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The Joint Inquiry Chairmen "in conflict of interest"
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This article was first published in the Fall 2002 issue og Global Outlook. For a more indepth analysis see Michel Chossudovsky's book entitled: War and Globalisaiton, the Truth behind September 11, Global Outlook, Shanty Bay, Ont., 2002
"Nothing changes because the intelligence committees are cozy clubs. They operate in secret and are accountable to absolutely no one. They see all sorts of classified stuff but aren't required to undergo background checks." (James Ridgeway)
In the late days of August 2001, barely two weeks before 9/11, Senator Bob Graham and Representative Porter Goss, the chairmen of the Senate and House Select Committees on Intelligence were in Islamabad for "routine" consultations with President Musharraf and the head of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) General Mahmoud Ahmad.
Now it just happens –according to several press and an intelligence report of the Indian government– that General Ahmad had been playing a behind the scenes role in financing the 9/11 terrorists.1 According to an FBI report released in late September 2001, $100.000 had allegedly been transferred to the Florida bank account of suspected 9/11 ring-leader Mohamed Atta.2 The Indian intelligence report states that the money transfer was on the orders of General Mahmoud Ahmad.
The FBI report, while not mentioning the General's name, points to their efforts to "close in on the highjackers high commander, the money men, the planners and the mastermind" suggesting that 9/11 was not an isolated act of terrorism but a carefully designed intelligence operation.3 Apart from their meetings with Pakistan's military-intelligence brass, the US Congressional delegation also met the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef. At this meeting, which was barely mentioned by the US media, "Zaeef assured the US delegation [on behalf of the Afghan government] that the Taliban would never allow bin Laden to use Afghanistan to launch attacks on the US or any other country." 4 Note the sequencing of these meetings: Sen. Bob Graham and Rep. Porter Goss were in Islamabad in late August, meeting the alleged "money-man" General Ahmad. In turn, the General arrives in Washington on an official visit of consultations barely a few days later (September 4th). During his visit to Washington, General Ahmad meets his counterpart CIA director George Tenet and high ranking officials of the Bush administration.5
9/11 "Follow-up Meeting" on Capitol Hill
On the morning of September 11, Sen Bob Graham and Rep. Porter Goss were hosting a breakfast meeting on Capitol Hill. in honour of their Pakistani guest General Ahmad, The meeting's business pertained to "combating terrorism". Also present at the breakfast venue were Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S. Maleeha Lodhi and several members of the Senate and House Intelligence committees. The breakfast meeting was described by one press report as a "follow-up meeting" to that held in Pakistan in late August:
"On 8/30, Senate Intelligence Committee chair Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) 'was on a mission to learn more about terrorism.' (…) On 9/11, Graham was back in DC 'in a follow-up meeting with' Pakistan intelligence agency chief Mahmud Ahmed and House Intelligence Committee chair Porter Goss (R-FL)" 6 (The Hotline, 1 October 2002):
"When the news [of the attacks on the WTC] came, the two Florida lawmakers who lead the House and Senate intelligence committees were having breakfast with the head of the Pakistani intelligence service. Rep. Porter Goss, R-Sanibel, Sen. Bob Graham and other members of the House Intelligence Committee were talking about terrorism issues with the Pakistani official when a member of Goss' staff handed a note to Goss, who handed it to Graham. "We were talking about terrorism, specifically terrorism generated from Afghanistan," Graham said. (...) Mahmood Ahmed, director general of Pakistan's intelligence service, was "very empathetic, sympathetic to the people of the United States," Graham said. Goss could not be reached Tuesday [September 11]. He was whisked away with much of the House leadership to an undisclosed "secure location." Graham, meanwhile, participated in late-afternoon briefings with top officials from the CIA and FBI." 7
Colin Powell meets the alleged "Money Man"
Confirmed by the Miami Herald, General Ahmad met Secretary of State Colin Powell in the immediate wake of the 9/11attacks: "Graham said the Pakistani intelligence official with whom he met, a top general in the government, was forced to stay all week in Washington because of the shutdown of air traffic ‘He was marooned here, and I think that gave Secretary of State Powell and others in the administration a chance to really talk with him'. Graham said."8 Again the political significance of the relationship between General Ahmad and Secretary of State Colin Powell is casually dismissed. According to The Miami Herald, the high level meeting between the two men was not planned in advance. It took place on the spare of the moment because of the shut down of air traffic, which prevented General Mahmoud Ahmad from flying back home to Islamabad on a commercial flight, when in all probability the General and his delegation were traveling on a chartered government plane.
"A Cloak but No Dagger"
With the exception of the Florida press (and Salon.com, 14 September), not a word was mentioned in the US media's September coverage of 9-11 concerning this mysterious breakfast reunion. Was this mysterious breakfast venue a "political lapse", an intelligence failure or something far more serious?Eight months later on the 18th of May 2002, two days after the "BUSH KNEW" headline hit the tabloids, the Washington Post published an article on Rep. Porter Goss, entitled: "A Cloak But No Dagger; An Ex-Spy Says He Seeks Solutions, Not Scapegoats for 9/11". Focusing on his career as a CIA agent, the article largely served to underscore the integrity of Porter Goss as well as his commitment to waging a "war on terrorism". Yet in an isolated paragraph, the article acknowledges the mysterious 9/11 breakfast meeting with ISI Chief Mahmoud Ahmad, while also confirming that "Ahmad :ran a spy agency notoriously close to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban":
"Now the main question facing Goss, as he helps steer a joint House-Senate investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks, is why nobody in the far-flung intelligence bureaucracy -- 13 agencies spending billions of dollars -- paid attention to the enemy among us. Until it was too late. Goss says he is looking for solutions, not scapegoats.
"A lot of nonsense," he calls this week's uproar about a CIA briefing that alerted President Bush, five weeks before Sept. 11, that Osama bin Laden's associates might be planning airline hijackings. "None of this is news, but it's all part of the finger-pointing," Goss declared yesterday in a rare display of pique. "It's foolishness." [This statement comes from the man who was having breakfast with the alleged "money-man" behind 9-11 on the morning of September 11] (...) Goss has repeatedly refused to blame an "intelligence failure" for the terror attacks. As a 10-year veteran of the CIA's clandestine operations wing, Goss prefers to praise the agency's "fine work." (...) On the morning of Sept. 11, Goss and Graham were having breakfast with a Pakistani general named Mahmud Ahmed -- the soon-to-be-sacked head of Pakistan's intelligence service. Ahmed ran a spy agency notoriously close to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. 9 (Washington Post, 18 May 2002)
"Putting Two and Two together"
While the Washington Post scores in on the "notoriously close" links between General Ahmad and Osama bin Laden, it fails to dwell on the more important question: what were Rep. Porter Goss and Senator Bob Graham and other members of the Senate and House intelligence committees doing together with the alleged 9/11 "money-man" at breakfast on the morning of 9/11. In other words, the Washington Post report does not go one inch further in begging the real question: Was this mysterious breakfast venue a "political lapse", an intelligence failure or something far more serious? How come the very same individuals (Goss and Graham) who had developed a personal rapport with the General, had been entrusted under the joint committee inquiry "to reveal the truth on 9-11."(see p. ) The media trivialises the breakfast meeting, it presents it as a unrelated news item and fails to "put two and two together". Neither does it acknowledge the fact, amply documented, that "the money-man" behind the hijackers had been entrusted by the Pakistani government to discuss the precise terms of Pakistan's "collaboration" in the "war on terrorism" in meetings held behind closed doors at the State department on the 12th and 13th of September. 11.10
When the "foreknowledge" issue hit the street on May 16th, "Chairman Porter Goss said an existing congressional inquiry has so far found 'no smoking gun' that would warrant another inquiry."11 ( White House Bulletin, 17 May 2002) This statement points to an obvious "cover-up". The smoking gun was right there sitting in the plush surroundings of the Congressional breakfast venue on Capitol on the morning of September 11.
!. Times of India, 9 October 2001
2. The substance of the FBI report was outlined on ABC News, September 30, 2001. For further details, see Michel Chossudovsky, War and Globalisation, the Truth behind September 11, Global Ourlook, Shanty Bay, 2002, chapters 4 and 10.
4 Agence France Presse (AFP), 28 August 2001.
5. Michel Chossudovsky, Political Deception, The Missing Link behind 9/11, Global Outlook, No. 2, 2002.
6. The Hotline, 1 October 2002).
7 Stuart News Company Press Journal, Vero Beach, FL, 12 September 2001.
8 Miami Herald, 16 September 2001. 9. Washington Post, 18 May 2002.
10 Michel Chossudovsky, War and Globalisation, chapter 4.
11.White House Bulletin, 17 May 2002.
Michel Chossudovsky, is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa, Director of the Centre for Research on Globalisaiton (CRG) and author of "War and Globalisation, the Truth behind September 11, Global Outlook, Shanty Bay, On. 2002. © Copyright 2003 For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .