My Blog List



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Spies, Lies & Geopolitics - The Safari Club and the birth of Al-Qaeda

Spies, Lies & Geopolitics - The Safari Club and the birth of Al-Qaeda

Oct 2, '10 5:51 AM
by Remixed for everyone
Just some copy-paste items, pushed for time again; but I wanted to share this here, it represents much better the kind of research this group was put here for in the first place.  I think we lost our way, it was never about debating with the enemy.  It was about shining a light on them, on the truth, but with a slightly more mature approach, removed from some of the more outrageous 'conspiracy theory' mania.  For my part, having to be impartial all the time has been sapping my energy and I wish to return to researching the things that really matter, like this, here.  If I had my way, SLG would drop the US pro-corporate far-right  altogether and grow with the genuinely interested base we have... but I don't have my way, we are democratic and shall remain so.  As always, those who most need to read and absorb the information here, won't.  Everyone else, I hope this is enlightening and useful.  RP

Con­tin­u­ing with analy­sis of the Fifth Col­umn that assisted the Islamo-fascists who per­pe­trated the 9/11 attacks, the pro­gram accesses infor­ma­tion from a VERY impor­tant new book Pre­lude to Ter­ror  by Joseph J. Trento. In this book, the author sets forth infor­ma­tion about the Safari Club, an “out­sourced” intel­li­gence net­work in which the Saudis financed a pri­va­tized espi­onage estab­lish­ment that dom­i­nated Amer­i­can intel­li­gence oper­a­tions for the bet­ter part of a quar­ter of a cen­tury. Uti­liz­ing the Saudi GID and the Pak­istani ISI as proxy agen­cies, this net­work ran the Iran-Contra, Iraq­gate and Afghan mujahideen efforts. The most sig­nif­i­cant out­growth of this net­work was the birth of al Qaeda, with all that has resulted from its con­cep­tion. One of the points that Trento makes is the fact that out­sourc­ing U.S. intel­li­gence oper­a­tions elim­i­nated the nec­es­sary func­tion of counterintelligence—monitoring one’s allies in order to ver­ify their loy­alty and com­pe­tence. The fail­ure to con­form to this basic tenet of intel­li­gence has haunted the U.S., and will con­tinue to do so. It is impor­tant to note that the elder George Bush and the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tions were at the core of the Safari Club. The Safari Club was specif­i­cally cre­ated to cir­cum­vent Con­gres­sional and even Pres­i­den­tial over­sight! Note that Mr. Emory incor­rectly cited FTR#367 in his con­clud­ing remarks. The broad­cast that details the sub­ver­sion of France in the run-up to World War II is FTR#366. For more about the Fifth Col­umn described here, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 412, 462, 464, 467, 474.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: The role of Prince Turki (Osama bin Laden’s case offi­cer) in the Safari Club; the trans­fer of ultra-secret NSA soft­ware to the Saudis through the Safari Club; the capa­bil­ity of this NSA soft­ware to com­pro­mise the U.S. national secu­rity oper­a­tions and law enforce­ment; the use of the Safari Club by the Saudis to spy on the United States; warn­ings by US intel­li­gence ana­lysts that we were back­ing the wrong Islamic ele­ments in Afghanistan and that they would turn on us after the Sovi­ets were defeated; the over­rul­ing of State Depart­ment employee Michael Spring­man when he tried to pre­vent dan­ger­ous Islamists from gain­ing visas to visit the United States; the Safari Club’s devel­op­ment of the BCCI as a finan­cial base for fund­ing highly ille­gal covert oper­a­tions; the use of the Safari Club to develop the Islamic bomb (a sub­ject that is cov­ered at length in FTR#524.)

1. Begin­ning with a sum­mary intro­duc­tion of the mate­r­ial in Pre­lude to Ter­ror (the superb, vitally impor­tant book from which the mate­r­ial in this pro­gram is excerpted), the pro­gram high­lights the fun­da­men­tal theme of the pri­va­ti­za­tion of U.S. intel­li­gence. As dis­cussed through­out the pro­gram, the “out­sourc­ing” of much of U.S. intel­li­gence to a Saudi-dominated net­work called the Safari Club set the stage for the events of 9/11. The Safari Club appears to have been an essen­tial ele­ment of the Fifth Col­umn inside the U.S. and its national secu­rity estab­lish­ment. That Fifth Col­umn greatly facil­i­tated the attacks of 9/11. “Pre­lude to Ter­ror will focus on how the pri­va­ti­za­tion of intel­li­gence meta­mor­phosed from an instru­ment of lim­ited appli­ca­tion in the 1950’s into a broad-based core oper­at­ing model of sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tions in the 1970’s and ‘80’s. Simul­ta­ne­ously, a secret alliance was forged with Saudi intel­li­gence. This alliance was orches­trated by CIA covert man­age­ment, with­out the knowl­edge of Con­gress, and, in some cases, even the pres­i­dent. Ulti­mately, as these two devel­op­ments became increas­ingly inter­twined, a dynamic of cat­a­strophic pro­por­tions was cre­ated, one that left the United States with a severely com­pro­mised intel­li­gence appa­ra­tus in the Mid­dle East. . . .”
(Pre­lude to Ter­ror; by Joseph Trento; Copy­right 2005 by Joseph J. Trento; Car­roll & Graf [HC]; ISBN 0–7867-1464–6; p. xi.)

2. The Safari Club began dur­ing the period when the elder George Bush was direc­tor of the CIA. Long an inti­mate of the Saudi power elite, the elder Bush (like his son) was deeply con­nected to the Saudi intel­li­gence milieu at the core of the Safari Club. “ . . . Dur­ing George Bush’s Zapata-Offshore years, he had met most of the Gulf region’s roy­als and had devel­oped close per­sonal rela­tion­ships with sev­eral of them. When Saudi money began flow­ing into Texas in the 1970’s, Bush and his fam­ily became very friendly with the most influ­en­tial Saudis liv­ing in the United States.” (Ibid.; p. 100.)

3. One of the Saudi intel­li­gence chiefs that func­tioned at the House of Saud’s end of the Safari net­work was Kamal Adham. When pressed about his rela­tion­ship with Adham, Bush dis­sem­bled. “The most impor­tant friend­ship Bush had was with a quiet, dig­ni­fied man named Sheikh Kamal Adham, Direc­tor of Saudi Intel­li­gence, whom Bush had met through his father. Bush has told reporters, ‘I never met Kamal Adham per­son­ally.’ But accord­ing to lawyers for the late Saudi intel­li­gence head and sev­eral offi­cials at the CIA who served under Bush, there were sev­eral offi­cial meet­ings inside and out­side the United States, both before and after Bush was the DCI. ‘Bush and Kamal were old friends. I was present when they met in New York when Bush was still United Nations Ambas­sador,’ Sarkis Soghana­lian said. Bush and Adham shared a fas­ci­na­tion with intel­li­gence. Bush also took a deep inter­est in the sheikh’s American-educated nephew, HRH Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Sa’ud.” (Idem.)

4. Even­tu­ally, Adham was suc­ceeded by Prince Turki, who ran Osama bin Laden for many years, both before and after the Afghan war against the Sovi­ets. (For more about the rela­tion­ship between Prince Turki and Osama bin Laden, see FTR#343.) “Prince Tuki had been a sub­ject of CIA inter­est ever since his father had sent him to prep school at the Lawrenceville School in New Jer­sey. Agency tal­ent spot­ters on the fac­ulty at George­town Uni­ver­sity kept close track of Turki until he dropped out of George­town Uni­ver­sity to return home at the out­break of the 1967 war with Israel. After later com­plet­ing his edu­ca­tion in Eng­land, Turki again returned home to pre­pare him­self to even­tu­ally suc­ceed his uncle-Kamal Adham as Direc­tor of Saudi intel­li­gence.” (Idem.)

5. Among the part­ners Turki had in his joint oper­a­tions with the off-the shelf intel­li­gence oper­a­tions with ele­ments of CIA were the asso­ciates of Edwin Wilson—Frank Ter­pil, Theodore Shack­ley and Thomas Clines, as well as their Cuban asso­ciates. (For more about this cast of char­ac­ters, see—among other pro­grams–RFA#’s 4, 29, 30, avail­able from Spit­fire.) “ ‘On his vis­its, here,’ Robert Crow­ley recalled, ‘Agency man­age­ment made Turki wel­come, know­ing full well that at some point Saudi Arabia’s Gen­eral Intel­li­gence Depart­ment [GID] would fall under his con­trol.’ As a young Saudi bureau­crat, Prince Turki was cul­ti­vated by var­i­ous CIA oper­a­tives, includ­ing Shack­ley, Clines, and Te

rpil. In the early 1970’s, when Ter­pil and Wil­son first started oper­a­tions in Libya, Ter­pil set Wil­son up with a Geneva lawyer named Robert Tur­ren­tini, who also han­dled bank­ing mat­ters for Turki. Ter­pil told Wil­son that he went back years with Turki through Turki’s per­sonal assis­tant. When Wil­son needed finan­cial back­ing in sev­eral large-scale oper­a­tions, Prince Turki put up the cash. In 1992, Wil­son said he shared mil­lions of dol­lars with Turki in a Swiss bank account from an old oper­a­tion.” (Ibid.; pp. 100–101.)

6. The offi­cial ratio­nale for the estab­lish­ment of the Safari Club was the alleged hand­i­cap­ping of U.S. intel­li­gence by Con­gres­sional inves­ti­ga­tions of the 1970’s. Not men­tioned in the pas­sage quoted here is the fact that the House Select Com­mit­tee on Assas­si­na­tions was estab­lished at this time, look­ing into the assas­si­na­tions of Pres­i­dent Kennedy and Dr. Mar­tin Luther King. It is Mr. Emory’s view that this inves­ti­ga­tion is the one that most vexed U.S. intel­li­gence, not the tame Church Com­mit­tee or the even tamer Rock­e­feller Com­mis­sion. “Both Prince Turki and Sheikh Kamal Adham would play enor­mous roles in ser­vic­ing a spy net­work designed to replace the offi­cial CIA while it was under Con­gres­sional scrutiny between the time of Water­gate and the end of the Carter admin­is­tra­tion. The idea of using the Saudi royal fam­ily to bypass the Amer­i­can Con­sti­tu­tion did not orig­i­nate in the King­dom. Adham was ini­tially approached by one of the most respected and pow­er­ful men in Wash­ing­ton, Clark Clif­ford, who rose to power under Harry Tru­man and had enjoyed a rela­tion­ship with the intel­li­gence com­mu­nity for years. ‘Clark Clif­ford approached Kamal Adham and asked that the Saudis con­sider set­ting up an infor­mal intel­li­gence net­work out­side the United States dur­ing the inves­ti­ga­tions,’ Robert Crow­ley said. Crow­ley, in his role as the CIA’s liai­son to the cor­po­rate world, was privy to the plan, in which world­wide covert oper­a­tions for the Agency were funded through a host of Saudi bank­ing and char­ity enter­prises. Sev­eral top U.S. mil­i­tary and intel­li­gence offi­cials directed the oper­a­tions from posi­tions they held over­seas, notably for­mer CIA direc­tor Richard Helms, at this time Ambas­sador to Iran.” (Ibid.; p. 101.)

7. Next, we see still more about the links between Edwin Wil­son and asso­ciates and the Safari Club. Note that Thomas Clines claimed that the oper­a­tions under­taken in con­junc­tion with the Safari Club were ‘too sen­si­tive to be revealed.’ Ille­gal­ity appears to have been one of the things that could not be ‘revealed.’ “Ed Wil­son and his asso­ciates sup­ported the net­work. Accord­ing to Wil­son, Prince Turki was used to finance sev­eral of his intel­li­gence oper­a­tions dur­ing this time period. Accord­ing to Wil­son, the amounts were in the mil­lions of dol­lars. Accord­ing to Tom Clines, the rela­tion­ship between the Saudis and the pri­vate U.S. intel­li­gence net­work that grew out of the activ­i­ties of Clines and his col­leagues was ‘vital . . . these oper­a­tions were so sen­si­tive, they could not be revealed.’ Mike Pil­grim, who also played a role in the oper­a­tions of the pri­vate net­work dur­ing the 1980’s said, ‘It got to the point where we were used to sup­port GID oper­a­tions when the CIA could not.’ Accord­ing to those involved, there was no line drawn between what was offi­cial and what became per­sonal busi­ness.” (Idem.)

8. “Prince Turki him­self acknowl­edged the pri­vate net­work for the first time in an unchar­ac­ter­is­ti­cally can­did speech given to George­town Uni­ver­sity alumni in Feb­ru­ary 2002: ‘And now I will go back to the secret that I promised to tell you. In 1976, after the Water­gate mat­ters took place here, your intel­li­gence com­mu­nity was lit­er­ally tied up by Con­gress. It could not do any­thing. It could not send spies, it could not write reports, and it could not pay money. In order to com­pen­sate for that, a group of coun­tries got together in the hope of fight­ing Com­mu­nism and estab­lished what was called the Safari Club. The Safari Club included France, Egypt, Saudi Ara­bia, Morocco, and Iran. The prin­ci­pal aim of this club was that we would share infor­ma­tion with each other and help each other in coun­ter­ing Soviet influ­ence world­wide, and espe­cially in Africa. In the 1970’s, there were still some coun­tries in Africa that were com­ing out of colo­nial­ism, among them Mozam­bique, Angola, and I think Dji­bouti. The main con­cern of every­body was that the spread of Com­mu­nism was tied up. Con­gress had lit­er­ally par­a­lyzed the work not only of the U.S. intel­li­gence com­mu­nity but of its for­eign ser­vice as well. And so the King­dom, with these coun­tries, helped in some way, I believe, to keep the world safe at the time when the United States was not able to do that. That, I think, is a secret that many of you don’t know. I am not say­ing it because I look to tell secrets, but because the time has gone and many of the actors are gone as well.’” (Ibid.; p. 102.)

9. As recy­cled Saudi petro-dollars assumed an increas­ingly large posi­tion within the U.S. econ­omy, the Saudi royal fam­ily under­wrote U.S. intel­li­gence. The rela­tion­ship between eco­nomic rela­tion­ships and the con­fig­u­ra­tion of the intel­li­gence com­mu­nity is an impor­tant one. Note that one of the prin­ci­pal finan­cial insti­tu­tions involved in the machi­na­tions of the Safari Club is the Riggs Bank. For more about Riggs Bank, use the search func­tion to locate past “For The Record” broad­casts deal­ing with this sub­ject. Pres­i­dent Bush’s uncle Jonathan is a direc­tor of the Bank. “Turki’s ‘secret’ was that the Saudi royal fam­ily had taken over intel­li­gence financ­ing for the United States. It was dur­ing this period that the Saudis opened up a series of covert accounts at Riggs Bank in Wash­ing­ton. Start­ing in the mid-1970’s, bank inves­ti­ga­tors say, these accounts show that tens of mil­lions of dol­lars were being trans­ferred between CIA oper­a­tional accounts and accounts con­trolled by Saudi com­pa­nies and the Saudi embassy itself. Turki worked directly with agency oper­a­tives like Sarkis Soghana­lian and Ed Wil­son, ‘If I needed money for an oper­a­tion, Prince Turki made it avail­able,’ Wil­son said. Clifford’s request for Saudi help came at a very crit­i­cal time for the royal fam­ily. Although the House of Saud had long pla­cated domes­tic con­ser­v­a­tive cler­ics by allow­ing an edu­ca­tion sys­tem that tar­geted the West—especially the United States—as evil, they were still deathly afraid of the estab­lish­ment of any Mus­lim fun­da­men­tal­ist regime in the region. Their inter­ests included keep­ing the shah in charge in Teheran and keep­ing an eye on an increas­ingly mil­i­tant Libya. Although nor­mally Israeli and Saudi inter­ests wee in con­flict, in this case they con­verged. It was in the inter­est of Albert Hakim, Frank Terpil’s some­time employer, to serve as a bridge between the two.” (Ibid.; pp. 102–103.)

10. “Sarkis Soghana­lian was close to Sheikh Kamal Adham dur­ing this period. Adham fre­quently asked Soghana­lian ‘about what kind of shape the shah was in. he com­plained the CIA was not giv­ing him the full pic­ture of how the shah was los­ing con­trol.’ Adham believed that that bind­ing Saudi Ara­bia with the United States would increase the House of Saud’s chances of sur­viv­ing an Islamic resur­gence. ‘Believe me,’ Soghana­lian said, ‘Kamal did not do these things out of char­ity, but sur­vival.’” (Ibid.; p. 103.)

11. Note that among the ben­e­fits for Saudi intel­li­gence was a com­pre­hen­sive knowl­edge of U.S. intel­li­gence oper­a­tions. Cou­pled with the Saudis’ acqui­si­tion of sen­si­tive key­word soft­ware devel­oped by the NSA, the foun­da­tion was laid for a deep pen­e­tra­tion of, and sub­ver­sion of U.S. intel­li­gence by those ele­ments of Saudi intel­li­gence, Pak­istani intel­li­gence and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood that were sym­pa­thetic to Osama bin Laden. “Adham worked closely with George Bush on the plan to pro­vide covert bank­ing ser­vices for CIA oper­a­tions. Like most things the Saudis do, there were ben­e­fits for the royal fam­ily. The arrange­ment would give the Saudis a comprehensive

knowl­edge of U.S. intel­li­gence operations. [Ital­ics are Mr. Emory’s.] In 1976, when the CIA needed an influx of cash for oper­a­tions, Adham agreed to allow Nugan Hand Bank’s Bernie Houghton to open a branch in Saudi Ara­bia.” (Idem.)

12. Note the GID’s hir­ing of Wah­habi fun­da­men­tal­ists. This helped set the stage for the “turn­ing” of the Saudi intel­li­gence milieu on the U.S. in the wake of the Afghan war. “On the sur­face, the GID was orga­nized along the same lines as a minia­ture ver­sion of the CIA, but the hir­ing of case offi­cers was very dif­fer­ent. Part of Prince Turki’s job was to reach out to mul­lahs to pro­vide reli­gious offi­cers for the GID. Turki, per­haps the most savvy politi­cian in the royal fam­ily, tried to recruit those who prac­ticed the reform ver­sion of Islam fathered by Ibn Abd al-Wahhab. From an intel­li­gence view­point, bring­ing the extreme Wah­habis into the GID would make them loyal to the royal fam­ily and help ensure the sur­vival of the state.” (Idem.)

13. Even­tu­ally, the Safari Club rela­tion­ship set the stage for the devel­op­ment of the Islamic bomb by the A.Q. Khan net­work. The role of the Safari Club milieu in the devel­op­ment of the Khan net­work will be dis­cussed at greater length in FTR#524. For more about the A.Q. Khan net­work, use the Spit­fire search func­tion. “In 1975, the royal fam­ily was approached by Pakistan’s gov­ern­ment for help in financ­ing a pan-Islamic nuclear weapon. Adham and his advis­ers had simul­ta­ne­ously reached the con­clu­sion that the royal fam­ily could not sur­vive if they let the Israeli nuclear-weapons pro­gram stand unchal­lenged.” (Ibid.; pp. 103–104.)

14. Note the Safari Club’s deci­sion to develop a pan-Islamic mil­i­tary capa­bil­ity. First used against the Sovi­ets, it is now being used against the United States. “One of Adham’s clos­est Amer­i­can advis­ers said, ‘A deci­sion was taken to pur­sue a two-track pol­icy: pla­cate reli­gious Mus­lims by start­ing a covert effort to develop a pan-Islamic mil­i­tary capa­bil­ity. [Ital­ics are Mr. Emory’s.] The sec­ond pol­icy would be to oper­ate in con­junc­tion with the United States on under­min­ing extreme Islamic move­ments that might lead to the instal­la­tion of an Islamic state.’ The Saudis were adamant, how­ever, that the fund­ing for the Pak­istani pro­gram be for research only and that no bomb be tested.” (Ibid.; p. 104.)

15. One of the pri­mary vehi­cles for covert oper­a­tions in the 1980’s was the BCCI. One can­not sep­a­rate the milieu of the BCCI and that of 9/11. For more about the BCCI (in par­tic­u­lar its rela­tion­ship to the events of 9/11) use the search func­tion, pay­ing par­tic­u­lar atten­tion to FTR#’s 356, 391, 424, 462, 464, 485. Note that the elder George Bush had an account at the bank’s Paris branch. “Adham under­stood that cre­at­ing a sin­gle world­wide clan­des­tine bank was not enough to assure the kind of resources nec­es­sary to stave off the com­ing Islamic rev­o­lu­tions that threat­ened Saudi Ara­bia and the entire region. The Safari Club needed a net­work of banks to finance its intel­li­gence oper­a­tions. With the offi­cial bless­ing of George Bush as the head of the CIA, Adham trans­formed a small Pak­istani mer­chant bank, the Bank of Credit and Com­merce Inter­na­tional (BCCI), into a world­wide money-laundering machine, buy­ing banks around the world in order to cre­ate the biggest clan­des­tine money net­work in his­tory. Bush had an account with BCCI estab­lished at the time he was at the CIA. The account was set up at the Paris branch of the bank. Sub­se­quent sen­ate and other inves­ti­ga­tions con­cluded that the CIA, begin­ning with Bush, had pro­tected the bank while it took part in illicit activ­i­ties. One source who inves­ti­gated the bank and pro­vided infor­ma­tion about the Bush account in Paris was Jacques Bardu, who, as a French cus­toms offi­cial, raided the BCCI Paris branch and dis­cov­ered the account in Bush’s name.” (Idem.)

16. “Time mag­a­zine reported that the bank had its own spies, hit men, and enforcers. What no one reported at the time was that the bank was being used by the United States and Saudi Ara­bia as an intel­li­gence front.” (Idem.)

17. “There had never been any­thing like it. Paul Hel­li­well may have made the mold, but Adham and BCCI founder Sheikh Agha Hasan Abedi smashed it. They con­trived, with Bush and other intelligence-service heads, a plan that seemed too good to be true. The bank would solicit the busi­ness of every major ter­ror­ist, rebel, and under­ground orga­ni­za­tion in the world. The invalu­able intel­li­gence thus gained would be dis­creetly dis­trib­uted to ‘friends’ of BCCI. Accord­ing to Wil­son and Crow­ley, Bush ordered Ray­mond Close, the CIA’s top man in Saudi Ara­bia, to work closely with Adham.” (Ibid.; pp. 104–105.)

18. Accord­ing to author Joseph Trento’s sources, the late Anwar Sadat was paid through the BCCI. “Adham had other impor­tant roles too. He arranged through DCI Bush to put Egypt’s Vice Pres­i­dent Anwar Sadat on an intelligence-agency pay­roll for the first time. This made Adham, in effect, Sadat’s case offi­cer. This rela­tion­ship gave Adham lever­age when the time came to per­suade Sadat to sign the Camp David Accords.” (Ibid.; p. 105.)

19. Note again the Saudis’ use of the Safari Club and its var­i­ous ele­ments (includ­ing the BCCI) to mon­i­tor U.S. intel­li­gence. “Adham and Abedi believed the United States needed mon­i­tor­ing. [Ital­ics are Mr. Emory’s.] After Adham left the GID in 1977, he and Abedi, using Clark Clif­ford, began infil­trat­ing the Amer­i­can bank­ing sys­tem with sur­rep­ti­tious pur­chases of major regional banks. Because Adham, through his rela­tion­ships with Shack­ley and Bush, had inti­mate knowl­edge of just how des­per­ate U.S. intel­li­gence was for the ser­vices of a con­ve­nient, Wash­ing­ton, D.C.-based bank, acquir­ing one became one of his main goals. Mean­while, as Clif­ford was mak­ing the con­nec­tion between the CIA and Adham, he was also call­ing on Attor­ney Gen­eral Edward Levi to kill the probe—of the per­jury inves­ti­ga­tion of Helms’s lying to the Sen­ate about Chile—that was threat­en­ing the future of Shack­ley and Helms, as well as the use of the Safari Club.” (Idem.)

20. Note that the Safari Club’s BCCI had a “black net­work” of assas­sins and enforcers. “Adham did not rely sim­ply on money to carry out the plan. Adham and Abedi under­stood that they would also need mus­cle. They tapped into the CIA’s stock­pile of mis­fits and mal­con­tents to help man a 1,500-strong group of assas­sins and enforcers. Time mag­a­zine called this group a ‘black net­work.’ It com­bined intel­li­gence with an effort to con­trol a large por­tion of the world’s econ­omy. . . .” (Idem.)

21. Of par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance in ana­lyz­ing the devel­op­ment of the 9/11 Fifth Col­umn is the momen­tum devel­oped by the Safari Club. Dur­ing the Afghan war against the Sovi­ets, those few CIA ana­lysts who under­stood the poten­tial dan­ger pre­sented by Osama bin Laden and his Mus­lim Broth­er­hood men­tor and mil­i­tary ally Abdul­lah Azzam were rebuffed. Despite clear indi­ca­tions that the “pan-Islamic mil­i­tary capa­bil­ity” could be turned against the U.S., the Cold War dic­tum of “any bas­tard as long as he’s anti-communist” held sway. (This term was first used by Allan Dulles to rebuff col­leagues who objected to his recruit­ment of Nazis to serve in the CIA.) “ . . . A year before the good folks at the CIA’s Afghan desk popped open the cham­pagne in cel­e­bra­tion of the Soviet pull­out, Osama bin L

aden planned his move into the vac­uum that would fol­low the end of the war. Bin Laden’s goal was not just vic­tory in Afghanistan, but a world­wide jihad against the West—a jihad that would engulf his home coun­try and wash the entire region clean of the influ­ence of the ‘cru­sad­ing infi­dels,’ The Saudi royal fam­ily con­tin­ued to believe that throw­ing money at mil­i­tary and social prob­lems would secure the family’s future and access to the Kingdom’s petrodol­lars. But the Saudis’ com­pro­mise with the Wah­habi mul­lahs had rad­i­cal­ized sev­eral gen­er­a­tions of Saudis. The increas­ingly angry pop­u­lace, deprived of any seri­ous share of the oil wealth, watched help­lessly as aver­age annual incomes were cut in half, from a high of $13,000 in 1981 to $6,000 by 2003.)” (Ibid.; pp. 338–339.)

22. Note that the DIA was told to back off the Saudis, when it sounded the alarm that they were fund­ing ter­ror­ists. “As with the last years of the Pea­cock Throne in Iran, the CIA, reliant on the Saudi GID and the Pak­istani ISI for regional intel­li­gence, did not warn the pres­i­dent of the dan­ger ahead. When the Defense Intel­li­gence Agency rec­om­mended that the Saudis needed to be mon­i­tored because they were fund­ing ter­ror­ists, the DIA was told to dis­con­tinue all eaves­drop­ping, oper­a­tions tar­get­ing the King­dom, accord­ing to the DIA offi­cial in charge of the pro­gram, who wishes to remain anony­mous.” (Ibid.; p. 339.)

23. The FBI was also pre­vented from pur­su­ing crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tions of the Saudis. “CIA offi­cials were blind to the flaws of their Saudi bene­fac­tors. It had got­ten so extreme that the CIA sta­tion chiefs, start­ing in the 1980’s, actu­ally pro­tected the head of Saudi Intel­li­gence, Prince Turki, and the GID and the Inte­rior Min­istry from the FBI on crim­i­nal mat­ters. The CIA insu­lated the King­dom from the United States’ own law enforce­ment offi­cials. When a shy and reli­gious Osama bin Laden went to Kabul to ‘help,’ it is not sur­pris­ing that men like CIA offi­cer Mil­ton Bear­den ‘did not pay much atten­tion to bin Laden.’ By giv­ing him an intel­li­gence port­fo­lio with the GID oper­at­ing in Pak­istan and Afghanistan, the Saudis let a man in the tent who bril­liantly exploited the oppor­tu­nity by recruit­ing among the Wah­habis. As suc­cess came to bin Laden, the GID allowed him more and more scope, includ­ing rec­om­men­da­tions for recruit­ment for GID and Inte­rior Min­istry. Bin Laden was posi­tioned to do enor­mous dam­age to the Saudi King­dom and to the United States.” (Idem.)

24. Author Trento notes the absence of coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence capa­bil­ity avail­able to U.S. intel­li­gence, because its proxies—the Saudi GID and Pak­istani ISI—were oper­at­ing with­out mon­i­tor­ing. These agen­cies were largely hos­tile to the United States, and ele­ments of both are impli­cated in the events of 9/11. “Because the CIA had effec­tively given up inde­pen­dent recruit­ment in the region, the United States was oper­at­ing with­out a safety net—without the abil­ity to detect some­one like bin Laden com­man­deer­ing the anti-Soviet cause. ‘You were rely­ing on two intel­li­gence ser­vices [the GID and ISI] to act in the United States’ best inter­est with­out any abil­ity to ver­ify their promises or their work,’ a high-level CIA offi­cial said. ‘That is what the Agency had become—simply a group of bureau­crats writ­ing checks. We had no con­trol over what was being done with the money and we delib­er­ately ignored dan­ger signs—and there were plenty.’” (Idem.)

25. Con­sider the grave, dev­as­tat­ing impli­ca­tions of what fol­lows. Of what use would the key­word soft­ware given to the Saudis have been for those ele­ments of Saudi intel­li­gence hos­tile to the United States? It does not require a great leap of imag­i­na­tion to see this kind of trans­ac­tion hav­ing set the stage for the stun­ning role of Ptech in admin­is­ter­ing America’s air defenses. For more about Ptech and the impli­ca­tions of this firm for the anom­alous per­for­mance of Amer­i­can air defenses on 9/11, see FTR#’s 462, 464. “ ‘To make mat­ters worse,’ the offi­cial con­tin­ued, ‘the CIA per­mit­ted U.S. Cus­toms at Dulles Air­port to over­look an ille­gal export of our most secret eaves­drop­ping soft­ware to Saudi Ara­bia.’ The soft­ware, referred to as ‘key word soft­ware,’ is a com­puter code devel­oped for the National Secu­rity Agency by a com­pany called E Sys­tems. The soft­ware allows key words and phrases to be flagged by com­put­ers from tar­geted voice and other com­mu­ni­ca­tions in real time. The prob­lem with export­ing the soft­ware is that any coun­try get­ting it could use it to tar­get U.S. inter­ests and allies. It could even be used to track what U.S. law enforce­ment, mil­i­tary, and intel­li­gence agen­cies were doing. [Ital­ics are Mr. Emory’s. Con­sider the impli­ca­tions of this for the events in and around 9/11.] Lewis Sams, the man E Sys­tems ordered to deliver the soft­ware to the King­dom, said, ‘I was very ner­vous when I got to the air­port. I knew it was ille­gal to take it out of the coun­try, but I was given the name of a Cus­toms offi­cial at Dulles Air­port and told if there were any prob­lems to ask for him. . . . E Sys­tems’ desire to do busi­ness with the royal fam­ily was why I thought they sent me.’ Sams said that E Sys­tems, which had close ties to the White House, main­tained the secret com­mu­ni­ca­tions gear for Air Force One. As it turned out, E Sys­tems did not get the con­tract for Saudi Intel­li­gence, but the soft­ware was left with GID offi­cials even so, accord­ing to Sams.” (Ibid.; p. 340.)

26. More about the Safari Club and the man­ner in which it cir­cum­vented the pri­mary tenets of coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence: “Among the prob­lems with using a pri­vate intel­li­gence net­work is that the ben­e­fits of coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence are not avail­able. And if your pri­vate net­work is essen­tially funded by another coun­try, you are flout­ing a basic tenet of intelligence–trust no one, includ­ing your allies. The pur­pose of coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence is to test the verac­ity and hon­esty of sources and allies, and to pro­tect secrets. When an ille­gal net­work of pri­vate busi­nesses and secret alliances car­ries out a nation’s covert oper­a­tions, coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence is not pos­si­ble. In the early 1990’s, the cost of not hav­ing any coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence capa­bil­ity would soar.” (Idem.)

27. “The absence of CI became a grow­ing prob­lem as the United States relied more and more and more on proxy intel­li­gence oper­a­tions through other coun­tries and pri­vate orga­ni­za­tions. The lack of vet­ting of those involved in Iran-Contra and Saddam’s regime, and finally of those who sup­plied the George W. Bush admin­is­tra­tion with false intel­li­gence on Iraq all demon­strate how dev­as­tat­ing the lack of a coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence capa­bil­ity can be.” (Ibid.; pp. 340–341.)

28. More about the fail­ure of U.S. intel­li­gence to heed the warn­ings of those rel­a­tively few ana­lysts who, before the end of the Afghan war against the Sovi­ets, envi­sioned the threat that the bin Laden/Azzam axis rep­re­sented for the United States: “In the tumul­tuous times of 1988 and 1989, a hand­ful of ‘second-guessers’ and ‘naysay­ers’ at the CIA warned that the coun­try had allied itself with the wrong peo­ple in Afghanistan, but they were not being lis­tened to. The idea that our clos­est allies in Afghanistan could turn against us was not even given con­sid­er­a­tion.” (Ibid.; p. 341.)

29. “When Osama bin Laden attended events in Kabul in sup­port of the mujahideen, his pres­ence raised no curios­ity in the U.S. intel­li­gence com­mu­nity. Reports on bin Laden were nei­ther crit­i­cal nor prob­ing. The rela­tion­ship between the new pres­i­dent and the bin Laden fam­ily was no secret at the CIA, and they cozily assumed Osama was on our side. For the CIA to miss the scale of the Saudi-funded Pak­istani nuclear-weapons pro­gram is an exam­ple of the woe­ful intel­li­gence pro­duced by the CIA dur­ing this period. But miss­ing the trans­for­ma­tion of Osama bin Laden from the shy son of one of the most
promi­nent fam­i­lies in Saudi Ara­bia to the leader of a ter­ror­ist net­work sup­ported by ISI and GID offi­cials in Pak­istan and Afghanistan was pure oper­a­tional neg­li­gence.” (Idem.)

30. “In many ways, bin Laden rep­re­sented the penul­ti­mate com­pro­mise of the House of Saud. While half of the royal fam­ily rec­og­nized the need to do busi­ness with the West, the other half felt uncom­fort­able with the ways of the West. The ini­tial intel­li­gence fail­ure took place in 1979 and 1980, when the CIA failed to see the con­nec­tion between bin Laden and hun­dreds of his family’s con­struc­tion work­ers and heavy equip­ment oper­a­tors mov­ing into the Afghan war zone at the same time the GID dis­patched there the most charis­matic Mus­lim leader of the time, Pales­tin­ian Mus­lim Broth­er­hood leader Abdul­lah Azzam. Azzam joined forces with bin Laden in open­ing a recruit­ing center—Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK—Services Office.) Though this was all fully known to the CIA, the Agency’s regional experts asked no ques­tions. Amaz­ingly enough, no one in the CIA’s Afghan oper­a­tion even asked why a Pales­tin­ian leader had sud­denly turned up in Afghanistan. CIA money was actu­ally fun­neled to MAK, since it was recruit­ing young Mus­lim men to come join the jihad in Afghanistan. (This infor­ma­tion comes from a for­mer CIA offi­cer who actu­ally filed these reports; we can’t iden­tify him here because at the time of the writ­ing of this book, he was back in Afghanistan as a pri­vate con­trac­tor.)” (Ibid.; pp. 341–342.)

31. Despite Azzam’s hos­til­ity to the United States and Israel, the MAK was allowed to recruit and train in the United States! “Azzam, a Pales­tin­ian by birth, had been forced years before to flee to Jor­dan and then to Saudi Ara­bia. In Peshawar, Azzam, funded by bin Laden and GID, opened the Office of Ser­vices of the Holy War­riors (Mujahideen). Azzam’s mes­sage was clearly anti-Israeli and anti-American. And yet bin Laden’s open­ing MAK branch offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia was applauded by the CIA. [Ital­ics are Mr. Emory’s.] The Agency never sus­pected that bin Laden might have had big­ger plans than Afghanistan. While bin Laden paid for the trans­porta­tion of the new fight­ers to the war zone, the Saudi net­work of char­i­ties helped take care of their fam­i­lies.” (Ibid.; p. 342.)

32. “Bin Laden’s army was one of seven major mujahideen armies sup­ported by the CIA’s $500-million-a-year pro­gram. After the vic­tory over the Sovi­ets, many of the Islamic war­riors went home. They took with them the kind of con­fi­dence that can be gained only by help­ing to take out a greatly supe­rior force. Bin Laden rec­og­nized that their expe­ri­ence and rad­i­cal­ism could change the face of the Islamic world. He kept the mujahideen train­ing camps in Afghanistan in oper­a­tion and expanded his efforts by spread­ing the holy war to Soma­lia, Bosnia, Kosovo, the Philip­pines, and Chech­nya. The net­work was spread­ing, and, despite sub­se­quent denials, there is incon­tro­vert­ible evi­dence that the CIA’s knowl­edge was far deeper than it has been will­ing to admit.” (Idem.)

33. Embody­ing and exem­pli­fy­ing the fail­ure of U.S. intel­li­gence is the expe­ri­ence of Michael Spring­man, a State Depart­ment offi­cer in Saudi Ara­bia who had “red-flagged” visa appli­cants to the United States, only to have his deci­sions over­ruled by supe­ri­ors. “An Amer­i­can con­sular offi­cer in Saudi Ara­bia dis­cov­ered first hand that the CIA was allow­ing Afghan ‘free­dom fight­ers’ to get visas to come to the United States dur­ing and after the Afghan War. Michael Spring­man, now a lawyer in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., was then an offi­cer in the U.S. Con­sulate in Jed­dah. Spring­man repeat­edly con­fronted his bosses about their approval of ques­tion­able visa appli­ca­tions. At first, Spring­man sus­pected that one of his bosses was cor­rupt and was sell­ing visas to peo­ple who would never nor­mally be admit­ted to the United States. Spring­man pushed so hard for answers that he was even­tu­ally warned to do what he was told. ‘In Saudi Ara­bia, I was repeat­edly ordered by high-level State Depart­ment offi­cials to issue visas to unqual­i­fied appli­cants. . . . I com­plained bit­terly at the time. . . . I returned to the U.S. I com­plained to the State Depart­ment here, to the Gen­eral Account­ing Office, to the Bureau of Diplo­matic Secu­rity, and to the Inspec­tor General’s office. I was met with silence.’” (Ibid.; pp. 342–343.)

34. “As Spring­man kept push­ing for an expla­na­tion, his fit­ness eval­u­a­tions became more crit­i­cal of him and he was even­tu­ally dis­missed. It took him years to find out that Jed­dah was the cen­ter of the GID/CIA recruit­ing oper­a­tion. Spring­man said he should have been sus­pi­cious even before he was first sent to Jed­dah: ‘I had got­ten some strange ques­tions before I went out to Jed­dah from the then-ambassador, Wal­ter Cut­ler, who kept talk­ing about visa prob­lems. He said how I should do my best to make sure that every­thing ran smoothly. Once I got there, I found I was being ordered to issue visas to peo­ple who really should not have got­ten a visa. I’ll give you just one exam­ple. There were two Pak­ista­nis who wanted to go to an Amer­i­can trade show in the United States. They claimed they were going with a Com­merce Department-sponsored trade mis­sion. These guys couldn’t name the trade show and they couldn’t name the city in which it was being held. When I refused the visa after a cou­ple min­utes of ques­tion­ing, I got an almost imme­di­ate call from a CIA case offi­cer, hid­den in the com­mer­cial sec­tion [of the con­sulate], that I should reverse myself and grant these guys a visa. I told, ‘No.’ Not long after­wards, he went to the Chief of the Con­sular sec­tion and got my deci­sion reversed.’ This was exactly con­trary to nor­mal oper­at­ing pro­ce­dures. ‘Essen­tially, in the State Depart­ment, the guy doing the inter­view­ing has the first, last, and usu­ally the only word regard­ing visa issuances. He can be reversed if it was done not accord­ing to reg­u­la­tion, for exam­ple. If some­body comes up with addi­tional infor­ma­tion that’s mate­r­ial, you can push for a change in the peti­tion. But this was one of a pat­tern. . . . Week after week after week, and they got more brazen and bla­tant about it. And I was told on occa­sion, ‘Well, you know, if you want a job in the State Depart­ment in the future, you will change your mind.’ And other peo­ple would sim­ply say, ‘You can change your mind now or wait until the Con­sul Gen­eral reverses you.’ I learned later it was basi­cally the CIA that had Osama bin Laden recruit­ing peo­ple for the Afghan War and tak­ing them to the U.S. for ter­ror­ist train­ing.’” (Ibid.; pp. 343–344.)

35. Note that al Qaeda was founded in 1988, before the Sovi­ets were dri­ven out of Afghanistan. Note that, by this time, bin Laden was already allied with Said Ramadan’s Mus­lim Broth­er­hood fac­tion. (For more about Ramadan, use the Spit­fire search func­tion, tak­ing par­tic­u­lar care to exam­ine FTR#’s 343, 381, 455, 456, 518.) “ . . . In 1988, Abdal­lah Azzam and Osama bin Laden founded the secret orga­ni­za­tion later known as al Qaeda. The pur­pose of the orga­ni­za­tion was to con­tinue to the jihad beyond the vic­tory over the Sovi­ets. Mem­bers swore a blood oath to do this. Quickly, how­ever, Azzam began to com­plain that the move­ment was not ready to go out­side of Afghanistan until it secured a home­land for the Pales­tini­ans. Bin Laden had already allied him­self with Said Ramadan’s branch of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and was look­ing at change far beyond Afghanistan. He essen­tially ignored the Pales­tini­ans. The argu­ments between bin Laden and Azzam ended in late 1989 when Azzam died in a car-bombing. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 344.)

No comments:

Post a Comment