Is the FBI Penetrated?

A terrifying and sobering group of news stories has appeared in recent days that suggest that individuals within the FBI had prior knowledge of 9/11 and suppressed it, both for personal gain and, in one case, possibly because of connections to terrorist elements.

This is likely to be the worst single scandal in the history of the US government. Hopefully, it will encourage Congress and the Administration to carry out the radical reforms that we need to rehabilitate the dysfunctional family that the FBI has become, and get rid of an apparently large number of truly terrible human beings who have infested this essential element of US government power. Some of these people are merely incompetent. But that isn?t the case with all of them. Some of them are traitors.

I first became aware of the fact that something was wrong on September 13, when a friend who had been staying at the Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston on the nights of September 10 and 11 told me that the FBI had cleared the hotel on the morning of Monday, September 10, at about four AM, and had searched it. After the disaster, of course, they returned to Copley Plaza in search of bomb making materials.

The FBI?s presence at the hotel on Monday was never reported, and apparently known only to guests at the hotel. Nevertheless, it means that the FBI almost certainly had, and was acting on, some sort of knowledge connected to the September 11 attack on September 10. At the very least, the FBI agents who were at the Copley Plaza on Monday morning need to be found and called to testify before the joint panel of Congress that is being convened to investigate these matters.

Now, a series of news stories, some of them reported in general news columns and others in financial news, suggests that elements of the FBI not only knew about 9/11 in advance, but that the institution as a whole was prevented from acting on what they knew by silence on the part of some agents and manipulation of the proper flow of information to the organization?s leadership by others.

There were two critical information flows that were interrupted, from Minneapolis and Phoenix, and there is additional evidence that FBI agents were involved in stock profiteering off the disaster in the weeks before it happened.

There has been a substantial amount of news coverage of the problems with memos from Minneapolis and Phoenix, and I will discuss those shortly. Before I turn to that issue, however, I would like to address some recent disclosures about stock market manipulations, and some that have gone unnoticed.

On Friday, May 24, a federal prosecutor alleged that a San Diego stock adviser who is accused of bribing an FBI agent to give him confidential government information may have had prior knowledge of 9/11. According to assistant United States attorney Kenneth Breen, the adviser, Amr Ibrahim Elgindy, tried to sell $300,000 worth of stock on September 10 and told his broker the market was about to drop. Mr. Eglindy and four other people, including one current and one former FBI agent, were charged on Wednesday with using confidential government information to manipulate stock prices. Mr. Elgindy has recently moved $700,000 to a bank in Lebanon. So far, there is no hard evidence that Mr. Elgindy had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, and, while Mr. Eglindy is active in Muslim causes, there is no evidence linking him to terrorism. However, according to the Los Angeles Times, his father, Ibrahim Elgindy, led a 1998 protest on behalf of Muhammed Salah, whose assets were seized after he was linked to the radical Palestinian group Hamas.

After 9/11, there was evidence of profiteering in airline puts and calls (options to purchase or sell stocks at a fixed price on a later date), but this was eventually discovered to be apparent coincidence. It is not clear, however, that evidence of similar activities involving insurance stocks was innocent, and, if this is being investigated, there is no public knowledge of it.

What has gone little remarked in the press was a dramatic spike in trade volume on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in the days prior to 9/11. (Futures Magazine, Nov. 2001, Vol. 30, No. 14, p.12) This is where futures on the NASDAQ and Standard and Poor?s stock averages are traded, and would be a prime target of profiteers if anybody had extensive knowledge of 9/11. On September 7, the last trading day before 9/11, (Monday was a holiday) CME trading volume spiked to its highest point in months, ending a week of exceptionally high volume. This could have been explained by the fact that Monday was a holiday, but the trading spike is much more dramatic than is usually observed before holidays.

This has not been investigated, and it should be. Firms that cleared an unusual volume of trades on the CME in the week prior to 9/11 need to be questioned as to the origins of those trades. There should be special concentration on the activities of Solomon Smith Barney, which is active in the CME?s futures markets, and which was also Mr. Elgindy?s stock broker.

If manipulation of financial markets for gain preceded 9/11, then somebody had to have prevented the US government from interrupting the attack, and the only way to do this would have been to make certain that responsible officials never became aware of it.

There are two cases presently in the news that suggest that this is exactly what happened. Chillingly, both of these cases involve the same counterterrorism supervisor at FBI headquarters in Washington. It is at this point that the question must be asked: is the FBI penetrated by terrorists? And, more specifically, is this particular supervisor a terrorist, or are there terrorists working under his supervision and manipulating the flow of information to him and from him?

The first is the case of the Phoenix memo. Last summer, an FBI agent in Phoenix warning about terrorists receiving instruction at area flight schools was forwarded to him. Erich Lichtblau and Josh Meyer, writing in the Los Angeles Times on Saturday, May 25, state, ?for unknown reasons, the supervisor apparently never saw this memo, officials said.?

It is not acceptable that those reasons remain unknown. The fact that they are still unknown is critical to our national safety, because the same person or persons who were responsible for ?losing? this memo are still in the exact same jobs they were in before 9/11. To begin with, this supervisor and his entire staff should be placed on leave and investigated until the precise reason for this lapse is known, understood and dealt with.

But maybe it was all a mistake. Memos get lost, even important memos.

The rest of this story makes it impossible to believe that. A recent letter from Coleen Rowley, the chief lawyer in the FBI?s Minneapolis office, to FBI Director Robert Mueller alleges that FBI headquarters staff manipulated the presentation of evidence in a crucial memo sent by Minneapolis agents, removing facts critical to their request to get a warrant to search the files of alleged terrorist Zacharias Moussaoui. Senator Chick Grassley, (R. Iowa), said on Friday, ?this letter documents exactly what headquarters knew and when, and how mid-level officials sabotaged the Moussaoui case before the attacks.?

That is one of the most damning statements about government officials made in the history of the United States, and the officials involved must be held accountable to the public. In fact, the whole operation of the FBI must now be brought under public scrutiny, because if, as appears to be the case, this organization is either fantastically flawed or monstrously corrupt, it needs to be repaired effectively and fast, before it allows the next 9/11 to happen.

We have just received another spate of vague terrorism warnings. The Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge are supposed to be targets. Railroads are supposed to be targets. We have not captured Osama Bin Laden. Al Quaeda still functions and CIA officials admit that they have been unable to stop the flow of money or personnel within the organization. Have they not only been ineffective, but also actually impeded from within, by traitors at FBI headquarters? And what of CIA? Do we know for certain that it isn?t penetrated as well? Perhaps allegations that CIA officers visited Osama Bin Laden in a hospital in Dubai last July should be examined more closely by Congress and the Administration. But, at the moment, most of the truly horrific evidence points to traitors within the FBI, and it is the FBI that should come under scrutiny first.

We are at war, and that war is being fought inside the United States, as any of the 9/11 survivors will tell you. But where are the real front lines? Are they really in our streets or is that just where the horror unfolds? Is the real front line, where the terrorists manipulate our system to make certain that it cannot serve in our war, behind the walls of the Hoover Building in Washington?

FBI officials, in defending the bureau, have been maintaining for weeks that the Phoenix and Minneapolis cases were handled by different parts of the headquarters staff, and that the problem was largely a lack of communication. However, this is not true.

In fact, Phoenix FBI agent Kenneth Williams sent his memo about terrorists in flight schools (the memo that was supposedly lost) to David Frasca, the head of the FBI?s Radical Fundamentalist Unit in Washington on July 10. Frasca was also the key liaison in Washington for the Minnesota FBI field office in its failed effort to get permission to search Zacharia Moussaoui?s computer. Rowley has alleged that Frasca rewrote the Minnesota office?s warrant applications, removing crucial intelligence about Moussaoui?s terrorist connections, thus insuring that the legal office to which the requests were sent would reject them for insufficient evidence.

This does not look like incompetence. It looks like a very competent act, one that was designed to derail the Moussaoui investigation in the crucial months before 9/11. Combined with the claimed loss of the memo from Phoenix, it is appalling. It suggests that the FBI?s Radical Fundamentalist Unit is either run by a traitor or controlled by traitors. If that is not the case, and there is some other explanation for the lapse, then the problem that caused it needs to be corrected immediately, because this country is in immediate danger and Mr. Frasca?s office is right out on the front line of our defense.

Mr. Frasca has a great deal to explain, as do the officials who have made incorrect statements about how the Minneapolis and Phoenix reports were being handled within the FBI. They said that the information was flowing through different areas of the organization, when in fact the same office, and the same man, were directly and primarily involved in both problems. Officials who maintained this fiction should be investigated as possible traitors themselves. Certainly they, like Mr. Frasca and his entire staff, should be immediately relieved of their duties pending a full investigation.

The FBI has been failing America profoundly for many years. We have endured scandal after scandal, from the FBI crime lab being revealed as a ?black hole? of incompetence and drunken negligence to the incredible Aldrich Ames affair, where a murderous spy was able to carry on his evil work under the noses of his superiors for years without detection.

And now it appears that FBI agents and officials not only suppressed investigations that might have given the honest parts of the agency a chance to thwart 9/11, they may have profited from this knowledge as well.

In my memory, this is by far the most dreadful and terrifying instance of failure of the US government that I have known about. What is so frightening about it is that it means that right now, terrorists may be freely planning more agony for the American people, secure in the knowledge that their sympathizers within federal enforcement and investigative organizations are ?containing? any investigation that may lead to them.

Apparently, Mr. Frasca is still actively supervising the Radical Fundamentalist Unit. His staff is still in place, and still responsible for what are arguably the most crucial investigations the FBI is now conducting.

It?s no wonder that our government?s terrorism warnings are always so vague.

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