Viewpoint: First in a series. . . Answers to WTC attacks elusive
By Joe Baker
By Joe Baker
Seven months have passed since the jetliners slammed into the World Trade Center towers, and we still dont know the answers to many questions about what happened on that day.
President George Bush and his number two man, Vice-President Richard Cheney, are trying mightily to impede a congressional probe of those events. They want the investigation to be limited to federal intelligence agencies and all hearings to be conducted behind closed doors.
Is there something to hide? The Rock River Times, in this and subsequent articles, will attempt to answer that question.
In 2000, former President George H. Bush visited Saudi Arabia as a representative of the Carlyle Group, a U.S. defense contractor. While there, he met with the bin Laden family, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The following January, the Bush administration ordered the FBI and other intelligence agencies to halt their investigations of the bin Laden family, including two of Osamas relatives living next door to the CIA in Falls Church, Va.
German intelligence, the BND, in June 2001, warned the CIA and Israel that Mideastern terrorists were planning to hijack commercial airliners and use them as weapons on important symbols of American and Israeli culturea full three months before 9-11.
The foreign press, in July 2001, reported three American officials met in Berlin with Russian and Pakistani intelligence officers and informed them the U.S. planned to attack Afghanistan in October. These reports appeared in The Guardian of London, in the Inter Press Service and on the BBC.
The German news agency, online.ie, in the summer of 2001, reported an Iranian man telephoned U.S. law enforcement to alert them to an imminent attack on the World Trade Center the week of Sept. 9th. German police confirmed the call.
The FBI arrested an Islamic militant in Boston in August, 2001. French intelligence sources verified the man was a key member of bin Ladens al-Qaeda network. Agents learned the man had been taking flying lessons.
Around the same time, the Russian press reported that Russian intelligence officials notified the CIA that 25 terrorist pilots had been trained specifically for suicide missions. In August, Russian President Vladimir Putin directed his countrys intelligence service to issue its strongest warning to the U.S. of looming attacks on airports and government buildings in America. An NBC interview with Putin made that clear.
During August and September 2001, the Dows industrial average fell nearly 900 points. A major stock market crash appeared inevitable.
Between Sept. 6 and Sept. 7, more than 4,700 put options were bought on United Airlines stock versus only 396 call options. A put option is a bet that a given stocks value will drop, while a call option is just the opposite.
Many of the transactions were handled through Deutschebank/AB Brown, an institution managed until 1998 by Alvin B. Buzzy Krongard, who then became director of the CIA. Stories on these dealings ran in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
On Sept. 10, some 4,516 put options were bought on American Airlines stock. High levels of put options were also placed on stocks of Merrill Lynch Stanley, AXA Re, which owns 25 percent of American Airlines, and Munich Re. Put options on the two airlines were 600 percent above normal.
Then came Sept. 11. For 35 minutesfrom 8:05 a.m. to 9:05 a.m.no one tells the President of the United States that four airliners have been hijacked and diverted from their flight paths. No Air Force interceptors are scrambled until 9:30 a.m. It is too late.
The inescapable conclusion is that the National Command Authority (the president, vice-president and their designated subordinates) waited 75 minutes before sending up any fighter planes, even though they knew there had been an unprecedented simultaneous hijacking of four passenger aircraft. Reports were published by The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times and were broadcast on CNN, ABC, and MSNBC.
President Bush was in Sarasota, Fla. on the second day of a two-day visit. He was reading a story to a class at Booker School when his Chief of Staff, Andrew Card informed him that a jetliner had just crashed into the World Trade Center in New York.
Bush showed no reaction and continued with the story. When Bush was leaving his hotel that morning to go to the school, a reporter asked if he knew what had happened in New York. The president said he did and would have a statement later.
Vice-President Cheney, appearing later on Meet The Press on television, said the Secret Service had an arrangement with the FAA. They had an open line after the towers were hit.
Bush later said publicly that he had been watching television before entering the classroom at the school and that he saw the first plane strike the tower. Coverage of the attack was not on television at that point because the first strike had just happened. Video of the first crash was not televised until three or four days later.
News reports at the time claimed the Pentagon was notified of the attacks by a New York street cop using his cell phone. In actual fact, the Coast Guard radio had a live, running description of the entire incident. An account of the transmissions was carried in Motor Boating magazines December issue last year.
This was not the first time an aircraft has gone off its flight path and out of contact. Those incidents have been dealt with promptly and without delay.
In this case, we have multiple airplanes off course and out of touch for long periods with no response, even after one hit the WTC, and another was making threatening moves.
The central questions have to be: hy wasnt there a fighter response? Did someone order air defense to stand down? Why wasnt NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense) notified sooner? Why was the president allowed to carry out a publicly announced visit to a school not more than five miles from an airport when airborne terrorist attacks were in progress?
In future articles, we will delve into these and other questions related to the horrific events of 9-11.
See related editorial on page 8