Centre for Research on Globalisation
Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation

The So-Called "Intelligence Failure" of 9/11:

Facts on Public Record Clearly Show FBI Had Three 9/11 Hijackers Under Surveillance.

by John A. McCurdy

www.globalresearch.ca 19 September 2003

The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/309A.html

A transcript of McCurdy's panel presentation in Toronto at the Bloor Cinema screening of Guerrilla News Network documentary, "Aftermath: Unanswered Questions From 9/11."


I would like to focus on what 9/11 Skeptics call the official narrative, or story, of what happened on September 11, 2001. In May 2002, a series of government and media disclosures revealed that U.S. intelligence and military communities had had a great deal of foreknowledge of the method of attack, the targets, and at least some of the 9/11 hijackers. Nevertheless, it was argued, there had been no decisive "smoking gun" evidence pinpointing exact specifics about the attacks, which might otherwise have rendered them preventable.

The range of dissenting official voices that spoke out against the handling of Sept. 11 by the Bush administration, however, was noticeable. Internet journalist and editor Russ Kick collected a number of these statements together at his website, The Memory Hole, in July.

On June 1, 2002, Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff told the press: "As of September 10th, each of us knew everything we needed to know to tell us there was a possibility of what happened on September 11." Two days later, Senator Richard Shelby said of 9/11: "They don't have any excuse because the information was in their lap, and they didn't do anything to prevent it." Three days after Shelby, on June 6th, Senator Arlen Specter put the matter even more decisively: "I don't believe any longer that it's a matter of connecting dots. I think they had a veritable blueprint, and we want to know why they didn't act on it." [1]

The comments of these two Senators, moreover, cannot be dismissed as politically partisan. Shelby, at the time, had been the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and member of the joint intelligence committee investigating 9/11. Specter had also been a Republican member of the joint intelligence committee investigating 9/11.

Building on the so-called "failure to connect the dots" official narrative, and the disturbing comments of Chertoff, Shelby, and Specter, let's turn to a small sampling of information available in the public domain pertinent to "connecting the dots" of the 9/11 attacks. My three examples were published by the corporate media - one by ABCNews.com, the other two by Newsweek. In doing so, I want to challenge and disagree with two truisms of the ""intelligence failures": first, that the public has no right to think about - let alone question - the intensely suspicious decisions made by the CIA, supposedly with respect to "information hoarding" (the so-called intelligence "turf wars"); and second, the claim that the FBI had not collected full intelligence on 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, and Hani Hanjour.

On May 23, 2002, ABCNews.com pubished John McWethy's article, "FBI Was Warned of Sept. 11 Hijacker," the story of Phoenix, Arizona FBI informant Aukai Collins, and author of My Jihad. Collins established a strong relationship with Hani Hanjour while Hanjour was taking flying lessons. He claims he told the FBI all about Hanjour. "The FBI knew Hanjour lived in Phoenix ... knew his exact address, his phone number ... even what car he drove." Though the FBI denied Collins' claim, ABCNews.com sides with Collins. "The FBI either failed to monitor Hanjour's communications, or Hanjour practiced extraordinary skills in hiding his intention - because the FBI never regarded him as a threat."

Now, take the ABCNews.com article, and compare it with two others from Newsweek: "The Hijackers We Let Escape," by Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman, published June 10, 2002; and Michael Isikoff's "Exclusive: The Informant Who Lived With the Hijackers," from September 16, 2002. [2]

Together, these article reported that the CIA monitored a key al-Qaeda planning meeting in Malaysia in January 2000 at which 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar had been present. The two were then tracked by the CIA to California. The official story states that, for unknowable reasons, the CIA decided not to inform the FBI, or the INS - the Immigration Naturalization Service. But if that is so, how is it that Alhazmi and Almihdhar were personally approached, while taking flying lessons in San Diego, by another FBI informant, who not only helped one open a bank account, but also became their landlord? This informant claimed he had no reason to be suspicious of the two Saudi men, and that consequently his FBI case officer allegedly chose not to further investigate Alhazmi or Almihdhar.

Taken together, the ABCNews.com and Newsweek articles tell us that in two locations FBI informants established strong - almost intimate - connections with three of the 9/11 hijackers. Yet we are to believe the CIA when it claims it "failed" to inform the FBI and the INS. Only the most compliant mind could, in my opinion, accept the offiical story that the FBI was out in the dark, when it came to specific knowledge and surveillance of these three 9/11 hijackers. In fact, the evidence suggests that the FBI had the three men under careful surveillance. The ultimate suggestion, perhaps, is that the CIA and the FBI were watching when these three men boarded airplanes, flown into targets on the morning of September 11.

Indeed, the official story states that the CIA finally did inform the INS, the FBI, the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority), and the U.S. State Department on August 23, 2001, about Alhazmi and Almihdhar, though the claim is that the U.S. government was told to screen for these individuals on incoming flights only. On August 25th, two days later, Alhazmi and Alhmihdhar purchased their Sept. 11 plane tickets, using a credit card registered under one of the hijacker's real names. [3] That left a little over eighteen days for the name, credit card, and ticket sales to be tracked. Considering the number of terrorist warnings pouring into the United States in the summer of 2001, the story that these three 9/11 hijackers escaped the watchful eye of U.S. intelligence proves highly, if not positively, implausible.

To date, the best and most valuable book published on 9/11 is Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed's The War on Freedom: How and Why American Was Attacked, September 11, 2001. The work apppeared within a month of Shelby's, Specter's and Chertoff's observations. Ahmed's book directly influenced subsequent 9/11 Skeptic writings by Gore Vidal - his book Dreaming War: Blood For Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta - and former UK environment minister Michael Meacher's September 6, 2003 Guardian article, "This war on terrorism is bogus." [4]

In The War on Freedom, Ahmed draws the following conclusion about the so-called "intelligence failure" of Sept. 11:

"significant elements of the Bush administration did indeed receive advance warning of the attacks, but refused to act in the interests of the general public by pursuing measures to prevent the attacks ... the 'intelligence failure' was in fact not a failure at all, but a directive - or rather, the inevitable culmination of carefully imposed high-level directives and blocks that restrained agencies from acting on the very clear intelligence received ... unless a full-blown inquiry into this process is mounted soon, there is little doubt that more innocent Americans will pay with their lives again." [5]

Two major, illegal, destructive wars - one in Afghanistan, the other in Iraq this spring - have so far been fought almost entirely on the merits of the official narrative of Sept. 11. [6] How much longer can we afford to allow the many inconsistencies and apparent lies of the official narrative to justify a so-called "War on Terror"?


[1] Russ Kick, "High-Ranking Officials Admit 9/11 Could've Been Prevented," The Memory Hole, July 2003: http://www.thememoryhole.org/911/911-preventable.htm .

[2] Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman, "The Hijackers We Let Escape," Newsweek, June 10, 2002, archived at propagandamatrix.com: http://propagandamatrix.com/The_Hijackers_We_Let_Escape.htm . Michael Isikoff, "Exclusive: The Informant Who Lived With the Hijackers," Newsweek, September 16, 2002, archived at propagandamatrix.com: http://www.propagandamatrix.com/the_informant_who_lived_with_the_hijackers.htm .

[3] Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman, "The Hijackers We Let Escape."

[4] Gore Vidal, Dreaming War: Blood For Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta (New York: Thunder's Mouth Press/Nation Books, 2002). Michael Meacher, "This war on terrorism is bogus," The Guardian, September 6, 2003: http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/comment/0,12956,1036687,00.html. See also Michael Meacher's attempt to deny his earlier article's conspiratorial implications, "Cock-up not conspiracy," The Guardian, September 13, 2003: http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,3604,1041243,00.html .

[5] Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, The War on Freedom: How and Why America Was Attacked, September 11, 2001 (Joshua Tree, California: Tree of Life Publications/Media Messenger Books, 2002), 131-132.

[6] George W. Bush, "Text of Bush's address," Associated Press, March 20, 2003:

"We have no ambition in Iraq, except to remove a threat and restore control of that country to its own people. Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly, yet our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass destruction. We will meet that threat now with our Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of firefighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities. We will defend our freedom. We will bring freedom to others."

John A. McCurdy is the author and editor of the Hamilton Public Inquiry Into Sept. 11, published online in August 2002. He has been actively working to establish a well organized and interconnected community of Canadian 9/11 Skeptics. Contact John McCurdy at: [email protected] © Copyright J McCurdy 2003  For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .