From The NY Times: ”In a new memoir, a former F.B.I. agent who tracked Al Qaeda before and after the Sept. 11 attacks paints a devastating picture of rivalry and dysfunction inside the government’s counterterrorism agencies. The book describes missed opportunities to defuse the 2001 plot, and argues that other attacks overseas might have been prevented, and Osama bin Laden found earlier, ifinterrogations had not been mismanaged. …
In the 571-page book, “The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against Al Qaeda,” Mr. Soufan accuses C.I.A. officials of deliberately withholding crucial documents and photographs of Qaeda operatives from the F.B.I. before Sept. 11, 2001, despite three written requests, and then later lying about it to the 9/11 Commission. …
He recounts a scene at the American Embassy in Yemen, where, a few hours after the attacks on New York and Washington, a C.I.A. official finally turned over the material the bureau requested months earlier, including photographs of two of the hijackers.
“For about a minute I stared at the pictures and the report, not quite believing what I had in my hands,” Mr. Soufan writes. Then he ran to a bathroom and vomited. “My whole body was shaking,” he writes. He believed the material, documenting a Qaeda meeting in Malaysia in January 2000, combined with information from the Cole investigation, might have helped unravel the airliner plot….
Mr. Soufan writes that the most consequential mistake of all was the C.I.A.’s embrace of brutal tactics for interrogation, which Mr. Soufan says were directed from the Bush White House and opposed by some C.I.A. officers. The book calls the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, the first important prisoner questioned by the C.I.A., as a fateful wrong turn toward torture and away from what he considered more effective traditional interrogation methods.”
More in the article by Scott Shane
It occurs to me that if, during wartime, Naval Intelligence had withheld information from Army Intelligence, leading to the kind of disaster that was the NY-DC attacks there would have been major, major outcries. There would have been investigations, congressional and otherwise; there would have been courts martials and other trials and tribunals.
Talk about a… what’s that phase we heard so much at the time of the economic collapse? .. moral hazard. The CIA is totally insulated from any accounting of its grievous behavior and so, it will continue; that is, is continuing today.
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