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FBI Dropped the Ball--Again

As we approach the anniversary of 911, we hope that the FBI will get intelligence information about the NEXT terrorist attack. But it's hard to feel hopeful when we hear about yet another time they dropped the ball before September 11, 2001. Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil, who was an aide to the former Taliban foreign minister, says he was sent to warn American diplomats and the UN just weeks before 911 that Osama bin-Laden was planning to launch a huge attack on U.S. soil. Neither organization paid attention to the warning. When he urged the U.S. to launch a military campaign against al-Qaeda, he was told this was politically impossible.

Muttawakil, the Taliban foreign minster, was unhappy that foreign militants were living in Afghanistan, including al-Qaeda, and found out about Osama bin-Laden's plan in July. The attack was imminent, he discovered, and it would be huge. Bin-Laden hoped to kill thousands of U.S. citizens. The information came from the leader of the Islamic movement of Uzbekistan, Tohir Yuldash, who was a refugee in Afghanistan with links to al-Qaeda. Muttawakil wanted to warn the U.S. because he was afraid we would react with deadly vengeance against Afghanistan.

At the time of the warning, in late July, 19 members of al-Qaeda were already in place in the U.S., waiting to launch their deadly attacks. "We were hearing a lot of that kind of stuff," explains one U.S. official. "When people keep saying the sky's going to fall in, and it doesn't, a kind of 'warning fatigue' sets in."

Let's hope the "warning fatigue" doesn?t set in again. To find out why it happened the first time, read ?The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI? by Ronald Kessler, click here.

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