11 and all were stiffed by Washington. If that is not institutional incompetence, Stalin purge-worthy stuff, heaven help the next 3,000 martyrs to J. Edgar Hoover's über-suits.

One exchange from the Moussaoui trial makes clear what happened in the weeks running up to 9/11:

"You tried to move heaven and earth to get a search warrant to search this man's belongings and you were obstructed," MacMahon said to Samit.

"Yes sir, I was obstructed." Samit replied.

No disaster, it seems, can force reform on the Bureau. The same people are still manning the posts at the FBI and Main Justice. They are going to miss the next terror attack because they are dead-certain to stop the last one. That's what bureaucracies do: cover ass. The Bureau's poisonous Andersen Consulting–with-arrest-powers culture remains unreformed and dangerously low-tech. New York City agents do not have enough e-mail addresses to go around, for example.

Instead of an effective anti-terror agency, the Bureau is morphing into a kind of Stasi Lite, keeping tabs on domestic subversives: assorted peaceniks, communists in Texas, and the League of Women Voters in Michigan, who had the gall to invite a critic of the PATRIOT Act to a panel discussion. There is a sort of logic to such surveillance: This what the FBI is good at, so this is what it does. Kinda of like looking for your car keys under a street light because the rest of the street is dark.

Still, for all the bungling in the dark the FBI has nothing to fear, not from a complicit Bush administration, not from a prostrate Congress, not from a bamboozled public. An e-mail sent to Agent Harry Samit on September 10, 2001 from a CIA Counterterrorism Center official identified only as "Cathy" points the way: "God help us all if the next terrorist attacks involves this same type of plane."

God? Cathy, dear, the FBI is God. Just look around.

Jeff A. Taylor writes the weekly Reason Express.

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