Centre for Research on Globalisation
Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation


The cutting edge of the U.S. Government's pre-September 11 "do nothing policy" in regards to Al Qaeda terrorists.

The FBI's Radical Fundamentalist Unit in Washington D.C.

by Steve Moore

Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG),  Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation (CRM),  globalresearch.ca ,  18  August/ août  2002

Global Outlook , Issue No 2   9-11: Foreknowledge or Deception? Stop the Nuclear Threat. Now available (for details click here) .

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Dave Frasca is the key supervising special agent in the charge of the FBI's Radical Fundamentalist Unit in Washington D.C. According to Newsweek (June 3, 2002, p. 25) "Frasca was the agent in charge of the Moussaoui case and his office also received the Phoenix memo." The New York Times also confirms that the "FBI clearinghouse for Al Qaeda intelligence was the Bin Laden and Radical Fundamentalist Units...The units had complete access to the Phoenix memorandum, the Moussaoui case and the Ressam debriefings." (Ressam is the man with the bomb intended for the L.A. Airport who was arrested at the Canadian border in December, l999) (New York Times, May 27, 2002, p. A11)

Despite intense criticism of Dave Frasca by FBI agent Rowley in her famous report, she has never revealed publicly his name. Yet Patrick J.. Leahy (an anthrax target), Democrat of Vermont; Charles E. Grussley, Republican of Iowa and Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania "have identified Dave Frasca" as the cutting edge of the U.S. Government's pre-September 11 do nothing policy in regards to Al Qaeda terrorists.

This short article will detail the key supervisory role Dave Frasca played in the events of September 11.

First some background facts. On August 6, 2001, President Bush received a briefing by the CIA titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." (National Post, May20, 2002, p.1) The report was prepared at Mr. Bush's request after he became alarmed at warnings of "an impending attack in the summer of 2001." (National Post, May 20, 2002, p. A9) At the time, Bush was concerned about "domestic targets." Yet According to Jonathan Freeland (writing in the National Guardian, May30-June5, 2002 p. 11) "Vice President Dick Cheney sat on a Counter-Terrorism Bill passed to him in July, 2001. The Attorney General John Ashcroft refused a demand for more FBI anti-terrorism agents. The Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield did not deploy a predator drone aircraft which the Clinton Administration had used to track Bin Laden. National Security Advisor Condi Rice was warned by her Clintonite predecessor that she should spend more time on Al Qaeda than any other issue." She didn't

So on the one hand, we have the July unspecified "threat assessment", which has never been revealed, that caused President Bush to request the August 6th "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." report which was also classified. On the other hand, cabinet members are involved in cut backs and go slows in regards to anti-terrorist actions by their departments. Even though they undercut the personal security of the American people, there is evidence that cabinet members took the threats as a real personal danger to themselves. For example, Attorney General John Ashcroft, who presides over the FBI, was getting enough disturbing indications of an attack that he "begin using only chartered planes on private as well as public business." (Paul Knox "A Problem Named Ashcroft" Globe and Mail, June 7, 2002, p.

When the possibility came up of a Al Qaeda sucide-hijack smashing into CIA headquarters in 1995, "FBI agents descended upon flying schools in 1995." (San Francisco Chronicle, March 6, 2002, p. A11) This was the swift government response to police interrogations of Abul Hakim Murad and Ramzi Yoursef who were convicted in the United States and sentenced to life in prison for a plot to blow up 12 U.S. bound airlines flying out of Asia. Murad attended flight schools in New York, Texas, California and North Carolina. According to Filipino police report of 1995, "Murad's idea is that he will board an American commercial aircraft pretending to be an ordinary passenger, then he will hijack said aircraft, control its cockpit and dive it at CIA headquarters." Robert Delfin, Chief of Intelligence Command for the Philippines Police says, "We shared that with the FBI." (San Francisco Chronicle, March 6, 2002, p. A11) Murad was also in touch with 10 other Middle East men training in U.S. flight schools.

Special Agent Dave Frasca occupies a very important position mid-way between the Bush cabinet/FBI leadership and the FBI agents on the ground in various American cities. He is in the unusual position of taking important findings of intended radical Bin Laden-type terrorist actions to his supervisors, especially the heads of the FBI. Clearly, he was, along with the various world intelligence agencies, able to forward enough information through his supervisors to raise concerns with President Bush himself in July 2001.

FBI agent Kenneth Williams wrote the famous Phoenix memo on July 10, 2002 warning that Osama Bin Laden's foot soldiers might be training in American flight schools. Special Agent Dave Frasca, as the Head of the Radical Fundamentalist Unit in Washington D.C., received the memo. Kenneth Williams was the most senior member of a joint terrorist task force and according to Ronald Myers, a 31 year FBI veteran and William's former colleague, told the Los Angeles Times "He is one of the strongest agents I have ever met. Anyone in FBI management who wouldn't take what Williams said seriously is a fool." Dave Frasca got the memo but he is no "fool" as we shall see. (cnn.com, May20, 2002) Williams specifically recommended a nation-wide survey of Arab-American students attending flight schools. Unlike 1995, the FBI did not descent on flight schools as recommended by Senior Agent Kenneth Williams. Williams also recommended his memo be shared with other local FBI agents. It never was. The official view is that, unlike 1995, there were not enough agents available for the flight school survey. (Remember the cutbacks and refusals by cabinet members mentioned earlier)

Robert Mueller even refused to turn over the William's memo to Arlen Specter, a veteran Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. It remains "classified." (cnn.com, May 20, 2002) Both Ashcroft and Mueller claim to not know of the memo until after September 11.

Even the Rowley letter to Robert Mueller was a "classified letter" but someone in the Congressional Committee released an edited version. The Rowley letter is explosive. In her memo, she says the Minneapolis FBI office identified Moussaoui as "a terrorist threat" from a very early point. He was arrested on August 15, 2001. Rowley reports "within days" the French Intelligence service confirmed "Moussaoui's affiliations with radical fundamentalist Islamic groups." The Minneapolis agents "became desperate" to search the computer lap top taken (3 of 5)

from Moussaoui. Enter Dave Frasca. Frasca thought there was not "probable cause" to search the computer even after being informed of the reports from French Intelligence Services. Keep in mind, that Moussaoui had informed his flight instructors that he only wanted to learn how to fly and not to land or take off. When the flight instructors first phoned the Minneapolis office, they didn't get much of a response. The second time they mentioned the "plane as a missile" idea and the local FBI made the rest.

Just hours after Moussaoui was arrested Mr. Atlas, a student who drove Mr. Moussaoui from Oklahoma to a flight school in Minnesota, reported to the Minnesota FBI that Moussaoui believed it was "acceptable to kill civilians who harm Muslims and that he approved of Muslims who died as ‘martyrs' in such attacks." (New York Times, May 24, 2002, p. 1)

According to Agent Rowley's 13 page memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller, Dave Frasca threw "up roadblocks and undermined Minneapolis' by now desperate efforts to obtain a FISA search warrant, long after the French Intelligence service provided information and probable cause became clear." (Rowley's memo to FBI, May 21, 2002, page 3) (see the following web site) http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101020603/memo.html

Not only did Dave Frasca not share the information about Moussaoui to other appropriate intelligence/law enforcement authorities, he also, according to Rowley "never disclosed to the Minneapolis agents that the Phoenix Division had, only three weeks earlier, warned of Al Qaeda operatives in flight schools seeking flight training for terrorists purposes!" (Rowley's memo to FBI, May 21, 2002 p. 3) It is of course impossible to believe that Dave Frasca on his own, is just sitting on this information and not doing anything with it, unless ordered to do so.

The Minneapolis agents even tried to do an end run around Dave Frasca and notified the CIA's Counter Terrorist Center. The end result was that FBI headquarters personal (Dave Frasca and unnamed higher ups) "actually chastised the Minneapolis agents for making the direct notification without their approval." (Rowley Report, p. 4) Going even further, Dave Frasca "undercut" the search warrant application by not adding information on Moussaoui's foreign power connections which he had promised Minneapolis agents would be included. He also made damaging changes to the text provided by Minneapolis agents thereby, according to one Minneapolis agent, "setting this up for failure." (Rowley Report p. 4)

Even after the World Trade Center was hit, Agent Rowley asked Dave Frasca if she could now obtain a criminal search warrant for Moussaoui's laptop and personal property, she was again refused because it was probably all a "coincidence". Agent Rowley was warned to "do nothing" because "we might ‘screw up' something else going on elsewhere in the country." (Rowley Report, p. 7) The words "do nothing" are interesting; even more revealing what's to ‘screw up' at that point, except another plane going into another building?

After, when Rowley talked to other FBI agents in other parts of the country, the first question was Why?—"Why would an FBI agent(s) deliberately sabotage a case?" Agent Rowley reports that jokes were made that FBI Headquarters personnel were "spies" or "moles" who were actually "working for Osama Bin Laden." (Rowley Report p. 7) Apparently no one mentioned that it could be the other way around i.e., Bin Laden working for the CIA/FBI. The notion that Bush cabinet members were urging the CIA/FBI chiefs to keep a lit on local FBI investigative actions to arrest or curtail terrorist plots was, at the time, an unthinkable thought. That after all, would not be a joke. It would be one of the most murderous, diabolical cover up committed against American citizens by an American President and cabinet.

Back to Dave Frasca, the head of the FBI's Radical Fundamentalist Unit. Here we have a classic case of a highly placed intelligence agent stonewalling for his paymasters. Frasca even suggested that the French Intelligence Reports were "worthless" because they only identified Zacarias Moussaoui by name and he didn't know how many people existed with that name in France. A Minneapolis agent phoned the FBI's legal attache in France who found only one Zacarias Moussaoui in the entire Paris phone directory (Rowley Report, p. 8) Rowley writes further that "we were prevented from even attempting to question Moussaoui on the day of the attacks, when in theory, he could have possessed further information about other co-conspirators." (Rowley Report, p. 9) According to Newsweek June 3, 2002, p. 22) "Moussaoui's computer, searched after September 11, revealed information about crop-dusting and large jets and his belongings included the phone number of lead hijacker Mohamed Atta's roommate."

So now the Bush Administration claims Moussaoui is the 20th hijacker. Yet Special Agent Dave Frasca who downplayed all reports of impending terrorist plots (the Phoenix Memo, French Intelligence Reports, the Moussaoui case, etc.) gets to maintain his highly placed position as does his unit Chief Superior. Furthermore, those FBI leaders who did the most stonewalling occupied "critical positions in the FBI SIOC Command Center post September 11." Rowley is particularly upset that Dave Frasca "actually received a promotion some months afterwards." (Rowley Report p. 5)

FBI agents don't get promoted for screwing up; they get promoted for a job well done. The key areas for further research are connecting the dots in the chain of command from Dave Frasca to his Unit Chief to the Director of the FBI to John Ashcroft, the Attorney General and President George Bush.

Clearly, we have an amazing amount of circumstantial evidence that the Bush Cabinet knew of a forthcoming terrorist attack and decided to allow the first hit in order to mobilize the American People behind their political and economic objectives (crush dissent, war on Iraq , oil pipelines, etc) Now, researchers need to work their way up the ladder starting with Dave Frasca;.and, at the same time, work down the ladder from the Bush Cabinet (the more difficult task). In time, perhaps decades, with the help of a few defectors, we will be able to connect all the dots.

The comments by FBI Director Robert S. Mueller on whether the Bureau has prior indications of the September 11 attacks are very revealing. On September 14, 2001, he said, "The tragedies quite clearly astonish and shock me and the country. The fact that there were a number of individuals that happened to have received training at flight schools here is news, quite obviously. If we had understood that to be the case, we would have—perhaps one could have averted this. But beyond that, I and I think everyone else is just astonished at the extent of the tragedy." On Sept 17, 2002, Mueller says, "There were no warning signs that I'm aware of that would indicate this type of operation in the country." (Both quotes from the New York Times, Friday, May 31, 2002, p. A18)

Clearly, the cover-up was put into play immediately. For Agent Rowley, these statements by her boss caused many sleepless nights and raised for her the fundamental issue of "integrity." (Rowley Report, p. 1) Dave Frasca, on the other hand, has never spoken a word to the press, even though he was interviewed by U.S. Senators. The results of that interview are classified, not even an edited version surfaced.

What America needs is one good investigative reporter who can appeal to Dave Frasca's (and his superiors' ) conscience to make a public statement of the orders he(they) was operating under when he (they) stonewalled local FBI agents. Even a Watergate "deep throat" would be helpful in connecting the dots. Surely, there are Americans in high places who are uncomfortable with following orders which allowed the tragedy of September 11 to take place. Democracy may still be a part of the value system of humans caught up in the security apparatus. Certainly, there must be individuals in the FBI/CIA who view their vocation as protecting Americans rather than being complicite in their murder, especially in the thousands.

Perhaps I am being naive to think there are individuals who would risk their jobs or even their lives for freedom and act against the tyranny of the American Oligarchy. But George Washington did and so did Special Agent Coleen Rowley. Now more than ever, we need the Dave Frasca's of the FBI and CIA to come forward. The future of Democracy, the future of the world is at stake!

 Copyright © Steve Moore, CRG  2002.

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Global Outlook , Issue No 2   9-11: Foreknowledge or Deception? Stop the Nuclear Threat. Now available (for details click here) .

Order by phone from publisher. Call (toll free) 1-888-713-8500.