Richard Clarke: CIA tried to recruit 9/11 hijackers

The Daily Beast is a bit more mainstream than your average news blog sites. Today they are reporting that former Counterterrorism official, Richard Clarke, is accusing the CIA and George Tenet of a cover-up in recruiting the 9/11 hijackers. George Tenet of course has denied these accusations.

“former CIA Director George Tenet and two former top aides are fighting back hard against allegations that they engaged in a massive cover-up in 2000 and 2001 to hide intelligence from the White House and the FBI that might have prevented the attacks.”

The source of the explosive, unproved allegations is a man who once considered Tenet a close friend: former White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, who makes the charges against Tenet and the CIA in an interview for a radio documentary timed to the 10th anniversary next month. “

Clarke would be the highest ranking official to ever level such an accusation. He has already accused, successfully I’d say, that the former Administration didn’t take threats seriously. But this accusation ups the stakes.

“In the interview for the documentary, Clarke offers an incendiary theory that, if true, would rewrite the history of the 9/11 attacks, suggesting that the CIA intentionally withheld information from the White House and FBI in 2000 and 2001 that two Saudi-born terrorists were on U.S. soil – terrorists who went on to become suicide hijackers on 9/11.

Clarke speculates – and readily admits he cannot prove — that the CIA withheld the information because the agency had been trying to recruit the terrorists, while they were living in southern California under their own names, to work as CIA agents inside Al Qaeda. After the recruitment effort went sour, senior CIA officers continued to withhold the information from the White House for fear they would be accused of “malfeasance and misfeasance,” Clarke suggests.”

Without any clue as to the actuality of these charges, I’ll still postulate the following: If you were going to work to legitimately bust a terror network…what better way to do so than to infiltrate and co-opt them. This is how we’ve been told that officials have busted other plots. We’ve been told that agents infiltrated the groups or cozies up to individuals who espoused a violent plan and then set them up with dud bombs or other operational support until we busted them. So Clarke’s story doesn’t seem far fetched.

Clarke says it is fair to conclude “there was a high-level decision in the CIA ordering people not to share information.” Asked who would have made the order, Clarke replies, “I would think it would have been made by the director,” referring to Tenet.

Clarke said that if his theory is correct, Tenet and others would never admit to the truth today “even if you waterboarded them.”

Who knows how big such a decision circle would need to be? If Tenet made the call, he should be investigated and put under oath. Best to try than do nothing. Then use the pecking order to find out who would have reported to him.

Clarke’s theory addresses a central, enduring mystery about the 9/11 attacks – why the CIA failed for so long to tell the White House and senior officials at the FBI that the agency was aware that two Al Qaeda terrorists had arrived in the United States in January 2000, just days after attending a terrorist summit meeting in Malaysia that the CIA had secretly monitored.

Now, we always know that people like George Tenet will simply fire back with the same denials as we always get…Lets see if this will be any different:

In a written response prepared last week in advance of the broadcast, Tenet says that Clarke, who famously went public in 2004 to blow the whistle on the Bush White House over intelligence failures before 9/11, has “suddenly invented baseless allegations which are belied by the record and unworthy of serious consideration.”

“suddenly invented basless allegations which are belied by the”: record which was created by the 9/11 commission with many dubious claims also not substantiated by facts. Clarke is not someone who had no basis of talking..he was in these offices at the time. He was in the program responsible. This “baseless” charge doesn’t come from someone who doesn’t know who is who in the NCTC.

The CIA insisted to the 9/11 Commission and other government investigations that the agency never knew the exact whereabouts of the two hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, inside the U.S.—let alone try to recruit them as spies.

Again an ‘appeal to authority’ fallacy on the part of the CIA. The 9/11 Commission’s investigation is compromised in its reliability. It found several important areas where the Administration was informed and did nothing. Clarke’s testimony before the commission doesn’t differ or contradict this new charge. If anything, it provides more context.

Agency officials said the CIA’s delay in sharing information about the two terrorists was a grave failure, but maintained there was no suggestion of deception by CIA brass. Tenet has said he was not informed before 9/11 about Hazmi and Mihdhar’s travel to the U.S., although the intelligence was widely shared at lower levels of the CIA.

“If anything, it provides more context.”…So the CIA claims that Clarke’s comments are baseless and yet…admits to the delay in sharing information. How can something be both baseless and based on something. We have admission to a delay in information. We have admission of the failure and excuse being, what? That higher ups didn’t listen to lower level analysts? Coleen Rowley testified to information the FBI received and didn’t act upon. She also called out Mueller on his testimony.

The 9/11 Commission investigated widespread rumors in the intelligence community that the CIA tried to recruit the two terrorists—Clarke was not the first to suggest it—but the investigation revealed no evidence to support the rumors. The commission said in its final report that “it appears that no one informed higher levels of management in either the FBI or CIA” about the two terrorists.

They did? I have all the hearings on tape, attended 2 of them…when did they “investigate widespread rumors”? Where are the results of these supposed investigations? And how can the author at Daily Beast say that the “investigation revealed no evidence to support”. This seems unexplained. The conclusion might still be correct that no one informed higher levels, but it doesn’t not establish why. This has still been left to some vague bureaucracy glitch. It makes no sense that lower level analysts would be tasked to find terror threats then be ignored. Again, the foundation of Clarke’s claim hasn’t been debunked.

But in his interview, Clarke said his seemingly unlikely, even wild scenario – a bungled CIA terrorist-recruitment effort and a subsequent cover-up – was “the only conceivable reason that I’ve been able to come up with” to explain why he and others at the White House were told nothing about the two terrorists until the day of the attacks.

Why is it seemingly unlikely? I’m not one who wants to throw out false flag very often. I think its been abused to the point of blaming everything on false flag. But it isn’t at all a wild scenario. We can see clear history of these types of operations in the past for very similar reasons: the people don’t want wars. While I may never find a smoking gun in the 9/11 drama…We have clear evidence of motive. We have clear stated goals from Dick Cheney and his energy friendly buddies, his ideologue buddies, and his colleagues…that indicate a desire to redraw the power map in the areas we are now bogged down in, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan (aka ….Baku pipeline territory.)

“I’ve thought a lot about this,” Clarke says in the interview, which was conducted in October 2009. He said it was fair to conclude “there was a high-level decision in the CIA ordering people not to share information.” Asked who would have made the order, Clarke replies, “I would think it would have been made by the director,” referring to Tenet.

I have read Mr. Clarke’s books. If there is one area that causes me to trust his read is that he easily excepts what I find abhorrent. It is sort of called the “science of embarrassments”…meaning, you can likely believe the part of the story the person wouldn’t easily admit to if they understood embarrassments. I learned it in hermeneutic studies. He frequently explains positions in the role of the bought in. It doesn’t mean he is right, but it helps me, the reader, determine what is true and what is his view, spin, or blindness.

In finishing the radio documentary, they recently supplied a copy of Clarke’s comments to Tenet, who joined with two of former top CIA deputies — Cofer Black, who was head of the agency’s counterterrorism center, and Richard Blee, former head of the agency’s Osama Bin Laden unit — in a statement denouncing Clarke.

“Richard Clarke was an able public servant who served his country well for many years,” the statement says. “But his recently released comments about the run-up to 9/11 are reckless and profoundly wrong.”

“Clarke starts with the presumption that important information on the travel of future hijackers to the United States was intentionally withheld from him in early 2000. It was not.”

The statement continued. “Building on his false notion that information was intentionally withheld, Mr. Clarke went on to speculate – which he admits is based on nothing other than his imagination – that the CIA might have been trying to recruit these two future hijackers as agents. This, like much of what Mr. Clarke said in his interview, is utterly without foundation.”

It doesn’t surprise me that the club would come out and defend themselves. This means little to me. If I were to go to the police union after a cop beat a citizen..I’d expect, “law officers do their job every day without thanks and this isolated incident..blah blah blah…” Same sort of comments come from Panetta, Gates, Hayden, Goss, etc. why would we expect a different response from these highly unaccountable chiefs?

But in examining the words, they are boilerplate in scope. The last phrase still doesn’t work…utterly without foundation. Nonsense. What is utterly without foundation is why didn’t agents with information get heard? Clarke is being treated as some bystander who didn’t have first hand experience here. Clearly he was in the middle of decision making. It is illogical for the CIA directors to forget that Clarke had a very key role in the decision chain. Perhaps they want us to ignore this fact.

Clarke concludes that had the names come up, we’d have sent a team out to “sweep” up the bad guys….wild leap? Clarke sounds like a detective who didn’t get the bad guy in time and is angry that those who could have done something didn’t. It doesn’t take much of a leap to get to, “didn’t want to tell” when already know that they were informed and didn’t.

“To this day, it is inexplicable why, when I had every other detail about everything related to terrorism, that the director didn’t tell me, that the director of the counterterrorism center didn’t tell me,” Clarke said in the interview for the documentary, referring to Tenet and Cofer Black. “They told us everything – except this.”

“We would have conducted a massive sweep,” he said. “We would have conducted it publicly. We would have found those assholes. There’s no doubt in my mind, even with only a week left. They were using credit cards in their own names. They were staying in the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square, for heaven’s sake.” He said that “those guys would have been arrested within 24 hours.”

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