An explosive courtroom submitting from the Guantanamo Navy Fee – a courtroom contemplating the circumstances of defendants accused of finishing up the “9/11” terrorist assaults on New York – has seemingly confirmed the unthinkable.
The doc was initially printed through a Guantanamo Bay courtroom docket, however whereas public, it was utterly redacted. Impartial researchers obtained an unexpurgated copy. It’s an account by the Fee’s lead investigator, DEA veteran Don Canestraro, of his private probe of potential Saudi authorities involvement within the 9/11 assaults, performed on the request of the defendants’ legal professionals.
Two of the hijackers had been being carefully monitored by the CIA and should, wittingly or not, have been recruited by Langley lengthy earlier than they flew planes into the World Commerce Heart buildings.
The story of two males
Of the nice many enduring mysteries of the 9/11 assaults nonetheless unresolved over 20 years later, maybe the most important and gravest relate to the actions of Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar within the 18 months main as much as that fateful day. The pair traveled to the US on multi-entry visas in January 2000, regardless of having repeatedly been flagged by the CIA and NSA beforehand as probably Al Qaeda terrorists.
Mere days earlier than their arrival, they attended an Al Qaeda summit in Kuala Lumpur, throughout which key particulars of the 9/11 assaults are more likely to have been mentioned and agreed. The assembly was secretly photographed and videotaped by Malaysian authorities on the direct request of the CIA’s Alec Station, a particular unit set as much as monitor Osama bin Laden, though oddly, no audio was captured.
Nonetheless, this background ought to’ve been adequate to forestall Hazmi and Midhar from getting into the US – or no less than sufficient for the FBI to be told of their presence within the nation. Because it was, they had been admitted for a six-month interval at Los Angeles Worldwide airport with out incident, and Bureau representatives inside Alec Station had been blocked from sharing this data with their superiors by the CIA.
“We’ve bought to inform the Bureau about this. These guys clearly are dangerous. One in all them, no less than, has a multiple-entry visa to the US. We have got to inform the FBI,” Mark Rossini, a member of Alec Station, has recalled discussing together with his colleagues. “[But the CIA] stated to me, ‘No, it’s not the FBI’s case, not the FBI’s jurisdiction.’”
Instantly upon arrival, Hazmi and Midhar encountered a Saudi nationwide residing in California named Omar al-Bayoumi in an airport restaurant. Over the subsequent two weeks, he helped them discover an house in San Diego, co-signed their lease, gave them $1,500 in the direction of their hire, and launched them to Anwar al-Awlaki, an imam at a neighborhood mosque. Al-Awlaki was killed in a US drone strike in Yemen in 2011.
Within the wake of 9/11, Bayoumi unsurprisingly turned a topic of curiosity in an FBI probe of potential Saudi involvement within the assaults, often known as Operation Encore. In a 2003 interview with investigators in Riyadh, he claimed his assembly with Hazmi and Midhar was a coincidence – he heard them talking Arabic, realized they couldn’t converse English, and determined to help them out of charity.
The Bureau reached a really completely different conclusion – Bayoumi was a Saudi intelligence operative and a part of a wider militant Wahhabist community within the US, which dealt with a myriad of potential and precise terrorists, and monitored the actions of anti-Riyadh dissidents overseas. What’s extra, Encore judged there to be a 50/50 probability he had superior information of the 9/11 assaults earlier than they occurred, and so did the Saudi authorities.
Why was it hidden?
These bombshell details remained hidden from public view till March 2022, when a trove of FBI paperwork was declassified on the request of the White Home. The newly launched Guantanamo Navy Fee submitting sheds even additional gentle on Bayoumi’s contact with Hazmi and Midhar – and in flip, the CIA’s eager curiosity in them, their actions all through their keep within the US, and refusal to reveal their presence to the FBI till late August 2001.
The submitting is an account by the Fee’s lead investigator, DEA veteran Don Canestraro, of his private probe of potential Saudi authorities involvement within the 9/11 assaults, performed on the request of the defendants’ legal professionals. Primarily based on a evaluate of categorised data held by, and interviews with representatives of, the FBI and Pentagon, the content material strongly means that the CIA obstructed official investigations to hide its penetration of Al Qaeda.
That’s the judgment of 4 separate, unnamed FBI brokers interviewed by Canestraro who labored on investigations into the 9/11 assaults. Probably the most incendiary prices had been leveled by a Bureau agent referred to in his report as ‘CS-23’, who had “in depth information of counterterrorism and counterintelligence issues.”
CS-23 recounted how the CIA repeatedly lied and stonewalled the FBI in its investigations into Bayoumi. For instance, whereas Company officers claimed to own no information on him when requested by Operation Encore representatives, CS-23 knew for a truth this was a “falsehood,” and the CIA maintained a number of operational information on Bayoumi, amounting to an intensive paper path.
Moreover, CS-23 was sure that the CIA used its liaison relationship with the Saudi intelligence companies to try to recruit Hazmi and Midhar, and circumvent legal guidelines prohibiting the Company from conducting spying operations on US soil, by utilizing Riyadh as a go between.
This account was backed up by one other FBI investigator, ‘CS-3,’ who additional claims that Bayoumi establishing financial institution accounts and renting an house for the 2 hijackers in San Diego “was executed on the behest of the CIA.” Any data offered to Bayoumi would then be fed again to Alec Station.
CS-3 felt it odd that this CIA unit, located within the US and staffed by analysts, was concerned in recruiting Al Qaeda operatives, as such work is usually the duty of case officers skilled in covert operations based mostly abroad. ‘CS-IO’ concurred that this association was “extremely uncommon,” and made it “almost unimaginable for [Alec] Station to develop informants inside Al Qaeda from its base a number of thousand miles from the international locations the place Al Qaeda was suspected of working.”
Regardless of such tantalizing leads, CS-23 claims senior FBI officers suppressed additional investigations into the CIA’s relationship with Bayoumi and the recruitment of Hazmi and Midhar, and Bureau representatives testifying earlier than the joint Senate and Congressional inquiry into 9/11 had been instructed to not reveal the total extent of Saudi involvement with Al-Qaeda.
For his or her half, CS-3 said that earlier than they and their colleagues had been interviewed by the joint inquiry, CIA officers inside Alec Station advised them to not cooperate totally with investigators they usually had been trying to “dangle somebody” for 9/11.
Canestraro doesn’t make any conclusions as to why the CIA hid very important data from the FBI previous to the assaults, which doubtlessly might have prevented their execution, and why the Bureau subsequently performed together with the Company’s coverup. Though one reply is offered by the bizarre nature of Alec Station’s setup.
Particularly, that removed from infiltrating an Al Qaeda cell to avert terrorism, the Company was in search of to affect and direct its actions as a way to trigger terrorism, outdoors normal recruitment channels. Having stumbled upon such a monstrous connivance, the FBI would’ve recognized effectively to depart your complete topic effectively alone.