Making politicians and media accountable to ordinary citizens since 2000.

Home | Unconservative Listening | Links | Contribute | About

Join the Mailing List | Contact Caro

What Did They Know and When Did They Know It?

Most of the links below no longer work, but there is enough
information in each excerpt to find the article
at the Internet archive's WayBack Machine
or in LexisNexis.


December 17, 2003
9/11 Chair: Attack Was Preventable

Book Cover

Forbidden Truth: How U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy Thwarted the Search for Bin Laden and Helped Trigger September 11
Jean-Charles Brisard,  Wayne Madsen,  Guillaume Dasquie

Forbidden Truth details the secret diplomacy between the Bush administration and the Taliban between February and August 2001, talks that ultimately led the US to make threats that may have helped stoke the horrifying attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001.

Articles compiled after 7/22/02

What did George Bush himself know, prior to the attacks?

What Bush Knew Before Sept. 11, CBS News, May 16, 2002:

“President Bush was told in the months before the Sept. 11 attacks that Osama bin Laden's terrorist network might hijack U.S. passenger planes - information which prompted the administration to issue an alert to federal agencies - but not the American public.”

Click here for more articles.

Why were certain people warned not to fly on or about September 11 (or even earlier), and not the rest of us? 

Willie Brown got low-key early warning about air travel, Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross, San Francisco Chronicle, September 12, 2001:

“For Mayor Willie Brown, the first signs that something was amiss came late Monday when he got a call from what he described as his airport security - - a full eight hours before yesterday's string of terrorist attacks -- advising him that Americans should be cautious about their air travel.”

Click here for more articles.

Did the U.S. know that the attacks were going to happen?

THE COUNTER-TERRORIST, Lawrence Wright, The New Yorker, Issue of January 14, 2002:

“[I]intelligence had been streaming in concerning a likely Al Qaeda attack. ‘It all came together in the third week in June [2001],’ Clarke said. ‘The C.I.A.'s view was that a major terrorist attack was coming in the next several weeks.’ On July 5th, Clarke summoned all the domestic security agencies—the Federal Aviation Administration, the Coast Guard, Customs, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the F.B.I.—and told them to increase their security in light of an impending attack.”

Click here for more articles.

Why didn't the Air Force scramble fighters before the third attack plane (if it was a plane) hit the Pentagon?

My Country Right Or Wrong: Questioning September 11th, Mark Elsis,, undated:

“1. The North American Aerospace Defense Command ( NORAD ) had almost an hour and a half to scramble F-16 jets from Langley Air Force Base ( AFB ) to protect Washington D.C. and the Pentagon. How could they incredibly fail to do so? For this most impossible error, the United States government and military only give the lame excuse, we didn't have enough time to respond.”

Listen To Meria Heller’s Feb. 21, 2002 Net Radio Live Interview with Mark Elsis

Nothing Urgent, George Szamuely, New York Press, Issue date :   January 9, 2002 – January 15, 2002:

“Let’s revisit the curious lack of military action on the morning of Sept. 11. That morning, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard B. Myers, was having a routine meeting on Capitol Hill with Sen. Max Cleland. While the two men chatted away, a hijacked jet plowed into the World Trade Center’s north tower, another one plowed into the south tower and a third one into the Pentagon. And still they went on with their meeting.”

Who else knew something was going to happen in the United States?

Instant Messages To Israel Warned Of WTC Attack , Brian McWilliams, Newsbytes News Network (a division of The Washington Post Company), September 27, 2001 :

“Officials at instant-messaging firm Odigo confirmed today that two employees received text messages warning of an attack on the World Trade Center two hours before terrorists crashed planes into the New York landmarks.”

Click here for more articles.

Why did George Bush behave so strangely on September 11, 2001?

Two Planes Crash Into World Trade Center , DetroitNow News, September 11, 2001:

“In Florida, Bush was reading to children in a classroom at 9:05 a.m. when his chief of staff, Andrew Card, whispered into his ear. The president briefly turned somber before he resumed reading. He addressed the tragedy about a half-hour later.” [Emphasis added.]  

Click here for more articles.

Why did the administration lie about Bush’s strange behavior on September 11?

The first casualty, Joe Conason,, October 5, 2001:

“The Bush administration told an outrageous lie that the president was a target of terrorists -- and Americans deserve an explanation.”  

Click here for more articles.

What specific warnings were given to the CIA and the FBI regarding imminent terrorist activity?

Israeli security issued urgent warning to CIA of large-scale terror attacks, David Wastell and Philip Jacobson, Daily Telegraph of London, September 16, 2001:

“ISRAELI intelligence officials say that they warned their counterparts in the United States last month that large-scale terrorist attacks on highly visible targets on the American mainland were imminent.”

Click here for more articles.

What else did our government know about possible terrorist attacks?

U.S. warned in 1995 of plot to hijack planes, attack buildings, Maria Ressa,, September 18, 2001:

“The FBI was warned six years ago of a terrorist plot to hijack commercial planes and slam them into the Pentagon, the CIA headquarters and other buildings, Philippine investigators told CNN."

Click here for more articles.

What have been the Bush administration’s prior dealings with The Taliban and with Bin Laden?

U.S. Policy Towards Taliban Influenced by Oil – Say Authors, Julio Godoy, Inter Press Service, November 15, 2001 (archived at

“‘At one moment during the negotiations, the U.S. representatives told the Taliban, “either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs”,’ [Jean-Charles] Brisard [co-author of the just-published book, Bin Laden, the forbidden truth] said in an interview in Paris.” [This threat was made in July of 2001.]

Click here for more articles.

Why did the FBI usher members of the bin Laden family out of the U.S. after 9/11?

Bin Laden Family Evacuated, CBS News


Bin Laden’s Relatives Evacuated From NYC, Scoop

He waved away warnings, John R. MacArthur, Toronto Globe and Mail, June 4, 2002 (no longer available on the internet):

“[A] White House coverup of the causes and origins of Sept. 11 began almost immediately with the safe passage (within a week of the attack) out of the U.S. provided to 14 members of the bin Laden family, before they could be interrogated by the FBI.”

The bin Ladens’ Great Escape , Byron York, National Review Online , September 11, 2002:

“How the U.S. helped Osama's family leave the country after 9/11.

How can anyone possibly suggest that our government had a role in a tragedy that cost thousands of American lives?

Friendly Fire, David Ruppe,, May 1, 2001:

“U.S. Military Drafted Plans to Terrorize U.S. Cities to Provoke War With Cuba”  

Click here for more articles.

Who benefits from this war?

Breathing room, and possibly complete passes, on some formerly pressing issues  

Profits from insider trading 

Promotion of the “awl bidness”

Other financial benefits

EVEN MORE payback for Republican contributors

Excuse to steamroll the right-wing agenda

Destruction of civil liberties, re-establishment of greater police powers and “The Imperial Presidency”

Greater control over the means of communication

Stifling of dissent

Excuse for secrecy

And make no mistake--George W. Bush is a secrecy kind of guy

Excuse to use nuclear weapons  

Excuse to strike first at any nation George Bush decides to invade

Excuse to create a vast new bureaucracy that will further enrich Republican contributors

Why is the administration continuing to warn about possible attacks that never seem to materialize?

Rumsfeld: US Could [Face] More Deadly Attacks, Robert Burns, Associated Press, Jan 31, 2002:

“The United States could face terrorist surprises ‘vastly more deadly’ than the Sept. 11 attacks that killed more than 3,000 people, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Thursday."

[Oddly enough, this warning came just as the Enron scandal investigations were warming up.--Caro]

Click here for more articles.

What are the Bush family's business connections in the Middle East?

Bush family’s dirty little secret: President’s oil companies funded by Bin Laden family and wealthy Saudis who financed Osama bin Laden , Rick Wiles, American Freedom News, September 2001


Why would Osama bin Laden want to kill Dubya, his former business partner?, James Hatfield, Online Journal, July 3, 2001

QUESTIONABLE TIES, Wayne Madsen, In These Times, undated:

“Tracking bin Laden's money flow leads back to Midland, Texas”

What kinds of politics and pressures kept our government from taking precautionary measures against terrorist attacks?

Don't say that we weren't forewarned, Bob Greene, Chicago Tribune, October 17, 2001:

“The story, written by the Copley News Service, had a Washington dateline. Remember, this was 1970. It began:  ‘Airline pilots have demanded bulletproof cockpit doors and bulkheads to thwart would-be aerial hijackers.’”  

Click here for more articles.

Why didn't the mainstream media help us convince the government we needed protection?

Blinded by scandal, Arianna Huffington,, September 13, 2001:

“Obsessed with sharks and Gary Condit, the media, like the White House, missed earlier warnings about possible terrorist attacks at home.”

WHAT WE KNEW: WARNING GIVEN...STORY MISSED, Harold Evans, Columbia Journalism Review, undated

“We were warned. Some of the best minds in the United States attempted to alert the nation that, without a new emphasis on homeland security and attention to terrorism, ‘Americans will likely die on American soil, possibly in large numbers’ as the result of terrorist attacks.”   

Click here for more articles.

Who is investigating this travesty?

Inquiry of Intelligence Failures Hits Obstacles, Greg Miller, Los Angeles Times, May 4 2002:

“Lawmakers leading the investigation of intelligence agencies’ failures surrounding the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are increasingly concerned that tactics by the CIA and the Justice Department are actively impeding their efforts, congressional sources said Friday.”

Click here for more articles.

Does George Bush think he’s been chosen by God to fight terrorism?

For President, a Mission and a Role in History, Frank Bruni, The New York Times, September 22, 2001:

“‘I think, in his frame, this is what God has asked him to do,’ the acquaintance said. ‘It offers him enormous clarity.’”

Bush vows to wage war even if public tires, John King,, October 17, 2001:

“[H]e promised to press on even if public support wavers ‘because I think it's the right thing to do. That's what I am supposed to do.’”

The Soul of George W. Bush, Bill Keller, The New York Times, March 23, 2002:

“Sept. 11 confirmed for [Bush] that God had chosen him for a purpose, and showed him what that purpose is.”  

Why didn't the FBI get a statement from John Walker Lindh about his participation in fighting for the Taliban?

Bush, oil and the Taliban, Nina Burleigh,, February 8, 2002

“The authors also allege that the Sept. 11 attacks were a calculated response to Western pressure on the Taliban to hand over bin Laden and permit the return of the long-exiled Afghan leader, King Shah. They say the terror attacks were aimed at sparking a widespread war in Central Asia and thereby reinforcing the Islamic extremists' grip on power.”

FBI failed to get Lindh's statement in writing, Lenny Savino and Frank Davies, Miami Herald, February 8, 2002:

“The FBI may have violated its own rules in questioning John Walker Lindh by not taping or transcribing his statements, and that could determine the outcome of the case against him, experts said Thursday.”


How is it possible that the FBI didn't get a statement, unless it was on purpose?  Did Lindh tell them things that the footsoldiers of the Taliban knew about the reasons for the Sept. 11 attacks--things that implicated the FBI, the CIA, and other members of the Bush administration?  Did they promise him not to seek the death penalty, if he'd shut up about the reasons for the attacks?  Just asking.—Caro

Who's next?

Secret US plan for Iraq war, Peter Beaumont, Ed Vulliamy and Paul Beaver, The Observer, December 2, 2001

“America intends to depose Saddam Hussein by giving armed support to Iraqi opposition forces across the country, The Observer has learnt.”

'War' is here to stay, Reggie Rivers, Denver Post, December 20, 2001 (archived at

“If we attack the government controlling a particular country, wouldn't it make sense to declare war against that country? Our government didn't do that for one simple reason: No one wanted a war that would end quickly.”  

Bush administration confirms plans for war against Iraq, Editorial Board, World Socialist Web Site, February 16, 2002:

The CIA has presented Bush with plans for a full-scale campaign of subversion, sabotage, covert action and bombing in the ‘no-fly’ zones of northern and southern Iraq, in preparation for overt military action, the [Philadelphia] Inquirer said.”

When do we get to start calling it "corruption"?

Carlyle’s Way, Dan Briody, Red Herring, January 8, 2002:

In running what its own marketing literature spookily calls a vast, interlocking, global network of businesses and investment professionals that operates within the so-called iron triangle of industry, government, and the military, the Carlyle Group leaves itself open to any number of conflicts of interest and stunning ironies.”

Global Eye -- Mud Pack, Chris Floyd, Moscow Times, February 15, 2002 (archived at

“Bush is a war profiteer on a vast, historic scale, a man with only one animating principle: the aggrandizement of his own pampered self and his elitist clique. This greed compromises every action taken by his regime -- because they all result in profits for his gang. Another example: Bush puts U.S. bases in Central Asia; Dick Cheney's Halliburton gets the construction contracts; Daddy's Carlyle Group supplies the weaponry; Dub's buds in the oil bidness get protection for their new pipelines.”

Whatever happened to the anthrax investigation?

Anthrax attack bug "identical" to army strain, Debora MacKenzie, New Scientist, May 9, 2002 :

“The DNA sequence of the anthrax sent through the US mail in 2001 has been revealed and confirms suspicions that the bacteria originally came from a US military laboratory.”

How could anyone accuse the Bush administration of ignoring a problem?

Smoking Fat Boy,  Paul Krugman, The New York Times, May 10, 2002:

“[T]here is powerful circumstantial evidence that market manipulation played a key role in that crisis. Energy companies had the motive, the means and the opportunity to drive prices sky-high. And the crisis exhibited exactly the features you would expect if market manipulation was playing a big role: much of the state's generating capacity stood idle even as wholesale electricity prices went to 50 times normal levels.

“Yet federal officials, from George W. Bush on down, offered California nothing but sermons on the virtues of the free market.”

Regulators Probed Enron Before Crash but Didn't Act , Dana Milbank, Washington Post,  May 15, 2002:

“Federal regulators launched an inquiry into Enron Corp.'s energy trading practices seven months before the company's collapse but decided not to take any action, according to a Senate investigation.

“The federal probe, which began in May 2001 and ended in August, revealed that Enron was taking on great financial risks, but the regulators concluded that the energy trading giant was unlikely to fail by overextending credit to its trading customers, Senate investigators said.”

Where have the media been all this time?

Dan Rather says U.S. patriotism leads some journalists to self-censorship, Associated Press, May 16, 2002 (no longer available on the internet):

“Patriotism has been so strong in the United States since the Sept. 11 attacks that it sometimes prevents American journalists from asking tough questions about the U.S.-led war on terrorism, CBS News anchor Dan Rather said on British television Thursday night.”

[It’s not just the war on terrorism.  They haven’t been asking tough questions about how on earth these attacks could have happened, and what the administration is doing to make sure nothing like that ever happens again.—Caro]  

The Training-Wheel President, Robert Parry,, May 20, 2002:

“Major national news outlets are continuing to coddle George W. Bush even as new disclosures show that Bush and his senior advisers failed to respond effectively to warnings last year about Osama bin Laden’s plans to attack the United States… 

“For two newspapers that hammered Bill Clinton for years over such issues as the firing of Travel Office staff and his Whitewater real estate investment – not to mention his sex life – it may seem strange for them to shelter Bush from a failure to take any meaningful action to head off the biggest single-day loss of civilian life on U.S. soil, ever.”

Are the Republicans clambering over the bodies of the dead for partisan gain?

GOP Touts War as Campaign Issue , Thomas B. Edsall, Washington Post, January 19, 2002:

“President Bush's top political adviser said today that Republicans will make the president's handling of the war on terrorism the centerpiece of their strategy to win back the Senate and keep control of the House in this year's midterm elections.

“‘We can go to the country on this issue because they trust the Republican Party to do a better job of protecting and strengthening America's military might and thereby protecting America,’ Karl Rove said at the Republican National Committee meeting here.”

9-11 Bush Photo Offered to Donors, Sharon Theimer, Associated Press, May 14, 2002:

“Capitalizing on President Bush's drawing power, the Republican National Committee aimed for a record $30 million fund-raising bonanza Tuesday while congressional Republicans sought to reward donors with a Sept. 11 photo of Bush aboard Air Force One.”

Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Democrats rip use of 9/11 Bush photo as fundraiser, Jeff Zeleny, Chicago Tribune, May 15, 2002:

“Eight months after President Bush firmly declared the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks should not be exploited for political gain, the White House said Tuesday that it approved a plan to use a dramatic photograph taken of Bush on that infamous day to solicit contributions to the Republican Party.”  

GOP Scores In Photo Flap, John Bresnahan, Roll Call, June 3, 2002:

“The two GOP campaign committees touched off a political firestorm two weeks ago by offering donors a three-photo set of President Bush for $150 - including one shot of Bush phoning Vice President Dick Cheney from Air Force One on the afternoon of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks - if they contributed to an upcoming fundraising dinner…

“‘Just because they made even more money than they expected, it doesn't make it any less substantial that they are exploiting this tragedy,’ said Maria Cardona, communications director for the Democratic National Committee.

“Cardona added: ‘But they are Republicans. They can't help themselves.’”

Some other good summaries:

Who Let Terrorists Attack America?

Common Dreams News Center

The Bush 9/11 Scandal for Dummies

Send me a message to comment on this topic.

Carolyn Kay

Last changed: December 13, 2009