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Anti-Terrorism & 9/11

Qs. 1-13 Distilled from 911 Commission Report [Richard Ben-Veniste is a 911 Commission Member questioning witnesses, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and FBI Director Pickard during the hearings] references are below question 13:

1) When did the lead expert on al Qaeda first attempt to brief National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and does the meeting occur?

On January 25th, five days after the inauguration, Rice receives a memo written by this man: Richard Clarke. Clarke, who managed counterterrorism policy on Clinton's National Security Council, its lead expert on al Qaeda, is kept on the job by Bush and Rice. 

In the memo, Clarke declares an "urgent need" that the "Principals," the heads of the CIA, FBI, State and Defense Departments, meet to be briefed on the al Qaeda threat.    In addition in the memo, Clarke had also attached a plan of action to "roll back" bin Laden.

The meeting to brief the administration on counterterrorism which Clarke proposed does not occur.

2) What is the current state of classification of Clarke’s memo of January 25, 2001?

To this day, the White House has refused to declassify Clarke's memo. Rice had effectively demoted him, downgraded his office, and informed him he was no longer needed at the meetings of the principals.

3) What did our National Security Advisor say about the idea of hijacking and using planes as weapons?

RICE: I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile.

4) How many times, actually, had the attack been imagined according to the records of the intelligence community what the 9/11 Commission would uncover?

Twelve times in the seven years before 9/11, the CIA reported that hijackers might use airplanes as weapons.

5) What were some of the warnings and briefs to the administration prior to the attacks?

Even as the White House takes no action, America's electronic eyes and ears pick up new threats all over the world. By April, the "chatter," as the spies call it, is ominous.

On June 25th, Clarke warns Rice that, quote: "Six separate intelligence reports showed al Qaeda personnel warning of a pending attack."

Three days later, he warns her that the pattern of al Qaeda activity indicating planning for an attack, quote, "had reached a crescendo."

In early July, the CIA urgently warns the White House of, quote, "spectacular terrorist attacks" that will result in, quote, "numerous casualties."

"The system was blinking red," CIA director George Tenet testifies. Nearly forty times before 9/11, he briefs the President on the rising threat — a pending attack — by bin Laden. And Condoleezza Rice has known since January that al Qaeda sleeper cells are in the United States.

The August 6th memo titled, “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States” was delivered to President Bush in Crawford, Texas.

6) FBI Director Pickard met with Ashcroft in meetings which began with information about terrorism.  What was Ashcroft’s response to warnings concerning terrorism in which the Director of the FBI, Pickard warned that the threat level was going up and was very high?

BEN-VENISTE: And you told the staff, according to this statement, that Mr. Ashcroft told you that he did not want to hear about this any more. Is that correct?

PICKARD: That is correct.

7) When the FBI asks for money to add hundreds more agents to track terrorist threats, what is the response from the Attorney General Ashcroft?

Attorney General John Ashcroft says no to the FBI for funding more agents to track terrorist threats.

8) What was the title of the August 6th, 2001 PDB, the Presidential Daily Brief which is an important daily brief provided to the President?  And what were the intentions of the CIA Analysts who wrote it?

BEN-VENISTE: There was nothing reassuring, was there, in that PDB?

RICE: Certainly not.

The two CIA analysts who draft it will testify they wanted to make clear that the threat of al Qaeda striking on American soil is "current and serious."

BEN-VENISTE: Isn't it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6th PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB.

RICE: I believe the title was "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States." Now, the PDB…

MOYERS: The two CIA analysts who draft it will testify they wanted to make clear that the threat of al Qaeda striking on American soil is "current and serious."

9) What was the information which President Bush received according to the 911 Commission Report?

The President had been informed that, quote: "Bin Laden told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington."

The President had been informed that FBI information, quote, "indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York."

And the President had been informed of reports that a group of bin Laden supporters are, quote, "in the U.S. planning attacks."

The President received the August 6th PDB: "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States" at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

10) How many more days did Bush remain in Crawford, Texas after receiving the August 6th PDB, the Presidential Daily Brief (important daily brief), entitled: “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States”?

The President stays at his Texas ranch for 23 more days after receiving “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.”

11) The administration received months of warnings through the CIA and Richard Clarke, and Clarke’s January 25th request for a meeting declaring an urgent need that the "Principals," the heads of the CIA, FBI, State and Defense Departments, meet to be briefed on the al Qaeda threat.  When does President Bush’s National Security Adviser convene a Cabinet-level meeting to discuss the urgent warnings?  

Not until September 4th — after almost eight months in office — does Rice finally chair a meeting of the men in charge of the CIA, FBI, State and Defense Departments to discuss al Qaeda. She does not invite Richard Clarke.

12)  What are the results of the meeting on terrorism which include the CIA, the FBI, the State and Defense Department?

The Principals meet in the White House Situation Room but take no urgent action.

13) According to the Bush Administration, on the morning of 9/11 what information about the hijackings were known in FL while Bush is touring a school?

White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card told us he was standing with the President outside the classroom when senior advisor to the President Karl Rove first informed them that a small, twin engine plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. [Another transcript from the White House website stated that Bush said he saw the plane crash into the WTC.].  No one traveling with President Bush knows that American 11 has been hijacked or that a second plane that had taken off from Boston, United 175, is now missing.  The President was seated in a classroom of second graders when, at approximately 9:05, Andrew Card whispered to him, quote, "A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack."

Between 9:15 and 9:30, the staff was busy arranging a return to Washington. No one in the traveling party had any information during this time that other aircraft were hijacked or missing [even 30 minutes after two planes hit the World Trade Centers]. As far as we know, no one was in contact with the Pentagon.

14) After the first, the second, and third airplanes have hit the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon, at what time does President Bush talk to the Secretary of Defense? 

The President apparently spoke to Secretary Rumsfeld briefly some time after 10:00 [at least 22 minutes or more after the third plane struck its target, the Pentagon], but no one can recall any content beyond a general request to alert forces. The President and the secretary did not discuss the use of force against hijacked airliners in this conversation.

Sources: 9-11 Commission Report,

NOW with Bill Moyers, 911 Commission Report  Transcript  September 10, 2004  PBS


15) Was the 911 attack preventable according to the chair of the 911 Commission?


Former New Jersey Gov. Thomas H. Kean, the chairman of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks stated publicly that 9/11 could have and should have been prevented.


Sources: 9/11 Chair: Attack Was Preventable, CBS News, Dec. 17, 2003

16) Open: If 15 of the 19 Al-Qaeda members on the planes that crashed into the World Trade Centers were from Saudi Arabia, why did the US go after Iraq instead of Saudi Arabia?  (Note: We do not advocate going to war against Saudi Arabia.)

Source [for documentation of 15 out of 19]:

17) Which elite American family does business with the Saudi royal family?

The Bush family.

Sources: "The Prince: How the Saudi Ambassador became Washington’s indispensable operator," Elsa Walsh, The New Yorker, March 24, 2003.

"Saving the Saudis," Craig Unger, Vanity Fair, October 2003.  See Also: House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties, by Craig Unger; American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush by Kevin Phillips

18) Members of which Saudi family were allowed to leave the US without even being interrogated by the FBI in the first days after 9/11 (when supposedly no air travel was allowed in the country)?

The bin Ladens — 24 members of the bin Laden family who had been living in the US were flown out of the country after first being flown by private jet to a secret assembly point in Texas. The FBI was not allowed to ask them more than a few cursory questions.

Sources: "Fearing Harm, bin Laden Kin Fled from US," Patrick E. Tyler, New York Times, Sept. 30, 2001.

"Saving the Saudis," Craig Unger, Vanity Fair, October 2003.

19) With which government agency did Osama bin Laden train?

Osama bin Laden, the famous CIA-trained terrorist, quickly became the prime suspect as federal authorities identified the hijackers, many of whom had been in the United States for years, learning to fly big jets in Florida.

Source: "Events Related To Central Intelligence Agency," Harper’s Magazine,

Some people trained under CIA command in the 1980s turned into loyal fighters for the Taliban. For example, a man who played a significant role in the advent and growth of the Taliban movement was Mullah Mohammed Omar, the current chief of the Taliban and former fighter under a CIA-trained commander.

Sources: "Lessons from History: US Policy Toward Afghanistan, 1978-2001," Reyko Huang, Oct. 5, 2001, Center for Defense Information,

"Anatomy of a Victory: CIA’s Covert Afghan War," Steve Coll, Washington Post, July 19, 1992.

Some media outlets have reported that during Afghanistan’s conflict with the Soviet Union in the ’80s, the CIA trained bin Laden. Although the American government admits that it funded Afghanistan and assisted in training some Afghans, the official line — so far — is that it did not train bin Laden personally.

Source: "FAQs: Osama bin Laden," Jessica Wong, CBC News Online, Sept. 2001,

20) Were there warnings about the potential attack?

US intelligence officials had several warnings that terrorists might attack the United States on its home soil — even using airplanes as weapons — well before the September 11, 2001 attacks, according to a report released by two congressional committees on September 18, 2002.

Sources: "Report cites warnings before 9/11," CNN, Sept. 19, 2002,

"American Morning: Secrets of 9/11," Nov. 17, 2003,

21)  FAA regulations require immediate dispatch of supersonic fighter jets to intercept airplanes off course or out of radio contact.  Why were these FAA regulations not followed immediately after the hijacked planes lost radio contact?

NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, has never explained why two routinely scrambled "anti-terror" interceptors on 15-minute strip alert at Andrews AFB just 10 miles from the Pentagon were held on the ground until after that target was struck.

Source: San Diego Union-Tribune, Sept. 12, 2001.

Retired Maj. Gen. Larry K. Arnold, who was in charge of NORAD on Sept. 11, told a national inquiry last May it was "physically possible" for the Langley Falcons to have intercepted the Pentagon plane had they been activated earlier. The FAA knew Flight 77 had been hijacked at 8:55 a.m. But instead of following regulations and procedures used at least once a week to scramble fighters to escort wayward civil aircraft, the FAA did not notify NORAD until 9:24 a.m.

Sources: AP Oct. 18, 2003; Boston Globe, Sept. 15, 2001.

The first pair of F-15s launched from Otis AFB on Cape Cod were capable of exceeding 1,875 mph. But NORAD’s official timeline shows the heavily armed "Strike Eagles" flew to defend their country at a leisurely 447 mph.

A pair of F-16s scrambled from Langley, Virginia, were also "12 minutes — 105 miles" away when Flight 77 dove into the Pentagon. NORAD did not explain why the "Fighting Falcons" flew to protect their nation’s capitol at 410 mph — instead of their top speed of over 1,500 mph.

Sources: "Air Force Says 911 Interceptors Flew Slow," News Release, PR Newswire Europe Limited, Nov. 17, 2003,

22)  Open: You are the President of the United States and have taken an oath to protect the country.  Following the timeline below, if you were enroute to visit a school and knew a plane had crashed into one of the WTCs, would you stay 20 minutes longer after hearing that a second one hit a second WTC tower? 

8:13 Flight controllers suspect that Flight 11 has been hijacked.

8:46 Flight 11 hits the WTC.

9:00 President Bush arrives at the Booker Elementary school. By this time he is aware that Flight 11 has crashed into the WTC and that Flight 175 is also hijacked. He sits with the children and listens to a story about a girl and her pet goat.

9:03 Flight 175 hits the WTC.

9:05 Chief of staff Andrew Card, whispers into the president’s ear, "A second plane has hit the World Trade Center. America is under attack." The commander in chief of the American armed forces continues to sit with the kids.

9:25 Bush leaves school children.

9:31 Bush calls the crashes an "apparent terrorist attack on our country."

9:43 Flight 77 hits the Pentagon. 

9:55 President Bush authorizes the air force to shoot down hijacked planes.

10:06 Flight 93 crashes in Pennsylvania.

Sources Compiled from: "September 11, 2001,"

CNN, "September 11: Chronology of terror,"

"A Timeline," Christian Science Monitor staff writers, Sept. 17, 2001,

[These sources were not verified against the 911 Commission Report which were released recently.]

On being told of the second impact by Andy Card, Bush simply went on with the school visit and listened to children reading about a pet goat. For twenty minutes. [Watch the video!]


23)  What are the FAA regulations concerning hijackings?

Here are the FAA regulations concerning hijackings: "The FAA hijack coordinator . . . on duty at Washington headquarters will request the military to provide an escort aircraft for a confirmed hijacked aircraft. . . . The escort service will be requested by the FAA hijack coordinator by direct contact with the National Military Command Center (NMCC)."

Here are the instructions issued by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on June 1, 2001: "In the event of a hijacking, the NMCC will be notified by the most expeditious means by the FAA. The NMCC will . . . forward requests for DOD assistance to the Secretary of Defense for approval."

Sources: "Nothing Urgent," George Szamuely, New York Press, Vol. 15, No. 2.

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