Both Sibel and Coleen are mentioned in footnotes in the back of the 9/11 Report. Sibel gave 3 1/2 hours worth of testimony, and with regards to Coleen, “the commission chose to only rely upon transcripts from the Joint Senate-House Intel Inquiry. [...] As far as Ms. Rowley is aware, no one from the FBI Minneapolis (3-4 Agents with direct information) was asked to provide testimony/info to the 9/11 Commission.” - Jon
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Today, CREW has released its newest study, Those Who Dared: 30 Who Stood Up for Our Country, recognizing the brave individuals who have acted and spoken out against unethical and dishonorable conduct in the Bush administration. The full report can be found here.
The actions of those named in the report are as varied as the people themselves and cut across the federal government. Some, like Glenn Fine at the Department of Justice and John Higgins at the Department of Education, are inspectors general who have been the only check on agency-wide corruption, misconduct and undue political influence. Others are included for a single act of courage, such as Army Specialist Joseph Darby who turned over to authorities the now infamous pictures of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib, and former Deputy Attorney General James Comey, who rushed to Attorney General Ashcroft’s hospital bedside to prevent top White House officials from pressuring the Attorney General to approve an illegal surveillance program.
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Thanks to www.cooperativeresearch.org
August 20-September 11, 2001: FBI’s Radical Fundamentalist Unit Unhelpful with Moussaoui Search Warrant
The FBI Minneapolis field office wishes to search Zacarias Moussaoui’s belongings, which will later be found to contain enough information to potentially stop 9/11 (see August 16, 2001). To do so it must get the approval of the Radical Fundamentalist Unit (RFU) at FBI headquarters. However, the RFU throws obstacles in the warrant request’s path:
- RFU chief Dave Frasca stops the Minneapolis office from pursuing a criminal warrant (see August 21, 2001);
- When French authorities discover that Moussaoui is connected to the Chechen rebels, RFU agent Mike Maltbie insists that the FBI representative in Paris go through all telephone directories in France to see how many Zacarias Moussaouis live there (see August 22, 2001);
- When RFU agent Rita Flack, who is working on the Moussaoui case, reads the Phoenix memo suggesting that bin Laden is sending pilots to the US for training, she apparently does not tell her colleagues about it, even though it was addressed to several of them including Frasca (see July 10, 2001 and August 22, 2001);
- The RFU does not provide the relevant documentation to attorneys consulted about the request. In particular, Flack does not tell them about the Phoenix memo, even though one of the attorneys will later say she asked Flack if anyone is sending radical Islamists to the US to learn to fly (see August 22-28, 2001);
- When Minneapolis learns Moussaoui apparently wants to go on jihad, Frasca is not concerned and says jihad does not necessarily mean holy war. However, a top Department of Justice attorney will later say “he would have tied bells and whistles” to this comment in a request for a search warrant had he known this (see August 17, 2001);
- Maltbie tells the Minneapolis office that getting a warrant will “take a few months” (see August 24, 2001). He also tells Minneapolis, “We know what’s going on. You will not question us.” (see August 27, 2001);
- Maltbie weakens the warrant request by editing it and removing a statement by a CIA officer that Chechen rebel leader Ibn Khattab was closely connected to Osama bin Laden, despite their being intelligence linking that leader to bin Laden (see August 28, 2001);
- In a key meeting with an attorney about the request, Maltbie and Flack, who are submitting the warrant, are adamant that it is not sufficiently supported (see August 28, 2001);
- Frasca opposes a plan to put an undercover officer in the jail cell with Moussaoui to find out more information about his connections to Islamic militants (August 29, 2001 and shortly after);
- The RFU does not want a Minneapolis agent to accompany Moussaoui when he is deported (see (August 30-September 10, 2001));
- Frasca and Maltbie are said to oppose a search warrant after 9/11 (see September 11, 2001).
It is unclear why the RFU opposes the warrant so strongly. The Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General will later criticize the RFU staff, but will conclude that their errors were not that significant. [US Department of Justice, 11/2004, pp. 101-222 pdf file] A 2004 book by independent researcher Mike Ruppert (see October 1, 2004) will speculate that Frasca is actually a CIA agent. Ruppert suggests that the CIA placed Frasca in the FBI to prevent CIA operations from being compromised by FBI investigations. But he does not provide any direct evidence of ties between Frasca and the CIA. The Minneapolis agents will offer a different interpretation of RFU actions. Coleen Rowley will say, “I feel that certain facts… have, up to now, been omitted, downplayed, glossed over and/or mischaracterized in an effort to avoid or minimize personal and/or institutional embarrassment on the part of the FBI and/or perhaps even for improper political reasons.” She asks, “Why would an FBI agent deliberately sabotage a case? The superiors acted so strangely that some agents in the Minneapolis office openly joked that these higher-ups ‘had to be spies or moles… working for Osama bin Laden.’… Our best real guess, however, is that, in most cases avoidance of all ‘unnecessary’ actions/decisions by FBI [headquarters] managers… has, in recent years, been seen as the safest FBI career course. Numerous high-ranking FBI officials who have made decisions or have taken actions which, in hindsight, turned out to be mistaken or just turned out badly… have seen their careers plummet and end. This has in turn resulted in a climate of fear which has chilled aggressive FBI law enforcement action/decisions.” [Time, 5/21/2002] Minneapolis FBI agent Harry Samit will agree with explanation, telling the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General that the RFU is guilty of “obstructionism, criminal negligence, and careerism.” [Associated Press, 3/20/2006] Samit will also say that Maltbie even told him he was acting this way to “preserve the existence of his advancement potential” in the FBI. [Newsday, 3/21/2006]
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