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Posts by Bronc1

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  • PRESIDENTIAL CONNECTION - How Bill Clinton's Aide Facilitated a Messy Deal

    09/26/2007 1:33:22 PM PDT · 19 of 21
    Bronc1 to jdm

    Is it required that the original headline must be used? If so, you have my permission to change it to the original headline. If there are no posted rules for headlines, I ask you to accept my revised headline.

    What is “Clinton’s Roman Catholic Connection?”
    Answer: Raffaello Follieri

    What is “An Intriguing Monica Lewinsky Link?”
    Answer: Douglas Band who worked as White House intern at same time as Monica Lewinsky, accompanied her to the 1995 White House Ball and after the Lewinsky Scandal broke was promoted to Clinton’s personal aide.

  • PRESIDENTIAL CONNECTION - How Bill Clinton's Aide Facilitated a Messy Deal

    09/26/2007 1:20:45 PM PDT · 7 of 21
    Bronc1 to jjm2111

    I thought the WSJ headline tiptoed around the real story.

  • PRESIDENTIAL CONNECTION - How Bill Clinton's Aide Facilitated a Messy Deal

    09/26/2007 1:13:09 PM PDT · 1 of 21
    Bronc1
    This is a story with legs. Watch for a follow-up article in the WSJ soon.
  • "Valerie Flame" Theory... RE: Judy Miller

    10/18/2005 11:18:12 AM PDT · 40 of 47
    Bronc1 to Sacajaweau

    "...I think THAT WAS Miller's object to make sure Valerie got exposed. The object of the rest of the group was to use that "fire" to burn some very respected politicians in THIS Whitehouse..."

    2 THEORIES: WHY EXPOSE VALERIE?
    (1) Miller and Wilson had a "Body Heat" relationship and both of them wanted Plame out of Wilson's life.

    (2) Miller was very close with Wilson, but he was married to Plame. Exposing Plame would allow her to go after Wilson.




    Maybe it was Miller's and/or Wilson's object to make sure Valerie got exposed. Has anyone discussed the possibility that Miller and Wilson might

  • "Valerie Flame" Theory... RE: Judy Miller

    10/18/2005 11:03:46 AM PDT · 37 of 47
    Bronc1 to Steve_Seattle

    Another "Plame-Out" Theory:
    Miller knew that "Valerie Flame" was Wilson's wife when she wrote the name into the notebook. Another person--perhaps Wilson--had previously assigned the "Valerie Flame" nickname to his wife. When she heard Plame's name from her source, she wrote the nickname down instinctively. Or was this a name that Miller and Wilson had assigned to Wilson's wife.

  • CHOOSE A NAME FOR THIS LATEST CLINTON SCANDAL--How about "WALLGATE" or "TREASONGATE"?

    08/11/2005 6:30:11 PM PDT · 1 of 48
    Bronc1
  • How Chinagate Led to 9/11

    08/11/2005 6:14:24 PM PDT · 1 of 31
    Bronc1
    How Chinagate Led to 9/11 By Jean Pearce FrontPageMagazine.com | May 25, 2004

    As the 9/11 Commission tries to uncover what kept intelligence agencies from preventing September 11, it has overlooked two vital factors: Jamie Gorelick and Bill Clinton. Gorelick, who has browbeaten the current administration, helped erect the walls between the FBI, CIA and local investigators that made 9/11 inevitable. However, she was merely expanding the policy Bill Clinton established with Presidential Decision Directive 24. What has been underreported is why the policy came about: to thwart investigations into the Chinese funding of Clinton’s re-election campaign, and the favors he bestowed on them in return.

    In April, CNSNews.com staff writer Scott Wheeler reported that a senior U.S. government official and three other sources claimed that the 1995 memo written by Jamie Gorelick, who served as the Clinton Justice Department’s deputy attorney general from 1994 to 1997, created "a roadblock" to the investigation of illegal Chinese donations to the Democratic National Committee. But the picture is much bigger than that. The Gorelick memo, which blocked intelligence agents from sharing information that could have halted the September 11 hijacking plot, was only the mortar in a much larger maze of bureaucratic walls whose creation Gorelick personally oversaw.

    It’s a story the 9/11 Commission may not want to hear, and one that Gorelick – now incredibly a member of that commission – has so far refused to tell. But it is perhaps the most crucial one to understanding the intentional breakdown of intelligence that led to the September 11 disaster.

    Nearly from the moment Gorelick took office in the Clinton Justice Department, she began acting as the point woman for a large-scale bureaucratic reorganization of intelligence agencies that ultimately placed the gathering of intelligence, and decisions about what – if anything – would be done with it under near-direct control of the White House. In the process, more than a dozen CIA and FBI investigations underway at the time got caught beneath the heel of the presidential boot, investigations that would ultimately reveal massive Chinese espionage as millions in illegal Chinese donations filled Democratic Party campaign coffers.

    When Gorelick took office in 1994, the CIA was reeling from the news that a Russian spy had been found in CIA ranks, and Congress was hungry for a quick fix. A month after Gorelick was sworn in, Bill Clinton issued Presidential Decision Directive 24. PDD 24 put intelligence gathering under the direct control of the president’s National Security Council, and ultimately the White House, through a four-level, top-down chain of command set up to govern (that is, stifle) intelligence sharing and cooperation between intelligence agencies. From the moment the directive was implemented, intelligence sharing became a bureaucratic nightmare that required negotiating a befuddling bureaucracy that stopped directly at the President’s office.

    First, the directive effectively neutered the CIA by creating a National Counterintelligence Center (NCI) to oversee the Agency. NCI was staffed by an FBI agent appointed by the Clinton administration. It also brought multiple international investigations underway at the time under direct administrative control. The job of the NCI was to “implement counterintelligence activities,” which meant that virtually everything the CIA did, from a foreign intelligence agent’s report to polygraph test results, now passed through the intelligence center that PDD 24 created.

    NCI reported to an administration-appointed National Counterintelligence Operations Board (NCOB) charged with “discussing counterintelligence matters.” The NCOB in turn reported to a National Intelligence Policy Board, which coordinated activities between intelligence agencies attempting to work together. The policy board reported “directly” to the president through the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.

    The result was a massive bureaucratic roadblock for the CIA – which at the time had a vast lead on the FBI in foreign intelligence – and for the FBI itself, which was also forced to report to the NCOB. This hampered cooperation between the two entities. All this occurred at a time when both agencies were working separate ends of investigations that would eventually implicate China in technology transfers and the Democratic Party in a Chinese campaign cash grab.

    And the woman charged with selling this plan to Congress, convincing the media and ultimately implementing much of it? Jamie Gorelick.

    Many in Congress, including some Democrats, found the changes PDD 24 put in place baffling: they seemed to do nothing to insulate the CIA from infiltration while devastating the agency’s ability to collect information. At the time, Democrat House Intelligence Chairman Dan Glickman referred to the plan as “regulatory gobbledygook." Others questioned how FBI control of CIA intelligence would foster greater communication between the lower levels of the CIA and FBI, now that all information would have to be run through a multi-tier bureaucratic maze that only went upward.

    Despite their doubts, Gorelick helped the administration sell the plan on Capitol Hill. The Directive stood.

    But that wasn’t good enough for the Clinton administration, which wanted control over every criminal and intelligence investigation, domestic and foreign, for reasons that would become apparent in a few years. For the first time in Justice Department history, a political appointee, Richard Scruggs – an old crony or Attorney General Janet Reno’s from Florida – was put in charge of the Office of Intelligence and Policy Review (OIPR). OIPR is the Justice Department agency in charge of requesting wiretap and surveillance authority for criminal and intelligence investigations on behalf of investigative agencies from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. The court’s activities are kept secret from the public.

    A year after PDD 24, with the new bureaucratic structure loaded with administration appointees, Gorelick drafted the 1995 memo Attorney General John Ashcroft mentioned while testifying before the 9/11 Commission. The Gorelick memo, and other supporting memos released in recent weeks, not only created walls within the intelligence agencies that prevented information sharing among their own agents, but effectively walled these agencies off from each other and from outside contact with the U.S. prosecutors instrumental in helping them gather the evidence needed to make the case for criminal charges.

    The only place left to go with intelligence information – particularly for efforts to share intelligence information or obtain search warrants – was straight up Clinton and Gorelick’s multi-tiered chain of command. Instead, information lethal to the Democratic Party languished inside the Justice Department, trapped behind Gorelick’s walls.

    The implications were enormous. In her letter of protest to Attorney General Reno over Gorelick’s memo, United States Attorney Mary Jo White spelled them out: “These instructions leave entirely to OIPR and the (Justice Department) Criminal Division when, if ever, to contact affected U.S. attorneys on investigations including terrorism and espionage,” White wrote. (Like OIPR, the Criminal Division is also part of the Justice Department.)

    Without an enforcer, the walls Gorelick’s memo put in place might not have held. But Scruggs acted as that enforcer, and he excelled at it. Scruggs maintained Gorelick’s walls between the FBI and Justice's Criminal Division by threatening to automatically reject any FBI request for a wiretap or search warrant if the Bureau contacted the Justice Department's Criminal Division without permission. This deprived the FBI, and ultimately the CIA, of gathering advice and assistance from the Criminal Division that was critical in espionage and terrorist cases.

    It is no coincidence that this occurred at the same time both the FBI and the CIA were churning up evidence damaging to the Democratic Party, its fundraisers, the Chinese and ultimately the Clinton administration itself. Between 1994 and the 1996 election, as Chinese dollars poured into Democratic coffers, Clinton struggled to reopen high-tech trade to China. Had agents confirmed Chinese theft of weapons technology or its transfer of weapons technology to nations like Pakistan, Iran and Syria, Clinton would have been forced by law and international treaty to react.

    Gorelick’s appointment to the job at Justice in 1994 occurred during a period in which the FBI had begun to systematically investigate technology theft by foreign powers. For the first time, these investigations singled out the U.S. chemical, telecommunications, aircraft and aerospace industries for intelligence collection.

    By the time Gorelick wrote the March 1995 memo that sealed off American intelligence agencies from each other and the outside world, all of the most critical Chinagate investigations by American intelligence agencies were already underway. Some of their findings were damning:

    * In an investigation originally instigated by the CIA, the FBI was beginning its search for the source of the leak of W-88 nuclear warhead technology to China among the more than 1,000 people who had access to the secrets. Despite Justice Department stonewalling and the Department’s refusal to seek wiretap authority in 1997, the investigation eventually led to Wen Ho Lee and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. * The FBI first collected extensive evidence in 1995 linking illegal Democratic Party donations to China, according to the Congressional Record. But Congress and the Director of the CIA didn’t find out about the Justice Department’s failure to act upon that evidence until 1997, safely after the 1996 election. * According to classified CIA documents leaked to the Washington Times, between 1994 and 1997, the CIA learned that China sold Iran missile technology, a nuclear fission reactor, advanced air-defense radar and chemical agents. The Chinese also provided 5,000 ring magnets to Pakistan, used in producing weapons-grade uranium. The Chinese also provided uranium fuel for India's reactors.

    In many cases the CIA resorted to leaking classified information to the media, in an effort to bypass the administration’s blackout.

    Gorelick knew these facts well. While Clinton may have refused to meet with top CIA officials, Gorelick didn’t. According to a 1996 report by the legal news service American Lawyer Media, Gorelick and then-Deputy Director of the CIA George Tenet met every other week to discuss intelligence and intelligence sharing.

    But those in the Clinton administration weren’t the only ones to gain from the secrecy. In 1994, the McDonnell Douglas Corporation transferred military-use machine tools to the China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation that ended up in the hands of the Chinese army. The sale occurred despite Defense Department objections. McDonnell Douglas was a client of the Miller Cassidy Larroca & Lewin, L.L.P. (now called Baker Botts), the Washington, D.C., law firm where Gorelick worked for 17 years and was a partner. Ray Larroca, another partner in the firm, represented McDonnell in the Justice Department’s investigation of the technology transfer.

    In 1995, General Electric, a former client of Gorelick’s, also had much to lose if the damaging information the CIA and the FBI had reached Congress. At the time, GE was publicly lobbying for a lucrative permit to assist the Chinese in replacing coal-fired power stations with nuclear plants. A 1990 law required that the president certify to Congress that China was not aiding in nuclear proliferation before U.S. companies could execute the business agreement.

    Moreover, in 1995, Michael Armstrong, then the CEO of Hughes Electronics – a division of General Electric and another client of Miller Cassidy Larroca & Lewin – was publicly lobbying Clinton to switch satellite export controls from the State Department to the Commerce Department. After the controls were lifted, Hughes and another company gave sensitive data to the Chinese, equipment a Pentagon study later concluded would allow China to develop intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles aimed at American targets. Miller Cassidy Larroca & Lewin partner Randall Turk represented Hughes in the Congressional, State Department, and Justice Department investigations that resulted.

    The Cox Report, which detailed Chinese espionage for Congress during the period, revealed that FBI surveillance caught Chinese officials frantically trying to keep Democratic donor Johnny Chung from divulging any information that would be damaging to Hughes Electronics. Chung funneled $300,000 in illegal contributions from the Chinese military to the DNC between 1994 and 1996.

    It was this web of investigations that led Gorelick and Bill Clinton to erect the wall between intelligence agencies that resulted in the toppling of the Twin Towers. The connections go on and on, but they all lead back to Gorelick, the one person who could best explain how the Clinton administration neutered the American intelligence agencies that could have stopped the September 11 plot. Yet another high crime will have been committed if the September 11 Commission doesn’t demand testimony from her.

  • 9/11 Commission Transcript: U. S. Attorney General John Ashcroft - Wednesday, April 14, 2004

    08/11/2005 2:32:58 PM PDT · 1 of 33
    Bronc1
    9/11 Commission Transcript: U. S. Attorney General John Ashcroft The Associated Press / As transcribed by eMediaMillWorks Inc.

    Wednesday, April 14, 2004

    The Commission:

    THOMAS H. KEAN, COMMISSION CHAIRMAN

    LEE H. HAMILTON, COMMISSION VICE CHAIR

    RICHARD BEN-VENISTE, COMMISSION MEMBER

    MAX CLELAND, COMMISSION MEMBER

    FRED F. FIELDING, COMMISSION MEMBER

    JAMIE S. GORELICK, COMMISSION MEMBER

    SLADE GORTON, COMMISSION MEMBER

    JOHN F. LEHMAN, COMMISSION MEMBER

    TIMOTHY J. ROEMER, COMMISSION MEMBER

    JAMES R. THOMPSON, COMMISSION MEMBER

    BOB KERREY, COMMISSION MEMBER

    PHILIP ZELIKOW, COMMISSION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

    CHRISTOPHER KOJM, COMMISSION DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

    Testifying:

    U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft

    THOMPSON: General, does a member your staff have the copy of this declassified memorandum about the walls? And if so, could we have it?

    ASHCROFT: I believe the memorandum is available, and we'd be glad to provide it to the commission.

    THOMPSON: OK. While they're searching for that, let me ask some questions, and let's start with this walls business.

    Let me read you one paragraph from the prepared statement of your predecessor General Reno that I asked her about this morning, and then ask for your comment on it.

    She said, there are simply no walls or restrictions on sharing the vast majority of counterterrorism information. There are no legal restrictions at all on the ability of members of the intelligence community to share intelligence information with each other.

    With respect to sharing between intelligence investigators and criminal investigators, information learned as a result of a physical surveillance or from a confidential informant can be legally shared without restriction.

    While there were restrictions placed on information gathered by criminal investigators as a result of grand jury investigations or Title 3 wiretaps, in practice they did not prove to be a serious impediment, since there was very little significant information that could not be shared.

    THOMPSON: When you took office, sir, in 2001, was that your understanding of the wall?

    ASHCROFT: No. I believe that the understanding of the wall that was prevalent in the Justice Department and among attorneys was that individuals who shared information from a criminal file or from an intelligence file to a criminal file might be subject to serious discipline. And the memorandum of which I spoke, which was crafted in 1995, specifically indicated that it was based on an understanding at that time held that the law would not countenance certain exchanges. I believe it was a mistaken impression of the law which was later corrected by the rulings of the FISA court of appeals.

    But if you look through the history of what happened just in the cases surrounding 9/11, time after time you find individuals being advised by their superiors that they could not or should not be involved in activity because such involvement would breach the wall.

    I cited both the Mihdhar and Hazmi cases together with the Moussaoui case, each case where advice was given to individuals who wanted to be more active in their pursuit of individuals, that they should restrain themselves in their pursuits because of the wall.

    So it's my clear belief that the wall itself developed this culture which restrained in a substantial way the exchange of information in the intelligence and law enforcement communities.

    The Bellows report, which was part of some recommendations following the Wen Ho Lee case, indicated that it was part of the culture at the FBI that if one made a mistake and shared information that was later deemed to be inappropriate, it was called a career- ender, so that the risk of a person sharing information improperly was at least known in the culture of the law enforcement community to be a very substantial risk and that individuals should shy away from sharing.

    ASHCROFT: Now, let me just say that when we enacted the Patriot Act, we did so believing that this culture needed to have a clear signal that the wall did not and should not inhibit this kind of cooperation. The Patriot Act did take down the wall.

    Later on, one of the courts, the FISA court, reasserted that the wall was not really effectively lowered by the Patriot Act, and I made a decision to appeal that decision. The appeal from the lower FISA court's ruling is what finally established the legal principle that the wall, as a matter of fact, is of little or no effect now.

    THOMPSON: General, we've heard testimony today which is at best confusing and at worst conflicting and which I think will probably, to the American public at least, who may or may not understand federal budgeting procedures, prove to be distressful.

    Can you lay out in time lines, if you can, what budget requests were made by the FBI to you, and for what purposes, and what actions were either taken by you to grant or deny them, or taken by OMB after your decision on budgetary requests for the FBI?

    And then, secondly, if you would and can, contrast them with similar requests of the FBI and similar actions by the attorney general during prior administrations.

    ASHCROFT: Well, first of all, it's important to note that the budget under which we were operating on September 11th was a budget established by the prior administration.

    ASHCROFT: No budget of the Bush administration was in place on September 11th, and none had finally been enacted or put in place.

    So the proposals for subsequent years, which were developed and were in place, were under construction. But they were not the budgets that were controlling activities on September 11th or at any time prior thereto.

    As it relates to the counterterrorism effort, the 2002 budget -- we were operating under the 2001 budget on 9/11. The 2002 budget proposed by President Bush had the largest counterterrorism increase in five years. The 2003 budget which we proposed was a 13 percent increase over the last Clinton budget, the 2001 budget, which was the budget under which we were operating at the time of 9/11.

    Now, over time, obviously after 9/11, there were amendments to the budget process, and there were increases. So that we ended up with substantially larger increases for terrorism than we had previously had.

    I would just indicate in the budgeting process that the label of counterterrorism should not be controlling when assessing whether or not items were important to the development of a defense for national security interests vis-a-vis counterterrorism, counterintelligence or other things that challenged the United States.

    For example, the information technology budget at the FBI is very important. An organization that is an intelligence organization, an investigation organization, needs to have an architecture of information that provides for information sharing and information communication.

    So that the information regarding IT should be included in budgets.

    ASHCROFT: Now, as it relates to information technology, the agency had been -- the FBI, for example, had been starved for years. The last Clinton administration budget was $36 million lower than the last budget of the first Bush administration eight years earlier, so that when you came to the ability to run information and to exchange it and process it, you were working with 1980s-type equipment.

    After 9/11, the cooperation on the budget was significant to provide serious assistance not only in counterterrorism but as it related to information technology as well.

    I think Director Mueller has stated that we have worked in lockstep to meet the needs of the FBI, and its progress toward an integrated architecture of information sharing is substantial and significant and, frankly, is gratifying. I'm glad that they've been able to make the progress they have.

    THOMPSON: Acting Director Pickard testified this afternoon that he briefed you twice on Al Qaida and Osama bin Laden and when he sought to do so again you told him you didn't need to hear from him again. Can you comment on that please?

    ASHCROFT: First of all, Acting Director Pickard and I had more than two meetings. We had regular meetings.

    Secondly, I did never speak to him saying that I did not want to hear about terrorism. I care greatly about the safety and security of the American people and was very interested in terrorism and specifically interrogated him about threats to the American people and domestic threats in particular.

    One of the first items which came to my attention -- which I mentioned in my opening remarks -- was the question of whether we wanted to capture or find and kill bin Laden.

    ASHCROFT: I carried that immediately to the national security adviser and expressed myself in that matter.

    Together with the vice president of the United States, we got a briefing at FBI headquarters regarding terrorism. And I asked the question, Why can't we arrest these people because I believe an aggressive arrest and prosecution model is the way to disrupt terrorism? These are things about which I care deeply.

    When the Senate Appropriations Committee met on May the 9th, in the summer of 2001, I told the committee that my number one priority was the attack against terror; that we would protect Americans from terror. I wrote later to them a confirming letter saying that we had no higher priority.

    These are the kinds of things that I did in order to communicate very clearly my interest in making sure that we would be prepared against terror.

    In addition when we went for the largest increase in counterterrorism budgeting before 9/11, in the last five years, that signalled a priority in that respect.

    And when we, for the next year, had a 13 percent higher counterterrorism budget than was provided in the last year of the Clinton administration, it was also a signal that counterterrorism was a matter of great concern us to and that we would treat it seriously.

    THOMPSON: After you took office did you ever hear or participate in any discussions in the Bush administration about responding to the attack on the Cole, which took place late in the Clinton administration, since it was now apparent at some time in 2001 that not only was Al Qaida responsible for the attack on the Cole, but that Osama bin Laden directed it?

    Was there ever any such consideration given in the Bush administration to responding to the attack on the Cole with a military strike?

    ASHCROFT: Well, I was briefed by the CIA on a number of occasions, as well as by the FBI. And I did ask about the Cole.

    As you know, our FBI personnel were on the scene within almost hours after the event and they developed a preliminary understanding that the individuals conducting the attack were associated with Al Qaida.

    But the ability to come to a conclusion, to build the nexus back from those actually involved in the attack to those who were command- and-control figures in Al Qaida was not established until -- and I'm not sure of the date, I think it must have been late in the summer or early in the fall of 2001.

    So my briefings through the summer during the elevated threat period and the like and my briefings that were earlier in the year, for instance at the FBI, communicated this believed nexus in terms of the operational involvement of individuals associated with Al Qaida. But they did not have a clear, considered provable understanding of whether the command and control of senior Al Qaida officials was really involved.

    THOMPSON: What provisions of the Patriot Act that are due to expire next year, or sunset next year, do you deem to be of greatest importance for re-enactment. And are there additions or subsequent amendments to the Patriot Act that you think should be considered by the Congress next year?

    ASHCROFT: Well, the Patriot Act -- one of its most important contributions was to help us to tear down the wall. The multipoint wiretap is very important. It extended...

    THOMPSON: That's the roving wiretap.

    ASHCROFT: The roving wiretap. This is something that had been available in the criminal law since 1986 regarding what was drug dealers and organized criminals. Our ability to use a roving wiretap is important.

    ASHCROFT: Our ability to have national search warrants so that we don't have to, for individuals who are mobile, get new search warrants.

    The pen register trap and trace for e-mail is a very important thing.

    These provisions of the Patriot Act are important to national security. And for this country to begin to forget that national security requires a robust capacity for law enforcement would be a major tragedy.

    There are some things that I think could be added that would be helpful to us. The material support for terror statute could be clarified so as to make sure that individuals who are involved in contributing their services are actually providing material support.

    The presumption against bail for terrorists -- for serious drug offenders and violent criminals, we have a presumption against bail in the law, and for a number of offenses. But there's no presumption against bail. Not meaning there couldn't be bail grant, but meaning that there ought to be a presumption that a person involved with serious charges of terrorism be restrained.

    I believe that we should accord the terrorist investigators administrative subpoena power for certain kinds of business records. There are 335 different administrative subpoena authorities in the country regarding everything from nursing home fraud to a variety of other criminal or federal violations, whether they be health care fraud or crimes related to children. I believe if those authorities work against individuals in those areas, that we should have them as tools in our fight against terror.

    The death penalty, which is not automatic, obviously, and shouldn't be automatic, but we should have an availability of the death penalty in certain terrorism crimes resulting in death. Currently, we have some terrorism crimes that may well result in death that wouldn't be punishable by the death penalty. And I think that's one of those areas where we would be well-served to expand the authority of our government to act against terror.

    THOMPSON: General, one last question before the chairman gavels me down. I see his eye on the red light, and so is mine.

    Sometimes in this country we fall victim to the notion of fighting the last war. And my guess is Osama bin Laden and Al Qaida are not going to fight the last war, they're going to fight a new war, perhaps, in the future.

    We've responded with greatly increased security precautions to the hijackings that took place on September 11th. But who in the government, who in the Bush administration, is worrying about the next war and other means that Al Qaida may use to attack us -- or other groups, Hezbollah, Hamas, other groups -- on our soil, on other portions of our infrastructure besides aircraft and airports? Our food supply. Our water supply. Our oil pipelines. Our railroads. Our chemical factories.

    Who's worrying about that, and how are they worrying about that? And what assurance do the American people have that somebody is indeed worrying about the next war?

    ASHCROFT: Well, frankly, there are a number of us who are worrying about the next war, and we understand that Al Qaida is very likely to change its method of operation and its style to avoid detection. And it's something when we have to understand the nature of this enemy that we face. It's an enemy that is not stupid. This is not some garden variety criminal who is robbing a 7-Eleven. They plan well. They undertake actions that last for years. They seek to inflict mass casualties.

    We understand that they might seek to use a different style of individual, individuals who would come from different countries, that it's clear that we know that they have interest in poisons, that they have interest in toxicity, in evil chemistry and evil biology, as well as the interest which they have had in explosives.

    ASHCROFT: We've seen a wide variety of explosives used around the world in the proliferation of terrorism that has followed 9/11. It's not been used here and we're grateful that we've been successful in keeping it from happening here.

    But this administration has tasked every quadrant of the administration to be alert.

    In agriculture, I know very much the concerns of Secretary Veneman. I know in transportation, the concerns of Secretary Mineta. And I know in energy the kinds of concerns that have been expressed by Secretary Abraham, and the list could go on completely.

    I guess I would say that we need to continue to do everything possible. When you look around the world and we see that even in cultures that are very attuned and very focused on disrupting terrorism that they are not always successful, and so we have to be at the highest level of readiness and anticipation.

    THOMPSON: Thank you, General.

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    KEAN: Commissioner Ben-Veniste?

    BEN-VENISTE: Good afternoon, General Ashcroft.

    I want to say hello to Larry Thompson.

    And to Mr. Olson my renewed condolences.

    I believe in your statement, General Ashcroft, with respect to the failed capture policy of the prior administration that you may be incorrect.

    I don't believe that you have seen the MON that we have recently received as of last week which had not been previously made available to us. And I will leave that for others to discuss; we've got to tip- toe around it for obvious national security and classification reasons. But you may be enlightened by reviewing that document.

    Let me ask you about the August 6th PDB memorandum, sir.

    BEN-VENISTE: It is correct, is it not, that you did not receive that document contemporaneously?

    ASHCROFT: I did not receive that document in the August 2001 timeframe.

    BEN-VENISTE: When was the first you had seen it?

    ASHCROFT: I think I saw that in the last several days.

    BEN-VENISTE: And so, unlike in the previous administration, the attorney general of the United States in the Bush administration was not a recipient of the PDB memorandum; is that correct?

    ASHCROFT: Not prior to 9/11.

    BEN-VENISTE: 9/11. That has changed since?

    ASHCROFT: I am involved regularly with briefing of the president in regard to terrorist threats. And I accompany the director of the FBI to a morning briefing with the president, which briefing is attended by the director of the CIA and other officials, including director of homeland security. And I think you're familiar with that, I need not...

    BEN-VENISTE: Yes, I am, sir.

    If you put yourself back in time to early August of 2001, aside from not receiving the PDB, were you made aware from any source that the president of the United States had requested a briefing with respect to the potential for an attack by bin Laden in the United States?

    ASHCROFT: This was the kind of information I was asking when I was briefed by the CIA and when I was briefed by the FBI. I was not aware that the president of the United States had made a request in that respect.

    BEN-VENISTE: Had you been aware, would you not have made sure that the president received a comprehensive report from the FBI?

    ASHCROFT: Any time the president would ask for information from the FBI it would have been my intention to provide the president with a comprehensive report from the FBI. We were not into giving the president less than comprehensive...

    BEN-VENISTE: I understand that, sir.

    ASHCROFT: ... responses. And had the president asked the FBI for information and I'd been aware of it -- and I would have expected to be aware of it -- I would have encouraged the FBI to be comprehensive.

    BEN-VENISTE: Now, we received some very, very interesting information from Acting Director Pickard just a few moments ago. Mr. Pickard testified that as of the afternoon of September 11, 2001, he received three things that he did not know before: Number one, he received the Phoenix memorandum; number two, he received information about the Moussaoui arrest and the detailed background that I won't go into now about who Moussaoui was and what we knew about why he was in the United States; and he received information that the FBI was looking for Mihdhar and al Hazmi, two of the individuals who it turned out participated in the 9/11 catastrophe.

    Now, given that fact, and given the fact that as I understand it from our prior meeting, you also did not know any of that information prior to 9/11, is it not possible, sir, that were you to have pulsed the FBI and directed the FBI to push up any information that it might have had, that that information might have been made available to you, to Mr. Clarke, to others contemporaneous in August and prior to 9/11?

    ASHCROFT: Well, I think it's pretty clear that I was pulsing the FBI. I asked them regularly in my briefings with them if there were any evidence regarding threats domestically and the kind of conduct by the FBI was the kind of thing that I would have expected them to be involved in as a result of that kind of request on my part.

    ASHCROFT: When you look at their conduct in asking twice in April for information relating to Sunni extremism, working the conference of the special agents in charge, when you ask -- when you relate to the telephone calls provided and made by the individuals, when you look at the inlets, you get the kind of activity on the part of the organization that is designed to respond to leadership, that is saying is there any information about a threat? And you would expect having conducted that kind of pulsing that if there were information, that it would be made available.

    BEN-VENISTE: Well, obviously we know it wasn't made available. So the question is: Were you familiar with the dysfunctionality of the FBI as a result either of your first months in office or as a result of your great experience in Washington, in the United States Senate and elsewhere.

    ASHCROFT: Do you want to repeat that part about the great experience that I had in United States Senate and elsewhere will have to be referring to something else, because I spent my previous time as a colleague of the gentleman on your left, there, who was a governor in the neighboring state.

    BEN-VENISTE: I see.

    ASHCROFT: I stood in the shadow of a man known as Big Jim Thompson.

    BEN-VENISTE: Well, let's go back to your -- so I take that back, and I take your point that you were not well-versed in the ways of Washington, and particularly with respect to the problems of the FBI in connection with disseminating information.

    The statement that we've heard time and again is the FBI didn't know what it didn't know, but it also didn't know what it did know.

    ASHCROFT: Well, if I might comment on that. In my opening remarks, I talked about the fact that I had demanded four separate independent reviews regarding the information systems at the FBI, so that I was aware of the challenges.

    The first of those challenges was revealed to me when, on the day of my going to Justice Department as attorney general, Louis Freeh pulled me aside and said, Oh, by the way, we've got a real problem with the penetration of the FBI, we believe the individual involved to be Robert Hanssen, and access to our information systems that compromises the national integrity was revealed. That was a signal to me that we had serious problems.

    Later on, I came to an understanding when we were preparing to deal with the second largest terrorist attack in the United States, which was that undertaken by Timothy McVeigh which resulted in the death of about 170 people, that in his trial we had failed to comply with a court order and we had not delivered -- the FBI had not delivered about 3,000 documents, most of which were duplicates but were the subject of a court order. So I had to delay -- I'd had to delay the execution to make sure that we had an innocent system as well as a guilty defendant in the case.

    Additionally, I became concerned about the integrity of our information technology system when it was revealed that about 300 laptop computers were unaccounted for, and for well over 200 of them, the inspector general of the FBI, whom I asked to investigate the matter, said it couldn't be determined whether they were lost or stolen and raised the specter of national security issues.

    ASHCROFT: So I understood there were problems.

    But I also understood that when we went to agents and when we asked them specific questions about issues related to national security that we should expect them to respond and could expect them to respond. The FBI is populated with well-meaning, hard-working individuals. And they, I think, need to be understood for that and to be credited with that.

    BEN-VENISTE: I agree with you, sir.

    The problem was in the communication of information which did not reach those who might have made a difference.

    Let me ask you, as my time is expiring, one question, which has been frequently put to members of this commission; probably all of us have heard this one way or another.

    And we are mindful that part of the problem with the Warren commission's work on the Kennedy assassination was the failure to address certain theories that were extant and questions and much of the work was done behind closed doors. So I would like to provide you with the opportunity to answer one question that has come up repeatedly.

    At some point in the spring or summer of 2001, around the time of this heightened threat alert, you apparently began to use a private chartered jet plane, changing from your use of commercial aircraft on grounds, our staff is informed, of an FBI threat assessment. And, indeed, as you told us, on September 11th itself you were on a chartered jet at the time of the attack.

    Can you supply the details, sir, regarding the threat which caused you to change from commercial to private leased jet?

    ASHCROFT: I am very please pleased to address this issue.

    BEN-VENISTE: Thank you.

    ASHCROFT: Let me indicate to you that I never ceased to use commercial aircraft for my personal travel.

    ASHCROFT: My wife traveled to Germany and back in August. My wife and I traveled to Washington, D.C., on the 3rd of September before the 17th -- before the 11th attack on commercial aircraft.

    I have exclusively traveled on commercial aircraft for my personal travel; continued through the year 2000, through the entirety of the threat period to the nation.

    The assessment made by the security team and the Department of Justice was made early in the year. It was not related to a terrorism threat as a threat to the nation. It was related to an assessment of the security for the attorney general, given his responsibilities and the job that he undertakes. And it related to the maintenance of arms and other things by individuals who travel with the attorney general. And it was their assessment that we would be best served to use government aircraft.

    These were not private chartered jet aircraft. These were aircraft of the United States government. And it was on such an aircraft that I was on my way to an event in Milwaukee on the morning of September the 11th.

    BEN-VENISTE: I'm pleased to have been able to give you the opportunity to clarify that issue for all who have written to this commission and communicated in other ways about their questions about that, sir.

    Let me also give you the opportunity to respond to Mr. Pickard's testimony just a little while ago about a statement which he claims that you made with respect to priorities.

    And in that regard, it is correct, is it not -- because we have looked at the May 10th, 2001, guidance for preparing fiscal year 2003 budgets in which you indicate your priorities -- there are five goals, strategic goals laid out there?

    BEN-VENISTE: It does not appear that terrorism was one of them. Is that correct?

    ASHCROFT: Let me make an explanation here, because I welcome, as well, this opportunity. The date preceding, on May the 9th, I met with the Senate Appropriations Committee and was asked about my priorities. I said my number one priority was to protect the people of the United States against terrorism.

    The Department of Justice, required by the Congress to have a strategic plan, followed that plan. The plan was developed in the year 2000 by my predecessor and had a set of strategic goals. They're listed here early in the book and they are similar to the goals -- they are, as a matter of fact, the goals which were used in large measure for the May 10th memorandum. And they cite some additional goals to terrorism. There's no question about that.

    Let me just go -- because our time is limited...

    BEN-VENISTE: I'm sorry. Did you say in the prior plan there were citations to counterterrorism?

    ASHCROFT: Well, there was no major goal of counterterrorism, but under -- let's not sell Ms. Reno short -- under the first...

    BEN-VENISTE: She's not short.

    ASHCROFT: Pardon?

    BEN-VENISTE: I can testify she's not short.

    (LAUGHTER)

    ASHCROFT: Well, I won't make any personal comment.

    BEN-VENISTE: I'm short.

    ASHCROFT: But we, and under the Keep America Safe by enforcing federal criminal laws, she did have deter and detect terrorist incidents. And this is the kind of -- let me just cut to the chase here to see where we were. Let our money do the talking.

    In the budgets proposed prior to September 11th, the total CT increases were 72 percent greater than the total increases for drugs and gun prosecutions combined. Now, those were the other issues that were listed as priorities of the department. What we had was a combined total of increases of $683.1 million for drugs and gun prosecutions.

    ASHCROFT: We had a combined counterterrorism-related budget increase of $1,175.2 million dollars, 72 percent higher for counterterrorism-related items than for items related to the other priorities which we had stated, drug interdiction and the prosecution of gun criminals.

    Now I don't mean to discount those priorities. Thousands of people die on our streets as a result of gun crimes. And we are very grateful for our record there. But let the record be clear that when it comes to where the appropriation was, that we had a $1.175 billion increase for counterterrorism in those first two budgets, a $0.683 billion, or $683 million increase on drugs and guns.

    KEAN: Senator Gorton?

    GORTON: Thank you, General.

    Mr. Attorney General, in your written statement, you have four issues that you discussed. The first one is your criticism of the lack of aggressive enough authorities for decisive action against Osama bin Laden, and you state that on March 7, 2001, you recommended that those authorities be expanded to allow for decisive lethal action. To the best of your knowledge, between that date and September 11, 2001, were those authorities expanded in any respect whatsoever?

    ASHCROFT: It's my understanding that an assignment was made by the national security adviser to the director of the Central Intelligence Agency to work on that, and that a judgment was reached that rather than a specific change, that any change should be made as part of an integrated new set of directives.

    GORTON: I take that as an answer in the negative.

    Your second issue is a severe criticism of the 1995 guidelines that, as you say, imposed draconian barriers to communications between law enforcement and the intelligence communities, the so-called wall.

    I don't find that in the eight months before September 11th, 2001, that you changed those guidelines. In fact, I have here a memorandum dated August 6th from Larry Thompson, the fifth line of which reads, The 1995 procedures remain in effect today.

    If that wall was so disabling, why was it not destroyed during the course of those eight months?

    ASHCROFT: The August 6th memorandum of Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson made possible significantly more information sharing by mandating that those individuals involved in intelligence investigations who came across information relating to a felony federal offense immediately provide notice of that felony federal offense to people on the criminal side of the house.

    It was a step in the direction of disabling the wall. It was a step in the direction of lowering the wall, providing for greater communication.

    GORTON: But it was after August 6th, 2001, that Moussaoui was picked up and the decision was made in the FBI that you couldn't get a warrant to search his computer. So those changes must not have been very significant.

    ASHCROFT: I missed your question, Commissioner.

    GORTON: Well, you say as a part of your criticism of the 1995 guidelines, after the FBI arrested Moussaoui, agents became suspicious of his interest in commercial aircraft and sought approval for a criminal warrant to search his computer.

    GORTON: The warrant was rejected because FBI officials had feared breaching the wall. Yet that was after these changes that you say were significant on August 6th.

    ASHCROFT: Let me explain to you what I believed was the rationale of the FBI at that time.

    The FBI feared that if they went forward with a criminal warrant, that later, in the event that a FISA warrant was needed, because a track had been chosen which was a criminal track rather than an intelligence track, that they would not be able to access the information they would otherwise want through the FISA.

    So the FBI, mistakenly believing that you had to choose one way or the other because of the wall, decided to deny the criminal warrant in order to protect the option later on for a FISA.

    Now, the Moussaoui case reflects not a federal felony offense that would be covered under the authority of the memorandum sent forward by the deputy attorney general.

    The Moussaoui case involved an immigration violation. And he was detained on the basis of that violation and in conjunction with what was considered suspicious behavior, but not in conjunction with what provided the basis for evidence of a federal felony.

    GORTON: And finally, the third of your issues has to do with that computer authority in which, obviously, you did take very, very positive action very early.

    But the fourth refers to the millennium after-action review and its recommendations about disrupting the Al Qaida network.

    And as you point out, fully 17 months before September 11th, the review makes these recommendations. Nine of those months were in the Clinton administration; eight of them were in yours.

    Did you make any changes reflecting that millennium after-action review in your time as attorney general before 9/11?

    ASHCROFT: This is a report which was not briefed to me or briefed to other individuals. It was a report which is a classified report.

    GORTON: So you didn't know of its existence?

    ASHCROFT: No, it turns out, when I learned of its existence, these were the very things following September 11th.

    We began to address suspicious situations by being very aggressive in charging criminal violations, in charging immigration violations. We began to be very aggressive in our work at the border. And these are the kinds of recommendations that were involved in the report, which was simply not made available...

    GORTON: Attorney General Ashcroft, there's no question of how aggressive you were in that period of time, and I think highly admirable. But the administration, of which you're a part, didn't take any of those actions before 9/11.

    ASHCROFT: That's exactly correct. And this report would have recommended and signaled to us that this was a way that we might consider acting.

    And, as a matter of fact, the report signaled that it would be appropriate and perhaps necessary. It signaled significant risks that those involved in the after-action assessments of the millennium plot believed would merit us being more aggressive.

    Thank you, Mr. Attorney General.

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    KEAN: Commissioner Fielding?

    FIELDING: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. Attorney General, thank you for being here. Thank you for all of the assistance you provided to our commission. And also thank you for all your years of public service.

    You said in your prepared statement this afternoon, that in discussing the debate on the nature of the covert action authorities, that in February 2001, shortly after becoming attorney general, you reviewed those authorities. And your thorough review revealed no covert action program to kill bin Laden. Is that correct?

    ASHCROFT: I believe that the covert action plan I reviewed was to capture bin Laden. And if he were to be killed it would only be in the eventual circumstance that there were some kind of inability to capture that resulted in a threat that required some kind of self- defense measure.

    FIELDING: What briefings did you seek in February to review this whole situation?

    ASHCROFT: Well, I was part of the consideration of the strategy regarding Osama bin Laden to the extent that it related to the treatment and the pursuit of Osama bin Laden himself. So this was one of the responsibilities I had.

    FIELDING: Now, I'm sorry, sir. What briefings did you receive? What were your sources of information when you were making this review of authorities? Were you briefed by Director Tenet?

    ASHCROFT: I'm not sure exactly where all the information came from that I was privy to at that time.

    We were very confident that this individual had been involved in very serious acts against the United States, in the embassy bombings and the like. And we felt that we had a relative assurance that he was involved in the Cole attack.

    We knew that Khobar Towers was what we considered to be Iranian Hezbollah; so it was a different group. But in my judgment, just knowing about the embassy bombings, the loss of life there, we all understood that the fatwa had been issued regarding his desire to kill Americans.

    FIELDING: Now, I appreciate that, General, and excuse me for interrupting you but we're playing with the clock here. But what I'm trying to determine is did you review MONs, for instance?

    FIELDING: Did your staff provide you with the documents so that you could review the existing authorities?

    ASHCROFT: I believe they did.

    FIELDING: Did you request documents from agencies? Did you request documents from the CIA?

    ASHCROFT: I'm not capable of telling you exactly how all the information was assembled. I just remember that having made the assessment of the information, I was struck by the fact that I believed that it was so complex and convoluted that it would be paralytic and that we owed people in the field clear direction, and that the direction should be to find and kill bin Laden and not to try and capture him.

    FIELDING: Did you staff prepare a briefing for you? Was there any written documentation of the process that you went through to make this evaluation?

    ASHCROFT: I'm not in a position to remember whether or not they did at this time.

    FIELDING: We would request that you check that. And the reason I'm asking is I must advise you that we have received recent information in regard to MONs which I believe may alter your evaluation of existing authorities in February of 2001.

    ASHCROFT: Well, I took that seriously when Commissioner Ben- Veniste mentioned it to me. I've made a note of it. And unless I'm missing a bet big time, my staff has made a note of it. And we'll work to understand that more thoroughly.

    FIELDING: Well, thank you, sir, because we would otherwise want to review this with you in closed session, because it's obviously very highly classified, unless there's an opportunity to have this declassified so that we can supplement our staff statements as well. So thank you. We'd appreciate your cooperation in that regard.

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    KEAN: Thank you, Commissioner.

    Congressman Roemer?

    ROEMER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Welcome, General. Thank you for your time here and your fulsome testimony.

    I want to turn to page three of your testimony and where you're talking about being aggressive and doing something about Osama bin Laden.

    ROEMER: You certainly think Osama bin Laden is somewhere overseas, correct?

    ASHCROFT: I don't know where he is.

    ROEMER: Don't know where he is.

    ASHCROFT: I don't believe he's in the United States of America.

    ROEMER: You don't believe he's in the United States, and you want to go get him. And you go to the national security adviser to the president and you say, Let's find a way to get him.

    ASHCROFT: I said that if we could find and kill him, that should be the objective of our government.

    ROEMER: So you're being aggressive. You're certainly trying to focus on the threat of bin Laden.

    Let me ask you a question about Al Qaida. With the USS Cole, we lose 17 sailors. The Clinton administration gets a preliminary judgment in December of 2000 that says, Well, we can't quite associate this with the command and control of Osama bin Laden, but these are definitely Al Qaida operatives.

    You -- I believe your administration gets a briefing in January, same type of briefing. This is Al Qaida. Why don't you take this on the offensive, like you do Osama bin Laden, and say, We are going to go get Al Qaida. They can't do this to our military, to our sailors, to our people ?

    ASHCROFT: Well, Commissioner, I didn't get the briefing in January. As you may remember, I was one of the late individuals confirmed.

    ROEMER: When do you understand this, then? You're certainly in March meeting with Condi Rice to do something about this. Why don't you do something about Al Qaida?

    ASHCROFT: Very frankly, we didn't get confirmation that the -- as I explained earlier -- that the command and control of Al Qaida might be involved in this matter until substantially later.

    ROEMER: Can you remember when?

    ASHCROFT: I believe it was either late in the summer or the fall of 2001 when the final determination was made.

    ASHCROFT: And that was a time, after which, I believe we brought criminal charges, although obviously those are not resolved.

    ROEMER: For a law enforcement...

    ASHCROFT: There is -- and it is a totally different world -- executive responsibilities in regard to presidential orders and directives are different than...

    ROEMER: But why not go after Al Qaida? Why not militarily go after Al Qaida, rather than a law enforcement type of activity?

    ASHCROFT: Well, first of all, let us make it clear that it's not either or. The mere fact that we would go after Al Qaida doesn't mean that we wouldn't also pursue and have the option of criminal remedies as well. The Justice Department has done that and continued to do that even against individuals who might be involved in Al Qaida or in more war-like settings.

    If you're asking me why the administration didn't make a judgment, I believe that the administration, while it understood that there were ties to Al Qaida by those who were involved in the Cole bombing, the kind of information that would support a different judgment was not existent until substantially later.

    ROEMER: But again, you're asking for a final conclusion, rather than a preliminary judgment that says Al Qaida is responsible. Al Qaida did this. Al Qaida killed our sailors. Why have to wait six to eight months down the line to say this is a particular individual, Osama bin Laden?

    ASHCROFT: I don't understand your question, sir. I believe that the...

    ROEMER: This is not just a terrorism fight against Osama bin Laden. It's Al Qaida. It's jihadists. It's the conveyor belts producing people that want to kill us in Afghanistan.

    So my question is, why not go after broadly that group of people rather than one single individual?

    ASHCROFT: Well, I believe that's eventually what we did. But, obviously, it's not a decision we made, and we didn't have the kind of information or predicate upon which to make that decision earlier. Whether or not we should have absent that predicate is a policy judgment that certainly wasn't mine to make.

    ROEMER: Thank you, sir.

    KEAN: Senator Kerrey?

    KERREY: Attorney General Ashcroft, very nice to see you. I'm glad you're on the mend.

    ASHCROFT: Well, I'm coming back, to the gratification of some and mortification of others.

    (LAUGHTER)

    KERREY: I'm going to get into the mortification piece here in a minute.

    (LAUGHTER)

    ASHCROFT: You're going to what, help the mortifiers?

    KERREY: No, no, no.

    A couple of statements to you just for your information. In the, I think, '95 and '96 it was, Senator Specter and I, after learning of significant computer and communication inadequacies in the FBI, asked one of our staff to go over and do an evaluation of what the FBI -- that was a fast five minutes.

    ASHCROFT: When you're having fun.

    KERREY: Yes.

    And came back and recommended that we authorize and appropriate several million dollars to do some evaluation. I guess it was a very unhappy experience.

    I say that because there were a lot of us who simply didn't think the FBI could do it; that it was, sort of, like the IRS. You remember the whole IRS restructuring effort. That actually began with the IRS lousing up a several billion dollar computer investment. So I just ask to you look at that... ASHCROFT: If I might comment on that, one of the real contributions of Louis Freeh as director of the FBI was that he began to reach outside the FBI in order to get help. And the FBI had been an insular agency of very capable people, but they really began to be injured by their own talent. They really thought they could do everything on their own.

    And Robert Dyes was the first of the known experts to me to come to the FBI from IBM to begin to say, Here's the way a modern information architecture should look and here's what should be done.

    ASHCROFT: And so you were prophetic in saying that it needs something other than just the old agent core. Same thing with IRS. Until Rosati got there, nobody really trusted they could get the job done.

    KERREY: And I think what we're doing now, we're beginning to use software and other things that are developed outside and beginning to accept expertise from outside the bureau. That's very, very helpful to us.

    And the commercial world has things like link analysis and the like that they use commercially that can be very helpful to us in investigations and also connecting the dots when we want to organize intelligence.

    The second thing I want to say, and I need your help on this because I was not in the Congress when the Patriot Act passed, and you know me well enough to know that anything that you have to put the word patriot on in order to get people to vote for it, I'm inclined to vote against it just on that basis.

    ASHCROFT: I do know you.

    KERREY: In this case, looking at it -- the only thing I've heard about it by the way, so this is a mortification area -- I've heard a lot of my former Democratic colleagues giving fervent speeches against the Patriot Act. They all voted for it, but they're giving speeches against it. It's a weird situation.

    ASHCROFT: That's not weird, that's rather usual around here.

    KERREY: Anyway. I am concerned that section 218 could end up like Rico -- being used, you know, it starts off against organized crime but ends up abortion protests, using it against business. It has a life of its own beyond it.

    I don't need a comment now, General Ashcroft. That and section 215 -- I need some help. I've got some questions about it. And I trust that you can help me with an open mind -- try to figure out where we need to preserve the Patriot Act and where we may have some provisions in there we actually don't need.

    I mean, just generally, I'm very nervous about giving government too much power, frankly. And in the long-term -- I don't need to lecture you on that, but I get nervous about giving the government too much power. And it seems like the Patriot Act gave the government an awful lot of power over American citizens.

    ASHCROFT: Let me comment that in large measure, the Patriot Act extended powers in the fight against terror that were already well- understood powers in the fight against drugs and organized crime, so that we weren't treading down new constitutional territory. The multi-point wire tap or the roving wire tap had been in existence for 14 years and 15 years. And the ability, for instance, to subpoena business records from grand juries had been in existence for a long time.

    Now the FISA provisions that relate to it are different from grand juries. A grand jury, frankly, operates with the U.S. attorney or an assistant U.S. attorney reaching over on a stack of forms and filling it out, and taking it out and serving it. It's never seen by a judge unless someone resists it or protests it.

    Under FISA, you can't have an order without first seeing the federal judge. Or unless it's an emergency order, and then it has to be brought before a judge within 72 hours. So there's a lot of safeguards here. I'd like to talk to you about it. It is important to our national security.

    KERREY: Also, staff has asked, and I'd appreciate it if we could get that, some documentation that shows what the detain and clear policy did for counterterrorism, for intelligence, for law enforcement. I guess 768 detainees, and that's been a very controversial thing. If you can give us some documentation of what the counterintelligence...

    ASHCROFT: I would love to comment on that. We did not detain anyone that was not in violation. So people who are detained were violators of the law.

    And our history has been that when you detain people for immigration violations or you charge them, if you don't detain them, they go, they just evaporate. Eighty-five percent of all people charged with violations, if they are finally adjudicated guilty, if you haven't detained them, they just merge into the culture.

    ASHCROFT: Ninety-three percent of the people who come from terrorist-sponsoring states have the record of absconding, so they go into the culture.

    We couldn't afford to have a situation like that with individuals who are detained in conjunction with the massive investigation following 9/11. We had to hold them, and we did.

    And, frankly, that's one of the ways that we picked up a fellow named al Mahri (ph), who was sent here on September the 10th to be a facilitator of follow-on attacks. We first had him on immigration charges then on criminal charges. We eventually -- he has become an enemy combatant and is now being held...

    KERREY: I appreciate that your staff is nodding like mad when I asked for the documentation, so I...

    ASHCROFT: OK. Let them...

    KERREY: Thank you.

    KEAN: Commissioner Gorelick?

    GORELICK: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    You said in response to -- I think it was Commissioner Ben- Veniste's question -- that you, indeed, had been struck from the list of senior executives in the administration who got the presidential daily brief. I think you said you did not get it.

    And that is curious, I think, given Dr. Rice's testimony that the domestic aspect of our national security was largely in the Department of Justice and FBI bailiwick.

    You, when you were interviewed by our staff with regard to the adequacy of the FBI's response to the intelligence that was coming out in the summer of '01, said that you accepted the FBI's assurance that the threats were overseas and, sort of, assumed that things must be in hand and that whatever they were doing was adequate to respond. And then you said, I think quite candidly, that this was a dangerous assumption to make.

    Now here is my question: You did not get the presidential daily brief, but you did get the senior executive intelligence brief that was provided to the next rung of the government.

    GORELICK: Is that correct? You got that daily?

    ASHCROFT: The SEIB...

    GORELICK: The SEIB.

    ASHCROFT: ... was available to me.

    GORELICK: On August 7th, 2001, a SEIB that reflected much of -- although it was not identical to -- much of the content of the August 6th presidential daily brief came out. And I would like to ask you if you remember seeing a document headed, Terrorism: Bin Laden Determined To Strike In The United States, in the SEIB.

    ASHCROFT: I do not remember seeing that. I was in -- I believe I was in Chicago speaking at the American Bar Association meeting, I believe, at the time. So I do not have a recollection of seeing that.

    GORELICK: Did your staff regularly brief you on the intelligence when you returned?

    ASHCROFT: I was briefed, and items of interest were noted for me from time to time by my staff.

    GORELICK: Would something like this, which is a memorandum that is going out to your colleagues, hundreds of your colleagues in the government, saying that bin Laden is determined to strike in the United States, been an item of significance that you would think would have been briefed to you?

    ASHCROFT: These items had been briefed to me. They had been briefed to me by the FBI, they have been briefed to me by the CIA. The administration asked me to get briefings when appropriate in regard to these measures.

    I remember Ms. Rice, for example, early in July, during the threat period and the heightened and elevated threat, asking me if I would receive a briefing from the CIA because she thought it important.

    It's that kind of briefing that I received early.

    The CIA, we have reconstructed it from the slides they used, talked a lot about the threat overseas. And we, obviously, were aware of the historical information that Osama bin Laden had issued statements years before, much of which is in the SEIB and was in the August 6th PDB, which I have now read.

    ASHCROFT: But we inquired of the CIA and the FBI: Are there domestic threats that require -- is there any evidence of domestic threat? And they both said no. I might add that for the CIA, I inquired of them: Are there things we can do additionally by way of FISA to assist you in making sure that we have all the information necessary to be aware of those threats. And they assured me that if they needed additional help, they would ask for it.

    GORELICK: So you were aware in early August -- by at least early August of '01 that in addition to the fatwas and the statements of intention by bin Laden, that there was evidence that he intended to strike in the United States? Is that correct?

    ASHCROFT: Well, I don't know if in addition to the fatwas and his statement of intention. We were aware that he had stated his intention, of the historical items mentioned in the SEIB and I believe also mentioned in the PDB. We were aware that those kinds of historical references had been made. And it was with that in mind, in conjunction with our understanding of what he had done in terms of the bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, that we understood him to be a very serious individual and we should take him seriously.

    GORELICK: As a result of your awareness of this domestic threat, did you review with Acting Director Pickard the specific actions that he had taken to ensure that information in the possession of agents of the FBI across America relating to bin Laden's threats, his capacity, his ability to strike us, activities that might be going on in the United States, that that information would be flowing up to you?

    ASHCROFT: I queried the director on numbers of occasions about threats in the United States that would require our attention.

    ASHCROFT: I expected those queries to result in the kind of activity which we saw in the FBI across the summer -- not only in the face-to-face inquiries at the SAC meetings, but in the telephone inquiries and in the communications -- through the electronic communication as well as the inlets -- which shared those awarenesses with the rest of the law enforcement community in the country.

    We viewed inlets as a force multiplier because we got away from just the 12,000 FBI agents to the 700,000 or so law enforcement officials in the country. And we wanted those to be pulsed, as well.

    GORELICK: Do you know if any of the inlets actually produced any information to the FBI?

    ASHCROFT: I do not know and would not be expecting to know what 700,000 or so law enforcement officials might be saying to the people in the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces around the country. And I'm sure they were saying lots of things. But obviously I wouldn't be aware of those.

    GORELICK: Thank you very much.

    KEAN: Thank you, Commissioner.

    Attorney General, thank you very, very much for your appearance. For your help. You've helped our work and we appreciate it.

    ASHCROFT: Thank you.

  • Who's Who on the 9/11 "Independent" Commission?

    08/11/2005 2:17:43 PM PDT · 1 of 20
    Bronc1
    Who's Who on the 9/11 "Independent" Commission

    By Michel Chossudovsky Online Journal Contributing Writer

    July 21, 2003—

    Several citizens' organizations as well as the families of the victims of the September 11 attacks have expressed hope that the 9/11 Commission will ultimately reveal the truth.

    The commission itself has produced a brief interim report (8 July 2003), where it hints to the lack of cooperation by the Department of Defense, Homeland Security and other agencies of government.

    The impression is conveyed that the commission is committed to obliging the various agencies to fully comply with its requests. A media campaign seems to have been launched, which presents the commission as a critical voice directed against the Bush administration. According to The New York Times (8 July 2003):

    "the federal commission investigating the Sept. 11 terror attacks said today that its work was being hampered by the failure of executive branch agencies, especially the Pentagon and the Justice Department, to respond quickly to requests for documents and testimony."

    Several alternative media have joined the bandwagon. George W. Bush is accused of obstructing the investigation and curtailing the commission's budget. Former Jersey governor Thomas Kean, the commission's chairman is presented as an honest and uncompromising individual, who is courageously confronting the US government:

    "Without greater cooperation, Kean said, ''we cannot do the job we are supposed to do.'' The panel provided a report card on the 16 federal agencies covered by its inquiry, describing only the State Department as being fully cooperative, and the FBI as having improved its performance (Intervention Magazine).

    The "Independent" Commission

    The existence of an "independent" commission requires that its members are free of "conflict of interest." Namely that:

    The commission is free of encroachments emanating from the executive or from the various agencies of government, under investigation

    Commissioners as well as members of staff do not have personal (or other) ties to senior Bush officials or senior officers in key government agencies, which are being investigated by the commission;

    Members of the commission have no links of any kind, business or otherwise, to the alleged perpetrators or "financiers" of 9/11, including the bin Laden family.

    A review of the commission's membership suggests that these three conditions are not met In fact, the commission is marred by conflicts of interest. It operates in a cozy bi- partisan inter-agency environment, where the various crony factions within the administration, the US Congress, etc. are present.

    Commission members seem to have been carefully handpicked. Not only are the White House and the National Security Council "represented" (unofficially of course), key government agencies including the CIA and Homeland Security also have their "seat" on the commission.

    Under these circumstances, it is impossible to conduct a meaningful investigation of any of the key political, military and intelligence actors. The latter have their own personal representatives, who report back and forth.

    Several members of the commission served in the Reagan and Bush Senior administrations. They have links to the Iran-Contra officials of the Reagan administration. Needless to say, several of those Iran-Contra officials now hold high office in the current Bush administration.

    While lower level officials will no doubt be investigated for "intelligence failures," the commission will not investigate the lies underlying US foreign policy, including the support provided by successive administrations to the Islamic brigades since the presidency of Jimmy Carter, (not to mention the role of the CIA and of key Bush officials in this process, including Colin Powell and Richard Armitage)

    In other words, the commission's hidden agenda is cover-up and "damage control." Its objective is not to inform but to distract public opinion from the real issues by churning out piles of irrelevant intelligence. To gain legitimacy and public support, it must convey the impression that it is committed to "going after" the administration, and that government officials as well as politicians in high office "must be held accountable," etc.

    Commission Chairman Thomas Kean

    Conflicts of interest abound within the commission. Yet what perhaps is most disturbing are the links of both the commission Chairman Thomas Kean as well as the Legal Counsel Daniel Marcus to individuals closely linked to the bin Laden family.

    In a cruel irony, the $1 trillion lawsuit filed in August 2002 by the families of the victims of the September 11 attacks , lists two of Thomas Kean's ("former") business partners among the accused: Khalid Bin Mahfouz (Osama's brother-in-law, according to CIA sources), and Mohammed Hussein al Amoudi. Both individuals have been tagged in the lawsuit as the alleged "financiers" of Al Qaeda.

    "According to a 1998 Senate testimony of former CIA director James Woolsey, powerful financier Khalid bin Mahfouz' younger sister is married to Osama bin Laden,. (US Senate, Senate Judiciary Committee, Federal News Service, 3 Sept. 1998, See also Wayne Madsen, Questionable Ties, In These Times,12 Nov. 2001 )

    Bin Mahfouz is suspected to have funneled millions of dollars to the Al Qaeda network.(See Tom Flocco, Scoop.co.nz 28 Aug. 2002)

    Now, "by sheer coincidence," former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean, the man chosen by President [sic] Bush to lead the 9/11 commission also has business ties with bin Mahfouz and Al-Amoudi.

    Thomas Kean is a director (and shareholder) of Amerada Hess Corporation, which is involved in the Hess-Delta joint venture with Delta Oil of Saudi Arabia (owned by the bin Mahfouz and Al-Amoudi clans) . . .

    Now you would think that being a business partner of the brother-in-law and alleged financier of "Enemy No. 1" would also be considered a bona fide "conflict of interest," particularly when your mandate—as part of the 9/11 Commission's work—is to investigate "Enemy No. 1." (Michel Chossudovsky,New Chairman of 9/11 Commission had business ties with Osama's Brother in Law, Centre for Research on Globalization, December 2002 )

    Commission Counsel David Marcus

    Daniel Marcus, the legal counsel of the commission, was partner in Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, which counts among its clients Prince Mohammed al Faisal, also identified as one of the top three alleged "financiers" of the 9/11 attacks listed in the $1 trillion lawsuit:

    An internal list of other law firms retained in the case, reviewed by NEWSWEEK, reads like a veritable "who's who" of the U.S. legal community. Among those firms and their Saudi clients are: Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (Prince Mohammed al Faisal); Kellog, Huber, Hansen, Todd & Evans (Prince Turki al Faisal); Jones, Day (the Binladin Group); Ropes & Grey (Khaled bin Mahfouz); White & Case,(the Al-Rajhi Banking Group); King & Spalding (the Arab Bank and Youssef Nada); Akin Gump (Mohammed Hussein Al-Almoudi); and Fulbright & Jaworski (Nimir Petroleum.) (A Legal Counterattack, MSNBC)

    Kissinger and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)

    We recall that Henry Kissinger resigned from the chair of the 9/11 Commission, precisely because he was in "conflict of interest." His firm Kissinger Associates had dubious links to Saudi financiers. Former Senator George Mitchell also resigned, for the same reasons, amid controversy. Ironically, they were replaced by "similar individuals."

    However, instead of demanding that Thomas Kean and David Marcus be removed from the commission due to "conflict of interest,"the organizations representing the 9/11 victims' families pledged their support to the commission's actitivities. (See also Voices of September 11th)

    Needless to say, Kissinger has his own personal representative on the commission: John F. Lehman, a former Secretary of the Navy, who also happens to be a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. During the Nixon administration, he served as special counsel and senior staff member to Kissinger on the National Security Council.

    The Council on Foreign Relations is well represented on the commission: four of its members (out of 8 commissioners, plus the chair and the vice chair) are members of the CFR, including Thomas Kean, Lee Hamilton, John F. Lehman and Jamie Gorelick.

    It is worth mentioning, in this regard, the behind the scenes role of the CFR in the formulation of US foreign policy. And a central feature of US foreign policy was a program of covert support to the various "Islamic terrorist organisations." In this regard, one of the CFR's most prominent figures Zbigniew Brzezinski played a key role in creating the Islamic militant network as part of a covert CIA operation launched during the Carter administration. With four CFR members on the commission (out of a total of 8 commissioners, plus the chair and vice chair), it is unlikely that the commission will shed light on these issues.

    Executive Director Philipp D. Zelikow

    The media conveys the impression that this "Independent" commission is at war with the Bush administration. What it fails to mention is that its executive director Philipp Zelikow is part of the president's intelligence team. Two days before the beginning of the war on Afghanistan, Zellikow was appointed (October 5, 2001) to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, chaired by General (ret) Brent Scowcroft.

    In other words the man responsible for the day- to-day operations of the 9/11 Commission, including the recruitment of staff and the coordination of research, is closely linked to Bush's inner cabinet. He has a close professional relationship with Condoleeza Rice, with whom he has collaborated for the last 10 years. He is co-author of a book written with Condoleezza Rice. .

    In all likelihood, Zellikow reports back periodically through informal personal channels (e.g., to Condoleezza Rice and his colleagues on the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board).

    The CIA Also Has its "Seat" On the Commission

    Another prominent member of this "Independent" commission is Jamie S. Gorelick, who has a close working relationship with CIA Director George Tenet. She serves on the CIA's National Security Advisory Panel as well as on the President's Review of Intelligence. CIA Director George Tenet is one of the architects of the "war on terrorism." With Gorelick on the commission, it is highly unlikely that the agency's undercover operations in support of international terrorism will be revealed (see Michel Chossudovsky, Who is Osama bin Laden, 12 September 2001).

    Cover-up and Damage Control

    In other words, while there may be areas of dispute between the White House and the commission (as well as within the commission itself), the nature and composition of the commission foreclose from the outset, the possibility of a meaningful investigation of 9/11.

    In all likelihood the commission will be involved in cover-up and damage control. It will mobilize its staff into reviewing piles of classified intelligence documents. It will focus on technical aspects of intelligence including "foreknowledge" and "intelligence failures," while ignoring the historical ties between successive administrations and "Islamic terrorism," including the role of the CIA in creating and sustaining Al Qaeda, from the onset of the Soviet-Afghan war.

    In all likelihood it will focus the investigation on lower level officials.

    Key political actors including those with dubious links to 9/11, will not be the object of a systematic investigation. The commission may (as occurred in the Iran-Contra investigation) identify one or more "fall guys," who will be blamed for these "intelligence failures."

    These procedures, in the present context, tend to protect the political, intelligence and military actors, not to mention the intellectual architects of the "war on terrorism" in the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). The PNAC "even foresaw the need for what they called a "Pearl Harbor-type event" to galvanize the American public into supporting their ambitious program" (Chris Floyd, The Moscow Times, 25 April 2003)

    Moreover, the alleged links of the Saudi financiers to Al Qaeda are likely to serve the Bush clique. They uphold the idea that there is an "outside enemy," supported by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. This in turn serves to obscure the fact that the financial aid (from their Saudi business associates) to the Islamic militant network was from the very outset in 1979, part and parcel of the CIA's covert operation. In other words, the fact that the Saudi financiers are now being targeted in the lawsuit serves to protect the foreign policy architects of the "war on terrorism."

    "Preparing for Future Terrorist Attacks"

    The commission was given the mandate:

    "to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, including preparedness for and the immediate response to the attacks. The commission is also mandated to provide recommendations designed to guard against future attacks."

    The thrust of this exercise is crystal clear: distort the history of 9/11, churn out phony intelligence which justifies Bush's preemptive "war on terrorism," expose the whistleblowers in the police and intelligence apparatus.

    Careful Omission

    Mountains of intelligence material have already been collected by the Joint Senate House Committee set up in May 2002 as well as by the commission. Through careful omission, the numerous press and intelligence reports in the public domain (mainstream media, alternative media, etc), which confirm that key members of the Bush administration were involved in acts of political complicity and camouflage, are more likely to be dismissed by the commission's research team.

    The fact that Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA, a so-called "intelligence asset" (confirmed by official reports and congressional transcripts), is not part of the commission's terms of reference. While "the elephant is sitting right on top of the stack of hay," the commission has been instructed "to look for pins rather than elephants." In other words, the commission is to churn out red herrings: a data bank of unconnected occurrences on "intelligence failures," FBI lapses, etc.

    The 9/11 Commission

    Below are excerpts from the "official bios" of the 9/11 commission members, which can be consulted at the 9/11 Commission's website ,

    We have identified in each individual case, the nature of the conflict of interest, where applicable.

    1. Chair and Vice Chair

    Thomas H. Kean Chair

    "Thomas Kean, chair, is former governor of New Jersey (1982–1990) and, since 1990, the president of Drew University. . . . Kean is on the board of a number of organizations including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund. He holds a B.A. from Princeton University and an M.A. from Columbia University Teachers College, as well as more than 25 honorary degrees and numerous awards from environmental and educational organizations"

    Conflict of interest: Business ties with the "alleged financiers" of 9/11, according to the lawsuit launched by the families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks. Khalid bin Mahfouz and M. Hussein Al Amoudi are identified in the families of the victims lawsuit.

    Lee H. Hamilton Vice Chair

    "Lee Hamilton, vice chair, is president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Prior to becoming director of the Woodrow Wilson Center in 1999, Hamilton served for 34 years in Congress representing Indiana's Ninth District. During his tenure, he served as chairman and ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (now the Committee on International Relations), chaired the Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East from the early 1970s until 1993, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran."

    Hamilton has been connected to a number of key agencies. "He serves on an advisory board to the Association of the United States Army, the President's Homeland Security Advisory Council, the Secretary of Defense's National Security Study Group and the CIA Economic Intelligence Advisory Panel"

    As member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and chairman of the Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran, he was instrumental the indictment of Reagan National Security adviser John Pointdexter as well as Colonel Oliver North and Richard Secord.

    On the other hand, his committee failed to investigate the roles of other Reagan officials. Pointdexter and North were the fall guys. Neither President Reagan nor Vice President Bush were investigated, nor Colin Powell and Richard Armitage,who are now part of the current Bush Junior Administration.

    In other words, Lee H. Hamilton brings to the commission the "damage control" procedures followed during the Iran Contra investigation, which broadly served to uphold the practices of US foreign policy.

    2. Senior Commission Staff (Executive Director, Deputy Executive Director and Legal Counsel)

    Philip D. Zelikow Executive Director

    "Philip Zelikow is the executive director of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, better known as the "9/11 Commission." He is also the director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs and White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia. After serving in government with the Navy, the State Department, and the National Security Council, he taught at Harvard before assuming his present post in Virginia to direct the nation's largest research center on the American presidency. He was a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and served as executive director of the National Commission on Federal Election Reform, chaired by former Presidents Carter and Ford, as well as the executive director of the Markle Foundation Task Force on National Security in the Information Age. Zelikow's books include The Kennedy Tapes (with Ernest May), Germany Unified and Europe Transformed (with Condoleeza Rice) . . . Zelikow has also been the director of the Aspen Strategy Group, a policy program of the Aspen Institute."

    Philipp D. Zelikow, who holds the key executive position, responsible for the day to day activities of the 9/11 Commission, is a former member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, chaired by General (ret) Brent Scowcroft.

    Zelikow was appointed to the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board on October 5th, 2001, one day before the beginning of the bombing of Afghanistan.

    The President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) has the mandate to "provide advice to the President concerning the quality and adequacy of intelligence collection, of analysis and estimates, of counterintelligence, and of other intelligence activities."

    Zelikow also has a close personal relationship with National Security adviser Condoleeza Rice. He is co-author of a book written with Condoleezza Rice.

    There are indications that Condoleeza Rice has withheld crucial information linking senior Bush Administration officials to the former head of Pakistan's military intelligence, General Mahmoud Ahmad. According to the FBI, in a September 2001 report, ISI Chief General Mahmoud allegedly played a role in transferring money to the 9/11 terrorists. On the withholding of information by Condoleeza Rice regarding the ISI Chief, see the transcripts of her May 16, 2002 press conference.

    Conflict of Interest: The Executive director of the commission who overseas a staff of some forty people is a de facto White House appointee. He calls the shots on the direction of investigative research. He has close ties to the Presidency and close personal ties to National Security adviser Condoleeza Rice.

    Christopher Kojm Deputy Executive Director

    Christopher Kojm served from 1998 until February, 2003 as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence Policy and Coordination in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research. He served previously in the Congress on the staff of the House International Relations Committee, under Ranking Member Lee Hamilton as Deputy Director of the Democratic staff (1997–98), as Coordinator for Regional Issues (1993–1997) and under Chairman Hamilton on the Europe and Middle East subcommittee staff (1984–92).

    Christopher Kojm worked closely with Hamilton.

    Daniel Marcus General Counsel

    Daniel Marcus, General Counsel of the commission, was for many years a partner in the Washington law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, serving on the firm's Management Committee from 1995 to 1998. During the Carter Administration Mr. Marcus was Deputy General Counsel of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and General Counsel of the Department of Agriculture. He returned to Government service in 1998 as Senior Counsel in the White House Counsel's office. From 1999 to 2001 he held several senior positions at the Department of Justice, including Associate Attorney General. Last year he was a Visiting Professor at Georgetown University Law Center. Mr. Marcus is a graduate of Brandeis University and Yale Law School, and was a law clerk for Judge Harold Leventhal of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

    Daniel Marcus belonged to a law firm which counts among its clients Prince Mohammed al Faisal, identified as one of the top three alleged "financiers" of the 9/11 attacks listed in the 1 trillion dollar lawsuit. Confirmed by CBS "Those listed include Prince Mohammed al-Faisal, former intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan, Khalid bin Salim bin Mahfouz of the National Commercial Bank and the Faisal Islamic Bank. " Bear in mind that at the time Daniel Marcus belonged to the firm, Prince Prince Mohammed al-Faisal was among its most wealthiest clients.

    Conflict of Interest: Marcus' law firm provided legal counsel to one of the alleged financiers of 9/11: Prince Mohammed al Faisal

    3. Commissioners

    Richard Ben- Veniste Commissioner

    Richard Ben-Veniste is a partner in the Washington law firm of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw. He served as assistant U.S. attorney, Southern District New York, from 1968 to 1973, which included service as chief of the Special Prosecution Section from 1971 to 1973. Mr. Ben- Veniste was chief of the Watergate Task Force of the Watergate Special Prosecutor's Office from 1973 to 1975 and Special Outside Counsel Senate Committee on Government Operations from 1976 to 1977.

    Before joining Mayer, Brown Rowe and Maw, (February 2003), Richard Ben-Veniste was partner in Weil, Gotshal, and Manges, which played a key role in the Enron scandal. .

    According to the NY Post:

    Weil, Gotshal, and Manges. among the biggest bankruptcy firms in the world - famously received a $3 million retainer from Enron when the energy company filed in 2001. When all is said and done the law firm expects to squeeze more than $200 million out of the bankrupt energy company in fees that are secured by a court (http://www.nypost.com/wealth/63212.htm.)

    Ben Veniste has other dubious links. He was Democratic counsel of the Senate Whitewater Committee. (Jim Rarey, 911 Commission - Forgedda Boudit Medium Rare)

    Max Cleland Commissioner

    Max Cleland is a distinguished adjunct professor at American University's Washington Semester Program, where he also serves as a fellow in the Center for Congressional & Presidential Studies. A former senator from Georgia, he began his public service as an officer in the U.S. Army, volunteering for duty in Vietnam in 1967, where he served until he was very seriously wounded in April 1968. Cleland was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996 where he served as chairman of the Personnel Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee, and was a member of the Senate Veteran's Affairs Committee. While in the Senate, he earned enormous respect for his work in such areas as health care and education reform, bio-terrorism preparedness, homeland security, and fiscal responsibility.

    Fred F. Fielding Commissioner

    Fred Fielding is senior partner and head of Wiley, Rein, & Fielding's Government Affairs, Business & Finance, Litigation and Crisis Management/White Collar Crime Practices. From 1981–1986, he served as Counsel to the President of the United States, as deputy counsel from 1972–1974 and as Associate Counsel from 1970–1972. He also served as clearance counsel during the Bush-Cheney Presidential Transition.

    Conflict of interest: Fielding is a former White House Counsel during the Reagan administration at the time of the Iran Contra scandal, closely connected through personal ties to several members of the current Bush team. He was also counsel during the Bush-Cheney presidential transition.

    Jamie S. Gorelick Commissioner

    Jamie Gorelick is vice chair of Fannie Mae. As part of the four-person Office of the Chairman, she shares responsibility for overall management of the company, directs its efforts to reach underserved markets and oversees Fannie Mae's external relationships, legal and regulatory affairs. Prior to joining Fannie Mae in May 1997, Gorelick was deputy attorney general of the United States, a position she assumed in March 1994. From May 1993 until she joined the Justice Department, Gorelick served as general counsel of the Department of Defense. From 1979 to 1980 she was assistant to the secretary and counselor to the deputy secretary of energy. In the private sector, from 1975 to 1979 and again from 1980 to 1993, Gorelick was a litigator in Washington, D.C., representing major U.S. companies on a broad range of legal and business matters. . . . She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Law Institute. Gorelick co-chaired, with Senator Sam Nunn, the Advisory Committee of the President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection, and currently serves on the Central Intelligence Agency's National Security Advisory Panel as well as the President's Review of Intelligence.

    Jamie S. Gorelick serves on the CIA's National Security Advisory Panel as well as the President's Review of Intelligence. .She is also a Member of the Council of Foreign Relations, which plays a behind the scenes role in the formulation of US foreign policy and intelligence operations:

    "In May 1995, the Intelligence Community Law Enforcement Policy Board was established to meet quarterly and discuss mutual concerns of the Attorney General and Director of Central Intelligence. The board was co-chaired by Gorelick and DCI George Tenet. Other members included all of the law enforcement agencies, the Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research and the Defense Department General Counsel."(911 Commission - Forgedda Boudit Medium Rare By Jim Rarey)

    Conflict of interest: Visibly this is a CIA appointment to the commission. Gorelick has a close personal relationship with CIA Director George Tenet.

    Slade Gorton Commissioner

    Slade Gorton is a counsel at Preston Gates & Ellis LLP. Prior to joining the firm, he represented Washington State in the United States Senate for 18 years, from 1982–2000. While in the Senate, Gorton served on the Appropriations, Budget, Commerce, Science and Transportation, and Energy and Natural Resources Committees. He served as chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee (1995–2001), the Commerce Subcommittees on Consumer Affairs (1995–99), and Aviation (1999–2000). He was also a member of the Republican leadership as counsel to the Majority Leader (1996– 2000) . . .

    This is typically an appointment of the Republican Party and the Republican caucus in the Senate. "Gorton served two years on the Senate Intelligence Committee. He says that experience and his personal friendship with Trent Lott were responsible for his appointment by Lott." (Ibid)

    John F. Lehman Commissioner

    John Lehman is chairman of J.F. Lehman & Company, a private equity investment firm. . . . He served 25 years in the naval reserve. Lehman was appointed Secretary of the Navy by President Reagan in 1981 and served until 1987. During his tenure as Secretary of the Navy, Lehman was responsible for building a 600 ship Navy, establishing a strategy of maritime supremacy, and reforming ship and aircraft procurement. He has served as staff member to Henry Kissinger on the National Security Council, as delegate to the Force Reductions Negotiations in Vienna and as deputy director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. . . .

    Lehman is a former Secretary of the Navy under the Reagan administration, with close personal ties to members of the current Bush administration. J.F. Lehman & Company is a firm specialising in leveraged buyouts. Lehman, who is a member of Council on Foreign relations (CFR) has close personal ties to Henry Kissinger, who recruited him during the Nixon administration.

    Timothy J. Roemer Commissioner

    Tim Roemer is a partner at Johnston and Associates and a distinguished scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a non-profit research and educational institution dedicated to improving public policy outcomes. From 1991–2003, Roemer represented the Third District of Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on Education and the Workforce and the Committee on Science. He was appointed to the Intelligence Committee's Task Force on Homeland Security and Terrorism and served on the bipartisan Joint Inquiry which issued a report on the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He was the key author of the legislation in the House of Representatives to establish the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States.

    As a former member of the Task Force of the Intelligence Committee's Task Force on Homeland Security and Terrorism and the Joint Inquiry of the Senate and House, Roemer is a go- between the commission, Homeland Security and the members of the intelligence committees of the House and Senate. He has ties to Rep. Porter Goss and Senator Bob Graham, who headed the join inquiry. Graham and Goss have suspicious links to former Pakistani (ISI) Intelligence Chief General Mahmoud Ahmad. Pakistan's ISI is known to support Islamic terrorism in liaison with the CIA.

    James R. Thompson Commissioner

    James Thompson, Illinois' longest-serving governor (1977–1991), is chairman of the law firm of Winston & Strawn, headquartered in Chicago. He first joined Winston & Strawn in 1975 and then rejoined the firm as a partner when he left the governor's office in 1991.

    James R. Thompson is still part of the Republican Party machine. His law firm Winston & Strawn specializes in "defending corporations and individuals accused of wrongdoing, including some big name corporations, like Philip Morris, McDonald's, Microsoft, and General Electric."

    W and S defended tobacco giant Philip Morris against plaintiffs in class action lawsuits as well as Montsanto, and lobbied government on behalf of its clients.

    W and S was also involved in 2001 in a high profile conflict of interest case pertaining to a contract with the Energy Department "on license preparations for a nuclear waste repository in Nevada" . for further details see, http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2001/Dec-01-Sat-2001/new s/17573270.html . The firm was also being paid by the nuclear industry to lobby Congress

  • OH REALLY, MR. KOJM?...Q & A with Christopher Kojm, Deputy Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission

    08/11/2005 2:00:17 PM PDT · 1 of 3
    Bronc1
    Q&A with Christopher Kojm (MPA '79), Deputy Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission

    The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9/11 Commission), an independent, bipartisan commission created by congressional legislation, was chartered to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, including preparedness for and the immediate response to the attacks. The Commission was also mandated to provide recommendations designed to guard against future attacks. The Commission reviewed 2.5 million pages of documents, and interviewed over 1,200 individuals – including experts and officials, past and present. The 9/11 Commission released its Final Report on July 22, 2004, and officially closed August 21, 2004.

    Christopher Kojm (MPA '79) most recently was Deputy Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, and this fall will be John L. Weinberg/Goldman Sachs & Co. Visiting Professor with the rank of Lecturer of Public and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School. In late August he talked with the School about his work with the 9/11 Commission.

    WWS: In the 9/11 Commission's Final Report, the Commission states that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were "a shock, not a surprise." What was meant by this?

    Christopher Kojm (CK): The actual event of four airliners being hijacked simultaneously and attacking U.S. targets of course came as a great shock to everyone. But it was not a surprise in that the U.S. had been attacked by Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda numerous times during the 1990s with increasingly lethal means; indeed there were fatwas issued by bin Laden and others associated with al-Qaeda calling on Muslims around the world to kill Americans wherever they found them; and that it was their intent to kill as many Americans as they could, be they members of the U.S. military or civilians.

    Bin Laden's intent and his capability were not a surprise. What was shocking is that we didn't understand that al-Qaeda could reach inside the U.S. in such a devastating way as they did on 9/11.

    WWS: In the report the Commission notes that before 9/11 the U.S. government tried to solve "the al-Qaeda problem" with the capabilities it had used in the last stages of the Cold War, and that these capabilities were insufficient to fight this new global terrorist threat. Where were the most serious weaknesses? And today, have these weaknesses been properly addressed?

    (CK): The weaknesses were profound across every aspect of U.S. government behavior relating to the 9/11 plot. Both presidents [Bill Clinton and George W. Bush] complained to us that they lacked military options against the al-Qaeda threat. Our covert action capability was weak; for example prior to 9/11we relied on proxy forces in Afghanistan and we lacked confidence that they could get the job done.

    In addition, all nineteen of the hijackers got visas to enter the U.S. - Mohammed Atta and others repeatedly entered and exited the U.S. under their true names. False statements were made by the hijackers on their visa applications, and up to fifteen had fraudulent or suspicious markings on their passports.

    Our transportation/aviation security systems had no effective defense against the hijackers. The sole layer that the hijackers had to penetrate was airport checkpoint screenings, and they knew that knives of four inches or less were permissible on commercial aircraft. The CAPPS screening system identified eight of the nineteen hijackers as requiring additional scrutiny. Airline officials identified two more for scrutiny at check-in on 9/11, but the net effect of this additional screening was matching baggage to passengers and making sure that the passengers boarded the planes before their luggage.

    And importantly, there were repeated failures of U.S. government agencies sharing information, not just between but also within agencies. These are just a few examples of many missed opportunities to disrupt the 9/11 plot.

    WWS: The Final Report also highlights major problems within the U.S. intelligence community, and the Commission's recommendation to unify the intelligence community with a National Intelligence Director who would oversee the spending and personnel issues of all U.S. intelligence agencies has caused great debate among policy makers and the media. In late August President Bush signed executive orders expanding the authority of the Director of Central Intelligence. Do you see this as a first step by the White House towards adopting the Commission's recommendations, or as a gesture that falls decidedly short?

    (CK): It's a first step and a constructive step. Creating a National Intelligence Director will require changes in U.S. law and can not be done by executive order alone. However, the creation of a National Intelligence Director, and also of the National Counterterrorism Center, for example, are just two of thirty-seven recommendations made by the Commission. Just to carry out these two recommendations doesn't solve the problem. The Commission has presented a comprehensive approach, and believes all of its recommendations - or better ones from the U.S. Congress or the President - need to be adopted. The broader point here is that there a fascination in Washington with moving boxes around and with who has power; simply rearranging power within the executive branch will not address the threat of transnational Islamic terrorism.

    WWS: Also in late August, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) proposed dismantling the CIA and removing other intelligence agencies from the Pentagon. What are your thoughts on this?

    (CK): A key U.S. senator has put forward a comprehensive, ambitious proposal. There are common elements in our proposals, such as the creation of a National Intelligence Director with strong authority, and a National Counterterrorism Center. The Commission looks forward to working with Senator Roberts in the coming weeks.

    WWS: From the outset the Commission has stressed its independence and bipartisan nature. What was it like working with Commission members and staff?

    (CK): It was a deeply rewarding experience to work with highly capable colleagues and for such distinguished and thoughtful commissioners. Our commission sessions had long and occasionally heated discussion, but it was always productive and the commissioners themselves were devoted to achieving bipartisanship and unanimity. They understood very well that their impact would be greatest if they were unanimous.

    WWS: As America is in the midst of an election year in which the electorate is in some cases bitterly divided on major policy issues, do you worry that the Commission's findings will be politicized? Do you see this happening now?

    (CK): No, I don't worry about that. First, the Commission has already been through twenty months and withstood partisanship. Second, the commissioners are dedicated to the recommendations they have made and frequently appear together as Republicans and Democrats, whether giving testimony or as part of their public speaking.

    We've also had a very productive dynamic in the form of keen interest from the President as well as presidential candidate John Kerry.

    WWS: The Commission presented thirty-seven major recommendations in its report, many of which have far-reaching implications for U.S. foreign and domestic policy, such as "strengthen[ing] long-term U.S. and international commitments to the future of Pakistan and Afghanistan," and implementing "a comprehensive screening system" that includes introducing biometric identifiers at America's borders and international airports, to protect the U.S. by preventing terrorists' travel into the country. How can such major recommendations be implemented quickly and effectively?

    (CK): In the report we outline that succesfully implementing the Commission's recommendations will require a government better organized than the one we have today, which currently has institutions designed to win the Cold War. And importantly, the recommendations are designed to fit together in five key areas: the creation of a National Counterterrorism Center; the creation of a National Intelligence Director; better information sharing across government agencies; increased Congressional oversight; and a better organization of America's defenses at home.

    The foreign policy question you asked relates less to the structure of the U.S. government and more to the important question of sustaining U.S. commitments abroad. The U.S. has long had a tendency to intensely focus on specific parts of the world, and in a few years that interest wanes. The issues we face in Afghanistan and Pakistan assuredly will continue for many years to come, and as a nation we must not lose focus on them. It was precisely the lack of attention to Afghanistan that enabled that country to become an incubator for al-Qaeda.

    I'd like to highlight two truly central recommendations. The first is information sharing across the U.S. government. Only the president can properly address this, to shape, for example, IT systems and protocols, and security regulations and procedures. Another central recommendation is Congressional oversight, and Congress has to reform its own institutions to meet our new national security challenges. That's a hard recommendation for Congress to carry out, because that means realigning power and responsibility within those intuitions. For example, with the creation of a Permanent Standing Committee on Homeland Security in both the House and Senate, some Congressional committees would have to give up a piece of their jurisdiction to make that happen.

    WWS: On September 8 and 9, you will be taking part in two WWS panels on U.S. policy post-9/11, here at the School and as part of the WWS Washington Seminar Series in the nation's capital: is your participation in these panels part of the Commission's efforts to educate the country about the Final Report and its recommendations?

    (CK): Yes, it's part of the Commission's outreach and public education efforts to speak to interested and knowledgeable audiences. Also, I enjoy coming back to and working with Princeton.

    WWS: Ultimately, do you believe that the country is safer today than it was three years ago?

    (CK): Yes. The Commission believes we are safer, as do I. A lot of good steps have been taken by the government. At the same time, the Commission believes a lot more steps need to be taken, and there are serious deficiencies; hence our recommendations.

    WWS: As an alumnus of the School, did WWS help prepare you for your work during your career with the State Department, Congress, and with the Commission?

    (CK): Absolutely. The M.P.A. program's Field I [International Relations] courses proved very helpful in my future career. And the School's Office of Graduate Career Services gave me my first start in public life as an internship at the Foreign Policy Association, a non-profit, which led to my first full-time job. From the FPA, I worked for thirteen years in various capacities on the Democratic staff of the House International Relations Committee under Lee Hamilton. Before my recent work with the Commission I worked for almost five years in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research. In the absence of those first steps provided by Career Services, there wouldn't have been any other steps.

    WWS: This year you will be John L. Weinberg/Goldman Sachs & Co. Visiting Professor with the rank of Lecturer of Public and International Affairs. What courses will you teach?

    (CK): I'll be teaching a policy seminar on terrorism in the fall, and a course on the U.S. intelligence community in the spring. I'm very excited to be back at Princeton and the Wilson School.

  • What are the backgrounds of the key players on the 9/11 Commission? Here's the answer...

    08/11/2005 11:39:28 AM PDT · 1 of 5
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    Thomas H. Kean Chair

    Thomas Kean, chair, is former governor of New Jersey (1982-1990) and, since 1990, the president of Drew University. Kean also served for ten years in the New Jersey Assembly, rising to the positions of majority leader, minority leader, and speaker. As governor, he served on the President's Education Policy Advisory Committee and as chair of the Education Commission of the States and the National Governor's Association Task Force on Teaching. While president of Drew, Kean has served on several national committees and commissions. He headed the American delegation to the UN Conference on Youth in Thailand, served as vice chairman of the American delegation to the World Conference on Women in Beijing; and served as a member of the President's Initiative on Race. He also served on the National Endowment for Democracy. He is chair of the Newark Alliance and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and former chair of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Educate America, and the National Environmental Education and Training Foundation. Kean is on the board of a number of organizations including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund. He holds a B.A. from Princeton University and an M.A. from Columbia University Teachers College, as well as more than 25 honorary degrees and numerous awards from environmental and educational organizations.

    Lee H. Hamilton Vice Chair

    Lee Hamilton, vice chair, is president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Prior to becoming director of the Woodrow Wilson Center in 1999, Hamilton served for 34 years in Congress representing Indiana's Ninth District. During his tenure, he served as chairman and ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (now the Committee on International Relations), chaired the Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East from the early 1970s until 1993, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran. Hamilton also served as chair of the Joint Economic Committee, working to promote long-term economic growth and development. As chairman of the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress and a member of the House Standards of Official Conduct Committee, he was a primary draftsman of several House ethics reforms. Since leaving the House, Mr. Hamilton has served as a commissioner on the influential United States Commission on National Security in the 21st Century (the Hart-Rudman Commission), and was co-chair with former Senator Howard Baker of the Baker-Hamilton Commission to Investigate Certain Security Issues at Los Alamos. He is currently a member of the President's Homeland Security Advisory Council. Mr. Hamilton is a graduate of DePauw University and Indiana University law school, as well as the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and national awards for public service. Before his election to Congress, he practiced law in Chicago and Columbus, Indiana.

    Richard Ben-Veniste Commissioner

    Richard Ben-Veniste is a partner in the Washington law firm of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw. He served as assistant U.S. attorney, Southern District New York, from 1968 to 1973, which included service as chief of the Special Prosecution Section from 1971 to 1973. Mr. Ben-Veniste was chief of the Watergate Task Force of the Watergate Special Prosecutor's Office from 1973 to 1975 and Special Outside Counsel Senate Committee on Government Operations from 1976 to 1977. From May 1995 to June 1996, Mr. Ben-Veniste was chief counsel (minority) of the Senate Whitewater Committee. Mr. Ben-Veniste received an A.B. from Muhlenberg College in 1964, an LL.B. from Columbia University Law School in 1967, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and an LL.M. from Northwestern University School of Law in 1968 under a Ford Foundation fellowship grant. He is a member of the bars of New York and the District of Columbia.

    Mr. Ben-Veniste is the co-author of Stonewall: The Real Story of the Watergate Prosecution (Simon & Schuster), and has been a guest lecturer at numerous law schools, including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Georgetown and Fordham. He is a frequent commentator on current affairs involving the intersection of law and politics.

    Mr. Ben-Veniste has been listed in Who's Who in America since 1975, The Best Lawyers in America since 1983, and Washingtonian Magazine's Top Lawyers in Washington, DC, since 1992, when the list first appeared.

    Mr. Ben-Veniste is a Presidential appointee to the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group, which is mandated to review and declassify secret documents relating to World War II era war crimes.

    Fred F. Fielding Commissioner

    Fred Fielding is senior partner and head of Wiley, Rein, & Fielding's Government Affairs, Business & Finance, Litigation and Crisis Management/White Collar Crime Practices. From 1981-1986, he served as Counsel to the President of the United States, as deputy counsel from 1972-1974 and as Associate Counsel from 1970-1972. He also served as clearance counsel during the Bush-Cheney Presidential Transition. In addition to his public service as White House counsel, Fielding has served as the U.S.-designated arbitrator at the Tribunal on the U.S.-U.K. Air Treaty Dispute (1989-1994), as a member of the president's Commission on Federal Ethics Law Reform (1989) and as a member of the secretary of transportation's Task Force on Aviation Disasters, (1997-1998), as well as numerous other commissions. He is a member of the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania Bars, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania; the District of Columbia Court of Appeals; U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia; U.S. Courts of Appeals for the D.C., Federal, First, Third, Fourth, and Ninth Circuits; the U.S. Court of Military Appeals; and the U.S. Supreme Court. He holds an A.B., with honors, from Gettysburg College and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served on the Editorial Board of the Virginia Law Review.

    amie S. Gorelick Commissioner

    Jamie Gorelick is a partner at Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale & Dorr . Prior to joining Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale & Dorr in July 2003, Gorelick was vice chair of Fannie Mae. As part of the four-person Office of the Chairman, she shared responsibility for overall management of the company, directed its efforts to reach underserved markets and oversaw Fannie Mae's external relationships, legal and regulatory affairs. Prior to joining Fannie Mae in May 1997, Gorelick was deputy attorney general of the United States, a position she assumed in March 1994. From May 1993 until she joined the Justice Department, Gorelick served as general counsel of the Department of Defense. From 1979 to 1980 she was assistant to the secretary and counselor to the deputy secretary of energy. In the private sector, from 1975 to 1979 and again from 1980 to 1993, Gorelick was a litigator in Washington, D.C., representing major U.S. companies on a broad range of legal and business matters. She served as president of the District of Columbia Bar from 1992 to 1993. Gorelick is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. She also serves on several boards, including the Fannie Mae Foundation, United Technologies Corporation, Schlumberger, Limited, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Harvard College Board of Overseers, America's Promise, the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and The National Park Foundation. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Law Institute. Gorelick co-chaired, with Senator Sam Nunn, the Advisory Committee of the President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection, and currently serves on the Central Intelligence Agency's National Security Advisory Panel as well as the President's Review of Intelligence.

    Slade Gorton Commissioner

    Slade Gorton is of counsel at Preston Gates & Ellis LLP. Prior to joining the firm, he represented Washington State in the United States Senate for 18 years, from 1982-2000. While in the Senate, Gorton served on the Appropriations, Budget, Commerce, Science and Transportation, and Energy and Natural Resources Committees. He served as chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee (1995-2001), the Commerce Subcommittees on Consumer Affairs (1995-99), and Aviation (1999-2000). He was also a member of the Republican leadership as counsel to the Majority Leader (1996-2000). Gorton began his political career in 1958 as a Washington state representative; he went on to serve as State House majority leader. In 1968, he was elected attorney general of Washington state, where he argued 14 cases before the Supreme Court. Gorton also served on the president's consumer Advisory Council (1975-77) and on the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (1969-1981). He was chairman of the Washington State Law & Justice Commission (1969-76), served as an instructor in Constitutional law to public administration graduate students at the University of Puget Sound (1977), and has served on the Board of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center since 1987. In 2001, Gorton served on the National Commission on Federal Election Reform.

    Bob Kerrey Commissioner

    Bob Kerrey is President of New School University in New York City. For twelve years prior to becoming President of New School University, Bob Kerrey represented the State of Nebraska in the United States Senate. Before that he served as Nebraska's Governor for four years.

    Educated in pharmacy at the University of Nebraska, Bob Kerrey served three years in the United States Navy. After his military service, he started a chain of restaurants and health clubs in Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas.

    Bob Kerrey entered the race for Governor of Nebraska with no prior political experience and was elected as a Democrat in a heavily Republican State. After serving a single four-year term, he returned to business. Upon the death of Nebraska's senior United States Senator, Kerrey became a candidate for the U.S. Senate. He was elected in 1988 and re-elected in 1994. He chose not to run for re-election a third time because of the offer to be President of New School University and his desire to return to private life.

    As a Senator, Bob Kerrey acquired a reputation as someone willing to take a stand on issues even in the face of public opposition. He was a defender of free speech and the separation of Church and State as guaranteed by the First Amendment. Kerrey opposed taking away the right of a woman to make her own reproductive decisions, supported extending civil rights protection in the workplace and in housing to gays and lesbians, and voted for reasonable gun control legislation. He also put his name behind Social Security reform and universal health insurance. In Nebraska, these were not traditionally popular positions.

    From his first days as Governor to his last days in the Senate, Bob Kerrey has been involved with all levels of education in Nebraska and around the country. For the past 20 years, he has given his strong support both to increased funding and the need for significant reform. He headed the bipartisan Congressional Web-Based Education Commission which in 2001 produced an influential report entitled "The Power of the Internet for Learning: Moving from Promise to Practice."

    Bob Kerrey is the author of When I Was A Young Man: A Memoir, published by Harcourt Books (May 2002).

    He is married to Sarah Paley. The couple have a young son, Henry, who was born on September 10, 2001. His children from a prior marriage are named Ben and Lindsey.

    John F. Lehman Commissioner

    John Lehman is chairman of J.F. Lehman & Company, a private equity investment firm. He is also chairman of OAO Technology Solutions, director of Ball Corporation, Insurance Services Office, SDI Inc., Elgar Inc., and Racal Instruments, Inc., and a member of the Advisory Board of Paribas Affaires Industrielles. Lehman was formerly an investment banker with Paine Webber Inc. He was president of Abington Corporation between 1977 and 1981. He served 25 years in the naval reserve. Lehman was appointed Secretary of the Navy by President Reagan in 1981 and served until 1987. During his tenure as Secretary of the Navy, Lehman was responsible for building a 600 ship Navy, establishing a strategy of maritime supremacy, and reforming ship and aircraft procurement. He has served as staff member to Henry Kissinger on the National Security Council, as delegate to the Force Reductions Negotiations in Vienna and as deputy director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Lehman holds a B.S. from St. Joseph's University, a B.A. and M.A. from Cambridge University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently an Honorary Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University. Lehman is the author of numerous books, including Command of the Seas, Making War, and On Seas of Glory. He serves as Chairman of the Princess Grace Foundation USA, a director of OpSail Foundation, a member of the Board of Overseers of the School of Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, and is a trustee of LaSalle College High School.

    Timothy J. Roemer Commissioner

    Tim Roemer is president of the Center for National Policy (CNP) and a distinguished scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a non-profit research and educational institution dedicated to improving public policy outcomes. Prior to joining CNP, Roemer was a partner at Johnston and Associates. From 1991-2003, Roemer represented the Third District of Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on Education and the Workforce and the Committee on Science. Before running for Congress, he served on the staffs of John Brademas of Indiana (1978-1979) and Senator Dennis DeConcini of Arizona (1985-1989). He holds a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego, Calif., and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Notre Dame University. While he was in Congress Roemer was recognized for his successful leadership on bipartisan legislation to balance the budget, reform welfare, improve the affordability of higher education, and reform elementary and secondary education for school children. He was appointed to the Intelligence Committee's Task Force on Homeland Security and Terrorism and served on the bipartisan Joint Inquiry which issued a report on the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He was the key author of the legislation in the House of Representatives to establish the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.

    James R. Thompson Commissioner

    James Thompson, Illinois' longest-serving governor (1977-1991), is chairman of the law firm of Winston & Strawn, headquartered in Chicago. He first joined Winston & Strawn in 1975 and then rejoined the firm as a partner when he left the governor's office in 1991. From 1959 to 1964, he served in the Cook County state's attorney's office, where he argued criminal civil rights cases before the Illinois and US Supreme Courts. He then taught at the Northwestern Law School. In 1971, he became U.S. Attorney for the Northern District, where he established a solid reputation for prosecuting corrupt public officials. He is a member of the Illinois Bar. Thompson is also a director of FMC Corporation, FMC Technologies, Inc., the Chicago Board of Trade, Hollinger International (publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times), Prime Retail Inc., Prime Group Realty Trust, Navigant Consulting Group, Public Review Board HEREIU, Japan Society (New York), and MAXIMUS, Inc. He served on the American Bar Association Commission on Separation of Powers and Judicial Independence from 1996-1997. Thompson was educated at the University of Illinois and Washington University, and received his law degree from Northwestern University Law School.

    Philip D. Zelikow Executive Director

    Philip Zelikow is the executive director of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, better known as the "9/11 Commission." He is also the director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs and White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia. After serving in government with the Navy, the State Department, and the National Security Council, he taught at Harvard before assuming his present post in Virginia to direct the nation's largest research center on the American presidency. He was a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and served as executive director of the National Commission on Federal Election Reform, chaired by former Presidents Carter and Ford, as well as the executive director of the Markle Foundation Task Force on National Security in the Information Age. Zelikow's books include The Kennedy Tapes (with Ernest May), Germany Unified and Europe Transformed (with Condoleezza Rice), and the rewritten Essence of Decision (with Graham Allison). Zelikow has also been the director of the Aspen Strategy Group, a policy program of the Aspen Institute.

    Christopher Kojm Deputy Executive Director Christopher Kojm served from 1998 until February, 2003 as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence Policy and Coordination in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research. He served previously in the Congress on the staff of the House International Relations Committee, under Ranking Member Lee Hamilton as Deputy Director of the Democratic staff (1997-98), as Coordinator for Regional Issues (1993-1997) and under Chairman Hamilton on the Europe and Middle East subcommittee staff (1984-92). From 1979-1984, he was a writer and editor with the Foreign Policy Association in New York City. He has a Masters in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University (1979) and an A.B. from Harvard College (1977).

    Daniel Marcus General Counsel Daniel Marcus, General Counsel of the Commission, was for many years a partner in the Washington law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, serving on the firm's Management Committee from 1995 to 1998. During the Carter Administration Mr. Marcus was Deputy General Counsel of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and General Counsel of the Department of Agriculture. He returned to Government service in 1998 as Senior Counsel in the White House Counsel's office. From 1999 to 2001 he held several senior positions at the Department of Justice, including Associate Attorney General. Last year he was a Visiting Professor at Georgetown University Law Center. Mr. Marcus is a graduate of Brandeis University and Yale Law School, and was a law clerk for Judge Harold Leventhal of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

  • Did DoD lawyers blow the chance to nab Atta?

    08/09/2005 9:10:58 PM PDT · 1 of 14
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    Did DoD lawyers blow the chance to nab Atta?

    By Jacob Goodwin In September 2000, one year before the Al Qaeda attacks of 9/11, a U.S. Army military intelligence program, known as “Able Danger,” identified a terrorist cell based in Brooklyn, NY, one of whose members was 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta, and recommended to their military superiors that the FBI be called in to “take out that cell,” according to Rep. Curt Weldon, a longtime Republican congressman from Pennsylvania who is currently vice chairman of both the House Homeland Security and House Armed Services Committees.

    The recommendation to bring down that New York City cell -- in which two other Al Qaeda terrorists were also active -- was not pursued during the weeks leading up to the 2000 presidential election, said Weldon. That’s because Mohammed Atta possessed a “green card” at the time and Defense Department lawyers did not want to recommend that the FBI go after someone holding a green card, Weldon told his House colleagues last June 27 during a little-noticed speech, known as a “special order,” which he delivered on the House floor.

    Details of the origins and efforts of Able Danger were corroborated in a telephone interview by GSN with a former defense intelligence officer who said he worked closely with that program. That intelligence officer, who spoke to GSN while sitting in Rep. Weldon’s Capitol Hill office, requested anonymity for fear that his current efforts to help re-start a similar intelligence-gathering operation might be hampered if his identity becomes known.

    The intelligence officer recalled carrying documents to the offices of Able Danger, which was being run by the Special Operations Command, headquartered in Tampa, FL. The documents included a photo of Mohammed Atta supplied by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and described Atta’s relationship with Osama bin Laden. The officer was very disappointed when lawyers working for Special Ops decided that anyone holding a green card had to be granted essentially the same legal protections as any U.S. citizen. Thus, the information Able Danger had amassed about the only terrorist cell they had located inside the United States could not be shared with the FBI, the lawyers concluded.

    “We were directed to take those 3M yellow stickers and place them over the faces of Atta and the other terrorists and pretend they didn’t exist,” the intelligence officer told GSN.

    DoD lawyers may also have been reluctant to suggest a bold action by FBI agents after the bureau’s disastrous 1993 strike against the Branch Davidian religious cult in Waco, TX, said Weldon and the intelligence officer.

    “So now, Mr. Speaker,” Weldon said on the House floor last June, “for the first time I can tell our colleagues that one of our agencies not only identified the New York cell of Mohammed Atta and two of the terrorists, but actually made a recommendation to bring the FBI in to take out that cell.”

    Weldon has developed a reputation for making bold pronouncements and, occasionally, ruffling the feathers of some of his colleagues. His recent non-fiction book, “Countdown to Terror,” which draws on information from an Iranian expatriate source Weldon has dubbed “Ali,” has drawn criticism from the CIA, others in the intelligence community and some congressional colleagues.

    A longtime champion of firefighters and first responders, Weldon has a particular interest in this subject because he has been openly and actively pushing since 1999 for the establishment of an integrated government-wide center that could consolidate, analyze and act upon intelligence gathered by dozens of U.S. agencies, armed services and departments.

    Weldon’s proposal was based on the innovative intelligence gathering capabilities he had witnessed at the U.S. Army’s Information Dominance Center, based at Fort Belvoir, VA, (which was formerly known as the Land Information Warfare Assessment Center.) This Army center had employed data mining, profiling and data collaboration techniques before several other intelligence agencies, and was using such cutting edge software tools as Starlight (developed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) and Spires.

    For years, the CIA resisted the congressman’s recommendation, Weldon told GSN in a telephone interview on August 1, claiming that his plan to integrate dozens of discrete and classified intelligence streams was both unworkable and unnecessary. Weldon had dubbed his proposed organization the National Operations and Analysis Hub, nicknamed NOAH, because the center was intended “to protect our nation from the flood of threats,” he explained.

    Sixteen months after 9/11, such a “data fusion center,” named the Terrorism Threat Integration Center (TTIC) was indeed established by the Bush Administration.

    At the urging of the 9/11 Commission, the TTIC has since been restructured and renamed the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC).

    Weldon is pleased that steps have been taken to unify the nation’s intelligence gathering and analysis capabilities, now headed by a newly established Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Negroponte, but Weldon remains concerned that the “stovepipe” mentalities that plagued the intelligence community in the past continue to inhibit true information sharing between intelligence agencies.

    He is also extremely frustrated by the fact that so little official attention seems to have been paid to the intelligence failure related to the Mohammed Atta cell in Brooklyn. Weldon contends that few in the Bush Administration seem interested in investigating that missed opportunity.

    “If we had had that [military intelligence] system in 1999 and 2000, which the military had already developed as a prototype, and if we had followed the lead of the military entity that identified the Al Qaeda cell of Mohammed Atta, then perhaps, Mr. Speaker, 9/11 would never have occurred,” Weldon said during his special order remarks.

    According to Weldon, staff members of the 9/11 Commission were briefed on the capabilities of the Able Danger intelligence unit within the Special Operations Command, which had been set up by General Pete Schoomaker, who headed Special Ops at the time, on the orders of General Hugh Shelton, then the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. Staffers at the 9/11 Commission staffers were also told about the specific recommendation to break up the Mohammed Atta cell. However, those commission staff members apparently did not choose to brief the commission’s members on these sensitive matters.

    Weldon said he was told specifically by commission members, Tim Roemer, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana; and John Lehman, a former secretary of the Navy; that they had never been briefed on the Able Danger unit within Special Ops or on the unit’s evidence of a terrorist cell in Brooklyn.

    “I personally talked with [Philip] Zelikow [executive director of the 9/11 Commission] about this,” recalled the intelligence officer. “For whatever bizarre reasons, he didn’t pass on the information.”

    The State Department, where Zelikow now works as a counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said he was traveling and unavailable for comment.

    “Why did the 9/11 Commission not investigate this entire situation?” asked Weldon on June 27. “Why did the 9/11 Commission not ask the question about the military’s recommendation against the Mohammed Atta cell?”

    Weldon is also disappointed with himself for not pushing harder against the intelligence bureaucracy that he saw as resisting his proposal to set up a more integrated intelligence-gathering operation. But he saves some of his greatest ire for the lawyers within the Department of Defense -- he is not sure if they were working within the Special Operations Command or higher up the organizational chart, within the Office of the Secretary of Defense -- for their unwillingness to allow Able Danger to send to the FBI its evidence and its recommendation for immediate action.

    “Obviously, if we had taken out that cell, 9/11 would not have occurred and, certainly, taking out those three principal players in that cell would have severely crippled, if not totally stopped, the operation that killed 3,000 people in America,” said Weldon.

    Shining a spotlight on this intelligence gaffe has not been easy. Russ Caso, Weldon’s chief of staff, explained to GSN the steps his boss has taken to shed light on the situation.

    Weldon spoke with Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, about conversations he has had with several members of the Able Danger intelligence unit. Weldon has urged Hoekstra to investigate the reasons why Able Danger’s revelations were not shared with the FBI. Hoekstra looked into the matter at the Pentagon, but after several days of fruitless inquiries, was unable to find anyone at the Defense Department who seemed to know anything about Able Danger or would acknowledge the intelligence unit had ever existed, explained Caso in a telephone interview with GSN.

    Unwilling to let the matter drop, Weldon arranged for a face-to-face meeting in late July between Hoekstra, himself and the former intelligence officer who had worked with Able Danger, and who outlined his former unit’s evidence and recommendations for Hoekstra.

    “Congressman Weldon has met with several people who were working on Able Danger to identify where Al Qaeda was set up around the world,” said Caso. “They made the suggestion that this information be passed to the FBI, and lawyers within the Defense Department -- whether within Special Ops or within OSD, we don’t know -- and the lawyers said, ‘No’.”

    A report about some of these events appeared last June 19 in The Times Herald newspaper, of Norristown, PA, which is located in the Philadelphia suburbs that Rep. Weldon represents in Congress.

  • Fitting the Pieces Together--Able Danger, Jamie Gorelick & 9/11

    08/09/2005 8:43:15 PM PDT · 1 of 68
    Bronc1
    Able Danger, Gorelick and 9-11 Searching around the web and reading some comments posted here it is clear some people have somehow been quite easily diverted by some simple diversionary tactics. In a response to a comment on my first post on this subject, it was quite simple to dismiss the completely ridiculous rationalization from this Slate article, which tried to compare acts of speculation with acts of record.

    Slate attempts top dismiss the fact that a US intelligence group ID’d Atta and 3 other 9-11 terrorists in 2000 by comparing it to speculation by Rep Weldon on the where-abouts of Bin Laden. We do not know where Bin Laden is and ’sources’ can be questioned, that is obvious.

    But we also do know who attacked us on 9-11. We do know that Able Danger made their report about four of the attackers in 2000. We do know the report was submitted and the request for action was denied. We do know the Gorelick policy ‘wall’ was in effect at the time. We do know Clinton was President and Dick Clark was terrorism guru. We do know 9-11 commission staffers were briefed on these events and 9-11 commissioners were not.

    These are facts of record - not speculation. So unless someone wants to prove the record is wrong I find the Slate excuses irrelevant - to say the least.

    But let’s establish a time line here.

    First off, from Capt Ed we know the Gorelick ‘wall’ was imposed prior to 1999 - so it was in effect when these events transpired.

    From the NYTimes we see that Able Danger was set up in 1999

    He said the team had been established by the Special Operations Command in 1999, under a classified directive issued by Gen. Hugh Shelton, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to assemble information about Al Qaeda networks around the world.

    At this same time the Clinton administration (and its NSC) was circulating a plan to disrupt Al Qaeda operations, as we see from a timely NRO article by Mark Levin. This is Levin’s quote from AG Ashscroft when first lowered the boom on Gorelick and Clark

    [T]he Commission should study carefully the National Security Council plan to disrupt the al Qaeda network in the U.S. that our government failed to implement fully seventeen months before September 11. … In March 2000, the review warns the prior Administration of a substantial al Qaeda network and affiliated foreign terrorist presence within the U.S., capable of supporting additional terrorist attacks here.

    Furthermore, fully seventeen months before the September 11 attacks, the review recommends disrupting the al Qaeda network and terrorist presence here using immigration violations, minor criminal infractions, and tougher visa and border controls.

    Does anyone think with this kind of security alert in place in March the notice of an AQ cell in NY would be ignored in September?

    But first let’s bring in the Sandy Berger angle just to establish it within this overall timeline. According to the Washington Post and Dick Clark (yes, I know he prefers Richard Clark) we have this timeline for the memo’s Burger burglared:

    The missing copies, according to Breuer and their author, Richard A. Clarke, the counterterrorism chief in the Clinton administration and early in President Bush’s administration, were versions of after-action reports recommending changes following threats of terrorism as 1999 turned to 2000. Clarke said he prepared about two dozen ideas for countering terrorist threats. The recommendations were circulated among Cabinet agencies, and various versions of the memo contained additions and refinements, Clarke said last night.

    So these reports Burger destroyed were originally developed in the spring of 2000 at the latest. The problem is they could have been worked on for months and months, and reviewed for up to 6 months easily. So they could still be in circulation when Able Danger made its report. And this is reasonable given this other Washington Post article:

    The document, written by former National Security Council terrorism expert Richard A. Clarke, was an “after-action review” prepared in early 2000 detailing the administration’s actions to thwart terrorist attacks during the millennium celebration. It contained considerable discussion about the administration’s awareness of the rising threat of attacks on U.S. soil.

    You will recall from above that the administration was working the Al Qaeda threat from March 2000 onward - so it is not inconceivable the memo evolved throughout this period and commenting continued into the time of the Able Danger report.

    From this source, we find out when the detection of the ‘Brooklyn Cell’ transpired and when the report was made.

    In September 2000, one year before the Al Qaeda attacks of 9/11, a U.S. Army military intelligence program, known as “Able Danger,” identified a terrorist cell based in Brooklyn, NY, one of whose members was 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta, and recommended to their military superiors that the FBI be called in to “take out that cell,”…

    The NYTimes has it slightly differently

    In the summer of 2000, the military team, known as Able Danger, prepared a chart that included visa photographs of the four men and recommended to the military’s Special Operations Command that the information be shared with the Federal Bureau of Investigation…

    …”Ultimately, Able Danger was going to give decision makers options for taking out Al Qaeda targets,” the former defense intelligence official said.

    He said that he delivered the chart in summer 2000 to the Special Operations Command headquarters in Tampa, Fla., and said that it had been based on information from unclassified sources and government records, including those of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

    Which puts the Able Danger Report right on top of these other events.

    What is missing is when did the DoD lawyers make the determination to drop Atta and his 3 compatriots, and who in the administration was involved in that decision.

    Interestingly enough, around 6 months or so after their report on Atta the group was disbanded in Clinton’s last federal budget year

    A small group of intelligence employees ran “Able Danger” from the fall of 1999 until February 2001 - just seven months before the terrorist attacks - when the operation was axed.

    I think we need to know when the Able Danger report was made and when the decision came down to let Atta go. We need to understand how far up the report went (which would seem pretty high given the Clinton administrations focus on AQ in country) and who participated in the decision to back off Atta.

    And all the personal smears against Weldon are a diversion. One has to wonder why they are necessary, but here is Weldon’s floor speech to the House and some interesting snippets

    Two weeks after 9/11, my friends from the Army’s Information Dominance Center in cooperation with special ops brought me a chart.

    This chart, Mr. Speaker, this chart. Two weeks after 9/11, I took the basic information in this chart down to the White House. I had asked for a meeting with Steve Hadley, who at that time was Deputy National Security Advisor. The chart was smaller. It was 2 feet by 3 feet, but the same information was in the center.

    Steve Hadley looked at the chart and said, Congressman, where did you get that chart from? I said, I got it from the military. I said, This is the process; this is the result of the process that I was pitching since 1999 to our government to implement, but the CIA kept saying we do not need it.

    Steve Hadley said, Congressman, I am going to take this chart, and I am going to show it to the man. The man that he meant, Mr. Speaker, was the President of the United States. I said, Mr. Hadley, you mean you have not seen something like this before from the CIA, this chart of al Qaeda worldwide and in the U.S.? And he said, No, Congressman. So I gave him the chart.

    Now, Mr. Speaker, what is interesting in this chart of al Qaeda, and you cannot see this from a distance, but right here in the center is the name of the leader of the New York cell. And that name is very familiar to the people of America. That name is Mohammed Atta, the leader of the 9/11 attack against us. So prior to 9/11, this military system that the CIA said we did not need and could not do actually gave us the information that identified Mohammed Atta’s cell in New York. And with Mohammed Atta they identified two of the other terrorists with them.

    But I learned something new, Mr. Speaker, over the past several weeks and months. I have talked to some of the military intelligence officers who produced this document, who worked on this effort. And I found something out very startling, Mr. Speaker. Not only did our military identify the Mohammed Atta cell; our military made a recommendation in September of 2000 to bring the FBI in to take out that cell, the cell of Mohammed Atta. So now, Mr. Speaker, for the first time I can tell our colleagues that one of our agencies not only identified the New York cell of Mohammed Atta and two of the terrorists, but actually made a recommendation to bring the FBI in to take out that cell. And they made that recommendation because Madeleine Albright had declared that al Qaeda, an international terrorist organization, and the military units involved here felt they had jurisdiction to go to the FBI.

    Why, then, did they not proceed? That is a question that needs to be answered, Mr. Speaker. I have to ask, Mr. Speaker, with all the good work that the 9/11 Commission did, why is there nothing in their report about able danger? Why is there no mention of the work that able danger did against al Qaeda? Why is there no mention, Mr. Speaker, of a recommendation in September of 2000 to take out Mohammed Atta’s cell which would have detained three of the terrorists who struck us?

    I want these questions answered too - and without diversionary static from apologists.

    And I am by no means calling the MinuteMan an apologist - but he does have a good opposing case to make here.

    Posted by AJStrata on Tuesday, August 9th, 2005 at 4:40 pm.

  • AFL-CIO honors Mikhail Volynets & the Ukraine labor movement at Las Vegas Convention

    03/07/2005 12:50:30 PM PST · 1 of 2
    Bronc1
  • Now Ann Veneman out also

    11/15/2004 6:14:39 PM PST · 70 of 71
    Bronc1 to PhiKapMom

    Don Nickles would be an excellent choice for Secretary of Agriculture. If I remember correctly, his family operated a farm equipment company in Oklahoma. That makes for a good combination: Small Businessman + Active Involvement in Agriculture + Conservative + Favorite Son of Red State.

  • Now Ann Veneman out also

    11/15/2004 6:12:08 PM PST · 69 of 71
    Bronc1 to PhiKapMom

    Don Nickles would be an excellent choice for Secretary of Agriculture. If I remember correctly, his family operated a farm equipment company in Oklahoma. That makes for a good combination: Small Businessman + Active Involvement in Agriculture + Conservative + Favorite Son of Red State.

  • Organized Labor in a Tailspin-- Next Step, Congress Repeals Davis-Bacon Act

    11/09/2004 5:31:07 PM PST · 1 of 10
    Bronc1
  • Democratic Sex Scandal Brewing? (John Batchelor)

    10/27/2004 8:41:56 PM PDT · 106 of 131
    Bronc1 to TFine80

    Could it be Stephanie Cutter, Kerry's current Communications Director AND Bill Clinton who employed Ms. Cutter as the Deputy Communications Director at the White House? If I remember correctly, they were rumored to have been quite close.

  • Why Are Military Absentee Ballots Delayed or Missing?... Ask AFL-CIO's Anti-War Postal Unions

    10/27/2004 8:22:43 PM PDT · 1 of 24
    Bronc1
    LABOR AND THE WAR — September 10, 2004

    Three More Major Unions Oppose U.S. War and Occupation in Iraq

    The growing antiwar movement within the AFL-CIO took another leap forward in the past two weeks when three major unions passed strong resolutions at their recent conventions, opposing the U.S. war in Iraq and calling for an end to the American occupation. They are Communications Workers of America (650,000 members), American Postal Workers Union (270,000) and Mail Handlers of the Laborers' International Union (50,000).

    They join the Service Employees International Union (1,6 million) American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (1.2 million) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Workers (60,000), who have also denounced President Bush for his pre-emptive invasion of Iraq and declared they support our troops and want them to be brought home safely, NOW.

    In addition, the anti-war movement within the AFL-CIO includes the huge California, Washington State and Maryland/DC federations, which together account for more than 3 million union members. In the past year, dozens of labor councils, regional labor bodies and local unions have taken similar action.

    Also in the last few weeks, all of the AFL-CIO's allied organizations have condemned the war in Iraq and called for the immediate return home of U.S. soldiers. They include the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, the Coalition of Labor Union and Pride at Work.

    The driving force in building and guiding the anti-war movement is U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW). Its Web site is www.uslaboragainst war.org.

    The CWA resolution won the near-unanimous approval of the 1,400 convention delegates on Aug. 31, with more than 50 of them lined up to speak in favor of an amended version, a key paragraph which read: "CWA demands that the President abandon his failed policy (of preventive war) which has made our nation less — not more — secure, and support our troops and their families by bringing our troops home safely now, by providing adequate veterans' benefits and promoting domestic policies that prioritize the needs of working people who make up the bulk of the military."

    After sharply criticizing President Bush for the invasion of Iraq and his post-war policies, delegates at the APWU convention on Aug. 23-27 approved a resolution that stated: "Resolved, the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO calls for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the implementation of a plan to turn over sovereignty to the people of Iraq as soon as possible, and the return of U.S. troops to their homes and families."

    At the National Postal Mail Handlers convention, held Aug. 22-29 in Boston, an anti-war resolution was approved by the delegates, despite its rejection by the Resolutions Committee. A caucus of delegates worked out an amended version based on an article in The New York Times that swayed the delegates to favor the resolution.

    What was unusual about the delegates is that more than 40% of them were veterans. The reason for the disproportionate number of union veterans is due in large part to the hiring preferences given to veterans and disabled soldiers by the U.S. Postal Service.

    At one point, the names of hundreds of union members currently serving in Iraq were scrolled across the huge movie screen in use at the convention. The amended resolution reads:

    "While the National Postal Mail Handlers Union offers its full support for the American troops currently serving in Iraq, the NPMHU also calls for a rapid end to the war and occupation of Iraq. The war and occupation were undertaken based on false claims of the anti-worker Bush administration and have resulted in the death of over 900 American troops and over 10,000 Iraqi civilians. The war and occupation have caused U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars which could be redirected to pay for badly needed social needs, such as jobs, education, housing, and health."

    Since the conclusion of the three union conventions, the number of American soldiers killed in Iraq has passed the 1,000 mark and, as of today, stands at 1,005.

    Our weekly "LaborTalk" and "Labor and the War" columns can be viewed at our Web site www.laboreducator.org. Union members who seek information about the AFL-CIO rank-and-file reform movement should visit www.rankandfileaflcio.org.

  • Is Lacy Peterson lawyer Michael Cardoza the same guy that met with Vince Foster?

    10/19/2004 8:18:28 PM PDT · 5 of 14
    Bronc1 to Honestfreedom

    The "Michael Cardoza" I am asking about had a home in Maryland and met with Vince Foster and Webb Hubbell shortly before Foster's death. Cardoza was the son-in-law of another powerful Democratic power broker lawyer by the name of "Nathan Landau." Is the California-based Landau the same Landau that had a home in Maryland?