Secrets of Sept. 11 leaking out

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11115953198661.jpg’, ”, ‘U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney’);

Two happenings in recent weeks allowed just a bit of the truth about 9/11 to leak out from undercover. They involved a pair of courageous women who are unafraid to speak truth to power.

The House Armed Services Committee was in session Feb. 16 last to consider the National Defense Authorization budget request from the Department of Defense for Fiscal Year 2006.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was present as was Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As the hearing drew to a close, Rep. Duncan Hunter, (R-Calif.), asked Rumsfeld if he would agree to a breakfast meeting to allow members of Hunter’s committee who had not had the opportunity to ask their questions to do so. Rumsfeld agreed.

At that point, Rep. Cynthia McKinney, (D-Ga.) notified the chairman that she had a question for Rumsfeld and Myers. “…there are many of us who have important questions, and my question in particular is about the four (or five) war games that were taking place on Sept. 11 and how they may have impaired our ability to respond to those attacks. I would like that question to be answered in public, Mr. Chairman,” McKinney said.

Rep. Hunter tried to quiet McKinney, who had visibly flustered Rumsfeld with her query. He and Myers appeared agitated and muttered off-microphone to one another.

McKinney was not so easily deterred. She told Hunter: “I hope the record is still open so that even that portion of my comment will be on this record.” Hunter replied: “It will be so ordered.”

Kyle Hence of a group called 9/11 CitizensWatch, tried four times to elicit some answers about Sept. 11 from Richard A. Clarke, the counter terrorism boss for the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. Clarke did not respond. Hence then released his letter to Clarke.

Among other items, the letter asked: “Finally, did the NORAD war games (Vigilant Guardian, Vigilant Warrior, Northern Vigilance) being run on 9/11 impact in any way, positively or negatively, the response by the military that morning?“ Hence further asked: “Was there any involvement from the White House in the war games? Who was ultimately responsible for monitoring and running these exercises? And for being sure there was a ‘firewall’ between the games and ‘real life’? Were any of the 11 potential hijacks on the FAA system radar ‘injects’ (simulated blips) part of the war gaming?” (

At the same time, whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, a former FBI translator, is making some progress in getting her story out. She was recently allowed to testify before hearings of the House Government Reform Subcommittee.

Edmonds, in recent months, has won the support of the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington advocacy group dealing with defense issues. The ACLU also has joined the issue, and the inspector general of the Justice Department released an unclassified report tending to support Edmonds’ allegations.

Edmonds, who was born in Iran and raised in Turkey, is fluent in several languages, including Turkish and Farsi. The FBI hired her right after 9/11 and gave her top security clearance.

She was fired after she reported to her superiors that some of the translators sent to Guantanamo for prisoner interrogations could not speak the languages they were supposed to translate. Edmonds also learned of reports within the bureau that related bin Laden’s plans for an attack in April 2001. She also spotted activities that she thought might involve espionage within the FBI. She charged one interpreter actually gave wiretap information to the object of an FBI investigation.

Since then, letters exchanged by the Senate Judiciary Committee and top FBI officials have tended to confirm her story. Just as these things appeared ready to break into the open, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft used the rarely invoked state secrets privilege to classify everything she said.

Edmonds made several attempts to interested officials and organizations in what she had to say, without success. That is changing with her testimony before the Government Reform Subcommittee.

New York Congressman Carolyn Maloney told Edmonds after she testified: “Just let me know when you’re going into court, and I’ll see how many women leaders I can get to come stand with you.”

The Associated Press reported Maloney intends to introduce a bill named after Edmonds that would limit unnecessary security classifications (

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