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Seven Pilots Were Among 19 Hijackers (Evidence Terrorist Operation Planned Attacks For 5 Years!)
London Telegraph ^ | September 15, 2001 | Ben Fenton and Toby Helm

Posted on 09/15/2001 7:18:41 PM PDT by t-shirt

Seven pilots were among 19 hijackers

By Ben Fenton and Toby Helm

(Filed: 15/09/2001)

NINETEEN men, including seven trained pilots, were named by the FBI yesterday as being responsible for hijacking the four American airliners to destroy the two World Trade Centre towers and damage the Pentagon.

Mohamed Atta: tower crash pilot

To prevent the trail of 52 people they want to question about the attacks from going cold, the FBI circulated their names to airlines and the operators of railway lines and marine passenger vessels.

John Ashcroft, the Attorney General, said: "It's pretty clear that there were probably others involved in these endeavours and it's our interest to track those individuals down."

Evidence emerged that the terrorist operation that killed thousands in New York and Washington had been planned for at least five years and that for six months the hijackers had been investigating Logan airport in Boston, where two of the planes took off.

At least five of the 10 hijackers had been travelling under Saudi documents or came from Saudi Arabia to gain entry to America and flight-training schools in Florida. Saudi citizens are not required to get FBI clearance to obtain flight training in America.

The 19 hijackers were Marwan Al Shehhi, Fayez Ahmed, Mohald Al Shehri, Hamza Alghamdi and Ahmed Al Ghamdi on United Airlines Flight 175 which destroyed the World Trade Centre; Waleed M Al Shehri, Wail Al Shehri, Mohamed Atta, Abdulaziz Alomari and Satam Al Suqami on American Airlines Flight 11, which also destroyed the World Trade Centre; Khalid Al-Midhar, Majed Moqed, Nawaq Alhamzi, Salem Alhamzi and Hani Hanjour on American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed on the Pentagon; and Ahmed Alhaznawi, Ahmed Alnami, Ziad Jarrahi and Saeed Alghamdi on United Airlines Flight 93 which crashed in Pennsylvania.

Of the 19 names, at least two-thirds had surnames associated with the south-west corner of Saudi Arabia or Yemen, which is where the bin Laden family originates.

America remained on its highest state of alert, with fighter aircraft still circling the skies over seven of its major cities and FBI agents on duty at all major airports.

The Secret Service, responsible for the security of America's senior leaders, kept Vice-President Dick Cheney away from President George W Bush, a precaution only usually taken in time of war.

He was at the presidential retreat of Camp David as the president attended a prayer service in the National Cathedral in Washington, 70 miles away.Seven pilots were among 19 hijackers

Meanwhile, police in Belgium and Holland arrested a total of six Islamic extremists yesterday as forces across Europe, helped by FBI units on special European duty, combed the Continent in the hunt for terrorists linked to Tuesday's attacks.

In Germany, police and teams of FBI officers were concentrating on Hamburg where three hijackers in Tuesday's suicide attacks were running a cell dedicated to the "spectacular destruction" of key American buildings.

Mohamed Atta, 33, from the United Arab Emirates, who took the controls of the first plane that hit the World Trade Centre, was part of the Hamburg cell.

In Brussels, Belgian police arrested two Islamic extremists and seized weapons including machine pistols. The arrests followed tip-offs from the Belgian state security service that one of those arrested may have been preparing attacks on American targets in Europe.

Dutch police said they had arrested four Muslim radicals on Thursday in the port of Rotterdam. Across the US, there was continued evidence of edginess, with 12 people detained at airports around New York late on Thursday.

They were reported to be armed Arabs, some of whom had certificates from Florida flight training schools and had been originally booked on transAmerican flights on Tuesday. But these reports proved to be untrue.

Only one person was detained for any length of time, on suspicion of proffering a fake pilot's identity card. Two people were detained on a cruise ship in Miami but authorities refused to say if their detention was linked to Tuesday's atrocities.

An Iranian being held in prison in Hanover, Germany, warned the White House last week that a terror attack big enough to threaten the world order would be launched on America within days, the German federal prosecutor's office said.

The man, who was awaiting deportation, made a total of 14 calls to the American authorities in the days immediately before the attack. He specified that the attack would come this week.

But the Iranian was not taken seriously by the FBI or German authorities because his warnings were considered too vague.

TOPICS: Breaking News; Crime/Corruption; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 911; cia; fbi; wtc
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To: bootyist-monk
You insult me by telling me that all my previous posts were silly than you say your honored to stand with me.

Why direct such a nasty insult at me then pretend to be honored to stand with me?

I've spent many hours searching for and posting dozens of stories, and replying them on this act of murderous terror. And then you come along and tell me it was all silly?

You get the respect no one by insulting someone in such a belittling way.

41 posted on 09/15/2001 10:12:34 PM PDT by t-shirt
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To: bootyist-monk
You insult me by telling me that all my previous posts were silly than you say your honored to stand with me.

Why direct such a nasty insult at me then pretend to be honored to stand with me?

I've spent many hours searching for and posting dozens of stories, and replying them on this act of murderous terror. And then you come along and tell me it was all silly?

You get the respect of no one by insulting someone in such a belittling way.

42 posted on 09/15/2001 10:14:32 PM PDT by t-shirt
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To: Uncle Bill
Published Saturday, September 15, 2001

The CEO of terror: Bin Laden the financier of a broad network

Miami Herald


Osama bin Laden was a 24-year-old scion of a super-rich Saudi Arabian family when the Saudi CIA recruited him in 1979 to fight Soviet invaders in Afghanistan, with weapons provided by the American Central Intelligence Agency.

Today, bin Laden is the world's most wanted terrorist, the CEO of ``Islamic Terror Inc.,'' a loose-knit network of groups with tentacles in Asia, Europe, Africa and the United States -- even South Florida -- dedicated to attacking U.S. targets and moderate Arab governments.

Though he may not directly control the groups, he is widely believed to be the driving force and chief financier of a dozen murderous assaults in the past decade, including Tuesday's devastating attacks. ,P> ``Think of these groups as grapes from the same bunch,'' said an Egyptian counter-terrorism expert. ``They are separate, distinct groups yet all their vital links flow back to one common root: Osama bin Laden.''

Some terrorism experts believe that the U.S. government has demonized bin Laden to the point of turning one in many thousand Islamic radicals into the devil himself, blaming him for any and all terror attacks.

``This isn't the politically correct thing to say while they're digging bodies out of the World Trade Center, but he is just a figurehead for a broad and diverse movement,'' said a U.S. terror expert who asked for anonymity.

But anyway one cuts it, bin Laden has been linked to a wave of attacks since 1993 designed to reestablish a Caliphate, an Islamic concept that harks back to the time when Muslims ruled from India to Spain.

According to the CIA's declassified biography of bin Laden, he was born in 1955 in the port city of Jeddah, the youngest son of an ethnic Yemenite businessman who built the Bin Laden Construction Group into a $5 billion firm based on his friendship and contracts with the Saudi government.

Ironically, the firm built the main base for U.S. Air Force units stationed in Saudi Arabia since the Gulf War, the Prince Sultan Air Force Base in the desert, 50 miles southeast of the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

Bin Laden studied economy and religion at the King Abdul Aziz University but, according to friends quoted in published profiles, he was always critical of his country's ruling Al Saud family, widely accused of corruption and un-Islamic behavior such as drinking alcohol.


What the CIA biography does not mention are published reports that he was recruited in 1979 by Saudi CIA chief Prince Turk Bin Faisal into the Islamic Legion, a group of volunteers from around the Arab world organized by bin Faisal to fight the Soviet troops that invaded Afghanistan that year.

That's how bin Laden came to know thousands of Islamic radicals, and in the mid-1980s founded the Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK), or Services Office, to help channel volunteers from some 50 countries to Afghanistan.

While bin Laden is now praised by admirers as a valiant combat commander, CIA agents who worked with the Afghan rebels at the time have said he was more of a rear-echelon organizer and religious leader.

Although he is often photographed holding an AK-47 assault rifle, a 1999 video clip of bin Laden at a firing range showed him awkwardly aiming and firing his rifle. But sometime in the mid-1980's bin Laden began preaching a broader sort of war -- not just military struggle against the Soviets, but an anything-goes war on moderate Arab governments, Israel and its main backer, America.


Although he bases his call for a Jihad on the Muslim holy book, the Koran, his followers tend to be more politically than religiously radical.

Two of the suspects in Tuesday's attacks drank vodka at a South Florida bar shortly before they embarked on their suicide missions. Muslims prohibit the consumption of alcohol.

``In today's wars, there are no morals,'' he said in a 1998 interview with ABC-TV reporter John Miller in one of his Afghan hideouts.

``The terrorism we practice is of the commendable kind, for it is directed at the tyrants and the aggressors and the enemies of Allah. . . who commit acts of treason against their own country and their own faith,'' he declared.

He broke with MAK co-founder Abdallah Azzam, a Palestinian killed in 1989, in the mid-1980s and in 1988 created al Qaeda, Arabic for the military base, reflecting his vision of a network of far-flung groups tenuously linked to a central coordinating body.

``Senior leaders in the organization are also senior leaders in other Islamic terrorist organizations,'' said the CIA biography, made public after the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia after the Soviet troops left Afghanistan in 1989, but was expelled in 1991 for plotting against the Riyadh government and moved to Sudan, where his family firm has several branches.


That same year, the Saudi government allowed hundreds of thousands of U.S., British, French and other troops into the Arab peninsula to fight Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

Bin Laden thundered against the Al Saud family, calling its members ``whores'' and charging that it had violated Muslim precepts by allowing infidel troops near the cities of Mecca and Medina, Islam's two holiest sites.

``They rip us of our wealth, resources and oil. . . . They kill, murder our brothers. They compromise our honor and our dignity, and dare we utter a single word of protest, we are called terrorists,'' he told ABC.

The real terrorists, he said, are the Israelis and their U.S. backers, who rule over Palestinians and want to weaken Islam everywhere so they can impose Western values on Islamic nations.

Bin Laden soon began forging tight links with radical Islamic groups, especially Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and Al Jihad but also the Lebanese-based Hezbollah and other groups in Algeria, Pakistan, Indonesia and several predominantly Muslim nations in the former Soviet region of Central Asia.

And the attacks began:

1993 -- Veterans of the Afghanistan resistance set off a truck bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center, hoping to topple one 110-story tower onto the other. Six people die.

1994 -- A bomb goes off in a Philippines Airline jetliner, killing one person.,P> 1995 -- A car bomb destroys a Saudi National Guard barracks in Royadh, killing six.

1995 -- Bin Laden and Sudan are accused of complicity in an attempt to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak during a trip to neighboring Ethiopia. Sudan expelled bin Laden in May 1996, under intense pressure from Western governments as a result of the plot against Mubarak. Bin Laden returned to Afghanistan, now under the protection of the ruling Taliban.


``He is a good Muslim. Osama is just an ordinary man and he could not have organized'' the New York and Washington attacks, the Taliban's religious leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, said in a nationally broadcast speech Friday.

Bin Laden's move to Afghanistan only emboldened him, allowing him to set up terrorist training camps in rugged hills near the southern city of Jalalabad and host visiting delegations from other terror groups.

And in August of 1996 he issued a public ``Declaration of War'' against America. ``If someone can kill an American soldier, it is better than wasting time on other matters,'' he said the next year.

He sent fighters into Bosnia, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Somalia, Yemen and Kosovo -- virtually any place where Muslims were fighting, according to the CIA biography.

And the attacks continued.

1996 -- A suicide truck bomb at a U.S. military barracks in the Saudi city of Dahran kills 19 American soldiers. In early 1998, bin Laden proclaimed a new group, the International Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and Crusaders, his terminology for Israel and Western nations that sent troops to fight in the Middle East.

And the attacks grew even more deadly.

1998 -- Suicide bombers blow up the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224, including a dozen Americans.

2000 -- A small boat packed with explosives pulls up next to the USS Cole warship in the Yemeni port of Aden and blows up, killing 17 sailors.

2001 -- Suicide hijackers slam three jetliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A fourth crashes in Pennsylvania. Some 5,000 people are reported dead or missing.


``America has no shame,'' he told ABC. ``We believe that the worst thieves in the world today and the worst terrorists are the Americans. Nothing could stop you, except perhaps retaliation in kind.''

Asked if he feared the Clinton Administration's decision in 1998 to put a $5 million price on his head following the embassy bombings, bin Laden shrugged it off.

``We as Muslims believe that our years on this earth are finite and predetermined,'' he said. ''If the whole world gets together to kill us before it is our time to go, they will not succeed.''

43 posted on 09/15/2001 10:23:15 PM PDT by t-shirt
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To: t-shirt
Truly, no insult was intended.

I was referring to our arguments about Beck. In context of the events of Tuesday, they were "silly" (maybe a bad choice of words on my part). Notice I said "our" arguments, I'm including myself. I was trapped in Texas all week, and had to drive home rather than fly. Gave me a lot of time to think about things. That's also why I didn't know about the number of posts you may have made. I'm just getting around to finally checking back in to FreeRepublic. The ignorance is mine, and I take full responsibility.

My point is that while we may not agree on every point, and were willing to fight for our beliefs on this board, I think we can come together as Americans and stand against a common enemy. Especially now.

Sorry if I didn't make my intentions clear, I'll assume that the fault was mine. Still hopeful that we can come together. No flames or defensiveness on my part. Just my feelings.

44 posted on 09/15/2001 10:26:38 PM PDT by bootyist-monk
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To: brat b jeremiah
Former leader of mosque refuses to speak with FBI


Star-Telegram Staff Writer

NEW YORK - A former Muslim religious leader in Arlington will not agree to talk to the FBI about Tuesday morning's attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, his lawyer said Friday.

The FBI has said it wants to question Moataz al-Hallak, who until last year was head of a mosque operated by the Islamic Association of Arlington, about what he may know about the attacks, in which a commercial airliner was also downed in Pennsylvania early Tuesday.

Al-Hallak's attorney in New York, Stanley Cohen, said his client isn't hiding from authorities but isn't talking to them because he knows nothing that would be useful. Cohen said the FBI only wants to bully al-Hallak because of his Islamic race and religion.

"He's not a fugitive," Cohen said. "But he's not talking to the FBI."

If a subpoena is issued, Cohen said he will advise al-Hallak to talk to a grand jury, an assistant U.S. attorney or some other "reasonable" government investigative agency. He said the FBI, however, has not given a reason for why it wants to talk to his client and that it appears to be on a "fishing expedition."

Cohen added: "They want to sit him down and say, 'What do you know about the world?' It's racist. It's destructive ... and that's why he won't be talking to the FBI."

Al-Hallak was the imam, or spiritual leader, of the Arlington mosque until January 2000, when his contract expired. He moved from Arlington about 11 months ago and is now in the Washington area, where he works at an Islamic school and lives a "quiet, wholesome, religious life," Cohen said.

While at the mosque in Texas, al-Hallak became a friend and spiritual adviser to Wadih el Hage, an Arlington resident who, the FBI said, was a top lieutenant to fugitive terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, the man many believe is behind Tuesday's attacks.

The FBI described al-Hallak as an associate of el Hage during its investigation of two U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, and al-Hallak testified three times before a grand jury, Cohen said.

The FBI's public statement that it wants to talk to al-Hallak about Tuesday's terrorist attacks is a potential "death sentence" for his client because of the unbridled anger felt by Americans and their desire to retaliate, Cohen said.

Attorney General John Ashcroft said Friday that federal authorities want to talk to "more than 100" people about the attacks and that the FBI had devoted 4,000 agents to the investigation.

Staff writer Patrick McGee in Arlington contributed to this report.

Jack Douglas Jr., (817) 390-7700

45 posted on 09/15/2001 10:39:18 PM PDT by t-shirt
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To: t-shirt
From listing above: (3) Nawaq Alhamzi - Possible residence (s) : Fort Lee, New Jersey and Wayne, New Jersey and San Diego, CA.

This b@stard's telephone number was listed in the San Diego Telephone Directory!

46 posted on 09/15/2001 10:52:46 PM PDT by onyx
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To: onyx
Coast Guard detains 2 from cruise ship

By Catherine Wilson

Sept. 14, 2001

MIAMI (AP) The Coast Guard detained two cruise ship passengers Friday as their ship approached port after a four-day trip, and the pair was turned over to immigration and FBI agents.

Law enforcement agencies and Carnival cruise line would not say whether the detentions were tied to Tuesday's terrorist attacks.

Immigration and Naturalization Service agents were questioning the detained people, whose names were not released.

No arrests had been made about three hours after the ship docked, agency spokeswoman Judy Oriheula said. The agency did not initiate the boarding request, she said.

In Daytona Beach, about 240 miles north, a strip club manager interviewed by the FBI said that three men spewed anti-American sentiments in a bar and talked of impending bloodshed the night before terrorists struck New York and Washington.

Coast Guard law officers arrived on Carnival's Fascination ship at 3:15 a.m. EDT, when the 2,050-passenger ship was about 20 miles south of Miami. Carnival's security staff helped the agents detain the pair, Coast Guard spokesmen said.

The two passengers were removed from the ship about a half-hour after it docked at its usual terminal at 6:30 a.m., said Petty Officer Robert Suddarth. They were turned over to the FBI and INS agents.

INS spokesman Rodney Germaine had no comment on the incident, saying the investigation was ongoing. Orihuela said FBI agents were present but not involved in the questioning.

The 2,050-passenger Fascination, one of the cruise line's larger ships, was returning from a four-day trip to Cozumel, Mexico, and Key West. Carnival planned a standard same-day turnaround Friday for a three-day cruise to the Bahamas with a new load of passengers.

The Coast Guard announced Thursday that it planned to have boats escort all cruise ships and tankers in and out of the world's busiest cruise port and maintain a 100-yard security zone around the ships.

Several Coast Guard cutters are patrolling off the mouth of the port as a heightened security measure in response to Tuesday's attacks, he said.

Port Everglades also increased security for cruise ships scheduled to use the Fort Lauderdale port this weekend. INS screening is planned for all passengers.

Federal agents were investigating on several fronts in Florida, searching homes and rental car documents and poring over flight school student records across the state.

John Kap, manager of the Pink Pony and Red Eyed Jack's Sports Bar in Daytona Beach, said three men predicted Tuesday's mayhem to a bartender and a patron.

"They were talking about what a bad place America is. They said 'Wait till tomorrow. America is going to see bloodshed,"' Kap said.

He said he told FBI investigators the men in his bar spent $200 to $300 apiece on lap dances and drinks, paying with credit cards. Kap said he gave the FBI credit card receipts and a business card left by one man and a copy of the Quran that was left at the bar.

While investigators pieced together evidence, two former Florida flight school students were identified by German authorities as terrorists aboard the two planes that smashed into the World Trade Center.

Hamburg investigators said Mohamed Atta, 33, and Marwan Alshehhi, 23, had studied at the Technical University in Hamburg and were from the United Arab Emirates. Both men received pilot training at Huffman Aviation, a flight school in Venice, Fla., where FBI investigators are examining student records.

47 posted on 09/15/2001 11:33:13 PM PDT by t-shirt
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To: archy Inspector Harry Callahan
Central Washington a ghostly armed camp:

Military patrols streets: 'It's scary, and I don't feel like this is America'

September 15, 2001

By Claire Soares

National Post Online

Reuters, The Associated Press

William Philpott, Reuters

Washington Police officers guard the security perimeter around the White House yesterday. Authorities have increased the cordon around the President's residence to at least three city blocks in all directions.

WASHINGTON - The White House was turned into a fortress yesterday, with armed police guarding an extended perimeter cordon, helicopters clattering overhead and military vehicles posted at strategic points nearby.

Across Washington, similar precautions were in place, giving the U.S. capital the appearance of a city under siege.

Military vehicles patrolled the streets. Fighter jets ripped across the deserted sky. Bomb-sniffing dogs snuffled around the shrubs by the Supreme Court.

Three days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the area in the heart of Washington around the White House was practically empty of civilians.

Washington police and FBI agents stood guard at intersections around the four-by-seven-block cordon, barring all vehicle access.

"Well, we're at war. That's one of our famous places and we need to protect it," U.S. tourist Al Newman said as he stood at one of the barriers.

The White House is usually tightly guarded, with secret service agents at the gates and tall metal fences. A stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the building has been closed since the deadly 1995 bombing of a federal office building in Oklahoma City.

But the current precautions surpass all that. Guards check pedestrians' identification, allowing through those working at offices within the cordon. Tourists have to content themselves with a distant glimpse of America's most famous house, which usually has a stream of visitors. It was closed to the public yesterday.

Ari Fleischer, a spokesman for George W. Bush, the President, has said there was evidence the White House was one of the targets of the assault in which hijacked airliners crashed into the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon, killing thousands and leaving thousands missing.

Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, who normally works out of an office in the building next to the White House, has moved to the presidential retreat at Camp David, northwest of the capital, as a precaution.

Mr. Bush was working out of the Oval Office yesterday and held a meeting of his Cabinet.

Outside, at least six police on horseback patrolled Lafayette Park, the green expanse in front of the White House, and soldiers in camouflage kept watch on either side of a Humvee military police vehicle.

Exits at two separate subway stations close to the White House were shut for security reasons. Cars ground to a halt on the streets ringing the edge of the cordon.

Police have received scores of reports about bomb threats or suspicious packages since the attacks, said Sergeant Joe Gentile, a police spokesman. Threats caused evacuations on Thursday at the Pentagon, where search-and-rescue workers were labouring to find victims, and at American University's campus in northwest Washington. Later, the Capitol was evacuated as well.

In another false alarm, about 30 law enforcement officers in more than a dozen vehicles converged on the Commerce Department a few blocks from the White House. They encircled a dark station wagon, pulled five men out at gunpoint and made them kneel in the street. After questioning them and examining the car with a bomb-sniffing dog, police released the men. Police had been on the lookout for a similar vehicle and became suspicious when the licence plate did not match the car, said Sergeant K.W. Roden.

The city remained under a state of emergency with Humvees and military police in camouflage stationed on almost every downtown corner. The emergency will remain in effect indefinitely, city officials said.

"I wouldn't want to bring my nephew to visit if there are going to be military police everywhere," said Carlton Sullivan, a street cleaner. "But you know that they are going to have to tighten things up."

The signs of security made some feel safe and unnerved others.

Many office buildings turned away visitors and required identification from workers. Others locked all but a single entrance.

"I can't even get into my own building," said Ann Carter, a secretary for a downtown law firm who had left her identification at home. "It's scary, and I don't feel like this is America."

48 posted on 09/15/2001 11:37:41 PM PDT by t-shirt
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To: t-shirt
The remaining terrorists are trying to get out of the US in every manner imaginable. Like turning on the lights and watching the cockroaches run for cover.
49 posted on 09/15/2001 11:41:22 PM PDT by onyx
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To: summer
Saudi Arabia is a U.S ally and no Saudi national ever committed a terrorist act against Americans so there was no reason to require FBI clearance for flight training for them at the time. But now you can be sure that rule will be changed though in hindsight it should been changed earlier. The terrorists took advantage of U.S ties to Saudi Arabia to use it as a loophole to continue their terrorist planning undetected. Sly SOBs those ones.
50 posted on 09/15/2001 11:52:05 PM PDT by goldstategop
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To: onyx
There are as many of them as cockroaches to, the way Clinton has let and brought them in!
51 posted on 09/15/2001 11:58:49 PM PDT by t-shirt
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To: goldstategop
Bin Laden is from Saudi Arabia and the country is full of terrorists.
52 posted on 09/16/2001 12:00:24 AM PDT by t-shirt
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To: Uncle Bill Michael Rivero FormerLurker
Did Encryption Empower These Terrorists?

And would restricting crypto have given the authorities a change to stop these acts?

By Steven Levy


Sept. 11 — “Well, I guess this is the end now. . . .” So wrote the first Netizen to address today’s tragedy on the popular discussion group, sci.crypt. The posting was referring what seems like an inevitable reaction to the horrific terrorist act: an attempt to roll back recent relaxations on encryption tools, on the theory that cryptography helped cloak preparations for the deadly events.

BUT THE DESPONDENCY reflected in the comment can be applied more generally. The destruction of the World Trade Center and the attack on the Pentagon comes at a delicate time in the evolution of the technologies of surveillance and privacy. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, our attitude toward these tools may well take a turn that has profound implications for the way individuals are monitored and tracked, for decades to come.

The first issue on the docket will be the fate of tools that enable citizens to encrypt their e-mail, documents and phone conversations as they zip through cyberspace and the ether. Over the past decades there have been heated debates over whether this technology should be restricted—as it can clearly benefit wrong-doers as well as businesspeople and just plain average people.

The prime government argument in favor of restrictions invoked the specter of precisely this kind of atrocity. Quite literally, it was the fear of “another World Trade Center” that led the Clinton administration in the 1990s to propose a system whereby people could encode their e-mails and conversations, but also provide the Feds with a “back-door” means of access. Now that those fears have come to pass, it’s fair to ask those who lionized crypto as a liberating tool to face a tough question: Did encryption empower these terrorists?

And would restricting crypto have given the authorities a chance to stop these acts?

In the recent trial over the bombing of the Libyan embassy, prosecutors introduced evidence that Bin Laden had mobile satellite phones that used strong crypto.

The answer to the first question is quite possibly yes. We do know that Osama Bin Laden, who has been invoked as a suspect, was a sophisticated consumer of crypto technology. In the recent trial over the bombing of the Libyan embassy, prosecutors introduced evidence that Bin Laden had mobile satellite phones that used strong crypto. Even if Bin Laden was not behind it, the acts show a degree of organization that indicates the terrorists were smart enough to scramble their communications to make them more difficult, if not impossible, to understand. If not for encryption, notes former USAF Col. Marc Enger (now working for security firm Digital Defense) “they could have used steganography [hiding messages between the pixels of a digital image] or Web anonymizers [which cloak the origin of messages].”

But that doesn’t mean that laws or regulations could have denied these tools to the terrorists. After all, many of the protocols of strong cryptography are in the public domain. Dozens of programs were created overseas, beyond the control of the U.S. Congress. The government used to argue that allowing crypto to proliferate, particularly to the point of being built into popular systems made by Microsoft or AOL, would empower even stupid criminals. But these were sophisticated terrorists, not moronic crooks.

Before September 11, commercial interests, privacy advocates and most in the government had reached a sort of common ground, balancing high-tech with threats.

Cryptography was regarded as a fact of life, one with some benefit to national secruity as well as risks. (In an age of Info-Warfare, we are the most vunerable nation, and cryptography can help secure our infrastructure.) Intelligence agencies could make up for the difficulties that crypto creates for them by several means, including heightened work in codebreaking, more use of “human assets” (spies), and—most of all—taking advantage of the bounty of new information that the telecom revolution has forced out into the open. E-mail, pagers, faxes, cell phones, Blackberries, GPS systems, Web cookies—every year another device or system seems to emerge to expose information to eavesdroppers. Even if terrorists encrypt content on some of those tools, simply tracking who talks to whom, and measuring the volume of messages, can yield crucial intelligence. (Indeed, this form of “traffic analysis” did produce evidence that was used in the Embassy bombing trial.) The challenge to our spy agencies—one tragically not met this time around—is to use those means to compensate for whatever information might have been lost to encryption.

Beyond the crypto issue are a raft of controversies involving other technologies of surveillance. Before this attack, there was a general feeling that we would see legislation to protect privacy on the Web and perhaps limit tools that threatened civil liberties.

Some feared that face-scanning devices like the one used at the last Super Bowl can track individuals as they move from one publicly mounted surveillance camera to another.

There was criticism directed toward the FBI’s “Carnivore” device, capable of scooping up massive numbers of e-mails from Internet service providers. There was concern over Web bugs that tracked people’s movements on the Internet. There were objections to the Department of Justice’s scheme to insure that cell phones were also tracking devices, presumably to aid 911 services, but potentially becoming homing devices to follow our roamings.

Until today, a pro-privacy consensus was building. Will those concerns be set aside in the rush to do something—anything—to assure ourselves that we can prevent another September 11, 2001?

Privacy advocate Richard Smith anticipates big changes in airport security, but not necessarily a reboot on overall privacy outlook. “Those types of restrictions just don’t work against people like [these terrorists],” he says. Let’s hope that he’s right—that wisdom and courage, and not fear, dictates future policy. Otherwise, the legacy of this terrible day may become even more painful.


Newsweek Senior Editor Steven Levy is the author of “Crypto: How the Code Rebels Beat the Government—Saving Privacy in the Digital Age”

53 posted on 09/16/2001 12:22:38 AM PDT by t-shirt
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To: t-shirt
Patriots must stand shoulder to shoulder with President Bush. We must also we willing to find out "who" or "what" is pulling the strings with respect to Bin Laden. This is a highly intelligent, highly sophisticated, supremely technical set of operations.
54 posted on 09/16/2001 2:40:40 AM PDT by BrucefromMtVernon
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To: BrucefromMtVernon
55 posted on 09/16/2001 2:43:12 AM PDT by t-shirt
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To: t-shirt
How did all these pilots get through FBI background checks, with the FBI now admitting they ties to terrorist organizations and bin Laden?

Clinton/Gore bypassed the requirement for background checks in 1996 in order to get 1,000,000,000 new immigrants into the country and register them as democrats before the election (there wasn't enough time or resources to go through the normal process of background checks AND WAITING PERIODS).

56 posted on 09/16/2001 3:39:11 AM PDT by Go Gordon
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To: Go Gordon
Relatives condemn bin Laden, attacks

Head of family offers condolences, disowns Saudi dissident


Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The family of Osama bin Laden denounced the notorious Saudi dissident Saturday and offered its condolences to victims of the terror attacks in the United States.

In a telephone interview from the Red Sea port city of Jiddah, the head of the wealthy bin Laden family, Sheik Abdullah Awad Aboud bin Laden, expressed deep sorrow about Tuesday's attacks.

"The family has previously announced its position [to distance itself] from Osama and condemned his acts. All the family members condemn all violent and terrorist acts, even if Osama is behind them," said the sheik, who is Mr. bin Laden's uncle.

Mr. bin Laden and his al-Qaeda organization have been named by the United States as key suspects in the coordinated airborne attack on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.

U.S. authorities also suspect him of masterminding the August 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

He is thought to have played a role in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the 1996 bombing of U.S. military housing in Saudi Arabia and last year's attack on the USS Cole in Yemen.

The bin Laden family issued a statement in 1994 expressing its "regret, denunciation and condemnation of all acts that Osama bin Laden may have committed, which we do not condone, and we reject."

57 posted on 09/16/2001 3:44:59 AM PDT by t-shirt
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To: goldstategop
The terrorists took advantage of U.S ties to Saudi Arabia to use it as a loophole to continue their terrorist planning undetected...
Yes, my point exactly...
58 posted on 09/16/2001 4:27:44 AM PDT by summer
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To: PoisedWoman
what was the name of the PBS program?
59 posted on 09/16/2001 5:30:28 AM PDT by thinden
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To: t-shirt, bootyist-monk
Truly, no insult was intended....The ignorance is mine, and I take full responsibility....My point is that while we may not agree on every point, and were willing to fight for our beliefs on this board, I think we can come together as Americans and stand against a common enemy. Especially now..... Sorry if I didn't make my intentions clear, I'll assume that the fault was mine. Still hopeful that we can come together. No flames or defensiveness on my part. Just my feelings.

Hey, t-shirt. Someone is talking to you and you're not answering.

Your silence speaks volumes. What's your problem?

60 posted on 09/16/2001 5:48:14 AM PDT by Nita Nupress
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