The Banality of Truth

The government finally admits pre-9/11 bumbling

On Tuesday Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell told the House Judiciary Committee things that, had a government official said them in the days, weeks, or months following 9/11, would have sparked public outrage—and may have significantly blunted the push for greater police and surveillance powers like the PATRIOT Act.

McConnell told lawmakers that "9/11 should have and could have been prevented."

Specifically, McConnell cited the pilot training sought by hijackers Khalid al Mihdhar and Nawaf al Hazmi and convicted terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui in the United States as an obvious warning sign that was ignored by Washington after feds on the ground flagged the activity.

"For whatever reason, we didn't connect the dots," McConnell said, not quite coming clean on the reasons.

Nevertheless, this position moved McConnell beyond previous remarks in June in which he held that "in his view" the terror attack was preventable, but that law adopted for a Cold War world prevented swift action to stop terrorists.

What happened to change the shading? For one, a widely overlooked story first published on September 10 by McClatchy Newspapers Washington reporter Greg Gordon happened.

In his dispatch, obviously timed to coincide with the sixth anniversary of the attacks, Gordon returns to the Moussaoui case. As the case unfolded in the spring of 2006 it became increasingly clear that top FBI officials likely missed an opportunity to stop the attack in late August 2001.

While the dogged investigation of Moussaoui by Minneapolis FBI agent Harry Samit and Samit's repeated attempts to get a warrant from FBI HQ in Washington to search Moussaoui's laptop and belongings has been well documented, Gordon's reporting uncovers new information that the FBI absolutely had information in its hands to roll up a large chunk of al Qaida's financing network in the days before 9/11 and stop the hijackings.

Moussaoui had long been regarding by his fellow jihadis as something of a loose cannon and security risk. Turns out they were right. Moussaoui's notebooks included Western Union routing numbers, routing numbers used by al Qaida operative Ramzi Binalshibh to send $14,000 to Moussaoui in August 2001.

But authorities never looked at those notebooks. Instead, FBI brass repeatedly blunted Agent Samit's attempts to search them, citing lack of information that Moussaoui was a known terrorist or foreign agent.

Gordon writes:

Instead, Moussaoui's tattered, blue spiral notebook sat in a sealed bag at an immigration office—unopened until after four hijacked jets slammed into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the Pennsylvania countryside, killing 2,972 people.

Gordon also notes that, leaping from the Binalshibh transactions, investigators pre-9/11 almost certainly could have traced his money back to an al Qaida moneyman in Dubai. The Dubai contact, in information developed after 9/11, turns out to have used one of his Western Union receipts to jot down a phone number in the United Arab Emirates. That UAE number received calls from 9/11 hijackers while they were living in Florida prior to their attack.

Given these connections, merely getting German authorities to nab Binalshibh may have been enough to derail the 9/11 mission in the United States. Teasing out the other contacts would have taken more effort, but would have delivered exponentially greater rewards. At the extreme, it is by no means stretch to think the authorities had the chance to quietly round-up 9/11 hijackers in the country prior to the attack. As Gordon notes, FBI agents at Moussaoui's trial testified that had he confessed—thus giving them access to his notebooks pre-9/11—they could have moved on 11 of the 19 hijackers.

Why didn't this happen anyway? For one there was Washington's steadfast refusal to move on information developed from the field offices without additional supporting intelligence. And here all the intelligence suggested that the United States had already degraded and "mapped out" al Qaida's financial network. For several years the National Security Agency was quite confident it had "broken" al Qaida security and had access to bank accounts and other communications points of contact for the global network. It does not appear, however, that anyone seriously considered the 150-year-old Western Union system as a viable method to fund a terror network. They were wrong.

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  • ||

    The Truthers are going to take this is evidence. This is because of their "hyper-rational" worldview of events. To them, government is 100% rational and efficient, and any "mistake" must have been deliberate. They arrive at their conclusions using this flawed assumption. "The hyper-efficient ultra-rational government could have stopped 9/11, but since they didn't they must have knowingly allowed it to happen."

    Add in confirmation bias, and you have all the seeds necessary for creating the Truther cult.

  • K.||

    Good old fashioned police work is what is needed to make us safer.

    The stuff that terrorists do is already illegal, no need for new sweeping laws that erode liberties.

  • K.||

    The Truthers are going to take this is evidence.

    Well, the opposite side seems to hold the unshakable belief that 9/11 was some Very Special Holy Event, Written Down In Destiny's Book and impossible to prevent. That doesn't help us either.

  • ||

    I'm not sure how you need to be a truther to recognize that it's quite likely the government screwed the pooch before 9/11.

  • ||

    I'm not sure how you need to be a truther to recognize that it's quite likely the government screwed the pooch before 9/11.



    But Truthers won't admit that. If the government screwed the pooch, then they must have deliberately planned to screw the pooch. They do believe that government can make mistakes, that's how they account for their "evidence". But it's unthinkable to them that 9/11 could have happened without hyperrational supermen in the government planning it.

  • oldnumberseven||

    Given these connections, merely getting German authorities to nab Binalshibh may have been enough to derail the 9/11 mission in the United States.

    Could be. Or could be nabbing Binalshibh may have been an automatic green light, or a signal to get out. We'll never know. Still, it is pretty to think so.

    K. | September 21, 2007, 11:36pm | #
    Good old fashioned police work is what is needed to make us safer.

    The stuff that terrorists do is already illegal, no need for new sweeping laws that erode liberties.


    Couldn't agree more. And it has become troubling that the cops are militarized, and several amendments to the constitution are ignored.

    I think the whole thing could have been prevented. They would have planned something else though. It isn't often you get a small group of men with the will necessary to do what they did. If they had got away, but those attacks were prevented, they would have been used elsewhere. A controlling person like bin Laden could not have access to that sort of asset and not use it. We would have had to round up the whole network.

  • Dave Woycechowsky||

    But Truthers won't admit that. If the government screwed the pooch, then they must have deliberately planned to screw the pooch. They do believe that government can make mistakes, that's how they account for their "evidence". But it's unthinkable to them that 9/11 could have happened without hyperrational supermen in the government planning it.

    We're gonna go over this for you real slow-like, Brandybuck, because it is a difficult concept.

    Let.

    It.

    Happen.

    On.

    (wait for it)

    Purpose.

  • ||

    The 'for whatever reason' in 'for whatever reason we didn't connect the dots' is the whole problem. In the broad public mind, and even national security circles, the thing was just unthinkable. Even describing it now, it sounds very Wile E Coyote to me.

    Hind sight is clear, but it isn't as helpful as some would have us believe.

    You can't disprove a conspiracy theory. That is the whole point. People like Dave spend an extraordinary amount of mental effort trying to make thier special version of things immune to both reason and evidence. If you find evidence, it just becomes part of the coverup. Don't worry about what 9/11 truthers think. As long as they are a microscopic minority, everyone wins. They get to feel special about being the only ones who know the Truth (tm) and the rest of us can safely ignore them.

  • Anonymous||

    I read some of your magazine's articles aloud every week for blind people. Why are your writers allowed to publish such poorly constructed articles, with many typos and grammatical errors? It's very frustrating to have to stumble through reading these articles aloud, and it also decreases the credibility of your magazine.

  • ||

    Let. It. Happen. On. (wait for it) Purpose.



    You fell into the black box fallacy. Sometimes events do NOT happen on purpose! Do not attribute to conspiracy what can be attributed to ineptitude, inefficiency or bureaucratic bungling.

    p.s. Besides, a shitload of other Truthers don't think the government allowed it to happen, they think the government orchestrated and executed it! You both can't be right! Let me repeat that for the dimwitted: You both can't be right!

  • VM||

    simple solution for Anonymous:

    read 'em to deaf people. Problem solved.

    In Industry, that's called a "win win".

  • Dave Woycechowsky||

    You fell into the black box fallacy. Sometimes events do NOT happen on purpose! Do not attribute to conspiracy what can be attributed to ineptitude, inefficiency or bureaucratic bungling.

    Couple points of clarification:

    1. My prior comment was to answer Brandybuck's implied question of how the government could possibly share some guilt for 9/11, even without having irrational supermen. The answer is that simply allowing a terrorist attack, which you know is going to happen, does not require "hyperrational supermen." It requires an evil heart, but there is no skill involved in finding out about the plot and deciding to do nothing to stop it beforehand or during.

    2. Do I actually believe that the government (or parts of it knew). No, not necessarily. Should be investigated, though. Hasn't been. I have a hard time believing that Dick Cheney could be evil enough to stand down the planes, or purposely send them out to sea, on the morning of 9/11. So, really, investigating the air response protocol should be no problem. If you have got nothing to hide . . .

    3. What I do believe is that Flight 93 was shot down, and that this should have been revealed to us a long time ago. That is the TRUTH.

  • Dave Woycechowsky||

    --even without having irrational hyperrational supermen--

    oops.

  • ||

    What I do believe is that Flight 93 was shot down, and that this should have been revealed to us a long time ago. That is the TRUTH.

    Dave, you've never been deeply involved in the federald government, have you? The fuckin' feds are for the most part incompetent! There wasn't enough time for the bureaucrats to get permision or develop cover for shooting down flight 93. Hell, if the USAF did do that, I and most thinking people would be applauding them. They'd have TAKEN CREDIT for it!
    As Brandybuck warned,

    Do not attribute to conspiracy what can be attributed to ineptitude, inefficiency or bureaucratic bungling. Kudos, Master Brandybuck.

  • ||

    Dave,

    I used to work on an aircraft carrier. I am intimately aware of just how long it takes to arm an aircraft. It takes a few hours to pull missiles out of storage and to assemble and install them.

    Since the ready fighters were all accounted for and were at least a hundred miles away from the aircraft at the time, I can flat out guarantee to you that it was impossible, not unlikely, but im-fucking-possible for Flight 93 to be shot down. We don't even have to bring up the witnesses who saw an intact, undamaged aircraft invert and crater into the ground to refute your bizarre claims.

    I have repeatedly debated this point with you, and the only datapoint you have cited to "prove" your case is that the airforce was able to intercept Payne Stwart's A/C within 10 minutes of the flight controllwers declaring an emergency. In that case the intercept was performed by an unarmed aircraft that had hapenned to be performing aerobatics a few miles away, and it had the benefit of a transponder signal to vector in on.

    Dude, you argument reminds me of those guys who take a single passage out of Judges and use it to "prove" that the Earth is flat. The only thing you are convincing people to believe is that you are an idiot.

  • ||

    The answer is that simply allowing a terrorist attack, which you know is going to happen, does not require "hyperrational supermen."



    But they didn't know it was going to happen! Parts of government *may* have known that a few terrorists were out and about, but there is absolutely no credible evidence that the government as a whole knew the plans of the terrorists. That's what this story is about: government bungling of the few tiny bits of information they did manage to find. But even pieced together, that information would still have been insufficient to figure out what the plan was.

  • Dave Woycechowsky||

    I used to work on an aircraft carrier. I am intimately aware of just how long it takes to arm an aircraft. It takes a few hours to pull missiles out of storage and to assemble and install them.

    So, if China or Cuba or Pakistan or the Rooskies somehow decided to send in a bunch of jets with nukes in on 09/11/01, then the US would have been f**k*d. Couple hours of time to fly over rural PA (presumabaly with somewhat faster planes)? This is where I lose the official story on 9-11.

  • john doraemi||

    "FBI brass" - These people have names. Mike Maltbie, David Frasca. These two supervisors were responsible for a lot of the deliberate obstruction of legitimate terrorist investigations. (One or both were promoted after 9/11).

    There is way more to the story than your article implies. Basic intro to 9/11:

    http://crimesofthestate.blogspot.com/2007/02/no-george-monbiot-these-are-facts-of.html

    Note to people who use "Truthers" as a pejorative. If you're not a "truther" than you're settling for the provable, documented lies. That make you a "Lie-er?"

    John Doraemi publishes Crimes of the State Blog.

  • ||

    Dave W.

    Dave W. Do you honestly believe that the Russians or the Chinese would launch a nuclear attack without warning using bombers?

    Why the fuck would they do something dumb like that? After all, nuking your trading partners is something that isn't done lightly. A fleet of bombers winging their way accross the ocean are quite easy to pick up on radar. The hours it would take them to wing their way over the U.S. would provide ample time to arm interceptors sufficiently. So retaliation would be assured, and it would serve no fucking purpose.

    If tensions were ratcheting up with - say - China where it looked like they might be tempted to start throwing nuclear bombs on American territory, I can assure you, the U.S. government would have more than 4 fighters on ready alert.

    And when the ICBM reentry vehicles blast hypersonically through the atmosphere toward their targets, those fighters will be able to do fuck-all to stop them.

    Your deperate attempts to wrap the U.S. military in a god-like mantle are insane. Dude, you are rejecting facts for faith. It's pathetic.

  • dhex||

    Note to people who use "Truthers" as a pejorative.

    no i believe that "truthers" is shorthand and the pejoratives come before and after like "fucking truthers" or "goddamn mouth-breathing human headwound truthers" or "please just go the fuck away and be superior someone else rather than torment us mortals with your superlative skills and iron-clad skepticism and hell if we're deluded why do you bother anyway is it because you know deep inside you're just working for the very megastate you claim to oppose by promoting a narrative of governmental omniscience and supra-elitism that does nothing but promote a kind of lukewarm, passive fatalism truthers."

    i tend to ignore the folks down by the wtc but once by hunter i walked past a kid doing the flyer thing and stage whispered "you're getting closer."

    that was mean.

  • ||

    Truthers say they want answers to their questions. They say they're interested in the "truth". Here are some links presenting the other side of the issue, for 9/11 and other conspiracies. But I'm not really expecting any Truther to actually read any of them...

    September 11th

    * http://www.popularmechanics.com/blogs/911myths/
    * http://www.debunking911.com/index.html
    * http://www.911myths.com/
    * http://wtc.nist.gov/

    Income Tax and the Federal Reserve

    * http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/jsiegel/Personal/taxes/IncomeTax.htm
    * http://www.publiceye.org/conspire/flaherty/Federal_Reserve.html

    Other

    * http://www.debunker.com/conspiracy.html
    * http://www.ejectejecteject.com/archives/000140.html

    General

    * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conspiracy_theory
    * http://www.urban75.org/info/conspiraloons.html
    * http://www.csicop.org/si/9012/critical-thinking.html

  • ||

    tarran's posts have been spot-fucking-on.

    Brandy, I think you've just opened up a can of worms. Truthers take great pride in asserting that the Pop. Mech. stuff has been thoroughly debunkified, and they'll unironically use the argument that the other links are self-selected sites full of confirmation bias (as they link you to a bunch of Alex Jones-inspired bullshit).

  • ||

    And one more time, in case anyone actually cares to listen (other than tarran):

    Jets on ready alert or running CAPS near cities AREN'T LOOKING FOR FUCKING JETLINERS FROM WITHIN.

    They are looking for bombers, fighters and possibly previously identified "problem" heavies (with, say hijacking issues or unruly passengers) to approach the North American ADIZ FROM OUTSIDE.

  • Dave Woycechowsky||

    Dave W. Do you honestly believe that the Russians or the Chinese would launch a nuclear attack without warning using bombers?

    Why the fuck would they do something dumb like that? After all, nuking your trading partners is something that isn't done lightly. A fleet of bombers winging their way accross the ocean are quite easy to pick up on radar. The hours it would take them to wing their way over the U.S. would provide ample time to arm interceptors sufficiently. So retaliation would be assured, and it would serve no fucking purpose.


    Even if all this were true (and I sure hope the US air forces do not assume it is), what about Cuba? Say they managed to buy some nukes from a Communist. Imagine further that Fidel had secretly died on 9/10/01 and his successor really hated on the USA for its successful capitalism and trade sanctions and the Bay Of Pigs. What would the air response to a Cuban air attack have been like on 9/11? Would it be measured in hours or minutes?

  • ||

    Dave, the answer to your question is minutes.

    As a bit of background I believe the U.S. has a far more robust air defense system in the vicinity of Cuba than in the vicinity of New England since the U.S. government has been intercepting and interdicting cargo planes carrying illicit drugs. Anything flying out of Cuba towards Florida gets intercepted.

    The Cuban government does not exactly have a fleet of long range bombers at its disposal. Sure they may nuke Miami or Clearwater, but so what? The U.S. government would clobber the Cuban government mercilessly. Your crazy dictator could give out those orders. It is highly likely that the guys receiving the orders, wanting to live, would refuse to do it. If they did decide to launch an attack, the air craft would be intercepted over the ocean. On 9/10, if they refused to obey ATC instructions they probably could have gotten away with it. People would hesitate to shoot them since it might be a defector with a broken radio. Thus they would make it to their first target. When they dropped their bomb, or launched their missile, they would have been shot down. Then the Cuban government would have been destroyed and many of the officials killed.

    Even the Russian govt at their height lacked the capability to wreck the U.S. military sufficiently to evade retaliation. The Cubans are several orders of magnitude below the Russians at best.

    So yes, on 9/10, the Cubans could have, hypothetically speaking, managed to deliver a nuclear payload onto an American city. It would be against their best interests to try, making it a nonsensical exercise, but they could, in theory, have killed a bunch of people.

    This is a question of how much security is cost effective. To defend against all possible attacks from all quarters at all times is hideously expensive. The Soviets tried it and it bankrupted them, and a kid managed to fly a Cessna and land it on Red Square anyway.

    Having a fleet of fighters ready to go into the air at a moment's notice is expensive in terms of equipment, men and fuel. The type of air defense you describe would cost tens of billions of dollars annually, all to prevent an event that has no measurable chance of happening.

    In the late 90's we had ships that deployed late because the Navy was running out of money in the fuel budget. Tens of fighters armed with missiles containing delicate electronics baking in the hot sun was not an affordable luxury.

  • Dave Woycechowsky||

    U.S. government has been intercepting and interdicting cargo planes carrying illicit drugs. Anything flying out of Cuba towards Florida gets intercepted.

    I still don't think you are getting it, Tarran.

    If Cuba wanted to nuke the US, it would simply put the bombs in passenger jets, similar to those flying between Toronto and Cuba. If that is what it took to fool the US air defenses, then that is what Cuba would do.

    Of course, I don't think I am the first person to have thought of this. I am sure there were plans in place so that any unauthorized aircraft (including but not limited to Cuban jetliners) could be intercepted quickly over NYS, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, DC, Pennsylvania or anywhere else they might decide to turn into US airspace.

    So let me rephrase the question(s) for you:

    Suppose Cuban "passenger" jetliners on 9/11 decided to turn into US airspace at various points along the East Coast on the morning of 9/11. How long and far do you think those passenger jets would get to fly around before they were intercepted? How come Flight 93 got so much longer?

    I mean, if the defense really was concentrated at the perimeter, then once you got past the perimeter you could do whatever you wanted. The military might of told you that that is how it works, Tarran. You might have been naive enough to believe how it works (the military loves naive soldiers, the naiver the better). However, that is not how it works. Because of Cubans. Because of the possibility of rogue US military air commanders. Because of a lot of contingencies that I haven't even thought of yet (but am sure that the air defense people have).

  • Dave Weigel||

    Anonymous who posted at 12:15pm on 9/22, please e-mail me at dweigel at reason.com.

  • ||

    All clear headed people know that JFK and Elvis planned and coordinated the whole 9/11 thing. They were assisted by Jim Morrison and Hitler's brain. I don't have the specifics, but the Joos and the Freemasons were in on it too. You're all just afraid of the truth.

  • ||

    tarran,

    Dave is unable to be reasoned with. No amount of technical or operational knowledge will sway him away from his "what if" scenarios that are apparently automatically more realistic and likely than anything else.

  • ||

    Dave Woycechowsky,

    You are insane. Seriously.... You need to talk to someone and get help...

    If cuba had hundreds of nuclear weapons, and ifthey managed to place them in the Cargo bays of hundreds of airliners that were landing within an hour of each other at a wide range of airports, and if they somehow did this without anyone getting suspicious, then yes, Cuba could nuke the U.S.

    In fact, I remember reading debates about the "nukes smuggled on aircraft" worries in the 1980's in Proceedings magazine. The consensus was that the only way to defend against it was to put neutron detectors in airports and to try and ID any aircraft that might be a threat. Then someone pointed out that you could sneak the things into shipping containers. In the end, the conclusion was the same. You put detectors which detect neutron radiation (given off by plutonium in bombs) on likely transhipment points and cross your fingers. It was pretty clear from the debate that slipping more than one or two small bombs simultaneously on an A/C without getting caught was about the best a hypothetical attacker could do. And the response to an attack in progress was precisely the one carried out on 9/11: order all A/C to land. Everybody recognized taht it was impossible to prevent with 100% certainty someone launching a suprise attack with smuggled nuclear bombs.

    This is not naivete. It's reality. Tomorrow when you are meeting a client, one of his enemies could shoot an RPG into your offices and kill you. This is far more likely than your "nuclear weapons" smuggled on passenger aircraft scenario. So Dave, how much money has your firm invested in RPG defense? Am I naive in believing that they haven't invested any?

    The fact remains that the only aircraft capable of shooting down FLt 93 were well out of maximum missile range. Even had they been carrying AIM-54's (the only air to air missile that can hit targets over 100 miles away), they wouldn't have fired them. Why? because picking out one aircraft track out of hundreds is difficult. The AIM-54, which cannot be mated to F-15's last time I checked, uses inertial guidance until it gets close to the calculated intercept point then turns on its radar and clobbers the best looking target it sees. This is, of course, not suitable for anything other than intercepting bomber streams flying at high altitude or over water. In any scenario where an aircraft is ordered to shoot something down, particularly in a sky full of friendlies, the pilot has to verify that he is hitting the right target. This means, among other things, that visual identification is paramount. If the aircraft was within missile range in Pennsylvania, then there was plenty of time for our hypothetical fighter to close to visual range prior to it getting to DC. Thus, if it was shot down, the fighter would have been trailing close behind it. And guess what? Not one of the pilots who watched from above, not one of the witnesses on the ground observed any fighters trailing or even in the vicinity of the aircraft. What witnesses did see was an intact aircraft scream overhead maneuvering wildly at > 400 knots, 500 feet or so above the ground, roll inverted and crash. had the aircraft been shot by a missile at that speed and that close to the ground, it would have crashed almost immediately afterwards as the aerodynamic stresses progressively expanded any missile damage. Thus, the people on the ground would have witnessed the explosion and the shooter, since such an attack would have been carried out from the target angle that gives the best chance of a hit - directly behind the aircraft.

    The famous picture of smoke mushrooming out of the field would have included the trail of fuel and hydraulic oil that would have sprayed out of the damaged aircraft.

    Again, there is absolutely no evidence that Flt 93 was shot down, other than your faith that the U.S. military, the same organization that fucked up the occupation of Iraq so spectacularly, had been so prescient as to develop an doctrine using fighter intercepts to defend against airliner-borne attacks, had exercised flight crews to the point where they could carry out the doctrine without any radio-transmissions to civilian aircraft (BTW did I mention that military and civilian aircraft all talk on the same radio frequencies?), and that they were able to execute this doctrine, destroying a target outside visual range that had no transponder and was flying low over hilly terrain cut by numerous ridges and valleys using a missile that nobody saw or heard. And that after they had done this, they were able to keep it all secret.

    If you seriously want to assert that Flight 93 was shot down, I would suggest you push a more plausible scenario: some child baseball-prodigy, a pint-sized Barry Bonds, hit a baseball which was ingested by one of the plane's engines, causing the hijackers to lose control and plow into a field. Because a kid hittin pop flies had a better chance of knocking down that jet over that patch of Pennsylvania than the U.S. Air force or Air National Guard.

  • ||

    To add:

    The only realistic missile that even has a chance BVR is the AIM-120 or maybe the AIM-7. I'm not sure that AIM-120s are carried by ANG or reserve wings. AIM-7s are not terribly reliable at greater BVR ranges.

    The AIM-54, as I recall, was almost exclusively used with the F-14, which at the time was well on the way to retirement, and besides, would have had to come from a NAS (Oceania?) that almost certainly wouldn't have had alert aircraft, as it's not their mission.

  • David Woycechowsky||

    "what if" scenarios that are apparently automatically more realistic and likely than anything else.

    I am not raising the Cubans to say that an attack from them with passenger airplanes was a likely contingency. What I am saying is that it is one type of attack the air defenses would have been ready for. I believe that the air defenses prepare for unlikely types of attack. If they were ready for that kind of attack, then there is no way that Flight 93 could have stayed unmolested as long as it apparently did.

    What I actually imagine happened is more like this:

    High up military commander: as you know, a hijacked plane has hit the World Trade Center. Shall I give the order to shoot down the other hi-jacked planes.

    Higher up military commander: We need the president's permission for that. Let's get more information about the other hi-jackings and then I will decide whether to ask Vice President Cheney for that permission.

    I don't see what is so unrealistic about this kind of conversation. I don't see where it would require anybody to be hyperrational or superintelligent. All it would require is for the "higher up miltary commander" to: (1) have intelligence info that an attack was coming; and (2) want it to occur so that wars could be started. I don't see this possibility as extraordinary or against common sense or otherwise unlikely on its face. Which is why it is a possibility that should be investigated.

  • ||

    In fact, I remember reading debates about the "nukes smuggled on aircraft" worries in the 1980's in Proceedings magazine.

    A damned fine publication, Proceedings. But as a retired squid, I'm biased.

  • ||

    Truthers take great pride in asserting that the Pop. Mech. stuff has been thoroughly debunkified



    The idea that Popular Mechanics is part of the conspiracy is ludicrous. Yet they've been labelled that. I was talking to a Truther once, when he exclaimed, bright red in the fact, "Don't you know that Popular Mechanics is a Hearst magazine!" That has to rank as the most bizarre ad hominem attacks I have ever heard.

    I've gone through the PM debunking rebuttal site. It's a pile of wet steaming rubbish. It's straight out of the Slashdot school of argumentation, where if you can't rebut the substance of an argument, attack any spelling or grammatical errors you can find in it. For example, the very first rebuttal is an inane rant that the Google search referenced in the introduction wasn't properly quoted.

    Other anti-PM articles are no better. PrisonPlanet has one where it accuses Ben Chertoff of PM of being an insider because he's the cousin of Michael Chertoff. Yet the two men are very distant cousins and have never met. This is called "unparalleled nepotism". It also says Ben Chertoff wrote the PM article, but he did not, and only did research for it.

  • ||

    Dave,

    No, on numerous occasions you have declared that Flt 93 was shot down. You have been arguing something far beyond the idea that the U.S. government conspired to shoot down the aircraft.

    In fact, it's well known that the order to shoot down aircraft was given. There is a body of evidence that suggests that Cheney gave the order without consulting Bush. However, this is not the same thing as arguing that the aircraft was shot down.

    Imagine the following scenario. Two men conspire to murder someone (and not I am not arguing that wanting to shoot down Flt 93 makes Cheney and Bush a pack of murderers). These two men hit upon a plan: they will lie in wait in the parking lot of the Dunkin Donuts where their victim buys coffee every morning. There, as he gets out of his car they will shoot him with a silenced hand-gun.

    That morning, they drive into the Dunkin donuts. They have their disguises ready. Their gun is loaded and silenced. Everything is set. But they never get to shoot the victim since the victim loses control of his car, drives into a tree and is killed well before he reaches the Dunkin Donuts.

    Did the two men conspire to murder the victim? Yes. Did they actually murder the victim? No.

    For years, you have been arguing that Flt 93 was shot down. I have been arguing that regardless of the intentions of the officers of the U.S. government, it was impossible for them to have shot down the airplane in a manner consistent with the evidence and known facts.

    Now, you are trying to change your story and claim that you are merely curious whether the notion had been discussed and whether any orders had been given. The is no hidden agenda on that subject. Dick Cheney admits that he told a senior officer of the military that the president authorized the shooting down of hijacked civilian jetliners. The orders were never carried out because nobody got a physical opportunity to do so.

    As to your other theory; that the U.S. government had foreknowledge and allowed the attacks to take place, I question whether they would have known much. It is difficult to consieve that the U.s. administration would allow an attack on Washington DC. After all, the guys at the White House, and CIA headquarters or in the Pentagon would probably not be cool with the idea of allowing aircraft to potentially slam into their workplaces.

    Yes, they might have known that some kind of unspecified attack was imminent and allowed it to happen. I don't think it was very likely but it is quite possible. However, given the number of friends of the White House administration that were killed in the attacks, I don't find the idea tat they had any intimate knowledge of what was about to take place credible at all.

  • Dave Woycechowsky||

    For years, you have been arguing that Flt 93 was shot down. I have been arguing that regardless of the intentions of the officers of the U.S. government, it was impossible for them to have shot down the airplane in a manner consistent with the evidence and known facts.

    Now, you are trying to change your story and claim that you are merely curious whether the notion had been discussed and whether any orders had been given.


    No, I am not changing my story. Like I said above in this thd:

    "2. Do I actually believe that the government (or parts of it knew)[?] No, not necessarily. Should be investigated, though. Hasn't been. I have a hard time believing that Dick Cheney could be evil enough to stand down the planes, or purposely send them out to sea, on the morning of 9/11. So, really, investigating the air response protocol should be no problem.
    . . .
    3. What I do believe is that Flight 93 was shot down, and that this should have been revealed to us a long time ago. That is the TRUTH."

  • ||

    Dave,

    Fine. If you want to believe that the U.S. government shot down Flt 93 using magic invisible missiles that leave no trace, launched from invisible quiet aircraft, be my guest. Just be aware that you are substituting fantasy for reality.

    I highly recommend that you get an MRI of your brain since you are delusional.

  • Dave Woycechowsky||

    If you want to believe that the U.S. government shot down Flt 93 using magic invisible missiles that leave no trace, launched from invisible quiet aircraft, be my guest.

    I don't believe this. I think they used regular missiles from regular aircraft.

  • ||

    Fine. If you want to believe that the U.S. government shot down Flt 93 using magic invisible missiles...


    Hang on there, tarran!

    The French use magic missiles!

    Matra R550 Magic
    Matra Magic II
    Magic Super 530F/Super 530D

    The French shot it down!

  • ||

    But Timon, do those missiles use smokeless fuel? Are they invisible? I don't think so...

    Anyway, we all know that the French were in cahoots with Saddam Hussein, so would be opposed to any casus belli that could prompt the U.S. to go to war with Iraq. So they would do everything in their power to prevent the attacks without Americans knowing about it, and if they couldn't prevent the attackers from launching the attacks, they would do everything they could to prevent them from reaching their targets... Hey! ;)

  • ||

    No one dare speak the REAL 9/11 TRUTH.
    Thanks to Sore/Loserman attempting everything to steal the 2000 election there was no "transition" between the Clinton and Bush administrations.

    Rather than a transition there was outright sabotage. The Communist Donkey CokeHeads were more concerned with payback and revenge than the National Security of the United States.
    The Democrats are responsible for 9/11.

    The only other conspiracy question is why the Republicans have covered it up- they know this.

    The charges/investigation into Democrat vandalism and theft of Government property was
    dropped. Sandy Burgalar was allowed to destroy documents showing Democrat knowlege of the impending attacks. Bush is happily waiting to turn the reins of power back over to the Clinton Cabal in 2008.

    KNOW the Fucking TRUTH!

  • Partisan Hack||

    Vote Ron Paul 2008!

    For AMERICA and the TRUTH!

    Ron will expose the Crimes of the Democrat Party and the Complicity of RINOS like BUSH!

    Don't worry about his isolationist anti-war stance. Once Ron sees the TRUTH he will unleash the ARMAGEDDON of US Military Power and you will be suprized where it lands.Ron can use GITMO to house the Democrat Republican SCUM
    cause we will have a take no prisoners policy on the Jihadis.

    Go Ron Paul!

  • thoreau||

    Would a magic missile really do it? It's only a 1st level spell. At least in 2nd edition AD&D. I've never played 3rd edition.

  • ||

    While the dogged investigation of Moussaoui by Minneapolis FBI agent Harry Samit and Samit's repeated attempts to get a warrant from FBI HQ in Washington to search Moussaoui's laptop and belongings has been well documented, Gordon's reporting uncovers new information that the FBI absolutely had information in its hands to roll up a large chunk of al Qaida's financing network in the days before 9/11 and stop the hijackings.

    Moussaoui had long been regarding by his fellow jihadis as something of a loose cannon and security risk. Turns out they were right. Moussaoui's notebooks included Western Union routing numbers, routing numbers used by al Qaida operative Ramzi Binalshibh to send $14,000 to Moussaoui in August 2001.

    But authorities never looked at those notebooks. Instead, FBI brass repeatedly blunted Agent Samit's attempts to search them, citing lack of information that Moussaoui was a known terrorist or foreign agent.



    I can't help thinking that many of those who post on this board would have howled with rage if, in 2001, the FBI had searched Mousaui's computer, notebooks, etc. It probably would have been highlighted on the "daily brickbat": "Man Terrorized by FBI for Daring to Fly While Arab..."

    I can just hear the sarcastic ridicule. Joe would have written a long, pious (and rhetorically convincing) post laced with a few historical tidbits that demonstrate how utterly evil the US has been all along in its dealing with middle easterners, while Thoreau would have "agreed" with somebody at the beginning of the discussion.

  • thoreau||

    wayne-

    Maybe the question we should ask is why they couldn't put together enough pieces to justify doing the search, instead of asking why they didn't do the search?

    When the cops can't put together enough pieces of the puzzle to justify a warrant, does that speak poorly of their performance, or does that speak poorly of the warrant requirement?

  • David Woycechowsky||

    When the cops can't put together enough pieces of the puzzle to justify a warrant, does that speak poorly of their performance, or does that speak poorly of the warrant requirement?

    Or does it suggest LIHOP?

    "I am so desperate to get into his computer, I'll take anything." Agent Samit, September 10, 2001.

  • Urkobold™||

    LIHOP? AH, THE LOUISVILLE INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PANCAKES. THEY MAKE A DAMNED GOOD WAFFLE.

  • ||

    In the sub-culture of Trutherism where there are questions, there are two possibilities: LIHOP or MIHOP.

    The other sub-cultures of Trutherism are so divergent from one another as to be incoherent.

  • ||

    I am with Urk. I prefer the waffles at LIHOP over the blueberry pancakes at M(inneapolis)IHOP

  • ||

    false flag attacks have been committed by governments hundreds of times. To beleive that teh US governemnt is incapable is naive to the extreme. To keep chanting "all errors are due to ignorance" is a sign of brainwashing and demostrably false

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichstag_fire

    Hitler called the fire a "sign from heaven", and claimed the fire was a Fanal (signal) meant to mark the beginning of a Communist Putsch (coup). The next day, the Preussische Pressedienst (Prussian Press Service) reported that "this act of incendiarism is the most monstrous act of terrorism carried out by Bolshevism in Germany".

    if you haven't ever done research on pearl harbor and the true goals of FDR then you don't understand much about government.
    here is a modest start...

    http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v11/v11p431_Lutton.html


    The world trade center bombing in 1993...what about the court documents explaining how the FBI gave the guy the explosives and told him to blow up the damn building? It happened it is public record.

    Gulf of Tonkin I guess that was all just a big accident and the government's refusal to talk about it is just because they care about us so much.

    Truthers see evidence of coverup and official lies...we don't trust the government and for that we are called "conspiracy theorists", anti-americans etc....

    ok you sheep, enjoy your fucking 50% taxes, enjoy having your kids sent to shitty schools and learning about how we are enjoying low 2% inflation. And go sign up for your real ID and keep trying to "BE REASONABLE"

    I hope when your fucking kids get drafted and made into cannon fodder you will remember who tried to tell you.

  • ||

    General Wesley Clark calls for an investigation into 9/11. This puts an end to whether or not questioning 9/11 is patriotic or not. wanna see the video...it's there if you'll look...if not then just put on your blinders and follow your orwelian masters.

  • tarran||

    Speaking of which, No Treason is back!

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