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Mueller Admits FBI's Negligence in 9-11 Investigation
by David Johnson
Email: jpchance (nospam) egroups.com
Address: 72 Peterborough Street, Boston MA 02215 USA
10 May 2002
Well, what do you expect when the FBI-CIA "counter-terrorism" group is manipulated by the Mossad which is manipulated by the World Bank Group...?
F.B.I. Says Pre-Sept. 11 Note Got Little Notice
by DAVID JOHNSTON
ASHINGTON, May 8 — Robert S. Mueller III, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, acknowledged today at a Senate hearing that his agency had paid too little attention to a July 2001 memorandum written by an F.B.I. agent in Phoenix who detected a disturbing pattern of Middle Eastern men attending American flight training schools.
"Should we have done more in terms of the Phoenix E.C.?" Mr. Mueller said of the memorandum, referring to it as an electronic communication. "Yes."
Several Democratic senators at the Judiciary Committee hearing criticized what they said was the bureau's tepid response to the memorandum's conclusions, suggesting that the F.B.I.may have missed a chance, two months before the attacks, to investigate Arab men at American flight schools.
Only one paragraph of the classified memorandum has been made public. But government officials have said the bureau agent concluded in the document that a number of Arab men with possible ties to terrorism had attended flight schools. He urged the bureau to conduct a nationwide review.
Today, Mr. Mueller defended the agency's handling of the memorandum. He said that the memorandum mentioned several people by name but that none were found to have had any ties to the 19 hijackers. One or more may still be under investigation, and some could have ties to terrorist groups.
"He made a recommendation that we initiate a program to look at flight schools," Mr. Mueller said of the agent. "That was received at headquarters. It was not acted on by Sept. 11th. I should say in passing that even if we had followed those suggestions at that time, it would not, given what we know since Sept. 11, have enabled us to prevent the attacks of Sept. 11."
Mr. Mueller said the recommendation to investigate Middle Eastern men in flight schools was regarded at the time as "a monumental undertaking without any specificity as to particular persons, the individuals who were being investigated."
But some senators seemed unwilling to accept Mr. Mueller's assurances and the prickly exchanges between Mr. Mueller and Democratic senators indicated how sentiment in Congress had swung sharply away from the prevailing mood after the attacks. Back then, lawmakers seemed unwilling to criticize agencies, like the bureau and the Central Intelligence Agency, which were trying to thwart fresh attacks.
Under questioning, Mr. Mueller said he doubted that the memorandum was reviewed at a senior level by agency directors. He said he did not believe that the memorandum had been sent to the joint C.I.A.-F.B.I. counterterrorism center. Mr. Mueller added that he did not believe that the agents who investigated Zacarias Moussaoui, whom the government says was intended to be the 20th hijacker, in August had been told of the Phoenix memorandum.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, said the memorandum was "much more consequential than many of them that I read on almost a daily basis now, much fuller, much more descriptive." Ms. Feinstein added, "It was something that perhaps should have gone right to the director of the F.B.I., and perhaps he should have even sent it to the president."
John Edwards, Democrat of North Carolina, said, "The American people are entitled to know why red flags were ignored, and I think the F.B.I. has a lot of explaining to do."
Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, said, "I believe the Phoenix memo is going to come to be one of the most important documents in our national debate about whether we did enough to protect America from the attack of Sept. 11th."
Bush administration officials have said they had no evidence that any agency had warning of the attacks, but today's hearing indicated that Democrats were willing to challenge those assertions.
The questions are surfacing as Congress prepares for joint hearings on the performance of counterterrorism agencies in the months before to the hijackings. Investigators are examining the files and have conducted meetings with the F.B.I.
Meanwhile, the rest of the world already knows....