he more you study the facts
and the circumstantial evidence surrounding the 9/11 attacks,
the more you doubt the official explanation of the attacks given
in the 9/11 Commission Report. Most all the necessary
information is, or has been, available through the major media.
It's just a matter of pulling it all together and organizing the
data. When you do that, you are left with major doubts about the
official story and you begin to suspect that some of our
officials may have been involved, at least in the sense that
they had fore-knowledge of the attacks and just let them happen.
You are not alone. In a
national poll conducted by the Scripps Howard News Service and
Ohio University in August 2006, 36 percent of respondents said
it is "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that federal officials
either participated in the attacks on the World Trade Center and
the Pentagon or took no action to stop them "because they wanted
the United States to go to war in the Middle East."
Let's look at some of the evidence.
The Administration Ignored the Threats
Despite the Administration's rhetoric that they had "no
warnings" leading up to 9/11, it has become abundantly clear
that key Administration officials were made aware of a vast
array of al Qaeda threats and warnings that existed in years
prior, and more importantly, in the weeks leading up to
September 11, 2001. Here not only the Administration, but also
the 9/11 Commission, failed to connect the dots.
1. Results of an investigation by a commission headed by Gary
Hart and Warren Rudman appeared in its third and final report on
2/15/2001. "The commission believes that the security of the
American homeland from the threats of the new century should be
the primary national security mission of the U.S. government."
But instead, the new Bush administration chose to focus on
out-dated conventional defense concerns-missile defense and a
review of the military's force structure.
2. A Senior Executive Intelligence Brief (SEIB) entitled, "Bin
Laden Planning High-Profile Attacks." was sent to top White
House officials on June 30, 2001. It stated that bin Laden
operatives expected near-term attacks to have dramatic
consequences of catastrophic proportions. The brief said that
despite evidence of delays possibly caused by heightened US
security, al Qaeda's planning for the attacks was continuing. (SEIBs
usually are released one day after President Daily Briefings are
given to President Bush and contain similar content, so it is
probable Bush was given this warning.)
3. George Tenet called an urgent special meeting with
Condoleezza Rice on July 10, 2001 to discuss the al Qaeda
4. Officials in the Administration were concerned about the
threat of a possible assassination of President Bush at the G-8
Summit by al Qaeda in July of 2001. One of the scenarios of
concern was the use of aircraft to dive bomb the summit
5. FBI headquarters totally ignored urgent warnings by FBI field
offices regarding Middle Eastern men attending flight schools in
different parts of the country. On July 10, 2001, Phoenix FBI
agent Kenneth Williams sent a memo stating this concern to FBI
headquarters. In August 2001, Colleen Rowley, an FBI Minneapolis
field agent, wrote emails to headquarters warning of Middle
Eastern men taking flying lessons. One such email mentioned that
a civilian flight instructor had warned her that a Boeing 747
loaded with fuel could be used as a weapon. There was no
response from FBI headquarters.
FBI Agent Harry Samit made 70 unsuccessful attempts to get a
FISA Warrant to examine Moussaoui's belongings-papers, computer,
etc. The excuse given was the 'Reno Wall,' even though this
did not apply in the case of an alien.
6. On August 6, 2001 President Bush and Condoleezza Rice
completely ignored the CIA's daily presidential briefing, "Bin
Laden Determined to Strike in U.S," a report indicating al Qaeda
could hijack airplanes to attack the U.S. The next day Bush
said, "I'm working on a lot of issues, national security
matters," and on the next day he told the press, "I've got a lot
of national security concerns that we're working on-Iraq,
Macedonia, very worrisome right now."
7. Also in August 2001, Acting FBI Director Thomas Pickard,
after being briefed on a top-secret, comprehensive review of
counterterrorism programs in the FBI, met with Attorney General
John Ashcroft. He asked Ashcroft for $58 million from the
Justice Department to hire hundreds of new field agents,
translators and analysts to improve the Bureau's capacity to
detect foreign terror threats. On September 10, 2001, Pickard
received an official letter from Ashcroft turning him down flat.
8. On September 4, 2001, the FBI notified the State Department
about the need to revoke the visa of one of the hijackers,
Khalid al Mihdhar, which included instructions to detain al
Mihdhar for questioning, as he was considered armed and
dangerous and had participated in terrorist activities,
including the bombing of the USS Cole. The State Department then
used its visa revocation authority under section 221(i) of the
Immigration and Nationality Act to revoke his visa under section
212 (A)(3)(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act for his
participation in terrorist activities. But the next day,
September 5th, the State Department put out a directive
regarding al Mihdhar--to let him go. The excuse was that
al Mihdhar was a potential witness in an FBI investigation, and
thus he [though an armed and dangerous terrorist] should not be
9. The New York Times on February 10, 2005 reported that in "the
months before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal aviation officials
reviewed dozens of intelligence reports that warned about Osama
bin Laden and al Qaeda, some of which specifically discussed
airline hijackings and suicide operations." The article
explained that the Federal Aviation Administration "received
52 intelligence reports" that mentioned Osama bin Laden or
al Qaeda prior to September 11, 2001, and that the FAA warned
airports that if "the intent of the hijacker is not to exchange
hostages for prisoners, but to commit suicide in a spectacular
explosion, a domestic hijacking would probably be preferable."
10. The Able Danger program of the Special Operations Command of
the Department of Defense used "data-mining" techniques well
before 9/11 that reportedly identified several of the 19
hijackers, including Mohammed Atta. This program appears to have
been shut down in May 2001, presumably because it had conducted
illegal surveillance on U.S. citizens, but according to media
reports, Able Danger used all open-source data (public
information) to identify its targets. Further, the hijackers
identified were not U.S. citizens and therefore were not
entitled to the same rights and protections as Americans.
Reportedly the Able Danger files containing all the garnered
evidence about al Qaeda sleeper cells inside the U.S. were
permanently destroyed in May 2001. Why were they not shared with
other intelligence agencies such as the FBI? More disturbing,
the identified sleeper cells were left alone to carry out their
final plans and preparations.
11. The New York Times on April 15, 2004 reported that in August
2001 CIA Director George Tenet and his deputies at the CIA were
presented with a briefing paper labeled "Islamic Extremist
Learns to Fly" about the arrest days earlier of Zacarias
Moussaoui, but the CIA did not act on the information
12. Intelligence agency heads described themselves as having
their "hair on fire" to characterize the imminent nature of the
threats they were intercepting from al Qaeda and their sense of
urgency in relating them to the Bush Administration
13. Aside from scheduling a National Security Council meeting on
September 4, 2001, two months after the July 10
"connect-the-dots" briefing from CIA director George Tenet, the
abundance of post 9/11 reports and commissions found no evidence
of any action taken by appropriate officials. The 9/11
Commission itself concluded that in spite of an unprecedented
attack threat in the months before 9/11, US "domestic agencies
never mobilized in response to the threat. They did not have
direction, and did not have a plan to institute. The borders
were not hardened. Transportation systems were not fortified.
Electronic surveillance was not targeted against a domestic
threat. State and local law enforcement were not marshaled to
augment the FBI's efforts. The public was not warned."
Failures by Officials On and Before 9/11 to Keep Us Safe
1. On May 8, 2001, President Bush appointed Vice President
Cheney to head the new Office of National Preparedness, which
involved overseeing a 'national effort' to coordinate all
federal programs designed to respond to domestic terror attacks.
It appears that Cheney totally failed in his duty, particularly
in August 2001, when as former CIA Director George Tenet said,
"The system was blinking red."
2. National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, failed to act on
any of the many warnings she received about an imminent attack
by al Qaeda.
3. President Bush failed to assume a leadership role on 9/11:
(1) His failure to even ask Andrew Card his Chief of Staff at
the Emma E. Booker Elementary School for any details when the
latter told him about the crash of United 175; (2) His failure
to insist on heading back to Washington to take command of the
situation; and (3) His failure to devise a plan to implement
4. General Richard Myers, the acting Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff said that when he heard about the first crash he
thought it was an accident, so he went into a meeting with
Senator Max Cleland. He said he only heard about the second
crash (which occurred at 9:03 am) upon leaving the meeting just
a few minutes before the Pentagon was hit at 9:37 am.
5. Donald Rumsfeld was sought for an hour by the Pentagon
command center and first appeared there at around 10:30 am,
according to The 9/11 Commission Report.
6. General Montague Winfield, head of the National Military
Command Center at the Pentagon arranged on the evening of Sept.
10th to be replaced on his scheduled shift the next morning for
the two hours starting at 8:30 am by his inexperienced deputy,
Captain Charles Leidig (since promoted to admiral).
7. The US military in Afghanistan reportedly had several
opportunities to capture Osama bin Laden, but the troops on the
ground were apparently told not to do so.
Attempts by Government Officials to Cover Up Evidence
1. The Administration mounted major resistance to the formation
of the 9/11 Commission, but eventually had to yield due to
pressure from 9/11 victims' families. From the outset, Vice
President Cheney offered the greatest resistance to the Family
Steering Committee's attempt to form an independent commission.
According to Kristen Breitweiser in her book, Wake-Up Call –
The Political Education of a 9/11 Widow, Cheney would call
up congressional officials and threaten them, stating flatly
that there would be no 9/11 independent commission. He placed
many phone calls threatening the loss of party support for a
re-election campaign, a chairmanship of a prized committee, or
administration support for a pet project. Publicly, he would
state that the White House was opposed to any independent-style
9/11 commission because we were a nation at war and could not
spare the resources.
2. Soon after Congress passed legislation authorizing creation
of the 9/11 Commission, the White House insisted on naming the
chairman of the Commission and having control over the
Commission's subpoena power. They opposed keeping the Commission
completely independent and bipartisan. Eventually they had to
give up on controlling subpoenas, but they still were able to
appoint the Chairman of the Commission while the Democrats were
permitted to appoint the Vice Chairman.
3. The Administration placed major roadblocks in the 9/11
Commission's investigation. For example, the White House took an
inordinate amount of time to issue the high level of security
clearance necessary for all the commissioners and the staff. And
the White House was adamant that the initial $3 million budget
should not be increased, even though the Family Steering
Committee had been told that figure was only a 'placeholder' and
that it would be adjusted upward later. The White House was not
prepared to do this. It took the Columbia space shuttle
explosion on February 1, 2003 and the large sum of money ($50
million) subsequently set aside to investigate that disaster, to
shame the White House into agreeing to a final budget of $14
million for the 9/11 Commission.
4. President Bush initially refused to testify before the
Commission, and subsequently refused to testify without Vice
5. The Administration and House Speaker Dennis Hastert mounted
stiff resistance to the attempt to extend the life of the
Commission to January 2005. The Family Steering Committee
obtained the support of the Democratic caucus for this
extension. However when Hastert and his Chief of Staff heard
this, they went back on their word that they would support the
January 2005 extension if the Democrats agreed. So only a
two-month extension was obtained, not the requested 8-month
6. The Department of Defense has prohibited the officers
involved with the Able Danger project of the Special
Operations Command to speak to members of Congress or to testify
before the Senate Judiciary Committee about their pre-9/11
identification of Mohammed Atta, among others, as a terrorist.
7. The Justice Department put a gag order on FBI whistle-blower
Sybel Edmunds, preventing her from talking to members of
Congress or the media about major pre 9/11 intelligence
mishandling in the translation department of the FBI.
8. The Administration continues to refuse to release or show
most of videotapes it has of the crash of Flight 77 into the
9. In February 2002, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence agreed
to conduct a joint inquiry into the activities of the U.S.
intelligence community in connection with the terrorist attacks
of September 11, 2001. Their report dated December 2002 is
titled: Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities
before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.
Unfortunately, 28 pages of that report were redacted, and the
Administration still refuses to make these pages public.
10. Overall there was a complete lack of transparency on the
part of the federal government, in terms of both the executive
branch and the legislative branch, when it came to putting on
the table all the facts known regarding the 9/11 attacks.
Lies by Government Officials about 9/11
1. Condoleezza Rice claimed to Time Magazine that a
statement in an article that appeared in the New York Times
on December 30, 2001, was not true. The Times article said, "As
he prepared to leave office last January, Mr. Berger met with
his successor, Condoleezza Rice, and gave her a warning.
According to both of them, he said that terrorism-and
particularly Mr. bin Laden's brand of it-would consume far more
of her time than she had ever imagined." Al Franken learned from
a White House official that she had in fact met with Berger in a
briefing and that he had told her about the seriousness of the
al Qaeda threat. Rice lied.
2. On May 17, 2002, Condoleezza Rice said "I don't think anybody
could have predicted that these people would take an airplane
and slam it into the World Trade Center...that they would try to
use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile."
But there had been seven specific instances when the government
was aware of plots and attempts to utilize airplanes as weapons.
One of the most dramatic was the 1995 plot (Project Bojinka),
disrupted by the Philippine authorities, to blow up 11
commercial airliners over the Pacific, and an associated
alternative plan to hijack US planes and crash them into CIA
headquarters, the World Trade Center, the Sears Tower and the
White House. In 1999, a report prepared for US intelligence
said that suicide bombers linked to al Qaeda could crash-land an
aircraft packed with high explosives into the Pentagon, the
headquarters of the CIA or the White House. Also Rice had
attended the G-8 summit meeting with the president only two
months before 9/11, when the possibility of an assassination
attempt on President Bush was mentioned to the group-an
assassination, officials considered, that could be carried out
by crashing planes into the summit meeting building. Rice lied.
3. In his recent book State of Denial, Bob Woodward
described an encounter between Condoleezza Rice and George
Tenet, then-director of the CIA. The latter was in a near panic
about a rising flood of intelligence warnings just presented to
him by top aide Cofer Black. Tenet reportedly forced an
unscheduled meeting with Rice on July 10, 2001, because he
wanted the Bush administration to take action immediately
against al Qaeda to disrupt a possible domestic attack. On
Monday October 2, 2006, a State Department spokesman conceded
that then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice had indeed
been briefed in July 2001 by George Tenet about the alarming
potential for an al Qaeda attack. "I don't remember a so-called
emergency meeting," Rice had said only hours earlier, apparently
still suffering from the same post-9/11 amnesia that seemed to
afflict her during her forced testimony to the 9/11 Commission.
The omission of this meeting from the final commission report is
another example of how the Bush administration undermined the
bipartisan investigation that the president had tried to
prevent. Rice is unusually sharp and has an awesome memory.
Considering the trauma of 9/11 and its effects, it is
inconceivable that Rice would not recall such an ominous and
prescient briefing by Tenet and Black, especially after the 9/11
Commission forced her to document and review her actions in
those crucial months.
4. CIA Director George Tenet said on March 11, 2002, "We knew in
broad terms last summer that terrorists might be planning major
operations in the United States. But we never had the texture,
meaning enough information, to stop what happened." Yet
Condoleezza Rice herself said on June 28, 2001, "It is highly
likely that a significant al Qaeda attack is in the near future,
within several weeks." And on July 5, 2001, Richard Clarke said,
"Something really spectacular is going to happen here and it's
going to happen soon." Tenet distorted the truth to shield
himself from any responsibility for the attacks.
5. Pentagon officials associated with the North American
Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) confessed in the summer of
2006 that they had in essence lied to the 9/11 Commission about
the time when NORAD was informed by the FAA about the hijacked
planes. The strange part about that lie was that their first
version implied the FAA had informed them in a timely manner,
while their current story actually puts more blame on the FAA
for that agency's slowness in reporting the hijacking. Why would
the first official story from NORAD protect the FAA from blame?
It's inexplicable. In any case, NORAD officials lied.
In searching for a possible motive as to why Administration
officials might have been involved in the 9/11 attacks, it's
helpful to ask cui bono? (or, who benefited?) The 9/11
attacks didn't benefit the Islamic world in any way at all,
quite the opposite. They didn't benefit the al Qaeda
members in Afghanistan, because they were completely routed and
suffered huge casualties there. It was only America's subsequent
invasion and occupation of Iraq that have apparently brought
many new recruits into the al Qaeda fold.
The attacks of 9/11, on the other hand, have promoted
substantially the goals of the hard-core neocons-both their
dream of a world (or at least the Middle East) dominated by
America and the desire of many of them for huge war-related
profits that have in fact come to the defense industries and to
the Halliburtons on the ground in Iraq.
The grand obsession of the core group of neocons is the dream of
establishing a global Pax Americana, a dream articulated by many
neocons during the 1990s. It was first officially presented in
the Defense Planning Guidance of 1992, drafted by Paul Wolfowitz
on behalf of then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. According to
these neocons, achieving the goal of American global hegemony
would require five things:
o Control of the world's oil
o Transformation of the military involving weaponization of
o An enormous increase in military spending
o A modification of the doctrine of preemptive attack so the
U.S. could launch such attacks even in the absence of an
imminent attack by another country, and
o A spectacularly frightening event to make the American people
ready to accept these global hegemonic policies.
This same idea was suggested in Rebuilding America's Defenses, a
document published in the fall of 2000 by a neocon think tank,
Project for the New American Century. Referring to the goal of
transforming the military, this document said that this "process
of transformation . . . is likely to be a long one, absent some
catastrophic and catalyzing event---like a new Pearl Harbor."
When the attacks of 9/11 occurred, they were in fact treated
like a new Pearl Harbor. For they created opportunities to
fulfill what the neocons had considered the necessary conditions
for bringing about a Pax Americana. The 9/11 attacks allowed the
Bush-Cheney administration to attack Afghanistan and then Iraq,
to begin effecting the technological transformation of the
military, to get huge increases in military spending, and to
declare, with little protest, a new doctrine of
preventive-preemptive warfare, which became known as "the Bush
This new doctrine was first fully articulated in the
Administration's 2002 version of the National Security Strategy
(generally known as NSS 2002), whose primary author was Philip
Zelikow. It was he who later served as the Executive Director of
the 9/11 Commission. NSS 2002 turned the new doctrine of
preventive-preemptive warfare into official American policy and
it also observed: "The events of September 11, 2001...opened
vast, new opportunities."
* * *
The wrong-headed and un-American policies pursued by the present
Administration (e.g., pre emptive war, promoting and condoning
torture, rendition, restricting the application of the writ of
habeas corpus, wiretapping, etc.) have their roots in the 9/11
attacks. It behooves us to take a much closer look at what
happened that day and during the preceding weeks. The American
people have the right to a new truly independent commission to
investigate the full story of 9/11 including the many still
unanswered questions about the attacks.
* * *
Andrew Mills is a
groundwater hydrologist employed in an engineering consulting
company. He and his wife have six children and 18 grandchildren.
He was active in the civil rights movement in the 1950's and
1960's, and spent 9 years in India as a missionary specializing
in water supply. Funded by the Egyptian government and USAID, in
the early 1980's he investigated and reported on the water
resources of the Sinai peninsula. He formed the New Jersey Peace
Mission in the 1980s which arranged for groups to lobby in D.C.
to stop funding the Contras in Nicaragua.