Senior NSA Executive DEMOLISHES Intelligence Agencies’ Excuse for 9/11 — Says 9/11 Should Have Been Stopped


The U.S. government pretended that 9/11 was unforeseeable.

But overwhelming evidence shows that 9/11 was foreseeable. Indeed, Al Qaeda crashing planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was itself foreseeable.

The fallback government position is that the problem was that intelligence agencies were prohibited by law from sharing intelligence, because there was a “Chinese Wall” put up between agencies focusing on foreign and domestic threats.

Washington’s Blog spoke with senior NSA executive Thomas Drake about this claim.

9/11 was Drake’s first day on the job at the NSA. Drake was tasked with investigating what intelligence NSA had on the 9/11 plot, in order to document that 9/11 wasn’t NSA’s fault. However, Drake discovered that NSA had a lot of information on the hijackers, and could have stopped 9/11 had it shared its data with other intelligence agencies.

Drake’s NSA bosses didn’t like that answer, so they removed Drake from his task of being the NSA’s investigator and spokesman regarding 9/11.

Here’s what Drake told us.

WASHINGTON’S BLOG: A lot of people blame a “Chinese Wall” between foreign intelligence activities and domestic intelligence activities for not sharing the pre-9/11 data.

THOMAS DRAKE: That is a completely false “wall.” It was essentially to protect the status quo, or what they call “equities.”

It’s not true at all.

WASHINGTON’S BLOG: Was it a turf war?

THOMAS DRAKE: Yes, it’s partly that. People have this idea that the government is all powerful, all-knowing, and everybody is in league with each other.

That’s not true. In fact – in this space – you more often than not find agencies at war with each other, effectively. Such that NSA is at war with Congress to keep them in the dark about what they’re really doing.

“I have knowledge, you don’t.” Information is power. “If I give it to you, then I’m giving away my power, and I’m not going to do it!”

Information is a currency. “Why would I give you my money. And I don’t know what you’re going to do with it. I don’t know how you’re going to spend it. I don’t know how you’re going to invest it. You may convert it, because money is fungible.”

Information is far more fungible even than traditional definitions of money.

I’ve never accepted the premise or the arguments. I’m aware that [9/11 Commissioner] Jamie Gorelick [who has potential conflicts of interest in the subject matter], for example, is a well-known defender who kept saying that the “wall” was there when, in fact, there wasn’t a wall.

And we had special procedures where you had known ways to go through the wall when it was necessary.

Here’s the hypocrisy … It is true that in terms of separation between [domestic] law enforcement and normal causal chain of evidence, and information that was collected for intelligence purposes. But that’s not a wall as much as it’s due process.

Remember, what’s now used is parallel construction. [Background.] So, what was the wall again?

Intelligence is always carefully vetted for that reason. But if you’re talking U.S. domestic law, U.S. judicial process, due process, you couldn’t just take [raw] intelligence.

But here’s the kicker … If you believed that the intelligence rose to the level someone who has a U.S. person was involved in acts or planning to harm the United States, then the wall disappears, and there are actual procedures for that.

When you’re dealing with U.S. persons, then you had these procedures in which you could actually present [evidence for the need to target terrorists or other actual bad guys.] That was the whole thing with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

WASHINGTON’S BLOG: If they’re actual bad guys, then you can go after them.

THOMAS DRAKE: Yes! And you had mechanisms where you actually end up putting them on trial. You have mechanisms where you can introduce that as evidence.

It wasn’t like, “Oh, we can’t tell anybody.” That’s the reason they didn’t want to tell anybody … because they’re actually abusing the system.

There isn’t a “wall” … it’s because there’s due process. With foreign intelligence, we had standing procedures.

We’ve tried bad people … in Article III courts. You didn’t have to do the rendition stuff. And you don’t have to be a U.S. citizen to be put on trial.

For a short, must-watch interview with Drake and other high-level intelligence officials on agency turf wars, check this out:

Category: Think Tank, War/Defense

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

9 Responses to ““No Excuse for 9/11″ -NSA”

  1. jbegan says:

    If we had a “Chinese wall” back then, we certainly don’t any longer. Our spooks happily trade info with our allies including Britain and particularly Israel. It’s been said that Israel in particular has immediate access to the CIA computers. Go figure. Yet I feel less safe today than prior to 9/11.

  2. A says:

    So effectively, all those innocent people (American and otherwise) who died within those collapsing buildings, were considered ‘disposable’ because of bureaucratic bungling ?

  3. boveri says:

    A lot of hindsight here which is matchless in understanding any situation more clearly and which ever so unfailingly identifies what should have been done.

  4. Expat says:

    I don’t believe the people in the Towers were any more innocent than the civilians killed by US bombs and guns across the world in the years preceding 9/11. The US has a history of targeting civilian populations in war so I don’t see why we are shocked when someone does it to us.

    But semantics aside, it becomes more clear every day that, whether or not the terrorists were on a US payroll, there was a conspiracy involving the attacks. Perhaps it was a nefarious plot by Cheney and other right-wing psychopaths to justify the system they have put in place. Perhaps it was a conspiracy of dunces, humans doing their level best to fuck up through omission, commission, and childish posturing.

    It certainly is true that our government no longer has any moral superiority to any other on the planet, not that it really ever did.

  5. theexpertisin says:

    General Douglas MacArthur was fond of saying that all military defeats are the result of one flaw:
    too late.

  6. 873450 says:

    No surprise Drake’s boss, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, shut him down. Americans would never support President Bush invading Iraq if they knew Saddam Hussein had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11.

    It was not until nearly 3 years later during Rice’s public testimony under oath before the 9/11 Commission when commission member Richard Ben-Veniste either tricked or compelled Rice to identify by title – Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States – and discuss contents of the still-classified CIA brief delivered to President Bush on 8/6/01. The CIA brief specifically mentioned al Qaeda agents already inside the U.S. planning an attack involving hijacked commercial jets crashing into landmarks and buildings in NYC and Washington D.C.

    RICE: I remember very well that the president was aware that there were issues inside the United States. He talked to people about this. But I don’t remember the al Qaeda cells as being something that we were told we needed to do something about.

    BEN-VENISTE: Isn’t it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6 PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB?

    RICE: I believe the title was, “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.”

    Now, the…

    BEN-VENISTE: Thank you.

    RICE: No, Mr. Ben-Veniste…

    BEN-VENISTE: I will get into the…

    RICE: I would like to finish my point here.

    BEN-VENISTE: I didn’t know there was a point.

    RICE: Given that — you asked me whether or not it warned of attacks.

    BEN-VENISTE: I asked you what the title was.

    RICE: You said, did it not warn of attacks. It did not warn of attacks inside the United States. It was historical information based on old reporting. There was no new threat information. And it did not, in fact, warn of any coming attacks inside the United States.

    BEN-VENISTE: Now, you knew by August 2001 of al Qaeda involvement in the first World Trade Center bombing, is that correct? You knew that in 1999, late ’99, in the millennium threat period, that we had thwarted an al Qaeda attempt to blow up Los Angeles International Airport and thwarted cells operating in Brooklyn, New York, and Boston, Massachusetts.

    As of the August 6 briefing, you learned that al Qaeda members have resided or traveled to the United States for years and maintained a support system in the United States.

    And you learned that FBI information since the 1998 blind sheikh warning of hijackings to free the blind sheikh indicated a pattern of suspicious activity in the country up until August 6 consistent with preparation for hijackings. Isn’t that so?

    RICE: Do you have other questions that you want me to answer as a part of the sequence?

    BEN-VENISTE: Well, did you not — you have indicated here that this was some historical document. And I am asking you whether it is not the case that you learned in the PDB memo of August 6 that the FBI was saying that it had information suggesting that preparations — not historically, but ongoing, along with these numerous full field investigations against al Qaeda cells, that preparations were being made consistent with hijackings within the United States?

    RICE: What the August 6 PDB said, and perhaps I should read it to you…

    BEN-VENISTE: We would be happy to have it declassified in full at this time, including its title.

    RICE: I believe, Mr. Ben-Veniste, that you’ve had access to this PDB. But let me just…

    BEN-VENISTE: But we have not had it declassified so that it can be shown publicly, as you know.

    RICE: I believe you’ve had access to this PDB — exceptional access. But let me address your question.

    BEN-VENISTE: Nor could we, prior to today, reveal the title of that PDB.


    And how did President Bush respond to the CIA analyst delivering a briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States” to him on 8/6/011? — “All right, you’ve covered your ass.”

  7. orsogrigio says:

    Take bureaucracy, too many people [good guys, but not geniuses] , a lot of money [hardly controlled, btw], secrecy, bitter career fights, hazy objectives and competition against other organizations exactly like in methods etc … do you have efficiency and effectiveness ? Hardly, imho. And a bit of history, from Okhrana to Stasi tells more or less this story.

  8. kaleberg says:

    I always gathered that 9/11 happened because the folks at the top of the tree made a point of not caring and letting the security apparatus know that they didn’t care. Clinton made a point of staying on top of things. No one had heard of Al Qaeda before Clinton fired the first shots at them, and the reaction in the US was WTF. There may have been “Chinese walls”, but the bureaucrats involved all make a point of sucking up to the president, if only for a career reasons. Bush sent an explicit message and it was taken. It’s not much different from what happened years later with Katrina.

    • 873450 says:

      GOP accused Clinton of trying to distract our attention away from his Monica Lewinsky affair.