Something strange has been occurring on
the fourth floor under the dome of the U.S. Capitol. The security is
so strict that even the representatives and senators from the
joint-intelligence committee investigating the September 11 attacks
must check their cell phones and pagers at the door of the
sound-proof room -- a meeting place regularly swept for listening
These and other indications reveal that no chances are being taken
which might result in having words spoken in confidence leak out of
that room. And there are no reports regarding whether legislators
are more worried about U.S. citizens getting wind of the contents of
their discussions than the terrorists.
Senator Bob Graham (D-FL), chairman of the Senate Intelligence
Committee, said it was the first time in the history of the
Congress that two standing committees have held joint hearings.
Moreover, some might question such extreme measures and whether
crucial truth is being held in the hands of too few -- given
unspoken congressional and administration links to terrorism (watch
Wide reports last week revealed that an enraged White House had
called joint-committee chairmen Graham and Representative Porter Goss
(R-FL) about classified leaks from the members, which resulted in
their requesting the FBI to ask members and staff to undergo
polygraph tests which clearly intrude upon the separation of powers
between the legislative and executive branches. This, as the
surreptitious hearings have been postponed till late September.
Genesis of a Cover Up One reason for the furtive activity may have a lot to do with why
both the White House and CNNaltered the transcript of a 4 pm, May
16, 2002 press conference by National Security Advisor Dr.
Condoleezza Rice in the James Brady Briefing Room.
The machinations had their genesis later in the day that Thursday,
after the New York Post hit the streets with its huge "Bush Knew"
banner, adding "Prez Was Warned of Possible Hijacking Before Terror
Attacks" as a subheading. Shortly thereafter, other papers began to
reveal the contents of a Presidential FBI briefing from August 6 --
just 36 days prior to the September 11 attacks.
The top-secret briefing said that Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda were
going to "bring the fight to America," according to the Toronto
Star, for past attacks upon its training camps in Afghanistan. So
the wheels of presidential damage control started turning, even as
the New York Times was putting finishing touches on an explosive May
19 story for the next day, reporting that President Bush had also
been briefed before September 11 regarding:
"A 1999 report from the National Intelligence Council, which oversees
government intelligence analysis, saying ’Suicide bomber (s)
belonging to Al Qaeda’s martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an
aircraft packed with high explosives into the Pentagon, the
headquarters of the [CIA] or the White House.’ "
Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle (D-SD), said he was,
"gravely concerned about the information provided us just yesterday that the
president received a warning in August about the threat of
hijackers...," adding "Why did it take eight months for us to
receive this information," -- but failing at the same time to use
his senatorial power to subpoena the documents.
Then House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO) stepped up to the
plate and called for a congressional investigation into "what the
president and what the White House knew about the events leading up
to 9/11." But Gephardt has also been convinced not to make waves --
grieving victim families who are depending on him to fight for truth
Sleeping With the Enemy? While researching various sections of a related story surrounding
growing evidence that the FBI and other government entities are more
closely linked to pre-9/11 insider trading than previously was
thought, it was found that the Secretary of State and two other
State Department officials, the Central Intelligence Administration
(CIA) Director, three senators, and a congressman actually met with
Pakistan’s Inter-Services Security Agency (ISI) chief, who had wired
$100,000 to fund the operations of terrorist hijacker leader
Mohammed Atta just prior to the attacks.
But worse, actual evidence is available that the White House and
doctored the transcript of National Security Advisor Condoleezza
Rice’s damage control press conference, held at 4 pm that afternoon
on May 18, 2001.
In an updated, scholarly, and thorough report ( "Political
Deception: The Missing Link Behind 9-11," Centre for Research on
Globalization (CRG), 6-20-2002 ), by Michel Chossudovsky, University
of Ottawa Professor of Economics, these and a number of other
critical revelations are brought to the fore while other media have
ignored them -- not connecting the dots.
Noticing that a couple words were deleted from the CNN transcript of
Dr. Rice’s May 16 remarks -- when compared to the transcript from
the Federal News Service which had the words "ISI Chief" included in
its transcript, we placed a call to the public information office at
CNN in Atlanta yesterday. The story was too compelling; it had to
find more daylight.
After talking with a woman named Devon, we were told,
checking the transcript for Dr. Rice’s May 16 press
conference, you are correct that the words ’ISI Chief
’ are missing from our
Devon emailed us a CNN office printout copy, and the
word "inaudible" was indeed found in parentheses. Then we printed
out the actual White House website transcript of the event; and at
that same place in the transcript, we found that "ISI Chief"
Q: Dr. Rice? Dr. Rice?
Ms. RICE: Yes?
Q: Are you aware of the reports at the time that
Washington on September 11th; and on September 10th, $100,000 was
wired from Pakistan to these groups in this area? And why was he
here? Was he meeting with you or anybody in the administration? Ms. RICE: I have not seen that report, and he was certainly not
meeting with me.
The Washington Post (5-16-2002) reported that,
with the White House’s strategy [during damage control], said senior
aides were anxious to dispel the notion of a cover up and said they
wanted to avoid appearing defensive, either in front of cameras or
behind the scenes."
Terrorist Hijacker’s Financial Benefactor According to the Times of India (10-9-2001), Mohammed Atta’s
financial bagman, Lt. General Mahmoud Ahmad had been fired as head
of Pakistan’s ISI, as,
"U.S. authorities [FBI] sought his removal
after confirming that $100,000 had been wired to WTC hijacker
Mohammed Atta from Pakistan through Ahmad Sheikh at the instance
(sic) of General Mahmoud."
Times of India then reported that "Senior [U.S.] government sources
have confirmed that India contributed significantly to establishing
the link between the money transfer and the role played by the
dismissed ISI chief." But ABC investigative reporter Brian Ross had
beaten them on the story, reporting to Sam Donaldson and Cokie
Roberts on September 30, 2001:
"As to September 11, federal authorities have told
ABC News they’ve
now tracked more than $100,000 from banks in Pakistan to two banks
in Florida to accounts held by suspected hijack ringleader Mohammed Atta. As well this morning [Sunday’s "This Week" Show],
magazine is reporting that some of that money came in the days just
before the attack and can be traced directly to people connected to
Osama bin Laden."
But Roberts and Donaldson kept adding fuel to the fire, when about
one month later, on October 28 during "This Week," Ms. Roberts asked
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld:
"You’ve heard Brian Ross’s
report, the confirmation that Mohammed Atamet with an Iraqi
intelligence official... Do you think it was -- the meeting with
Mohammed Atta was significant, in terms of September 11?"
Rumsfeld responded cryptically,
"We will know that only after the
proper law enforcement people investigate that. Clearly, the meeting
is not nothing. It is something notable."
Atta’s Money-man Meets With 9/11 Investigation Chairmen on Morning
Three days after the attacks on September 14, the New York Times
reported that important members of the Bush Administration met with
the terrorist financier and,
ISI Chief, General Ahmad
Secretary of State Colin Powell
Deputy Secretary of
State Richard Armitage
Under-Secretary of State Marc Grossman
Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) -- Chairman of the Senate Foreign
However, the Times also revealed that on September 11 --
attacks were in progress -- the two current Co-Chairmen of the
Joint-Intelligence Committee investigating the 9/11 attacks,
Bob Graham (D-FL) and Representative Porter Goss (R-FL),
breakfast with the ISI Chief who had ordered $100,000 wired from
Pakistan to terrorist leader Mohammed Atta in the days immediately
preceding the attacks.
All this, while General Ahmadwas in the United States meeting with
multiple Bush Administration officials and members of Congress:
"When the news 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, 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." [presciently]
In a skilled analysis of the neglected yet important story,
Professor Chossudovsky literally dug deep to verify the
participation of Bush Administrationofficials in the meetings with
the hijacker financier behind the September 11 attacks.
News Pakistan (9-10-2001) reported that ISI Chief Lt. General
Mahmoud Ahmad arrived in the U.S. on September 4, adding that,
"Mahmoud’s week-long presence in Washington has triggered
speculation about the agenda of his mysterious meeting at the
Pentagon and National Security Council.... Official sources confirm
that he met with [George] Tenet this week. He also held long parleys
with unspecified officials at the White House and
the Pentagon. But
the most important meeting was with Marc Grossman, U.S.
Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs. One can safely guess
that the discussions must have centered around Afghanistan.... and
Osama bin Laden."
But this news report was written on September 10 -- the day before
According to the Miami Herald (9-16-2001),
"Graham said the
Pakistani intelligence official with whom he met.... 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
Perhaps Chossudovsky’s most telling analysis comes in just one short
sentence from congressional intelligence investigation Co-Chairman
"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." (Washington Post, 9-18-2002)
Then the Ottawa professor added:
"This statement comes from the man
who was having breakfast with the alleged ’money-man’ behind 9/11 --
on the morning of September 11."
The Post topped off the story, adding that
"[General] Ahmad ran a
spy agency notoriously close to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban."
But Chossudovsky unearthed another telling
Goss statement from a
White House bulletin:
"Chairman Porter Goss said an existing
congressional inquiry has so far found ’no smoking gun’ that would
warrant another inquiry." (5-17-2002)
Moreover, Chossudovsky reminds that
CIA Director George Tenet also
met with ISI Chief Ahmad just prior to the 9/11 attacks, and that
Tenet had regularly met with President Bush nearly every morning at
8 am sharp for about a half hour.
But most curiously, a document known as the President’s Daily
"is prepared at Langley by the
directorate, and a draft goes home with Tenet each night. Tenet
edits it personally and delivers it orally during his early morning
meeting with Bush."
(Washington Post, 5-17-2002)
But there are no
reports as to why the President prefers not to keep written records
of important CIA briefings.
The Ottawa professor added that
"this practice of ’oral intelligence
briefings’ is unprecedented. Bush’s predecessors at the White House,
received a written briefing:"
"With Bush, who liked oral briefings and the
CIA director in
attendance, a strong relationship had developed. Tenet could be
direct, even irreverent and earthy."
(Washington Post, 1-29-2002)
Investigating the Investigators? A critical component of the Joint-Intelligence Committee’s
investigation is the first part of what Co-Chairman Bob Graham calls
"a three-act play." The first act, according to CNN.com "will focus
on establishing a factual timeline as it relates to what was known
before September 11."
Questions remain whether Graham’s timeline document will ultimately
become required reading for every member of Congress, along with the
early July FBI briefing and the August 6 presidential briefing --
given the above evidence, multiple indications of a cover up, links
to Congress and the White House, and additional unanswered questions
Another key Intelligence Committee member, Richard Shelby (R-AL),
was widely quoted in reference to Co-Chairman Goss. Chiding his
"You know, [House committee chairman
Goss] is a
former CIA employee, and I know he’s close to a lot of people over
there," Shelby told Roll Call (October, 2001). "I don’t think we
should be too close to anybody we have oversight of because you
can’t do your job. You become subverted by the process."
As to other investigative options, James Ridgeway added that,
Independent Commission] could cause a dreadful scene, with senior
lawmakers and their staffs in the spotlight along with the
intelligence chiefs. After all, what did the members of Congress
know before September 11? Might they have forewarned us?"
County Weekly, June 7-13, 2002)
Courageous members of Congress may also have interest in
"notebooks filled with jotted records of every meeting and phone
(Associated Press, 5-30-2002)
And Knight Ridder (6-4-2002)
added that the relatively tight time frame [Goss wants the 9/11
investigation report finished by January, 2003] may encourage some
[Administration agencies] to "run out the clock" and hold back
potentially embarrassing information.
The evidence of White House and media cover up of that important
visit just prior to the attacks by the individual supplying the
money to finance the terrorists is only made more crucial when one
considers that so many high government officials met with this
person -- some while the attacks were in progress. However,
Americans are being denied an explanation and a carefully thorough
public investigation of this evidence.
Further completing the circle, a Times of India report (3-7-2001)
reveals that "The CIA worked in tandem with Pakistan to create the
’monster’ that is today Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban," a leading
U.S. expert on South Asia had said months prior to the attacks.
Selig Harrison from the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for
"The CIA made a historic mistake in encouraging
Islamic groups from all over the world to come to Afghanistan." But
more importantly, Harrison reveals that "the old associations
between the intelligence agencies continue....The CIA still has
close links with the ISI."
Americans may now wonder what terrorist money man and
Ahmad was discussing with George Tenet, Colin Powell, and members of
Congress during those long meetings prior to the worst attacks on
American soil in our history.
And after all this, some U.S. citizens may even question whether
there is anyone left to depose Bush Administration officials and
Members of Congress under oath who would never subpoena themselves
to offer explanations for demonstrated conflicts of interest -- or