Hearings about the intelligence failure began on
Capitol Hill several months after 9/11. A Congressional
Committee was formed to investigate just what happened
and why. The focus was to be on what U.S. intelligence
agencies knew - or should have known - prior to
The much anticipated 800 page report was released
in the summer of 2003. (go to the web
site for the report)
THE MISSING PAGES
Most of the attention has been focused on 28 pages
that have been ordered classified and blacked-out
to the public.
People familiar with the missing
pages claim that they deal with the Saudi government's
relationship with the 9/11 hijackers.
Hill could not confirm what is in the 'missing'
section of the report.
In an interview with the fifth estate,
Eleanor Hill, chief investigator for the Committee,
would only confirm that those files dealt with sources
of foreign support for the hijackers.
"Because they're classified I can't tell you
what's in those pages. I can tell you that the chapter
deals with some information that our committee found
in the FBI and CIA files that was very disturbing.
It had to do with sources of foreign support for
This summer, U.S. Senators held a hearing on the
financial support of terrorism.
The Bush Administration had refused to place Saudi
several charities and individuals on the terror
watch list. The senators asked the U.S. government
to release the names of Saudi charities and individuals
who were being investigated for funding Al-Qaeda.
By the next day, the names were classified by the
Bush Adminstration and could not be made public.
But other sections of the Congressional Report reveal
more about what the Bush administration would prefer
the public didn't know about 9/11.
THE AL-BAYOUMI CONNECTION
According to the report one of the FBI's best sources
in San Diego suggested that Omar Al-Bayoumi, a Saudi
government employee based there, helped and assisted
two of the hijackers, Khalid Almidhar and Nawaf
Al-Hasmi. They were among the first of the 19 hijackers
to enter the U.S.
Bayoumi put them up in an apartment, held a party
for them, enrolled them in flight school and gave
The report also details how much
report talks about the
two 9/11 hijackers
that the U.S. government should have captured.
knew about these two hijackers well before September
11th. They'd been under surveillance at a high-level
Al Qaeda meeting abroad where U.S. agents suspected
future terror attacks were being planned. (see more
The CIA knew their names, birth dates, passport numbers
– even that Khalid Almihdhar had a visa to enter
the United States, which indicated they'd likely
be traveling to the U.S.
But despite it all, the CIA
neglected to warn Washington about them. So Almihdhar
and al-Hasmi were not only able to enter the U.S.
with no problem – but they also could renew
their U.S. visas and stay in the country legally.
They were finally put on a watch
list in August 2001, but only three weeks later
they participated in the destruction of the World
The report also outlines that prior to 9/11, the
CIA and FBI were well aware that the idea of using
planes as a weapon was being contemplated by al
Qaeda. As early as 1995, when the "Bojinka
plot" was uncovered in the Philippines it
was discovered al Qaeda was planning to hijack airliners
and crash them into important US sites like the
CIA headquarters. (more on this below)
report proves that several U.S. intelligence
agencies had adequate warning of terrorist
On July 10/01, Kenneth Williams, an
agent in a field office in Phoenix, AZ, sent an
e-mail memo FBI offices in Washington and New York.
The memo raised concerns about Osama bin Laden sending
students to train at civil aircraft training schools
and universities. (see
the memo online)
The memo said Williams had observed an inordinate
amount of activity of individuals taking such courses
in Arizona. "These individuals will be in
a position in the future to conduct terror activity
against civil aviation targets," writes the
One of the people named in the memo was later to
be discovered as an associate of Hani Hanjour, pilot
of Flight 77, the plane that hit the Pentagon on
9/11. FBI showed that on five occasions this individual
and Hanjour were at the flight school on the same
day and they might have carpooled together. In 1999,
logs showed they used the same plane together.
Another individual mentioned in the Phoenix memo
is also connected to the al Qaeda network. He was
apparently arrested in Pakistan at a safe house
in 2002. The names of both of these people were
deleted from the report.
The FBI personnel failed to act.
BEHIND THE ATTACK
Also known as "Mukhtar" (The Brain),
Khalid Shaykh Mohammad (KSM) was the mastermind
behind the 9/11 attack.
He first comes to the attention of the U.S. intelligence
community in early 1995 when he is linked to Ramzi
Yousef's "Bojinka Plot" in the
Philippines. (Yousef was responsible for carrying
out the World Trade Center bombing in 1993) The
Philippine police discover Yousef's bomb-making
factory and his plan was to kill the Pope, bomb
the U.S. and Israeli embassies in Manila, blow up
12 U.S. airliners over the Pacific Ocean, and crash
a plane into CIA headquarters.
In 1995, investigations connect KSM to the first
WTC bombing. Federal prosecutors gave CIA a copy
of a wire transaction for $660 (US) between Qatar
and the U.S., dated several days before the blast,
sent by KSM.
In January of 2000, KSM attended the high-level
meeting al Qaeda in Malaysia to plot a number of
terrorist attacks. He is photographed and videotaped
there by the Malaysian secret police, who pass the
photos and video onto the CIA.
KSM begins to travel to and from the U.S. In June
2001, a U.S. intelligence operative disseminates
a report to all intelligence agencies, military
commanders and the Treasury and Justice department
saying that KSM was recruiting people to travel
from Afghanistan to the U.S., and that these persons
would be "expected to establish contacts with
colleagues already living there". The report
says KSM was traveling to the States as late as
May of 2001.
Both the CIA and FBI received this report but it
was ignored and not seen as entirely credible.