Monday, April 16, 2007

What did French Intelligence Warn Us of, Before 9/11?

Strata-Sphere reports to us this morning that the French newspaper, Le Monde, has reported on 328 pages of classified documents, regarding Osama bin Laden's terror network, and drawn up by the DGSE (the French foreign intelligence service) between July 2000 and October 2001. It's also confirmed that
France's foreign intelligence service learned as early as January 2001 that al-Qaida was preparing a hijacking plot likely to involve a U.S. airplane, former intelligence officials said Monday, confirming a report that also said the CIA received the warning.
Strata-Sphere examines the timeline, and thinks this might explain the inexplicable actions of Sandy Berger:
The way the government works is material is ‘drawn up’ after it has been analyzed and vetted. This puts the evidence coming out possibly early 2000. Now by coincidence this is the time frame the infamous Richard Clark document was being passed around the NSC for comment - the same document which Sandy Bergler stole from the National Archives and shredded in his office. It would make sense that whatever the French detected not only did they pass it on to Clinton’s CIA, but our CIA probably detected it too! So I would wager the smoking gun Sandy Bergler risked serious jail time to destroy was something having to do with early warnings of a Bin Laden plot to highjack airlines, sourced or confirmed by the French. I see a strong need for an investigation of how this information was processed and distributed within our government and between administrations.
More from Angela Doland of AP World News
Pierre-Antoine Lorenzi, the former chief of staff for the agency's director at the time, said he remembered the note and that it mentioned only the vague outlines of a hijacking plot -- nothing that foreshadowed the scale of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

"It wasn't about a specific airline or a specific day, it was not a precise plot," Lorenzi told The Associated Press. "It was a note that said, 'They are preparing a plot to hijack an airplane, and they have cited several companies.'"

The Sept. 11 commission's report on the four hijacked flights has detailed repeated warnings about al-Qaida and its desire to attack airlines in the months before Sept. 11, 2001.

In a version declassified last September, the report shows that the Federal Aviation Administration's intelligence unit received "nearly 200 pieces of threat-related information daily from U.S. intelligence agencies, particularly the FBI, CIA, and State Department."

The French warning, part of which was published in Le Monde, detailed initial rumblings about the plot.

In early 2000 in Kabul, Afghanistan, bin Laden met with Taliban leaders and members of armed groups from Chechnya and discussed the possibility of hijacking a plane that would take off from Frankfurt, Germany, the note said, citing Uzbek intelligence.

The note listed potential targets: American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Continental Airlines, United Airlines, Air France and Lufthansa. The list also included a mention of "US Aero," but it was unclear exactly what that referred to.

Two of the airlines, United and American, were targeted months later on Sept. 11.

Lorenzi said details of the threat would certainly have been passed along to the CIA, though he was unable to specifically confirm that they had been.

"That's the kind of information concerning a friendly country that we communicate," he said. "If you don't do it, it's an error."

He also stressed that officials could not say whether the plot they outlined in January 2001 was an early warning about the attacks to come in September.

At the time, Lorenzi said, officials had heard echoes only about a standard hijacking -- they had no idea al-Qaida planned to slam planes into buildings, let alone the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Uzbek officials apparently tipped off the French about the plot. Alain Chouet, a former top anti-terrorism official within the DGSE, said that an Afghan warlord from the Uzbek community who was fighting the Taliban at the time had sent men to infiltrate al-Qaida camps -- and their information was passed down the chain to Western intelligence officials.

Confirming information in Le Monde, Chouet said such intelligence was likely checked out before it was put into a note. He also said that to the best of his knowledge, "all identified threats, even indirect and minimal ones, were passed in both directions" between the CIA and the CGSE.
Personally, I'm not one that is into playing the "blame-game". We can point fingers all we want in a lot of directions, but I don't see it as particularly productive as we were all asleep (with a few exceptions) on the looming threat of terrorism on the grand scale of what happened on 9/11. It isn't Clinton's failure. It isn't Bush's failure. It's America's failure.

Still.....what the devil did Sandy Berger destroy?!? Goddammit...

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Blogger The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

The French help us out ? They most likely saw this as an opportunity to, in their stupid minds, take us down a notch. They are not nor have been allies for quite some time.

By the way I have chosen your site for my Thinking Blog Award. Your writings always make me think.

Here's the link.

Thanks for your great work!

Monday, April 16, 2007 8:50:00 AM  
Blogger Gayle said...

I agree. Hindsight, unless used for improving reaction to future similar situations, is basically useless. Blaming anyone other than the terrorists for the murders of 9/11 is also useless and a complete waste of time.

I not only want to know what Berger destroyed, I would like to see him do jail time for the destruction of classified documents, and I'll never understand why all he got was a fine!

Off topic - As I write this, Fox News is broadcasting shootings and a bomb threat at a Technical College in VA. So far one person has been killed and seven are described as "casualties." No one knows yet if this is a terrorist attack or just another crazy nut off his meds, but one thing is certain Wordsmith - if the threat is from a Muslim or Muslims they probably won't call it terrorism.

Monday, April 16, 2007 8:50:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

ken, There are many things to disparage France about, as allies and whatnot, but I do believe they have been helpful as much as they've acted as an impediment, in the War on Terror.

Thanks for the award! My 4th, along with an eagle merit badge from Mike's America!

if the threat is from a Muslim or Muslims they probably won't call it terrorism.

gayle, if he is Muslim, they will probably just conveniently leave out that bit of information as irrelevant.

Here's a bonus post, regarding whether or not Hillary only received a briefing of the pre-war intell report, or if she actually read the darn thing, before casting her vote for war authorization.

Monday, April 16, 2007 9:11:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

if he is Muslim, they will probably just conveniently leave out that bit of information as irrelevant.

Of course, I don't think one should automatically jump to the suspicion that this might be motivated by Islamic radicalism. I'm sure that possibility is on our minds, though.

Monday, April 16, 2007 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Curt's constantly updating the latest.

Monday, April 16, 2007 1:16:00 PM  

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