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FTR #362 Networking: Enron, Saudi Arabia and 9/11

MP3 Side 1 [1] | Side 2 [2]
RealAu­dio [3]

1. The first side of the pro­gram (and the first part of the sec­ond) con­sists of the read­ing of two doc­u­ments from John Lof­tus con­cern­ing the role of Enron as a bro­ker on behalf of U.S. ener­gy com­pa­nies nego­ti­at­ing with the Tal­iban for a pro­posed pipeline across Afghanistan. The doc­u­ments are self-explana­to­ry. In the con­text of Mr. Lof­tus’ analy­sis, recall some points con­cern­ing the com­pro­mis­ing of U.S. intel­li­gence in con­nec­tion with the attacks. (This should not be mis­un­der­stood as con­sti­tut­ing an endorse­ment by Mr. Lof­tus for the work­ing hypoth­e­sis pre­sent­ed in For The Record pro­grams con­cern­ing 9/11.) The law­suit referred to in the Lof­tus pieces is dis­cussed in FTR 357 [4].

2. The first arti­cle is titled “What Con­gress Does not Know about Enron and 9/11 [5].”

3. The sec­ond arti­cle is titled “The Enron Pipeline Con­nec­tion to 9/11. [6]” Note the role in this sit­u­a­tion of the late John O’Neill, and recall reflec­tions made upon his career in ear­li­er broad­casts.

4. Next, the pro­gram high­lights ex-CIA offi­cer Robert Baer’s alle­ga­tions con­cern­ing the unwill­ing­ness of the author­i­ties to move on Bin Laden’s orga­ni­za­tion. (See No Evil; by Robert Baer; Copy­right 2002 [HC]; Crown Pub­lish­ers; ISBN 0–609-60987–4.)

5. Baer alleges that Khal­di Shaykh Mohammed (believed to be the mas­ter­mind of the 9/11 attacks) could have been appre­hend­ed. It appears from Baer’s account that he had been tipped off. “When he [Baer] had been work­ing as chief of police in his gov­ern­ment, he had become aware that his gov­ern­ment was har­bor­ing an Osama bin Laden cell. The two main mem­bers of the cell, he said, were Shawqi Islam­bu­li, whose broth­er had assas­si­nat­ed Anwar Sadat in 1981, and Khalid Shaykh Muham­mad, whose area of exper­tise was air­plane hijack­ings. The prince went on to tell us that when the FBI attempt­ed to arrest Muham­mad and Islam­bu­li, his gov­ern­ment had equipped them with alias pass­ports and spir­it­ed them out of the coun­try; both even­tu­al­ly set­tled in Prague. Get­ting out of the spy busi­ness proved a lot hard­er than I thought it would be. As if I’d nev­er left, I passed every­thing I had learned from the ex-police chief back to the CIA in ear­ly 1998. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, there was no fol­low-up. No response.” (Ibid.; p. 270)

6. Sau­di Ara­bi­a’s cul­pa­bil­i­ty in the attacks is high­light­ed by Baer’s descrip­tion of his attempts to warn about 9/11. “It was­n’t until three years lat­er, in the ear­ly sum­mer of 2001, that an asso­ciate of my prince, a mil­i­tary offi­cer still work­ing for his gov­ern­ment, informed me he was aware of a spec­tac­u­lar oper­a­tion about to occur. He also claimed to pos­sess the name of Osama bin Laden oper­a­tives in Yemen and Sau­di Ara­bia. He pro­vid­ed us with a com­put­er record of hun­dreds of secret bin Laden oper­a­tives in the Gulf. In August 2001, at the mil­i­tary offi­cer’s request, I met with an aide to the Sau­di defense min­is­ter, Prince Sul­tan bin’Abd-al’Az­iz. The aide refused to look at the list or to pass them on to Sul­tan.” (Ibid.; pp. 270–271)

7. A spate of recent arti­cles report that Khalid Sheikh Moham­mad is sus­pect­ed of mas­ter­mind­ing the 9/11 attacks. (“Key 9/11 Plan­ner Is Named” by Josh Mey­er; Los Ange­les Times; 6/5/2002; p. A1.) [7]

8. “ ‘It looks like he’s the man, quite hon­est­ly,’ one Bush admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial said of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a key lieu­tenant to Osama bin Laden.” (Idem.)

9. In the con­text of the Lof­tus arti­cles on Enron and 9/11, it is inter­est­ing to con­tem­plate the tim­ing of Enron CEO Jef­frey Skilling’s deci­sion to resign. It was on August 14, 2001. It was in August of 2001 that the Tal­iban nego­ti­a­tions col­lapsed. (“Greed and Fear Return;” by Andrew Hill; Finan­cial Times; 6/8/2002; p. 8.)