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From: "Ben Phillipps"
Subject: Re: [NEWS]: Probe: U.S. Knew of Jet Terror Plots
Date: Sat, 21 Sep 2002 19:29:19 +1000
Organization: AustarNet (www.austarnet.com.au)
NNTP-Posting-Date: Sun, 22 Sep 2002 09:38:46 +0000 (UTC)
Amazing how we have the Media playing "I told you so" and "What if?" stories
after an event
"James Anatidae" wrote in message
> Probe: U.S. Knew of Jet Terror Plots
> Wed Sep 18, 5:23 PM ET
> By KEN GUGGENHEIM, Associated Press Writer
> WASHINGTON (AP) - Intelligence agencies failed to anticipate terrorists
> flying planes into buildings despite a dozen clues in the years before the
> Sept. 11 attacks that Osama bin Laden or others might use aircraft as
> a congressional investigator told lawmakers Wednesday as they began public
> hearings into the attacks.
> Just a month before the attacks, intelligence agencies were told of a
> possible bin Laden plot to hit the U.S. Embassy in Kenya or crash a plane
> into it.
> The preliminary report by Eleanor Hill, staff director of the joint House
> and Senate intelligence committee investigation of the terrorist strike,
> showed authorities had many more warnings about possible attacks than were
> previously disclosed.
> The reports were generally vague and uncorroborated. None specifically
> predicted the Sept. 11 attacks. But collectively the reports "reiterated a
> consistent and critically important theme: Osama bin Laden's intent to
> launch terrorist attacks inside the United States," Hill said.
> Despite that, authorities didn't alert the public and did little to
> the homeland" against an assault, she said. Agencies believed any attack
> more likely to take place overseas.
> Just two months before the attacks, a briefing for senior government
> officials said that, based on a review of intelligence over five months,
> believe that (bin Laden) will launch a significant terrorist attack
> U.S. and/or Israeli interests in the coming weeks."
> "The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties
> against U.S. facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made.
> Attack will occur with little or no warning," it said.
> Hill read most of her 30-page report to House and Senate members sitting
> together in what is believed to be the first joint investigation by
> congressional committees. The committees have been meeting behind closed
> doors since June to examine intelligence failures leading up to the
> and recommend changes.
> Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said the report revealed "far too many
> breakdowns in the intelligence gathering and processing methods."
> "Given the events and signals of the preceding decade, the intelligence
> community could have and in my judgment should have anticipated an attack
> U.S. soil on the scale of 9/11," he said.
> Pressed by Rep. Ray Lahood, R-Ill., about whether agencies had enough
> information to have prevented the attacks, Hill said it was possible, but
> there were no guarantees.
> Details of intelligence about terrorist use of airplanes could embarrass
> White House. After questions were raised in the spring about what
> Bush knew about terrorist threats before Sept. 11, national security
> Condoleezza Rice said the threats were vague and uncorroborated.
> "I don't think anybody could have predicted ... that they would try to use
> an airplane as a missile," Rice said then. "Had this president known a
> would be used as a missile, he would have acted on it."
> Hill outlined 12 examples of intelligence information on the possible
> terrorist use of airplanes as weapons, beginning in 1994 and ending with
> Nairobi plot in August 2001.
> In August 1998, U.S. intelligence learned that a "group of unidentified
> Arabs planned to fly an explosive-laden plane from a foreign country into
> the World Trade Center," says the report. The report was given to the
> Federal Aviation Administration and FBI, which took little action. The
> may now be linked to bin Laden, the report says.
> Other intelligence suggested that bin Laden supporters might fly an
> explosives-laden plane into a U.S. airport, or conduct a plot involving
> aircraft at New York and Washington, the report said.
> While generally aware of the possibility of these kinds of attacks "the
> intelligence community did not produce any specific assessments of the
> likelihood that terrorists would use airplanes as weapons," the report
> Hill also said that between May and July 2001, the National Security
> reported at least 33 communications indicating a possible, imminent
> terrorist attack. Asked why intelligence agencies didn't do more about the
> terrorist threats, Hill said they have complained about a lack of
> and the massive amount of intelligence they were receiving. "They were
> overwhelmed by almost a flood of information," she said.
> Senior CIA officials noted Hill's report also recognized their efforts to
> report on the immediacy of the threat from bin Laden before Sept. 11 and
> not look to assign blame on U.S. agencies.
> Hill stressed the investigation is continuing and a future report will
> with what was known about the 19 hijackers before the attacks.
> She also noted that CIA Director George J. Tenet has declined to
> information on two issues looked at by the inquiry: References to
> intelligence agencies supplying information to the White House, and
> of an al-Qaida leader involved in the attacks. That leader is believed to
> Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind.
> Hill said the White House and Tenet believe "the president's knowledge of
> intelligence information relevant to this inquiry remains classified" even
> when the information itself is declassified.
> Also Wednesday, two spouses of Sept. 11 victims urged the committees to
> intelligence shortcomings that allowed the attacks. "Our loved ones paid
> ultimate price for the worst American intelligence failure since Pearl
> Harbor," said Stephen Push, whose wife died aboard the plane that crashed
> into the Pentagon.
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