U.S. War on Terrorism and Fallout from 11 September 2001 Attacks

Reportage to 30 September 2002


Materials presented chronologically.

Van Natta, Don, Jr., and David Johnston. "Wary of Risk, Slow to Adapt, F.B.I. Stumbles in Terror War." New York Times, 2 Jun. 2002. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"Interviews with ... current and former F.B.I., Justice Department and intelligence officials ... suggest that [FBI Director] Mueller faces many hurdles in fulfilling his promise to transform the agency's rigid, risk-averse culture into the kind of terror prevention agency he foresees. Some officials even question whether the bureau can be salvaged, or whether it should be broken apart so that the government can create a domestic intelligence agency separate from the F.B.I."

Pincus, Walter, and Dan Eggen. "CIA Gave FBI Warning on Hijacker: Agency Told that Almihdhar Attended Malaysia Meeting." Washington Post, 4 Jun. 2002, A1. [http://www. washingtonpost.com]

A senior U.S. intelligence official said on 3 June 2002 that the CIA told the FBI in January 2000 that Khalid Almihdhar, one of the 9/11 hijackers, "was attending a meeting of suspected terrorists in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and had a type of visa that should have drawn suspicion.... The disclosure contradicts repeated assertions by senior FBI officials that bureau headquarters had no information about Khalid Almihdhar before Aug. 23, 2001."

Risen, James. "C.I.A. and F.B.I. Agree to Truce in War of Leaks vs. Counterleaks." New York Times, 14 Jun. 2002. [http://www.nytimes.com]

Officials familiar with the talks said on 13 June 2002 that "[t]op officials of the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. have quietly negotiated a cease-fire between the two agencies, which have been in a war of news leaks and finger-pointing about the intelligence failures leading to the Sept. 11 attacks."

Risen, James, and David Johnston. "Agency Is Under Scrutiny for Overlooked Messages." New York Times, 20 Jun. 2002. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to U.S. intelligence officials on 19 June 2002, NSA "intercepted two cryptic communications [from Afghanistan] on the the day before the Sept. 11 attacks that referred to a major event scheduled for the next day." NSA analysts "did not process, translate and review the intercepted Arabic communications until the day after the attacks." See also, Scott Shane and Ariel Sabar, "Coded Warnings Became Clear Only in Light of Sept. 11 Attacks," Baltimore Sun, 20 Jun. 2002.

Waller, Douglas. "At the Crossroads of Terror." Time, 8 Jul. 2002, 28-29.

The Counterterrorism Center (CTC) "has become the CIA's busiest outfit."

Waller, Douglas. "The NSA Draws Fire." Time, 29 Jul. 2002, 14.

NSA "is already taking heat for being slow to analyze two cryptic messages it intercepted last Sept. 10, warning that something big was going to happen the next day." Now, "a scathing classified report" issued by the House Intelligence Committee's Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security, an unclassified summary of which has been released, "has concluded that the agency is badly mismanaged,... and that resulted in its failing 'to provide tactical and strategic warning' of Sept. 11."

Berkowitz, Bruce. "Fighting the New War." Hoover Digest 2002, no. 3 (30 Jul. 2002). [http://www.hoover.org/publications/hoover-digest/article/7135]

In using lethal force to combat terrorism, an option to covert action "is direct action.... [I]n direct action the United States does not conceal its responsibility. Soldiers wear uniforms and insignia, which is an important difference between a covert paramilitary operation and direct action.... [U]sing the CIA as a quick-response arm of the DOD is a bad idea.... It makes more sense to better prepare U.S. military forces for direct action. The defense department must develop small, highly mobile combat forces to attack the new threats we face. It must also develop the specialized infrastructure it needs for logistics, communications, and supplies."

Whitelaw, Kevin, and David E. Kaplan. “Gumshoes and Spooks.” U.S. News & World Report, Commemorative Issue of 9/11, Sep. 2002, 62.

“After the catastrophic terrorist attacks, government agencies banded together to fight al Qaeda. The results were swift -- a global roundup of some suspected al Qaeda operatives. Still, it's been a struggle at times to get the FBI and CIA to overcome their history and divergent cultures.”

Schmidt, Susan, and Thomas E. Ricks. "Pentagon Plans Shift in War on Terror." Washington Post, 18 Sep. 2002, A1. [http//:www.washingtonpost.com

Government sources report that "[t]he Pentagon is preparing to consolidate control of most of the global war on terrorism under the U.S. Special Operations Command [SOCOM],... signaling an intensified but more covert approach to the next phase in the battle against al Qaeda and other international terrorist groups."

Risen, James. "U.S. Failed to Act on Warnings in '98 of a Plane Attack." New York Times, 19 Sep. 2002. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to the staff director of the Congressional committee investigating the 9/11 attacks, Eleanor Hill, the U.S. intelligence community "was told in [August] 1998 that Arab terrorists were planning to fly a bomb-laden plane into the World Trade Center, but the F.B.I. and the Federal Aviation Administration did not take the threat seriously."

Risen, James. "C.I.A.'s Inquiry on Qaeda Aide Seen as Flawed." New York Times, 23 Sep. 2002. [http://www.nytimes.com]

Congressional investigators have concluded that the CIA "failed to adequately scutinize information it received before Sept. 11 about the growing terrorist threat posed by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a leader of Al Qaeda now believed to have been a central planner of the attacks on New York and Washington."

Morris, Vincent. "Senate OKs Follow-Up 9/11 Probe." New York Post, 25 Sep. 2002. [http://www.nypost.com]

On 24 September 2002, the U.S. Senate by a 90-8 vote "approved creation of a new independent commission to probe intelligence failures.... The commission has already been OK'd by the ... House.... [A]ll 10 members of the panel will be selected by Congress."

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