“He’s a ruthless little bastard. You can be sure of that.” — Richard Nixon, describing Donald Rumsfeld in 1971
Two people stand out with regard to their ability to have influenced the events of 9/11 as those events were proceeding. Vice President Dick Cheney was in control at the White House, initially in his office and then at the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC). With the president out of the loop while traveling, Cheney was the most powerful person in Washington other than the other half of the National Command Authority, Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) Donald Rumsfeld.
In this book, Dick and Don represent the equivalents of KSM and OBL for an alternative explanation. That is, they were in positions to coordinate the work of the other nineteen and to oversee the success of the actual attacks. The two men did nothing to protect the country on the morning of 9/11, and their reported actions indicate that they were aware of a plan being implemented.
For the thirty years before 9/11, Cheney and Rumsfeld had worked together in positions of power, both in and out of government. A review of that thirty-year history is important in terms of understanding their motivations.
The history of this time period is also relevant to how 9/11 might have been organized and managed by deep state operatives. That is, previous operations which subverted democracy for the benefit of the powerful few, like Operation Gladio, the Iran-Contra crimes, and the selling of the Gulf War, lend crucial insight into the activities of Dick, Don, and their colleagues.
The History of Don
Rumsfeld’s ruthless nature, the access and power that he wielded, and his inexplicable actions on 9/11, make him a primary suspect in the crimes. Another reason to begin with him is that he was a mentor to Dick Cheney in the early days of their relationship and his history suggests that both of them might have been more than simple civil servants from the start.
At Princeton, Rumsfeld’s college roommate was Frank Carlucci, another future SECDEF and another person of interest in this book. Rumsfeld’s senior thesis there was titled “The Steel Seizure Case of 1952 and Its Effects on Presidential Powers.” Throughout his long political career, Rumsfeld would continue to maintain a great interest in the expansion of presidential powers (which was a major result of the 9/11 attacks).
Other Princeton graduates that worked closely with Rumsfeld over the years were James Baker III, who graduated two years before Rumsfeld, and Edgar D. (Ned) Jannotta, who graduated just a year before Rumsfeld. Baker played several prominent roles in the Reagan and Bush I administrations. Jannotta, also a high school friend of Rumsfeld, later became the chairman of the Chicago-based, international investment firm, William Blair & Company.
From 1954 to 1957, Rumsfeld served in the U.S. Navy as a pilot and flight instructor. Shortly thereafter, he pursued an interest in the U.S. Congress. He first worked as an assistant to David S. Dennison, Jr., a Congressman from Ohio, and then moved on to work for Congressman Robert P. Griffin of Michigan.
Although it was clear that Rumsfeld was very interested in running for Congress himself, he left his position as a congressional assistant to take a job with an investment firm called A.G. Becker. This period of Rumsfeld’s life, from 1960 to 1962, is downplayed in every biography of the man. In his own memoirs, Rumsfeld mentions A.G. Becker only once, and suggests that he worked there for only one year. However, it is evident that Rumsfeld’s employment at A.G. Becker was two years long and was the stepping stone to his winning a seat in the House of Representatives.
A.G. Becker was an investment firm located in Chicago. The company started under another name, as a manufacturer of paper. A junior partner, Abraham G. Becker, took over the firm after the panic of 1893 and expanded into stock and bond brokerage. One of the firm’s largest deals was the $50 million financing of Sears, Roebuck & Co in 1919. The deal was a favor to Becker’s friend Julius Rosenwald, one of the owners of Sears. Rumsfeld would later be on the board for a subsidiary called Sears World Trade.
It’s not clear what responsibilities Rumsfeld had at A.G. Becker. However, there are other suspects investigated in this book whose careers started at investment consulting firms, including Dick Cheney and Wirt Walker. Another suspect, Benedict Sliney, was a Wall Street lawyer.
It is worth considering that the intelligence services of the United States have always been closely connected to the world of high-dollar investment. Recalling the origins of the CIA and its predecessor organization, CIA Executive Director A.B. Buzzy Krongard once said – “the whole OSS was really nothing but Wall Street bankers and lawyers.” Thirteen years after the creation of the CIA, Donald Rumsfeld lucked into a job with one of the world’s most powerful investment firms, headquartered in Chicago.
When the incumbent House Republican in Illinois’ 13th congressional district decided to forego another term, Rumsfeld jumped at the chance to take her place. His campaign manager was his friend Ned Jannotta of William & Blair Company, who would later become a board director for AON Corporation, a WTC impact zone tenant at the time of the 9/11 attacks. Rumsfeld continued to work with Jannotta in the interim, as a fellow director of William Blair & Company.
First elected to Congress in November 1962, Rumsfeld was re-elected by large majorities in the next three elections. While in Congress, Rumsfeld became the friend and confidante of House minority leader Gerald Ford, who had campaigned for Rumsfeld during his first election. Rumsfeld finally came into his power when Ford became President of the United States in 1974.
Ford was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr, and only changed his name formally after college graduation to acknowledge the stepfather who raised him, Gerald Rudolph Ford. Ford attended the University of Michigan where he was a member of the Omicron chapter of the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DEKE) fraternity.
After graduation in 1935, the newly named Ford turned down several offers to play professional football and instead took a coaching job at Yale. While there, he graduated from Yale Law School, in 1941. During World War II, Ford was a Navy pilot and instructor, as Rumsfeld would be twelve years later. Ford represented the Grand Rapids, Michigan congressional district from 1949 until he became Vice President in 1973.
In a surprising move, Rumsfeld resigned from Congress in 1969, at the start of his fourth term, to join the Nixon Administration as director of the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). One surprising thing about this move was that Rumsfeld had voted against funding the agency while he was a congressman.
Observers thought that Rumsfeld took the job for the purpose of abolishing the OEO but instead he kept things running, although perhaps not as intended. Rumsfeld hired Dick Cheney as his special assistant at the OEO almost immediately, in the spring of 1969. Cheney had interviewed with Rumsfeld the year before for a congressional assistant position.
As with Cheney, the OEO under Rumsfeld was a foot in the door for several other people who would go on to fill important positions in the U.S. government for many years afterward. This included Rumsfeld’s Princeton roommate Frank Carlucci, Senate Watergate investigator (and President Clinton’s “private CIA” man) Terry Lenzner, and the EPA administrator on 9/11, Christine Whitman.
Rumsfeld left the OEO in December 1970 to become the director of the Cost of Living Council, where he reported to Secretary of Labor George Shultz. At the same time, however, in a very unusual move, Rumsfeld was appointed as a special advisor reporting directly to President Nixon. At 38 years of age, Rumsfeld was suddenly sharing presidential power with H.R. Haldeman, John Erlichmann, and John Dean.
In February 1973, Nixon sent Rumsfeld to Belgium to serve as Ambassador to NATO. While he was there, Ned Jannotta brought his family for vacation and Rumsfeld and Jannotta spent some time together. As will be further discussed in Chapter 11, Operation Gladio was in full force at this time. Gladio was run from NATO Headquarters in Brussels via a CIA-controlled organization called the Clandestine Planning Committee.
Rumsfeld was the U.S. ambassador to NATO during the 1973 Arab oil embargo, which was initiated by Arab oil-producing countries in order to punish the United States for its foreign policy activities. The embargo came just days after the U.S. arming of Israel during the Yom Kippur War, and only a month after the September 11 CIA-led coup in Chile. Regardless, the oil embargo led to a deep rift within NATO. As a result, some European nations and Japan sought to disassociate themselves from U.S. Middle East policy.
In August 1974, when President Nixon resigned, Ford immediately called Rumsfeld back to Washington to serve as his transition chairman. Subsequently, Rumsfeld became Ford’s White House Chief of Staff and held that position from September 1974 to November 1975.
Just three months after Ford and Rumsfeld had settled in, the New York Times ran a story by journalist Seymour Hersh claiming that the CIA had committed crimes over a period of years. These crimes, referred to as “The Family Jewels,” included such things as the assassination of political leaders around the world, and spying on Americans at home.
Ford responded in January by initiating an investigation headed by Vice President Nelson Rockefeller to investigate some of the claims. Governor Ronald Reagan was selected for the Commission, along with Lyman Lemnitzer of Operation Northwoods fame. Congressional investigations were also launched, in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Although Henry Kissinger is often cited as an adversary of Rumsfeld, he used his influence to come to the rescue of the White House and the CIA. At a crucial point in these investigations, Kissinger inserted himself, his reputation, and his skills at media manipulation to turn the tide in favor of continued secrecy. His actions made it clear that when the “secret government” was at risk, these men answered to the same control structure.
Throughout the following months, Rumsfeld pushed Ford to launch a Cabinet shakeup. A few months later, in October of that year, Ford obliged Rumsfeld in what became called the “Halloween Massacre.” Ford named Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense and one of Ford’s former congressional associates, fellow DEKE and Navy pilot George H. W. Bush, became the Director of Central Intelligence.
The investigations and growing public awareness of CIA crimes resulted in legislation that restricted CIA activities. This in turn led the U.S. deep state to develop alternative means to accomplish what the CIA could no longer do on its own. History has revealed the creation of a private network of intelligence operatives at this time, one which would influence and alter U.S. foreign policy dramatically in the late 20th century.
This private, covert network was formed at a time when many 9/11 suspects were working together in government. In fact, the number of Nixon and Ford Administration leaders who were linked to the 9/11 attacks is actually quite astounding. Dick and Don were there, as was George H.W. Bush, but so was Joseph Kasputys who owned several of the companies in the WTC towers including one in the exact impact area of the south tower. Kasputys worked, from 1972 to 1977, for the U.S. departments of commerce and defense. He was also the deputy director of Nixon’s White House taskforce that dealt with the Arab oil embargo of 1973.
Half of the alternative suspects named in this book worked for the Nixon and/or Ford Administrations in one capacity or another. Meanwhile, several others worked for the CIA or were in the military at the time. How many might have worked for the “CIA within the CIA,” a phrase used to describe the private network, is not known.
Not long after the private network formed, it discovered that more secure banks were needed to distribute funding for its operations. With the blessing of CIA director Bush, Saudi Arabian intelligence chief Kamal Adham “transformed a small Pakistani merchant bank, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), into a world-wide money-laundering machine, buying banks around the world to create the biggest clandestine money network in history.”
As the CIA and its foreign partners were using BCCI to fund covert operations in the 1980s, Rumsfeld was working for the Reagan Administration in various roles, including as Special Envoy to the Middle East. One trip to Baghdad left a lasting impression when Rumsfeld personally reassured Saddam Hussein that his use of chemical weapons would not deter U.S. efforts to solidify its relationship with Iraq.
At the same time, Rumsfeld was chairman of the RAND Corporation, where he worked with 9/11 suspect Brian Michael Jenkins. He was also a member of the board of Sears World Trade (SWT) when Frank Carlucci was running that company. SWT appears to have been involved in the Iran-Contra crimes as discussed in Chapter 3.
Around the time that he met with Saddam, Rumsfeld became part of a select group of people who made plans for Continuity of Government (COG) in times of crisis. Dick Cheney and Richard Clarke were also part of this group as early as 1984, along with Oliver North. Cheney, Clarke and Rumsfeld continued in this capacity, practicing to take over the functions of the U.S. government, up to the day of 9/11 when those plans were implemented for the first time.
In the late 1980s, Rumsfeld was a member of the U.S. Arms Control Committee and the National Economic Committee. Meanwhile Rumsfeld also became a director, along with 9/11 suspect Peter Janson, in a company called ABB that later sold nuclear technology to North Korea (see Chapter 10).
Although Rumsfeld was known as a corporate executive for many years, he was never far from government. While George H.W. Bush was president, Rumsfeld ran a company called General Instruments while also a member of the Board of Visitors of the National Defense University. In the days of Clinton, he led Gilead Sciences and joined the board of Gulfstream Aerospace (with Colin Powell). Throughout this time he continued his role in the COG program.
In the mid-90s Rumsfeld served as a trustee for both the RAND Corporation and the American Enterprise Institute. He was also a founder and active member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a neo-conservative group that pushed extremist, interventionist foreign policy. He signed the January 1998 PNAC letter to Clinton that called for “regime change” in Iraq. Several of the other suspects named in this book were PNAC signatories.
In the late nineties, Rumsfeld chaired two U.S. government sponsored commissions that would have considerable sway in policy making. The first was the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States. This group concluded that Iraq, Iran, and North Korea had the ability to develop intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities and that U.S. intelligence capabilities would not be able to adequately warn of such developments. The second was the “Rumsfeld Commission” on the national security uses of space. Rumsfeld was joined by his protégé Stephen Cambone and 9/11 suspect Duane Andrews in that endeavor.
At his confirmation hearing in January 2001, Rumsfeld warned of a surprise attack on the United States. “We know that the thing that tends to register on people is fear, and we know that that tends to happen after there’s a Pearl Harbor, tends to happen after there’s a crisis. And that’s too late for us,” he said. A few days later, Rumsfeld’s commission on the national security uses of space issued its report that warned of a “Space Pearl Harbor.”
Soon after Rumsfeld was sworn in as SECDEF for the second time, he announced a series of sweeping reviews meant to transform the U.S. military into a force capable of fighting wars in multiple venues simultaneously. These reviews were led by Pentagon analyst Andrew Marshall.
In the months prior to 9/11, Rumsfeld continued to hint that a surprise attack was imminent. He also obsessed over Iraq. He asked, “Imagine what the region would look like without Saddam and with a regime that’s aligned with US interests. It would change everything in the region and beyond it. It would demonstrate what U.S. policy is all about.”
All things considered, no one person can be said to have had more influence over the events leading up to and including 9/11 than Donald Rumsfeld. The only person who comes close to such status is Rumsfeld’s long-time colleague Dick Cheney.
The History of Dick
Dick was the Vice President of the United States on September 11, 2001. As the events began to unfold that day, Cheney was reported to have been whisked away by Secret Service personnel to a secure location in the White House basement levels.
It is a revealing fact that this process of securing the vice president, without asking if he agreed with the process, was not followed for the president at the same time. Instead, George W. Bush was left sitting in an elementary school classroom – a location that had been widely publicized for days before 9/11. Instead of being protected, the Secret Service allowed Bush to go on reading with children while Dick handled the “response” to 9/11.
It seemed that someone wanted the President of the United States out of the way while the 9/11 attacks were occurring. Dick’s history and his critical role on 9/11 make him a prime suspect. Therefore he should be examined closely.
After graduating from high school in Wyoming, Cheney went to Yale University with the recommendation of Casper oilman and Yale alumnus, Tom Stroock. But Cheney did not do well and had to drop out after three semesters. He returned to Wyoming in 1960 and took a job with a local power company.
Although Cheney was classified as available for military service in February 1962, and the Vietnam War raged for more than another decade, he never served in the military. In terms of his age, Cheney remained eligible for the draft until 1967, but he was able to avoid serving due to his successful application for five separate deferments over that five year period. The excuse he gave later was that he “had other priorities than military service during the sixties.”
Many have speculated that these deferments and Cheney’s response to questioning about them makes him a “chickenhawk.” That is, he was not courageous enough to serve in the military yet he was later behind hawkish efforts to start wars around the world. An alternate explanation for Cheney’s actions, however, is that he was already in a different kind of service, perhaps having been recruited by deep state interests. In any case, Dick Cheney has shown throughout his career that he is anything but a coward.
Cheney was arrested for drunk driving twice, in 1962 and 1963. Neither those arrests, nor his lengthy record of avoiding the draft, caused any problem for him in his later, meteoric rise in politics.
He married his high school sweetheart Lynne Vincent in 1964. For the next four years, Dick and Lynne kept busy while having two children. He served as an intern in the Wyoming State Legislature, received an M.A. in political science, and they both pursued Ph.D.s at the University of Wisconsin. While at Wisconsin, Dick worked for Governor Warren Knowles but did not finish his doctorate.
In 1968, Cheney won a congressional scholarship to work with Wyoming congressman William Steiger. As part of his assigned duties with the congressman, Cheney traveled to college campuses to report on student protests. That same year, Cheney interviewed for a position as an assistant to Rumsfeld, who was running for his fourth term as U.S. Representative from Illinois. Cheney did not get the job although the interview is often cited in historical accounts of both men.
It seems plausible that Rumsfeld didn’t hire Cheney immediately because he knew that he would likely be getting a job in the Nixon Administration but could not let the record reflect that fact while he was running for Congress. In any case, Rumsfeld quit his congressional seat just a few months later and immediately hired Cheney as his personal assistant at the OEO.
Because Rumsfeld was also granted the title of Assistant to the President, he and his “Assistant’s assistant,” Cheney, had access to the White House. This was an incredible stroke of luck for the politically ambitious pair, but their astonishing streak of fortune was just beginning.
At this time, opposition to the Vietnam War was increasing dramatically, with more and more Americans attending anti-war demonstrations and demanding that the U.S. withdraw from Vietnam. It seems possible that the timing of Rumsfeld’s special appointment at the White House, and Cheney’s entrance directly from reporting on protests, was part of a high-level response to the threats posed by the war opposition.
Between 1969 and 1972 the war escalated. However, the June 1972 break-in of the DNC headquarters in the Watergate Hotel led to the removal of Nixon from the presidency. Author Russ Baker has proposed that Americans have fundamentally misunderstood the truth about Watergate. In fact, Baker suggests that Watergate may have been a CIA operation to set-up and take down Nixon so that he could not expose potential links between the CIA and the assassination of President Kennedy.
When Nixon sent Rumsfeld to Europe as ambassador to NATO, Cheney left government to join the investment advisory firm Bradley Woods & Company. He spent the next year and a half writing opinion papers on energy-related topics and Nixon policies.
The firm was started byBruce Bradley and Alan Woods. Bradley is now a board director at Lancaster Systems & Solutions (LS2) with 9/11 suspect Barry McDaniel, who is covered in Chapter 13. Woods, who filled a number of interesting roles in the Ford Administration, would later become a vice president at Sears World Trade with Carlucci.
Bradley and Woods, therefore, associated with a number of people who are suspected of having engaged in deep state operations. Nixon’s demise was brewing when Cheney worked with them. And both Dick and Don were soon back at the White House when, on August 8, 1974, Nixon resigned.
Cheney immediately joined Rumsfeld on Ford’s transition team, and then he was named assistant to Rumsfeld, who became White House Chief of Staff. Cheney was also appointed as deputy assistant to the president. During this time, Cheney was responsible for some very important duties and was “widely acknowledged to have participated in every major administration decision.”
After the Ford Administration shake-up in 1975, Cheney, at the age of 34, became Ford’s chief of staff. During the next two years, Cheney was given enormous power within the executive branch. He wrote or reviewed many of the presidents’ speeches, and fought the president’s battles. Those battles included some historic contests over the recently revealed covert activities of the CIA.
The difficult times that Dick and Don experienced in the Nixon and Ford administrations came to a head in late 1976. The painful loss in Vietnam, brought about in part by U.S. citizen protests, and the embarrassing public scrutiny of CIA activities was shortly followed by a loss that Dick and Don would remember. The defeat of Ford’s re-election hopes culminated in what appeared to a life-long motivation for these two men to protect and expand presidential powers.
Dick and Don would also spend much of their political careers increasing the clout of the military-industrial complex, apparently in response to those early political losses. Their desires were finally satisfied by way of the 9/11 attacks. Along the way, they both made a lot of money.
After Ford’s presidency was over, Cheney went back to work for Bradley Woods. He soon decided to run for Congress, however, as a representative from Wyoming. During the campaign, in the summer of 1978, he suffered his first of five heart attacks that would lead to heart transplant surgery. Later that year, he was elected to the first of six terms as a congressman from Wyoming.
In 1981, Cheney became the Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, a position that he held for the next six years. During that time, he was criticized for voting against a House resolution calling for the release of Nelson Mandela and the recognition of the African National Congress.
During the Iran-Contra hearings in the mid-1980s, Cheney vigorously defended his COG colleague Oliver North. Accused of illegally selling arms to Iran, at the time a designated terrorist state, and using the proceeds to illegally arm the Contras in Nicaragua, North himself kept silent. Although it was clear that Reagan Administration officials had broken the law, and that Vice President Bush was likely behind some of it, indictments of Bush and Reagan did not occur. That was because the leader of the investigation, future 9/11 Commission vice chairman Lee Hamilton, uncritically accepted excuses from the White House that were later found to be untrue.
Cheney was elected House minority whip in 1988. He was soon suspected of being behind the attacks on Speaker of the House Jim Wright that forced Wright’s resignation. Wright was the first ever sitting Speaker of the House to be forced out through scandal. The attacks later turned out to be driven by false accusations. The same year, Cheney underwent quadruple by-pass heart surgery.
Author Michael Parenti attributed the political attacks to the questions Wright was raising with regard to Reagan-supported CIA covert actions in Nicaragua. Wright not only criticized Reagan’s policy, but took steps to enter into negotiations with the Nicaraguan government.
In 1989, after the election of George H.W. Bush, Cheney became Secretary of Defense when Bush’s first choice, John Tower, was rejected by the Senate for personal misconduct. There is reason to believe Cheney was behind the demise of Tower’s nomination as well.
During the run-up to the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War, Cheney was briefed by General Norman Schwarzkopf about Iraqi threats against Kuwait. Iraq invaded Kuwait soon after.
Cheney responded to the threat to U.S. interests in Kuwait by flying to Saudi Arabia to ask King Fahd to allow U.S. troops into his country. To convince the King, Cheney’s staff at the Pentagon claimed that 250,000 Iraqi troops with 1,500 tanks were massed on the Saudi border. The photographic evidence, however, was never made public and Soviet satellite imagery taken that day showed no troops near the border. Cheney was getting his intelligence at the time from 9/11 suspect Duane Andrews, who is covered in Chapter 15.
Early the next year, journalist Jean Heller learned about the contradiction in the Soviet satellite imagery and revealed it to Dick Cheney’s office at the Pentagon. Cheney and his staff ignored Heller’s story, as did most of the media. The aerial bombardment of Iraq, initiating Operation Desert Storm, began days later.
Along with Israel, the U.S. government had promoted and exacerbated the eight-year long Iran-Iraq War that had ended just two years earlier. The U.S. had provided chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein, a fact that was emphasized by Rumsfeld’s 1984 visit to Iraq and his famous handshake with Saddam.
Despite having supported Iraq, hypocritical claims of the dangers posed by such Iraqi weapons were used to petition the American public for intervention in 1990. Also used was the televised testimony of Kuwaitis such as the fifteen-year old Nayirah, who was coached to tell lies by the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton. Meanwhile, Nayirah’s cousin Mish’al Al-Sabah was running KuwAm Corporation with 9/11 suspect Wirt Walker (see Chapter 12).
When the Gulf War ended, Cheney hired a company called Halliburton to put out 320 oil well fires, and he hired the Halliburton subsidiary Brown and Root to rebuild infrastructure in Kuwait. A few years later, Cheney would become CEO of Halliburton.
In 1992, Cheney’s Defense Department paid Halliburton nearly $9 million to evaluate how to downsize the U.S. military. The same year, Halliburton was selected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide all the logistics services for the military for five years. This massive and unprecedented “LOGCAP” contract resulted from a plan that Halliburton itself had drawn up.
Cheney’s term as Secretary of Defense was over a few months later when Bill Clinton was elected president. The defeat of George H.W. Bush in his re-election bid could be seen as another political loss for Cheney. However, the militaristic policies of the Bush/Cheney team would soon be vindicated by a new threat.
Shortly after Clinton’s victory, in December 1992, a terrorist group called al Qaeda was blamed for a series of bombings in Yemen. Just two months later, the WTC was bombed. Although the WTC bombing was not initially blamed on al Qaeda, prior to 9/11 three other attacks would be attributed to that group. The others were the shooting down of U.S. helicopters in Somalia in 1993, the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, and the USS Cole incident in 2000.
Meanwhile the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, which had been funded and trained by the CIA and the Pakistani ISI to fight against the Soviets, was dispersing. And the holdings of the covert operations network BCCI were bought up by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The U.S. counterterrorism guru, Richard Clarke, would soon become a personal friend and representative of the UAE government, as discussed in Chapter 6.
In 1994, Cheney was offered the job of Halliburton’s CEO. Although he had no experience in business management, he did have experience securing government contracts for the company.
Clinton signed an embargo order that same year, prohibiting U.S. companies from doing business that would benefit the Iranian oil industry. A year later this became a near total U.S. embargo on Iran, just as Cheney took the Halliburton job. Although the company was awarded $2.3 billion in federal contracts during Cheney’s five years as CEO, Halliburton didn’t pay much attention to the laws regarding business with Iran.
For example, in 1997 an Iraqi-Canadian named Abdulamir Mahdi ordered $41,000 worth of Halliburton spare parts for an oil processing facility in Iran. Halliburton went ahead and violated the U.S. embargo and the equipment was shipped to Iran. Mahdi was later arrested and received a four-year sentence but Halliburton was never charged. While Cheney was still CEO, Halliburton opened an office in Tehran and ended its presence in Iraq.
Cheney negotiated Halliburton’s 1998 purchase of Dresser Industries for $7.7 billion. Dresser was the industrial-intelligence front that gave George H.W. Bush his start in business. Suspect L. Paul Bremer, discussed in Chapter 11, was a director for another company in partnership with Dresser Industries that had patented a thermite demolition device in 1996.
After the Halliburton-Dresser merger, a number of asbestos-related lawsuits were filed against the company. The claims ultimately caused the value of the company’s stock to fall 80 percent in one year.
In 1999, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld joined the advisory board of Salomon Smith Barney (SSB). On September 11, 2001, that investment firm occupied all but ten floors of WTC building 7.
When George W. Bush decided to run for president shortly thereafter, he asked Cheney to help him find a vice-presidential running mate. Cheney put unusual amounts of effort into “screening” all the candidates for the job. The process appeared to be akin to the collection of sensitive information on potential political enemies. Ultimately, Bush told the press that he had chosen Cheney, who had side-stepped the vetting process, to be his running mate. All the sensitive information that Cheney had collected on the others was stored away for future use.
Cheney quit Halliburton in August to campaign as Bush’s vice-president. He left the company with a stock payoff worth $30 million. Just two months later, Halliburton announced layoffs and that it was under a grand jury investigation for over-billing the government of California.
Cheney suffered his fourth heart-attack in November, 2000, just before the election. A week after the vote, it was reported that Halliburton stock had lost between $3 and $4 billion of its total market value due to the Dresser Industries asbestos problem.
During Cheney’s tenure as CEO, Halliburton sold millions of dollars in supplies to Iraq’s oil industry. The deals were done through old subsidiaries of Dresser Industries and under the oversight of the United Nations Oil for Food Program. Halliburton worked with Iran and Libya as well, via subsidiaries, despite those countries being identified as sponsors of terrorism.
Nonetheless, Cheney was sworn in as Vice President of the United States on January 19, 2001. He and Rumsfeld had to resign from their board positions with SSB, the major WTC building 7 tenant, due to their new positions.
Eight days later, President Bush announced the formation of what would be a secret energy taskforce (the National Energy Policy Development Group) led by Cheney. The group held meetings with oil and gas industry representatives, which included discussion of dividing up the oil reserves of the Iraqi nation.
Cheney’s energy taskforce presented a report in May which recommended the adoption of a specific national energy policy. That same month, President Bush announced that he was putting Cheney in charge of a new Office of National Preparedness that would work closely with the federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). This new office was to direct a number of federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, to prepare for “consequence management” related to attacks against the nation.
A month later, in response to a request from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) about his secret energy taskforce, Cheney released some miscellaneous documents. The documents were not responsive to the specific request, however, and further requests by the GAO for additional information were denied by Cheney’s office.
Conflict continued over the lack of transparency regarding the energy taskforce. Seeking to deflect an inquiry, Cheney sent a letter to Congress stating that the GAO’s demand for documents compromised “the confidentiality of communications among a President, a Vice-President, the President’s other senior advisors, and others.”
Cheney’s war with the GAO over the public’s right to know was interrupted on September 11, when the energy taskforce’s plan suddenly became viable.
Dick and Don on 9/11
Cheney was at the White House on the morning of 9/11. That morning, he had an unusual meeting with Sean O’Keefe, who was deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. O’Keefe had been a close colleague of Cheney at the Pentagon and served as Secretary of the Navy under George H.W. Bush.
The meeting with O’Keefe was remarkable in that, unlike Cheney’s normal meetings, it was unscheduled and lasted longer than Cheney normally allowed, even pushing out another scheduled appointment. Although the conversation seemed urgent, “In time, neither man would be able to recall what it was that had been so important.”
The attacks began as Cheney and O’Keefe were meeting in Cheney’s office. O’Keefe then left and Cheney began another meeting with his speechwriter. It was reported that other members of the White House staff began to congregate there until the Secret Service came in to move the vice president to the lower levels.
When questioned by the 9/11 Commission, Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta testified that he came to the PEOC in the basement of the Pentagon around 9:20 a.m., and Cheney was already there. Mineta said that Cheney had an exchange with a “young man” who came in and out over a period of time, giving Cheney updates about an incoming plane and asking if “the orders still stand.”
Mineta’s testimony indicated that Cheney was aware of Flight 77 as it was approaching Washington, before the official account says that anyone knew, and that he had issued orders about that incoming plane. What those orders were has never been revealed but Mineta has consistently stood by his testimony.
As the attacks were beginning, SECDEF Rumsfeld was finishing a breakfast meeting with Pentagon leaders. Attendees said that at this meeting Rumsfeld predicted that a “shocking” world event would occur in the near future, one that would remind people of the need for a strong U.S. military.
By the time that the second plane hit the WTC, Rumsfeld had moved on to a meeting with his CIA briefer. Reports vary on where he was after that, but national security advisor Condoleezza Rice claimed that she could not reach him.
Some said that Rumsfeld continued with regularly scheduled meetings after the second strike, and that he was on a roll with his predictions that morning. Apparently, he told Congressman Christopher Cox “Believe me, this isn’t over yet. There’s going to be another attack, and it could be us.” Minutes later, the Pentagon was hit.
Regardless of where he was between the WTC and Pentagon strikes, it is clear that throughout the attacks Rumsfeld failed to lead the defense of the nation. And that failure continued. After the Pentagon was hit, Rumsfeld wandered out to the parking lot for approximately 30 minutes. His presence there showed that he was not concerned about the remaining planes that were reported to have been hijacked and that he was not considering the danger to other potential targets. It was as if he knew what to expect.
To explain his behavior, Rumsfeld later stated; “I wanted to see what had happened. I wanted to see if people needed help. I went downstairs and helped for a bit with some people on stretchers. Then I came back up here and started – I realized I had to get back up here and get at it.”
Rumsfeld would have been expected to immediately concern himself with the work of his direct subordinate, NORAD commander Ralph Eberhart. However, Rumsfeld did not appear to be worried about the nation’s air defenses at all. As discussed in Chapter 8, NORAD’s inexplicable failures and Eberhart’s lying to Congress afterward left much to be concerned about.
Rumsfeld should also have been very concerned about the defense communication failures that were occurring on 9/11. Those problems will be discussed in the chapter on Duane Andrews.
Dick and Don were running the show on 9/11 and for that reason alone they should be top suspects in the crimes. But they also led the response to 9/11, and their actions in that regard give further evidence that they were involved from the start.
Following 9/11, Rumsfeld led the military planning and execution of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Rumsfeld pushed hard to send as small a force as possible to both conflicts. This limitation of force was referred to as the Rumsfeld Doctrine.
Although he can claim to have been acting under orders from the President, Rumsfeld was fully aware that the justifications for both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, which were largely based on the official narrative of 9/11, were false. That the U.S. had apparently planned to invade both Iraq and Afghanistan in advance of 9/11 was a subject that Rumsfeld did not discuss.
Cheney was a central character in production of the false, warmongering claims. For example, in August 2002, he told an audience of veterans, “There’s no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction [and that he will use them] against our friends, against our allies and against us.” The world soon discovered that this was untrue and that the Iraq War was built entirely on lies. Dick and Don were behind a lot of it.
Rumsfeld was also responsible for putting in place the people who destroyed Iraq after the 2003 invasion. Two such people, L. Paul Bremer and Bernard Kerik, will be discussed in later chapters. Moreover, Rumsfeld was primarily responsible for the immoral and illegal torture techniques used at prison facilities such as Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.
The other 9/11 suspects are all connected to Dick and Don in some way, and a number of them have been close colleagues for many years. Together they represent a convergence of organizations like the RAND Corporation, PNAC, SAIC, the Carlyle Group, and the COG program players. Some of these suspects appear to have played roles in the Iran-Contra crimes and in the false justifications for the Gulf War.
The next chapter reviews some important history related to the private network of operatives that formed in the late 1970s, and how that history evolved. Two men played significant roles in that evolution and they both just happened to be linked in suspicious ways to the events of 9/11.
Notes to Chapter 2
- Vernon Loeb and Greg Schneider, Colorful Outsider Is Named No. 3 At the CIA, The Washington Post, March 17, 2001
- Ken Ringle, Lenzner: Private Eye Or Public Enemy?, The Washington Post, March 2, 1998
- Rowan Scarborough, Rumsfeld’s War: The Untold Story of America’s Anti-terrorist Commander, Regnery Publishing, 2004
- The U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian, Milestones: 1969-1976, OPEC Oil Embargo, 1973-1974
- Kathryn S. Olmsted, Challenging the Secret Government: The Post-Watergate Investigations of the CIA and FBI, University of North Carolina Press, 1996, pp 131-135
- Joseph J. Trento, Prelude to Terror: The Rogue CIA And The Legacy Of America’s Private Intelligence Network, Basic Books, March 2006
- Kevin R. Ryan, Demolition Access to the WTC Towers: Part One, 911Review.com, August 9, 2009.
- Joseph J. Trento, Prelude to Terror: Edwin P. Wilson and the Legacy of America’s Private Intelligence Network, Carroll & Graf, 2005
- Dana Priest, Rumsfeld’s ’84 Visit was to Reassure Iraqis: Trip Followed Criticism Of Chemical Arms’ Use, The Seattle Times, December 19, 2003
- Matthew Everett, Before 9/11, Donald Rumsfeld Was Preoccupied With Pearl Harbor and Other Military Surprises, Shoestring 9/11, July 16, 2007
- Paul Koring, Going Backwards: U.S. to Militarize Space, Toronto Globe & Mail, May 9, 2001
- Ron Suskind, The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill, Simon and Schuster, 2004
- Russ Baker, Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2010
- Lou Dubose and Jake Bernstein, Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency, Random House, 2006, p 27
- Michael Parenti, “State vs. Government,” in Contrary Notions: The Michael Parenti Reader [San Francisco: City Lights, 2007], p. 203.
- Congressional Research Service, Memorandum to House Government Reform Committee on Terrorist Attacks by al Qaeda, March 31, 2004, accessed at: http://www.fas.org/irp/crs/033104.pdf
- The Fifth Estate, The Unauthorized Biography of Dick Cheney, CBC News, aired October 6, 2004
- Russ Baker, Family of Secrets
- In July 1996, Komatsu-Dresser patented a thermite demolition device that could “demolish a concrete structure at a high efficiency, while preventing a secondary problem due to noise, flying dust and chips, and the like.” Taku Murakami, US Patent 5532449 – Using plasma ARC and thermite to demolish concrete.
- The Fifth Estate, The Unauthorized Biography of Dick Cheney
- Lou Dubose and Jake Bernstein, Vice
- White House press release, May 8, 2001
- Lou Dubose and Jake Bernstein, Vice
- The Fifth Estate, The Unauthorized Biography of Dick Cheney
- Stephen F. Hayes, Cheney: The Untold Story of America’s Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President, HarperCollins, 2009
- Gregor Holland, The Mineta Testimony: 9/11 Commission Exposed, 911Truth.org, July 22, 2005
- Transcript of Rumsfeld Interview with Larry King, CNN, December 5, 2001, http://www.defense.gov/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=2603
- PBS Frontline, Interview: Condoleezza Rice,http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/campaign/interviews/rice.html
- William Langley, Revealed: what really went on during Bush’s ‘missing hours’, The Telegraph, December 16, 2001
- Secretary Rumsfeld Interview with Larry King, CNN, U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), Dec. 5, 2001
- Kevin R. Ryan, An 8-year war built on lies: But when did the lying begin?, Foreign Policy Journal, February 28, 2011
- Michael Ratner and the Center for Constitutional Rights, The trial of Donald Rumsfeld: a prosecution by book, New Press, 2008