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FTR #423 I’ve Got a Secret: Update on 9/11 and Related Subjects

MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

Bringing the investigation of 9/11 and related matters up to date, this program takes its name from an old TV quiz show titled, “I’ve Got a Secret.” Beginning with confirmation of the direct White House role in facilitating the escape from the United States of members of the Saudi elite (including Bin Laden family members implicated in terrorist matters), the broadcast discusses the many attempts by the Bush administration to suppress information about the 9/11 attacks. The well-publicized Bush administration suppression of (a section of) a congressional report on the attacks has helped to obscure information about a Saudi governmental role in the attacks. Part of the alleged Saudi governmental role (in the attacks) entails Saudi intelligence operatives’ participation in the conspiracy. In addition, Bush is censoring information about how much forewarning his administration had received about the attacks, as well as continued suppression of documentation of terrorist funding conduits. Much of the second side of the program consists of an update of the Al Taqwa/Nada Management connections, including further information about an Al Taqwa/Saddam Hussein link.

Program Highlights Include: Excerpts from a Vanity Fair article detailing the Bush efforts to evacuate the Bin Ladens from the US; the description features sections of a very important Wall Street Journal article that came out a week after the original broadcast) that further documents the Al Taqwa/Al Qaeda link; US corporations’ smuggling of high-tech equipment to Saddam Hussein through German and South Korean intermediaries; those intermediary companies’ use of the term “our common enemy ” to refer to the United States; Al Taqwa links to a Saudi allegedly connected to Al Qaeda funding; an Al Taqwa scheme to launder assets plundered from Kuwait in 1991; Al Gore’s attempts to prevail on the Saudis to stop funding terrorism.

1. Updating and developing a topic discussed in FTRs 337, 347, the broadcast details the evacuation from the United States of members of the Bin Laden family in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. For the first time, it has been confirmed that the upper echelons of the Bush administration were involved in the decision to evacuate the Bin Ladens at a time when the vast majority of Americans could not fly.

“Top White House officials personally approved the evacuation of dozens of influential Saudis, including relatives of Osama bin Laden, from the United States in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks when most flights were still grounded, a former White House adviser said today. The adviser, Richard Clarke, who ran the White House crisis team after the attacks but has since left the Bush administration, said he agreed to the extraordinary plan because the Federal Bureau of investigation assured him that the departing Saudis were not linked to terrorism. The White House feared that the Saudis could face ‘retribution’ for the hijackings if they remained in the United States, Mr. Clarke said. . . . “

(“White House Approved Departure of Saudis After Sept. 11, Ex-Aide Says ” by Eric Lichtblau; The New York Times; 9/4/2003; p. A15.)


” . . . Mr. Clarke first made his remarks about the plan in an article in Vanity Fair due out Thursday, and he expanded on those remarks today in an interview and in congressional testimony. The White House said today that it had no comment on Mr. Clarke’s statements. . . . “


3. As will be discussed below, at least two of the Bin Laden family evacuees appear to be involved with the Al Qaeda milieu.

“Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, seized on Mr. Clarke’s comments to call on the White House to conduct an investigation into the hasty departures of about 140 Saudis from the United States in the days after the attacks. Mr. Schumer said in an interview that he suspected that some of the Saudis who were allowed to leave, particularly two relatives of Mr. bin Laden who he said had links to terrorist groups themselves, could have shed light on the events of Sept. 11. ‘This is just another example of our country coddling the Saudis and giving them special privileges that others would never get,’ Mr. Schumer said. ‘It’s almost as if we didn’t want to find out what links existed. . . .’ “



“But the Vanity Fair investigation quotes Dale Watson, the former head of counterterrorism at the F.B.I., as saying that the departing Saudis ‘were not subject to serious interviews or interrogations.’ Mr. Watson could not be reached for comment today. The article depicts an elaborate but hurried evacuation carried out within a week of the hijackings in which private planes picked up Saudis from 10 cities around the country. Some aviation and bureau officials said they were upset by the operation because the government had not lifted flight restrictions for the general public, but those officials said they lacked the power to stop the evacuation, the article says. . . “



“Mr. Schumer said he doubted the thoroughness of a rushed review by the bureau, and in a letter to the White House today he said the Saudis appeared to have gotten ‘a free pass’ despite their possible knowledge about the attacks. ‘I find it hard to believe that two days after 9/11, the F.B.I. would even know what questions to ask and who to ask it of,’ Mr. Schumer said in an interview. ‘The F.B.I.’s confidence that nothing of value was lost here is questionable.’ “


6. Although it was not directly accessed in the original broadcast, the Vanity Fair article referenced in the above New York Times story is excerpted here for the listeners’ scrutiny. Abdullah and Khalil Bin Laden were the two members of the Al Qaeda-linked family alluded to by Senator Schumer.

“The young bin Ladens and members of the House of Saud who were living in the United States in September 2001 were mostly students attending high school or college and young professionals. Several bin Ladens had attended Tufts University near Boston. Sana bin Laden had graduated from Wheelock College, in Boston. Abdullah bin Laden, a younger brother of Osama’s, was a 1994 graduate of Harvard Law School and had offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts. . . . “

(“Saving the Saudis ” by Craig Unger; Vanity Fair; October/2003; p. 165.)


” . . .But half-brother Khalil Binladin decided to go back to Jidda. Khalil, who has a Brazilian wife, had been appointed Brazil’s honorary consul in Jidda, though he also owns a sprawling 20-acre estate in Winter Garden, Florida, near Orlando. “


8. Abdullah Bin Laden is linked to the WAMY, which in turn overlaps Al Qaeda, the GOP’s Republican ethnic outreach organization and the Al Taqwa milieu

“In fact, the F.B.I. had been keeping an eye on some of the bin Ladens. A classified F.B.I. file examined by Vanity Fair and marked ‘Secret’ shows that as early as 1996, the bureau had spent nearly nine months investigating Abdullah and Omar bin Laden, who were involved with the American branch of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a charity that has published writings by Islamic scholar Sayyid Qutb, one of Osama bin Laden’s intellectual influences. “

(Ibid.; p. 175.)

9. In addition, Khalil bin Laden has interests in the tri-border area.

“Khalil bin Laden, who boarded a plane in Orlando that eventually took him back to Saudi Arabia, won the attention of Brazilian investigators for possible terrorist connections. According to a Brazilian paper, he had business connections in the Brazilian province of Minas Gerais, not far from the tri-border region, an alleged center for training terrorists. . . . “

(Ibid.; p. 176.)


“F.B.I. officials declined to comment on the investigation, which was reported in Britain’s The Guardian, but the documents show that the file on Abdullah and Omar was reopened on September, 19, 2001, while the Saudi repatriation was still under way. ‘These documents show there was an open F.B.I. investigation into these guys at the time of their departure,’ says David Armstrong, an investigator for the Public Education Center, the Washington, D.C., foundation that obtained the documents. “


11. Among the points apparently contained in the deleted portion of the congressional report on the 9/11 attacks is information implicating the Saudi government in the conspiracy.

“The 28 pages deleted from a congressional report on Sept. 11 depict a Saudi government that not only provided significant money and aid to the suicide hijackers but also allowed potentially hundreds of millions of dollars to flow to al Qaeda and other terrorist groups through suspect charities and other fronts, according to sources familiar with the document. One U.S. official who has read the classified section said it described ‘direct involvement of senior (Saudi) government officials in a coordinated and methodical way directly to the hijackers,’ as well as ‘very direct, very specific links that cannot be passed off as rogue, isolated or coincidental.’ Another official said: ‘It’s really damning. What it says is that not only Saudi entities or nationals are implicated in 9/11, but the (Saudi) government as well.’ “

(“Report Says Saudis Aided 9/11 Hijackers ” [Chronicle News Services]; The San Francisco Chronicle; 8/2/2003; p. A1.)

12. Bush himself was responsible for the refusal to declassify the report.

“President Bush refused today to declassify a 28-page chapter of a Congressional report on the September 2001 attacks. He said that disclosure of the deleted section, which centers on allegations about Saudi Arabia’s role in financing the hijackings, would ‘would help the enemy,’ and compromise the administration’s campaign against terror.”

( “Bush Refuses to Declassify Saudi Section of Report ” by David Johnston and Douglas Jehl; The New York Times; 7/30/2003; p. A1.)

13. According to some analysts, the classified information may implicate Saudi intelligence operatives in the machinations in, and around, 9/11.

“The classified part of a Congressional report on the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, says that two Saudi citizens who had at least indirect links with two hijackers were probably Saudi intelligence agents and may have reported to Saudi government officials, according to people who have seen the report. These findings, according to several people who have read the report, help to explain why the classified part of the report has become so politically charged, causing strains between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Senior Saudi officials have denied any links between their government and the attacks and have asked that the section be declassified, but President Bush has refused. “

(“Report on 9/11 Suggests a Role by Saudi Spies ” by James Risen and David Johnston; The New York Times; 8/2/2003; p. 1.)


“The report urges further investigation of the two men and their contacts with the hijackers, because of unresolved questions about their relationship and whether they had any involvement in the 9/11 plot. The edited 28-page section of the report, produced by a joint panel of the House and Senate intelligence committees, also says that a Muslim cleric in San Diego was a central figure in a support network that aided the same two hijackers. Most connections drawn in the report between the men, Saudi intelligence and the attacks are circumstantial, several people who have read the report said. “


15. Beyond the 28 pages of classified material in the congressional report on 9/11, the Bush administration is actively covering up the extent to which it ignored intelligence warnings foreshadowing the attacks.

“It’s not just the Saudi secret that’s being kept. The recent report of the joint congressional committee that probed intelligence failures before the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon reveals what the Bush administration doesn’t want Americans to know about the American government. You would not know this from media accounts about this report. They have dwelled on what the Bush administration doesn’t want us to know about the Saudi government.”

(“U.S. Clamps Secrecy on Warnings Before 9/11 ” Marie Cocco; Newsday; 8/7/2003; p. 1.)


“This is the famous 28-page chapter, a series of blank lines across page after page, that the president refuses to declassify despite the pleadings of the bipartisan group of lawmakers and the Saudi government itself. The dustup over Saudi secrets is exquisitely convenient. It obscures George W. Bush’s relentless hold on U.S. secrets and on information he maintains should be secret, though it has not necessarily been before now. “



“The report’s appendix hints at what these secrets are, and why they are kept. ‘Access Limitations Encountered by the Joint Inquiry,’ the section is titled. The White House refused to provide contents of the president’s daily brief. This would clear up questions about how much specific information President Bush received about an impending attack during the spring and summer of 2001—a period in which the intelligence community was reporting with alarm that a ‘spectacular’ attack against the United States involving ‘mass casualties’ was in the works. “


18. A recent Village Voice article highlighted some of the warnings.

” . . . The report lists 36 different summaries of warnings dating back to 1997. Among them: ‘In September 1998, the [Intelligence Community] obtained information that Bin Laden’s next operation might involve flying an explosive-laden aircraft into a U.S. airport and detonating it.’ ‘In the fall of 1998, the [Intelligence Community] obtained information concerning a Bin Laden plot involving aircraft in the New York and Washington, D.C. areas.’ “

(“Bush’s 9-11 Secrets ” [ “Mondo Washington “] by James Ridgeway; The Village Voice; 7/31/2003.)


” ‘In March 2000, the [Intelligence Community] obtained information regarding the types of targets that operatives of Bin Laden’s network might strike. The Statue of Liberty was specifically mentioned, as were skyscrapers, ports, airports and nuclear power plants’ . . . We don’t know because Bush has invoked executive privilege to withhold from Congress this key briefing on August 6, 2001. We do know that despite years of warnings from the intelligence community, the government apparently had taken no steps to protect the eastern seaboard or any other American border from attack. “


20. Perhaps the most revealing of the Bush administration’s attempts at playing “I’ve Got a Secret ” is its refusal to allow information about the funding sources of Al Qaeda into the public domain. It is the information uncovered as a result of “Operation Green Quest ” that connects the milieux of Al Taqwa, Al Qaeda, the GOP and elements of the Underground Reich.

“The Treasury Department rejected a request from senators Tuesday and refused to release a classified list of Saudi individuals or organizations suspected of financing terrorist groups. A Treasury spokesman, Rob Nichols, said a department official misspoke when he told senators last week the list was unclassified, which would mean it was not restricted information. ‘The last thing we want to do is tip off terrorists that we are on to them,’ Nichols said. ‘We don’t want to disrupt ongoing investigations, covert actions or potential law enforcement actions.’ “

(“Gov’t Won’t Release Terror Financing List’ by Ken Guggenheim [AP]; p. 1.)


“Administration attorneys are reviewing the degree to which the classified information can be provided or shared with Congress in closed session, said a government official, speaking on condition of anonymity. The refusal to release the list marks the second time in two weeks that the Bush administration has rejected requests by senators to declassify information about Saudi ties to terrorists.’ “


22. Further underscoring the Al Taqwa/Al Qaeda link discussed above, a recent deposition by a former FBI agent connects Youssef Nada and Ali Galeb Himmat (of Al Taqwa) with alleged funding of terrorists, including Al Qaeda.

“A group of Saudi-backed Islamic charities operating in the US gave material support to terrorists linked with al-Qaeda and Hamas, the US government has alleged for the first time. The allegations concerning the Muslim World League and an affiliate, the International Islamic Relief Organization, are likely to reignite concerns about Saudi Arabia’s possible role in funding terrorist organizations. The two charities are at the center of the largest-ever US investigation of terrorist financing. According to an affidavit made public this week, the charities gave money to BMI, a New Jersey-based company suspected of transferring funds to three individuals designated terrorists by the US government. . . “

(“Saudi-backed Charities ‘Aided terrorists”’ by Marianne Brun-Rovet and Edward Alden; The Financial Times; 8/21/2003; p. 2.)


” . . . The money invested in BMI by the two charities came from a $10m endowment from unnamed Saudi donors, according to the affidavit by David Kane, an agent with the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. While it is not clear whether that money came from the Saudi government, the affidavit quotes a recent CIA report that says the Muslim World League ‘is largely financed by the government of Saudi Arabia.’ Mr. Kane said that the charities gave $3.7m to BMI, which may have passed the money to individuals considered terrorists by the U.S. They include Yassin Qadi accused by the US government of transferring millions of dollars to Osama bin Laden through charities such as the Muwafaq Foundation; Mousa Abu Marzook, the self-professed head of the political branch of Hamas, the radical Palestinian organization; and Mohammad Salah, a member of Hamas who spent five years in an Israeli prison. . . . “



“The allegations against BMI were made to back up charges against Soliman Biheiri, BMI’s founder and president, who was indicted two weeks ago on charges of lying to obtain US citizenship. The government alleges that Mr. Biheiri also did business with other designated terrorists. Mr. Biheiri’s laptop computer contained contact information for Ghaleb Himmat and Youssef Nada, members of the Muslim Brotherhood extremist group and people considered terrorists by the US and the United Nations. “


25. This description features important supplemental information from an article in The Wall Street Journal that came out after the broadcast was recorded. Further cementing the allegations concerning Abdullah bin Laden and the milieus of Al Taqwa and Al Qaeda, the article sets forth apparent connections between Mr. Biheiri and these same interests.

” . . . Prosecutors identified a third BMI investor as Abdullah Awad bin Laden, who BMI partnership records and bank statements show put in more than $500,000.00. He is a nephew of Osama bin Laden, head of al Qaeda and the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. During the 1990’s, Abdullah Awad bin Laden ran the U.S. branch of a Saudi charity called the World Assembly of Muslim Youth. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and private analysts labeled it a suspected terrorist organization; the group says it doesn’t support terrorism . . . Abdullah Awad bin Laden, who formerly lived in Virginia but left the U.S., after Sept. 11, 2001, has made no public statements and couldn’t be located. U.S. officials believe he is in Saudi Arabia. “

(“U.S. Details an Alleged Terror-Financing Web ” by Glenn R. Simpson; Wall Street Journal; 9/15/2003; p. A5.)


” . . . Mr. Kane said Mr. Biheiri has relationships with the two founders of the now-banned al-Taqwa, both of whom are also officially listed as terrorists by the U.S. He added that there are other ‘indications there were some connections between Bank al-Taqwa and BMI,’ including ‘financial transactions.’ He was halted from saying anything further on the matter by the prosecutor, who said the information is classified foreign intelligence. Another of Mr. Biheiri’s associates, the government alleged, is Sami Al-Arian the Tampa college professor now under indictment in federal court in Florida as an alleged leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which competes with Hamas to kill Israeli civilians in suicide bombings. . . . “


27. Among the figures implicated in the web of intrigues discussed above is Yaqub Mirza.

” . . . Rounding out their evidence, prosecutors disclosed an e-mail they obtained showing that Mr. Biheiri was involved in Mr. Qadi’s financial dealings with Yaqub Mirza, a Pakistani engineer who manages a group of Saudi-backed Islamic charities that are also under investigation for supporting terrorism, according to a federal search warrant. The e-mail was taken from Mr. Mirza’s computer in the search. They said that one of the top figures in the SAAR network, Ahmed Totonji, is a senior leader of the Muslim charity that Abdullah bin Laden helped run. “


28. Supplementing information presented in FTRs 413, 417, the broadcast sets forth documentation of an alleged scheme on the part of Al Taqwa to launder assets seized by Saddam Hussein after his invasion of Kuwait.

” . . . Estimates of Hussein’s hidden wealth range from several billion dollars to $40 billion, and the Bush administration fears that the money could finance not only resistance to the U.S. occupation of Iraq but terrorist activities. Most of Hussein’s fortune came from came kickbacks on oil sales and smuggled cigarettes and other luxury goods, financial sleuths say. According to the General Accounting office, the deposed dictator skimmed more than $6.6 billion from the U.N.-sponsored oil-for-food program. . . “

(“Saddam Hussein Can Tap Billions in Dollars, Gold, Diamonds ” by Jay Bushinsky; San Francisco Chronicle; 8/16/2003; p. A7.)


” . . . Paolo Fusi, an Italian reporter who began investigating Hussein’s money trail after Sept. 11 and is the author of ‘Saddam’s Cashier,’ says the ousted leader patterned his overseas empire after his political mentor—Egypt’s late President Gamal Abdel Nasser. ‘(Hussein) became an admirer of the Egyptian regime and its leader’s methods,’ said Fusi . . . Fusi began his inquiry in Geneva by interviewing Arab bankers, who led him to Hussein’s financial agents. Fusi also developed close ties with Italian judges, financial police and a Swiss-Italian attorney named Gianluca Boscaro, who reportedly secured evidence of how Hussein hid money around the world after being hired by the family of a man the dictator executed for skimming profits from the network. . . . “



” . . . According to the Sunday Times of London, hundreds of documents show that Hussein held bank accounts at the Bahamas branch of Switzerland’s Banca del Gottardo and channeled millions of dollars to them from arms deals and construction contracts. . . . But Elio Borrodori, the subject of Fusi’s book, who served as a company trustee for Hussein in Liechtenstein and Switzerland for more than a decade, told reporters in April that he funneled millions in ‘commissions’ and ‘consultancy fees’ into a Banca del Gottardo account in Nassau codenamed Satan and controlled by a Hussein nephew named Saad al-Mahdi, based in Milan. “



“Ernst Backes, an international banking expert in Luxembourg, says the network remained active after U.N. sanctions were imposed on Iraq at the end of the Gulf War in 1991, reaching a financial peak of $31 billion annually. Fusi says an Italian government report showed one of the network’s boldest exploits—the laundering of millions of Iraqi and Kuwaiti dinars, the latter plundered by Iraqi troops during the Gulf War. “



” ‘The money was packed into suitcases that were transported by truck from Slovenia to Zurich, where a fair exchange in gold and diamonds was guaranteed by Youssef Nada of al Taqwa Bank,’ Fusi said. (Al Taqwa Bank was included in President Bush’s list of al Qaeda money suppliers.) ‘The neatly packed bills then wee shipped to Lebanon and Syria, after which they disappeared . . . “


33. A very revealing article from USA Today highlights high-tech assets sold to Saddam by US corporations. The phrasing “our common enemy ” in reference to the United States is more than a little revealing under the circumstances. One of the possibilities that must be seriously entertained under the circumstances is a Bormann/Underground Reich role in these transactions.

“U.S. investigators examining bank and government records here say they have unearthed evidence that high-tech hardware manufactured by at least 30 U.S. companies was sold to Iraq in violation of United Nations sanctions and U.S. customs regulations. Officials are trying to determine whether any of those companies knowingly violated the sanctions and U.S. Customs laws – or unwittingly sold the goods, including computers, laboratory equipment and aircraft parts, to third parties who then dealt with Saddam Hussein’s regime. Investigators declined to name the U.S. companies. . . . Customs agents say they have uncovered correspondence from companies in Germany and South Korea that referred to the United States as ‘our common enemy’ in apparent efforts to ingratiate themselves with Iraq. [Italics are Mr. Emory’s]. “

(“Records Show Iraq Was Buying Forbidden U.S. High-Tech Goods ” by Donna Leinwand and Jim Michaels; USA Today; 8/29-9/1/2003; p. 1A.)

34. For those benighted souls still pretending to themselves that there is no difference between Al Gore and George Bush, consider that Al Gore met twice with Saudi officials and threatened them with severe economic sanctions unless they stopped funding terrorism. George Bush’s efforts in that regard have been less than vigorous.

” . . . Mr. Newsom [Treasury Department official Rick Newcomb] is expected to testify that former Vice President Al Gore arranged two meetings with Saudi officials in 1999 and 2000, and threatened Saudi Arabia with severe sanctions if they did not staunch the flow of terrorist money from the country. . . . “

(“Links of Saudis to Charities Come Under Senate Review’ by Timothy L. O’Brien with Don Van Natta Jr.; The New York Times; 7/31/2003; p. 1.)


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