December 13, 2013
The NSA’s main justification for Constitution-shredding mass surveillance on all Americans is 9/11.
- * Top security experts say that mass spying interferes with U.S. counter-terror efforts (more here and here)
- * American presidents agree
- * The chairs of the 9/11 Commission say that the spying has gone way too far (and that the Director of National Intelligence should be prosecuted for lying about the spying program)
- * Top officials say that the claim that the government could only have stopped the attacks if it had been able to spy on Americans is wholly false
- * The NSA was already conducting mass surveillance prior to 9/11
But we want to focus on another angle: the unspoken assumption by the NSA that we need mass surveillance because “lone wolf” terrorists don’t leave as many red flags as governments, so the NSA has to spy on everyone to find the needle in the haystack.
But this is nonsense. The 9/11 hijackers were not lone wolves.
The former Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, outside adviser to the CIA, and Co-Chair of the congressional investigation into 9/11 – Bob Graham – says:
I have personally talked to the other cochair of the Congressional Joint Inquiry, a man who was a very distinguished congressman and, later, director of the CIA [Porter Goss], I have talked to the two chairs of the … 9/11 Commission, asking them, what do you think were the prospects of these 19 people being able to plan, practice, and execute the complicated plot that was 9/11 without any external support?
All three of them used almost the same word: “Implausible”. That it is implausible that that could have been the case.
Yet that has now become the conventional wisdom to the aggressive exclusion of other alternatives.
Indeed, Graham – unlike with 9/11 Commissioner and former Senator Bob Kerrey – said in sworn declarations that the Saudi is linked to the 9/11 attacks. They’re calling for either a “permanent 9/11 commission” or a new 9/11 investigation to get to the bottom of it.
An FBI report implicates the Saudi government.
If this sounds implausible, remember that Saudi Prince Bandar – head of Saudi intelligence – helped to arm the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan, and is now arming Al Qaeda in Syria. (Background). Respected financial writer Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says that Prince Bandar admitted that Saudi Arabia carries out false flag terror.
Indeed, the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 found that the Saudi government supported the 9/11 attacks, but the Bush administration classified the 28 pages of the report which discussed the Saudis.
Bipartisan Bill to Publicly Release Report on Saudi Involvement In 9/11
A bipartisan bill – introduced by congressmen Walter B. Jones (Republican from North Carolina) and Stephen Lynch (Democrat from Massachusetts) would declassify the 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry which implicate the Saudi government.
Some assume that passage of the bill is assured …
But both the Bush and Obama administrations have fought to keep Saudi involvement under wraps for more than 10 years.
Remember, the U.S. government allowed members of Bin Laden’s family – and other suspicious Saudis – hop on airplanes and leave the country right after 9/11 without even interviewing them, even though air traffic was grounded for everyone else.
Additionally, a Saudi FBI informant hosted and rented a room to Mihdhar and another 9/11 hijacker in 2000.
Investigators for the Congressional Joint Inquiry discovered that an FBI informant had hosted and even rented a room to two hijackers in 2000 and that, when the Inquiry sought to interview the informant, the FBI refused outright, and then hid him in an unknown location, and that a high-level FBI official stated these blocking maneuvers were undertaken under orders from the White House.
As the New York Times notes:
Senator Bob Graham, the Florida Democrat who is a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused the White House on Tuesday of covering up evidence ….The accusation stems from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s refusal to allow investigators for a Congressional inquiry and the independent Sept. 11 commission to interview an informant, Abdussattar Shaikh, who had been the landlord in San Diego of two Sept. 11 hijackers.
In his book “Intelligence Matters,” Mr. Graham, the co-chairman of the Congressional inquiry with Representative Porter J. Goss, Republican of Florida, said an F.B.I. official wrote them in November 2002 and said “the administration would not sanction a staff interview with the source.” On Tuesday, Mr. Graham called the letter “a smoking gun” and said, “The reason for this cover-up goes right to the White House.”
The government obstructed the 9/11 Commission in every way possible. During both the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 and the 9/11 Commission investigation, government “minders” intimidated witnesses and obstructed the investigation.
Obama has been no better. Obama’s Department of Justice filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that the lawsuit brought by the families of victims killed in the 9/11 attacks against Saudi Arabia should be thrown out of court (it was).
And Graham said that he’s lobbied Obama for years to release the 28 pages and to reopen the investigation, but Obama has refused. The former Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and 9/11 investigator has even resorted to filing Freedom of Information requests to obtain information, but the Obama administration is still stonewalling:
Graham said that like the 28 pages in the 9/11 inquiry, the Sarasota case is being “covered up” by U.S. intelligence. Graham has been fighting to get the FBI to release the details of this investigation with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and litigation. But so far the bureau has stalled and stonewalled, he said.
Still Urgent Today
Ancient history, you say?
Although it’s been more than a decade ago when this horrific event occurred, I think [the questions of who supported the attacks] have real consequences to U.S. actions today.
For example, the U.S. might not want to support – let alone launch joint military adventure alongside – a regime which supported the 9/11 hijackers.
As Graham told told PBS last year:
[Question]: Senator Graham, are there elements in this report, which are classified that Americans should know about but can’t?
SEN. BOB GRAHAM: Yes … I was surprised at the evidence that there were foreign governments involved in facilitating the activities of at least some of the terrorists in the United States.
I am stunned that we have not done a better job of pursuing that to determine if other terrorists received similar support and, even more important, if the infrastructure of a foreign government assisting terrorists still exists for the current generation of terrorists who are here planning the next plots.
To me that is an extremely significant issue and most of that information is classified, I think overly-classified. I believe the American people should know the extent of the challenge that we face in terms of foreign government involvement. That would motivate the government to take action.
[Question]: Are you suggesting that you are convinced that there was a state sponsor behind 9/11?
SEN. BOB GRAHAM: I think there is very compelling evidence that at least some of the terrorists were assisted not just in financing — although that was part of it — by a sovereign foreign government and that we have been derelict in our duty to track that down, make the further case, or find the evidence that would indicate that that is not true and we can look for other reasons why the terrorists were able to function so effectively in the United States.
[Question]: Do you think that will ever become public, which countries you’re talking about?
SEN. BOB GRAHAM: It will become public at some point when it’s turned over to the archives, but that’s 20 or 30 years from now. And, we need to have this information now because it’s relevant to the threat that the people of the United Statesare facing today.
And – most importantly – if the entire mass spying program is based on the “lone wolf” theory of 9/11, it is unnecessary and counterproductive.
Postscript: Ironically, the U.S. government has in the past alleged state sponsorship of 9/11 when it suited its purposes. Specifically, people may not remember now, but – at the time – the supposed Iraqi state sponsorship of 9/11 was at least as important a justification for the Iraq war as the alleged weapons of mass destruction. This claim that Iraq is linked to 9/11 has since been debunked by the 9/11 Commission, top government officials, and even – long after they alleged such a link – Bush and Cheney themselves. But 70% of the American public believed it at the time, and 85% of U.S. troops believed the U.S. mission in Iraq was “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9-11 attacks.”