Over four years ago, more than four months prior
to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, in April 2001, a long-term FBI informant/asset
who had been providing the bureau with information since 1990 provided two FBI
agents and a translator with specific information regarding a terrorist attack
being planned by Osama bin Laden. This asset/informant was previously a high-level
intelligence officer in Iran in charge of intelligence from Afghanistan. Through
his contacts in Afghanistan he received information that: (1) Osama bin Laden
was planning a major terrorist attack in the United States targeting four or
five major cities; (2) the attack was going to involve airplanes; (3) some of
the individuals in charge of carrying out this attack were already in place
in the United States; and (4) the attack was going to be carried out soon, in
a few months. The agents who received this information reported it to their
superior, Special Agent in Charge of Counterterrorism Thomas Frields, at the
FBI Washington field office, by filing "302" forms, and the translator,
Mr. Behrooz Sarshar, translated and documented this information. No action was
taken by Frields, and after 9/11 the agents and the translators were told to
keep quiet regarding this issue. The translator who was present during the session
with the FBI informant, Mr. Behrooz Sarshar, reported this incident to Director
Mueller in writing, and later to the Department of Justice inspector general.
The press reported this incident, and in fact the report in the Chicago Tribune
on July 21, 2004, stated that FBI officials had confirmed that this information
was received in April 2001, and further, the Chicago Tribune quoted an
aide to Director Mueller saying that Mueller was surprised the 9/11 Commission
never raised this particular issue with him during the hearing. Mr. Sarshar
reported this issue to the 9/11 Commission on Feb. 12, 2004, and provided them
with specific dates, locations, witness names, and the contact information for
that particular Iranian asset and the two special agents who received the information.
I provided the 9/11 Commission with a detailed and specific account of this
issue, the names of other witnesses, and documents I had seen. Mr. Sarshar also
provided the Department of Justice inspector general with specific information
regarding this case.
For almost four years since Sept. 11, officials refused to admit to having
specific information regarding the terrorists' plans to attack the United States.
The Phoenix Memo,
received months prior to the 9/11 attacks, specifically warned FBI HQ of pilot
training and their possible link to terrorist activities against the United
States. Four months prior to the terrorist attacks the Iranian asset provided
the FBI with specific information regarding the "use of airplanes,"
"major U.S. cities as targets," and "Osama bin Laden issuing
the order." Coleen
Rowley likewise reported that specific information had been provided to
FBI HQ. All this information went to the same place: FBI headquarters in Washington,
D.C., and the FBI Washington field office.
In October 2001, approximately one month after the Sept. 11 attacks, an agent
from one field office (city name omitted) re-sent a certain document to the
FBI Washington field office, so that it could be retranslated. This special
agent, in light of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, rightfully believed that, considering
the suspect under surveillance and the issues involved, the original translation
might have missed certain information that could prove to be valuable in the
investigation of terrorist activities. After this document was received by the
FBI Washington field office and retranslated verbatim, the field agent's hunch
appeared to be correct. The new translation revealed certain information regarding
blueprints, pictures, and building material for skyscrapers being sent overseas
(country name omitted). It also revealed certain illegal activities in obtaining
visas from certain embassies in the Middle East through network contacts and
bribery. However, after the re-translation was completed and the new significant
information was revealed, the unit supervisor in charge of certain Middle Eastern
languages, Mike Feghali, decided not to send the retranslated
information to the special agent who had requested it. Instead, this supervisor
decided to send this agent a note stating that the translation was reviewed
and that the original translation was accurate. This supervisor, Mike Feghali,
stated that sending the accurate translation would hurt the original translator
and would cause problems for the FBI language department. The FBI agent requesting
the retranslation never received the accurate translation of that document.
I provided this information to the 9/11 Commission on Feb. 13, 2004, and to
the Department of Justice inspector general in May 2002.
The latest buzz topic regarding intelligence is the problem of sharing information
within and among intelligence agencies. To date, the public has not been told
of intentional blocking of intelligence, and has not been told that certain
information, despite its direct links to terrorist-related activities, is not
given to or shared with counterterrorism units. This was the case prior to 9/11,
and remained so after 9/11. If counterintelligence receives information that
contains money-laundering, illegal arms sales, and illegal drug activities directly
linked to terrorist activities, and if that information involves certain nations
or semi-legit organizations, that information is not shared with counterterrorism,
regardless of the possible severe consequences. In certain cases, frustrated
FBI agents cited "direct pressure by the State Department" and in
other cases "sensitive diplomatic relations." I provided the Department
of Justice inspector general and the 9/11 Commission with detailed and specific
information and evidence regarding this issue, the names of other witnesses
willing to corroborate this, and the names of certain U.S. officials involved
in these transactions and activities.
Now, after almost four years, we get to hear new bits and pieces: the Midhar
case, the Abdel-Hafiz
case, the Youssef
case, Saudi planes leaving just days after 9/11 without having the passengers
questioned… and the list goes on.
Today, nearly four years since 9/11, the American people still do not know
that thousands of lives are jeopardized under the unspoken policy of protecting
certain foreign business relations. The victims' family members still do not
realize that answers they have sought relentlessly for almost four years have
been blocked due to the unspoken decisions made and disguised under safeguarding
certain diplomatic relations.
Where is the so-called congressional oversight? Why did the 9/11 Commission
intentionally omit this info, although they've had it all along? Where is accountability?