Able Danger Round-Up, by Nicholas Levis

What you are allowed to think and what you do think are two different things, aren't they? That's another way of saying that this forum may be NSFW, if your boss is a Republican. A liberal won't fire you for it, but they'll laugh at you in the break room and you may not get promoted. Unless you're an engineer, of course, in which your obsession with facing reality is not actually a career-disabling disability.

Re: Able Danger Round-Up, by Nicholas Levis

Postby admin » Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:55 am

What If ...
by Jim Gilmore
Co-producer of "The Man Who Knew," with research by Mike Wiser

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What if the CIA had shared information with the FBI back in Jan. 2001 about a meeting in Malaysia and a participant named Khallad? It was information that might have helped O'Neill connect the dots to the 9/11 conspirators.

And what if O'Neill had been able to return to Yemen and the FBI's Cole investigation back in Jan. 2001 to interrograte Fahad al-Quso. Al-Quso had been picked up early in the Cole probe--and al-Quso also had connections to that Malaysia meeting and had met with 9/11 hijackers who had attended it.

In September 2002, agents and officials from the CIA and FBI testified before a joint congressional panel about how their security agencies failed to fully share information about suspected terrorists and their activities in the months leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks.

As much as anyone working in counterterrorism, John O'Neill knew about this communication breakdown. In fact, just two months before Sept. 11, in a speech to Spanish police on interagency cooperation, he had asked his audience, "How much more successful could we all be if we really knew what our agencies really knew?" O'Neill's last major FBI investigation -- the attack on the USS Cole on Oct. 12, 2000 -- was a case study of just how bad inter-agency communication had become.

The Critical Meeting in Malaysia

The story of this intelligence failure begins with a 1999 CIA breakthrough -- the interception of communications from an Al Qaeda logistics center in Yemen about a meeting of operatives that would take place in January 2000 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The names of two of the participants were mentioned: Khalid Almidhar and Nawaf Alhazmi.

The CIA tracked Almidhar on his way to Malaysia. An agent told FRONTLINE that during a passport check at a stopover, the CIA even got access to his Saudi Arabian passport and learned Almidhar had been issued a multiple-entry visa to the U.S.

Once in Kuala Lumpur, the Al Qaeda operatives were photographed -- at the CIA's request -- by Malaysian authorities at a series of meetings. Reportedly, no sound recordings were made, but intelligence sources now believe the meetings were held to plan future Al Qaeda attacks. Among the men captured in the surveillance photos were:

• Almidhar and Alhazmi (later hijackers of American Flight 77 which flew into the Pentagon on Sept. 11);
• Ramzi bin al-Shibh (a Sept. 11 co-conspirator and Mohamed Atta's roommate. It would not be until after Sept. 11 that bin al-Shibh would be identified in the Malaysia surveillance photos);
• Tawfiq bin-Atash -- AKA "Khallad" (a suspected intermediary between bin Laden and plotters of the October 2000 USS Cole attack).

The CIA maintains that it did notify the FBI by e-mail of the Malaysia meetings soon after they occurred -- and that it did mention Almidhar had a U.S. visa. The FBI, however, states they have no record of this notification.

The CIA admits that it did not inform the bureau that after the Malaysia meetings ended, it tracked Almidhar and Alhazmi to Los Angeles. The CIA further admits that it failed to warn the INS or the State Department, and as a result, the men's names were not added to a terrorist watch list.

Not one of the men who attended the Malaysia meetings was, at the time, known to have been involved in any crime against the United States, so it is perhaps understandable that the CIA missed the full significance of the meetings. This changed, however, in October 2000, when the USS Cole was attacked in Yemen and 17 sailors were killed. The FBI's subsequent investigation into the Cole attack would uncover evidence that would make the CIA's continued withholding of information incomprehensible.

The USS Cole Investigation

John O'Neill and his FBI investigators were on the scene in Yemen within days of the attack on the Cole. For O'Neill, it was obvious that the attack was an Al Qaeda operation. Within weeks, the investigation led to the arrests of several men.

One young man from an elite Yemeni family, Fahad al-Quso, had been tied to the plot with physical evidence found in an Al Qaeda safe house. At the FBI's urgings, Yemeni authorities arrested al-Quso in December 2000.

Meanwhile, the search continued for bigger fish in the conspiracy. One was a man known as "Khallad" (real name: Tafiq bin-Atash). The FBI believed Khallad helped plan and run the Cole operation. At this point, what O'Neill and investigators did not know was that Khallad had been on the CIA's radar screen for about a year because of the surveillance photos taken at the January 2000 Malaysia meeting.

If the CIA now knew -- as a result of the Cole probe -- that Khallad was an Al Qaeda operative tied to a deadly attack against the U.S., the questions begging to be asked were: Who then were the other Al Qaeda representatives with him at that Malaysia meeting? Where were they now? And were they planning additional attacks?

It appears the CIA never asked those questions.

"Someday, someone will die and the public will not understand."

Not until June 11, 2001 did the CIA sit down with those in charge of the Cole investigation at the New York office and show them some of the photos taken at the Malaysia meeting. They asked for help in identifying the men. (John O'Neill was not at that meeting.) A high-ranking FBI official at this meeting told FRONTLINE that when they asked the CIA representatives for more information about Almidhar and Alhazmi -- men the FBI had until then never heard of -- they were told they were not cleared to know more. It was an astonishing meeting -- reportedly, it turned into a shouting match.

Two days later, in Saudi Arabia, Khalid Almidhar received a new American visa. He got on a plane and returned to the United States on July 4, 2001.

According to the September 2002 CIA testimony before the joint congressional panel looking into the Sept. 11 intelligence failures, the agency had not conducted a review of cables in their files concerning the Malaysia meetings until July 13, 2001. This time FBI agents were allowed to participate in the review. When this group found the information concerning Almidhar and Alhazmi's travels to the United States, their names were at last added to terrorist watch lists. But it was too late; they were already in the United States.

Meanwhile, Washington was on high alert. There were warning signs that Al Qaeda was planning some type of attack but no one could put the puzzle pieces together. In New York, the Cole investigation was at a standstill. The FBI had been pulled out of Yemen in June due to security concerns, and John O'Neill, preparing to retire, was no longer actively involved in the investigation.

Finally, on Aug. 23, 2001, the CIA sent an urgent memo to the New York FBI office seeking help in tracking down Almidhar and Alhazmi. At long last, the significance of the information in its files seems to have dawned on the agency. A quick check of hotels listed by the terrorists as places of residence on their travel entry cards came up empty. One New York FBI agent testified before Congress in September 2002 that he had requested use of "full criminal investigative resources" to find Almidhar. But headquarters denied his request. The reason given was that Almidhar was not under criminal investigation, and headquarters cited the wall between prosecution and intelligence as posing a problem. The agent's e-mail response to FBI headquarters, dated Aug. 29, 2001, was that "Someday someone will die and the public will not understand why we were not more effective and throwing every resource we had at certain problems."

Postscript: Reconsidering the Yemen Investigation

Following Sept. 11, Fahad al-Quso was interrogated again in Yemen on Sept. 12, 13 and 14 by FBI and Navy investigators, who had only just returned to Yemen a few days earlier. One of O'Neill's last acts at the FBI in late August 2001 was to sign the authorization for that return.

Interrogators showed al-Quso the CIA surveillance photos taken at the critical January 2000 Malaysia meetings. Al-Quso identified Alhazmi and Almidhar and admitted he was a bagman for Al Qaeda, presumably to fund the conspirators' future operations. He claims he wasn't at the meetings, but that Alhazmi and Almidhar met with him soon after the meetings concluded.

One investigator admitted to FRONTLINE that al-Quso's connections to the 9/11 conspirators was a staggering revelation, and he still had nightmares about it. When asked what might have been discovered if they'd learned of al-Quso's connections earlier, he responded, "the possibilities are mind-boggling."

So there was the trail -- the pieces of information linking the Malaysia meetings in January 2000, to the USS Cole attack of October 2000, to the 9/11 plot. At those meetings in Malaysia, it's believed both the 9/11 and Cole plots were planned, their operatives met with each other, and investigators suspect one or more Al Qaeda operatives at the meetings worked both the Cole and 9/11 plots.

The stunning and logical question that hangs in the air about John O'Neill's compromised USS Cole investigation in Yemen is, "What if?"

What if FBI headquarters had backed O'Neill and pushed the State Department to allow him to return to Yemen in January 2001 (over the objections of U.S. Ambassador Barbara Bodine) to continue his investigation?

If O'Neill had been allowed to go back, what could he have done that wasn't already being done? Given his aggressiveness in investigations, it would have meant more wiretaps, more surveillance of suspects, and pushing the government for more arrests. And as his colleagues like Barry Mawn, Clint Guenther and Mary Jo White knew so well, it all would have been done in the John O'Neill style:

-- wining and dining the head of Yemen's PSO, Yemen's equivalent to the FBI...

-- working with the CIA agents in Yemen and building on those past relationships from his Station Alex days...

-- holding the Yemeni officials' feet to the fire to get more access to those detained, and using the interrogations to slowly unravel the Al Qaeda network in Yemen -- especially, Fahad al-Quso, who O'Neill knew had been holding back ...

This is the scenario that might have played out in Yemen and the one that still bothers O'Neill's former allies and supporters. For them, it is conceivable that, in the end, John O'Neill would have been able to learn about that critical January 2000 meeting in Malaysia, and to start connecting the dots that ultimately led to Sept. 11, 2001.
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Re: Able Danger Round-Up, by Nicholas Levis

Postby admin » Tue Apr 12, 2016 9:31 pm

Omar al-Bayoumi
by Wikipedia
April 12, 2016

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Omar al-Bayoumi (Arabic: عمر البيومي‎) is a Saudi national who allegedly befriended two of the 9/11 hijackers in the United States.[1]

Saudi Arabia firmly maintains that al-Bayoumi is not an agent of theirs, and the FBI has concluded that he was not knowingly involved in the 9/11 attacks.[2]

Income

Al-Bayoumi was probably born around 1959, but virtually nothing is known of al-Bayoumi's early life.[citation needed] Until 1994 he lived in Saudi Arabia, working for the Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation, a department headed by Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz.

In August 1994, al-Bayoumi moved to the United States and settled down in San Diego, California, where he became involved in the local Muslim community. He was very inquisitive, and was known to always carry around a video camera. According to several sources [3] [4] (Newsweek 11/22/03, 11/24/03) ,[5] al-Bayoumi was strongly suspected by many residents of being a Saudi government spy. The man the FBI considered their "best source" in San Diego said that al-Bayoumi "must be an intelligence officer for Saudi Arabia or another foreign power," according to Newsweek Magazine.

During this time, al-Bayoumi was in the United States as part of a work-study program.[6] The Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation paid al-Bayoumi's salary through a government contractor.[7] When the contractor proposed terminating its relationship with al-Bayoumi in 1999, a Saudi government official replied with a letter marked "extremely urgent" that the government wanted al-Bayoumi's contract renewed "as quickly as possible." [8] As a result, Al-Bayoumi's employment with the project continued.

In June 1998, an anonymous Saudi philanthropist donated $500,000 to have a Kurdish mosque built in San Diego, on the condition that al-Bayoumi be hired as maintenance manager with a private office. The donation was accepted, but because al-Bayoumi rarely showed up for work, the mosque's leadership became unhappy with him.[citation needed] Eventually, they moved to fire him.

Some time in late 1999 or early 2000, Omar al-Bayoumi began receiving another monthly payment–this one from Princess Haifa bint Faisal, the wife of Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. Checks for between $2,000 and $3,000 were sent monthly from the princess, through two or three intermediaries, to al-Bayoumi.[9] The payments continued for several years, totaling between $50,000 and $75,000.

Al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar

In January 2000, al-Bayoumi drove to Los Angeles, saying he was going "to pick up visitors", according to an FBI source.[citation needed] First, al-Bayoumi visited the Saudi consulate there in LA and had a closed-door meeting with Fahad al Thumairy, according to Newsweek. (After 9/11, al Thumairy was barred entry into the U.S. due to his links to terrorism.[10]) It was only afterward that al-Bayoumi met his visitors.

On January 15, 2000, future 9/11 hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar flew to Los Angeles, California from Bangkok, Thailand, just after attending the 2000 Al Qaeda Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The final 9/11 Commission Report noted:

Hazmi and Mihdhar were ill-prepared for a mission in the United States. . . Neither had spent any substantial time in the West, and neither spoke much, if any, English. It would therefore be plausible that they or [Khalid Sheikh Mohammed] would have tried to identify, in advance, a friendly contact for them in the United States. . . We believe it unlikely that Hazmi and Mihdhar. . . would have come to the United States without arranging to receive assistance from one or more individuals informed in advance of their arrival."


Al-Bayoumi met the hijackers at a restaurant after their landing; he claims he met them by accident. He invited the two hijackers to move to San Diego with him, and they did. Al-Bayoumi found them an apartment, co-signed the lease, and advanced them $1500 to help pay for their rent. The 9/11 Commission, however, concluded that “[n]either then nor later did Bayoumi give money to either Hazmi or Mihdhar.” [11] Al-Bayoumi also helped the two obtain driver's licenses, rides to Social Security, and information on flight schools.[12] Al-Bayoumi says he was being kind to fellow Muslims in need, and had no idea of their plans. But according to Newsweek magazine a former top FBI official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, "We firmly believed that he had knowledge [of the 9/11 plot], and that his meeting with them that day was more than coincidence."[citation needed] Other FBI officials, however, concluded that al-Bayoumi was not a witting accomplice of the hijackers.[13] As one FBI official explained, “We could not find any contact between him and terrorists, any involvement (with al-Qaeda). There was nothing to indicate he's any different from any of the hundreds of people who had contact with the hijackers, who were unwitting to the fact that they were going to be hijackers. It just wasn't there.” [14]

Al-Hazmi and al-Mihdar's neighbors later reported that the two struck them as quite odd. They had no furniture, they constantly played flight simulator games, and limousines picked them up for short rides in the middle of the night.[15] [16] During this time, al-Bayoumi lived across the street from them. Throughout this period his salary greatly increased. [17] Al-Hazmi and al-Mihdar later moved into the house of Abdussattar Shaikh, a friend of al-Bayoumi's, who was secretly working as an FBI informant at the time.[18]

Arrest and release

In July 2001, Omar al-Bayoumi moved to England to pursue a PhD at Aston University. Ten days after the September 11 attacks he was arrested by British authorities working with the FBI. He was held on an immigration charge while the FBI and Scotland Yard investigated him. His phone calls, bank accounts, and associations were researched, but the FBI says they found no connections to terrorism. When interrogators asked Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, whether he knew al-Bayoumi, he said that he did not.[19] He was released, and went back to studying at Aston,[20] and later moved to Saudi Arabia.

The issue was reopened when the potential links between al-Bayoumi and the Saudi Embassy were reported in the press. Under pressure from Congress, the FBI re-examined the case. They concluded that the allegations were "without merit," and they "abandoned further investigation." [21] But contemporary news accounts reported that "countless intelligence leads that might help solve [the case] appear to have been under investigated or completely overlooked by the FBI." [22]

The final 9/11 Commission reports stated "we have seen no credible evidence that he believed in violent extremism, or knowingly aided extremist groups." [23]

References

1. Mathis-Lilley, Ben (April 11, 2016). "Your Guide to the 28 Classified Pages About Saudi Arabia and 9/11 That Obama Might Release". Slate.
2. Shannon, Elaine; Zagorin, Adam; Duffy, Michael. "Feds Doubt Allegations of Saudi Terror Funding". Time.
3. [1]
4. [2]
5. [3]
6. Final Report on the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. p. 218.
7. Final Report on the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. pp. 218, 515 n.18.
8. [4]
9. [5]
10. [6]
11. Final Report on the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. p. 219.
12. "Funding Terror". In These Times.
13. Shannon, Elaine; Zagorin, Adam; Duffy, Michael. "Feds Doubt Allegations of Saudi Terror Funding". Time.
14. Shannon, Elaine; Zagorin, Adam; Duffy, Michael. "Feds Doubt Allegations of Saudi Terror Funding". Time.
15. [7]
16. [8]
17. http://www.kpbs.org/news/2011/sep/07/qu ... mber-11th/
18. [9]
19. Final Report on the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. pp. 515–516 n.19.
20. [10]
21. [11]
22. [12]
23. Final Report on the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. p. 218.
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Re: Able Danger Round-Up, by Nicholas Levis

Postby admin » Tue Apr 12, 2016 9:41 pm

Mohamed Atta apparently visited a U. S. government office (Department of Agriculture) to apply for a $650,000 loan to buy a cropdusting airplane.
by Johnelle Bryant
Xymphora.blogspot.com
June 9, 2002

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Mohamed Atta apparently visited a U. S. government office (Department of Agriculture) to apply for a $650,000 loan to buy a cropdusting airplane. An interesting point is that he is supposed to have visited the office in the spring of 2000, about 17 months before September 11, 2001, i. e., the end of April (or perhaps May), but he is officially supposed to have arrived in the United States in June 2000! While discussing this doomed mission with the loan officer who turned him down because it did not make sense, Atta made many odd statements, all of which are an obvious attempt to leave the impression that he was really and truly a crazed fundamentalist Islamic terrorist. He lays it on so thick, I don't know how he managed to keep from laughing:

1. He almost refused to deal with her, because she is a woman.

2. He admired a picture of Washington, D. C. that she had hanging on the wall of her office to a ridiculous degree, pointing specifically to the White House and the Pentagon, and then offered to buy it with theatrical flourish by throwing a wad of money down on the desk. When she refused to sell it to him she recounts: "I believe he said, 'How would America like it if another country destroyed that city and some of the monuments in it' like the cities in his country had been destroyed?" This is very weird, as Atta is supposed to come from Egypt, where cities haven't been destroyed for a long time.

3. He gave her evil, terrorist looks with his 'very scary' black eyes.

4. She said he referred to a safe in her office and she recounts: "He asked me what would prevent him from going behind my desk and cutting my throat and making off with the millions of dollars in that safe."

5. He talked of the massive size of the chemical tank he wanted to install, filling the whole inside of the plane except for the pilot's seat.

6. He became 'very agitated' when he found out that there was an application process and she presumably wouldn't just hand him $650,000 in cash there and then.

7. He asked her about security at the World Trade Center and what she knew of Phoenix, Chicago, Seattle and Los Angeles, and was particularly interested in open-topped Texas Stadium.

8. He mentioned Osama bin Laden, who she had never heard of, and said that bin Laden "would someday be known as the world's greatest leader."

Of course, seeing as he was in the United States on a student visa, how he ever thought he would be entitled to such a loan is beyond belief. He knew he wasn't allowed to stay to ever be able to use the airplane for any plausibly legitimate purpose. Even if he mistakenly thought he could get away with this, what was his reasoning for sending three other terrorists to the same office on the much the same mission? In one case, he put on glasses as a disguise and pretended to be the accountant of one of the other hijacker-applicants, another obvious attempt to draw attention to himself. The whole thing must have sounded like a Monty Python sketch (it reminds me of the Dead Parrot sketch when Michael Palin puts on the fake mustache). The ridiculous overacting left the bureaucrat completely unsuspicious. I imagine if he had asked her if it would be OK for him to fill the plane full of explosives and fly it into the World Trade Center, she would have replied that she would strongly object to that as blowing up the collateral would be a breach of one of the terms of his loan agreement. If this isn't some kind of hoax, what we have here is another example of Atta creating his 'legend', filling out his terrorist personal identity before a witness who would surely remember him. Notice again that he appears to have no fear that this bureaucrat will report him before September 11 and end the terrorist project he has spent so much work on. One question: why has it taken this long for this story to come out when she is supposed to have informed the authorities about the incident shortly after September 11?
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