Hijacker had post-9/11 flights scheduled, files say
Newly-released records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request contradict the 9/11 Commission’s report on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and raise fresh questions about the role of Saudi government officials in connection to the hijackers.
The nearly 300 pages of a Federal Bureau of Investigation timeline used by the 9/11 Commission as the basis for many of its findings were acquired through a FOIA request filed by Kevin Fenton, a 26 year old translator from the Czech Republic. The FBI released the 298-page “hijacker timeline” Feb. 4.
The FBI timeline reveals that alleged hijacker Hamza Al-Ghamdi, who was aboard the United Airlines flight which crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center, had booked a future flight to San Francisco. He also had a ticket for a trip from Casablanca to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.
A public-private partnership program on infrastructure preparedness and protection run by the Federal Bureau of Investigation allegedly has briefed its corporate members on the possibility of martial law and the use of lethal force, according to an exclusive report in the magazine The Progressive.”One business owner in the United States tells me that InfraGard members are being advised on how to prepare for a martial law situation—and what their role might be,” writes Matthew Rothschild in the Feb. 7 report, quoting an anonymous whistleblower on the program. “‘Then they said when—not if—martial law is declared, it was our responsibility to protect our portion of the infrastructure, and if we had to use deadly force to protect it, we couldn’t be prosecuted,’ he says.”
Rothschild’s report details InfraGard, a program set up between the FBI and a number of businesses engaged in maintaining elements of “critical national infrastructure,” such as agriculture, banking and finance, the chemical industry, defense, energy, food, information and telecommunications, law enforcement, public health, and transportation. The program’s 23,000-plus members provide information to the FBI and in turn receive privileged information from the FBI on threats to infrastructure.
CLARKSBURG, West Virginia (CNN) — The FBI is gearing up to create a massive computer database of people’s physical characteristics, all part of an effort the bureau says to better identify criminals and terrorists.The FBI wants to use eye scans, combined with other data, to help identify suspects.
1 of 3 But it’s an issue that raises major privacy concerns — what one civil liberties expert says should concern all Americans.
The bureau is expected to announce in coming days the awarding of a $1 billion, 10-year contract to help create the database that will compile an array of biometric information — from palm prints to eye scans.
Kimberly Del Greco, the FBI’s Biometric Services section chief, said adding to the database is “important to protect the borders to keep the terrorists out, protect our citizens, our neighbors, our children so they can have good jobs, and have a safe country to live in.”
But it’s unnerving to privacy experts.
“It’s the beginning of the surveillance society where you can be tracked anywhere, any time and all your movements, and eventually all your activities will be tracked and noted and correlated,” said Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Technology and Liberty Project.
For three years, the Bush administration has drawn fire from civil liberties groups over its use of national security letters, a kind of administrative subpoena that compels private businesses such as telecommunications companies to turn over information to the government. After the 2001 USA Patriot Act loosened the guidelines, the FBI issued tens of thousands of such requests, something critics say amounts to warrantless spying on Americans who have not been charged with crimes.Now, newly released documents shed light on the use of the letters by the CIA. The spy agency has employed them to obtain financial information about U.S. residents and does so under extraordinary secrecy, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which obtained copies of CIA letters under the Freedom of Information Act.
A constitutional scholar says President Bush and his administration were working to expand their spy powers months before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which provided a “highly convenient” opportunity to dramatically strengthen law enforcement and surveillance authority.
“This administration was seeking a massive expansion of presidential power and national security powers before 9/11. 9/11 was highly convenient in that case,” George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley told Keith Olbermann on Countdown Monday night. “I’m not saying that they welcomed it, but when it happened, it was a great opportunity to seize powers that they have long wanted at the FBI.”
Intel czar Mike McConnell told Congress a new law helped bring down a terror plot. The facts say otherwise.
Sept. 12, 2007 – In a new embarrassment for the Bush administration’s top spymaster, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell is withdrawing an assertion he made to Congress this week that a recently passed electronic-surveillance law helped U.S. authorities foil a major terror plot in Germany