Mideastweb: Middle East

The 9-11 Commission Report
Notes to Chapter 10-13

Released July 26,  2004

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10 Wartime

1. All times are Eastern Daylight Time. Sometime around 10:30, after the decision had already been made not to return to Washington, a reported threat to “Angel”--the code word for Air Force One--was widely disseminated in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) and aboard Air Force One. Notes from the morning indicate that Vice President Cheney informed President Bush in a phone conversation shortly after 10:30 that an anonymous threat had been phoned into the White House that was viewed as credible. At about the same time, news of the threat was conveyed on the air threat conference call. The Secret Service’s Intelligence Division tracked down the origin of this threat and, during the day, determined that it had originated in a misunderstanding by a watch officer in the White House Situation Room. The director of the White House Situation Room that day disputes this account. But the Intelligence Division had the primary job of running down the story, and we found their witnesses on this point to be credible. During the afternoon of September 11 the leadership of the Secret Service was satisfied that the reported threat to “Angel” was unfounded. At the White House press briefing on September 12, spokesperson Ari Fleischer described the threat to Air Force One as “real and credible. ”White House transcript, Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer, Sept. 12, 2001 (online at www. whitehouse. gov/news/releases/2001/09/print/20010912-8. html). Fleischer told us he cited the information in good faith. Indeed, Fleischer had conferred withVice President Cheney and Karen Hughes before the briefing, and they had decided to let people know about the threat, all of them believing it was true. According to Fleischer, only weeks later did he learn--from press reports--that the threat was unfounded. We have not found any evidence that contradicts his account. Ari Fleischer interview (Apr. 22, 2004);Chuck Green interview (Mar. 10, 2004); Deborah Loewer meeting (Feb. 6, 2004); Ralph Sigler meeting (May 10, 2004); Andrew Card meeting (Mar. 31, 2004); Edward Marinzel interview (Apr. 21, 2004); Secret Service briefing (Jan. 29, 2004).

2. Edward Marinzel interview (Apr. 21, 2004); USSS memo, interview with Edward Marinzel, Oct. 3, 2001; President Bush and Vice President Cheney meeting (Apr. 29, 2004);Ari Fleischer interview (Apr. 22, 2004);Deborah Loewer meeting (Feb. 6, 2004);White House record, PEOC Watch Log, Sept. 11, 2001.

3. Commission analysis of Air Force One radar data; Edward Marinzel interview (Apr. 21, 2004); USSS memo, interview with Edward Marinzel, Oct. 3, 2001; Deborah Loewer meeting (Feb. 6, 2004).

4. White House record, Situation Room Communications Log, Sept. 11, 2001.

5. White House transcript, Rice interview with Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, Oct. 24, 2001, p. 367. In the interview, Rice also said the President characterized the war as “global in nature. ” Ibid.

6. See White House transcript, Rice interview with Scott Pelley of CBS, Aug. 2, 2002, p. 408; but see Rice’s statement to Bob Woodward:“In the first video conference, the assumption that everybody kind of shared was that it was global terrorists. . . . I don’t believe anybody said this is likely al Qaeda. I don’t think so. ” White House transcript, Rice interview with Bob Woodward, Oct. 24, 2001, p. 367.

7. NSC memo, Summary of Conclusions of Deputies Committee Meeting (held by secure teleconference), Sept. 11, 2001.

8. The Secretary’s decision was broadcast on the air threat conference call at 10:43. A minute later, Secretary Rumsfeld spoke to the Vice President, and he asked Rumsfeld to run the issue by the President. At 10:45 conferees were told to “hold off ” on Defcon 3, but a minute later the order was reinstated. Rumsfeld believed the matter was urgent and, having consulted DOD directives, concluded he had the authority to issue the order and would brief the President. Rumsfeld briefed the President on the decision at 11:15. See DOD transcript, Air Threat Conference Call, Sept. 11, 2001; Stephen Cambone interviews (July 8, 2004; July 12, 2004); DOD notes, Stephen Cambone notes, Sept. 11, 2001.


9. The 9/11 crisis tested the U. S. government’s plans and capabilities to ensure the continuity of constitutional government and the continuity of government operations. We did not investigate this topic, except as needed in order to understand the activities and communications of key officials on 9/11. The Chair, Vice Chair, and senior staff were briefed on the general nature and implementation of these continuity plans.

10. White House transcript, Statement by the President in His Address to the Nation, Sept. 11, 2001 (online at www. whitehouse. gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010911-16. html).

11. White House transcript, Rice interview with Bob Woodward, Oct. 24, 2001, p. 371.

12. Joshua Bolten meeting (Mar. 18, 2004); see also Steven Brill, After: How America Confronted the September 12 Era (Simon & Schuster, 2003), pp. 50--51.

13. The collapse of the World Trade Center towers on the morning of September 11 coated Lower Manhattan with a thick layer of dust from the debris and fire. For days a plume of smoke rose from the site. Between September 11 and September 21, 2001, EPA issued five press releases regarding air quality in Lower Manhattan. A release on September 16 quoted the claim of the assistant secretary for labor at OSHA that tests show “it is safe for New Yorkers to go back to work in New York’s financial district. ” (OSHA’s responsibility extends only to indoor air quality for workers, however. ) The most controversial press release, on September 18, quoted EPA Administrator Christine Whitman as saying that the air was “safe” to breathe. This statement was issued the day after the financial markets reopened. The EPA Office of Inspector General investigated the issuance of these press releases and concluded that the agency did not have enough data about the range of possible pollutants other than asbestos to make a judgment, lacked public health benchmarks for appropriate levels of asbestos and other pollutants, and had imprecise methods for sampling asbestos in the air; it also noted that more than 25 percent of the bulk dust samples collected before September 18 showed the presence of asbestos above the agency’s 1 percent benchmark. EPA Inspector General report, “EPA’s Response to theWorld Trade Center Collapse:Challenges, Successes, and Areas for Improvement, ” Aug. 21, 2003. We do not have the expertise to examine the scientific accuracy of the pronouncements in the press releases. The issue is the subject of pending civil litigation. We did examine whether the White House improperly influenced the content of the press releases so that they would intentionally mislead the public. The EPA press releases were coordinated with Samuel Thernstrom, associate director for communications at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Oral reports, interviews with EPA officials, and materials on the EPA’s Web site were not coordinated through the White House. Although the White House review process resulted in some editorial changes to the press releases, these changes were consistent with what the EPA had already been saying without White House clearance. See, e. g. , David France and Erika Check, “Asbestos Alert; How much of the chemical does the World Trade Center wreckage contain?” Newsweek Web Exclusive, Sept. 14, 2001 (quoting EPA Administrator Whitman as saying the air quality is not a health problem);Andrew C. Revkin, “After the Attacks:The Chemicals; Monitors Say Health Risk From Smoke Is Very Small, ” NewYork Times, Sept. 14, 2001, p. A6 (EPA says levels of airborne asbestos below threshold of concern);Hugo Kugiya, “Terrorist Attacks; Asbestos Targeted in Cleanup Effort; EPA’s Whitman:‘No reason for concern, ’” Newsday, Sept. 16, 2001, p. W31 (Whitman says there is no reason for concern given EPA tests for asbestos). There were disputes between the EPA’s communications person and the White House coordinator regarding the press releases. The EPA communications person said she felt extreme pressure from the White House coordinator, and felt that they were no longer her press releases. EPA Inspector General interview of Tina Kreisher, Aug. 28, 2002. The White House coordinator, however, told us that these disputes were solely concerned with process, not the actual substance of the releases. Samuel Thernstrom interview (Mar. 31, 2004). Former EPA administrator Christine Whitman agreed with the White House coordinator. Christine Whitman interview (June 28, 2004) The documentary evidence supports this claim. Although Whitman told us she spoke with White House senior economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey regarding the need to get the financial markets open quickly, she denied he pressured her to declare the air was safe due to economic expediency. We found no evidence of pressure on EPA to say the air was safe in order to permit the markets to reopen. Moreover, the most controversial release that specifically declared the air safe to breathe was released after the markets had already reopened. The EPA did not have the health-based benchmarks needed to assess the extraordinary air quality conditions in Lower Manhattan after 9/11. The EPA and the White House therefore improvised and applied standards developed for other circumstances in order to make pronouncements regarding air safety, advising workers at Ground Zero to use protective gear and advising the general population that the air was safe. Whether those improvisations were appropriate is still a subject for medical and scientific debate. See EPA Inspector General report, “EPA’s Response to the World Trade Center Collapse, ”Aug. 21, 2003, pp. 9--19.

14. Brill, After, pp. 47--50.

15. We studied this episode and interviewed many of the participants. The NYSE, Amex, and Nasdaq have developed plans for coordination and cooperation in the event of a disaster affecting one or all of them, but these plans do not include other exchanges or international components. The White House efforts during the crisis were coordinated by the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, a group created in the 1980s.

16. Brill, After, pp. 53--55, 89--91. Following interim reports in 1999 and 2000, a congressional commission


chaired by former senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman, and directed by retired general Charles Boyd, had, in January 2001, recommended the creation of a cabinet department dedicated to “homeland security. ” In May 2001, President Bush namedVice President Cheney to head a task force on problems of national preparedness. His recently hired coordinator, Admiral Steven Abbot, had started work just before the 9/11 attack.

17. Ashcroft told us that he established a “hold until cleared” policy because of the high rate of flight from deportation proceedings. John Ashcroft testimony, Apr. 13, 2004. For closure of hearings and secrecy of the detainee names, see DOJ email, Chief Immigration Judge Michael Creppy to all immigration judges, “Cases requiring special procedures, ” Sept. 21, 2001. This policy has been challenged in two U. S. courts of appeals. The Sixth Circuit held that there is a constitutional right of public access to these hearings; the Third Circuit reached the opposite result. The Supreme Court has not yet decided to resolve this “circuit split. ” See Detroit Free Press v. Ashcroft, 303 F. 3d 681 (6th Cir. 2002); North Jersey Media Group, Inc. v. Ashcroft, 308 F. 3d 198 (3d Cir. 2002), cert. denied, 123 S. Ct.

2215 (2003). For the length of the clearance process, see DOJ Inspector General report, “The September 11 Detainees:A Review of the Treatment of Aliens Held on Immigration Charges in Connection with the Investigation of the September 11 Attacks, ”Apr. 2003, p. 51.

18. DOJ Inspector General report, “The September 11 Detainees, ”Apr. 2003, pp. 142--150, 195--197.

19. John Ashcroft testimony, Apr. 13, 2004; DOJ record, “Special Interest Cases, ” Sept. 16, 2003. These numbers do not add up to 768 because we have not included all categories. Some of those remanded to the Marshals Service were held as material witnesses, and individuals were released “on bond” only after they were “cleared” by the FBI of any connection to 9/11. For the response to our questions about the 9/11 detainee program, see DOJ emails, Daniel Levin to the Commission, July 9, 2004; July 13, 2004. There is one exception to the statement in the text that the detainees were lawfully held on immigration charges; one detainee was held for a short time “despite the fact that there was no valid immigration charge. ”DOJ Inspector General report, “The September 11 Detainees, ” Apr. 2003, p. 15, n. 22. See also Khaled Medhat Abou El Fadl testimony, Dec. 8, 2003.

20. Intelligence report, interrogation of KSM, May 10, 2003.

21. The complete title of the Act is Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001, Pub. L. No. 107-56, 115 Stat.

273 (signed into law Oct. 26, 2001).

22. John Ashcroft interview (Dec. 17, 2003).

23. On the early development of the Patriot Act, see, e. g. , Brill, After, pp. 73--76, 120--125.

24. During the morning of September 11, the FAA suspended all nonemergency air activity in the national airspace. While the national airspace was closed, decisions to allow aircraft to fly were made by the FAA working with the Department of Defense, Department of State, U. S. Secret Service, and the FBI. The Department of Transportation reopened the national airspace to U. S. carriers effective 11:00 A. M. on September 13, 2001, for flights out of or into airports that had implemented the FAA’s new security requirements. See FAA response to Commission questions for the record, June 8, 2004.

25. After the airspace reopened, nine chartered flights with 160 people, mostly Saudi nationals, departed from the United States between September 14 and 24. In addition, one Saudi government flight, containing the Saudi deputy defense minister and other members of an official Saudi delegation, departed Newark Airport on September 14. Every airport involved in these Saudi flights was open when the flight departed, and no inappropriate actions were taken to allow those flights to depart. See City of St. Louis Airport Authority, Lambert--St. Louis International Airport response to Commission questions for the record, May 27, 2004;Los Angeles International Airport response to Commission questions for the record, June 2, 2004; Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, Orlando International Airport response to Commission questions for the record, June 8, 2004;MetropolitanWashington Airports Authority, Washington Dulles International Airport response to Commission questions for the record, June 8, 2004; Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, JFK Airport response to Commission questions for the record, June 4, 2004; Massachusetts Port Authority, Logan International Airport, and Hanscom Airfield response to Commission questions for the record, June 17, 2004; Las Vegas--McCarran International Airport response to Commission questions for the record, June 22, 2004; Port Authority of NewYork and New Jersey, Newark Airport response to supplemental question for the record, July 9, 2004. Another particular allegation is that a flight carrying Saudi nationals from Tampa, Florida, to Lexington, Kentucky, was allowed to fly while airspace was closed, with special approval by senior U. S. government officials. On September 13, Tampa police brought three young Saudis they were protecting on an off-duty security detail to the airport so they could get on a plane to Lexington. Tampa police arranged for two private investigators to provide security on the flight. They boarded a chartered Learjet. Dan Grossi interview (May 24, 2004); Manuel Perez interview (May 27, 2004); John Solomon interview (June 4, 2004); Michael Fendle interview (June 4, 2004). The plane took off at 4:37 P. M. , after national airspace was open, more than five hours after the Tampa airport had reopened, and after other flights had arrived at and departed from that airport. Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, Tampa International Airport response to Commission questions for the record, June 7, 2004. The plane’s pilot told us there was “nothing unusual whatsoever” about the flight other than there were few airplanes in the sky. The company’s owner and director of operations agreed, saying that “it was just a routine little trip for us” and that he would have


heard if there had been anything unusual about it. The pilot said he followed standard procedures and filed his flight plan with the FAA prior to the flight, adding, “I was never questioned about it. ” Christopher Steele interview (June 14, 2004); Barry Ellis interview (June 14, 2004). FAA records confirm this account. FAA supplemental response to Commission questions for the record, June 8, 2004. When the plane arrived at Lexington Blue Grass Airport, that airport had also been open for more than five hours. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Airport Board, Blue Grass Airport response to Commission questions for the record, June 8, 2004. The three Saudi nationals debarked from the plane and were met by local police. Their private security guards were paid, and the police then escorted the three Saudi passengers to a hotel where they joined relatives already in Lexington. Mark Barnard interview (June 7, 2004). The FBI is alleged to have had no record of the flight and denied that it occurred, hence contributing to the story of a “phantom flight. ”This is another misunderstanding. The FBI was initially misinformed about how the Saudis got to Lexington by a local police officer in Lexington who did not have firsthand knowledge of the matter. The Bureau subsequently learned about the flight. James M. interview (June 18, 2004).

26. Richard Clarke interview (Jan. 12, 2004).

27. Andrew Card meeting (Mar. 31, 2004);President Bush andVice President Cheney meeting (Apr. 29, 2004); Condoleezza Rice meeting (Feb. 7, 2004); Prince Bandar interview (May 5, 2004); Richard Clarke interview (Jan. 12, 2004); Richard Clarke testimony, Mar. 24, 2004 (“I would love to be able to tell you who did it, who brought this proposal to me, but I don’t know”). Instead, the matter was handled as follows. Within days of September 11, fearing reprisals against Saudi nationals, Rihab Massoud, the deputy chief of mission at the Saudi embassy in Washington, D. C. , called Dale Watson, the FBI’s assistant director for counterterrorism, and asked for help in getting some of its citizens out of the country. Rihab Massoud interview (May 11, 2004). At about the same time, Michael Rolince, chief of the FBI’s international terrorism operations section, also heard from an FBI official in Newark about a proposed flight of Saudis out of the country. Michael Rolince interview (June 9, 2004). We believe this was the Saudi deputy defense minister’s flight. Rolince says he told the Newark official that the Saudis should not be allowed to leave without having the names on their passports matched to their faces, and their names run through FBI case records to see whether they had surfaced before. Rolince and Watson briefed Robert Mueller, the director of the FBI, about the issue and how they were handling it. The State Department played a role as well in flights involving government officials or members of the royal family. State coordinated with the FBI and FAA to allow screening by the FBI of flights with Saudi nationals on board. There is no evidence that State tried to limit the screening. DOS record, Log of USA 9-11 Terrorist Attack Task Force, Sept. 13, 2001; Jack S. interview (June 14, 2004). The FBI effectively approved the Saudi flights at the level of a section chief. Having an opportunity to check the Saudis was useful to the FBI. This was because the U. S. government did not, and does not, routinely run checks on foreigners who are leaving the United States. This procedure was convenient to the FBI, as the Saudis who wished to leave in this way would gather and present themselves for record checks and interviews, an opportunity that would not be available if they simply left on regularly scheduled commercial flights.

28. These flights were screened by law enforcement officials, primarily the FBI. For example, one flight, the so-called Bin Ladin flight, departed the United States on September 20 with 26 passengers, most of them relatives of Usama Bin Ladin. Screening of this flight was directed by an FBI agent in the Baltimore Field Office who was also a pilot. This agent, coordinating with FBI headquarters, sent an electronic communication to each of the field offices through which the Bin Ladin flight was scheduled to pass, including the proposed flight manifest and directing what screening should occur. He also monitored the flight as it moved around the country--from St. Louis to Los Angeles to Orlando to Washington Dulles, and to Boston Logan--correcting for any changes in itinerary to make sure there was no lapse in FBI screening at these locations. Again, each of the airports through which the Bin Ladin flight passed was open, and no special restrictions were lifted to accommodate its passage. James C. interview (June 3, 2004). The Bin Ladin flight and other flights we examined were screened in accordance with policies set by FBI headquarters and coordinated through working-level interagency processes. Michael Rolince interview (June 9, 2004). Although most of the passengers were not interviewed, 22 of the 26 people on the Bin Ladin flight were interviewed by the FBI. Many were asked detailed questions. None of the passengers stated that they had any recent contact with Usama Bin Ladin or knew anything about terrorist activity. See, e. g. , FBI report of investigation, interview of Mohammed Saleh Bin Laden, Sept. 21, 2001. As Richard Clarke noted, long before 9/11 the FBI was following members of the Bin Ladin family in the United States closely. Richard Clarke testimony, Mar. 24, 2004. Two of the passengers on this flight had been the subjects of preliminary investigations by the FBI, but both their cases had been closed, in 1999 and March 2001, respectively, because the FBI had uncovered no derogatory information on either person linking them to terrorist activity. Their cases remained closed as of 9/11, were not reopened before they departed the country on this flight, and have not been reopened since. FBI electronic communication, Summary of Information Regarding Flights taken by Saudi Citizens Out of the U. S. Shortly After September 11, 2001, Oct. 29, 2003, pp. 9--10.

29. Michael Rolince interview (June 9, 2004). Massoud corroborates this account. He said the FBI required the names and personal information of all departing passengers sponsored for departure by the Saudi Embassy. Rihab Massoud interview (May 11, 2004).


30. Jack S. interview (June 14, 2004).

31. The FBI checked a variety of databases for information on the Bin Ladin flight passengers and searched the aircraft. Because it was not clear to us whether the TIPOFF terrorist watchlist was checked by the FBI, the Terrorist Screening Center checked the names of individuals on the flight manifests of six Saudi flights against the current TIPOFF watchlist at our request prior to our hearing in April 2004. There were no matches. At our request, based on additional information, theTerrorist Screening Center in June and July 2004 rechecked the names of individuals believed to be on these six flights, the names of individuals on three more charter flights, the names of individuals on the flight containing the Saudi Deputy Defense Minister, and the names of Saudi nationals on commercial flights that journalists have alleged are suspect. There were no matches. Tim D. interviews (Apr. 12, 2004; June 30, 2004; July 9, 2004); FBI memo, Terrorist Screening Center to Director’s Office, “Request by 9/11 Commission Task Force to screen the airline passenger lists through the TDSB and TIPOFF databases, ” Mar. 30, 2004.

32. White House transcript, Vice President Cheney interview with Charlie Gibson of ABC, Sept. 4, 2002, p. 11.

33. “The only . . . true advice I receive is from our war council. ” White House transcript, President Bush interview with Bob Woodward and Dan Balz of the Washington Post, Dec. 20, 2001.

34. On Secretary Rumsfeld’s remarks, see White House transcript, President Bush interview with Bob Woodward and Dan Balz, Dec. 20, 2001. The President’s adviser, Karen Hughes, who was in the interview, listed the points Rumsfeld made at the smaller NSC meeting. Ibid.

35. On the President’s tasking in the earlier meeting held that day, see NSC memo, Summary of Conclusions for NSC Meeting Held on September 12, 2001, Dec. 17, 2001. On the paper that went beyond al Qaeda, see NSC memo, Deputies Draft Paper (attached to Agenda for NSC Meeting Scheduled for Sept. 12, 2001). The Summary of Conclusions for the afternoon meeting indicates that the paper was discussed. On giving priority to preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, see White House transcript, Hadley interview with Dan Balz and Bob Woodward, Jan. 11, 2002, p. 535.

36. NSC memo, Summary of Conclusions for Principals Committee Meeting Held on September 13, 2001. In addition to the usual members of President Bush’s war cabinet, Secretary of Transportation Mineta and FAA security chief Canavan also attended.

37. DOS cable, State 158711, “Deputy Secretary Armitage’s Meeting with General Mahmud:Actions and Support Expected of Pakistan in Fight Against Terrorism, ” Sept. 14, 2001. On September 14, 2001, the U. S. Embassy in Islamabad sent Musharraf ’s answer to the State Department by cable.

38. DOS cable, Islamabad 5123, “Musharraf Accepts the Seven Points, ” Sept. 14, 2001.

39. NSC memo, Summary of Conclusions of NSC Meeting Held on September 13, 2001. According to the Summary of Conclusions, this meeting of the President and his advisers took place in the White House Situation Room; however, the agenda alerting agencies to the meeting specified that it would be conducted via the secure video teleconference system (SVTS). Thus, it is unclear whether the attendees met face-to-face at the White House or held their meeting remotely via SVTS.

40. State Department memo, “Gameplan for Polmil Strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, ” Sept. 14, 2001 (tasked by President Bush). The paper was sent to the White House on September 14, 2001. The demand to free all imprisoned foreigners reflected the U. S. government’s concern about the welfare of several foreign aid workers in Afghanistan who had been imprisoned by the Taliban in August 2001. Two young American women, Heather Mercer and Dayna Curry of the organization “Shelter Now International, ”were among those arrested and charged with promoting Christianity. The Taliban and other Islamists found their activities an affront to Islam and in violation of Afghanistan’s laws and the regime’s tenets. Wendy Chamberlin interview (Oct. 28, 2003). Powell stated that the President wanted to get the hostages out but that desire would not restrain American action. White House transcript, President Bush interview with Bob Woodward and Dan Balz, Dec. 20, 2001.

41. State Department memo, “Gameplan for Polmil Strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, ” Sept. 14, 2001.

42. White House transcript, President Bush interview with Bob Woodward and Dan Balz, Dec. 20, 2001.

43. Stephen Hadley meeting (Jan. 31, 2004). Hadley told us that the White House was not satisfied with the Defense Department’s plans to use force in Afghanistan after 9/11. Ibid. ; see alsoWhite House transcript, Rice interview with John King of CNN, Aug. 2, 2002, p. 421.

44. Tommy Franks interview (Apr. 9, 2004).

45. NSC memo, Hadley to recipients, “Discussion Paper for NSC meeting at Camp David on 14 September, ” Sept. 14, 2001.

46. CIA memo, “Going to War, ” Sept. 15, 2001.

47. White House transcript, President Bush interview with Bob Woodward and Dan Balz, Dec. 20, 2001.

48. DOD briefing materials, “Evolution of Infinite Resolve Planning (AQ, UBL), ” undated (provided to the Commission on Mar. 19, 2004). According to Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, the President responded to Shelton by saying that the boots-on-the-ground option was an interesting idea. He wanted to know what the CIA would do when ground forces were in Afghanistan. White House transcript, Hadley interview with Dan Balz and Bob Woodward, Jan. 11, 2002, p. 545.

49. NSC memo, “Conclusions of National Security Council Meeting, ” Sept. 17, 2001;White House transcript, President Bush interview with Bob Woodward and Dan Balz, Dec. 20, 2001.


50. NSC memo, “Conclusions of National Security Council Meeting, ” Sept. 17, 2001.

51. See NSC memo, Rice to Cheney, Powell, O’Neill, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Gonzales, Card, Tenet, and Shelton, Sept. 16, 2001.

52. NSC memo, “Conclusions of National Security Council Meeting, ” Sept. 17, 2001.

53. NSC memo, Summary of Conclusions of Terrorist Fund-raising Meeting Held on September 18, 2001.

54. DOS briefing materials, “Fact Sheet on Response to Terrorist Attacks in US, ” Sept. 17, 2001.

55. DOS cable, State 161279, “Deputy Secretary Armitage--Mamoud Phone Call, ” Sept. 18, 2001.

56. White House transcript, Vice President Cheney interview with Dan Balz and BobWoodward, Jan. 18, 2002, pp. 7--8.

57. Stephen Hadley meeting (Jan. 31, 2004).

58. See National Security Presidential Directive 9, Oct. 25, 2001.

59. President Bush andVice President Cheney meeting (Apr. 29, 2004). On Iran, see Condoleezza Rice testimony, Apr. 8, 2004.

60. Richard A. Clarke, Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror (Free Press, 2004), p. 32. According to Clarke, he responded that “al Qaeda did this. ”When the President pressed Clarke to check if Saddam was involved and said that he wanted to learn of any shred of evidence, Clarke promised to look at the question again, but added that the NSC and the intelligence community had looked in the past for linkages between al Qaeda and Iraq and never found any real linkages. Ibid.

61. President Bush told us that Clarke had mischaracterized this exchange. On the evening of September 12, the President was at the Pentagon and then went to the White House residence. He dismissed the idea that he had been wandering around the Situation Room alone, saying, “I don’t do that. ” He said that he did not think that any president would roam around looking for something to do. While Clarke said he had found the President’s tone “very intimidating, ” (“Clarke’s Take on Terror, ” CBSnews. com, Mar. 21, 2004, online at www. cbsnews. com/stories /2004/03/19/60minutes/printable607356. shtml), President Bush doubted that anyone would have found his manner intimidating. President Bush andVice President Cheney meeting (Apr. 29, 2004). Roger Cressey, Clarke’s deputy, recalls this exchange with the President and Clarke concerning Iraq shortly after 9/11, but did not believe the President’s manner was intimidating. Roger Cressey interview (June 23, 2004).

62. NSC memo, Kurtz to Rice, Survey of Intelligence Information on any Iraq Involvement in the September 11 Attacks, Sept. 18, 2001. On 60 Minutes (CBS, Mar. 21, 2004), Clarke said that the first draft of this memo was returned by the NSC Front Office because it did not find a tie between Iraq and al Qaeda; Rice and Hadley deny that they asked to have the memo redone for this reason.

63. See DOD notes, Victoria Clarke notes, Sept. 11, 2001;DOD notes, Stephen Cambone notes, Sept. 11, 2001. Cambone’s notes indicate this exchange took place at 2:40 P. M. on September 11, 2001. Steven Cambone interview (July 15, 2004).

64. Condoleezza Rice meeting (Feb. 7, 2004). For an account of Rumsfeld’s and Wolfowitz’s position on Iraq, see Bob Woodward, Bush at War (Simon & Schuster, 2002), pp. 83--84. Rice told us that the Bush at War account of the Camp David discussions on Iraq accorded with her memory.

65. DOD memo, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, “War on Terrorism: Strategic Concept, ” Sept. 14, 2001.

66. Colin Powell interview (Jan. 21, 2004). Rumsfeld told Bob Woodward that he had no recollection of Wolfowitz’s remarks at Camp David. DOD transcript, “Secretary Rumsfeld Interview with the Washington Post, ” Jan. 9, 2002 (online at www. defenselink. mil/transcripts/2002/t02052002_t0109wp. html).

67. Colin Powell interview (Jan. 21, 2004). Powell raised concerns that a focus on Iraq might negate progress made with the international coalition the administration was putting together for Afghanistan. Taking on Iraq at this time could destroy the international coalition. Ibid.

68. Colin Powell interview (Jan. 21, 2004).

69. White House transcript, President Bush interview with Bob Woodward and Dan Balz, Dec. 20, 2001.

70. Condoleezza Rice meeting (Feb. 7, 2004).

71. NSC memo, “Conclusions of National Security Council Meeting, ” Sept. 17, 2001.

72. Condoleezza Rice testimony, Apr. 8, 2004;see also BobWoodward, Plan of Attack (Simon & Schuster, 2004), p. 22.

73. DOD memo, Wolfowitz to Rumsfeld, “Preventing More Events, ” Sept. 17, 2001. We review contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda in chapter 2. We have found no credible evidence to support theories of Iraqi government involvement in the 1993 WTC bombing. Wolfowitz added in his memo that he had attempted in June to get the CIA to explore these theories.

74. DOD memo, Wolfowitz to Rumsfeld, “Were We Asleep?” Sept. 18, 2001.

75. DOD memo, Rumsfeld to Shelton, “Some Thoughts for CINCs as They Prepare Plans, ” Sept. 19, 2001. In a memo that appears to be from Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith to Rumsfeld, dated September 20, the author expressed disappointment at the limited options immediately available in Afghanistan and the lack of ground options. The author suggested instead hitting terrorists outside the Middle East in the initial offensive, perhaps delib


erately selecting a non--al Qaeda target like Iraq. Since U. S. attacks were expected in Afghanistan, an American attack in South America or Southeast Asia might be a surprise to the terrorists. The memo may have been a draft never sent to Rumsfeld, or may be a draft of points being suggested for Rumsfeld to deliver in a briefing to the President. DOD memo, Feith to Rumsfeld, “Briefing Draft, ” Sept. 20, 2001.

76. Hugh Shelton interview (Feb. 5, 2004).

77. Tommy Franks interview (Apr. 9, 2004).

78. NSC memo, memorandum of conversation from meeting of President Bush with Prime Minister Blair, Sept. 20, 2001.

79. Tommy Franks interview (Apr. 9, 2004).

80. White House transcript, President Bush’s Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, Sept. 20, 2001. British Prime Minister Tony Blair attended the session.

81. Ibid. Several NSC officials, including Clarke and Cressey, told us that the mention of the Cole in the speech to Congress marked the first public U. S. declaration that al Qaeda had been behind the October 2000 attack. Clarke said he added the language on this point to the speech. Richard Clarke interview (Feb. 3, 2004); Roger Cressey interview (Dec. 15, 2003).

82. White House transcript, President Bush’s Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, Sept. 20, 2001. President Bush told the Washington Post that he considered having Powell deliver the ultimatum to the Taliban, but determined it would have more impact coming directly from the president. White House transcript, President Bush interview with Bob Woodward and Dan Balz, Dec. 20, 2001.

83. White House transcript, President Bush’s Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, Sept. 20, 2001.

84. Ibid.

85. Tommy Franks interview (Apr. 9, 2004). Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers and Major General Del Dailey, commander of Joint Special Operations Command, also attended the September 21 meeting. The meeting was in direct response to the President’s September 17 instruction to Rumsfeld to develop a military campaign plan for Afghanistan. The original “Infinite Justice” name was a continuation of a series of names begun in August 1998 with Operation Infinite Reach, the air strikes against Bin Ladin’s facilities in Afghanistan and Sudan after the embassy bombings. The series also included Operation Infinite Resolve, a variety of proposed follow-on strikes on al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan.

86. DOD Special Operations Command and Central Command briefings (Sept. 15--16, 2003;Apr. 8--9, 2004; Apr. 28, 2004);Tommy Franks interview (Apr. 9, 2004). On death of Atef, see Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, Age of Sacred Terror, p. 349; Henry, “The CIA in Afghanistan, 2001--2002, ” Studies in Intelligence (classified version), vol. 47, no. 2 (2003), pp. 1, 11. See Donald Rumsfeld testimony, Mar. 23, 2004 (nearly two-thirds of the known leaders of al Qaeda had been killed or captured).

11 Foresight--and Hindsight 1. Roberta Wohlstetter, Pearl Harbor:Warning and Decision (Stanford Univ. Press, 1962), p. 387.

2. Intelligence Community analytic report, “The Foreign Terrorist Threat in the United States, ” NIE 95-13, July 1995, pp. v, vii--viii, 10--11, 13, 18.

3. Intelligence Community analytic report, “The ForeignTerrorist Threat in the US:Revisiting Our 1995 Estimate, ” ICB 97-8, Apr. 1997, p. 1.

4. For Bin Ladin being mentioned in only two other sentences, see ibid.

5. Titles are drawn from articles in the National Intelligence Daily and the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief.

6. John McLaughlin interview (Jan. 21, 2004).

7. Ibid. ; Pattie Kindsvater interview (Sept. 12, 2003).

8. Tim Weiner, “U. S. Hard Put to Find Proof Bin Laden Directed Attacks, ” New York Times, Apr. 13, 1999, p. A1.

9. Paul R. Pillar, Terrorism and U. S. Foreign Policy (Brookings Institution Press, 2001), p. 23; see also ibid. , pp. 5, 21--22.

10. For a concise statement of the role of the national estimate process, see Task force sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, Making Intelligence Smarter:The Future of U. S. Intelligence (Council on Foreign Relations, 1996), pp. 34--35 (additional views of Richard Betts).

11. Waldo Heinrichs, Threshold of War: Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Entry into World War II (Oxford Univ. Press, 1988), p. 215.

12. For the response being routine, see Gordon Prange, At DawnWe Slept:The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor (McGraw- Hill, 1981), pp. 732--733. For a brief summary of these routines and the reasons why the intercepts were not properly digested, see Graham Allison and Philip Zelikow, Essence of Decision, 2d ed. (Longman, 1999), p. 194, n. 72.

13. PDBs were not routinely briefed to congressional leaders, though this item could have been in some other intelligence briefing. It was not circulated in the NID or SEIB. For the September 1998 report, see Intelligence report, “Terrorism: Possible Attack on a U. S. City, ” Sept. 8, 1998.


14. For the August report, see Intelligence report, “Terrorism:Alleged Threat by Arab Terrorists to Attack the World Trade Center in New York, ” Aug. 12, 1998. An FAA civil aviation security official believed the plan was improbable because Libyan planes were required to operate within airspace limitations and the Libyans did not possess aircraft with the necessary range to make good on the threat. Jack S. interview (June 13, 2004). On September 30, 1999, the FAA closed the file on the August report after investigation could not corroborate the report, and the source’s credibility was deemed suspect. FAA report, Transportation Security Intelligence ICF Report 980162, undated; but see FAA/TSA rebuttal to the Joint Inquiry’s Sept. 18, 2002, staff statement, undated, p. 1 (stating that the FAA did not formally analyze this threat). The Algerian hijackers had placed explosives in key areas of the cabin. However, there was some speculation in the media based on reports from a passenger aboard the plane that the hijackers had discussed crashing it into the Eiffel Tower. FAA report, FAA Intelligence Case File 94-305, undated.

15. For Murad’s idea, see chapter 5, note 33.

16. For Clarke’s involvement in the 1996 Olympics, see Richard Clarke interview (Dec. 18, 2003). For the 1998 exercise, see Chuck Green interview (Apr. 21, 2004); NSC briefing paper, Nov. 10, 1998.

17. For the report of the National Transportation Safety Board, see NTSB report, “Aircraft Accident Brief, ” Mar. 13, 2002 (online at www. ntsb. gov/Publictn/2002/aab0201. htm). For the early 2000 CSG discussion, see NSC note, CSG SVTS agenda, Jan. 31, 2000.

18. Richard Clarke testimony, Mar. 24, 2004.

19. FAA memo, Office of Civil Aviation Security Intelligence, “Usama Bin Ladin/World Islamic Front Hijacking Threat, ” Intelligence Note 99-06, Aug. 4, 1999, pp. 5--6.

20. Ibid.

21. As part of his 34-page analysis, the attorney explained why he thought that a fueled Boeing 747, used as a weapon, “must be considered capable of destroying virtually any building located anywhere in the world. ” DOJ memo, Robert D. to Cathleen C. , “Aerial Intercepts and Shoot-downs:Ambiguities of Law and Practical Considerations, ” Mar. 30, 2000, p. 10. Also, in February 1974, a man named Samuel Byck attempted to commandeer a plane at Baltimore Washington International Airport with the intention of forcing the pilots to fly into Washington and crash into the White House to kill the president. The man was shot by police and then killed himself on the aircraft while it was still on the ground at the airport.

22. For NORAD’s hypothesis of aircraft as weapons, see, e. g. , Ralph Eberhardt interview (Mar. 1, 2004). For the 2001 Positive Force 01 exercise, see DOD briefing (Apr. 29, 2004);Tom Cecil and Mark Postgate interview (June 7, 2004).

23. For the Gates report’s recommendations, see DCI task force report, “Improving Intelligence Warning, ”May 29, 1992. For strengthening of the warning official, see DCI memo, “Warning, ” July 17, 1992. For the recommendations languishing, see Charles Allen interview (Sept. 22, 2003). For CTC having responsibility for warning, see RobertVickers interview (Sept. 17, 2003). For the Board’s warnings, see, e. g. , Community Counterterrorism Board report, “Intelligence CommunityTerroristThreat Advisory: Bin Ladin Orchestrating Possible Anti-US Attacks, ”June 30, 2000.

24. CIA briefing materials, “DCI Update, ”Aug. 23, 2001.

25. James Pavitt interview (Jan. 8, 2004). For more on this meeting, see Condoleezza Rice meeting (Feb. 7, 2004); George Tenet interview (Jan. 28, 2004).

26. For the briefing to the President-elect, see James Pavitt interview (Jan. 8, 2004). The CIA’s formal analysis of what would happen if Bin Ladin alone was removed as compared with the importance of shutting down the sanctuary was offered in several places. See, e. g. , CIA analytic report, “Likely Impact of Taliban Actions Against Al Qaeda, ” Feb. 21, 2001 (provided as background for Tenet meetings with Rice on Feb. 23 and Mar. 7, 2001).

27. Richard Clarke testimony, Mar. 24, 2004.

28. Mike interview (Dec. 11, 2003) (reading from CIA email, Mike to Winston Wiley, Aug. 27, 1997).

29. For President Bush’s statement of al Qaeda’s responsibility for the Cole attack, see White House transcript, “Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, ” Sept. 20, 2001 (online at www. whitehouse. gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010920-8. html).

30. For Pavitt’s view, see James Pavitt interview (Jan. 8, 2004).

31. Hugh Shelton interview (Feb. 5, 2004). Zinni was concerned about excessive collateral damage caused by Tomahawk strikes. See Anthony Zinni interview (Jan. 29, 2004).

32. For Shelton’s view, see Hugh Shelton interview (Feb. 5, 2004). For Cohen’s view, see William Cohen interview (Feb. 5, 2004).

33. Russell Honore interview (Oct. 29, 2003).

34. James Pavitt interview (Jan. 8, 2004).

35. Ibid.

36. Cofer Black interview (Dec. 9, 2003).

37. Rich interview (Dec. 11, 2003).

38. CIA memo, Tenet to Gordon and others, “Usama Bin Ladin, ”Dec. 4, 1998, p. 2.

39. See, e. g. , Joan Dempsey interview (Nov. 12, 2003); Jeff B. interview (Dec. 11, 2003); Louis Andre interview


(Nov. 10, 2003); Mary C. interview (Oct. 25, 2003); Maureen Baginski interview (Nov. 15, 2003);Thomas Wilson interview (Dec. 4, 2003). Assistant DCI Charles Allen did redouble his efforts to coordinate and improve collection at the tactical level, but this was not a plan to address larger weaknesses in the fundamental capabilities of the intelligence community. See Charles Allen interview (Sept. 22, 2003).

40. For Dempsey’s action, see Joan Dempsey interview (Nov. 12, 2003). For Minihan’s view, see Joint Inquiry interview of Kenneth Minihan, Sept. 12, 2002. For the CIA viewing the memorandum as intended for non-CIA intelligence agencies, see Dave Carey interview (Oct. 31, 2003).

41. George Tenet interview (Jan. 22, 2004); James Pavitt interview (Jan. 8, 2004).

42. For the New York Times article about the Jordanian arrests, see Reuters, “Jordan Seizes 13 and Links Them to Afghan Explosives Training, ” NewYork Times, Dec. 16, 1999, p. A13. For the Ressam story being on the front page, see, e. g. , Sam HoweVerhovek with Tim Weiner, “Man Seized with Bomb Parts at Border Spurs U. S. Inquiry, ” New York Times, Dec. 18, 1999, p. A1. For television coverage, see Vanderbilt University Television News Archive, Dec. 13, 22--31, 1999. 12 What to Do? A Global Strategy 1. For spending totals, see David Baumann, “Accounting for the Deficit, ” National Journal, June 12, 2004, p.

1852 (combining categories for defense discretionary, homeland security, and international affairs).

2. White House press release, “National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, ” Feb. 2003 (online at www. whitehouse. gov/news/releases/2003/02/20030214-7. html).

3. “Islamist terrorism is an immediate derivative of Islamism. This term distinguishes itself from Islamic by the fact that the latter refers to a religion and culture in existence over a millennium, whereas the first is a political/religious phenomenon linked to the great events of the 20th century. Furthermore Islamists define themselves as ‘Islamiyyoun/Islamists’ precisely to differentiate themselves from ‘Muslimun/Muslims. ’ . . . Islamism is defined as ‘an Islamic militant, anti-democratic movement, bearing a holistic vision of Islam whose final aim is the restoration of the caliphate. ’”Mehdi Mozaffari, “Bin Laden and Islamist Terrorism, ” Militaert Tidsskrift, vol. 131 (Mar. 2002), p. 1 (online at www. mirkflem. pup. blueyonder. co. uk/pdf/islamistterrorism. pdf). The Islamist movement, born about 1940, is a product of the modern world, influenced by Marxist-Leninist concepts about revolutionary organization. “Islamists consider Islam to be as much a religion as an ‘ideology, ’ a neologism which they introduced and which remains anathema to the ulamas (the clerical scholars). ” Olivier Roy, The Failure of Political Islam, trans. Carol Volk (Harvard Univ. Press, 1994), p. 3. Facing political limits by the end of the 1990s, the extremist wing of the Islamist movement “rejected the democratic references invoked by the moderates; and as a result, raw terrorism in its most spectacular and destructive form became its main option for reviving armed struggle in the new millennium. ” Gilles Kepel, Jihad:The Trail of Political Islam, trans. Anthony Roberts (Harvard Univ. Press, 2002), p. 14.

4. Opening the Islamic Conference of Muslim leaders from around the world on October 16, 2003, then Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said:“Today we, the whole Muslim ummah [community of believers] are treated with contempt and dishonour. Our religion is denigrated. Our holy places desecrated. Our countries are occupied. Our people are starved and killed. None of our countries are truly independent. We are under pressure to conform to our oppressors’ wishes about how we should behave, how we should govern our lands, how we should think even. ” He added:“There is a feeling of hopelessness among the Muslim countries and their people. They feel that they can do nothing right. They believe that things can only get worse. The Muslims will forever be oppressed and dominated by the Europeans and Jews. ”The prime minister’s argument was that the Muslims should gather their assets, not striking back blindly, but instead planning a thoughtful, long-term strategy to defeat their worldwide enemies, which he argued were controlled by the Jews. “But today the Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them. ” Speech at the Opening of the Tenth Session of the Islamic Summit Conference, Oct. 16, 2003 (online at www. oicsummit2003. 0rg. my/speech_03. php).

5. CIA map, “Possible Remote Havens for Terrorist and Other Illicit Activity, ” May 2003.

6. For the numbers, see Tariq interview (Oct. 20, 2003).

7. For Pakistan playing a key role in apprehending 500 terrorists, see Richard Armitage testimony, Mar. 23, 2004.

8. For Pakistan’s unpoliced areas, see Tasneem Noorani interview (Oct. 27, 2003).

9. Pakistanis and Afghanis interviews (Oct. 2003); DOD Special Operations Command and Central Command briefings (Sept. 15--16, 2004); U. S. intelligence official interview (July 9, 2004).

10. Pervez Musharraf, “A Plea for Enlightened Moderation:Muslims Must RaiseThemselves UpThrough Individual Achievement and Socioeconomic Emancipation, ” Washington Post, June 1, 2004, p. A23.

11. For a review of ISAF’s role, see NATO report, “NATO in Afghanistan, ” updated July 9, 2004 (online at www. nato. int/issues/afghanistan).

12. United States Institute of Peace report, “Establishing the Rule of Law in Afghanistan, ” Mar. 2004, pp. 1--3 (online at www. usip. org/pubs/specialreports/sr117. html).

13. For the change, see Lakhdar Brahimi interview (Oct. 24, 2003);U. S. officials in Afghanistan interview (Oct.


2003). For the request that the United States remain, see Kandahar province local leaders interview (Oct. 21, 2003). For the effect of the United States leaving, see Karim Khalili interview (Oct. 23, 2003).

14. Some have criticized the Bush administration for neglecting Afghanistan because of Iraq. Others, including General Franks, say that the size of the U. S. military commitment in Afghanistan has not been compromised by the commitments in Iraq. We have not investigated the issue and cannot offer a judgment on it.

15. Even if the U. S. forces, stretched thin, are reluctant to take on this role, “a limited, but extremely useful, change in the military mandate would involve intelligence sharing with civilian law enforcement and a willingness to take action against drug warehouses and heroin laboratories. ” United States Institute of Peace report, “Establishing the Rule of Law in Afghanistan, ” Mar. 2004, p. 17.

16. For barriers to Saudi monitoring of charities, see, e. g. , Robert Jordan interview (Jan. 14, 2004); David Aufhauser interview (Feb. 12, 2004).

17. For the Saudi reformer’s view, see Members of majles al-shura interview (Oct. 14, 2003).

18. Neil MacFarquhar, “Saudis Support a Jihad in Iraq, Not Back Home, ” New York Times, Apr. 23, 2004, p. A1.

19. Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, “A Diplomat’s Call for War, ” Washington Post, June 6, 2004, p. B4 (translation of original in Al-Watan, June 2, 2004).

20. President Clinton meeting (Apr. 8, 2004).

21. For Jordan’s initiatives, see testimony of William Burns before the Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia of the House International Relations Committee, Mar. 19, 2003 (online at www. house. gov /international_relations/108/burn0319. htm). For the report, see United Nations Development Programme report, Arab Human Development Report 2003: Building a Knowledge Society (United Nations, 2003) (online at www. miftah. org/Doc/Reports/Englishcomplete2003. pdf).

22. DOD memo, Rumsfeld to Myers, Wolfowitz, Pace, and Feith, “Global War on Terrorism, ” Oct. 16, 2003 (online at www. usatoday. com/news/washington/executive/rumsfeld-memo. htm).

23. For the statistics, see James Zogby, What ArabsThink:Values, Beliefs, and Concerns (Zogby International, 2002). For fear of a U. S. attack, see Pew Global Attitudes Project report, Views of a ChangingWorld: June 2003 (Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 2003), p. 2. In our interviews, current and former U. S. officials dealing with the Middle East corroborated these findings.

24. For polling soon after 9/11, see Pew Research Center for the People and the Press report, “America Admired, Yet Its New Vulnerability Seen as Good Thing, Say Opinion Leaders; Little Support for Expanding War on Terrorism” (online at http://people-press. org/reports/print. php3?ReportID=145). For the quotation, see Pew Global Attitudes Project report, “War With Iraq Further Divides Global Publics But World Embraces Democratic Values and Free Markets, ” June 3, 2003 (online at www. pewtrusts. com/ideas/ideas_item. cfm?content_ item_id=1645&content_type_id=7).

25. For the Occidentalist “creed of Islamist revolutionaries, ” see, e. g. , Avishai Margalit and Ian Buruma, Occidentalism: The West in the Eyes of Its Enemies (Penguin Press, 2004).

26. We draw these statistics, significantly, from the U. S. government’s working paper circulated in April 2004 to G-8 “sherpas” in preparation for the 2004 G-8 summit. The paper was leaked and published in Al-Hayat. “U. S. Working Paper for G-8 Sherpas, ” Al-Hayat, Feb. 13, 2004 (online at http://english. daralhayat. com/Spec/02-

2004/Article-20040213-ac40bdaf-c0a8-01ed-004e-5e7ac897d678/story. html).

27. Richard Holbrooke, “Get the Message Out, ” Washington Post, Oct. 28, 2001, p. B7; Richard Armitage interview (Jan. 12, 2004).

28. Testimony of George Tenet, “The Worldwide Threat 2004: Challenges in a Changing Global Context, ” before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Feb. 24, 2004.

29. U. S. Department of Energy Advisory Board report, “A Report Card on the Department of Energy’s Nonproliferation Programs with Russia, ” Jan. 10, 2001, p. vi.

30. For terrorists being self-funding, see United Nations report, “Second Report of the [UN] Monitoring Group, Pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1390, ” Sept. 19, 2002, p. 13.

31. For legal entry, see White House report, Office of Homeland Security, “The National Strategy for Homeland Security, ” July 2002, p. 20 (online at www. whitehouse. gov/homeland/book/index. html). For illegal entry, see Chicago Council on Foreign Relations task force report, Keeping the Promise: Immigration Proposals from the Heartland (Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, 2004), p. 28.

32. The names of at least three of the hijackers (Nawaf al Hazmi, Salem al Hazmi, and Khalid al Mihdhar) were in information systems of the intelligence community and thus potentially could have been watchlisted. Had they been watchlisted, the connections to terrorism could have been exposed at the time they applied for a visa or at the port of entry. The names of at least three of the hijackers (Nawaf al Hazmi, Salem al Hazmi, and Khalid al Mihdhar), were in information systems of the intelligence community and thus potentially could have been watchlisted. Had they been watchlisted, their terrorist affiliations could have been exposed either at the time they applied for a visa or at the port of entry. Two of the hijackers (Satam al Suqami and Abdul Aziz al Omari) presented passports manipulated in a fraudulent manner that has subsequently been associated with al Qaeda. Based on our review of their visa and travel histories, we believe it possible that as many as eleven additional hijackers (Wail al Shehri,


Waleed al Shehri, Mohand al Shehri, Hani Hanjour, Majed Moqed, Nawaf al Hazmi, Hamza al Ghamdi, Ahmed al Ghamdi, Saeed al Ghamdi, Ahmed al Nami, and Ahmad al Haznawi) held passports containing these same fraudulent features, but their passports have not been found so we cannot be sure. Khalid al Mihdhar and Salem al Hazmi presented passports with a suspicious indicator of Islamic extremism. There is reason to believe that the passports of three other hijackers (Nawaf al Hazmi, Ahmed al Nami, and Ahmad al Haznawi) issued in the same Saudi passport office may have contained this same indicator; however, their passports have not been found, so we cannot be sure.

33. Khallad Bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Zakariya Essabar, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Saeed al Ghamdi (not the individual by the same name who became a hijacker) tried to get visas and failed. Kahtani was unable to prove his admissibility and withdrew his application for admission after an immigration inspector remained unpersuaded that he was a tourist. All the hijackers whose visa applications we reviewed arguably could have been denied visas because their applications were not filled out completely. Had State visa officials routinely had a practice of acquiring more information in such cases, they likely would have found more grounds for denial. For example, three hijackers made statements on their visa applications that could have been proved false by U. S. government records (Hani Hanjour, Saeed al Ghamdi, and Khalid al Mihdhar), and many lied about their employment or educational status. Two hijackers could have been denied admission at the port of entry based on violations of immigration rules governing terms of admission--Mohamed Atta overstayed his tourist visa and then failed to present a proper vocational school visa when he entered in January 2001; Ziad Jarrah attended school in June 2000 without properly adjusting his immigration status, an action that violated his immigration status and rendered him inadmissible on each of his six subsequent reentries into the United States between June 2000 and August 5, 2001. There were possible grounds to deny entry to a third hijacker (Marwan al Shehhi). One hijacker violated his immigration status by failing to enroll as a student after entry (Hani Hanjour);two hijackers overstayed their terms of admission by four and eight months respectively (Satam al Suqami and Nawaf al Hazmi). Atta and Shehhi attended a flight school (Huffman Aviation) that the Justice Department’s Inspector General concluded should not have been certified to accept foreign students, see DOJ Inspector General’s report, “The INS’ Contacts with Two September 11 Terrorists:A Review of the INS’s Admissions of Atta and Shehhi, its Processing of their Change of Status Applications, and its Efforts to Track Foreign Students in the United States, ” May 20, 2002.

34. John Gordon interview (May 13, 2004).

35. For a description of a layering approach, see Stephen Flynn, America the Vulnerable:How the U. S. Has Failed to Secure the Homeland and Protect Its People from Terrorism (HarperCollins, 2004), p. 69.

36. The logical and timely rollout of such a program is hampered by an astonishingly long list of congressional mandates. The system originated in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 and applied to all non-U. S. citizens who enter or exit the United States at any port of entry. Pub. L. No. 104-208, 110 Stat. 3009 (1996), § 110. The Data Management Improvement Act of 2000 altered this mandate by incorporating a requirement for a searchable centralized database, limiting the government’s ability to require new data from certain travelers and setting a series of implementation deadlines. Pub. L. No. 106-215, 114 Stat. 337 (2000), § 2(a). The USA PATRIOT Act mandated that the Attorney General and Secretary of State “particularly focus” on having the entry-exit system include biometrics and tamper-resistant travel documents readable at all ports of entry. Pub. L. No. 107-56, 115 Stat. 272 (2001), § 1008(a). In the Enhanced Border Security andVisa Entry Reform Act, Congress directed that, not later than October 26, 2004, the attorney general and the secretary of state issue to all non-U. S. citizens only machine-readable, tamper-resistant visas and other travel and entry documents that use biometric identifiers and install equipment at all U. S. ports of entry to allow biometric authentication of such documents. Pub. L. No. 107-173, 116 Stat. 543 (2002), § 303(b). The Act also required that increased security still facilitate the free flow of commerce and travel. Ibid. § 102(a)(1)(C). The administration has requested a delay of two years for the requirement of tamper-proof passports. Testimony of Thomas Ridge before the House Judiciary Committee, Apr. 21, 2004 (online at www. dhs. gov/dhspublic/display?theme=45&content=3498&print=true). Program planners have set a goal of collecting information, confirming identity, providing information about foreign nationals throughout the entire immigration system, and ultimately enabling each point in the system to assess the lawfulness of travel and any security risks.

37. There are at least three registered traveler programs underway, at different points in the system, designed and run by two different agencies in the Department of Homeland Security (outside the U. S. VISIT system), which must ultimately be the basis for access to the United States.

38. For the statistics, see DOS report, “Workload Statistics by Post Regions for AllVisa ClassesJune 18, 2004. One post-9/11 screening process, known as Condor, has conducted over 130, 000 extra name-checks. DOS letter, Karl Hofmann to the Commission, Apr. 5, 2004. The checks have caused significant delays in some cases but have never resulted in visas being denied on terrorism grounds. For a discussion of visa delays, see General Accounting Office report, “Border Security: Improvements Needed to Reduce Time Taken to AdjudicateVisas for Science Students and Scholars, ” Feb. 2004. We do not know all the reasons why visa applications have dropped so significantly. Several factors beyond the visa process itself include the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, which requires additional screening processes for certain groups from Arab and Muslim countries; the Iraq war; and per NOTES TO CHAPTER 12 565

haps cyclical economic factors. For the cost to the United States of visa backlogs, see National Foreign Trade Council report, “Visa Backlog Costs U. S. Exporters More Than $30 Billion Since 2002, New Study Finds, ” June 2, 2004 (online at www. nftc. org/newsflash/newsflash. asp?Mode=View&articleid=1686&Category=All).

39. These issues are on the G-8 agenda. White House press release, “G-8 Secure and Facilitated Travel Initiative (SAFTI), ”June 9, 2004 (online at www. whitehouse. gov/news/releases/2004/06/20040609-51. html). Lax passport issuance standards are among the vulnerabilities exploited by terrorists, possibly including two of the 9/11 hijackers. Three models exist for strengthened prescreening: (1) better screening by airlines, such as the use of improved document authentication technology; (2) posting of border agents or inspectors in foreign airports to work cooperatively with foreign counterparts; and (3) establishing a full preinspection regime, such as now exists for travel to the United States from Canada and Ireland. All three models should be pursued, in addition to electronic prescreening .

40. Among the more important problems to address is that of varying transliterations of the same name. For example, the current lack of a single convention for transliterating Arabic names enabled the 19 hijackers to vary the spelling of their names to defeat name-based watchlist systems and confuse any potential efforts to locate them. While the gradual introduction of biometric identifiers will help, that process will take years, and a name match will always be useful. The ICAO should discuss the adoption of a standard requiring a digital code for all names that need to be translated into the Roman alphabet, ensuring one common spelling for all countries.

41. On achieving more reliable identification, see Markle Foundation task force report, Creating a Trusted Information Network for Homeland Security (Markle Foundation, 2003), p. 72 (online at www. markle. org).

42. General Accounting Office report, MassTransit: Federal Action Could HelpTransit Agencies Address Security Challenges, GAO-03-263, Dec. 2002 (online at www. gao. gov/new. items/d03263. pdf). 13 How to Do It? A Different Way of Organizing the Government 1. The Bush administration clarified the respective missions of the different intelligence analysis centers in a letter sent by Secretary Ridge, DCITenet, FBI Director Mueller, andTTIC Director Brennan to Senators Susan Collins and Carl Levin on April 13, 2004. The letter did not mention any element of the Department of Defense. It stated that the DCI would define what analytical resources he would transfer from the CTC to TTIC no later than June 1, 2004. DCI Tenet subsequently told us that he decided that TTIC would have primary responsibility for terrorism analysis but that the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency would grow their own analysts. TTIC will have tasking authority over terrorism analysts in other intelligence agencies, although there will need to be a board to supervise deconfliction. George Tenet interview (July 2, 2004). We have not received any details regarding this plan.

2. “TTIC has no operational authority. However, TTIC has the authority to task collection and analysis from Intelligence Community agencies, the FBI, and DHS through tasking mechanisms we will create. The analytic work conducted at TTIC creates products that inform each of TTIC’s partner elements, as well as other Federal departments and agencies as appropriate. ” Letter from Ridge and others to Collins and Levin, Apr. 13, 2004.

3. Donald Rumsfeld prepared statement, Mar. 23, 2004, p. 20.

4. In this conception, the NCTC should plan actions, assigning responsibilities for operational direction and execution to other agencies. It would be built on TTIC and would be supported by the intelligence community as TTIC is now. Whichever route is chosen, the scarce analytical resources now dispersed amongTTIC, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Joint Interagency Task Force--Combatting Terrorism (JITF-CT), and the DCI’s Counterterrorist Center (CTC) should be concentrated more effectively than they are now. • The DCI’s Counterterrorist Center would become a CIA unit, to handle the direction and execution of tasks assigned to the CIA. It could have detailees from other agencies, as it does now, to perform this operational mission. It would yield much of the broader, strategic analytic duties and personnel to the NCTC. The CTC would rely on the restructured CIA (discussed in section 13. 2) to organize, train, and equip its personnel. • Similarly, the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division would remain, as now, the operational arm of the Bureau to combat terrorism. As it does now, it would work with other agencies in carrying out these missions, retaining the JTTF structure now in place. The Counterterrorism Division would rely on the FBI’s Office of Intelligence to train and equip its personnel, helping to process and report the information gathered in the field. • The Defense Department’s unified commands--SOCOM, NORTHCOM, and CENTCOM--would be the joint operational centers taking on DOD tasks. Much of the excellent analytical talent that has been assembled in the Defense Intelligence Agency’s JITF-CT should merge into the planned NCTC. • The Department of Homeland Security’s Directorate for Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection should retain its core duties, but the NCTC should have the ultimate responsibility for producing net assessments that utilize Homeland Security’s analysis of domestic vulnerabilities and integrate all-source analysis of foreign intelligence about the terrorist enemy. • The State Department’s counterterrorism office would be a critical participant in the NCTC’s work, taking the lead in directing the execution of the counterterrorism foreign policy mission.


The proposed National Counterterrorism Center should offer one-stop shopping to agencies with counterterrorism and homeland security responsibilities. That is, it should be an authoritative reference base on the transnational terrorist organizations: their people, goals, strategies, capabilities, networks of contacts and support, the context in which they operate, and their characteristic habits across the life cycle of operations--recruitment, reconnaissance, target selection, logistics, and travel. For example, this Center would offer an integrated depiction of groups like al Qaeda or Hezbollah worldwide, overseas, and in the United States. The NCTC will not eliminate the need for the executive departments to have their own analytic units. But it would enable agency-based analytic units to become smaller and more efficient. In particular, it would make it possible for these agency-based analytic units to concentrate on analysis that is tailored to their agency’s specific responsibilities. A useful analogy is in military intelligence. There, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the service production agencies (like the Army’s National Ground Intelligence Center) are the institutional memory and reference source for enemy order of battle, enemy organization, and enemy equipment. Yet the Joint Staff and all the theater commands still have their own J-2s. They draw on the information they need, tailoring and applying it to their operational needs. As they learn more from their tactical operations, they pass intelligence of enduring value back up to the Defense Intelligence Agency and the services so it can be evaluated, form part of the institutional memory, and help guide future collection. In our proposal, that reservoir of institutional memory about terrorist organizations would function for the government as a whole, and would be in the NCTC.

5. The head of the NCTC would thus help coordinate the operational side of these agencies, like the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. The intelligence side of these agencies, such as the FBI’s Office of Intelligence, would be overseen by the National Intelligence Director we recommend later in this chapter.

6. The quotation goes on:“It includes gaps in intelligence, but also intelligence that, like a string of pearls too precious to wear, is too sensitive to give to those who need it. It includes the alarm that fails to work, but also the alarm that has gone off so often it has been disconnected. It includes the unalert watchman, but also the one who knows he’ll be chewed out by his superior if he gets higher authority out of bed. It includes the contingencies that occur to no one, but also those that everyone assumes somebody else is taking care of. It includes straightforward procrastination, but also decisions protracted by internal disagreement. It includes, in addition, the inability of individual human beings to rise to the occasion until they are sure it is the occasion--which is usually too late. . . . Finally, as at Pearl Harbor, surprise may include some measure of genuine novelty introduced by the enemy, and some sheer bad luck. ”Thomas Schelling, foreword to Roberta Wohlstetter, Pearl Harbor:Warning and Decision (Stanford Univ. Press, 1962), p. viii.

7. For the Goldwater-Nichols Act, see Pub. L. No. 99-433, 100 Stat. 992 (1986). For a general discussion of the act, see Gordon Lederman, Reorganizing the Joint Chiefs of Staff:The Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 (Greenwood, 1999); James Locher, Victory on the Potomac:The Goldwater-Nichols Act Unifies the Pentagon (Texas A&M Univ. Press, 2003).

8. For a history of the DCI’s authority over the intelligence community, see CIA report, Michael Warner ed. , Central Intelligence; Origin and Evolution (CIA Center for the Study of Intelligence, 2001). For the Director’s view of his community authorities, see DCI directive, “Director of Central Intelligence Directive 1/1:The Authorities and Responsibilities of the Director of Central Intelligence as Head of the U. S. Intelligence Community, ” Nov. 19, 1998.

9. As Norman Augustine, former chairman of Lockheed Martin Corporation, writes regarding power in the government, “As in business, cash is king. If you are not in charge of your budget, you are not king. ”Norman Augustine, Managing to Survive inWashington:A Beginner’s Guide to High-Level Management in Government (Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2000), p. 20.

10. For the DCI and the secretary of defense, see 50 U. S. C. § 403-6(a). If the director does not concur with the secretary’s choice, then the secretary is required to notify the president of the director’s nonconcurrence. Ibid. For the DCI and the attorney general, see 50 U. S. C. § 403-6(b)(3).

11. The new program would replace the existing National Foreign Intelligence Program.

12. Some smaller parts of the current intelligence community, such as the State Department’s intelligence bureau and the Energy Department’s intelligence entity, should not be funded out of the national intelligence program and should be the responsibility of their home departments.

13. The head of the NCTC should have the rank of a deputy national intelligence director, e. g. , Executive Level II, but would have a different title.

14. If the organization of defense intelligence remains as it is now, the appropriate official would be the under secretary of defense for intelligence. If defense intelligence is reorganized to elevate the responsibilities of the director of the DIA, then that person might be the appropriate official.

15. For the information technology architecture, see Ruth David interview (June 10, 2003). For the necessity of moving from need-to-know to need-to-share, see James Steinberg testimony, Oct. 14, 2003. The Director still has no strategy for removing information-sharing barriers and--more than two years since 9/11--has only appointed a working group on the subject. George Tenet prepared statement, Mar. 24, 2004, p. 37.


16. The intelligence community currently makes information shareable by creating “tearline” reports, with the nonshareable information at the top and then, below the “tearline, ” the portion that recipients are told they can share. This proposal reverses that concept. All reports are created as tearline data, with the shareable information at the top and with added details accessible on a system that requires permissions or authentication.

17. See Markle FoundationTask Force report, Creating aTrusted Information Network for Homeland Security (Markle Foundation, 2003);Markle Foundation Task Force report, Protecting America’s Freedom in the Information Age (Markle Foundation, 2002) (both online at www. markle. org).

18. Markle Foundation Task Force report, Creating a Trusted Information Network, p. 12. The pressing need for such guidelines was also spotlighted by the Technology and Privacy Advisory Committee appointed by Secretary Rumsfeld to advise the Department of Defense on the privacy implications of its Terrorism Information Awareness Program. Technology and Privacy Advisory Committee report, Safeguarding Privacy in the Fight Against Terrorism (2004) (online at www. sainc. com/tapac/TAPAC_Report_Final_5-10-04. pdf). We take no position on the particular recommendations offered in that report, but it raises issues that pertain to the government as a whole-- not just to the Department of Defense.

19. This change should eliminate the need in the Senate for the current procedure of sequential referral of the annual authorization bill for the national foreign intelligence program. In that process, the Senate Armed Services Committee reviews the bill passed by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence before the bill is brought before the full Senate for consideration.

20. This recommendation, and measures to assist the Bureau in developing its intelligence cadre, are included in the report accompanying the Commerce, Justice and State Appropriations Act for FiscalYear 2005, passed by the House of Representatives on July 7, 2004. H. R. Rep. No. 108-576, 108th Cong. , 2d sess. (2004), p. 22.

21. Letter from Ridge and others to Collins and Levin, Apr. 13, 2004.

22. For the directorate’s current capability, see Patrick Hughes interview (Apr. 2, 2004).



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