Sibel Edmonds / CommonDreams.org – 2004-08-04 09:38:10
August 1, 2004
Thomas Kean, Chairman
National Committee on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
301 7th Street, SW, Room 5125
Washington, DC 20407
Dear Chairman Kean:
It has been almost three years since the terrorist attacks on September 11; during which time we, the people, have been placed under a constant threat of terror and asked to exercise vigilance in our daily lives. Your commission, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, was created by law to investigate “facts and circumstances related to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001” and to “provide recommendations to safeguard against future acts of terrorism”, and has now issued its “9/11 Commission Report”. You are now asking us to pledge our support for this report, its recommendations, and implementation of these recommendations, with our trust and backing, our tax money, our security, and our lives.
“Unfortunately, I find your report seriously flawed in its failure to address serious intelligence issues that I am aware of, which have been confirmed, and which as a witness to the commission, I made you aware of. Thus, I must assume that other serious issues that I am not aware of were in the same manner omitted from your report.
These omissions cast doubt on the validity of your report and therefore on its conclusions and recommendations. Considering what is at stake, our national security, we are entitled to demand answers to unanswered questions, and to ask for clarification of issues that were ignored and/or omitted from the report.
I, Sibel Edmonds, a concerned American Citizen, a former FBI translator, a whistleblower, a witness for a United States Congressional investigation, a witness and a plaintiff for the Department of Justice Inspector General investigation, and a witness for your own 9/11 Commission investigation, request your answers to, and your public acknowledgement of, the following questions and issues:
FBI Was Given Specific Warnings about 9/11 Plan
Over three years ago, more than four months prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks, in April 2001, a long-term FBI informant/asset who had been providing the bureau with information since 1990, provided two FBI agents and a translator with specific information regarding a terrorist attack being planned by Osama Bin Laden.
This asset/informant was previously a high-level intelligence officer in Iran in charge of intelligence from Afghanistan. Through his contacts in Afghanistan he received information that:
• 1) Osama Bin Laden was planning a major terrorist attack in the United States targeting 4-5 major cities,
• 2) the attack was going to involve airplanes,
• 3) some of the individuals in charge of carrying out this attack were already in place in the United States,
• 4) the attack was going to be carried out soon, in a few months.
The agents who received this information reported it to their superior, Special Agent in Charge of Counterterrorism, Thomas Frields, at the FBI Washington Field Office, by filing “302” forms, and the translator translated and documented this information.
No Action Taken: FBI Agents Told to ‘Keep Quiet’ about Warning
No action was taken by the Special Agent in Charge, and after 9/11 the agents and the translators were told to ‘keep quiet’ regarding this issue. The translator who was present during the session with the FBI informant, Mr. Behrooz Sarshar, reported this incident to Director Mueller in writing, and later to the Department of Justice Inspector General.
The press reported this incident, and in fact the report in the Chicago Tribune on July 21, 2004 stated that FBI officials had confirmed that this information was received in April 2001, and further, the Chicago Tribune quoted an aide to Director Mueller that he (Mueller) was surprised that the Commission never raised this particular issue with him during the hearing (Please refer to Chicago Tribune article, dated July 21, 2004).
Mr. Sarshar reported this issue to your investigators on February 12, 2004, and provided them with specific dates, location, witness names, and the contact information for that particular Iranian asset and the two special agents who received the information (Please refer to the tape-recorded testimony provided to your investigators during a 2.5 hours testimony by Mr. Sarshar on February 12, 2004).
Details Were Provided to the 9/11 Commission
I provided your investigators with a detailed and specific account of this issue, the names of other witnesses, and documents I had seen. (Please refer to tape-recorded 3.5 hours testimony by Sibel Edmonds, provided to your investigators on February 11, 2004). Mr. Sarshar also provided the Department of Justice Inspector General with specific information regarding this issue (Please refer to DOJ-IG report Re: Sibel Edmonds and FBI Translation, provided to you prior to the completion of your report).
After almost three years since September 11, many officials still refuse to admit to having specific information regarding the terrorists’ plans to attack the United States. The Phoenix Memo, received months prior to the 9/11 attacks, specifically warned FBI HQ of pilot training and their possible link to terrorist activities against the United States.
Four months prior to the terrorist attacks the Iranian asset provided the FBI with specific information regarding the ‘use of airplanes’, ‘major US cities as targets’, and ‘Osama Bin Laden issuing the order.’
Coleen Rowley likewise reported that specific information had been provided to FBI HQ. All this information went to the same place: FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC, and the FBI Washington Field Office, in Washington DC.
Why Was Critical Informatiion Excluded?
Yet, your report claims that not having a central place where all intelligence could be gathered as one of the main factors in our intelligence failure.
Why did your report choose to exclude the information regarding the Iranian asset and Behrooz Sarshar from its timeline of missed opportunities? Why was this significant incident not mentioned; despite the public confirmation by the FBI, witnesses provided to your investigators, and briefings you received directly?
Why did you surprise even Director Mueller by refraining from asking him questions regarding this significant incident and lapse during your hearing (Please remember that you ran out of questions during your hearings with Director Mueller and AG John Ashcroft, so please do not cite a ‘time limit’ excuse)?
How can budget increases address and resolve these problems and failure to follow up by mid-level bureaucratic management at FBI Headquarters? How can the addition of a new bureaucratic layer, “Intelligence Czar”, in its cocoon removed from the action lines, address and resolve this problem?
Read the entire 7-page letter at: