Guys, remember I used this expression a while back?
You want to know where the Fox is? Just follow the money...
"rule number one of investigative reporting is "follow the money" -- but the sheiks' piggy banks were effectively off-limits to the US agents during the Bush years."
SEPTEMBER 11: WHAT YOU "OUGHT NOT TO KNOW"
DOCUMENT 199-I AND THE FBI'S WORDS TO CHILL THE SOUL
Thursday, September 9, 2004
by Greg Palast
On November 9, 2001, when you could still choke on the dust in the air
near Ground Zero, BBC Television received a call in London from a
top-level US intelligence agent. He was not happy. Shortly after George W.
Bush took office, he told us reluctantly, the CIA, the Defense
Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the FBI, "were told to back off the Saudis."
We knew that. In the newsroom, we had a document already in hand,
marked, "SECRET" across the top and "199-I" - meaning this was a national
The secret memo released agents to hunt down two member of the bin
Laden family operating a "suspected terrorist organization" in the USA. It
was dated September 13, 2001 -- two days too late for too many. What
the memo indicates, corroborated by other sources, was that the agents
had long wanted to question these characters ... but could not until
after the attack. By that time, these bin Laden birds had flown their
Back to the high-level agent. I pressed him to tell me exactly which
investigations were spiked. None of this interview dance was easy,
requiring switching to untraceable phones. Ultimately, the insider said,
"Khan Labs." At the time, our intelligence agencies were on the trail of
Pakistan's Dr. Strangelove, A.Q. Khan, who built Pakistan's bomb and was
selling its secrets to the Libyans. But once Bush and Condoleeza Rice's
team took over, the source told us, agents were forced to let a hot
trail go cold. Specifically, there were limits on tracing the Saudi money
behind this "Islamic bomb."
Then we made another call, this time to an arms dealer in the Mideast.
He confirmed that his partner attended a meeting in 1995 at the 5-star
Hotel Royale Monceau in Paris where, allegedly, Saudi billionaires
agreed to fund Al Qaeda fanatics. We understood it to be protection money,
not really a sign of support for their attacks. Nevertheless, rule
number one of investigative reporting is "follow the money" -- but the
sheiks' piggy banks were effectively off-limits to the US agents during the
Bush years. One of the men in the posh hotel's meeting of vipers
happens to have been a Bush family business associate.
Before you jump to the wrong conclusion, let me tell you that we found
no evidence -- none, zero, no kidding -- that George Bush knew about Al
Qaeda's plan to attack on September 11. Indeed, the grim joke at BBC is
that anyone accusing George Bush of knowing anything at all must have
solid evidence. This is not a story of what George Bush knew but rather
of his very-unfunny ignorance. And it was not stupidity, but policy: no
asking Saudis uncomfortable questions about their paying off roving
packs of killers, especially when those Saudis are so generous to Bush
Yes, Bill Clinton was also a bit too tender towards the oil men of
Arabia. But this you should know. In his last year in office, Clinton sent
two delegations to the Gulf to suggest that the Royal family crack down
on "charitable donations" from their kingdom to the guys who blew up
But when a failed Texas oil man took over the White House in January
2001, demands on the Saudis to cut off terror funding simply stopped.
And what about the bin Laden "suspected terrorist organization"? Called
the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, the group sponsors soccer teams and
summer camps in Florida. BBC obtained a video of one camp activity, a
speech exhorting kids on the heroism of suicide bombings and hostage
takings. While WAMY draws membership with wholesome activities, it has
also acted as a cover or front, say the Dutch, Indian and Bosnian
governments, for the recruitment of jihadi killers.
Certainly, it was worth asking the bin Laden boys a few questions. But
the FBI agents couldn't, until it was too late.
In November 2001, when BBC ran the report on the spike of
investigations of Saudi funding of terror in November 2001, the Bush defenders whom
we'd invited to respond on air dismissed the concerns of lower level
FBI agents who'd passed over the WAMY documents. No action was taken on
the group headed by the bin Ladens.
Then, in May this year, fifty FBI agents surrounded, invaded and sealed
off WAMY's Virginia office. It was like a bad scene out of the
'Untouchables.' The raid took place three years after our report and long after
the bin Ladens had waved bye-bye, it is not surprising that the feds
seized mostly empty files and a lot of soccer balls.
Why now this belated move on the bin Laden's former operation? Why not
right after the September 11 attack? This year's FBI raid occurred just
days after an Islamist terror assault in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Apparently, messin' with the oil sheiks gets this Administration's attention.
Falling towers in New York are only for Republican convention photo ops.
The 199-I memo was passed to BBC television by the sleuths at the
National Security News Service in Washington. We authenticated it, added in
our own sleuthing, then gave the FBI its say, expecting the usual,
"It's baloney, a fake." But we didn't get the usual response. Rather, FBI
headquarters said, "There are lots of things the intelligence community
knows and other people ought not to know."
Ought not to know?
What else ought we not to know, Mr. President? And when are we supposed
to forget it?