“Dan Christensen, an investigative reporter and editor of the Florida Bulldog, has written an important article on the CIA’s concealment of the identities of two alleged hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, from the FBI.
Unfortunately, the mainstream media and alternative media have mostly ignored this story to date.
Christensen cites a sworn declaration, dated July 20, 2021, by Donald Canestraro, a former DEA agent and investigator for the Office of Military Commissions, Military Commissions Defense Organization of the Department of Defense. He is also part of the defense team for Ammar al-Baluchi who is a nephew of and co-defendant with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the alleged “mastermind” behind the 9/11 attacks.
Per Christensen, government documents allege that al-Baluchi transferred tens of thousands of dollars from banks in Dubai to a SunTrust Bank account in Florida jointly owned by 9/11 hijackers Marwan al-Shehhi and Mohamed Atta.
Omar al-Bayoumi [Source: dailymail.co.uk]
In 2016, Canestraro stated that he investigated the possible involvement that Saudi Arabia and the CIA had in the events leading up to 9/11. Christensen writes Canestraro’s initial review of discovery documents provided by the government to the defense focused on Omar al-Bayoumi and Fahad al-Thumairy.
Fahad al-Thumairy [Source: theguardian.com]
Bayoumi was an alleged Saudi intelligence officer who had numerous contacts with Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar and helped them obtain an apartment in San Diego. Thumairy was a Saudi consular official in Los Angeles and a local religious leader who was allegedly sympathetic to al-Qaeda.
Christensen states that Bayoumi, Thumairy, and Musaed al-Jarrah, who was the deputy head of Islamic Affairs at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, are named as “principal subjects” of the FBI’s Operation Encore, which was an FBI investigation into the Saudi Arabian government’s involvement with the hijackers.
In 2016, the Florida Bulldog obtained an October 2012 FBI report through Freedom of Information Act litigation. Christensen writes that “the report says Jarrah ‘tasked’ Bayoumi and Thumairy with helping the hijackers.” Operation Encore examines the financial and logical support that Saudi officials gave to Hazmi and Mihdhar.
Background on Hazmi and Mihdhar
In January 2000, Hazmi and Mihdhar attended an al-Qaeda terrorist meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with other al-Qaeda operatives, such as Walid bin Attash (Khallad), who is the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole bombing in 2000.
Per the Joint Inquiry Report, the CIA photocopied Mihdhar’s passport, which gave them his full name, birth information and passport number for the first time, and alerted them that he held an entry visa to the United States.
Al-Mihdhar was the son-in-law of Ahmed al-Hada, who fought in Afghanistan for the Mujahadeen with Osama bin Laden and ran the al-Qaeda communications hub in Yemen. The CIA also learned the identity of Nawaf al-Hazmi at around the same time.
After the Malaysia summit, Hazmi and Mihdhar entered the United States on January 15, 2000.
The CIA knew in March 2000 that Hazmi and Mihdhar had U.S. visas and had entered the U.S. but chose not to notify the FBI. However, FBI agents assigned to the CIA’s Bin Laden Station, ALEC Station, wanted to notify the FBI, but ALEC Station refused to allow them to notify the FBI.
ALEC Station’s rationale for not informing the FBI was that the next al-Qaeda attack would be in Southeast Asia. At this time, the CIA failed to watchlist al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar. A CIA analyst at ALEC Station falsely stated in an internal CIA communication that the FBI was notified of Hazmi and Mihdhar’s travel to the U.S.
In the United States, Hazmi and Mihdhar received financial and logistical support from Saudi officials such as Bayoumi and Thumairy. Hazmi and Mihdhar lived with an FBI informant and took flight lessons. They also associated with cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a drone strike in 2011 and Osama Basnan, a former Saudi Embassy employee who was suspected of being a supporter of Osama bin Laden.
However, the FBI did not learn about Hazmi and Mihdhar’s presence in the United States until late August 2001 and were unsuccessful in finding them before the 9/11 attacks.
Overview of Canestraro Declaration
Canestraro interviewed a 9/11 Commission investigator identified as (CS-1) who interviewed Thumairy in 2003 in Saudi Arabia regarding his connection to Hazmi, Mihdhar, and Bayoumi. CS-1 stated that Thumairy was less than 100% forthcoming in his answers and seemed to react when questioned about his relationship with Bayoumi. CS-1 also stated that Thumairy spoke fluent English but, when asked a controversial question, he asked that the question be translated into Arabic. Thumairy stated that he worked for the Saudi Department of Religious Affairs.
Omar al-Bayoumi and Zelikow’s Undermining of the 9/11 Commission Investigation
Canestraro interviewed a 9/11 Commission investigator identified as (CS-2), who was responsible for investigating possible Saudi government links to the 9/11 attacks. CS-2 stated that 9/11 Commission Staff Director Philip Zelikow limited the number of witnesses whom Commission investigators could review. CS-2 stated that it was his/her belief that Omar al-Bayoumi was receiving substantial sums from the Saudi Embassy in the United States prior to 9/11. Furthermore, al-Bayoumi was believed to be a Saudi intelligence officer who worked no-show jobs. After meeting with Hazmi and Mihdhar, al-Bayoumi’s monthly allowance was increased from $465 a month to $3,700 a month.
Philip Zelikow [Source: millercenter.org]
CS-2 was later fired by Zelikow for obtaining a classified index to the Congressional Joint Inquiry from a source other than official channels. Per CS-2, the index contained source details regarding suspected Saudi involvement in 9/11. CS-2 stated that he/she was fired by Zelikow, who wanted to “blunt” the Commission’s investigation of Saudi involvement with the hijackers, and Zelikow did not allow anyone else on the Commission to see the index.
ALEC Station Concealed Hazmi and Mihdhar’s U.S. Visas from the FBI and Senior CIA Officials Obstructed the 9/11 Commission
Canestraro interviewed a former FBI Special Agent (CS-3) who was assigned from 1999 until 2003 to the CIA’s ALEC Station. CS-3 stated that he/she and another FBI agent assigned to ALEC Station learned that al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar had multiple entry visas to the United States. ALEC Station tracked al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar to a high-level al-Qaeda summit in Kuala Lumpur.
CS-3’s colleague wanted to draft a Central Intelligence Report (CIR) outlining the possible presence of al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar in the U.S. CS-3 stated that, after the CIR was prepared and he/she attempted to send it to the FBI, a CIA analyst, referred to as VVV, blocked the transmission of the CIR, stating that the Deputy Head of ALEC Station denied permission to send the notification to the FBI.
Later in the course of an inquiry into 9/11, VVV stated that he/she passed information regarding al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar to the FBI. However, according to CS-3, there is no evidence that VVV transmitted this information to the FBI. During the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11, CIA officials pressured FBI agents to not cooperate fully with the inquiry. According to CS-3, the CIA had an officer in the room while he/she was interviewed by congressional investigators. CS-3 did not disclose the order to not distribute the CIR to congressional investigators.
CS-3 stated that, after 9/11, he/she overheard one senior CIA official, James Pavitt, Director of Operations, tell CIA Director George Tenet that he was glad they kept CIA analyst VVV from 9/11 Commission investigators. Tenet confirmed that keeping VVV from the 9/11 Commission was a good idea. The conversation also indicated that two CIA officials conspired to obstruct the 9/11 Commission by keeping VVV hidden from 9/11 Commission officials by falsely stating that VVV was in Italy when in fact VVV was in Afghanistan.
Another former FBI agent, CS-4, who in the spring of 2002 supervised two other FBI agents assigned to ALEC Station, stated that “CS-3 approached him/her and said, ‘Boss, something is bothering me big time…we [meaning the United States government] could have prevented the 9/11 attacks.” CS-3 then outlined the CIA intelligence that showed that Hazmi and Mihdhar had attended the Malaysian al-Qaeda meeting, that the CIA knew in January 2001 that both men had multiple entry visas to the U.S. and that his FBI colleague had written a report on the future hijackers that “was not distributed on orders from one of the analysts at UBL Station.”
CS-3 gave his supervisor a draft of the CIR. CS-4 then contacted Pasquale D’Amuro, FBI Deputy Director for Counterterrorism, saying he/she needed to urgently meet. CS-4 drove to FBI headquarters where he/she met with D’Amuro and gave him the secret report on Hazmi and Mihdhar. CS-4 stated that D’Amuro read the cable and then told CS-4, “I will take care of this.” CS-4 stated that D’Amuro never mentioned the cable’s existence again.
Pasquale D’Amuro [Source: concordia.net]
Soon after the meeting with D’Amuro, CS-4 was promoted out of ALEC Station to a senior liaison position outside of the FBI, although CS-4 did not ask for a promotion and told Canestraro he/she felt he/she was moved away from UBL Station because he/she “knew about the existence” of the CIA’s secret report on Hazmi and Mihdhar. CS-4 believed that he/she was moved out of ALEC Station in order to ensure that he/she “kept silent.”
“False-Flag Operation” with the Saudi GID
Canestraro interviewed government officials such as former Deputy National Security Adviser Richard Clarke, who believed that the CIA and Saudi General Intelligence Directorate (GID) were running a “false-flag operation” in order to flip Hazmi and Mihdhar and that the CIA decided to not notify the FBI about the operation.
Richard Clarke [Source: sfgate.com]
Clarke stated that he was never informed that the CIA learned that Hazmi and Mihdhar attended an al-Qaeda meeting in Malaysia in 2000. Clarke later learned that about 50 people in the CIA knew that Hazmi and Mihdhar attended the al-Qaeda meeting. Clarke also stated that he did not know that Hazmi and Mihdhar had multiple entry visas to the U.S.
If Clarke had been given this information, then he would have passed the information to John O’Neill at the New York FBI Field Office for further investigation. Clarke stated that it was FBI policy in 2000 and 2001 that, as soon as a terrorist suspect was identified, the FBI would promptly arrest the suspect.
Clarke stated that the 9/11 Commission did not investigate the Saudi connection completely because 9/11 Commission Executive Director Zelikow was selected to prevent damage to the Bush administration by obstructing the Commission’s “line of inquiry into the Saudi connection.”
Furthermore, Canestraro interviewed a former senior FBI official known as CS-16, who stated that the FBI’s New York office was not informed that Hazmi and Mihdhar were in the country until August 26, 2001. CS-16 stated that the CIA withheld the information that Hazmi and Mihdhar entered the country in 2000 from the FBI on orders from Richard Blee and Tom Wilshire.
CS-16 stated that it was his/her opinion that the information was withheld as the CIA was attempting to recruit Hazmi and/or Mihdhar as intelligence sources while they were in the U.S.”
CS-16 also stated that the FBI obtained Ahmed al-Hada’s telephone number during its investigation of the 1998 African embassy bombings and passed it along to a CIA case officer, who then passed it along to the NSA. The NSA was able to exploit this information in order “to obtain significant information about al-Qaeda’s operations.”
Canestraro interviewed an investigative journalist known as “CS-7” who stated that the CIA maintained close relations with the GID, which worked as the CIA’s proxy “when it was unwise or impractical” for the CIA to undertake an operation directly.
CS-7 also stated that the Safari Club was used to block Soviet influence in the Middle East by exchanging intelligence information between member nations and engaged in covert action. Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other Middle Eastern and North African states were members of the Safari Club. The Safari Club operated in areas that the CIA could not.
CIA Had Saudis Recruit Hazmi and Mihdhar and FBI Covered Up for the CIA After 9/11
Canestraro interviewed a former FBI Special Agent with extensive knowledge of terrorism and counterterrorism measures, known as CS-23, who stated that the FBI conducted a counterterrorist investigation into Omar al-Bayoumi prior to 9/11 as FBI officials at the San Diego field office suspected that Bayoumi was operating as an intelligence officer.
As part of the FBI’s investigation, FBI officials would ask the CIA if they had information on Bayoumi which falsely stated that they had no files on Bayoumi. CS-23 stated that the CIA maintained files on Bayoumi that were related to an intelligence operation. CS-23 asserted that the CIA never gave the FBI information on Bayoumi, who was a Saudi intelligence officer.
CS-23 stated that Bayoumi was instructed to recruit Hazmi and Mihdhar as intelligence sources in San Diego by Fahad al-Thumairy at the Saudi Consulate. CS-23 states that the CIA directed the operation to recruit Hazmi and Mihdhar and used the Saudi Intelligence Services to conduct the operation because the CIA was legally prohibited from operating on U.S. soil. CS-23 stated that the CIA never told the FBI that Hazmi and Mihdhar were in the United States.
After 9/11, FBI officials became aware of Bayoumi’s affiliation with Saudi intelligence and the existence of the CIA’s operation to recruit Hazmi and Mihdhar through Bayoumi. FBI agents testifying before the Joint Inquiry were instructed not to reveal the full extent of Saudi cooperation with al-Qaeda.
According to CS-8, a former FBI Special Agent, immediately after the 9/11 attacks, an intelligence officer was detailed to the FBI’s San Diego Field Office. The officer was supposed to further information share between the FBI and CIA. However, CS-8 learned that the officer was examining FBI files in order to blame the FBI for the 9/11 intelligence failures.
Hazmi and Mihdhar Lived with an FBI Informant
According to CS-22, a former FBI Special Agent with extensive experience in terrorism and counterterrorism matters, Hazmi and Mihdhar lived in California during the spring of 2000 with FBI informant Abdussattar Shaikh. Shaikh was receiving money from the Saudi government and the Saudi government used Shaikh in order to monitor the activities of its citizens abroad. The FBI used Shaikh as a confidential source on terrorism matters.
Abdussatar Shaikh [Source: 911truth.org]
June 2001 CIA and FBI Meeting Regarding Photographs of Hazmi, Mihdhar and Khallad
In November 2016, Canestraro interviewed a former FBI agent known as CS-12, who worked as an FBI Special Field Agent in the New York Field Office during 2001 and was assigned to the investigation of the USS Colebombing. CS-12 recalled that there was a June 2001 meeting with other FBI agents and CIA representatives regarding the Coleinvestigation and other terrorism matters.
There was also an FBI analyst detailed to FBI headquarters at the meeting. The FBI analyst explained to CS-12 that there were certain information sharing restrictions concerning information obtained through intelligence sources and information obtained through criminal investigations.
CS-12 recalled that the CIA analysts from ALEC Station might have been at the meeting. CS-12 stated that the FBI agents were shown three photographs of suspected terrorists. One of the photographs was of Fahd al-Quso, an al-Qaeda operative suspected of involvement in the Colebombing.
Fahd al-Quso [Source: alchetron.com]
CS-12 told the CIA that he/she was unaware if any of the photos were of al-Quso. Another FBI agent began to ask “pointed questions” regarding the photographs: “Where are the other photographs?” and “Where is the surveillance report?” CS-12 explained that the CIA agents refused to provide any additional details regarding the surveillance photos along with biographical information regarding the subjects of the photos.
CS-12 asked the meeting’s attendees, “who is doing stops?” A stop is a law enforcement term for a border-crossing alert on a subject. Once a stop is issued, agents are notified immediately when a subject comes to the United States. CS-12 explained to Canestraro that a standard practice was to put a stop on a suspected terrorist.
No one placed any stops. CS-12 argued with the FBI analyst on the need to place stops on the subjects in the photographs. CS-12 stated that he eventually learned that the other subjects of the photographs were Hazmi and Mihdhar.
FBI Would Have Likely Had a Better Chance of Capturing Hazmi and Mihdhar Prior to 9/11 If the FBI Knew That Hazmi, Mihdhar, and Khallad Were in the Surveillance Photos
On August 23, 2001, CS-12 received an electronic communication (EC) concerning the photographs of Hazmi and Mihdhar. The FBI analyst told CS-12 that he/she was not authorized to view the EC due to the wall that separated criminal and intelligence matters. The next day, in a meeting with the FBI analyst and the acting Bin Laden Chief at FBI headquarters, CS-12 was ordered to stand down and stop looking for Mihdhar.
The FBI was going to open an intelligence investigation into Mihdhar and that, because CS-12 worked on the criminal side, CS-12 was not authorized to further pursue Mihdhar. CS-12 wrote, “Someone is going to die,” to the FBI analyst in an email.
Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, CS-12 learned in a conference call with FBI headquarters that Hazmi and Mihdhar were on one of the flight manifests. CS-12 stated that an analyst with the New York Field Office ran Hazmi and Mihdhar’s names in commercial databases and immediately found their addresses in San Diego.
On September 14, 2001, the FBI analyst provided CS-12 with a fourth surveillance photo from the June meeting that depicted Walid bin Attach (Khallad). CS-12 stated that the FBI analyst was unable to explain why the photo was not shown to agents during the June meeting. CS-12 stated that Khallad was easily recognizable in the photo because the photo showed that Khallad was missing a leg.
CS-12 stated that, had he/she and the other FBI agents been shown the fourth photograph, they would have immediately linked Hazmi and Mihdhar to Khallad, who is the alleged Cole bombing mastermind. The investigation would have turned into a criminal investigation with the full resources of the FBI Field Office being deployed in order to catch Hazmi and Mihdhar in the summer of 2001.
CS-12 also stated that Cofer Black falsely told the 9/11 Commission that CS-12 saw the Khallad photo before 9/11. CS-12 told Barbara Grewe of the 9/11 Commission to ask Black about his false statements, but Grewe told CS-12 that the Commission would not pursue the matter further and that the CIA was doing its own investigation.
Cofer Black [Source: lemondedurenseignment.hautetfort.com]
CIA Fails to Inform FBI That an Informant Identified Khallad and Hazmi in a Photo
In 2016, Canestraro interviewed a former FBI Special Agent known as CS-14 who stated that, before 9/11, he debriefed a source known as CW1 and that CW1 was a source in another government agency and was given to the FBI because CW1 had information regarding terrorism. Since CS-14 did not speak the same language as CW1, CS-14 relied upon a CIA case officer to communicate with CW1.
During a meeting with CW1, the CIA case officer showed CW1 a series of photographs. The case officer did not tell CS-14 who were in the photos or that the photos were taken from the Kuala Lumpur al-Qaeda meeting. CS-14 found out after 9/11 that CW1 had identified Khallad and Hazmi in the same photo. CS-14 was not shown the full report that was prepared by the CIA case officer.
In 2021, Canestraro re-interviewed CS-14 who stated that the CIA case officer had suggested to CIA officials that CS-14 be given full access to the file on CW-1’s cooperation. CS-14 stated that the request was blocked by the CIA’s liaison officer at FBI headquarters, Tom Wilshire.
The Canestraro Declaration explores the extent that the 9/11 Commission, the Bush administration, and the U.S. intelligence community covered up both Saudi involvement with the hijackers and the CIA’s concerted efforts to conceal the presence of Hazmi and Mihdhar in the U.S. and Hazmi and Mihdhar’s connection to Khallad.
Rather than fully cooperate with the 9/11 Commission in order to help it investigate the failure to stop the 9/11 attacks, the government and intelligence community knowingly and intentionally obstructed the 9/11 Commission.
Many of Canestraro’s interviewees believe that the CIA used the Saudi GID in order to conduct an operation on U.S. soil in order to recruit or flip Hazmi and Mihdhar and did not want the FBI to interfere with the operation. Since the CIA is forbidden to operate on U.S. soil, the CIA had the Saudis operate on its behalf.
My view is that the CIA wanted a terrorist attack to occur and the U.S. needed an excuse to wage brutal wars of aggression.
In Disconnecting the Dots, Kevin Fenton explores the argument that the CIA used the GID in order to recruit Hazmi and Mihdhar. Fenton cites journalists Joseph and Susan Trento who wrote, “Prior to 9/11 senior CIA officials had convinced themselves that GID, the Saudi intelligence service, had placed agents inside al-Qaeda. Because these two men—Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi were thought to be Saudi agents.”
Ultimately, I believe that we should reject the theory that the CIA used the GID in order to attempt to flip Hazmi and Mihdhar, who then crossed the CIA and GID. Fenton persuasively concludes that the 9/11 attacks were not a failure by the U.S. intelligence community to “connect the dots,” but that the CIA deliberately withheld information from the FBI in order to allow the attacks to go forward.
Fenton cites author James Risen, who stated that ALEC Station wrote a memo to George Tenet in 1997 stating that the Saudis were a “hostile service” regarding al-Qaeda and that intelligence shared by the CIA with Saudi Arabia wound up in the hands of al-Qaeda operatives.
If ALEC Station was aware in 1997 that the Saudis were untrustworthy on al-Qaeda, it does not make sense that the CIA would use the Saudis to monitor and flip two al-Qaeda operatives who were living openly in the United States. The more plausible explanation for the CIA to conceal information from the FBI about Hazmi and Mihdhar was to facilitate a terrorist attack in the United States. The CIA knew that Hazmi and Mihdhar traveled to the U.S. and were connected to Khallad, the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole attack.
Furthermore, in July 2001, Wilshire and Blee were talking about the next al-Qaeda attack. Wilshire stated, “When the next big op is carried out by UBL, hardcore cadre, Khallad [bin Attash] will be at or near the top of the command food chain—and probably nowhere near either the attack site or Afghanistan. Khalid Midhar [sic] should be [of] very high interest anyway, given his connection to the [redacted].” Also in July 2001, Blee stated to George Tenet and Condoleezza Rice that there would be “significant terrorist attacks against the United States in the coming weeks or months” and that these “attacks will be spectacular.”
The 9/11 Commission stated that, prior to 9/11, the “system was blinking red,” indicating that there was a strong belief that a major attack was imminent. The previous excuse to not notify the FBI about Hazmi and Mihdhar was that the next attack would be in Southeast Asia. That excuse was no longer applicable by the summer of 2001 when Hazmi and Mihdhar, who were known al-Qaeda operatives, were in the U.S. If the CIA genuinely believed that the Saudis were monitoring and going to flip Hazmi and Mihdhar on behalf of the CIA, then it does not make sense as to why Blee and Wilshire were warning about an attack.
Finally, to the best of my knowledge, no one in the U.S. intelligence community was fired, demoted or prosecuted for the failure to stop the 9/11 attacks. Instead, for example, George Tenet was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and Richard Blee, the head of ALEC Station, was promoted to head of the CIA’s Kabul station. I believe that Tenet’s award and Blee’s promotion strongly indicate that the CIA’s protection of the hijackers, so that the 9/11 attacks were not thwarted, was the U.S. national security state’s desired outcome.
Aaron Good, Ben Howard, and Peter Dale Scott wrote in a CAM article on September 13, 2021, that “CIA protection for alleged hijackers al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar was crucial, as without this protection, the FBI would likely have arrested them and many of the other alleged hijackers.
Indeed, without al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar’s protection, al-Qaeda’s apparent involvement in the 9/11 attacks may not have been so apparent. That is to say that, without this protection, the U.S. foreign policy establishment would have been deprived of the pretext they needed to convince the American public and politicians, as well as international alliances and institutions like NATO and the UN Security Council, of the need to launch the Global War on Terror. Ascribing sole responsibility for the 9/11 attacks to al-Qaeda was the most important element of this pretext.”
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the United States launched brutal and unprovoked wars of aggression against Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003.Furthermore, the United States has bombed countries such as Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Libya, often in support of al-Qaeda, to which the U.S. attributes responsibility for the 9/11 attacks, and other Salafist groups. Since 2001, the United States government, intelligence community, and military have murdered millions of innocent people in Asia and Africa.
I hope that the Florida Bulldog article on the Canestraro Declaration will help people learn about the role of the U.S. intelligence community in the events leading up to the 9/11 attacks and to question the official narrative that asserts that al-Qaeda carried out the attacks with no involvement of the United States national security state.”
Credit: Josh Shoenfeld. Publication: Covert Action Magazine. Published: May 13th 2023. Source Link: https://covertactionmagazine.com/2023/05/13/former-dea-agent-details-how-the-cia-concealed-identity-of-two-9-11-hijackers-granted-visas-to-the-u-s-from-the-fbi/?mc_cid=cd29e5c496&mc_eid=3cc99e2fab