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Old Jun 23rd, 2008, 12:23 PM        [quote=kevin]
"I just want to make sure newer readers can get a full dose of Gestapo Geggy."

This thread is for the newbies and if they have questions, ask away. i will start with 2 crucial articles dated from 2002 and 2004.

Report Warned Of Suicide Hijackings
WASHINGTON, May 17, 2002

(CBS) Two years before the Sept. 11 attacks, an analysis prepared for U.S. intelligence warned that Osama bin Laden's terrorists could hijack an airliner and fly it into government buildings like the Pentagon.

"Suicide bomber(s) belonging to al Qaeda's Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives (C-4 and semtex) into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or the White House," the September 1999 report said.

The Bush administration has asserted that no one in government had envisioned a suicide hijacking before it happened.

"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. It was his first public comment on revelations this week that he was told Aug. 6 that bin Laden wanted to hijack planes.

CBS 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.

White House press secretary Ari 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 CIA Deputy Director John Gannon, who was chairman of the National Intelligence Council when the report was written, said officials long have known a suicide hijacking was a threat.

"If you ask anybody could terrorists convert a plane into a missile, nobody would have ruled that out," he said.

Democrats and some Republicans in Congress Friday raised the volume of their calls to investigate what the government knew before Sept. 11.

"I think we're going to learn a lot about what the government knew," Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said during an appearance in New York. She said she was unaware of the report created in 1999 during her husband's administration.

Sen. Charles Grassley, a senior member of the Senate Judiciary and Finance committees, demanded the CIA inspector general investigate the report, which he called "one of the most alarming indicators and warning signs of the terrorist plot of Sept. 11."

Meanwhile, court transcripts reviewed by The Associated Press show the government had other warning signs between 1999 and 2001 that bin Laden was sending members of his network to be trained as pilots and was considering airlines as a possible target.

The court records show the FBI has known since at least 1999 that Ihab Mohammed Ali, who was arrested in Florida and later named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa, had been sent for pilot training in Oklhhoma before working as a pilot for bin Laden.

He eventually crashed a plane owned by bin Laden in Sudan that prosecutors alleged was used to transport al Qaeda members and weapons. Ali remains in custody in New York.

In February 2001, federal prosecutors told a court they gained information in September 2000 from an associate of Ali's, Morrocan citizen L'Houssaine Kherchtou, that Kherchtou was trained as an al Qaeda pilot in Kenya and attended a meeting in 1993 where an al Qaeda official was briefing Ali on Western air traffic control procedures.

"He (Kherchtou) observed an Egyptian person who was not a pilot debriefing a friend of his, Ihab Ali, about how air traffic control works and what people say over the air traffic control system," then-Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald told a New York court.

"And it was his belief that there might have been a plan to send a pilot to Saudi Arabia or someone familiar with that to monitor the air traffic communications so they could possibly attack an airplane perhaps belonging to an Egyptian president or something in Saudi Arabia."

That intelligence is in addition to information the FBI received in July 2001 from its Phoenix office that a large number of Arabs were training at U.S. flight schools and a briefing President Bush received in August of that year suggesting hijacking was one possible attack the al Qaeda might use against the United States.

The September 1999 report, entitled "Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism: Who Becomes a Terrorist and Why?" described suicide hijacking as one of several possible retribution attacks the al Qaeda might seek for a 1998 U.S. airstrike against bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan.

The report noted an al Qaeda-linked terrorist first arrested in the Philippines in 1995 and later convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing had suggested such a mission.

"Ramzi Yousef had planned to do this against the CIA headquarters," the report said.

Bush administration officials have repeatedly said no one in government had imagined such an attack.

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that ... they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile," National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said Thursday.

The report was written by the Federal Research Division, an arm of the Library of Congress that provides research for federal agencies.

"This information was out there, certainly to those who study the in-depth subject of terrorism and al-Qaeda," said Robert L. Worden, the agency's chief.

"We knew it was an insightful report," he said. "Then after Sept. 11 we said, 'My gosh, that was in there.'"

Gannon said the 1999 report was part of a broader effort by his council to identify the full range of attack options of U.S. enemies.

The vice president has repeatedly asked Congress not to investigate the intelligence failures. But with the new commotion, the White House now says it will cooperate with an investigation if it's done the right way.

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Old Jun 23rd, 2008, 12:24 PM       
Bush & Cheney, Behind Closed Doors
CBS' Kuhn On What's At Stake At Thursday's 9/11 Meeting

NEW YORK, April 29, 2004
(CBS) By David Paul Kuhn,
CBSNews.com Chief Political Writer

President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney’s Thursday meeting with the Sept. 11 commission is the latest chapter in an historical wrestle between the executive and legislative branches.

Although the agreement to appear is a compromise, the meeting took place largely on White House terms. In allowing Mr. Bush and Cheney to appear, the White House stipulated that no transcripts would be taken and that neither would speak under oath, hence differentiating it from formal testimony.

The White House claimed Tuesday that a previous appearance before the commission by former President Bill Clinton and his vice president, Al Gore, was also not recorded. But CBS News has learned that both men's sessions were recorded and a transcript will be excerpted or possibly released in full. A source in the Sept. 11 commission said Mr. Clinton and Gore also did not give sworn testimony.

"It would be much better to have transcripts," said Fred Greenstein, a presidential historian at Princeton University. "But to begin with Bush didn’t want a commission. They are very big on executive privilege. This is an administration that is not high on transparency and very strong on executive prerogative of one kind or another."

The session began at 9:30 a.m. EDT at the White House. Although it was not to be recorded, the panel and the White House each were to have an aide present to take handwritten notes.

The oblique nature of the meeting being unrecorded by either a stenographer or by tape, allows the White House some plausible leeway in denying certain statements.

“I can see why they would want to do it both on the grounds of the quality of political record they would present and on the grounds of not borrowing political trouble,” Greenstein said.

Both Mr.Bush and Cheney prepared for Thursday's meeting, administration officials said.

“I don’t think you can undermine the significance, historical or otherwise, of the testimony,” said presidential historian Richard Norton Smith, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

Calling it “a first,” Smith added, “I think what happens in that room tomorrow will initiate a much more public conversation... there will be various versions of what went on.”

Although Smith and other presidential historians are quick to point out that there have been additional occasions where presidents have spoken to investigatory commissions for the record, a combination of factors makes Thursday’s appearance especially significant.

One factor is that Mr. Bush and Cheney reluctantly agreed to meet with the full ten-member commission without a time limit, after at first saying they'd only meet for an hour with the chairman and vice chairman. It is nearly unprecedented that a sitting president submits to the grilling Mr. Bush was likely to encounter — and by a congressionally appointed body, no less.

An added factor is that the appearance is tied to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, an event of great historical context. Questions will surround what the president and vice president knew about al Qaeda prior to Sept. 11, 2001, and what action they took – or didn’t take.

Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe testified in various trials, both on their own terms. Ulysses S. Grant was deposed in the White House for a trial regarding a group of whiskey distillers who funded the Republican Party while defrauding the federal government of liquor taxes.

But Gerald Ford’s public testimony, nearly a century later, before a House Judiciary subcommittee to explain his reasoning for pardoning ex-President Richard M. Nixon was both unprecedented and has not been repeated.

Since Ford, President Ronald Reagan has testified behind closed doors and denied that he was aware of the Iran-Contra affair. And, of course, few forget Mr. Clinton’s grand jury testimony when he acknowledged his “improper intimate contact” with Monica Lewinsky.

“It’s easy to generalize and say this White House it is too secretive but there are some legitimate constitutional issues,” Smith said.

“I think there is a special atmosphere in this White House that goes back to Cheney’s experience when he was chief of staff to Gerald Ford,” Smith continued.

“I’m not justifying it but if you stop to think, in the 1970s, Cheney became Ford’s chief of staff at a time when the presidency was really under assault – understandably after LBJ and Nixon. The War Powers Act Passed in 1973 and there was this notion that executive powers were crumbling.”

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments on a related issue of executive privilege surrounding Cheney’s meetings with energy industry leaders in drafting a national energy strategy. The White House refuses to disclose who met with Cheney.

Also raising some eyebrows is the fact that Mr. Bush and Cheney only agreed to meet with the panel Thursday if they could appear together.

“I fully expect that most of the questions are going to be directed to the president, so I expect he will be answering most of the questions,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters Wednesday.

Greenstein understands the president's reluctance to appear by himself. “If I were Bush I would not want to testify separately from Cheney on the grounds that it is just an invitation to look for small shades of discrepancy of one kind or another since Cheney is such a detailed man and Bush is such a big picture person,” he said.

Mr. Bush initially opposed the creation of the Sept. 11 commission. He also opposed letting National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice testify publicly, a point he acquiesced on later. Thursday will likely not mark closure on the issue, as the White House hopes. On the contrary, the media will immediately begin attempting to piece together what occurred.

“There will be questions after,” Greenstein said. “Was Bush forthright? Everybody will be obsessed with whether Cheney was passing him cue cards. Did Cheney provide prompts? Did Bush pull a blank?

"You would love to be a fly on the wall there,” Greenstein continued, “because it will make a great chapter in the Bush presidency.”

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Old Jun 23rd, 2008, 12:34 PM       
what other people are sayin'....

The former director of the FBI says there was a cover up by the 9/11 Commission


The 9/11 Commissioners knew that military officials lied to the Commission, and considered recommending criminal charges for such false statements, yet didn't bother to tell the American people.


9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey said that "There are ample reasons to suspect that there may be some alternative to what we outlined in our version...We didn't have access...."


And former 9/11 Commissioner Max Cleland resigned from the Commission, stating: "It is a national scandal. This investigation is now compromised. One of these days we will have to get the full story because the 9-11 issue is so important to America. But this White House wants to cover it up."



9/11 Commission co-chair Lee Hamilton says "I don't believe for a minute we got everything right", that the Commission was set up to fail, that people should keep asking questions about 9/11, that the 9/11 debate should continue, and that the 9/11 Commission report was only "the first draft" of history.


The investigators for the Congressional Joint Inquiry discovered that an FBI informant had hosted and even rented a room to two hijackers in 2000 and that, when the Inquiry sought to interview the informant, the FBI refused outright, and then hid him in an unknown location, and that a high-level FBI official stated these blocking maneuvers were undertaken under orders from the White House.

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Old Jun 24th, 2008, 10:39 AM       
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