Evidence has not been presented to demonstrate how the nineteen accused hijackers could have accomplished the crimes of 9/11. However, there are remarkable links between the alleged hijackers and some of the people reviewed in this book. Wirt Walker, for example, had his offices at Wiley Post Airport in OKC where some of the suspects were seen. Richard Clarke represented the UAE, the country from which the accused men traveled and their funding came. Louis Freeh and George Tenet had close relationships with Saudi Prince Bandar, whose wife was implicated in financing two of the suspects. Another example is that the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 was led by Porter Goss, the former CIA operative who represented Florida districts where many of the alleged hijackers had lived and trained.
In his book At the Center of the Storm, George Tenet wrote about how Pakistani ISI General Mahmud Ahmed was meeting with Congressman Goss as the first plane struck the WTC. Thirty minutes after the second plane hit, Ahmed was being chauffeured along Constitution Avenue in Washington when smoke from the Pentagon became visible. Then, astonishingly, Goss showed up at the Pentagon too, and he spoke to reporters only minutes after a plane reportedly hit that building.
The Goss-Ahmed meeting is interesting due to the Pakistani ISI’s history with the CIA in funding and arming the “Afghan Arabs” from which al Qaeda evolved. The meeting even included discussion of Osama bin Laden, who was allegedly striking at the heart of the very capital where the attendees met.
Ahmed has been linked to accused 9/11 paymaster Omar Saeed Sheikh, and has been suspected of ordering Sheikh to wire money to Mohamed Atta before the attacks. Although the latter accusation has been challenged, it seems to be an unusual coincidence that the leader of the Pakistani ISI would be present as al Qaeda’s historic attack was taking place. Ahmed’s meeting with Goss is also remarkable in light of Goss’ history as a CIA operative.
Goss was a ten-year veteran of the CIA’s clandestine operations. Later, as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, he was responsible for most of the intelligence abuses that were identified by the 9/11 Commission investigation. Regardless of this fact, it was Goss who replaced George Tenet as DCI after Tenet resigned. As DCI, Goss continued the obstruction of the 9/11 investigations and facilitated the crimes that were committed in the name of 9/11.
Because he led the first investigation into 9/11, Goss should have been above reproach, but he was far from it. In fact, his history as a deep state operative, his proximity to the alleged hijackers, and his behavior during the investigations suggest that he might have had a role in the attacks.
The History of Porter
Goss attended Yale University, where he was a member of the secret society Book and Snake. He was also a member of the Psi Upsilon fraternity with William H.T. Bush, the brother of George H.W. Bush. At Yale, Goss joined the Army Reserve Officers Training (ROTC) program and, during his junior year in 1961, was recruited by the CIA.
Over the next few years he was based at JM/WAVE, the CIA station in Miami where he worked with famous deep state operatives such as Ted Shackley. In a 2002 interview with The Washington Post, Goss stated that he performed “small-boat handling,” leading to “some very interesting moments in the Florida Straits.”
It has been reported that Goss was one of the hundreds of CIA officers employed in Operation Mongoose, the covert U.S. project to displace Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Vince Cannistraro, who was a CIA agent at JM/WAVE, claimed that Goss “was involved in the Bay of Pigs operation, he worked out of Miami with Cuban exiles… and took part in… attempts to overthrow Castro”.
Goss later acknowledged that he had recruited and run foreign agents and he said that he would be uncomfortable traveling to Cuba. Reuters called him a “mystery man,” and said that he had been “close-mouthed about his past.”
In an interview Goss claimed that during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis he worked for the CIA as a photo interpreter. Wirt Walker’s father did the same kind of work for the CIA’s National Photographic Interpretation Center at the same time.
Over the next decade, Goss worked for the CIA’s Directorate of Operations as a covert operative in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Western Europe. His primary role was to infiltrate trade unions in the fight against the perceived threat of communism.
In his book, Barry and the Boys, journalist Daniel Hopsicker published a photograph that he had received from the wife of CIA operative and drug-trafficker Barry Seal. Hopsicker claimed that the picture “was taken at a night-club in Mexico City on January 22, 1963” and included members of a team called Operation 40. One of these men, according to Hopsicker, was Porter Goss.
Operation 40 was a CIA-sponsored team of operatives accused of conducting assassinations. According to a senior member of the Cuban security apparatus, it was funded by an “important group of businessmen headed by George Bush (Snr.) and Jack Crichton, both Texas oilmen.” Operation 40 would assassinate military or political members of a target foreign country, as well as those suspected of being agents of those foreign countries. There have even been suspicions that the group was involved in the assassination of President Kennedy.
Frank Sturgis, one of the ”plumbers’ who broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate hotel in 1972, later admitted to having been part of Operation 40. Other infamous CIA operatives who belonged to the group were Thomas Clines and Ted Shackley.
In 1970, Goss came down with a bacteriological infection that nearly killed him. The following year he left the CIA and purchased a home on Sanibel Island in Florida. Starting in 1974 he spent eight years in Sanibel City government. Then, in an unusual move by then Governor Bob Graham, Republican Goss was appointed to fill a Democrat vacancy as commissioner of Lee County.
Later, in 1988, Goss was elected to the U.S. Congress as a Republican representative from the 13th district. The 13th district included Venice, where Huffman Aviation was located. After the district was re-zoned, Goss became the representative from district 14, where he was re-elected four times. In the few years prior to 9/11, the alleged terrorists used Goss’ district, in Charlotte County, as one of their main bases of operations.
The area that Goss represented was known for a long history of CIA-linked drug running. In fact, the man who ran Huffman Aviation, the flight school where Mohamed Atta and friends trained, was arrested for drug trafficking in 2012. That was not surprising given that “three weeks after Atta showed up at Huffman Aviation, the flight school’s owner, Wally Hilliard, had his Learjet (N351WB) seized on a runway at Orlando Executive Airport. It was carrying 43 lbs of heroin.”
The drug-trafficking in Goss’ district went on while he was the congressional representative there, and while the brother of Stratesec’s Marvin Bush, Jeb Bush, was governor. What’s more, Jeb Bush was noted arriving at Huffman Aviation, within a day after the 9/11 attacks, to recover and escort documents from Huffman Aviation back to Washington.
The history of covert drug operations in that area went back at least 60 years. The tiny Venice Airport, where the alleged hijackers trained, originated as the Venice Army Airfield and was the home of the operatives who worked for General Claire Chennault. Civil Air Transport, the successor to Chennault’s Flying Tigers and the world’s largest heroin-trafficking operation at the time, transported the drugs that funded the early covert operations of the CIA, and those airmen worked closely with organized crime while doing so.
In American War Machine, Peter Dale Scott described how many covert U.S. operations since World War II have been intimately connected with, even dependent on, illicit drug trafficking. From Mexico to Laos and Vietnam, and more recently in Afghanistan, a “shadow CIA” has worked with organized crime figures and banking networks like BCCI to use drug money to undermine democracy. Such deep state operations have been overlooked by those responsible for oversight of related U.S. intelligence and military operations.
In 1996, Goss became chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. That same year, Goss made a concerted effort to support Newt Gingrich during a House Ethics Committee tax fraud investigation. As a member of the committee, Goss refused to remove himself from the process despite his financial support for Gingrich’s political action group. Goss then wrote a letter urging Republican representatives to support Gingrich for the Speaker of the House.
Later, Goss oversaw the House Intelligence Committee’s inquiry into the drug and gun trafficking that supported the Nicaraguan Contras. This scandal had been exposed a decade earlier by Senator John Kerry’s Senate investigation. The Goss inquiry covered-up the CIA’s involvement and ignored the evidence that Vice President Bush was involved.
In the years just after 9/11, Goss continued to be a stalwart defender of the new Bush Administration’s policies and plans. He supported the deceptions used to terrify Americans about Iraq’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. He repeated false claims that Iraq and Saddam Hussein were behind the 9/11 attacks. He promoted the idea that Syria and Iran needed to be attacked to defend American interests. And he covered-up the use of White House-approved torture.
Goss made a statement regarding U.S. intelligence activity on terrorism in the summer of 2001, saying that the “chatter level [went] way off the charts” around this time and continued until 9/11. Due to Goss’ role as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, he would have been expected to know such things.
However, between January 1998 and the attacks, Goss’s House Intelligence Committee held just two hearings on terrorism. Despite his own lax approach to the subject, after the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Africa, Goss declared that the CIA had become too “gun-shy.”
In August 2001, Goss traveled, along with Senators Jon Kyl and Bob Graham, to Pakistan to meet with President Pervez Musharraf. Perhaps coincidentally, Senator Kyl’s state of Arizona was another major base of operations for the alleged 9/11 hijackers, as described in part by FBI agent Ken Williams’ famous Phoenix Memo.
Taliban leaders were involved in Goss’ Pakistan meeting, which included discussions about extraditing Bin Laden. But apparently no agreements were made and Pakistan opted to stay neutral. George Tenet didn’t get what he wanted from General Ahmed either, having made a trip to Pakistan only three months earlier to meet with the ISI director. As with Goss’ August meeting, Ahmed was reportedly not willing to cooperate with Tenet on issues related to Bin Laden.
According to Graham, in the September 11 meeting with Ahmed they “were talking about terrorism, specifically terrorism generated from Afghanistan” and how the U.S. wanted more support from Pakistan in the hunt for Bin Laden. Reportedly, Ahmed said Pakistan would not help unless the U.S. lifted economic sanctions against Pakistan.
Just two years earlier, FBI informant Randy Glass had gained some interesting information from Pakistani ISI agent Rajaa Gulum Abbas. As Glass, Abbas and two others were having dinner in a New York City restaurant surrounded by undercover FBI agents, Abbas pointed to the WTC and said, “Those towers are coming down.” Abbas later made two other references to an attack on the WTC. Glass sent this information to Senator Graham in August 2001, yet it is not clear whether Graham and Goss brought this foreknowledge up at either their meeting in Pakistan or with ISI chief Ahmed on the morning of 9/11.
The attacks of 9/11 certainly changed Pakistan’s tune. Shortly after 9/11, under pressure from Washington, President Musharraf fired Ahmed and announced sweeping changes within the country. He outlawed several Islamic groups and instituted laws preventing the building of any new mosques in the country without government permission. Within days of the attacks, Bush responded by lifting the economic sanctions against Pakistan.
At the same time, people were beginning to question what the Bush Administration might have known about a potential al Qaeda hijacking plot. As a member of Congress presumed to be independent of the Administration despite his history of supporting the Bush clan, Goss shouted down the accusations: “The only thing that this uproar does is give aid and comfort to the enemy and I don’t think there’s anybody who wants to give aid and comfort to the terrorists,” said Goss. By that time, he was leading the first official inquiry into the attacks.
The Joint Congressional Inquiry
In the months following 9/11, both Goss and Senator Graham rejected calls for an investigation. However, in December the Senate voted for one anyway, which led both Bush and Cheney to attempt to stop it or limit its scope. After consultations with Cheney, Senate leader Tom Daschle agreed to an inquiry that would be restricted to intelligence issues only. Moreover, it would be conducted by the House and Senate committees which had overseen the related intelligence work. The Inquiry was announced on Valentine’s Day, 2002, more than five months after the attacks.
Goss immediately made it clear that the Inquiry would not be looking for guilt or accountability with regard to 9/11. Saying he was “looking for solutions, not scapegoats,” Goss continued to defend the White House with regard to warnings the president had received about an impending attack, saying it was “a lot of nonsense.” Throughout the inquiry, the approach taken by Goss and Graham was one of uncritical deference to the Bush Administration and the intelligence community.
As discussed in Chapter 4, the FBI refused to cooperate. One glaring example of this was that the Bureau would not allow Inquiry staff to interview Abdussattar Shaikh, the FBI informant that two of the alleged hijackers had lived with in San Diego. The FBI also refused to serve a deposition notice and subpoena on the informant, despite knowing where he was.
Not only that, although the Joint Inquiry agreed to serve only written interrogatories on the informant, and the FBI had agreed to that plan, Shaikh’s lawyer later said that his client would not respond to the interrogatories. The attorney also warned that, if subpoenaed, Shaikh would be unwilling to testify unless he was granted immunity.
According to the final report from the Joint Inquiry, when interviewed by the FBI Shaikh gave inaccurate information and had an “inconclusive” polygraph examination about his foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. Apparently, some FBI agents believed that Shaikh had knowledge not only of the two alleged hijackers with whom he lived, but also of alleged pilot Hani Hanjour.
The Joint Inquiry’s passive response to Shaikh’s lack of cooperation was astonishing. It cannot be reconciled with the approach that Goss and the intelligence agencies took with other persons of interest. This informant clearly had more information and stronger links to the alleged hijackers than almost anyone. Yet the FBI was intent on protecting him and the Joint Inquiry, led by Porter Goss, allowed that protection.
Although torture should never be condoned, the public must wonder why authorities did not simply arrest and torture this man as they did so many others. How can this preferential treatment of Shaikh, someone who obviously knew something about al Qaeda operatives, be reconciled with the treatment of other “persons of interest”? Shaikh was handled as if he was too important to be troubled, whereas people like Abu Zubaydah, who turned out to not have any connection to al Qaeda, were treated horrendously. This difference might have had something to do with Shaikh’s ties to Saudi Arabia.
As reviewed in Chapters 4 and 6, the Saudi who brought Al-Mihdhar and Al-Hazmi to San Diego to live with Shaikh was Omar Al-Bayoumi. Previously the subject of an FBI investigation, Al-Bayoumi appeared to be a Saudi intelligence agent. He was associated with the Saudi Civilian Aviation Administration and Dallah AVCO Trans Arabia Company. Dallah was owned by Sheik Saleh Abdullah Kamel, a member of the Golden Chain who was suspected of having provided financial backing for al Qaeda.
In November 2002, an FBI official sent a letter to Graham and Goss saying, “the Administration would not sanction a staff interview with [Abdussattar Shaikh], nor did the Administration agree to allow the FBI to serve a subpoena or a notice of deposition on [him].” The letter caused Graham to comment, “We were seeing in writing what we had suspected for some time: the White House was directing the cover-up.”
However, the Joint Inquiry rolled over on other important issues. As stated in Chapter 5, the Inquiry could not convince DCI Tenet to be interviewed, and operational cables and certain other documents could not be viewed other than at CIA headquarters. Further restrictions included that no copies could be made. Clearly, protecting the CIA’s secrets was more important than the safety of potential victims of terrorism.
As with the CIA, the FBI would not allow the Joint Inquiry to take notes on or make copies of documents deemed sensitive by the Bureau. This restricted the Inquiry’s ability to complete its charter, which was very limited to begin with. Yet Goss did not complain.
The FBI took the same approach with the 9/11 Commission. According to author Philip Shenon, the FBI was “as uncooperative with the 9/11 Commission as it had been in the Congressional investigation” and was “painfully slow to meet the Commission’s initial request for documents and interviews.”
It was claimed by insiders that Goss and Graham exercised “near total control over the panel, forbidding the inquiry’s staff to speak to other lawmakers.” Other members of the Inquiry complained that the two co-chairmen withheld information and controlled the process. One way in which Graham and Goss controlled the investigation was to ask the FBI to look into panel members who might have leaked information. This resulted in the FBI investigating the Inquiry as the Inquiry was investigating the FBI.
Goss and Graham, who represented the areas where CIA operations and drug-running had become common and terrorist training had occurred, wanted to keep the facts about 9/11 under wraps. They were, however, curiously coy about one major U.S. ally: Saudi Arabia.
The report from the Joint Inquiry, which was partially released in December 2002 and then finalized in July 2003, appeared to imply Saudi government involvement in the 9/11 attacks. A significant section of the report, 28-pages in length, was never released but hints were made that it contained evidence implicating the Saudis. The report, however, said nothing about the probable links between the Pakistani government, including General Ahmed’s ISI, and al Qaeda.
Senator Graham continued for the next decade to suggest that Saudi Arabia may have played a role in the 9/11 attacks. Others like Richard Clarke joined Graham in making these suggestions, yet they always seemed to ignore the many interesting connections between U.S. leaders and Saudi Arabian royals.
Shortly after the public release of the Inquiry’s final report, the Los Angeles Times claimed that “for all that it answers about the attacks, the nearly 900-page report is stocked with reminders of the many questions that remain—about other puzzling aspects of the plot, the possible role of foreign governments, and even such politically charged matters as what Presidents Clinton and Bush had been told about al-Qaeda.”
Goss replied, “I can tell you right now that I don’t know exactly how the plot was hatched. I don’t know the where, the when and the why and the who in every instance. That’s after two years of trying. And we will someday have the documents to exploit, we will have the people to interrogate, we will have ways to get more information to put the rest of the pieces of this puzzle on the table. But right now, we don’t have it.”
Years later, Graham claimed that the White House had disrupted the Inquiry’s work. He said, “Looking back at it, I think we were clearly set up by Dick Cheney and the White House. They wanted to shut us down. And they wanted to shut down a legitimate Congressional inquiry that might raise questions in part about whether their own people had aggressively pursued al-Qaeda in the days prior to the September 11 attacks. The vice president attempted to manipulate the situation, and he attempted to manipulate us. But if his goal was to get us to back off, he was unsuccessful.” According to Graham, Goss was of the same opinion.
Goss agreed that he and Graham were of like mind, even to the point of saying they were “like Frick and Frack” at the time of the inquiry. But the idea that Goss felt obstructed by the White House does not make sense in view of Goss’ own actions.
For one thing, as a congressman Goss had been, and would continue to be, essentially a Bush Administration cheerleader. Additionally, there was no evidence that Goss was in any way interested in achieving truth or justice with regard to the crimes of 9/11.
An example, as stated in Chapter 5, was that the CIA’s IG report on 9/11 originally called for accountability with respect to certain individuals including DCI Tenet. In 2004, DCI Goss changed that wording to call for “accountability boards” to be formed at a later date. Then in 2005, when the revised report came out, Goss removed the accountability boards altogether.
The Inquiry protected not only the CIA and FBI, however. The Inquiry’s report also concealed the possible involvement of the United Arab Emirates. The report noted the FBI claim that “[t]he operational planning for the September 11th attacks took place in overseas locations, most notably Germany, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.” This is remarkable in that the report went on to make detailed comments in subsequent sections on Malaysia and Germany, but, tellingly, ignored the UAE entirely.
A similar example was the Joint Inquiry’s treatment of the ease with which the alleged hijackers received their travel visas. After noting that special treatment was given to visa applicants from two countries, the report asked why, considering that the “pervasiveness in Saudi Arabia of Wahhabism, a radical, anti-American variant of Islam, was well-known before 9/11.” Saudi Arabia was singled out, but the same tough questions were not asked of the second country, the UAE. Neither Richard Armitage nor his subordinate, former Sears World Trade executive Grant Green, were examined at all – despite having overseen the Bureau of Consular Affairs which issued the visas.
Was the preferential treatment of the UAE a result of the close relationship that Richard Clarke had with its leaders? More specifically, was Clarke’s relationship merely a result of the fact that the UAE owned BCCI and therefore was able to finance and conduct CIA-like covert operations as part of a private or officially-sanctioned network? In other words, was 9/11 a CIA-like operation conducted with the help of countries that the Joint Inquiry failed to criticize – Pakistan and the UAE?
Considering these shortcomings should lead investigators to review where the evidence against the accused terrorists originated. Some of it, as with the magic passport found at the WTC, was provided by organizations like the NYC Police Department, which were controlled by suspects such as Rudy Giuliani. Most of the remaining evidence came from the FBI and the CIA but often originated in the UAE and in Florida.
As discussed earlier, the UAE was the source of the much of the alleged funding of the alleged hijackers. And evidence concerning the travel of the accused was traced back to the UAE, as all but three of the nineteen alleged hijackers traveled through the UAE on their way to the United States.
Porter Goss’ home district was the primary base for Atta and Al-Shehhi, two of the alleged pilots. Many of the alleged hijackers stayed in Florida, however, and some were said to have trained at the Pensacola Air Base. In fact, much of the evidence that established the official account about the accused men came from Florida. Twelve of the young men were said to have opened bank accounts in Florida, primarily through one institution – SunTrust Bank. Deposits made to these accounts often came from the United Arab Emirates.
Like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, many of the alleged hijackers seemed to live more like playboys than devout Muslims. Their behavior, associations, and dress habits indicated that they might be members of an organized crime syndicate, or a covert network of operatives. That makes some sense, considering that the old covert operative Porter Goss, who represented the areas where the accused lived and trained, did not seem to want to find the truth about the crimes for which they were accused.
The 9/11 Commission
Taking off from where the Joint Inquiry had left off, the 9/11 Commission accepted the Inquiry’s findings uncritically and staffed its investigation with many of the same people.
The Commission’s stated charter was to “provide the fullest possible account of the events surrounding 9/11.” The Commission’s leaders, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, claimed their investigation would be much broader than that of the Inquiry. Kean suggested the Inquiry’s mandate covered only “one-seventh or one-eighth” of what the Commission’s investigation would cover.
In the end, however, the 9/11 Commissionaddressed less than one third of the questions posed by the 9/11 victims’ family members. It seemed that, as late as fourteen months after the attacks, the U.S. government had by its own admission examined only a small fraction of the facts surrounding 9/11. After the Commission’s report was issued, it was clear that not much more had been done.
Like the Joint Inquiry, the Commission did not seem to have any intention of revealing the facts about 9/11. This was evident from the start in that the Commission’s executive director, Philip Zelikow, had prepared a full outline of the final report, complete with headings and sub-headings, before any investigation had occurred. This pre-conceived outline was shared with Kean and Hamilton but kept secret from the staff throughout the investigation.
Throughout the investigation, each of the commissioners was invited to have private meetings with Donald Rumsfeld. These meetings often “took the form of breakfasts or lunches in a room next to Rumsfeld’s office at the Pentagon.” Rumsfeld gave the commissioners advice, for instance urging them to not issue interim reports. This was despite the fact that, with only a few months to go, Rumsfeld’s DOD had failed to provide many of the documents that had been requested and Commission staffers were recommending the issuance of subpoenas.
The Joint Inquiry treated the 9/11 Commission with the same uncooperative attitude that it had accepted from the CIA and FBI. Kean and Hamilton wrote that they had to personally reach out to Goss six months after their investigation first began to request access to Inquiry documents. Although they were allowed to review the declassified parts of the Inquiry’s report, only at Joint Inquiry’s offices, they were not allowed access to the supporting materials.
The Commission found creative ways to get around its challenges though. One way was a tried-and-true method of claiming that no evidence could be found. That was the method used by the Warren Commission, recalled by President Ford. Ford said his Commission was “very careful to say we ‘found’ no evidence.”
As mentioned in Chapter 1, the phrase “we found no evidence” appears in the 9/11 Commission Report three dozen times. This seems to be an unusually high number of instances begging ignorance, given that the Commission claims to have done “exacting research” in the production of a report that was the “fullest possible accounting of the events of September 11, 2001.”
The number of times these “we found no evidence” disclaimers appear in the report is doubly amazing considering how infrequently some of the most critical witnesses and evidence are referenced. For example, the FAA’s national operations manager, Benedict Sliney, who was coordinating the FAA’s response that day, appears only once in the narrative (and twice in the notes). And the FAA’s hijack coordinator, Michael Canavan, appears only twice in the narrative, with neither of those citations having anything to do with his assigned role as the key link between the military and the FAA. This is stunning given that it was Canavan’s failure which allowed the attacks to succeed, according to the Commission.
Some of the instances in which the Commission claimed to have “found no evidence” were used to conceal the fact that it has never been explained how the alleged hijackers entered the cockpits of any of the hijacked planes. As discussed in Chapter 10, this might not have been an issue with respect to the actual operation if the perpetrators had utilized existing technology to remotely control the aircraft.
Insider trading was another area of the investigation for which the Commission claims to have found no evidence. The Commission reported that “Exhaustive investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission, FBI, and other agencies have uncovered no evidence that anyone with advance knowledge of the attacks profited through securities transactions.”
However, the “exhaustive investigations” conducted by the FBI, on which the 9/11 Commission Report was based, were clearly bogus. The FBI did not interview the suspects and did not appear to compare notes with the 9/11 Commission to help make a determination if any of the people being investigated had ties to al Qaeda. The Commission’s memorandum summary on the subject suggests that the FBI simply made decisions on its own regarding the possible connections of the suspects and the alleged terrorist organizations. Those unilateral decisions were not appropriate, as at least three of the trades involved suspicious links to Osama bin Laden or his family. Another suspect was a soon-to-be convicted criminal who had direct links to FBI employees who were later arrested for securities-related crimes.
The FBI also claimed in August 2003 that it had no knowledge of hard drives recovered from the WTC, which were publicly reported in 2001. According to the people who retrieved the associated data, the hard drives gave evidence for “dirty doomsday dealings.”
The evidence for informed trading on 9/11 includes many financial vehicles, from stock options to Treasury bonds to credit card transactions made at the WTC just before it was destroyed. Financial experts from around the world have since provided strong evidence, through established and reliable statistical techniques, that the early suspicions were correct and 9/11 informed (possibly insider) trading did occur.
Another area where the Commission could not seem to find evidence was in the false claims about the air quality at Ground Zero. These false claims, made by Rudy Giuliani and Christine Todd Whitman (previously of Rumsfeld’s Office of Economic Opportunity), contributed to the deaths of thousands of first responders. The Commission wrote that “Although Whitman told us she spoke with White House senior economic advisor Lawrence Lindsay regarding the need to get the markets open quickly” – “We found no evidence of pressure on EPA to say the air was safe in order to permit the markets to open.”
Like other carefully worded claims in the 9/11 Commission Report, this might be technically true but the premise is probably false. Whitman, who was director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just after 9/11, did claim that the air in lower Manhattan was safe to breathe when it was known that was not the case. This was probably not done solely for the purpose of re-opening the stock market, however. It is more likely that these false claims were made in order to expedite the removal of evidence at the WTC site.
Findings No Longer Supported
Today, one forgotten prisoner provides a startling contradiction to the official account and the myth of al Qaeda. This is Abu Zubaydah, a man once called al-Qaeda’s “chief of operations.”
As discussed in Chapter 5, information allegedly obtained from Zubaydah’s torture played a large part in the creation of the official account of 9/11 and in the justification for the continued use of torture. Yet in September, 2009, the U.S. government admitted that Zubaydah was never a member or associate of al Qaeda at all. These facts raise an alarming number of questions about the veracity of our knowledge about al Qaeda, and the true identity of the people who are said to be behind the 9/11 attacks.
The 9/11 Commission called Zubaydah an “Al Qaeda associate,” a “long-time ally of Bin Ladin,” a “Bin Ladin lieutenant,” and an “al Qaeda lieutenant.”
Other claims made by the 9/11 Commission were that “KSM and Zubaydah each played key roles in facilitating travel for al Qaeda operatives,” and that “Zubaydah had been a major figure in the millennium plots.” These claims were said to be supported primarily by the torture testimony of Zubaydah and others, and by Zubaydah’s diary.
In an amazing turnabout in 2009, an attorney for Zubaydah wrote in The Guardian that the majority of the accusations against Zubaydah were understood by all parties to be false. In fact, he wrote, they “were known to be false when uttered. “ Attorney Brent Mickum said that his client, said to be the “number three man in al Qaeda,” was never a member or associate of al Qaeda and that “These facts really are no longer contested: [Zubaydah] was not, and never had been, a member of either the Taliban or al-Qaida. The CIA determined this after torturing him extensively.” In fact, he “was never a member or a supporter of any armed forces that were allied against the United States,” and he was never the “head of a military camp that trained terrorists. That allegation is false at all levels.”
As of September 2009, the U.S. government agreed that Zubaydah was never an al Qaeda operative. In response to Zubaydah’s habeas corpus petition, the government indicated that Abu Zubaydah had never been a member of al-Qaeda, nor was he involved in the attacks on the African embassies in 1998, or the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.
In order to better understand just how much Zubaydah meant as a primary source for the official account of 9/11, one must review the extensive claims made about Zubaydah by the U.S. government and mainstream media over the years. The 9/11 Commission called Zubaydah an “al Qaeda lieutenant.” The Joint Congressional Inquiry did the same, calling him “al-Qa’ida leader Abu Zubaydah,” and the “Bin Ladin lieutenant captured in March 2002.” As late as 2006, the 9/11 report from the Justice Department’s Inspector General called Zubaydah a “Bin Laden lieutenant.”
Because Zubaydah was never an al Qaeda operative, or even an al Qaeda associate, the public is now forced to realize that all of these claims were false. The questions that should arise from that realization include: How much of the commonly held myth about al Qaeda, and how much of the War on Terror, was built on the torture testimony of a man who clearly could not have known anything about al Qaeda?
Originally, it was said that it was Zubaydah who first identified KSM as the Bin Laden associate called “Mukhtar.” This was according to Ali Soufan, the FBI official who first interrogated him at a secret CIA site in Thailand. Soufan also claimed that Zubaydah said KSM was the “mastermind” behind the 9/11 attacks. In his 2007 book, CIA director Tenet went further, claiming that “interrogating Abu Zubaydah led to Ramsi bin al Shibh.”
But the CIA reportedly told Abu Zubaydah during his interrogation that they had discovered he was not an al-Qaeda fighter, partner, or even a member. Still, KSM and Bin Al-Shibh were caught and tortured too.
The official account of 9/11 was largely based on third-hand accounts of what these tortured detainees had allegedly said, with “two of the three parties in the communication being government employees.” The Commission itself indicated that “Chapters 5 and 7 rely heavily on information obtained from captured al Qaeda members.”
The truth is, however, that more than half of the 9/11 Commission Report is based on completely unreliable torture testimony to which the Commission had absolutely no access – not even through interviews with the interrogators. KSM’s torture testimony is referred to 221 times in the report, and that of Bin Al-Shibh is referred to 73 times. The Commission used one or more of these “interrogations” as its source a total of 441 times in its report footnotes.
These facts call for a complete re-evaluation of the official myth of al Qaeda and the findings of the 9/11 Commission.
The WTC Cover-up
One of the many aspects of 9/11 that was never mentioned by the 9/11 Commission was WTC Building 7.
This could be due to the fact that most people who view the video of that 47-story building, which fell into its own footprint at 5:20 in the afternoon on 9/11, immediately recognize it as a demolition event. It could also be that the Commission realized there was no other way to explain it.
Attempts to explain the destruction of the three WTC buildings began when four engineers showed up within a few days of the attacks. These were Gene Corley, who led the cover-up investigation of the OKC bombing event, and the three people who helped him in that endeavor: Charles Thornton, Mete Sozen, and Paul Mlakar. As leader of the Pentagon engineering assessment, Mlakar was reviewed in Chapter 10.
For the WTC, Corley and company came up with a series of failed explanations, including what was called the Pancake Theory. But it is the falsity of the official reports later produced by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), for which Corley played only supporting roles, that is of interest today. See the bibliography for more information.
WTC Building 7 gives investigators a simple starting point to reconsider the events in New York City. Apart from the sudden onset, the completely symmetrical fall in a matter of seconds, and the small rubble pile, many people were told that WTC 7 would come down before it actually did. In fact, over 60 firefighters and 25 emergency medical staff were told to leave the area and they testified to a count-down and/or explosions going off. Additionally, both the CNN and BBC networks reported that this building had already collapsed 25 minutes before it actually did.
That’s incredible not simply because news people apparently predicted which one of the many other buildings in the area would fall. It is even more remarkable because no one could have predicted the sequence of events that led to this building falling, at least the sequence given by the official NIST report.
In 2008, after seven years of waiting, NIST finally put out its official report on WTC 7. That report said that normal office fires caused fully fireproofed steel beams to fail in one area of the building, and that’s what led to this entire structure falling uniformly into a neat rubble pile. To reiterate, the official story of the “collapse” of WTC 7 is that a typical office fire caused this 47-story building to fall in a matter of seconds.
Therefore, accepting the NIST WTC 7 report would require concluding that no tall buildings are safe from the possibility of total unexpected collapse due to the smallest of office fires. All tall buildings experience office fires at some point; therefore it must be assumed that what happened to WTC 7 can happen again at any time.
There are many reasons to suspect that we are safe from such disasters, however. The obviously false nature of the NIST WTC reports is one reason. The fact that building professionals around the world have not taken those reports seriously is another. That is, building codes have not been updated to address the root causes given by the NIST WTC reports, and therefore there is no reason to consider those root causes as valid.
Additionally, NIST now agrees that WTC 7 experienced free-fall over a vertical distance of at least 8 floors. That is physically impossible without the instantaneous removal of the associated 8-story structure, and instantaneous removal can only be accomplished through demolition.
Who was involved in producing false reports for the WTC? At the time of the WTC investigation, NIST reported to George W. Bush’s old friend, oil industry executive Donald Evans. In the 2000 presidential election, Evans was Bush’s campaign chairman. As Secretary of Commerce in 2001, Evans led NIST and was also a member of the National Security Council Principals Committee.
Working for Evans at NIST was the agency’s director, Arden Bement, who had been appointed by George W. Bush within weeks after 9/11. Like many of the NIST investigators, Bement had an interesting background including that he was a director at Battelle Memorial Institute which managed U.S. national laboratories. Battelle had oversight for both the U.S. Army’s Fort Detrick facility, to which the anthrax attacks were traced, as well as the U.S. Department of Energy laboratories where nanothermite was developed.
In November 2004, Bement was replaced by Hratch Semerjian, who took over the WTC investigation until the completion of the WTC reports. Semerjian had co-authored ten academic papers with the world’s leading expert on nanothermite, Michael Zachariah.
Support for the NIST WTC reports came from a few questionable sources. For example, the companies that worked with NIST on the reports provided supportive comments. And as discussed in Chapter 1, certain media sources were enlisted to boost public perception of the process with each politically-convenient issuance of a NIST report or update.
A Job Well Done
In sum, Porter Goss was certainly not responsible for all the deception behind the official account of 9/11. But he led the way. At the very least, as a long-time deep state operative he knew what not to ask questions about and when to attack those who did.
A month after the 9/11 Commission Report was issued, George W. Bush announced that Goss was his nominee to become the next Director of the CIA. The appointment was pushed by Dick Cheney.
At the time, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern reported that Goss “has long shown himself to be under the spell of Vice President Dick Cheney.” Democrats who had been involved in intelligence matters said of the nomination that “Goss was unwilling to pursue matters that could cause him problems with the vice-president’s office.”
After becoming DCI in September 2004, Goss filled that promise by telling CIA staff that their job was “to support the Bush administration and its policies in our work.” Some senior CIA officers who had opposed the Iraq War resigned. This included Michael Scheuer, the former head of Alec Station (the Bin Laden-focused station). The former head of the CIA’s CTC, Vince Cannistraro, said of Goss’ approach that “It can only be interpreted one way – there will be no more dissenting opinions.”
As DCI, Goss was known for blocking investigations. He blocked house investigations into the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal and the Bush Administration’s links with its Iraqi ally Ahmad Chalabi. He denounced the Abu Ghraib revelations as a political “circus.” In the case of the leak of CIA covert agent Valerie Plame’s identity, Goss denounced her complaint as mere “partisan politics,” not a “worry about national security.” And he later supported the destruction of the CIA’s torture tapes that had formed the basis of the 9/11 Commission Report.
Goss resigned as DCI in May 2006 under uncertain circumstances. The Los Angeles Times reported that he “was pushed out by [Director of National Intelligence John] Negroponte after clashes between them over Goss’ management style, as well as his reluctance to surrender CIA personnel and resources to new organizations set up to combat terrorism and weapons proliferation.” Others said Goss resigned as a result of the investigation of CIA official Kyle Foggo, who had been accused of improperly coordinating a $2.4 million contract for a close college friend.
In the end, however, it just seemed that the job Goss came to do was done. He had successfully helped the Bush Administration ride out the storm of initial 9/11 questions and helped to cover-up the war-mongering lies that were born from 9/11. Despite having been a long-time covert operative himself, he never once questioned if 9/11 had been an operation influenced or facilitated by U.S. or other government operatives.
Notes to Chapter 16
- George Tenet with Bill Harlow, At the Center of the Storm: The CIA During America’s Time of Crisis, Harper Perennial, 2007
- Goss was interviewed on the morning of 9/11 at the Pentagon. During that interview, blast sounds could be heard, which were apparently the secondary explosions discussed in Chapter 10. Goss also remarked about the possibility of the use of planes as missiles. The interview can be found on YouTube. See “Bomb Goes Off At Pentagon During Porter Goss Q&A.”
- Michael Meacher, The Pakistan connection, The Guardian, July 21, 2004. Also note that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf wrote in his book that Sheikh, who was involved in the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl have been recruited by British intelligence (MI6) in the 1990s.
- Violet Jones, W’s “Uncle Bucky” (Secret Society Pal of John Negroponte and Porter Goss) Makes a Killing off Iraq War, InfoWars.com, February 25. 2005
- Richard Leiby, A Cloak But No Dagger: An Ex-Spy Says He Seeks Solutions, Not Scapegoats for 9/11, The Washington Post, May 18, 2002
- Spartacus Educational, Porter Goss: Biography, http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKgoss.htm
- Richard Leiby, A Cloak But No Dagger
- Daniel Hopsicker, Was Bush Spy Pick on Agency Hit Team?, Mad Cow Morning News, Aug 24 2004
- Don Bohning, Indoctrination U, June 11, 2008. This article was access at the website “Washington Decoded” and contains interesting comments. http://www.washingtondecoded.com/site/2008/06/simkin.html
- NPIC Reunions Database, List of Deceased NPIC Employees, http://npicreunions.blogspot.com/
- Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian profile: Porter Goss, The Guardian, August 12, 2004
- Daniel Hopsicker, Porter & ‘the boys:’ Goss Made His ‘Bones’ on CIA Hit Team, May 6 2006
- Fabian Escalante, CIA Covert Operations 1959-1962: The Cuba Project, 2004 (pages 42 and 43)
- Interview of Frank Sturgis by Michael Canfield, http://www.jfklancer.com/cuba/links/Sturgis_Oper_40.pdf
- Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked, 2006
- Alan J Weberman, Michael Canfield, Coup D’Etat in America: The CIA and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy, Quick American Archives, 1992
- Daniel Hopsicker, Porter & ‘the boys:’
- Daniel Hopsicker, FINALLY! Rudi Dekkers Behind Bars for Drug Trafficking, Mad Cow Morning News, December 14, 2012
- Daniel Hopsicker, Welcome to Terrorland: Mohamed Atta & the 9-11 cover-up in Florida, MadCow Press, 2004, pp 31, 185
- Daniel Hopsicker, The Ultimate Hedge?: Venice Airport has a 60-Year History of Drug Trafficking, Mad Cow News, March 8, 2010
- Peter Dale Scott, American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010
- Peter Dale Scott, American War Machine
- Robert Parry, How John Kerry exposed the Contra-cocaine scandal, Salon, October 25, 2004
- For the analysis of the House Intelligence Committee’s report, see Robert Parry’s article “CIA Admits Tolerating Contra- Cocaine Trafficking in 1980s” from Consortium news, June 8, 2000. For more on Bush’s involvement in the Contra-supporting cocaine trafficking, see Gary Webb’s book Dark Alliance, Seven Stories Press, 1998
- Village Voice, Questions About Porter Goss and His ‘Terrorist Breakfast’ Go Unanswered, August 11, 2004
- The Washington Times, Syria, Iran aiding Iraq insurgents, March 17, 2005
- Douglas Jehl, Questions Are Left by C.I.A. Chief on the Use of Torture, The New York Times, March 18, 2005
- Bob Drogin, U.S. Had Plan for Covert Afghan Options Before 9/11, The Los Angeles Times, May 18, 2002
- Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian profile: Porter Goss
- Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001, Penguin Books, 2004
- Adrian Levy, Catherine Scott-Clark, Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2010
- Michel Chossudovsky, War and Globalisation: the Truth Behind September 11, Global Outlook, 2002
- Ahmed Rashid, Descent into Chaos: The U.S. and the Disaster in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia, Penguin, 2008
- The Abbas conversation was recorded by Glass and was reported by multiple news sources including the Palm Beach, Florida television station WPBF Channel 25. See WPBF Channel 25, Informant: Terrorists Warned of WTC Collapse, August 5, 2002
- John Pacenti, Intelligence Panel Hears From Glass, The Palm Beach Post, October 17, 2002
- Mindy Belz, Prodigal president? World Magazine. January 26, 2002
- Luke Harding and Rory McCarthy, Sanctions lifted as US rewards Pakistan, The Guardian, September 23, 2001
- John King, White House says politics could hurt September 11 probe, CNN, May 17, 2002
- Wikimedia Foundation, September 11 Attacks (Google ebook), eM Publications, p 342
- Richard Leiby, A Cloak But No Dagger
- Bob Graham and Jeff Nussbaum, Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia, and the Failure of America’s War on Terror, Random House Digital, Inc., 2004
- Report of the Joint Inquiry into the Terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 – By the House Permanent Select Committee on intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, p 18
- See documents released via FOIA request to the 9/11 Working Group of Bloomington, http://data.911workinggroup.org/foia/FBI
- United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Counterterror initiatives in the terror finance program, U.S. G.P.O., January 2005
- Bob Graham and Jeff Nussbaum, Intelligence Matters, p 166
- Philip Shenon, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, Hachette Book Group, 2008
- Mary Jacoby, Bill Adair and Sara Fritz, Florida congressmen anger Sept. 11 panel members, St. Petersburg Times, September 29, 2002
- Congressional Record: October 28, 2003 (Senate) Page S13349-S13372
- Eric Lichtblau, Saudi Arabia May Be Tied to 9/11, 2 Ex-Senators Say, The New York Times, February 29, 2012
- Kevin R. Ryan, Playing the “Get Into Saudi Arabia Free Card”, Washington’s Blog, August 28, 2011
- Greg Miller, 9/11 report reveals details, questions, The Los Angeles Times, July 28, 2003
- Greg Miller, Page After Page, the Mysteries of Sept. 11 Grow, The Los Angeles Times, July 27, 2003
- Murray Waas, Cheney’s Call: The Vice President’s Actions In 2002 Helped Set Events In Motion That Led To The Prosecution Of Scooter Libby, National Journal, February 15, 2007
- Richard Leiby, A Cloak But No Dagger
- Report of the Joint Inquiry into the Terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, p 131
- Report of the Joint Inquiry into the Terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, p 20
- History Commons Complete 9/11 Timeline
- History Commons Complete 9/11 Timeline, Profile: SunTrust bank
- Kevin R. Ryan, Muslims did not attack the U.S. on 9/11, DigWithin.net, March 17, 2012
- National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, The 9/11 Commission Report
- Susan Schmidt, Panel Looks Beyond Intelligence Failures, Into U.S. Government’s Response, The Washington Post, July 27, 2003
- 9/11 Family Steering Committee response to the 9/11 Commission Report, http://911truth.org/downloads/Family_Steering_Cmte_review_of_Report.pdf
- David Ray Griffin, The Bush Doctrine & The 9/11 Commission Report: Both Authored by Philip Zelikow, Information Clearing House, April 10, 2008
- Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission, Alfred A. Knopf, 2006
- Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, Without Precedent, pp 66-67
- Ron Nessen, It Sure Looks Different From the Inside, Playboy Press, 1978, p 59
- National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, The 9/11 Commission Report
- National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, The 9/11 Commission Report, p 172
- Kevin R. Ryan, Evidence for Informed Trading on the Attacks of September 11, Foreign Policy Journal, November 18, 2010
- National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, The 9/11 Commission Report, p 555
- National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, The 9/11 Commission Report
- Brent Mickum, The truth about Abu Zubaydah, The Guardian, March 30, 2009
- Zayn al Abidin Muhammad Husayn v. Robert Gates, Respondents Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Petitioner’s Motion for Discover and Petitioner’s Motion for Sanctions. Civil Action No. 08-cv-1360 (RWR), September 2009.
- George Tenet, At the Center of the Storm: The CIA During America’s Time of Crisis, Harper Perennial, 2007
- Peter Finn and Julie Tate, CIA Says It Misjudged Role of High-Value Detainee Abu Zubaida, Transcript Shows, The Washington Post, June 16, 2009
- George Washington, The Reason for the Cover-up Goes Right to the White House, Washington’s Blog, March 18, 2010
- 9/11 Commission Report, page 146
- Kevin R. Ryan, Looking for Truth in Credentials: The Peculiar WTC “Experts”, Global Research, March 13, 2007
- Graeme MacQueen, Waiting for Seven: WTC 7 Collapse Warnings in the FDNY Oral Histories, The Journal of 9/11 Studies, January 2008. See also Paul Joseph Watson, 9/11 First Responder Heard WTC 7 Demolition Countdown, Prison Planet, September 13, 2007.
- BBC acknowledged that it reported the collapse of WTC 7 prematurely. It would be difficult to deny, of course, because the reporter was announcing the collapse while viewers could see the still-standing building right behind her in the video. Years later, BBC’s answer that it was all just “confusing and chaotic.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2007/03/part_of_the_conspiracy_2.html. Other networks prematurely reported the same unprecedented event, as described at RememberBuilding7.org.http://rememberbuilding7.org/foreknowledge/
- Kevin R. Ryan,, Are Tall Buildings Safer As a Result of the NIST WTC Reports?, Dig Within, September 7, 2012
- Remember Building 7, Free Fall Collapse, http://rememberbuilding7.org/free-fall-collapse/
- For information on Battelle and the anthrax attacks, see Barry Kissin’s article “The Truth About The Anthrax Attacks” (November 15, 2009, accessed at InformationClearingHouse,info). For Battelle’s links to the DOE and nanothermite, see my article “The Top Ten Connections Between NIST and Nano-Thermites” in the Journal of 9/11 Studies, July, 2008
- The National Institute of Standard and Technology, NIST Releases Final WTC 7 Investigation Report, November 25, 2008, http://www.nist.gov/el/wtc7final_112508.cfm
- For discussion of one of these media attempts, see Kevin R. Ryan, “Finally, an apology from the National Geographic Channel”, 911Blogger.com, August 22, 2009, and also Jon Cole’s videos at 911SpeakOut.org, which demonstrate that the media source in question was not being honest.
- Ray McGovern, Cheney Cat’s Paw, Porter Goss, as CIA Director?, Buzzflash, July 7, 2004
- Joel Brinkley and James Risen, On Other Side of the Aisle, Bruised Feelings Linger, The New York Times, August 11, 2004
- Julian Borger, CIA memo urging spies to support Bush provokes furor, The Guardian, November 17, 2004
- Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian profile: Porter Goss
- Empty Wheel, Rockefeller and the Torture Tape Investigation, July 27, 2010