Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Conspiracy Update

Today is the 21st anniversary of the first attack on the World Trade Center by Muslim terrorists in 1993.  Some consider it the unofficial beginning of the GWoT.

Oddly, on the same day a story has emerged that brings even more fuzziness into the entire War on Terror narrative. 

Backtracking to 93, the perpetrators were not thought to be part of AQ, rather, they were loosely associated with the Egyptian Islamic Group attached to the Blind Shiekh Omar Rahman and/or the rootless, stateless variant known to include KSM. Bin Laden was considered a minor player at the time.

But the players have always been a bit of a mystery.   The most notable was Ramzi Yousef, who was born in Pakistan.  Called "Rashid the Iraqi" by his terror buds, he was locked up and forgotten before AQ became a force.  Another was Abdul Yasin, an actual Iraqi who has never been found (after fleeing to Saddam's Iraq after the attack).  Egyptians made up the bulk of the rest of the gang.   The hate for infidels is noted, but why would they have reason at that time to knock over the towers and kill 200,000 New Yorkers?  After all, we had liberated Afghanistan, Kosovo, allowed the Blind Shiekh safe harbor and had just cut the legs out from under Saddam Hussein, a noted whiskey drinking apostate.   

Over the years the focus morphed to UBL and AQ.  But journalists had long ago uncovered that the FBI was running an asset on the inside of the plot, an Egyptian named Emad Salem, who was bizarrely pulled from the inside some months before the attack.   That was a bit embarrassing, but it never became a huge public story as time passed and people forgot, except the 9/11 truthers, who consider it evidence of the grand plot.   

After 9/11 interest spiked again, but the 9/11 Commission decided not to go delve back too far into history in their review for some reason.  Had they done so they might have uncovered a new revelation surfaced today about the history of the FBI and UBL:
In a revelation missing from the official investigations of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the FBI placed a human source in direct contact with Osama bin Laden in 1993 and ascertained that the al Qaeda leader was looking to finance terrorist attacks in the United States, according to court testimony in a little-noticed employment dispute case.
No doubt this will light the conspiracy world on fire.  Perhaps it should--considering that the FBI has been able to keep this out of the limelight for over 20 years now.  If they can suppress something for 20 years it's not hard to think they could have suppressed info about something like a plane crash off the coast of Long Island.

But is this really a big deal?  In 1993 UBL was living in the Sudan. That's likely where this Egyptian asset met with him and found out about the Los Angeles plot.  The Times story does not say what happened to the source after 1994--he seems to have vanished--just like the notorious Ali Mohammed, star character of several Peter Lance books (but someone who's not known by the majority of Americans for some strange reason) who also disappeared.

Apparently this source was not reached soon enough to help prevent the 1993 WTC attack, but the public is left to puzzle on why, if the FBI had a source in the WTC plot, a source in Ali Mohammed (who was working with UBL) and presumably another mystery person (assuming it's not Mohammed), did the attacks continue during the 90s culminating in 9/11?  Did the government not come clean because Mohammed betrayed us as a double agent?  Is that why nobody seems to know where he is now, despite being in US custody after 1998?  Or was it just as Michael Moore and the Looser Changers have imagined, ie, ole Ali was an asset who helped Halliburton set up the GWoT so we could plunge for oil and treasure? 

Here's the kind of thing conspiracists will seize upon (emphasis added)...
Like Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Zelikow said he does not recall ever being told by the FBI about the 1993 source and that Mr. Curran’s disclosure appeared to involve “valuable intelligence gathered in 1993 and 1994.”
But Mr. Zelikow cautioned against reading too deeply into the revelation, asserting that bin Laden’s activities that long ago would be viewed as “pretty attenuated in relation to 9/11.”
Pretty attenuated? Is he kidding? This is the guy who blessed 9/11. We were told he was a non-factor during the first bombing. If he was directing terrorist attacks in America years before the government claims he was that's a pretty big thing because it means they either missed him, dismissed him, or were trying to suppress him. Continued stonewalling on stuff like this will only make things worse. 

And make it political.

For instance, right now there's a story on the wires about Clinton administration documents being held in the Clinton Library and not released as scheduled on January 1st, 2014.  Could there possibly be anything incriminating in those documents about the War on Terror they'd rather keep sealed before Billary is safely back in the White House?  Or did former Clinton official Sandy Berger take care of this problem when he pilfered documents in his socks from the National Archives before the 9/11 Commission could get to them?

And what of the Republicans and Bush? Was there a tie-in to George H.W. Bush that his son didn't want revealed during the investigation of 9/11?  If the source was indeed Ali Mohammad and Bin Laden was more important than we were told that would seem to leave some blame for 9/11 on 41, since they were figures in the jihad before Clinton came into power.  Mohammad was welcomed into the US Army, after all.

Or was that the reason the Bush administration went so easy on Berger for doing something that would have landed the average citizen in the Supermax beside Yousef?  He was protecting their legacy, too? 

Maybe time will tell. Until then there's rank speculation.  Right now the money speculation is not that this story proves a massive conspiracy hatched by American politicians to attack their own country ala Fahrenheit Loose Change Zeitgest 9/11.  They are generally too stupid and the circle of knowledge is far too wide.  People eventually talk, yet leaks from Wikileaks, Stratfor and Snowden have turned up nothing.

Rather, it's more likely a case of politicians, bureaucrats, and individuals covering their asses after a massive failure.  As we seen, it's not hard for the FBI to hide a covert operation for 20 years when the circle of knowledge is small (and careers/pensions are on the line).  It's just as likely that lousy dot-connecting and bureaucratic snafus were responsible as opposed to some massive, premeditated plot perfectly engineered and orchestrated flawlessly.  Hindsight is always 20/20.  As the old guard begins to retire and certain political figures die off maybe the truth will begin trickling out.  

But certainly these kinds of revelations don't endear confidence or trust in the authorities.

MORE  2/27/14

Not surprisingly Captain Ed at Hot Air basically downplayed this story as he is wont to do these days, choosing not to find much shock in the FBI suppressing something of this nature for 20 years amidst the climate of post 9/11 investigations. He also didn't question whether the FBI, though former director Loius Freeh, told the president (Clinton) or whether anyone in that administration, such as board member Jamie Gorelick, was derelict for not coming forth with such information, which could have possibly changed some of the 9/11 commission conclusions.  Remember, Sandy Berger was supposedly pilfering documents about the thwarted "Millennium" terror plot in 1999 where Ahmed Ressam was arrested before he could blow up LAX.  Was there anything in those docs that pointed back to this information?  

At any rate, Ed seems to be swayed by this NBC story, which portends to answer the questions the Washington Times report left hanging.  No, the AQ mole wasn't Ali Mohammed, but rather a guy who wound up dumping his mole duties for the FBI and hitching himself to the CIA, which supposedly got him killed by AQ operatives in Bosnia in 1995, which might explain his disappearance off the FBI radar scope in 1994. As to how the FBI learned of the mole's disappearance..
The FBI did not know at the time that its informant had started working for the CIA, or why he had disappeared. His former handler, Bassem Youssef, who by then was working undercover in Los Angeles as a supposed member of al Qaeda, began asking his al Qaeda sources what had become of the driver.
They told Youssef that the driver had gone to Bosnia, and that al Qaeda operatives there had killed him because they believed that he was a mole for the CIA. Later, Youssef was able to confirm that the al Qaeda operatives’ suspicions were justified, and that the driver had been working for the CIA.
So why wasn't this in the Times story yesterday?  NBC seemed to get it pretty quick--did they call the FBI and ask?  Did the Washington Times not bother?   Something else? 

Whatever the case it appears to be information designed to wrap a bow on the story and squelch any lingering questions, ie, the mole is dead now, nothing to see, move along.  Look over there--gay marriage! 

Except we've seen a lot in this one story.

1.  We've seen the Feds had bin Laden on their radar in 1993 and didn't report that to the 9/11 Commission.
2.   We've learned an AQ terror cell was based in Los Angeles well before the 1999 Ressam bombing plot, none of which was fully reported.
3.   We've learned there was a thwarted terror attack at an LA Masonic Lodge in 1993, engineered by bin Laden. 
4.   We've learned UBL was a money man for the Blind Shiekh network before anyone claimed it was occurring.  Why wasn't this reported?  Did bin Laden family connections to the Bush family have anything to do with it?  
5.  We know the FBI knew about a terror cell in San Diego years before the two 9/11 hijackers arrived in America and took roost there.  Had the FBI stopped surveillance on this cell or did they know about these two plotters?   The story to date has been that CIA refused to tell FBI about the hijackers, otherwise the plot may have been prevented.  This is what Richard Clarke keeps telling people.  Did Clarke know about this AQ cell in LA/mole story when it was happening?  If not, why not?  Was he right about a cover-up, but simply wrong about the agency?     

Yet NBC just puppets what their anonymous push-back sources told them:
Sources told NBC News, however, that they weren’t sure the informant was relevant to the 9/11 Commission, because by 2001 his short, albeit productive, relationship with the U.S. government – and his life – had been over for six years. In a statement, the FBI said that the FBI “made all relevant information available to the 9/11 Commission.”

Not a missile. Not relevant, nothing to see, move along.

And yes, the above sounds more than a little 9/11 trutherish. It's not.  9/11 was too big and too broad to be a conspiracy, much less a government conspiracy. It's one thing to keep a little self-serving secret like this story, it's another to keep someone from ratting out a politician attacking his own country.

No, it's just an example of how a rigid bureaucracy, internecine turf wars, raw politics, a misplaced sense of security, and a feeling that the mujahadeen who helped us beat the Soviets in Afghanistan were still on our side led to failure and that terrible day.  It's doubtful anyone did anything to purposely get people killed, other than the Islamoterrorists, who are still terrorists and must be eradicated. But a little truth wouldn't hurt every now and then.


Bill O'Reilly has completed his journey from a questioning newsman to complete and utter dope. Poor Laura Ingraham had to gently hand him his backside on a pillow to keep it from cracking on air and hurting someone.  His self-congratulation and ass-kissing are past the point of embarrassment.  Megyn Kelly is now the alpha journalist on prime-time Fox.  This has nothing to do with this post, just had to get that in.


Guy Taylor from the WaTimes reports that the House will be looking into this.  Frank Wolf seems like one of the few straight-shooting congressmen, he's going to be taking charge...
Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican and chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds the FBI, said the panel would take a close look at what came of the human source that the FBI’s Los Angeles field office cultivated in 1993.
The source’s contributions, which included helping thwart a terrorist plot in Los Angeles, were never mentioned in the more than 500-page official report published in 2004 by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.
In an interview with The Times on Wednesday evening, Mr. Wolf said the details surrounding the source represent “exactly the type of activity” that the newly established panel will examine. The panel, which is also being dubbed a “commission,” was created in late January under language Mr. Wolf crafted for Congress‘ 2013 omnibus appropriations bill that President Obama ultimately signed into law.

The question is whether there really are any true straight-shooters left. Maybe we'll see. Maybe we won't.

MORE  2/28/14

Some additional reporting...

ABC's Note makes it sound like the FBI is questioning former Special Agent Curran's story.  Their story title actually contains a question  mark.  FBI officials "could not recall" an asset meeting with UBL that early.  So they acknowledge the mole to NBC, claim he went to the CIA and they got him killed in Bosnia, but don't remember what he did back in 1993.  

As usual, the Daily Mail went out and found pictures of the FBI guys in their story, which pretty much summarizes other reporting.

But here's some partial paydirt--from Mother Jones.  They did a feature on Youssef in 2009, before the testimony, which fills in some holes..
The FBI's highest-ranking Arabic-speaking agent is a ghost. He goes to work each day, but walks the halls like an empty suit. Fellow agents whisper about his loyalty and talk about throwing him "off the roof." Bassem Youssef, after all, is the whistleblower at the center of two of the FBI's biggest ongoing scandals: its rampant abuse of national security letters to access confidential information on US citizens, and its failure to recruit Arabic-speaking agents. He's sued the bureau for discrimination and has been sidelined to a paper-pushing job. Yet he won't quit—he remains determined, he says, to fight the war on terror, even if he has to battle his bosses to do it.
The article is worth reading for perspective, especially when it describes Youssef's status during the mid 90s:
It wasn't always so. In the mid-1990s, if you were to call the FBI and ask for Bassem Youssef, the switchboard operator would tell you there was no such person. Known in those days by his alias, Adam Shoukry, Youssef was a star counterterrorism specialist, one of only a few agents in bureau history whose work was deemed so sensitive that the attorney general allowed him to go undercover within the FBI itself.
Almost a full decade before the 9/11 attacks, he managed to penetrate "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel-Rahman's Islamic Group, which carried out the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. (Some of its key members later joined Al Qaeda, which Youssef identified as a threat long before it was on most intelligence agents' radar.) The details of Youssef's service during this period remain classified, but his value as an agent was such that, in November 1994, he received the Director of Central Intelligence Award, a high honor reserved for the intelligence community's most skilled operators.

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