He was referring to the case of the five Israelis who were witnessed on 9/11 celebrating beside their white van at the sight of the smoking towers from a parking lot in New Jersey. They were later arrested and detained. Upon arrest, the driver of the van told the arresting officers, “We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.”
The van was registered to an Israeli-owned company called Urban Moving Systems, whose owner immediately closed shop and fled to Israel. At least two of the five Israelis witnessed videotaping and celebrating the attacks were learned to be operatives of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency.
In other reporting that may or may not have been related to the five Israelis with the white van, it became known publicly that an enormous Israeli spy ring had been uncovered operating within the United States.
Reports of investigations into Israeli spying within the U.S. had emerged early in 2001. After 9/11, Fox News reported that according to investigators the Israeli intelligence operatives of a large spy ring may have gathered information in advance about the attacks of 9/11, but that the evidence for this was classified.
As part of the operation, Israelis posed as art students. Under the guise of selling art, they targeted government officials at their offices or homes, including members of the military, the DEA, the FBI, and other law enforcement and intelligence personnel.
One group of the Israeli “art students” lived at 4220 Sheridan St. in Hollywood, Florida, just down the street from the 3389 address where Mohammed Atta and three of the other 9/11 hijackers lived.
In addition, almost all the call records and billing for U.S. phone companies is handled by an Israeli-based private communications company called Amdocs Ltd. The NSA had warned other U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies about the potential security breaches that this situation might make possible.
There was some evidence that wiretaps were indeed being compromised. Law enforcement officials observed that suspects under surveillance suspiciously changed their behavior after wiretaps began, according to officials who spoke to Fox News.
It’s known that the DEA had also been investigating Israeli organized crime involved the multi-billion dollar ecstasy trade.
The FBI had also been investigating Amdocs and there were fears that even the telephone lines in the White House, which were installed by Bell Atlantic and Amdocs in 1997, might have been compromised.
According to a leaked DEA report from that agency’s investigation into the Israeli spy ring, one of the “art students” who was arrested was held on a $10,000 bond that was placed by an Israeli man named Ophir Baer who was in the U.S. under employment by Amdocs.
Another Israeli company, Comverse Infosys, was responsible for providing wiretapping for U.S. law enforcement. But, again, there was a fear among U.S. agencies that the wiretaps themselves could be intercepted by unauthorized parties through a back door in the Comverse system. Adding to these fears was the fact that Comverse was reimbursed for up to half of its research and development costs by the Israeli Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Comverse was partnered with an Israeli messaging service company called Odigo. The Israeli paper Haaretz reported that workers at Odigo, which had offices near the World Trade Center, had received warnings on the morning of September 11 of an impending attack. The Washington Post confirmed that two employees of Odigo had “received text messages warning of an attack on the World Trade Center two hours before terrorists crashed planes into the New York landmarks.”
There is no direct evidence that the Israeli government or any Israeli nationals were involved in 9/11. In fact, Mossad had reportedly warned the U.S. intelligence community of an impending attack, including the potential that it might come in the form of hijackings. The possibility remains that Israeli intelligence came across the information leading to its warnings to the U.S. during the course of the extensive operation that was broken up in 2001.
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There have also been several other incidents possibly related to the apparent insider trading before 9/11. In one case, a German firm, Convar, was hired to attempt to retrieve data from the hard drives of computers destroyed as a result of the attacks on the World Trade Center. In doing so, it was discovered that there had been transactions of unusually large sums of money through some systems in the WTC, leading to the suspicion that someone with insider knowledge had illegally transferred as much as $100 million through the system as the attacks unfolded.
In May 2002, the FBI raided the home of Amr Ibrahim Elgindy, who was held on charges of racketeering, extortion, and obstruction of justice. He was later convicted. According to the indictment, Elgindy had led a ring of traders that included two FBI agents, Jeffrey A. Royer and Lynn Wingate, who used their access to confidential databases to give Elgindy inside information about publicly traded companies. The prosecutor in his case said there were indications he might have had foreknowledge of the attacks, since he had predicted a huge drop in the market and ordered the sale of $300,000 worth of stock in his children’s trust fund on September 10.
The compelling evidence of insider foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks has been largely dismissed. This is perhaps most evident by the conclusions of the 9/11 Commission report itself, which also stated that there was no evidence of any involvement by any foreign government or government official and that the question of who financed the attacks is “of little practical significance”, despite reports that Mahmud Ahmed, the head of Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence agency, or ISI, had been responsible for authorizing the transfer of $100,000 to hijacker Mohammed Atta. This information was received by the Commission.
Bob Graham, who co-chaired the 9/11 Joint Inquiry with Porter Goss, has also said there is evidence of the involvement of a foreign government. The 9/11 Commission made no attempt to explain or reconcile the disparity between its conclusions and those of Graham or the reports of the ISI chief’s involvement.
In another strange twist, Graham and Goss were having breakfast in Washington with General Ahmed on the morning of September 11 as the planes struck the towers. Ahmed was in Washington visiting his counterpart at the CIA, George Tenet, as well as a number of other high-level officials. Both Graham and Goss had also travelled to Pakistan where they met with the ISI chief just a couple weeks before Ahmed’s reciprocal visit.
Goss was later appointed Director of Central Intelligence.