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PRIOR WARNINGS OF PLANES CRASHING INTO BUILDINGS
The administration’s claim that terrorists crashing planes into buildings was not foreseeable is contradicted by numerous sources:
Initially, the CIA Director had warned congress shortly before 9/11 “that there could be an attack, an imminent attack, on the United Statesof this nature. So this is not entirely unexpected” according to a broadcast on National Public Radio
And the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee was “not surprised there was an attack (but) was surprised at the specificity . . . . (he was only) shocked at what actually happened — the extent of it”
But let’s go back and look at the facts chronologically:
Initially, the CIA Director had warned congress shortly before 9/11 “that there could be an attack, an imminent attack, on the United States of this nature. So this is not entirely unexpected” according to a broadcast on National Public Radio
And the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee was “not surprised there was an attack . . . .”
But let’s go back and look at the facts chronologically:
According to MSNBC, “There have been a slew of reports over the past decade of plots to use planes to strike American targets”.
In 1994, the government received information that international terrorists “had seriously considered the use of airplanes as a means of carrying out terrorist attacks” (see also this article).
In 1998, U.S. officials received reports concerning a “Bin Laden plot involving aircraft in the New York and Washington, areas.” Officials received reports that al Qaeda was trying to establish an operative cell in the United States and that bin Laden was attempting to recruit a group of five to seven young men from the United States to travel to the Middle East for training in conjunction with his plans to strike U.S. domestic targets. Indeed, the report concluded that “a group of unidentified Arabs planned to fly an explosive-laden plane . . . into the World Trade Center”.
A 1999 report for the National Intelligence Council warned that fanatics loyal to bin Laden might try to hijack a jetliner and fly it into the Pentagon..
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.
The Pentagon tracked the hijackers before 9/11.
And the U.S. received warnings from numerous foreign intelligence services about planned attacks, many of them quite detailed. Indeed, America’s closest ally apparently tracked the hijackers’ every movement prior to the attacks, and may have sent agents to film the attack on the World Trade Centers.
According to the New York Times, “Foreign [intelligence service] agents had infiltrated Osama bin Laden’s network and were carefully tracking its moves”, and — in January 2001 — the French intelligence services gave a report to the CIA entitled “Plan to hijack an aircraft by Islamic radicals”.
There were extraordinarily high terrorist attack threat levels in the summer of 2001, involving threats of attack within the U.S., and the U.S. government knew there were Al-Qaeda cells within the U.S. (or watch the video here).
In July 2001, a briefing prepared for senior government officials warned of “a significant terrorist attack against U.S. and/or Israeli interests in the coming weeks. The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties … (it) will occur with little or no warning.”.
FBI agents recommended to FBI headquarters, in July 2001, an urgent nationwide review of flight schools regarding terrorism, and mentioned Bin Laden by name.
A pre-9/11 National Intelligence Estimate was entitled “Islamic Extremists Learn to Fly”, and was apparently about Islamic people taking classes at U.S. flight schools.
President Bush was told in August 2001 that supporters of Bin Laden planned an attack within the U.S. with explosives and that they wanted to hijack airplanes.
A month before 9/11, the CIA sent a message to the Federal Aviation Administration warning of a possible hijacking “or an act of sabotage against a commercial airliner”.
The August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief was entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US”.
U.S. intelligence officials informed President Bush weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks that Bin Laden’s terrorist network might try to hijack American planes, and that information prompted administration officials to issue a private warning to transportation officials and national security agencies.
It was widely known within the FBI shortly before 9/11 that an imminent attack was planned on lower Manhattan.
An employee who worked in the Twin Towers stated “How could they let this happen? They knew this building was a target. Over the past few weeks we’d been evacuated a number of times, which is unusual. I think they had an inkling something was going on”
And a guard who worked in the world trade center stated that “officials had recently taken steps to secure the towers against aerial attacks”
On September 6, 2001, Condoleezza Rice was warned that a terrorist attack inside the United States was imminent
Also on September 6th, author Salman Rushdie is banned by US authorities from taking internal US flights; the FAA told his publisher the reason was that it had “intelligence of something about to happen”
The former FBI translator who the Department of Justice’s Inspector General, several senators (free subscription required), and a coalition of prominent conservative and liberal groups have claimed is credible says that the government was provided with information about the planned attacks, including the fact that the attacks would be carried out using airplanes, and some information about date ranges and targets. She says that – after 9/11 – the FBI translators were ordered to “keep quiet” regarding this information.
The National Security Agency and the FBI were both independently listening in on the phone calls between the supposed mastermind of the attacks and the lead hijacker. Indeed, the FBI built its own antenna in Madagascar specifically to listen in on the mastermind’s phone calls. The day before 9/11, the mastermind told the lead hijacker “tomorrow is zero hour” and gave final approval for the attacks. The NSA intercepted the message that day and the FBI was likely also monitoring the mastermind’s phone calls. (The NSA claims that it did not translate the intercept until September 12th; however, the above-mentioned FBI translator said that she was frequently ordered to falsify dates of translations regarding 9/11)
Shortly before 9/11, the NSA also intercepted multiple phone calls from Bin Laden’s chief of operations to the United States.
The CIA and the NSA had been intercepting phone calls by the hijackers for years.
Indeed, two days before 9/11, Osama Bin Laden called his stepmother and told her “In two days, you’re going to hear big news and you’re not going to hear from me for a while.” US officials later told CNN that “in recent years they’ve been able to monitor some of bin Laden’s telephone communications with his [step]mother. Bin Laden at the time was using a satellite telephone, and the signals were intercepted and sometimes recorded.” Indeed, before 9/11, to impress important visitors, NSA analysts would occasionally play audio tapes of bin Laden talking to his stepmother.
Newsweek stated “On Sept. 10, NEWSWEEK has learned, a group of top Pentagon officials suddenly canceled travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns” (pay-per-view; cached version of article here)
Indeed, the military had actually drilled for aerial attacks with planes: