TERRORISM

2002

U.S. War on Terrorism and Fallout from 11 September 2001 Attacks

May 2002

 

Materials presented chronologically.

McGirk, Tim. "Has Pakistan Tamed Its Spies?" Time, 6 May 2002, 32-35.

It appears that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is cooperating in the U.S. war against terrorism. This "is quite a switch. Until Sept. 11, the organization was suspected of propping up the Taliban and by extension its al-Qaeda guests in Afghanistan."

Eggen, Dan. "Senators Criticize FBI Chief For Not Acting on Warning: Mueller Says Plot Would Not Have Been Uncovered." Washington Post, 9 May 2002, A29. [http//www. washingtonpost.com]

"In some of the strongest public criticism of the FBI since Sept. 11, Democratic senators [on 8 May 2002] upbraided the bureau for not aggressively pursuing an internal report last July that suspected terrorists might be enrolling in U.S. aviation schools."

Pincus, Walter, and Thomas E. Ricks. "CIA Fails in Bid to Kill Afghan Rebel With a Missile." Washington Post, 10 May 2002, A24. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to administration sources, "[t]he CIA fired a missile from an unmanned Predator aircraft over Afghanistan" on 8 May 2002 "in an unsuccessful attempt to kill [Gulbuddin Hekmatyar,] a factional leader who has vowed to attack U.S. service personnel and oust the interim Afghan government."

Eggen, Dan. "FBI Director to Propose 'Super Squad' for Terror." Washington Post, 15 May 2002, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to those familiar with FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III's plans, an "FBI 'super squad,' headquartered in Washington, would lead all major terrorism investigations worldwide.... The proposed shift would include the hiring of hundreds of agents and analysts as well as the creation of an Office of Intelligence, headed by a former CIA official, that would serve as a national clearinghouse for classified terrorism information."

Eggen, Dan, and Dana Priest. "Bush Aides Seek to Contain Furor: Sept. 11 Not Envisioned, Rice Says." Washington Post, 17 May 2002, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 16 May 2002, the White House "offered a detailed timeline showing that President Bush was first told on Aug. 6 that Osama bin Laden's associates might be planning airline hijackings -- speculation that was repeated several times in briefings the president received leading up to Sept. 11.... But Rice said Bush was not told, and U.S. intelligence analysts never envisioned, that terrorists would use jetliners in the type of suicide attacks carried out in New York and Washington on Sept. 11. Rice and other administration officials said that the threat was not specific enough to warrant a public warning, but that the Federal Aviation Administration urged the airlines to be cautious."

Gellman, Barton. "Before Sept. 11, Unshared Clues and Unshaped Policy." Washington Post, 17 May 2002, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 5 July 5 2001, "the White House summoned officials of a dozen federal agencies to the Situation Room. 'Something really spectacular is going to happen here, and it's going to happen soon,' the government's top counterterrorism official, Richard Clarke, told the assembled group, according to two of those present." The group included the FAA, along with the Coast Guard, FBI, Secret Service, and INS.

"Clarke directed every counterterrorist office to cancel vacations, defer nonvital travel, put off scheduled exercises and place domestic rapid-response teams on much shorter alert. For six weeks last summer, at home and overseas, the U.S. government was at its highest possible state of readiness -- and anxiety -- against imminent terrorist attack.... As late as July 31, the FAA urged U.S. airlines to maintain a 'high degree of alertness.' All those alert levels dropped by the time hijackers armed with box cutters took control of four jetliners on the morning of Sept. 11."

Pincus, Walter, and Dana Priest. "CIA Analysts to Help FBI Shift Focus: Terrorism Prevention Key to New Approach." Washington Post, 26 May 2002, A1. [http://www. washingtonpost.com]

According to senior FBI officials, more than 25 CIA analysts and a senior manager from the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence will be dispatched "to help the FBI upgrade its ability ... to analyze intelligence and criminal data for use in preventing terrorist acts" and to "assist FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III in reshaping the bureau into an agency more focused on counterterrorism. Another group of CIA analysts will soon be dispatched to 10 major U.S. cities to review FBI terrorist cases being pursued in field offices to see whether intelligence information has been missed....

"The CIA transfers illustrate one of the major changes involved in Mueller's FBI overhaul, an approach that will emphasize gathering information to prevent terrorist acts inside the United States while reducing the bureau's traditional criminal work" on matters that the FBI Director "believes can be handled by local law enforcement."

Pincus, Walter. "FBI Said to Need Intelligence Help: House Panel Chairman: Terrorism Demands 'Readjustment.'" Washington Post, 27 May 2002, A7. [http://www. washingtonpost.com]

HPSCI chairman Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-FL) said on 26 May 2002 "that he does not think the FBI is presently capable of doing the intelligence analysis work needed to head off terrorist activities within the United States."

Eggen, Dan, and Susan Schmidt. "Mueller: Clues Might Have Led To Sept. 11 Plot." Washington Post, 30 May 2002, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

Speaking at a news conference on 29 May 2002, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said that "investigators might have been able to uncover part of the Sept. 11 plot if the FBI had properly put together all the clues in the possession of the bureau and other agencies." He added, however, "that the Minnesota arrest of alleged Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and warnings from a Phoenix FBI agent about terrorists at aviation schools would not, on their own, have led investigators to the Sept. 11 plot. But if the FBI had connected those two cases with other evidence that Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network was keenly interested in aviation, Mueller said, 'who is to say' what could have been discovered."

 

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