In a work of history that will make headlines, New York Times reporter Philip Shenon investigates the investigation of 9/11 and tells the inside story of most important federal commission since the the Warren Commission. Shenon uncovers startling new information about the inner workings of the 9/11 commission and its relationship with the Bush White House. The Commission will change our understanding of the 9/11 investigation — and of the attacks themselves.
About the Author
Philip Shenon is an investigative reporter with The New York Times, based in Washington. He was the lead reporter on the investigation of the September 11 commission and has held several of the most important assignments of the Washington Bureau, including chief Defense Department correspondent, diplomatic correspondent, Congressional correspondent and Justice Department Correspondent. He was one of two Times reporters embedded with American grounds troops during the invasion of Iraq and worked in pre-war Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iran for Times foreign staff.
When I post stories, I generally leave the same title as the original post. In some cases I change it to include important quotes within the story. For instance, this story appeared the other day about how the Bush Administration made a “decision to let the Navy continue using high-power sonar in its training off Southern California, a practice they say harms whales and other marine mammals.” Its’ original title is, “Bush allows Navy to continue sonar”. The title I gave it was, “Bush Allows Navy To Continue Sonar Even Though “Harms Whales”. I put the important part of the story in the title so people would read it.
That is not the case with the latest Sibel Edmonds story. Yesterday, the Sunday Times released a story entitled “FBI “Covers Up” File Exposing Theft Of Nuclear Secrets”. Today, when you click on the source link, the title of the article has now changed to, “FBI denies file exposing nuclear secrets theft”.
Luckily, I was able to find the original title still listed in a Google News search.
I wonder why the Sunday Times would change the title from something as explosive as, “FBI “COVERS UP” FILE EXPOSING THEFT OF NUCLEAR SECRETS” to the less explosive, “FBI denies files exposing nuclear secrets theft“?
I also wonder who made the decision to make the change. Rupert, was that you?
The FBI has been accused of covering up a case file detailing government officials’ dealings with a network stealing nuclear secrets
January 20, 2008
THE FBI has been accused of covering up a key case file detailing evidence against corrupt government officials and their dealings with a network stealing nuclear secrets.
The assertion follows allegations made in The Sunday Times two weeks ago by Sibel Edmonds, an FBI whistleblower, who worked on the agency’s investigation of the network.
Edmonds, a 37-year-old former Turkish language translator, listened into hundreds of sensitive intercepted conversations while based at the agency’s Washington field office.
She says the FBI was investigating a Turkish and Israeli-run network that paid high-ranking American officials to steal nuclear weapons secrets. These were then sold on the international black market to countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
One of the documents relating to the case was marked 203A-WF-210023. Last week, however, the FBI responded to a freedom of information request for a file of exactly the same number by claiming that it did not exist. But The Sunday Times has obtained a document signed by an FBI official showing the existence of the file.
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Thanks to www.cooperativeresearch.org
April 2001: FBI Translators Learn Al-Qaeda Suicide Pilots Plan to Hit Skyscrapers in US and Europe
FBI translators Sibel Edmonds and Behrooz Sarshar will later claim to know of an important warning given to the FBI at this time. In their accounts, a reliable informant on the FBI’s payroll for at least ten years tells two FBI agents that sources in Afghanistan have heard of an al-Qaeda plot to attack the US and Europe in a suicide mission involving airplanes. Al-Qaeda agents, already in place inside the US, are being trained as pilots. By some accounts, the names of prominent US cities are mentioned. A report on the matter is filed with squad supervisor Thomas Frields, but it’s unclear if this warning reaches FBI headquarters or beyond. The two translators will later privately testify to the 9/11 Commission. [WorldNetDaily, 3/24/2004; Salon, 3/26/2004; WorldNetDaily, 4/6/2004; Village Voice, 4/14/2004] Sarshar’s notes of the interview indicate that the informant claimed his information came from Iran, Afghanistan, and Hamburg, Germany (the location of the primary 9/11 al-Qaeda cell). However, anonymous FBI officials will claim the warning was very vague and doubtful. [Chicago Tribune, 7/21/2004] In reference to this warning and apparently others, Edmonds will say, “President Bush said they had no specific information about September 11, and that’s accurate. However, there was specific information about use of airplanes, that an attack was on the way two or three months beforehand, and that several people were already in the country by May of 2001. They should’ve alerted the people to the threat we were facing.” [Salon, 3/26/2004] She will add, “There was general information about the time-frame, about methods to be used but not specifically about how they would be used and about people being in place and who was ordering these sorts of terror attacks. There were other cities that were mentioned. Major cities with skyscrapers.” [Independent, 4/2/2004]
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Recently, I have seen a lot of people asking about Sibel Edmonds’ connection to 9/11. I sent an email to Luke Ryland, the individual that knows that most about Sibel, and asked him to please give me a brief summary of Sibel’s relationship to 9/11. Here is what he wrote.
I would say:
1. (from Sibel’s letter to the commission)
“More than four months prior to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, in April 2001, a long-term FBI informant/asset who had been providing the bureau with information since 1990, provided two FBI agents and a translator with specific information regarding a terrorist attack being planned by Osama bin Laden. This asset/informant was previously a high-level intelligence officer in Iran in charge of intelligence from Afghanistan. Through his contacts in Afghanistan, he received information that: 1) Osama bin Laden was planning a major terrorist attack in the United States targeting four or five major cities; 2) the attack was going to involve airplanes; 3) some of the individuals in charge of carrying out this attack were already in place in the United States; 4) the attack was going to be carried out soon, in a few months. The agents who received this information reported it to their superior, Special Agent in Charge of Counterterrorism Thomas Frields at the FBI Washington Field Office, by filing 302 forms, and the translator translated and documented this information. No action was taken by the special agent in charge, and after 9/11 the agents and the translators were told to “keep quiet” regarding this issue.”
2. a) and b) (from Sibel’s letter to the commission):
“a) The new translation revealed certain information regarding blueprints, pictures and building material for skyscrapers being sent overseas. b) It also revealed illegal activities in obtaining visas from certain embassies in the Middle East through network contacts and bribery.”
3. (from Sibel’s letter to the commission)
“The public has not been told that certain information, despite its relevance to terrorist activities, is not shared with counterterrorism units. This was true prior to 9/11, and it remains true today. If counterintelligence receives information about terrorism that implicates certain nations, semi-legit organizations or the politically powerful in this country, then that information is not shared with counterterrorism, regardless of the consequences. In certain cases, frustrated FBI agents have cited “direct pressure by the State Department.”
4 (from Sibel’s letter to the commission)
“Dickerson and several FBI targets of investigation hastily left the United States in 2002, and no criminal investigation has been opened.”
5. (from the recent Times article):
“Following 9/11, a number of the foreign operatives were taken in for questioning by the FBI on suspicion that they knew about or somehow aided the attacks.
Edmonds said the State Department official once again proved useful. “A primary target would call the official and point to names on the list and say, ‘We need to get them out of the US because we can’t afford for them to spill the beans’,” she said. “The official said that he would ‘take care of it’.”
The four suspects on the list were released from interrogation and extradited.”
Note: I believe that the targets who left the country in point 4 are different to those in point 5 - but I’m not certain.
I think that is as much as we “know.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JANUARY 17, 2008
As United States Citizens and 9/11 widows, we wholeheartedly support the whistle-blowing efforts of Sibel Edmonds, former Contract Linguist for the FBI. Like Sibel, we too had hoped that the 9/11 Commission would bring to the fore of the American public’s attention the facts that led up to the attacks on that horrific day. We believed that the whistle-blowers would be invaluable assets to the Commission’s investigation.
Who would be in a better position to help the 9/11 Commission make recommendations to fix the failures that allowed the 9/11 attacks to succeed than current and former employees who worked in the agencies and had the courage and integrity to report on their shortcomings as well as their successes?
Sibel’s testimony and that of other whistle-blowers, if used properly or at all, should have been the basis of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations. Then the reforms would have been truly responsive to the problems that existed in protecting our nation’s security.
Sibel had first hand knowledge of the inner workings of our FBI translation department, as well as information that came from translating messages from wiretaps. Some of that information was related to lapses in protocols and procedures within the FBI translation department. These infractions were so serious that they enabled breeches in our National Security. Other information alleged criminal involvement of current and former members of the Intelligence Agencies, Congress, leaders of international and domestic organizations and businesses and high-level officials within the Bush Administration.
The claims that Sibel made were indeed shocking. She testified privately before the 9/11 Commission over the course of several hours. She supplied them with specific document information including names of expert witnesses who could corroborate her testimony. In addition, through relationships that Sibel had made with other current and former employees, she offered to the 9/11 Commission the contact information of additional potential whistle-blowers.
However, none of the information that Sibel provided to the Commission ever made its way into the Commission’s final report. Nor do we know if the Commission ever called upon the additional whistle-blowers to supply their testimonies.
The result of all Sibel’s whistle-blowing was that she was fired from the FBI and ultimately gagged when John Ashcroft, the former Attorney General, asserted an arcane law of “States Secret Privilege”. By this time, Sibel had taken her concerns and conveyed this information to her supervisors at the FBI, members of the Judiciary Committee, the FBI Inspector General and the 9/11 Commission, all of whom would have been able to corroborate her claims. In fact, the FBI Inspector General’s report publicly did. Much to our dismay, when Sibel appealed her case to the Supreme Court, she was denied attendance. The court’s decision was made without Sibel or her attorney being present – they were asked to leave the courtroom.
We can fully understand Sibel’s frustration. The failure of our government to take action on her information is clearly detrimental to our country’s security and yet little has been done to correct these problems and she remains gagged. Why? We believe that true Patriots and leaders of this nation would want an accurate assessment of Sibel’s allegations as well as the resulting appropriate action.
Sibel Edmonds knows who, hiding behind the guise of National Security and the protection of certain diplomatic relations, has abdicated their duties without regard to the deadly and costly consequences of 9/11. It is time for all of America to be informed. It is time we demand the justice that is our right and responsibility. It is time that Sibel’s information is publicly heard and acted upon to make this nation safe and time to recognize Sibel for the heroine and patriot that she truly is.
September 11th Advocates
Lorie Van Auken
Today was a great day. I got to talk with a lot of people, as did Betsy. Betsy spoke to kids from the local military academy who were skeptical, and she gave them a copy of 9/11: Press For Truth. Betsy also talked to a police officer who made us take the signs down because of town ordinance. She gave him a copy of 9/11: Press For Truth, and some pamphlets. He told her she was being noble. Two different people gave us cash contributions today for the 9/11 First Responders. That was awesome. We got a lot of honks, and very few negative responses. There was this one kid who couldn’t have been older than 10 ask if he could hold one of our signs. He told us that 9/11 had to do with going into Iraq. Smart kid. I look forward to seeing whoever can make it this upcoming Tuesday.
This is really cool to see. Those kids and their teacher should be very proud of themselves.
Thanks to www.cooperativeresearch.org
October 1994: CIA and ISI Allegedly Give Help and Secret Cache of Weapons to Taliban
The CIA supposedly backs the Taliban around the same time the Pakistani ISI starts strongly backing them (see Spring-Autumn 1994). According to a senior Pakistani intelligence source interviewed by British journalist Simon Reeves, the CIA provides Pakistan satellite information giving the secret locations of scores of Soviet trucks that contain vast amounts of arms and ammunition. The trucks were hidden in caves at the end of the Afghan war. Pakistan then gives this information to the Taliban. “The astonishing speed with which the Taliban conquered Afghanistan is explained by the tens of thousands of weapons found in these trucks….” [Reeve, 1999, pp. 191] Journalist Steve Coll will later similarly note that at this time, the Taliban gain access to “an enormous ISI-supplied weapons dump” in caves near the border town of Spin Boldak. It has enough weapons left over from the Soviet-Afghan war to supply tens of thousands of soldiers. [Coll, 2004, pp. 291] Another account will point out that by early 1995, the Taliban was equipped with armored tanks, ten combat airplanes, and other heavy weapons. They are thus able to conquer about a third of the country by February 1995. “According to the files at one European intelligence agency, these military advances can be explained mainly by ‘strong military training, not only by the Pakistani services, but also by American military advisers working under humanitarian cover.’” Later in 1995, a Turkish newsweekly will claim to have learned from a classified report given to the Turkish government that the CIA, ISI, and Saudi Arabia were all collaborating to build up the Taliban so they could quickly unite Afghanistan. [Labeviere, 1999, pp. 262-263] Selig Harrison, a long-time regional expert with extensive CIA ties, will later say that he complained at the time about how ISI support of the Taliban was backed by the CIA. “I warned them that we were creating a monster.” [Times of India, 3/7/2001]
March 2001: Regional Expert Sees Continuing Close Ties Between the CIA and ISI
Selig Harrison, a long-time regional expert working at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, says, “the CIA still has close links with the ISI.” Harrison is said to have “extensive contact with the CIA and political leaders in South Asia.” He also claims that the US worked with Pakistan to create the Taliban. [Times of India, 3/7/2001] Similarly, in 2000, Ahmed Rashid, longtime regional correspondent for the Financial Times and the Daily Telegraph, called the US “Pakistan’s closest ally, with deep links to [Pakistan’s] military and the ISI.” Rashid agrees with Harrison that the US had a role in the creation of the Taliban. [Center for Public Integrity, 9/13/2001]