Agent: FBI Could Have Prevented 9-11 : LUSENET : Exposing Rightwing Corruption : One Thread

Agent: FBI Could Have Prevented 9-11 Friday, May 31, 2002

WASHINGTON – A veteran FBI agent Thursday charged that corruption inside the bureau derailed investigations that could have averted the terrorist attacks on America on Sept. 11. His lawyers said the FBI had evidence that the World Trade Center was a possible terrorist target.

In a memo written 91 days before Sept. 11, the man, Special Agent Robert G. Wright Jr., warned that Americans would die as a result of the FBI's failure to investigate terrorists living in this country.

Wright went public at a press conference even though FBI Director Robert Mueller ordered him to stay in Chicago and threatened him with criminal prosecution if he spoke publicly about the agency's wrongdoing.

"The FBI is not protecting the American people,” declared Wright at a conference sponsored by his attorneys at the public interest law firm Judicial Watch.

Judicial Watch Chairman and General Counsel Larry Klayman termed Mueller’s comments Wednesday, that open criticism of him and other top FBI brass was welcome, were nothing more than "politically convenient statements.”

'They Got Caught'

"They said that because they got caught with their hands in the cookie jar,” declared Klayman, referring to a memo written by FBI legal counsel Coleen Rowley. She alleged in a memo that the FBI could have prevented the 9-11 attacks and that Mueller, though new to the job, has covered up for senior FBI officials.

Klayman said Mueller’s reorganization plan announced this week was noting more than "icing over a stale cake."

Wright produced a sworn statement relating to an FBI agent who refused to record a telephone conversation during the meeting with a suspect in an FBI criminal investigation related to terrorism.

Muslim Agent 'Does Not Record Another Muslim'!

The agent in question is quoted in two sworn statements, one by Wright and the other by retired agent Barry Carmody, as refusing to record the conversation because "a Muslim does not record another Muslim.”

Carmody’s statement said that refusal "may have negatively impacted the conduct of the FBI’s investigation. I informed FBI headquarters twice about this incident in 1998 and again in 2000, but I am aware of no disciplinary action being taken against him in this matter.”

Wright, whose whistle-blowing was first reported by weeks ago, urged the Bush administration and Congress to "consider removing terrorism investigative matters from the hands of the FBI. For reasons of consistency, reliability and national security, these responsibilities should be assigned to a new federal Anti-Terrorism Agency.”

The assets of the Drug Enforcement Agency could be used to fund an anti-terrorism agency, he said. "Simply switch the terrorism responsibilities of the FBI with the nation’s illegal drug responsibilities.

FBI's Gross Incompetence

"Knowing what I know,” Wright continued, "I can confidently say that until the investigative responsibilities for terrorism are transferred from the FBI, I will not feel safe.”

The agent, stationed in Chicago and now demoted to "meaningless paper-pushing” work, according to Klayman, charged the FBI "cannot identify and prevent acts of terrorism against the United States and its citizens at home and abroad.”

Even worse, he said, there is "virtually no effort on the part of the FBI’s International Terrorism Unit to neutralize known and suspected terrorists residing in the United States. Unfortunately, more terrorist attacks against the American interests, coupled with the loss of American lives, will have to occur before those in power give this matter the urgent attention it deserves.”

By phone from his law office in Chicago, Wright’s lead attorney, David Schippers, who represented the House Judiciary Committee in its impeachment of Bill Clinton, chided the FBI for dropping the ball in dealing with domestic and international radical Islamic "charities" that were laundering money on American soil through U.S. financial institutions and other channels.

Stopping Muslim Terrorism Isn't P.C.

Had the bureau not been cowed by "political correctness,” Schippers said, the money for much terrorist activity "would have been cut off.”

In his opening statement, Judicial Watch’s Klayman said the FBI had threatened Wright with his job if he were to go ahead and tell his story either in media statements or in a book he has been writing.

When Wright attempted to travel to Washington on his own time to meet with members of Congress about the FBI’s incompetence and dereliction of duty regarding terrorism during the week after Sept. 11, his attorneys were threatened by the Justice Department, which oversees the bureau.

Klayman says Attorney General John Ashcroft should be required to answer for that interference. Moreover, the FBI informed Wright he could not travel outside of the Chicago division without the express permission of the bureau.

The Judicial Watch counsel said the FBI did have intelligence about terrorist activity planned against the World Trade Center and "other monuments.”

Wright listed several major failures of the FBI. They included lack of high-quality managers and modern computer technology, failure to modernize investigative objectives to deal with the new terrorist threat, too many investigative violations, incompetent managers not held accountable for their mistakes, an internal affairs unit that was "bias[ed] and unfair” to whistle-blowers and others, criminal conflicts that have "contributed to the preventable deaths of American citizens," and FBI duplication of the investigative jurisdictions of other federal law enforcement agencies such as the DEA and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

"I love America, and likewise I love the FBI, particularly its purpose and mission” Wright told reporters at the National Press Club, "However, the mission has been seriously jeopardized to the point where American lives have been needlessly lost.”

At the news conference, in answer to questions from, Klayman said he hoped Congress would use its subpoena powers to require Wright and responsible officials to testify.

He also told NewsMax that if the FBI tries to drive Wright out of the bureau by isolating him and passing him up for promotions, "he will be a rich man,” because Judicial Watch would take necessary legal action to see that the powers that be do not get away with this familiar bureaucratic tactic of retaliation.

-- Cherri (whatever@who.cares), May 30, 2002

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