In this third and final part we connect Al Qaeda with a device to move its funds undetected through the international banking system; visit Richard Cheney at the Presidential Emergency Operations Center implementing Continuity of Government plans; take an interest in computer hard drives from the World Trade Center; and ask some questions, inter alia, at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
by Lars Schall
You can download the 3rd part of this article series here as a PDF document.
“The Indian knew that deer moved in circles…that if the hunter calculated his moves with skill, he could run the swift deer into submission. Its hooves would bleed, and the animal stumbled. The Indian was to kneel above his dying prey, putting his mouth to that of the deer, stealing its last breath. While he had earned the swiftness of the beast in its death, he was struck by its peace and stillness, and by his own.”
– Opening Sequence of “The Indian Runner”, 1991 –
Spy vs Spy via PROMIS
Let’s continue to talk about the Prosecutor’s Management Information System, abbreviated as PROMIS, for there are a few dots that can be connected to 9/11.
Quite a central figure in the PROMIS saga is Rafael “Rafi“ Eitan, a legendary Israeli spy, who served at the beginning of the 1980’s as head of LAKAM, the scientific intelligence collecting unit to support Israel’s ultra-secret nuclear program.
The British investigative journalist Gordon Thomas published in 1999 a book entitled, “Gideon’s Spies – The Secret History of the Mossad”, for which he interviewed many senior officials of Israeli intelligence, among them covert operations specialist Rafi Eitan. William Hamilton, the inventor of PROMIS, told me about a certain detail in that regard:
William Hamilton: Gordon Thomas was not only researching his planned book but also filming his interviews for a companion British television documentary. At one point during his interview of Rafi Eitan, Thomas said that Eitan asked him to turn off the video and audio recorders so he could talk about something he did after he left the Mossad that he viewed as more significant for Israel than everything he had done while at Mossad. Eitan then explained that he was alluding to his partnership with the Reagan Administration on the sale to foreign governments of hundreds of millions of dollar worth of licenses to a version of PROMIS that had been equipped covertly for real-time electronic surveillance of the foreign government agencies using those versions of PROMIS, as well as Israel’s exploitation of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement versions of PROMIS to steal U.S. intelligence secrets.
Gordon Thomas later submitted two sworn statements about the circumstances and the content of Rafi Eitan’s PROMIS-related admissions. (1)
In March 2001, Hamilton made sure through a go-between that then-CIA director George Tenet read those two sworn statements as well as an approximately 50-page summary of evidence compiled by INSLAW about three major misappropriations of PROMIS for intelligence projects: 1.) NSA’s unauthorized use of PROMIS for signal intelligence collection in the banking sector regarding electronic fund transfers; 2.) the decision by the Reagan White House in 1982, at the urging of Earl Brian, to give PROMIS to Rafi Eitan and Israel for re-sale to foreign governments in a scheme to steal their intelligence secrets and enrich participants such as Earl Brian; and 3.) the decision by Director of Central Intelligence William Casey to use PROMIS as the standard U.S. Government software for gathering and disseminating U.S. intelligence information, beginning with an application on board of U.S. nuclear submarines.
William Hamilton: After reading the materials, Tenet told the mutual friend that if the materials were accurate, the INSLAW case needed to be settled. He further stated he had ordered the CIA General Counsel to report to him within a week whether the CIA has any legal liability and that if the CIA is found to have legal liability, he was prepared to settle the CIA’s part. The following week, however, Tenet told the mutual friend that the CIA General Counsel had advised him not to become involved in the INSLAW case.
For this article, I’ve contacted Hamilton’s go-between (a gentleman of excellent reputation), who confirmed to me that he had indeed talked about the INSLAW affair with George Tenet in March 2001.
In the following summer, Hamilton reached out to retired Four-Star Admiral Daniel J. Murphy, who had been, inter alia, Deputy Director of the CIA during the Ford Administration. Hamilton asked Murphy to read the same materials Tenet had read. After doing so, Murphy agreed that the INSLAW case needed to be settled.
William Hamilton: One week after the attacks of September 11th, Murphy introduced my wife and me to C. Boyden Gray, whom he had hired in the past as legal counsel to Vice President Bush at the start of the Reagan Administration.
At approximately the time in September 2001 when we met with Boyden Gray, Murphy said the following to me, in words or substance, in a private telephone conversation: “George Tenet’s initial response exhibited the kind of decency I would expect from a high U.S. Government official confronted with this kind of evidence. But it seems like an aide might have figuratively tugged on Tenet’s sleeve to remind him of something else to which the INSLAW case is connected.” Murphy said that it was his „hunch“ that there was „still another use of PROMIS that INSLAW had not yet learned about”, and that the additional PROMIS use involved something so seriously wrong that money alone couldn’t cure the problem, and the government might never compensate INSLAW unless and until the company discovered that additional use of PROMIS.
A week later, Murphy died unexpectedly before INSLAW had an opportunity to learn what it was to which he had alluded.
One hypothesis entertained by Hamilton is that the additional exploitation of PROMIS consisted of using the NSA bank surveillance version of PROMIS to launder profits from government-sanctioned drug trafficking in exchange for a portion of the profits being paid into a slush fund to help finance the purchase of weapons and so forth for the Contras and others.
Another hypothesis would be that Murphy had alluded to a covert operation between the U.S. Department of Justice under William F. Smith and the CIA under William Casey, in which PROMIS was passed on to Rafi Eitan, who sold it via Robert Maxwell back to the U.S. government. (2) In a next step, the VAX 11/780 PROMIS software was modified at two laboratories in New Mexico (Sandia and Los Alamos), before that version was installed into U.S. nuclear submarines at the Underwater Systems Center of the U.S. Navy in Newport, Rhode Island. Hamilton, who showed me corresponding documents, pointed out: “In November 1981, Hadron, Inc., then controlled by Earl Brian, acquired Radcor, Inc. from Robert A. Duffy, and its approximately 75 computer systems engineers under contract to the U.S. Navy’s Underwater Systems Center to provide software support to computer systems on board of U.S. nuclear submarines.”
Four years later, the FBI arrested Jonathan Pollard, a civilian intelligence analyst working at the U.S. Navy. From June 1984 until his arrest in November 1985, Pollard had access to U.S. intelligence database systems to steal the entire U.S. nuclear war plan against the Soviet Union for Rafi Eitan – which meant that Israel knew, among other things, the technique used by the U.S. Navy to track and intercept Soviet submarines in the event of a war – i.e., by using the installed PROMIS software. Already a month after Pollard was arrested by the FBI, CIA chief Casey knew that Israel had obviously passed on some of the stolen U.S. nuclear war secrets to the Soviet Union in exchange for Jewish scientists who had worked on Soviet nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. (3)
In August and September 1984, when Pollard spied on the U.S. nuclear war plan for Eitan, three preliminary investigations were shut down that could have possibly prevented Pollard’s activities at that point: 1.) the FBI investigation of Robert Maxwell’s PROMIS sales (via Pergamon International) (4); 2.) the investigation which Jacob Stein conducted regarding the commercial and financial relations of Edwin Meese to Earl Brian (5); and 3.) the investigation of the PROMIS contract matters which the Government Accountability Office (GAO) immediately launched after Meese was nominated as Attorney General in January 1984.
One month before CIA director George Tenet read the materials provided to him by Hamilton’s go-between in March 2001, the FBI arrested another U.S. spy, Robert Hanssen, who had worked in his position as FBI agent for the Soviet Union respectively the Russian Federation. A front-page story in the Washington Times on June 14, 2001 reported that the subsequent debriefing of Hanssen had revealed that Osama bin Laden had purchased copies of PROMIS-derivative software on the Russian black market so that al Qaeda was able to move its funds undetected through the international banking system and to stay one step ahead of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agency efforts against the organization by having access to U.S. intelligence database systems. (6)
After 9/11, other news reports surfaced on October 16, 2001 (Fox News) and November 10, 2001 (The Calgary Sun), that connected al Qaeda to PROMIS. (7) In September 2001, one week after the 9/11 attacks, Admiral Murphy introduced the Hamilton’s to C. Boyden Gray, who agreed to work as INSLAW’s councel. At Gray’s suggestion, William Hamilton wrote two letters to Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, the two chairmen of the 9/11 Commission, about the leaks regarding Osama bin Laden having purchased copies of PROMIS derivatives.
The top two officials of the 9/11 Commission evidenced no interest in the matter, whereupon C. Boyden Gray wrote directly to two members of the 9/11 Commission, former Senator Slade Gorton and former White House Counsel Fred Fielding. Although both men were personal friends of Gray, neither man replied to his letter.
In January 2002, Gray enclosed copies of the cited news reports in a letter to Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson seeking a meeting, but Thompson never replied to Gray’s letter or follow-up telephone calls.
At a later juncture, Hamilton pointed out that the 9/11 Commission stated the FBI did not install its Automated Case Support (ASC) system until October 1995, when it was already obsolete because it employed “1980s technology”. The 9/11 Commission provided no explanation for this course of action. According to Hamilton, “the apparent explanation is that the FBI simply re-named its 1980s technology case management software, which was called FOIMS and was based on PROMIS, and translated it in October 1995 into a different computer programming language in order to obstruct a court hearing that the U.S. Senate had ordered earlier that year.” The Washington Times had reported in its story from June 2001, “that al Qaeda had been able to use a copy of the FBI’s FOIMS software (…) for espionage against the United States as late as 2001, six years after FOIMS had supposedly been replaced by ACS. This may be an additional indication of what the FBI actually did in 1995. Instead of using its ACS software project in 1995 to take advantage of early 1990s improvements in computer technology in order to make FOIMS easier for FBI agents to use, the primary purpose of the FBI’s ACS project in 1995 was obstruction of justice.” (8)
On the other hand, it may also have been the case at the time of 9/11 that not only al Qaeda, but also other “foreign intelligence agencies, which have bought or otherwise acquired PROMIS”, were able to “easily ‘break in’ into such FBI and U.S. intelligence data bases, posing a serious threat to the national security of the United States.” (9)
Moreover, if the CIA would have had a version of the PROMIS-derivative for the FBI investigative case management system, the CIA would have been in the position to monitor FBI’s efforts to track and capture al Qaeda members in the U.S. William Hamilton agreed with me on this in general: “If the version of PROMIS installed in the FBI as the basis of FOIMS had been covertly equipped with the special data collection facility, the so-called ‘back-door,’ that Michael Riconosciuto developed for the CIA in his capacity as Director of Research for the CIA-financed Joint Venture between the Wackenhut Corporation and the Cabazon Indian Tribe in Southern California, the CIA, possibly through NSA, would have been able to exercise real-time electronic surveillance of every aspect of every complaint to the FBI, FBI 302 witness interview report, etc., in every investigation conducted by the FBI. Possibly, what Admiral Murphy had alluded to shortly before his death, is the arrangement by the U.S. intelligence community to be able to exercise real-time electronic surveillance of the operations of each major U.S. law enforcement agency by having the agencies unwittingly install a version of PROMIS that had been covertly equipped with the ‘back-door.’ The effect of this would have been to insulate U.S. intelligence from accountability under the federal criminal laws.”
Needless to say, PROMIS does not get mentioned once in the 9/11 Commission Report.
Interestingly, David A. Vise, the Washington Post reporter on FBI-related issues at the time of the February 2001 arrest of Robert Hanssen for spying for the Soviet Union / the Russian Federation (and whose book about Hanssen was the first of all the Hanssen books to be published), never reported on Hanssen’s sale of derivatives of PROMIS either in his daily reporting at the Washington Post or in his book on Hanssen’s espionage. He did, however, freely admit in an interview with Kerry O’Brien on Australia’s ABC TV network that he had, nevertheless, also learned the same information from his own U.S. government sources:
“There’s one piece of intelligence Hanssen sold to the Russians which, according to US intelligence sources, ended up in the hands of the Al Qaeda terrorist network”, said David Vise. “An individual Russian for $2 million sold Al Qaeda a software tracking package which was passed along to Osama bin Laden, facilitating his ability to evade monitoring and detection by the United States for a period of years.”
Kerry O’Brien asked: “So has there been an evaluation of what that practically meant? What that meant in practical terms for Osama bin Laden?”
Vise replied: “What that meant in practical terms was that bin Laden had advanced knowledge in some cases of what the FBI and CIA were working on and how they were approaching cases. So it was extraordinarily damaging information. Robert Hanssen is the most damaging and prolific spy in American history. No spy comes close. He sold secrets not only from the FBI, but also from the CIA, the White House, the Pentagon and the National Security Agency. So we’re talking about secrets that span everything from Osama bin Laden to the crown jewels of American national security in the CIA, which, for example, include details of how every single dollar would be spent on intelligence activities over a period of years.” (10)
The George W. Bush Administration for its part stonewalled C. Boyden Gray’s effort to settle the INSLAW case. William Hamilton told me about a telephone conversation between him and Gray in the spring of 2003, in which Gray said he had just left a meeting with a trusted source who had told him that “Paul Wolfowitz, Scooter Libby, and Richard Perle are all opposed to a settlement of the INSLAW case out of fear it might embarrass Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and complicate U.S. policy in the Middle East. Each of them has been intimately familiar with the INSLAW case from the time the government gave PROMIS to Israel.“
When I asked him to confirm this statement, Mr. Gray couldn’t “remember using those names”, but he said to me that he did “recall making the general point that the Israeli lobby would likely block Inslaw at every turn.”
An Ongoing State Of Emergency
Beyond all that, the PROMIS software was in the past also connected to yet another important 9/11 issue – namely the emergency Continuity of Government (COG) operations plans, which were (at least partially) implemented on the morning of September 11, 2001. Ever since, there is – as the Washington Post called it – a “shadow government“ in the United States in place, which is constituted by this COG operations program, while it is not subject to any kinds of Checks & Balances. The representatives of this “shadow government” were not elected by the American people, but appointed by the US government in Washington, D.C. (11)
Danny Casolaro, the freelance journalist who investigated the INSLAW affair on behalf of William Hamilton, became strongly interested at the end of his research in a specific U.S. government facility in Virginia. Roughly a month before his death, Casolaro told his friend Terry Miller (who confirmed this to me personally in conversation) that he had discovered in Culpeper, Virginia a domestic spying database system, which was based on PROMIS and administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under the COG program.
William Hamilton: After Danny Casolaro’s death, I was told by a consistently reliable source that he had been murdered in the course of a covert intelligence operation designed to retrieve copies of computer printouts from the Culpeper version of PROMIS, known as Main Core, which Casolaro had obtained through the assistance of Alan Standorf, a civilian NSA employee who was found beaten to death in the back seat of his car at National Airport in January 1991. (That was eight months before Danny Casolaro’s own death). (12)
Hamilton explained to me that it seems there was a highly compartmentalized project of the White House National Security Council to circumvent legal prohibitions on NSA’s intercepts of financial information of U.S. citizens. That was done by storing a subset of NSA’s “Follow the Money” bank surveillance intercepts, which pertained to U.S. citizens, on a FEMA computer at FEMA’s Culpeper, Virginia computer center under the direction of the White House’s National Program Office and the Continuity of Government program – all based on the pretense that the domestic intelligence information was being stored for use in the event of a national catastrophe such as a nuclear war or other so-called ”Doomsday” events. Encrypted communications enabled then what was always intended from the beginning, i.e., remote access to the Culpeper database system so the domestic spying data could be exploited for 1.) political blackmail and also for 2.) insider trading.
William Hamilton: There is evidence that Danny Casolaro had in fact discovered this scam before his death in Martinsburg, West Virginia on August 10, 1991. I have an affidavit from William Turner who claims he brought to Casolaro the afternoon before his death copies of computer printouts that Casolaro had obtained from Alan Standorf on wire transfers of funds to off-shore accounts of people such as Earl Brian in the Cayman Islands and in Switzerland. Turner claims he had been storing these highly classified NSA printouts in a safe in his home for Casolaro, and Casolaro had asked him to bring them to him in Martinsburg for a meeting with Peter Videnieks and others.
For this article, I asked William Hamilton to provide more details regarding this angle of the PROMIS saga. You can download his explanations as a PDF document.
Until July 1992, the Culpeper compound served as a COG facility, and it was also a “central node for all American electronic funds transfer activities”, as recorded by the Federal Reserve. (13) After FEMA liquidated its Culpeper, Virginia computer center, it consolidated those FEMA operations at Mt. Weather, Virginia.
In the 1980’s during Iran-Contra, the National Program Office (NPO) worked on COG planning, with Oliver North as the action officer of the National Security Council. Previously, the NPO was named Office of Emergency Planning and Office of Emergency Preparedness. The main facility for all COG planning was Mt. Weather. One part of North’s NPO activities was to compile planning lists of potential threats to U.S. national security – for which he employed PROMIS as a proper software tool.
The work on COG began at the time of the Cold War under the administrations of Truman and Eisenhower, “originally authorized (…) as planning for a response to a crippling atomic attack that had decapitated government.” (14) This means, the initial aim of the planning was to ensure that a possible nuclear strike on U.S. soil wouldn’t completely eliminate the federal government of the United States of America. (15) The planning was conducted first at the Office of Emergency Planning until the late 1960’s, then at the Office of Emergency Preparedness, and from 1982 onwards at the National Program Office.
Immediately after it was launched at the end of the 1970s, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) took over some tasks of secret COG planning by conjoining the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency (DCPA) and the Federal Preparedness Agency (FPA) that worked both on COG. During the 1980s and 1990s, FEMA dedicated more and more staff and budget resources to the COG program. From 1982 to 1991, during the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush, FEMA spent 2.9 billion U.S. dollars (or about 78 percent of its total budget) to work on secret national security programs. (16)
The National Program Office became involved with COG – bypassing any control of U.S. Congress – through an Executive Order (NSDD 55) signed by Ronald Reagan on September 14, 1982. Its central figure was Oliver North as action officer of the National Security Council. The planning was carried out by a „parallel structure, operating outside normal government channels”. (17) This parallel structure also included Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. (18) Another basis for COG planning was laid on April 3, 1984 with the Executive Order 12472 signed by Ronald Reagan, which focused on the maintenance of communication capacities of U.S. government authorities that needed to be guaranteed in all circumstances. As the central office of the National Communications System (NCS), the “joint industry-government” National Coordinating Center (NCC) was launched.
Alphonso Chardy particularized for the Miami Herald in July 1987 in an article entitled, “Reagan Aides and the ’Secret’ Government’”, that the COG plans included “suspension of the Constitution, turning control of the government over to FEMA, emergency appointment of military commanders to run state and local governments and declaration of martial law during a national crisis.” (19) Sparked by Chardy’s COG coverage, a certain exchange of words took place in U.S. Congress during the Iran-Contra Hearings in July 1987 between Congressman Jack Brook, Oliver North’s legal counsel Brendan Sullivan and Senator Daniel Inouye:
[Congressman Jack] Brooks: Colonel North, in your work at the N.S.C. were you not assigned, at one time, to work on plans for the continuity of government in the event of a major disaster?
Brendan Sullivan [North’s counsel, agitatedly]: Mr. Chairman?
[Senator Daniel] Inouye: I believe that question touches upon a highly sensitive and classified area so may I request that you not touch upon that?
Brooks: I was particularly concerned, Mr. Chairman, because I read in Miami papers, and several others, that there had been a plan developed, by that same agency, a contingency plan in the event of emergency, that would suspend the American constitution. And I was deeply concerned about it and wondered if that was an area in which he had worked. I believe that it was and I wanted to get his confirmation.
Inouye: May I most respectfully request that that matter not be touched upon at this stage. If we wish to get into this, I’m certain arrangements can be made for an executive session. (20)
The article in which this exchange of words was quoted appeared in the pages of the New York Times on July 14, 1987. The Canadian political scientist Peter Dale Scott notes, “We have never heard if there was or was not an executive session, or if the rest of Congress was ever aware of the matter. According to James Bamford, ‘The existence of the secret government was so closely held that Congress was completely bypassed. Rather than through legislation, it was created by Top Secret presidential fiat.’ … But key individuals in Congress, such as Sen. Inouye of the Senate Intelligence Committee, were certainly aware of something.” (21)
The COG planning went on after this, but received a „new twist“ in November 1988; via Executive Order 12656, outgoing President Ronald Reagan determined that the COG plans would not only enter into force on occasion of nuclear war, but during any “emergency, that seriously degrades or seriously threatens the national security of the United States.” (22)
Peter Dale Scott assumes that this much broader COG application was already envisaged in 1984 when Oliver North worked “’with officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency . . . to draw up a secret contingency plan to surveil political dissenters and to arrange for the detention of hundreds of thousands of undocumented aliens in case of an unspecified national emergency. The plan, part of which was codenamed Rex 84, called for the suspension of the Constitution under a number of scenarios, including a U.S. invasion of Nicaragua.’
In other words”, explains Scott, “extreme measures, designed originally to deal with an externally directed and devastating nuclear attack, were being secretly modified by a non-governmental group to deal with domestic dissenters: a situation that still pertains today.” (23)
Moreover, we need to bear in mind that “the COG ‘Doomsday Project’ in the 1980s involved more than planning and exercises. It also oversaw ’Project 908,’ the construction of a multibillion infrastructure for an alternative government. The key element of this was an $8 billion communications and logistics program headquartered at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, the headquarters for Army Intelligence.
Project 908 attracted the attention of Steve Emerson and other journalists in 1989, when it was revealed that there had been huge cost overruns, double billing for the same work, and eventually destruction of many key contracts documents in the course of an Army investigation. (…) Despite initial failures in the communications network, it was ready to be put into operation and utilized on September 11, 2001 by Vice-President Cheney. Key commands, including the implementation of COG itself, appear to have been made over this highest-classification security network. This may explain why a Boeing E-4B Advanced Airborne Command Post or ’Doomsday Plane,’ the mobile communications center for the COG shadow government, was seen around 10 AM in the prohibited air space above the White House.” (24)
Throughout the 1980s, Project 908 included that around 40 to 60 officials from the federal executive traveled to Andrews Air Force Base near Washington D.C., from where they were sent to remote locations for Top Secret planning exercises, for example in underground bunkers. In the event of COG implementation, three leadership groups should be sent as quickly as possible to different secret command posts so that a loss of the first leadership group could be offset with group 2 and/or 3. Project 908 was run by the National Program Office (NPO). The supervision of this top secret NPO plan (Codename: „Pegasus“) was given to a committee, which was presided by George Herbert Walker Bush. Provided with an initial budget of $2.7 billion, the NPO took up quarters in the Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia.
Even though it was officially said in the 1990’s that COG planning had ended, it continued with the participation of Cheney and Rumsfeld in a “secret government-in-waiting”, as a Pentagon employee expressed to journalist and book author Andrew Cockburn. According to the statements of this Pentagon official, the COG planning group under Clinton was staffed “almost exclusively with Republican hawks.” In his words, “the Clinton administration was extraordinarily inattentive, [they had] no idea what was going on.” Peter Dale Scott notes that this “description of COG planners as a ’secret government-in-waiting’ under Clinton (which still included both Cheney and Rumsfeld) is very close to the standard definition of a cabal, as a group of persons secretly united to bring about a change or overthrow of government.” (25)
On May 8, 2001, one member of that “secret government-in-waiting”, namely Richard Cheney, took charge of the so-called Office of National Preparedness (ONP). Its purpose was to coordinate the crisis management of the U.S. government in the event of an attack with weapons of mass destruction. On the day of his appointment, Vice President Cheney told CNN about the goals of this new Task Force:
“Well, the concern here is that one of our biggest threats as a nation is no longer, sort of, the conventional military attack against the United States but, rather, that it might come from other quarters. It could be domestic terrorism, but it may also be a terrorist organization overseas or even another state using weapons of mass destruction against the U.S., a hand-carried nuclear weapon or biological or chemical agents. The threat to the continental United States and our infrastructure is changing and evolving. And we need to look at this whole area, oftentimes referred to as homeland defense.
The president’s asked me to take on the responsibility of overseeing all of that, reviewing the plans that are out there today. Joe Allbaugh and the folks at FEMA specifically have the responsibility, and we’re working very closely with them to figure out how we’d best respond to that kind of disaster of major proportion that in effect would be manmade or man-caused. All of this will be pulled together then for the National Security Council chaired by the president to see if there are any changes in policy, recommendations and legislation that we want to make to the Congress to make sure we’re teed up, if you will, and organized in a way to effectively deal with this new threat.” (26)
On the same day, also President George W. Bush announced publically at the White House that Cheney would carry out an inquiry into that specific matter, and he even stated that he (Bush) would “periodically chair a meeting of the National Security Council to review these efforts.“ However, it seems as if “neither Cheney’s review nor Bush’s took place.” (27)
The Office of National Preparedness (ONP), which was established under Cheney at the beginning of May 2001, might have been really a remake of the National Preparedness Directorate (NPD), which had been dissolved during the 1990s under U.S. President Bill Clinton and FEMA Director James Lee Witt, when COG planning and the related budgetary expenditures at FEMA were significantly reduced.
Bill Clinton’s presidency also includes the Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 67 adopted on October 21, 1998, the exact provisions of which remain secret to this day. However, they likely consist of instructions to ensure continuity of government.
A participant in the planning of COG operations at that time was Richard Clarke, the Chairman of the Counter-terrorism Security Group at the White House before and during the 9/11 attacks. Clarke joined the core team of COG planning in 1984. In 1998, he revised the COG plans in order to use them as a response to a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. (28) In the same year, Clarke predicted that enemies of the United States “will go after our Achilles’ heel”, which he placed both in Washington D.C. and New York City. (29) And then three years later, when the 9/11 attacks in Washington D.C. and New York City occurred, it was Clarke who finally activated the COG implementation at the behest of Richard Cheney.
In all of this, attention must be paid to the fact that the resumption of the COG planning after Iran-Contra was au fond only possible because the investigation of U.S. Congress covered up Oliver North’s COG planning – partly due to intervention by Lee Hamilton, the future co-Chairman of the 9/11 Commission. One important aspect that was covered up is described by Peter Dale Scott in an article that was published in 1989 – namely the mechanism that made it possible to mask critical activities in the form of anti-terrorism planning:
“By creating a counterterrorism network with its own secure system of intelligence communications, channels were created from which bureaucrats with opposing viewpoints could simply be excluded. The counterterrorism network even had its own ’special worldwide antiterrorist computer network, codenamed Flashboard,’ by which members could communicate exclusively with each other and with their collaborators abroad [to the exclusion of their nominal superiors]. Those involved in the Iran arms deals appear to have used ‘flash’ messages on this secure system as late as October 31, 1986.” (30)
Roughly a quarter-century later, Scott noted in a review of this article from 1989:
„My article correctly stressed the centrality of Vice President George H.W. Bush to the group. I was unaware in 1989 that Bush was also directing the on-going Doomsday COG planning project, which continued to meet under three presidents over two decades. (31) Nor did I know then that Charles Allen, one of the chief figures in the Iran arms sales scandal, was serving under Bush as the deputy director of the Doomsday project (where a colleague quoted him as saying during a COG meeting, ’our job is to throw the Constitution out the window’). (32) An advocate as early as 1998 of re-invading Iraq, Allen would rise under President George W. Bush to become Under Secretary for the Office of Intelligence and Analysis at the Department of Homeland Security.
Combining what we knew then about the COG planning apparatus with what we know now, I would suggest that we need to discern two different levels of planning (or, if you will, of cabal activity):
1) those at the top, including both Vice President Bush and also figures working outside government, such as Rumsfeld, Cheney, and James Woolsey (future CIA DCI during the Clinton administration);
2) those embedded in the bureaucracy and charged with fleshing out COG plans and other extraordinary secret operations, such as the Iran arms sales. According to the New York Times, ‘the project involved hundreds of people, including White House officials, Army generals, C.I.A. officers and private companies run by retired military and intelligence personnel.’ (33)
Both levels availed themselves of their own special communications networks, Project 908 and FLASHBOARD, to avoid accountability to the regular administrative hierarchy. (34) Communications personnel for the first secret network were attached to the rarely mentioned White House Communications Agency (WHCA), an agency whose relevance to the JFK assassination and 9/11 I have outlined elsewhere. (35) Meanwhile Bush presided over a maze-like series of overlapping restricted groups and agencies with changing names, among which were the National Program Office and the Defense Mobilization Planning Systems Agency, responsible for the various Doomsday initiatives.” (36)
Some of the plans that the COG operations project had developed were implemented after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 – such as the “Endgame” plan of the Department of Homeland Security, “a ten-year plan to build detention centers, with annual budget allocations in the hundreds of millions of dollars.” (37)
If we intend to find out how COG was actually activated on the morning of 9/11, we have to return to Vice President Richard Cheney. Let us remember: in early May 2001, President George W. Bush put Cheney in the position “of planning, preparing for, and coordinating all US response to a terror attack.” (38) Where was Cheney at the time of the September 11 terrorist attacks? According to all the facts available, he was inside the White House, and more precisely defined: “…in the underground Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) which (because of its design to protect the President and provide him with full command, control and communications [C3] in the event of a nuclear attack) had communications abilities either matching or exceeding those in the Situation Room. The PEOC was where the President was to command in the event of a nuclear (or biological) holocaust. If there was any place that needed to have the ultimate state-of-the-art C3 it was the PEOC.” (39)
At the side of Cheney stood – as usual in cases of an attack – the Secret Service, which brought him down into the bunker. Furthermore, the Secret Service has in cases of so-called National Special Security Events (NSSEs), which 9/11 was, “the statutory and procedural authorities to take command of everything.” (40) In short, primarily the Secret Service calls the shots in a NSSE. “Therefore, it goes without saying that if the Secret Service is the lead agency, its communications, its intelligence systems, and its ability to receive real-time data from any federal agency (including the military) must be the best available. It also must be redundant in many cases with systems operated by the CIA, the FBI, NORAD” – i.e., North American Aerospace Defense Command –, “the FAA” – i.e., Federal Aviation Administration –, “and especially the involved state and local agencies.” (41)
In those critical minutes on 9/11, when the Secret Service’s “statutory and procedural authorities to take command of everything” began to apply, President Bush happened to be for a photo-op in an elementary school in Florida in order to read with some schoolchildren a book named, “The Pet Goat”. Contrary to the Secret Service’s normal practice of bringing the President immediately into safety, he was not evacuated in an instant (although days before it had been publicly reported that Bush would to be in that school, posing a potential target). (42)
After Bush and his staff left the school at last, he was sent until the evening hours inside the aircraft of the U.S. President, the Air Force One, on an odyssey to the country’s West, far off the beaten track in Washington D.C. In addition, it took quite a long time before Air Force One was given escort from military airplanes. Whence, it appears deducible that it wasn’t Bush, who executed command, but rather his proxy, who had been for months in the position “of planning, preparing for, and coordinating all US response to a terror attack”, i.e., Richard Cheney. (43) In turn, the Vice President had the best C3 system in the world at his disposal, enabling him, inter alia, to „see what FAA’s radar was seeing.“ (44)
There’s no doubt that Richard Cheney was present at the PEOC on 9/11. Instead, there exists considerable confusion and the need for clarification as to what time exactly he arrived there, and whether he temporarily retreated into the tunnel leading to the PEOC for confidential phone conversations with President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. In his book “The Road to 9/11” (2007), Peter Dale Scott pursues important questions regarding the activities of Richard Cheney on September 11th. In the following, I will present some parts of this specific research, since they are essential for an understanding of the homicide case called 9/11.
Let us move towards the PEOC. For this, we take first a look at statements that Cheney made during an interview with Tim Russert of the television station NBC on September 16, 2001. Cheney explained that at one point his Secret Service agents rushed into his office in the White House. “Under these circumstances,” he described, “they just move. They don’t say ’sir’ or ask politely. They came in and said, ‘Sir, we have to leave immediately,’ and grabbed me. (…) They hoisted me up and moved me very rapidly down the hallway, down some stairs, through some doors and down some more stairs into an underground facility under the White House.” (45)
Cheney said this course of action was taken because the Secret Service “had received a report that an airplane was headed for the White House”, which was American Airlines Flight 77. “And when it entered the danger zone and looked like it was headed for the White House was when they grabbed me and evacuated me to the basement. (…) The result of that – once I got down into the shelter, the first thing I did – there’s a secure phone there. First thing I did was pick up the telephone and call the president again, who was still down in Florida, at that point, and strongly urged him to delay his return.” (46)
Subsequent to this phone call, Cheney and the Secret Service agents went on to the PEOC: “After I talked to the president, urged him to stay away for now, well, I went down into what’s call a PEOC, the Presidential Emergency Operations Center, and there, I had Norm Mineta”, i.e., the U.S. Secretary of Transportation at the time. Cheney added that he had access to the FAA in the PEOC, as did the Secret Service, before he continued: “I had Condi Rice with me and several of my key staff people. We had access, secured communications with Air Force One, with the Secretary of Defense over in the Pentagon. We had also the secure videoconference that ties together the White House, CIA, State, Justice, Defense – a very useful and valuable facility. We have the counterterrorism task force up on that net. And so I was in a position to be able to see all the stuff coming in, receive reports and then make decisions in terms of acting with it.” (47)
Cheney, therefore, made clear to Tim Russert that he had the necessary staff and the necessary equipment on hand in order to be active via the PEOC. However, there is no mention of this in the report of the 9/11 Commission, which left this account by Cheney completely out in favor of a later one, which was published in Newsweek magazine.
Left out of the 9/11 Commission Report is also the account of events connected to Richard Cheney in the PEOC given by Norman Minetta, the former U.S. Secretary of Transportation. At first it is swept under the carpet that Mineta gave the order for all planes in the United States to land at 9:42 A.M., with the approval of Richard Cheney. Peter Dale Scott argues that it was necessary to ignore this fact, because Mineta’s statement would have meant that Richard Cheney was already in the PEOC before 9:58 A.M. – the time when he arrived there according to the 9/11 Commission Report. From Minetta’s testimony we learn that Cheney was indeed already at the PEOC when he, Mineta, arrived there – and that was around 9:20 A.M. (48)
Thereupon, during the time frame when Flight 77 approached Washington / the Pentagon and Richard Cheney was allegedly still absent at the PEOC, this happened according to Mineta’s words at a public hearing before the 9/11 Commission:
“[T]here was a young man who had come in and said to the vice president, ‘The plane is 50 miles out. The plane is 30 miles out.’ And when it got down to ‘The plane is 10 miles out,’ the young man also said to the vice president, ‘Do the orders still stand?’ And the vice president turned and whipped his neck around and said, ‘Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?’”
This took place at “’about 9:25 or 9:26.‘ As 9/11 chronicler Paul Thompson has observed in his book Terror Timeline, ABC News on September 11, 2001, quoting a comment (…) from deputy FAA administrator Monte Belger, supplied the same PEOC dialogue and time frame, about a plane fifty miles out, at approximately 9:27 A.M. However, the 9/11 Commission claimed that ‘a primary radar target tracking eastbound at a high rate of speed’ toward Dulles airport (Flight 77) was only discovered at 9:32 A.M.” (49)
Audio recordings from the U.S. Air Force unit Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS), on which Flight 77 had already mentioned in alerted fashion at 9:21 A.M., were not taken into account by the 9/11 Commission Report. Instead, the report mentions that Vice President Cheney was not brought down to the PEOC until 9:34 or 9:35 A.M., for Flight 77 had only been discovered around then. The impact at the Pentagon eventually took place at 9:38 A.M. Yet, if the Secret Service saw “what FAA’s radar was seeing”, as Richard Clarke writes in his book “Against all Enemies” (2004), its agents must have been in the know about Flight 77 at 9:21 A.M. (50)
“Mineta’s story of Cheney’s orders at 9:25 A.M., as Flight 77 was approaching Washington, needs to be examined critically for the first time in an authorized investigation. The report’s failure to deal with it seems inexcusable. So does its claim that ‘American 77 traveled undetected for 36 minutes’ before its crash at 9:37 and that Cheney ‘arrived’ (as opposed to reentered) the PEOC at about 9:58. If Mineta’s story is true, then Cheney gave orders that have since been covered up and for which no presidential authorization is known.” (51)
At this point, attention should be paid once again to the Secret Service in relation to National Special Security Events (NSSEs). Since the late 1990s, the Secret Service has been a leading authority for the design and implementation of security procedures at NSSEs, such as the provision of air defense measures during those events. (52) The possibility that suicide pilots could carry out terrorist attacks via aircraft was considered in the preparations for NSSEs. Louis Freeh, the director of the FBI from September 1993 to June 2001, told the 9/11 Commission that the issue of aircrafts used as weapons was a constant aspect in security planning for NSSEs in the years 2000 and 2001. (53) On May 8, 2001, then-Secretary of the Treasury, Paul O’Neill, stated that the Secret Service conducted theoretical exercises to prepare for terrorist attacks on the White House. (54) According to statements made by former Secret Service agent Paul Nenninger, the Secret Service ran at its James J. Rowley Training Center in Beltsville, Maryland computer simulations of aircraft crashing into the White House to test the security situation of this potential target. (55)
9/11 evolved into a NSSE as it became clear at the latest that America stood under attack – i.e., with the second impact of an aircraft at the World Trade Center. Responsible for the security in the White House was Carl Truscott, the Special Agent in Charge (SAIC) of the Presidential Protective Division (PPD). The Secret Service agent, who was responsible for working with the FAA, was Nelson Garabito. After the second air strike in New York City, he called his FAA counterpart, Terry Van Steenbergen, from the Secret Service Joint Operations Center (JOC) in the White House. When Garabito was told by Van Steenbergen that two other planes had been possibly hijacked, Garabito ordered the information to be immediately passed on to other Secret Service agents. However, it seems as if this sharing of information soon ceased somehow. (56)
This is an issue directly related to the question when the news given by Van Steenbergen to Garabito (9:03 A.M.) led to the evacuation of Cheney from his office down to the PEOC. According to the 9/11 Commission Report, that evacuation did not happen until 9:36 A.M. However, as author Kevin Ryan noted, “If the information was passed on immediately, and the vice president was moved to a secure location just after 9:00 as several witnesses have suggested, then his early presence at the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) would substantiate the important testimony of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. According to Mineta, Cheney was being given regular updates on the progress of the hijacked Flight 77 as it came toward Washington.“ (57)
Due to a Freedom of Information Act-release of certain documents, a timeline of “Actions of TSD” for September 11, 2001 was brought to light. Ryan: “TSD is the Secret Service’s Technical Services Division which, among other things, operates the Secret Service’s Tigerwall air surveillance system.” (58)
According to the TSD timeline, Carl Truscott was aware of “an aircraft had been identified en-route to the Washington area” at 9:18 A.M. (59)
This would mean 18 minutes before Vice President Cheney was evacuated by Secret Service agents to the PEOC – that is, according to the 9/11 Commission Report. This discrepancy awaits an explanation, and even more so in lieu of the statements made by Norman Mineta.
As we have already learned, the Secret Service had a system to see “what FAA’s radar was seeing”. Furthermore, we know from Cheney himself that there were open phone lines between the Secret Service and the FAA during the time in question. The relevant command system was placed in the PEOC. The TSD timeline document shows that Cheney was with Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and ten other “Presidential and Vice Presidential staff” in the PEOC at 9:30 A.M. (60)
This would mean eight minutes before the Pentagon was hit; which in turn is consistent with Mineta’s statement.
There’s more to come. The internal Secret Service documents that were published on the basis of the Freedom of Information Act request show us “that the Secret Service had knowledge of Flight 77 and Flight 93 and that those flights were headed toward Washington, DC. (…) These documents confirm that the Secret Service knew that two hijacked planes were headed toward Washington during the time that Cheney and SAIC Truscott were in the PEOC, and well before Flight 77 was reported to have crashed into the Pentagon.” (61)
In a speech given at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington D.C. on May 21, 2009, Richard Cheney appears to have confirmed his earlier arrival in the bunker himself. He said at the AEI:
“For me, one of the defining experiences was the morning of 9/11 itself. As you might recall, I was in my office in that first hour, when radar caught sight of an airliner heading toward the White House at 500 miles an hour. That was Flight 77, the one that ended up hitting the Pentagon. With the plane still inbound, Secret Service agents came into my office and said we had to leave, now. A few moments later I found myself in a fortified White House command post somewhere down below.
There in the bunker came the reports and images that so many Americans remember from that day – word of the crash in Pennsylvania, the final phone calls from hijacked planes, the final horror for those who jumped to their death to escape burning alive. In the years since, I’ve heard occasional speculation that I’m a different man after 9/11. I wouldn’t say that. But I’ll freely admit that watching a coordinated, devastating attack on our country from an underground bunker at the White House can affect how you view your responsibilities.” (62)
If the first radar sighting of an airliner moving towards Washington took place at 9:21 A.M., Cheney confirms with these omissions before the AEI that he arrived earlier in the PEOC than is said in the 9/11 Commission Report. His statement is consistent with his statement of September 16, 2001 at NBC (and contradicts the account later made in Newsweek magazine).
In part, the confusion, where Cheney was at what time, may be attributed to the fact that Cheney sat for quite a while in the tunnel leading to the PEOC on a secure telephone to communicate COG measures. What some observers realized as Cheney’s first arrival in the PEOC, may have been in in fact a re-entering from the tunnel. (63)
Brushed under the carpet are still some more issues connected to Richard Cheney. The 9/11 Commission Report completely ignored the fact that Richard Clarke, the Bush administration’s chief anti-terrorism advisor, also tells in his book “Against All Enemies”, that Cheney departed from his office with a contingent of Secret Service agents to the PEOC much earlier than around 9:35 A.M. (64) In addition, the 9/11 Report did not address that Cheney made Clarke’s work at the Situation Room of the White House more complicated. Clarke’s efforts to call Cheney on the phone came to nothing. And finally, when Clarke went to the PEOC and wanted to gain personal access, he was denied to go to Cheney by guardsmen that were armed with machine guns. While he circumvented communications and coordination with Clarke, Cheney took care of telephone calls with President Bush, the Secret Service and senior officials of other agencies. He also had one-on-one conversations with his direct subordinates in the PEOC, more than a few in whispers, as Barton Gellman writes. (65) Beyond that, Cheney soon made his personal legal adviser and conduit to the U.S. Department of Justice, David Addington, descend to the bunker in the East Wing of the White House. The consultations that Cheney had with Addington (also conducted under one’s breath while the hijacking series had not yet ended), commenced the activation of the Continuity of Government (COG) operations plans. (66) During the 1980s and 1990s, Addington had contributed to the design of the COG program. (67)
In “The Road to 9/11”, Peter Dale Scott offers a detailed tripartite hypothesis about the central role that Cheney seems to have played on the morning of September 11th. (68) Scott’s hypothesis is based on evidence partly derived from the 9/11 Commission Report, and on evidence partly taken from other relevant sources. The first two parts of Scott’s tripartite hypothesis are:
“First, Cheney directed his own decision-making network from in or near the presidential bunker below the White House (the Presidential Emergency Operations Center, or PEOC). Second, Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld were indeed in touch, and all three discussed at least the tripartite decision for a shoot-down order and COG – but at a key moment when Cheney and Rumsfeld were both in seclusion from their own staffs.” (69)
That decision meant: “One, the Pentagon has ordered the use of force against aircraft deemed to be hostile. Two, the White House is also requesting fighter escort of Air Force One. Three, and this applies to all agencies, we are initiating COG. Please activate your alternate command centers and move staff to them immediately.“ (70)
The third part in Scott’s hypothesis is that “Cheney had access to a special secure communications system, possibly through the Secret Service, to maintain these contacts, outside regular channels,“ to Bush and Rumsfeld. “In short, National Command Authority was operating through Cheney at the PEOC, and key decisions from Cheney were transmitted from the PEOC to three teleconferences: the White House (Clarke’s), the National Military Command Center (NMCC), and the FAA.“ (71)
A truly independent Commission, investigating on all sides, would have looked into this matter without compromise in order “to provide the fullest possible account”. Instead, at this critical point, the 9/11 Commission Report repeatedly produced “misrepresentations, including possible lies, about a crime, the largest homicide in the history of the United States. So much remains unknown about that crime, from the identity of the hijackers to the circumstances that let them reach their targets, that the crime must be considered unsolved. In these circumstances the misrepresentations in the 9/11 Commission Report are not only evidence of a deception and cover-up, they justify grave suspicion as to what is being covered up.” (72)
In order to bring the truth to light and to eliminate ambiguities, according to Scott in 2007, “it would be appropriate for a venue to be established in which the vice president would testify for the first time about 9/11 under oath. This inquiry would look critically at the vice president’s responses to hijacked aircraft on September 11 and also ask an even more serious question: Did Cheney’s activities with FEMA in the spring of 2001 contribute to the magnitude of the attacks? FEMA was an agency with which Cheney had been secretly involved since the 1980s. In that decade Cheney and Rumsfeld, who was not even in government, had been engaged with FEMA in highly secret preparations for what finally occurred on 9/11: the proclamation of rules for COG – continuity of government.
Although we know almost nothing of COG since 2001, news stories in the 1980s indicated that COG planning, in conjunction with Oliver North, then included plans for warrantless detention and warrantless eavesdropping – plans that were swiftly implemented after 9/11. We have to ask whether Cheney, both in May and on September 11, was more focused on implementing his own earlier COG program, than in stopping incoming planes.
When asked for my opinion of what happened on 9/11, I customarily answer that I am sure of one thing only: that there has been a significant cover-up of vital issues. But there is one other conclusion that can be drawn from the available evidence: At a moment when the nation was under attack, Cheney and Rumsfeld both simultaneously absented themselves for a period from their associates and their appointed posts, to hold a significant conversation about which (a) they since have been deceptive, (b) the report is silent or misleading, and (c) the facts are unknown. I find this all very suggestive. If Cheney and Rumsfeld were discussing issues too sensitive for even the audience in the PEOC to hear, the two of them were almost certainly not acting on their own. More probably they were the key figures in a highly classified operation that must have involved others.“ (73)
In an interview that I’ve published during the summer of 2014, Peter Dale Scott and I came to talk about similarities between the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 and the terror attacks of 9/11. (74) One of those similarities is at this point of some relevance.
Question: I would like to ask you about specific communication channels that were involved both in JFK and 9/11. Why is it perhaps the most important similarity?
Peter Dale Scott: Well yes, I believe that the national communications network – it has had different names over the years, but it is the special network that was set up in connection with Continuity of Government planning, and it goes back to the 1950s and they change its name all the time.
For many years I have known that the White House Communications Agency [WHCA] was a factor in the Kennedy assassination because in conjunction with the Warren Commission investigation of JFK, they released the police transcripts, and they released certain Secret Service messages, but it was known there were two channels of the police, both released, but there was also a third channel that was being used in Dealey Plaza, and the Secret Service was using the channel of what is called the White House Communications Agency.
For years I have known we should get that and we were not able to get that. In 1993 when they set up a[n Assassination Records] Review Board, I went to the Review Board and I said they should get those records; but they have not been released. And yet the White House Communications Agency boasts on its website – I imagine you can still read it there – that it helped solve the Kennedy assassination. And that is very interesting because the records never reached the Warren Commission, which was supposed to be solving it.
And then when the records began to come out about 9/11 – this took a couple of years, we got the 9/11 Commission Report and it turns out that there are certain communications, certain phone calls that we know were made, but there is no record of them. And in my book “The Road to 9/11”, I said the evidence points to suggestion that they were using — they had already implemented COG; well that means that if that is the case, they implemented [and were using] the COG’s special communications network, which with change of names is the inheritor of the emergency network – and the White House Communications Agency was and still is part of that emergency network.
So I could throw in that another deep event was Iran-Contra, and it turned out that Oliver North in 1985-86 was sending arms to Iran, which was illegal and a lot of people in the government knew nothing about it. They did not know about it because Oliver North was in charge of that same emergency network and he used that emergency network to make communications with the Embassy in Portugal, for example, in order to facilitate getting those arms to Iran.
And in Watergate, that is another deep event. We still don’t know why there was a wiretap put on the phone in the Democratic National Committee, but we do know that James McCord, who was in charge of the team that installed it, was a member of a Special Air Force Reserve network that was concerned with Continuity of Government. And he was charged with the same sort of thing: who to round up, the warrantless detention: they had that sort of thing back in the days of Watergate.
So this to me is one of the most striking common denominators through those big four deep events – JFK, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and finally 9/11, and if we ever have another deep event of this kind, I would predict now on the basis of past performance that the emergency network, the one which ordinary people in the government don’t have access to, will be a factor again.
Question: Is the Secret Service in both events of special interest?
Peter Dale Scott: They are of interest precisely because of what we have just been talking about; because they use the White House Communications Agency for their communications, and whole books have been written about the Secret Service and the JFK assassination – some very exaggerated and some people involved them in the plot. I think there was an odd malperformance on that day; they didn’t do things they should have done, they didn’t investigate people they should have – that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are culprits, and so I am not subscribing to those theories.
It is less obvious in the case of 9/11, the Secret Service, but what is interesting, they do play a role because at a certain point — there is a special airplane for Continuity of Government, called the E-4B, they call it the “Doomsday Plane” and they call the COG planning the “Doomsday Program”, and this plane flew over the White House. No plane is ever supposed to fly over the White House, and on yet precisely this day, when everything went wrong, the E-4B (…) was there, and the Secret Service responded by rushing everyone out of the building. There is a very vivid description how they almost lifted Vice President Cheney out of his chair to rush him out of the building, and of course they’re saying the nation was under attack, it would have been very logical, very sensible for him to get as quickly as he could to what we call the PEOC, the emergency bunker that is under the White House, for when the nation is under attack – but the interesting thing is, he didn’t go straight to the PEOC; there were many minutes where he waited in the tunnel using a telephone that was there in the tunnel. What would that telephone possibly be? I would bet money that was a telephone that was connected to the emergency network, and I think it was on that phone that a lot of the key decisions were made, not even in the presence of the top advisors who were in the PEOC.
So the Secret Service is involved in the sense that it was their mission to get him out, and they would stay with Cheney, while he paused in this tunnel – maybe as long as 20 minutes – to make a series of phone calls with both the President and the Secretary of Defense. (75)
In regard to the E-4B, there is no doubt that the so-called “Doomsday Plane”, also known as the National Airborne Operations Command Center (NAOC), circled above the White House at the time of the attack on the Pentagon. “The E-4B, a product of Continuity of Government (COG) planning, is a survivable mobile command post, based at Offutt AFB in Nebraska, for the National Command Authority (the President and Secretary of Defense, though neither were in it that day).” Scott notes that its presence on 9/11 “has never been officially acknowledged or explained; unofficially it has been attributed to a war game at the time. It is very relevant that secret COG plans (…) were implemented at about the same time, and have been updated since.” (76)
The Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, which George W. Bush visited with Air Force One on 9/11, (77) and the E-4B are part of the Headquarters Emergency Relocation Team (HERT), which belongs to the Strategic Air Command (SAC). The National Program Office, for which Oliver North worked on COG planning, was the counterpart of HERT. Later evolving in the 55th Mobile Command and Control Squadron, the unit’s purpose was to provide command and control to U.S. nuclear forces in the event of a national emergency (i.e. nuclear war), and relocation or destruction of SAC Headquarters at Offutt AFB, Nebraska.
Be it as it may, fact is that the COG plans were activated by the White House on September 11, 2001, as the report of the 9/11 Commission confirms two times. (78)
Due to COG, a term re-surfaced after 9/11 that had been of importance to the investigation of journalist Danny Casolaro just before his death; the term “Main Core”.
“Main Core” re-surfaced as a database connected to a COG program run by the Department of Homeland Security. (79) It dated back, however, “to the 1980s”, to fulfill the purpose of collecting and storing “the names and detailed data of Americans considered to be threats to national security” – all “without warrants or court orders”. (80)
For this article, I swapped ideas with U.S. national security researcher Mike Best about the context of Main Core.
Question: It’s not uncommon to see it reported that Main Core was a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) invention. Is this correct?
Mike Best: No. In reality, MAIN CORE predated the creation of the DHS by several years. According to some versions, MAIN CORE existed at least 10 years before DHS was created. This may well be, but I haven’t yet found contemporary evidence with a documented chain of custody that would confirm this. These reports seem credible given the context and surrounding timeline for the associated people (which we’ll get to in a moment), but it’s key to note that they aren’t yet confirmed.
Those that trace the origins of MAIN CORE often go back to Iran-Contra, Rex 84, and Oliver North’s COG programs. Some have asserted that the database(s) assembled in the process were part of MAIN CORE. Again, this has yet to be confirmed – especially the elements that involved PROMIS. Although the government’s wrongdoing there is well documented, the affair remains murky and contested about many significant details and dates. What is known is that the roots of MAIN CORE share significant parallels with the roots of the government’s use of PROMIS, and the design of Homeland Security.
Question: Where do you see the origins?
Mike Best: The origins go back at least to the Vietnam War and the Phoenix Program. While neither PROMIS nor MAIN CORE were used (or even existed at the time), the Phoenix Program helped establish the gold standard. It was this, in part, that led the government to realize the potential for PROMIS and similar pieces of software and database management. The Phoenix Program is usually characterized as either an „assassination program“ or a „pacification program.“ In reality, it was both – but it used a custom designed database and set of computers. The name of the database used was PHMIS, which has led people to embrace the belief that PROMIS was a direct descendant of PHMIS. This view has been espoused by people like Ari Ben-Menashe, who have tried to connect PROMIS and its capabilities to PHMIS and Bill Hamilton’s time with the NSA. However, Bill Hamilton has consistently denied this and said that his work with the NSA at the time was limited to working on dictionary programs. He had no involvement with CORDS (Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support), PHMIS or any military/paramilitary operations.
Question: But you think that PROMIS would have allowed the government to replicate, automate and improve many of the functions that had been performed by the support system for the Phoenix Program?
Mike Best: Yes. This same system would also become the framework on which DHS was built. Douglas Valentine has demonstrated significant connections and overlap between the architects of both Phoenix and DHS. More significantly, he’s shown that the layout and function of DHS and many of the associated Fusion Centers distinctly resembles the architecture for the Phoenix Program. Only the technology has changed and new avenues have opened up – the methodology remains.
Much of this same methodology can also be traced back to the Continuity of Government programs setup by Oliver North, along with Rex 84 and others. Again, however, these had earlier origins (which can likely be traced, to some degree, even further back to OSS operations and the post-WW2 stay behind armies). When MAIN CORE was initially reported, it didn’t take long for it to become associated with Iran-Contra and Oliver North, however. While Wikipedia suggests that MAIN CORE was first reported by Christopher Ketcham in May of 2008, and later that July by Tim Shorrock, it was actually first reported in the mid-1990s. This is where things begin to get interesting, and where we’re able to confirm Chuck Hayes entered the picture. (It may well have been sooner, but again – contemporary documentation with a chain of custody is lacking.)
Question: Tell us please, who was this Chuck Hayes (aka Charles Chalmer Hayes aka Chalmer Charles Hayes)?
Mike Best: Chuck Hayes was, according to different versions of events, either a junk salesman who accidentally bought used computers from the Department of Justice, complete with copies of PROMIS and information and confidential informants, and later tried to hire a hit man who turned out to be an undercover FBI Agent; or a former government operative who’s connections to and knowledge of things made him dangerous. So dangerous that, according to the version of events that he put forward, he and a group of hackers became one of the earliest hacktivist groups known as the „Fifth Column“ – and Hayes was the „Angel of Death.“
Together, they allegedly drained the bank accounts of the corrupt and forced members of Congress to resign or not seek to run for election lest their misdeeds be exposed. The public version of events was that these were unrelated resignations and ends of political careers. Hayes made a number of other incredible claims, and was a known contact of Danny Casolaro while he was working on the Inslaw/PROMIS case (confirmed by phone records). Hayes reportedly talked to Casolaro about MAIN CORE, although this is according to Hayes himself. After Casolaro’s death, however, he struck up a relationship with James Orlin Grabbe, a financial expert who wrote about the intelligence agencies use of banks and money laundering systems. As part of this, he communicated with Michael Riconosciuto and Chuck Hayes. In the mid-1990s, he publicly wrote about MAIN CORE – explicitly using those words. (81)
While much of what Hayes said was, on the surface, incredible or unbelievable, this key assertion was later confirmed by other reporters more than ten years after Grabbe first reported on Hayes‘ claims. The alternative is that Grabbe was completely wrong, but simultaneously provided the term that would become an unofficial (but often used) nickname for a similar program. This possibility is unlikely prima facie, but especially considering a DHS employee reporting seeing „MAIN CORE“ on a computer screen at work in 2008.
Hayes has since passed away, and Grabbe also passed away a few months before Ketcham’s and Shorrock’s stories. Shorrock, who is fairly knowledgeable about such things, traced the program back to the Continuity of Government programs beginning around 1983. Ketcham would do the same, saying that „sources have suggested to Radar that government databases tracking Americans today, including Main Core, could still have PROMIS-based legacy code from the days when North was running his programs.“
Question: In all likelihood, Main Core did involve the use of PROMIS at some point, don’t you think?
Mike Best: Yes, but exactly how remains a bit unknown. Did PROMIS simply retrieve and compile the information for MAIN CORE? Was it the actual database management solution for MAIN CORE’s active operations? These questions remain unanswered. It’s also unknown how long PROMIS continued to be used in association with MAIN CORE. I consider it likely that both have been retired and replaced with modern equivalents that are designed to fill the same functions using modern resources and data formats. Is the term MAIN CORE still being used? The most recent confirmation I’m aware of for the use of the name was in 2008.
Question: Isn’t there also another thread that should not be ignored when it comes to the origins of MAIN CORE, namely the FBI?
Mike Best: Yes. Since the 1950s, the FBI had what it called „Plan C“, which would have detained just under 13,000 people due to their ties to “subversive organizations.” (82) The FBI had a number of these programs, with varying names and increasing numbers of people on the index. It seems that at least one U.S. Vice President actually wound up on one of these lists. Many of these programs fed into each other over time, being used to update information or auto-populate new databases or indices – especially when an old one was being discontinued. Their exact relationship to MAIN CORE is murky, whether they were direct predecessors or merely parallel efforts. It’s likely that most of the information wasn’t purged (especially in the digital era) eventually wound up in or available to MAIN CORE. It reportedly pulled from everything from DEA and State Department to NSA and CIA, with a considerable amount of coordination with FBI.
Tim Shorrock, whom Mike Best had mentioned, reported in mid-2008 that “Main Core in its current incarnation apparently contains a vast amount of personal data on Americans, including NSA intercepts of bank and credit card transactions and the results of surveillance efforts by the FBI, the CIA and other agencies. One former intelligence official described Main Core as ’an emergency internal security database system’ designed for use by the military in the event of a national catastrophe, a suspension of the Constitution or the imposition of martial law.” (83)
The Main Core database was seen in action shortly after 9/11 in the White House. According to Tim Shorrock, a former senior U.S. Department of Justice official had passed information about a former high-level national security analyst of the Bush administration, “who reportedly has firsthand knowledge of the U.S. government’s use of Main Core.” The former White House official did not comment. “But according to the former Justice Department official, the former intelligence analyst told her that while stationed at the White House after the 9/11 attacks, one day he accidentally walked into a restricted room and came across a computer system that was logged on to what he recognized to be the Main Core database. When she mentioned the specific name of the top-secret system during their conversation, she recalled, ‘he turned white as a sheet.’” (84)
In a passage of his book “State of Denial” (2006), the Watergate star journalist of the Washington Post, Bob Woodward, briefly mentioned domestic intelligence gathering efforts by the CIA that pre-dated the 9/11 attacks, through which the Agency gained “access to certain telephone, Internet and financial records related to ’black’ intelligence operations”. Woodward wrote that those efforts expanded after the terror attacks of September 11; yet, he did it vaguely by avoiding to give that effort a name, when he stated, inter alia: “After 9/11, as the FBI got more and more involved in counterterrorism operations in the United States, their agents often went to the corporations with subpoenas to obtain the same or similar telephone, Internet or financial records. In addition, the new Department of Homeland Security, which had been created in late 2002 to bring together 22 federal agencies as diverse as Customs, the Coast Guard and the Secret Service, wanted in on this action.” (85)
The fact of vagueness in Woodward’s domestic intelligence gathering passage in “State of Denial” is of interest, insofar I’ve read in connection with the treatment of the PROMIS saga by the U:S. press in an older French interview, that one day William Hamilton had sought contact with Bob Woodward, only to hear from him that Katherine Graham, the owner of the Washington Post back then, would never let such a story go into print that dealt with the National Security Agency (NSA). (86) In April 2016, I asked Hamilton if he could confirm this. He replied, that Bob Woodward had been asked by Eliott Richardson in the early 1990s to come to his office at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy. When Woodward obliged, he told him (Hamilton) and his wife Nancy, in the presence of Richardson, that he would never investigate NSA projects because in the end, the President would simply call Katherine Graham on the phone to ask her not to publish the article on national security grounds, and she would do so at the President’s request. (87)
The COG plans initiated on 9/11 were signed by US President Bush in the Emergency Proclamation 7453 on September 14, 2001. In May 2007, Bush prolonged the emergency with National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) 51. After Bush left office, the emergency was not canceled by his successor Barack Obama. (88)
The text of NSPD-51 of May 2007 states, the danger that led to the proclamation of the national emergency on September 14, 2001 would persist – and therefore the measures put in place to deal with them needed to be prolonged. Those measures were never specified, however – not in NSPD-51, nor anywhere else. (89)
The latest prolongations by one year at a time were signed on September 10, 2015 and August 30, 2016. The document that President Obama signed in 2016 said basically what NSPD-51 of May 2007 had stated: “The terrorist threat that led to the declaration on September 14, 2001, of a national emergency continues. For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue in effect after September 14, 2016, the national emergency with respect to the terrorist threat.” (90)
On pages 38 and 226, the final report of the 9/11 Commission confirms that COG was initiated on 9/11 before the last hijacked aircraft had gone down in Pennsylvania. (91) Within the framework of COG, George W. Bush stayed away from the U.S. capital, while high-ranking government members as Paul Wolfowitz were brought to COG commandos such as Site R, “inside a hollowed out mountain near Camp David.” (92) Meanwhile, “Cheney jumped into action in his bunker beneath the East Wing to ensure continuity in government. He immediately began to create his shadow government by ordering one hundred mid-level executive officials to move to specially designated underground bunkers and stay there twenty-four hours a day. They would not be rotated out, he informed them, for ninety days.” (93) Beyond that, the COG emergency measures were soon followed by two White House Declarations of Emergency: first the Executive Order 13223 of September 14, 2001, and then the Executive Order 13224 of September 23, 2001. (94)
Within a few hours of the 9/11 attacks, “Dick Cheney in effect took command of the national security operations of the federal government” – led by “two longstanding beliefs”, as Peter Dale Scott suggests: 1.) “that the great dangers facing the United States justified almost any response, whether or not legal”; and 2.) “that the presidency needed vastly to enhance its authority, which had been unjustifiably and dangerously weakened in the post-Vietnam, post-Watergate years.” (95) Cheney urged Bush to stay away from Washington, and it was the COG implementation that provided the „hidden backdrop“ for Cheney’s activities, when he “later removed himself to more than one ’undisclosed location’.” (96)
Cheney’s chief aide “in revamping government” was David Addington. (97) According to Jane Mayer in “The Dark Side” (2009), Addington began “to assert himself as the war on terror’s indispensable man” already “within minutes of the September 11 terrorist attacks.” (98) Before the day was over, Addington connected himself for the COG complex with deputy White House counsel Timothy E. Flanigan and legal counsel of the Department of Justice John C. Yoo via videoconference in the White House Situation Room. They formed the so-called „War Council“ together with Alberto R. Gonzales (White House counsel) and William J. Haynes (general counsel of the Pentagon). (99) “This War Council ‘explicitly excluded the State Department’s general counsel and other military and Justice Department lawyers who had historically been included in reviewing legal structures for combating terrorism.’” (100) The „War Council“ put secret directives in place, “sometimes without notifying their nominal superiors”, that turned COG plans into reality and ceased “established constitutional restraints on executive power.” (101) Peter Dale Scott draws attention to the fact that the secret decisions of this “War Council” were often concealed from other government officials and members of U.S. Congress. John Yoo, for instance, wrote a memo in October 2001, “that ruled that the NSA could surveil whomever it wished without an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).” The memo was “quickly approved by Cheney and Addington”, but other senior administration advisors and lawyers “were not consulted” in this matter of warrantless surveillance. (102)
The „longstanding beliefs“, which inspired Cheney, were supported by Yoo. “Both men shared the eccentric legal belief, repudiated by most Bush administration lawyers, that a president in times of emergency had almost unrestricted powers.” During the transition of government from Carter to Reagan in 1980, Cheney had told James Baker, the incoming presidential chief of staff, “that it was important to get rid of the War Powers Act and restore the president’s independent rights.” (103) In a report on Iran-Contra published in 1987 (assisted by David Addington), Cheney argued that the President could “on occasion feel duty bound to assert monarchical notions of prerogative that will permit him to exceed the laws.” (104) Yoo belonged to „the few academics to share that opinion: ‘For years, [Yoo] had written articles for law reviews… arguing that in a time of war, the executive had a sweeping claim to act independently from the other branches of government.’” (105)
The implementation of the COG measures took place in “near hermetic secrecy”, (106), and later the Washington Post characterized the War Council’s behavior “as that of a small, secretive ‘conspiracy… made up chiefly of lawyers contemptuous of the Constitution and the rule of law.’” (107)
In all the years during which COG is active now, the U.S. Congress did not meet once to talk about the state of emergency declared by George W. Bush on September 14, 2001 – even though the legislative branch of the U.S. Government is according to the National Emergencies Act under strict obligation to discuss the termination of the emergency. (108) The National Emergencies Act, adopted in the post-Watergate era, states: “Not later than six months after a national emergency is declared, and not later than the end of each six-month period thereafter that such emergency continues, each House of Congress shall meet to consider a vote on a joint resolution to determine whether that emergency shall be terminated” (109) The contingency plans of COG, which in all likelihood override the U.S. Constitution in critical parts, are still active today, and the „Congress and the media have been silent coconspirators in this suspension, of which the public, as yet, seems barely conscious.” (110)
The U.S. Congress was not informed about the implementation of the COG operation plans that created a „shadow government,“ as CBS and CNN reported. (111)
Although the Homeland Security Committee of U.S. Congress ought to have full access to the COG plans, it was denied access by the White House. Peter DeFazio, a member of the committee, informed Congress about this fact in the summer of 2007. (112)
The much-lauded system of mutual controls (Checks & Balances) seems to fail, just as the U.S. Constitution is – at least in part – overshadowed by a higher kind of authority. (113)
In Peter Dale Scott’s words, there is evidence that “secret decrees now override public legislation as the law of the land”, and he considers it comprehensible that many people “scant interest … in the extraordinary facts that Cheney and Rumsfeld were able to:
1) help plan successfully for constitutional modifications, when not in government, and
2) implement these same changes themselves when back in power”,
because, as he explains: “The first of these facts gives us a glimpse of an on-going power realm independent of the publicly acknowledged state. In the words of James Mann, ‘Cheney and Rumsfeld were, in a sense, a part of the permanent, though hidden, national security apparatus of the United States, inhabitants of a world in which Presidents come and go, but America always keeps on fighting.’ A CNN Special Assignment assessment of the COG planners was even more dramatic: ‘In the United States of America there is a hidden government about which you know nothing.’” (114)
As a result, the United States of America have in reality two governments; “the one its citizens were familiar with, operated more or less in the open: the other a parallel top secret government whose parts had mushroomed in less than a decade into a gigantic, sprawling universe of its own, visible to only a carefully vetted cadre – and its entirety…visible only to God.” (115)
The spying programs put in place by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) involve real totalitarian risks – as was a subject of discussion during an interview that I did in 2014 with William Binney, former Technical Director for Intelligence at NSA. (116)
Question: On Aug. 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC’s “Meet the Press”:
“In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything, telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter.
“There would be no place to hide. If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.
“I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”
How do those words sound today?
William Binney: They were right on the money. Frank Church captured it right away. The point is that they are in the process of perfecting this whole operation, and the point is that now that everybody has a greater capacity to communicate the invasion of privacy or the intrusion into what people’s lives is all about is even worse then what Frank Church could have known. Back then he was only thinking about and looking at the landline telephone calls, where now it’s not only that but also mobile phones, satellite phones, the internet, the computers, the tablets, and so on. All the networks people are carrying around.
There are at least over 3 ½ billion phones in the world, and something very similar in terms of computers. The explosion has been tremendous both in terms of volume and in terms of numbers. Frank Church couldn’t have dreamt about that in his time; he was just talking about a smaller segment of what was available that time. And now the intrusion is even greater.
And I would also point out that those were part of the fundamental grounds for the impeachment of Richard Nixon. They were preparing to throw him out of office, when he resigned. But at that time under the programs MINARETTE at NSA and COINTELPRO at FBI and CHAOS at CIA, Nixon was only spying on a few thousands of people. Now they are doing hundreds of millions in the US, there are almost 300 million US citizens, not counting the billion plus in the rest of the world. If you’re just talking about the US, they’re now doing virtually everybody. If you use a phone or a computer or any kind of bank card or if you’re writing a check or do any kind of that thing, you’re being spied on. So the intrusion is so much greater and so much more encompassing today.
But we are not even thinking about impeaching people. We should have impeached George W. Bush and Richard Cheney for doing this to begin with, but we didn’t. And that’s why they kept it all in secret, by the way they knew that they were violating the U.S. Constitution and they knew they were also violating the laws. That’s also why they had to give the telephone companies retroactive immunity, because they gave them access to the telephone lines and to the fiber optic lines that carried not only the telephone but also the internet. And they also gave them all the records of their customers, which all were violations of the laws and violations of constitutional rights of U.S. citizens in the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment, at a minimum. (117)
Question: Hearing that I have to ask: Are you disappointed from the reaction of your countrymen related to those NSA revelations?
William Binney: Yes, but I think that most of them still don’t understand what that really means. I do have some hope here from some of the initial feedback to “CITIZENFOUR”, the movie by Laura Poitras on Edward Snowden, and some of the whistleblowing that we did. That’s been very positive, and I think it’s helping to educate the population here as to what that really means. I think once they really understand what’s going on and what their government is doing to them, that they will in fact react to that and react in a positive way and force the government to change, which they should.
Question: I would also like to discuss some questions related to PROMIS, a software for data mining, that was developed by Bill Hamilton’s software firm INSLAW and stolen by the U.S. Justice Department / U.S. intelligence agencies. Dr. Norman Bailey was the Reagan National Security Council staff person in 1981 responsible for the new Signal Intelligence mission for NSA known as “Follow the Money.”
According to my information, Dr. Bailey told INSLAW that NSA briefed him on the fact that it had obtained the PROMIS software from the U.S. Department of Justice and used it as the principal software installed on computers of wire transfer clearing houses, commercial banks, investment banks, credit card companies, and international financial institutions for real-time surveillance of electronic fund transfers through the banking sector. Dr. Bailey also confirmed the use of PROMIS as “the principal software element” of “Follow the Money” later on publicly in 2008.
Were you aware, while an employee at NSA, of the use of PROMIS by NSA for its “Follow the Money” bank surveillance mission?
William Binney: I was not personally aware of the program PROMIS or how NSA used it. I did know that there was an effort to look at money transfers, it was a matter of following that for terrorism, for dope smuggling, just international crime. But I wasn’t aware of the PROMIS program.
Question: In retrospective, what would you like to say about PROMIS? I mean, the whole case still isn’t settled although it began in the 1980s and there’s no doubt about it that the software was stolen by U.S. intelligence agencies like CIA and NSA.
William Binney: I’m not surprised of that. I believe they tried to steal some of the intellectual capital we had after we had retired. The way they did it was to send the FBI to raid us, ultimately. I had expected them to actively attack our computers and try to find the information there. We knew these people and so we never documented anything in a computer file anywhere, nothing was documented in the sense that it would be usable for them, either on paper or electronically so we were walking around with all this knowledge in our heads and not putting it down so that anybody could have it.
There was a large intelligence company in the United States, they tried a kind of forced takeover of us, but what they didn’t realize was that all the intellectual capital was in our brains and they could not take that over from us. There was nothing they could do to get the information from us. So they failed. And also the government failed when they were trying to get it from us.
PROMIS was a different story. They went into an agreement and my understanding is that they broke the agreement with Bill Hamilton. I think this is a court issue that should have been resolved in the courts a long time ago.
Question: So PROMIS has never been a topic among your colleagues at NSA?
William Binney: No, we never talked about it, and I’d never heard about the program PROMIS at all while I was working at NSA.
WTC Hard Drives
On September 11, 2001, not only human life, aircraft and high-rise buildings were destroyed in New York City, but also data on computers and in archives. For instance, several federal agencies occupied space in Building 7 of the World Trade Center, including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on floors 11 to 13.
Those and other data could have given information about the alleged 9/11 insider trading (though it seems to be very unlikely that no backup existed elsewhere independent of the local computer systems). In fact, at least one technology company was commissioned to recover damaged hard disks, which had been recovered from the debris and dust of Ground Zero. This company was the English company group Convar, more precisely: their data rescue center in the German city Pirmasens.
Erik Kirschbaum from the news agency Reuters reported in December 2001 that Convar had at that time successfully restored information from 32 computers, supporting ”suspicions that some of the 911 transactions were illegal.“ Convar director Peter Henschel told Kirschbaum: “The suspicion is that inside information about the attack was used to send financial transaction commands and authorizations in the belief that amid all the chaos the criminals would have, at the very least, a good head start.” (118)
Convar received the costly orders – according to Kirschbaum´s report the companies had to pay between $20,000 and $30,000 per rescued computer – in particular from credit card companies. The reason: “There was a sharp rise in credit card transactions moving through some computer systems at the WTC shortly before the planes hit the twin towers. This could be a criminal enterprise – in which case, did they get advance warning? Or was it only a coincidence that more than $100 million was rushed through the computers as the disaster unfolded?“ (119)
The companies for which Convar became active cooperated with the FBI. The reconstructed data had to be passed on to the FBI, and the FBI, according to its statutory mandate, should have initiated further investigation based on the data to find out who carried out these transactions. Henschel was optimistic at the time that the sources for the transactions would come to light.
Richard Wagner, a Convar employee, told Kirschbaum that ”illegal transfers of more than $100 million might have been made immediately before and during the disaster. ’There is a suspicion that some people had advance knowledge of the approximate time of the plane crashes in order to move out amounts exceeding $100 million,‘ he says. ’They thought that the records of their transactions could not be traced after the main frames were destroyed‘.“ (120)
Wagner’s observation that there had been ”illegal financial transactions shortly before and during the WTC disaster“ matches an observation, which Mike Ruppert describes in “Crossing the Rubicon” (2004). Ruppert was contacted by an employee of Deutsche Bank, who survived the WTC disaster by leaving the scene when the second aircraft had hit its target.
“According to the employee, about five minutes before the attack the entire Deutsche Bank computer system had been taken over by something external that no one in the office recognized and every file was downloaded at lightning speed to an unknown location. The employee, afraid for his life, lost many of his friends on September 11, and he was well aware of the role which the Deutsche Bank subsidiary Alex Brown had played in insider trading.” (121)
The North Tower of the WTC, the first to be targeted by aircraft on September 11th, was hit at the exact area at which Marsh & McLennan occupied premises; the floors 93 to 100. (122) Marsh & McLennan is a risk and insurance company that “had contracted with SilverStream software” in the year 2000. Their aim was “to create an electronic connection between Marsh and its clients for the purpose of creating ’paperless transactions.’ SilverStream had already built internet-based transactional and trading platforms for Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, Banker’s Trust, Alex Brown, Morgan Stanley and other financial services firms”. (123) Yet, in 2000, Marsh & McLennan contracted SilverStream to provide a technological solution beyond anything that SilverStream did for those companies. SilverStream “would be used to electronically connect Marsh to its major business partners via internet portals, for the purpose of creating ’paperless transactions’ and expediting revenue and renewal cycles, and built from the ground up at the client’s site”, explains Richard Andrew Grove, a former employee of SilverStream.
“SilverStream provided a specific type of connectivity that was used to link AIG and Marsh & McLennan – the first two commercial companies on the planet to employ this type of transaction – and in fact Marsh was presented with something called the ACORD Award in the summer of 2001 for being the first commercial corporation to do so… and what you should take away from that is this: it means that no other companies were doing this type of transaction, so the question in your mind should be – what then were Marsh and AIG doing, and why did they need to leverage technologies that no other commercial entity on the face of the earth needed to conduct business?
Once securing the contract, SilverStream then stationed approximately 30-40 developers at Marsh, and this team was led by 2-3 managers, with whom I liaised to ensure delivery of the ’solution’ that was promised. The development team regularly worked late into the night if not all night, and sometimes worked 7 days a week in order to adhere to Marsh’s indicated pre-September 11th deadline.”
Grove soon discovered irregularities.
“I first noticed fiscal anomalies with respect to the Marsh.com project, when I was in a meeting on the 98th floor in October of 2000 with a gentleman named Gary Lasko. Gary was Marsh’s North American Chief Information Officer, and that particular afternoon a colleague and I helped him identify about $10,000,000 in suspicious purchase orders-after I recognized that certain vendors were deceiving Marsh, and specifically appeared to be selling Marsh large quantities of hardware that were not necessary-as this was later confirmed by Gary.
I brought my concerns up to executives inside of SilverStream, and I was urged to keep quiet and mind my own business. I went to an executive at Marsh, and he advised me to do likewise… but THEN I mentioned it to a few executives at Marsh who I could trust – like Gary Lasko…and Kathryn Lee, Ken Rice, Richard Breuhardt, John Ueltzhoeffer – people who became likewise concerned that something untoward was going on.
The concerned colleagues I just mentioned, were murdered on September 11th, and the executives who expressed dismay at my concerns, are alive and free today because of it.
I feel that it’s no coincidence, as the Marsh Executive who urged me to drop my line of inquiry made sure that his personnel, who I just mentioned, were in the office bright and early for a global conference call before the staff meeting upon which I was to intrude… a conference call which I was informed this executive in question conducted but attended from the safety of his Upper West Side apartment.” (124)
In 2006, Ellen Clarke, then-Chief Information Officer at Marsh & McLennan, confirmed that “the global conference call with Marsh’s IT staff on the morning of 9/11” took place, “a meeting that included the staff who were investigating the suspicious billing on the SilverStream deal.” Grove himself had been requested “to attend the meeting but was stuck in traffic on the way to the Towers when the attack began. His friends at Marsh were not so lucky. 294 Marsh employees, including all of the participants in the conference call in the North Tower, died that morning. Meanwhile the Marsh executive who had scheduled the meeting, the same one who had asked Grove to drop the issue of the billing anomalies, was safe in his apartment, attending the meeting via telephone.” (125)
Given the information that there “was a sharp rise in credit card transactions moving through some computer systems at the WTC shortly before the planes hit the twin towers”, the question could arise whether “the revolutionary electronic trading link between AIG and Marsh [was] used to funnel money through the World Trade Center at the time of the attack?” (126)
After all, there is at least “one piece of corroborating evidence for this idea”, going back to Mike Ruppert. In his book “Crossing the Rubicon”, he reported “that immediately before the attacks began, computer systems in Deutsche Bank, one of SilverStream’s other e-link clients, had been taken over from an external location that no one in the office could identify.” (127)
During an interview conducted in early 2012, Mike Ruppert told me: “Within, I would guess — I’d have to go back and look at the book, but it was no more than a week of the attacks — I was being contacted by a lot of people, from inside official sources who were raising a lot of questions. This one particular person was extremely credible. He absolutely convinced me he had been an employee of Deutsche Bank in the Twin Towers, and he told me very clearly that in the moments right before the attacks and during the attack — there was a 40 minute window between the time the first plane struck the World Trade Center and the second plane — that Deutsche Bank’s computers in New York City had been ’taken over.’ Absolutely co-opted and run. There was a massive data purge, a massive data download, and all kinds of stuff was moving. And what this person said very clearly was that no one in the Deutsche Bank offices in the towers at the time had the ability to prevent what was going on from any of their terminals.” (128)
While the events of 9/11 were unfolding, the chief of risk management at Marsh & MacLennan, Paul Bremer, was out of office. The former managing director of Kissinger and Associates happened to be on 9/11 in a TV studio of NBC. There the following dialog evolved:
NBC4 ANCHOR: Can you talk to us a little bit about…about…who could…I mean, there are a limited number of groups who could be responsible for something of this magnitude, correct?
PAUL BREMER: Yes, this is a very well-planned, very well-coordinated attack, which suggests it is very well-organized centrally, and there are only three or four candidates in the world really who could have conducted this attack.
NBC4 ANCHOR: Bin Laden comes to mind right away, Mr. Bremer.
PAUL BREMER: Indeed, he certainly does. Bin Laden was involved in the first attack on the World Trade Center which had as its intention doing exactly what happened here, which was to collapse both towers. He certainly has to be a prime suspect. But there are others in the Middle East, and there are at least two states, Iran and Iraq, which should at least remain on the list of potential suspects.
NBC4 ANCHOR: I don’t recall anything like this. Pearl Harbor happened a month before I was born and I hear my parents talk about that as a seminal event in their lives all the time. I’m not aware of anything like this in the United States before. Americans are now — I think it’s fair to say — really scared. Should we be?
NBC4 ANCHOR: This is a day that will change our lives, isn’t it?
PAUL BREMER: It is a day that will change our lives, and it’s a day when the war that the terrorists declared on the United States — and after all, they did declare a war on us — has been brought home to the United States in a much more dramatic way than we’ve seen before, so it will change our lives. (129)
I was curious and wanted more information from Convar regarding a) their work on the WTC-computer hard drives, and b) also about the statements made by Peter Henschel and Richard Wagner. Thus, I contacted the agency which represents Convar for press matters, with a written request. But their agency ”ars publicandi” informed me swiftly: “Due to time constraints, we can currently offer you neither information nor anyone on the part of our client to talk to regarding this requested topic.”
I also approached KrollOntrack, a very interesting competitor of Convar, in writing. Ontrack Data Recovery, which has subsidiaries in Germany too, was purchased in 2002 by Kroll Inc – „one of the nation’s most powerful private investigative and security firms, which has long-standing involvement with executive protection US government officials including the president. This would require close liaison with the Secret Service.“ (130)
At the time of the 9/11 attacks, a certain Jerome Hauer was one of the managing directors at Kroll Inc. He had previously established the crisis center for the mayor of New York City as director of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), which occupied office space on the 23rd floor of the WTC Building 7. Hauer helped former FBI agent John O’Neill to get the post of the head of Security Affairs at the WTC, and spent the night hours of September 11 with O’Neill in New York before the latter lost his life on September 11 in the WTC. Moreover, Hauer was most likely involved in the planning of „Tripod II“, a war game exercise at the port of New York City scheduled for September 12, 2001. Kroll was not in charge of security at the WTC on 9/11. Kroll did design the security system though, which is one reason why Kroll’s deputy chairman, Brian Michael Jenkins, is a “person of interest” in the 9/11 homicide case. (131)
Therefore, I found it appealing to uncover some more details of this aspect, or, more accurately to find out if Ontrack / KrollOntrack was contracted in 2001 or after to rescue computer hard drives from the WTC. KrollOntrack responded by stating that the company was not at the site of the data recovery, for “the devices at the Twin Towers have been completely destroyed or vaporized. The firm Kroll was, however, at that time active in the field of computer-forensic investigations, securing devices in the surrounding buildings.” (132)
That statement did not match the facts; after all, Convar had been contracted to restore damaged computer hard drives from the World Trade Center. However, the idea of “the Twin Towers have been completely destroyed or vaporized”, is in line with the knowledge of the general public. It can easily be refuted in argumentum in contrario not just by Convar´s activities, but also two film reports; one from the German ZDF television news show “Heute-Journal”, broadcasted on March 11, 2002, and the other from the Dutch TV documentary “Zembla”, broadcasted on September 10, 2006.
The ZDF report showed that Convar received the WTC disks from the US Department of Defense and that Convar had managed until March 2002 to recover more than 400 hard drives. It also reported that the private companies that employed Convar had paid between $25,000 and $50,000 per hard drive. In the TV documentary “Zembla”, Convar essentially maintained its position as it had been reported by Erik Kirschbaum in 2001.
Obviously, in connection with 9/11 there has not only been insider trading via put options, but there is additional evidence that there have been illegal financial transactions via credit cards through which more than 100 million US dollars were removed from the WTC computer systems.
Those occurred shortly before and during the WTC disaster. It remains unclear what happened later on with the data recovered by Convar. On the other hand, it may have been not very much, as can be seen from a memorandum compiled by 9/11 Commission staffers about a briefing with agents from the FBI, which was released in May 2009.
The 9/11 Commission staffers asked about data recovery efforts connected to credit cards transactions for this special kind of insider dealing. “The assembled agents”, we read then, “expressed no knowledge of the reported hard-drive recovery effort or the alleged scheme. Moreover, one of the New York agents pointed out, from personal experience, that everything at the WTC was pulverized to near powder, making it extremely unlikely that any hard-drives survived to the extend the data be recovered.” (133)
Yet, Convar’s activity seems to qualify as proof to the contrary.
But it gets even better. According to “Zembla”, the FBI itself was directly involved with the data rescue efforts undertaken by Convar. And on top of it, the broadcast of “Heute-Journal” reported that Convar worked in this ”highly sensitive“ matter with several federal agencies of the United States Government.
At the end of December 2012, I wrote a press inquiry to the press department at the headquarters of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, Germany (email@example.com). In this media request I’ve asked for comments on Mike Ruppert’s Statement related to Deutsche Bank’s computer systems in New York City, and the fact that Alex Brown traded massive put options purchases on United Airlines Company UAL through the Chicago Board Option Exchange (CBOE).
In a follow-up e-mail, that I sent to Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt in early February 2013, after there had not been any response to my initial request, I’ve asked also for a comment on the reason why then-chairman of the board of Deutsche Bank Alex Brown, Mayo A Shattuck III, actually renounced his post on September 12, 2001.
Finally, I received a few hours later a response from Deutsche Bank in New York City, namely from Duncan King, the Director of Press and Media Relation of Deutsche Bank in the Americas. It said:
Here is the statement for your piece. Thank you for being in touch.
“We wouldn’t comment on this type of speculation.”
Director | Press and Media Relations, Americas
Deutsche Bank AG, Filiale New York
60 Wall Street, 10005-2836 New York, NY, USA
In March 2012, Asia Times published a report of mine that took a critical look at the issue of informed trading prior to the September 11, 2001, terror attacks in the United States. I concluded at the time that there could be no dispute that speculative trade in put options spiked in the days around 9/11. More than a few people must have had advance warning of the terror attacks, and they cashed in to the tune of millions of dollars – even if the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the 9/11 Commission will not say so. (134)
For example, the SEC concluded that this never happened. And it destroyed apparently critical documents connected to the case.
So I forwarded in August 2013 the following inquiry to the SEC press department. (135)
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
my name is Lars Schall, I am a financial journalist from Germany for Asia Times Online, Hong Kong. I write to you related to the findings of the 2002 Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of informed trading connected to the 9/11 terror attacks. The SEC review – entitled ”Pre-September 11, 2001 Trading Review“ – states,
”We have not developed any evidence that suggests that those who had advance knowledge of the attacks traded on the basis of that information. In every instance where we noticed unusual trading before the attack, we were able to determine, either through speaking directly with those responsible for the trading, or by reviewing trading records, that the trading was consistent with a legitimate trading strategy.“
However, there are three scientific papers that come to very different conclusions:
Allen M Poteshman: „Unusual Option Market Activity and the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001“, published in The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, 2006, Vol 79, Edition 4, page 1703-1726.
Marc Chesney, Remo Crameri and Loriano Mancini: „Detecting Informed Trading Activities in the Option Markets“, University of Zurich, April 2010, online here.
Wing-Keung Wong, Howard E. Thompson und Kweehong Teh: „Was there Abnormal Trading in the S&P 500 Index Options Prior to the September 11 Attacks?“, published at Social Sciences Research Network, April 2010, see here.
Please let me summarize them for you just briefly.
In the first scientific study which had been carried out in 2006 regarding the put option trading around 9/11 related to the two airlines involved – United Airlines and American Airlines –, US economist Allen M Poteshman from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign came to this conclusion: ”Examination of the option trading leading up to September 11 reveals that there was an unusually high level of put buying. This finding is consistent with informed investors having traded options in advance of the attacks.“
Another scientific study was conducted by the economists Wong Wing-Keung (Hong Kong Baptist University, HKBU), Kweehong Teh (National University of Singapore, NUS), and Howard E Thompson (University of Wisconsin), whose findings were published in April 2010 under the title ”Was there Abnormal Trading in the S&P 500 Index Options Prior to the September 11 Attacks?“ The authors looked at the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX Index Options), in particular with a focus on strategies emanating from a bear market.
Basically, Wong, Thompson and Teh came to the conclusion ”that our findings show that there was a significant abnormal increase in the trading volume in the option market just before the 9-11 attacks in contrast with the absence of abnormal trading volume far before the attacks“.
More specifically, they stated, ”Our findings from the out-of-the-money (OTM), at-the-money (ATM) and in-the-money (ITM) SPX index put options and ITM SPX index call options lead us to reject the null hypotheses that there was no abnormal trading in these contracts before September 11th.“
Instead, they found evidence for ”abnormal trading volume in OTM, ATM and ITM SPX index put options“ for September 2001, and also in ”ITM-SPX index call options“ for the same month. ”In addition, we find that there was evidence of abnormal trading in the September 2001 OTM, ATM and ITM SPX index put options immediately after the 9-11 attacks and before the expiration date. This suggests that owning a put was a valuable investment and those who owned them could sell them for a considerable profit before the expiration date.“
From all of this, they took the position that whilst they couldn’t definitively prove that insiders were active in the market, ”our results provide credible circumstantial evidence to support the insider trading claim“.
Moreover, the review of the SEC from 2002 states that the SEC looked at ”broad and narrow indices“. However, as Prof Paul Zarembka from the State University of New York, who has specialized in econometrics, pointed out in an interview with me for Asia Times Online related to the study of abnormal trading in the S&P 500 index options prior to the 9/11 attacks:
”What is very interesting about their results is that the underlying reports that were made available to the 9/11 Commission (which we didn’t see until later) say that they could not examine the S&P 500 index options because trading in it is too extensive. Now why that becomes interesting is because the 9/11 Commission report had said that they made a wide-ranging study and they found no evidence of any sort of financial irregularities before 9/11, but also said the S&P 500 index options couldn’t even be investigated – so the commission is kind of contradicting itself.
”And more than that, when some did investigate the S&P 500 index options, they find out that in fact it did have abnormal trading before 9/11, with high probability.“ (See: ”Economists are scared“ by Lars Schall, Asia Times Online, April 27, 2012.)
Different to the assessment of the SEC review of 2002 is also the scientific work that Chesney, Mancini and Crameri had published in April 2010 at the University of Zurich, ”Detecting Informed Trading Activities in the option markets“. In the segment that is dedicated to the terror attacks of 9/11, the three authors come to the conclusion, that there had been notable insider trading shortly before the terrorist attacks on September 11 that was based on prior knowledge.
Without elaborating on the detailed explanation of the mathematical and statistical method which the scientific trio applied during the examination of the put option transactions on the CBOE for the period between 1996 and 2006, I summarize some of their significant conclusions.
”Companies like American Airlines, United Airlines, Boeing“ – the latter company is a contractor of the two airlines as aircraft manufacturer – „and to a lesser extent, Delta Air Lines and KLM seem to have been targets for informed trading activities in the period leading up to the attacks. The number of new put options issued during that period is statistically high and the total gains realized by exercising these options amount to more than $16 million. These findings support the results by Poteshman (2006) who also reports unusual activities in the option market before the terrorist attacks.“
In the banking sector, Chesney, Crameri and Mancini found five informed trading activities in connection to 9/11. ”For example the number of new put options with underlying stock in Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan and Merrill Lynch issued in the days before the terrorist attacks was at an unusually high level. The realized gains from such trading strategies are around $11 million.“
In a new version of their study that was published on September 7, 2011, the authors stuck to their findings from April 2010. They added the emphasis that in no way the profits gained with the put options to which they point could have been achieved due to sheer fortunate coincidence, but that in fact they were based on prior knowledge which had been exploited.
My question: How does the SEC comment on these scientific studies and their findings that contradict the assertion of the SEC (and subsequently that of the 9/11 Commission) that no individuals used foreknowledge to profit from the 9/11 terrorist attacks?
Furthermore, may I ask you for information concerning your response to a Freedom of Information Act request regarding the pre-9/11 put options submitted by David Callahan, the executive editor at the time of SmartCEO. The SEC responded:
„This letter is in response to your request seeking access to and copies of the documentary evidence referred to in footnote 130 of Chapter 5 of the September 11 (9/11) Commission Report. (…) We have been advised that the potentially responsive records have been destroyed.“
My question: Why did the SEC destroy its records on the 9/11 insider trading issue?
Thank you for your attention!
The response of the SEC to my inquiry was … well, to make a short story even shorter: there never was one. Thus, the issue remains pretty much unresolved – and should be treated in the field of research as a dramatic gap in the official narrative of the event going forward.
The SEC was not alone in ignoring legitimate questions of mine. I can also mention ex-CIA agent Robert Baer in this regard. James Corbett published in September 2015 a video on the internet, in which he presented the following:
“Perhaps the most frank admission of insider trading is notable for three things: it was recorded on video, it has never been investigated by any agency or law enforcement official, and it was made by former CIA agent and frequent foreign policy commentator Robert Baer, the real-life inspiration for the character portrayed by George Clooney in ’Syriana.’ Talking to citizen journalists after a speaking event in Los Angeles in 2008, Baer was recorded on video making a startling assertion about 9/11 insider trading”:
JEREMY ROTHE-KUSHEL: …the last thing I want to leave you with is the National Reconnaissance Office was running a drill of a plane crashing into their building and you know they’re staffed by DoD and CIA…
ROBERT BAER: I know the guy that went into his broker in San Diego and said “cash me out, it’s going down tomorrow.”
JEREMY ROTHE KUSHEL: Really?
ROBERT BAER: Yeah.
STEWART HOWE: That tells us something.
ROBERT BAER: What?
STEWART HOWE: That tells us something.
ROBERT BAER: Well his brother worked at the White House.
“This truly remarkable statement bears further scrutiny”, stated Corbett. “If Baer is to be believed, a former CIA agent has first-hand knowledge that a White House insider had foreknowledge of the attacks, and to this day not only has Baer never revealed the identity of this person, but no one has questioned him about his statement or even attempted to pursue this lead.” (136)
At the end of the same month I wrote a media request to Mr. Baer, to ask him the following questions:
Who is the man who went to his broker in San Diego on September 10, 2001 to get cashed out?
Did he work for a federal agency?
Who is his brother, and in what capacity did he work at the White House at that time?
Did the man in San Diego receive the information „it’s going down tomorrow“ from his brother?
Mr. Baer didn’t bother to respond.
A year later, James Corbett returned to the issue by stating:
“Given Robert Baer’s experience and training, it is difficult to comprehend just how significant the information that he just casually admits here really is. We are left with only two possibilities: either Baer is lying, or he has direct knowledge of someone ’whose brother worked at the White House’ who had foreknowledge of the 9/11 plot. There is no middle ground here.
The man Robert Baer claims to know is at least an accessory before the fact to the crimes of 9/11, if not an actual accomplice or co-conspirator in those crimes. By failing to report this information to the investigative authorities, Baer leaves himself open to being an accessory after the fact to those same crimes.
Title 18 Section 3 of the US Code defines the criteria for an ’Accessory After the Fact’ to a crime committed against the United States:
‘Whoever, knowing that an offense against the United States has been committed, receives, relieves, comforts or assists the offender in order to hinder or prevent his apprehension, trial or punishment, is an accessory after the fact.’” (137)
Let’s sum up a bit at the end. We have, as seen, among other things:
– The ”nice detective work“ done by Kevin Ryan related to Stratesec / Wirt D. Walker III.
– Some highly inconsistent information vis-à-vis Convar / illegal credit card transactions.
– Scientific papers supporting the allegations that there were indeed unusual trading activities in the option market before the terrorist attacks of 9/11, although the 9/11 Commission (based on the investigation of the SEC and the FBI) ruled that possibility out.
As it became clear that I would publish an article at Asia Times in March of 2012 on the 9/11 terror trading issue, I contacted the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation via its press spokesman Paul Bresson in order ”to give the FBI the opportunity to give a public statement with regards to three specific issues“. Those three specific issues were the ones I have just highlighted. Related to each of them I’ve asked Mr Bresson / the FBI: ”Could you comment on this for the public, please?“ Up to this moment, Mr. Bresson / the FBI did not respond to my inquiry in any way whatsoever. Does this come as a surprise?
I should perhaps add that this inquiry led to negative consequences for me. After I contacted the FBI, I was informed by the publisher of a German financial website, for which I conducted interviews for a professional fee (and had already prepared more work), that no further cooperation was possible. Now that I would come in one way or another into the focus of the FBI, any association with me would be undesirable.
Well, you know the rules.
Also in early 2012 I’ve got back in touch with ”ars publicandi“, the firm that did public relations for Convar in Germany. The response said: ”Unfortunately I have to inform you that the status has not changed, and that Convar considers the issue of 9/11 as dead in general.“
As you have read, the status in August 2011 was slightly different.
A goodly amount of time later, in summer 2016, I’ve visited Marc Chesney, one of the authors of the peer-reviewed study “Detecting Informed Trading Activities in the Options Markets”, in Zurich, Switzerland. Chesney, Professor of Quantitative Finance and Head of the Institute of Banking and Finance at the University of Zurich, said in his office during our interview, that there needs to be a new investigation of the 9/11 insider trading issue. The investigation of the 9/11 Commission was insufficient at this point, he told me, and the SEC’s destruction of documents posed a „big problem“ – for „as long as the media and the public do not have access to the information, many people will question official statements.” (138)
As far as the abnormal option trades around 9/11 are concerned, I want to give Max Keiser the final word on this in order to underline the significance of the whole story.
Max Keiser: Regardless of who did it, we can know that more than a few had advance warning – the trading in the option market makes that clear.
And as far as PROMIS is concerned, I want to recommend to William Hamilton / INSLAW to file specific Freedom of Information Act requests with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. National Security Agency, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Federal Reserve Board, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Notes for Part Three:
(1) Compare “Affidavit of Gordon Thomas”, published online at Archive.org under: https://archive.org/details/AffidavitOfGordonThomas. Moreover, for Rafi Eitan’s role in the PROMIS saga see Gordon Thomas: “Gideon’s Spies – The Secret History of the Mossad”, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1999, pp. 183-192. That account was written, however, before Thomas became familiar with the information contained in his second sworn statement.
(2) There are indeed documents, which reveal that the U.S. Department of Justice gave PROMIS to a phantom Israeli spy. Compare Michael Best: “Documents Confirm DOJ Gave PROMIS Software to a Phantom Israeli Spy”, published at Glomar Disclosure on September 13, 2016 under:
(3) For the deal between the Soviet Union and Israel (and Casey’s knowledge about it), see Seymour M. Hersh: “The Traitor”, published at The New Yorker on January 18, 1999 under: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1999/01/18/the-traitor
(4) The summer 1984 FBI foreign counter-intelligence investigative report, which INSLAW obtained under FOIA in heavily-redacted form, states that Robert Maxwell made the PROMIS sales in New Mexico dba (doing business as) Pergamon International.
(5) In September 1984, Jacob Stein, Independent Counsel, confirmed that Attorney General Edwin Meese had failed to disclose certain business and financial ties with Earl Brian on Meese’s mandatory annual White House Financial Disclosure Reports for 1981 and 1982 but decided not to prosecute Meese, notwithstanding the fact that the statute is a strict liability criminal tort.
(6) Jerry Seper: “Software Likely in Hands of Terrorists”, published at The Washington Times on June 14, 2001, archived at LarsSchall.com under: http://www.larsschall.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Washington-Times-on-PROMIS.pdf. Regarding the ability to move funds ”undetected” through the banking system via PROMIS: Michael Riconosciuto provided an affidavit to INSLAW in April 1991 about his claim to have modified INSLAW’s PROMIS database software in the early 1980s for intelligence system applications at the Cabazon Indian Tribe reservation in California. One week later, the Justice Department’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) arrested Riconosciuto and charged him with drug trafficking in Washington State. Prior to the trial, Riconosciuto made a proffer to the FBI, and arranged for it to be recorded. In it, he claimed that his job as Research Director for the CIA Joint Venture included laundering the profits from CIA-sanctioned drug trafficking by accessing the NSA version of PROMIS installed on banking sector computers and then programming “virtual dead drops” to facilitate the concealment of the real origin of the funds.
Cheri Seymour, in her book „The Last Circle“, reported that Riconosciuto asked her to arrange for an FBI agent from the Fresno, California office to go to her nearby home to receive a telephone call, about which Riconosciuto asked her secretly to make an audio recording, whereby Riconosciuto would make a proffer to the FBI of the kinds of evidence he was prepared to provide in exchange for a decision by the government to dismiss the drug trafficking charges against Riconosciuto and place Riconosciuto into the Witness Protection Program. The FBI reportedly never replied to Riconosciuto’s proffer, which offered to make available evidence of how Riconosciuto, as Research Director for the CIA Joint Venture, laundered drug profits from CIA-sanctioned drug trafficking and also sent funds to accounts of certain favored persons. Seymour’s book quotes verbatim from the audio recording she made. Compare Cherie Seymour: “The Last Circle – Danny Casolaro’s Investigation into The Octopus and the PROMIS Software Scandal”, TrineDay, Walterville, 2011, pp. 73-82. Michael Riconosciuto’s affidavit to INSLAW in April 1991 is archived at LarsSchall.com under:http://www.larsschall.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/RiconosciutoAffidavitINSLAWMarch1991.pdf
In 2013, I asked NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake: “(O)nce NSA controlled the software used by banks to process wire transfers or money and letters of credit it could in theory add, delete and/or modify the amounts of funds in accounts because the funds are just data like any other kind of data. Have you ever heard that NSA or other intelligence agency exploited the banks surveillance version of PROMIS towards such an end?”
Thomas Drake answered: “I’ve certainly heard of it, I just don’t have any proof nor can I verify or validate, but I will tell you one of the aspects that has not been fully disclosed, although I blew the whistle on it early on when I, within the system, had gone to key people within the government particularly Congressional Intelligence Committees regarding Stellar Wind. One of the things that Stellar Wind did was actually without, again, without warrants, was gain direct access to financial transaction information at the bank level, credit card level, and this is extraordinary – these secret agreements were put into place regarding the flow of money. This is shrouded in all kinds of secrecy … but I was well aware what would that mean if there were those within the system who chose to abuse it, you know, far beyond the purpose of tracking money laundering and things of that nature because this is all hidden; … the life blood of any economy is the money, the money flows, the money deposits, the investments.
I can’t speak specifically to the allegations or assertions that you mentioned, but I can tell you that I would not be surprised at all that it was used in that manner given my knowledge of other abuses of information and systems that people in secret would use or have access to. The temptations are enormous. I come back to the fundamentals of the human condition, and temptations are enormous when you have that kind … You hear about all of these lower level stuff. We hear about contract fraud. A lot of that is all nickel and dime stuff. People just trying to rip-off the government by charging, you know, $6 or something that only cost 50 cents to make. Even beyond the contract agreements, you know this, they padding their expense accounts. Even on the part of government employees, you know there is clearly the case of people who will try to get away with things – but you’re talking in a more systemic level. But I can’t, again, I just want to be clear with you here and the audience, I don’t have any specific knowledge regarding the use of the PROMIS software for those purposes in terms of manipulating accounts.” See Lars Schall: “Secret information: The currency of power”, published at Asia Times Online on December 18, 2013 under: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/GECON-02-231213.html.
A report from February 2001 stated, that U.S. intelligence had a clear picture of bin Laden’s financial and operational networks – since 1997. It was further said that U.S. intelligence was waging a cyberwar against bin Laden, adding: “When U.S. intelligence agencies have identified a specific source of bin Laden funds, U.S. hackers can enter the account and disrupt it by either deleting or transferring funds to other ’friendly’ accounts, said a source. ‘Three key strokes, and it’s gone,’ said one U.S. official. The money can be reduced to tiny fractions and shifted into U.S. accounts in such small numbers as to be virtually untraceable, this source said.” Compare “U.S. Makes Cyberwar on Bin Laden”, published at Nesmax on February 8, 2001 under: http://www.newsmax.com/Pre-2008/U-SMakes-Cyberwar-Bin/2001/02/08/id/656849/.
(7) Compare “Fox Special Report with Brit Hume”, published at Fox News on October 16, 2001, archived at LarsSchall.com under: http://www.larsschall.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Fox-News-on-PROMIS.pdf, and “Canada Link ‘Unbelievable’ – Toronto Police Chase Down Numerous FBI Leads On Al-Qaida Suspects”, published at The Calgary Sun on November 10, 2001, archived at LarsSchall.com under: http://www.larsschall.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Calgary-Sun-on-PROMIS.pdf. According to the report in the Calgary Sun, PROMIS was still in use at the FBI after 9/11 to track down al Qaeda suspects, whereas the report at Fox News stated that the U.S. Government didn’t use PROMIS any longer at the time of 9/11.
(8) David Dastych: “Promisgate: World’s longest spy scandal still glossed over”, published at Canada Free Press on January 31, 2006 under: http://canadafreepress.com/2006/dastych013106.htm
(10) Compare “Hanssen’s double-life focus of new book”, Interview Transcript published at ABC on May 9, 2002 under: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2002/s552135.htm. For another statement made by Vise with respect to U.S. intelligence sources and Robert Hanssen, PROMIS, and Osama bin Laden, see also “The Bureau and the Mole”, published at The Washington Post on December 20, 2001 under: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/liveonline/01/author_vise122001.htm. David Vise abetted with his reporting / book writing a certain type of “Official History”, in which the PROMIS-al Qaeda angle doesn’t exist regarding Robert Hanssen’s espionage case. For this phenomenon of promoting specific narratives through “Official History” writing, see Peter Dale Scott: “The Deep State and the Bias of Official History”, published at WhoWhatWhy on October 26, 2014 under: http://whowhatwhy.org/2014/10/26/the-deep-state-and-the-bias-of-official-history-2/.
(11) Compare Barton Gellman / Susan Schmidt: “Shadow Government Is at Work in Secret”, published at The Washington Post on March 1, 2002 under: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/09/AR2006060900891.html, and Spencer S. Hsu: “Bush Changes Continuity Plan”, published at The Washington Post on May 10, 2007 under: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/09/AR2007050902719.html
(12) For more information on the death of Alan Standorf, see Michael Best: “FBI violates DOJ guidance by withholding file on murdered NSA whistleblower”, published at Glomar Disclosure on March 18, 2017 under: https://glomardisclosure.com/2017/03/18/fbi-violates-doj-guidance-withholding-file-murdered-nsa-whistleblower/
(13) “Mount Pony, Culpeper, VA”, published at Federation of American Scientists under: https://fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/c3i/mt_pony.htm
(14) Peter Dale Scott: “The Hidden Government Group Linking JFK, Watergate, Iran-Contra and 9/11”, published at WhoWhatWhy on October 5, 2014 under: http://whowhatwhy.org/2014/10/05/the-hidden-government-group-linking-jfk-watergate-iran-contra-and-911/.
(15) Compare Ted Gupberryville: “Civil Defense Doomsday Hideaway”, published at Time on June 24, 2001 under: http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,156041,00.html, and James Mann: “The Armageddon Plan”, published at The Atlantic in March 2004 under: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2004/03/the-armageddon-plan/302902/. A famous example for a continuity of government operations plan in history is “Operation Valkyrie”, which was developed in World War II in Germany. The plan was used in modified fashion connected to the plot of July 20, 1944 to assassinate Adolf Hitler at the „Wolf’s Lair“ military headquarters in the Masurian woods near Kętrzyn.
(16) Compare “1982-1991: FEMA Spends Majority of Budget on Secret Doomsday Programs”, published at History Commons under:
(17) Peter Dale Scott: “The Road to 9/11 – Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America”, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2007, page 184.
(18) Compare James Mann: “The Rise of the Vulcans – The History of Bush’s War Cabinet”, Viking, New York, 2004, page 145.
(19) Quoted in Peter Dale Scott: “The Road to 9/11“, lit. cit, page 185.
(20) Compare Peter Dale Scott: “Is the State of Emergency Superseding our Constitution?”, Speech at the Commonwealth Club, San Francisco, delivered November 23, 2010, online under: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22089
(22) Peter Dale Scott: “The Road to 9/11“, lit. cit., page 186.
(23) Peter Dale Scott: “Is the State of Emergency Superseding our Constitution?”, lit. cit.
(26) “Vice President Cheney Speaks With CNN”, published at CNN on May 8, 2001 under: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0105/08/se.01.html.
(27) Compare Barton Gellman: “A Strategy’s Cautious Evolution“, published at The Washington Post on January 20, 2002 under: http://maxstandridge.net/911BushColebackdown.html.
(28) Kevin Ryan: ”Another Nineteen – Investigating Legitimate 9/11 Suspects”, Microbloom, 2013, page 88.
(29) Ibid, page 92.
(30) Compare Peter Dale Scott: „North, Iran-Contra, and the Doomsday Project: The Original Congressional Cover Up of Continuity-of-Government Planning”, published at Asia-Pacific Journal on February 21, 2011 under: http://japanfocus.org/-Peter_Dale-Scott/3491.
The following footnotes 31 – 37 are taken from the essay „North, Iran-Contra, and the Doomsday Project” by Peter Dale Scott:
(31) In his memoir, Under Fire (New York: Harper Collins, 1991), North describes “my first major assignment at the NSC“ as involving the Doomsday contingency plans, adding that this was “where I came to know George Bush.” In contrast, as the ensuing essay notes, Bush in his campaign autobiography, Looking Forward, admitted knowing of the secret trip by North and McFarlane to Tehran, but claimed not to have known of North’s „other secret operations“ before November 1986 (George Bush with Victor Gold, Looking Forward: An Autobiography (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1987), 242-43). My essay challenges Bush’s claim.
(32) New York Times, April 18, 1994 [“deputy director”]: Mark Perry, Eclipse: The Last Days of the CIA (New York: Morrow, 1992), 215 [“out the window”]. Director of Central Intelligence William Webster formally reprimanded Allen for failing to fully comply with the DCI’s request for full cooperation in the agency’s internal Iran-Contra scandal investigation. After failing to have the reprimand lifted through the regular appeal process, Allen retained future DCI James Woolsey [a member of the COG planning committee] as an attorney and was successful in applying pressure to have the reprimand lifted (Perry, Eclipse, 216). Meanwhile, Clair George, the CIA officer whom Allen and his allies needed to circumvent in order to arrange the arms sales, was convicted in 1992 of felony charges of perjury for lying to Congress, which might have sent him to prison for ten years (George was pardoned by President George H.W. Bush before sentencing occurred). Thus eventually the supervisor of the Iran arms sales was promoted; the man who was seen as an obstacle to it was convicted.
(33) Tim Weiner, New York Times, April 18, 1994: “In the Reagan Administration, the project was supervised by Vice President George Bush. A senior C.I.A. officer, Charles Allen, was deputy director. In the Reagan and Bush Administrations, the project involved hundreds of people, including White House officials, Army generals, C.I.A. officers and private companies run by retired military and intelligence personnel.”
(34) Shirley Anne Warshaw, The Co-presidency of Bush and Cheney (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Politics and Policy, 2009), 162; Shorrock, Spies for Hire, 77-80, 292-96 (Project 908); Newsweek, October 21, 1985, 26 (FLASHBOARD).
(35) David S. Rotenstein, “The Undisclosed Location Disclosed: Continuity of Government Sites as Recent Past Resources,” Historian4Hire.net, July 15, 2010, link. I discuss the important role of the secretive WHCA in both the JFK assassination and the implementation on 9/11 of COG in The Road to 9/11, 228-29; cf. Peter Dale Scott, The War Conspiracy (2008), 31n102.
(36) Shorrock, Spies for Hire, 78-79. The Bush-North “Crisis Pre-Planning Committee,” referred to in the ensuing essay, would appear to have had Doomsday responsibilities as well.
(37) Peter Dale Scott: “The Road to 9/11”, lit.cit, page 240.
(38) Michael C. Ruppert: “Crossing the Rubicon – The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil“, New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, 2004, page 412.
(39) Ibid, pp. 427-428.
(40) Ibid, page 428.
(41) Ibid, page 430.
(42) Compare ibid, pp. 435-436.
(43) Ibid, page 436.
(44) Ibid, page 427. Ruppert cites from Richard Clarke: “Against all Enemies”, 2004.
(45) Compare “The Vice President Appears on Meet the Press with Tim Russert”, published at the White House website on September 16, 2001 under: https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/vicepresident/news-speeches/speeches/vp20010916.html See further the description given in Philip Shenon: “The Commission – The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation”, Brown Little, London, 2008, pp. 263-267.
(48) Peter Dale Scott: “The Road to 9/11”, lit.cit., pp. 199-201.
(49) Ibid, pp. 201-202.
(50) Ibid, pp. 202-203.
(51) Ibid, pp. 231-232.
(52) Compare “Statement of Brian L. Stafford, Director, United States Secret Service, Before the Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Treasury and General Government”, United States Senate, March 30, 2000.
(53) Compare “National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States – Tenth Public Hearing – 9/11 Commission“, April 14, 2004, online under: http://www.9-11commission.gov/archive/hearing10/9-11Commission_Hearing_2004-04-13.htm
(54) Compare “Testimony of Paul H. O’Neill, Secretary of the Treasury, Before the Senate Committee on Appropriations”, published at U.S. Department of the Treasury, May 8, 2001, under: http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/po361.aspx
(55) Compare Paul L. Nenninger: “Simulation at the Secret Service – As Real as it Gets”, published in Elliott Masie (Edit.): “Learning Rants, Raves, and Reflections – A Collection of Passionate and Professional Perspectives”, Pfeiffer, 2005, pp. 175-187, and Paul L. Nenninger: “One Secret Service Agent’s Experience”, published at Southeast Missourian on August 29, 2011 under: http://www.semissourian.com/story/1757355.html
(56) Compare Kevin Ryan: “Secret Service Failures on 9/11: A Call for Transparency”, published at Washington’s Blog on March 25, 2012 under: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/03/secret-service-failures-on-911-a-call-for-transparency.html
(62) Compare Richard Cheney: “The United States Has Never Lost Its Moral Bearings”, published at Real Clear Politics on May 21, 2009 under:
(63) Compare Peter Dale Scott: “The Road to 9/11”, lit.cit., page 220 et seqq.
(64) Compare Richard Clarke: “Against all Enemies“, lit.cit., page 2 and 5. See further Peter Dale Scott: “The Road to 9/11“, lit.cit., pp. 201-207 on Flight 77 connected to Cheney/Mineta/Clarke.
(65) Compare Barton Gellman: “Angler – The Shadowy Precidency of Dick Cheney“, Penguin, London/New York, 2009, page 118. There Gellman also writes about Clarke‘s efforts to call Cheney on the phone.
(66) Compare ibid, page 129.
(67) Compare Tim Shorrock: “Exposing Bush’s historic abuse of power”, published at Salon on July 23, 2008 unter: http://www.salon.com/2008/07/23/new_churchcomm/
(68) Compare Peter Dale Scott: “The Road to 9/11“, lit.cit., pp. 219-235.
(69) Ibid, page 219.
(70) Compare Richard Clarke: “Against all Enemies“, lit. cit,. pp. 8-9.
(71) Peter Dale Scott: “The Road to 9/11“, lit.cit., page 219.
(72) Ibid, page 232.
(73) Ibid, page 234.
(74) For similarities, respectively “recurring patterns” in John F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963 and the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, see Peter Dale Scott: “The War Conspiracy – JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War”, Skyhorse Publishing, New York, 2008, pp. 341-384. One similarity between these two “deep events”, for instance, exists in suspicious looking trading activities on the stock market before both the JFK assassination and 9/11. Scott writes in this respect: “In early November 1963, David Harold (‘Dry Hole’) Byrd and his investment partner, James Ling, bought $2 million worth of stock (132,600 shares) in Ling-Temco-Vought (LVT), their own defense company. Then in February 1964 LTV received from the Navy the first major LBJ prime defense contract – for a fighter plane to be used in limited wars like Vietnam. I have calculated that this $2.5 million insider purchase was worth $26 million by the end of 1967. Moreover the prescient purchase was about one hundred times the size of any other insider purchase in aerospace issues in the same period.
This does not prove that Byrd and Ling were directly involved in the Kennedy assassination, but it may indicate that Byrd had inklings of what was going to happen. For Byrd owned the Texas School Book Depository building, where Oswald had been hired as an employee in October 1963. I have hypothesized that Oswald thought he was there on a surveillance assignment, to report on a fellow worker was under investigation by the Dallas Police. Byrd may have been privy to this arrangement, and have suspected more.
This stock purchase is comparable to the notorious ’put option purchases’ just before 9/11 in 2001, in the stock of United Airlines and American Airlines. Here too the advance purchases suggest special knowledge, but here too the purchasers and the perpetrators need not have been the same, especially if we accept the indications that many widely scattered people and agencies had prior indications of the event about to occur.
There were scattered indications that a few people had advance knowledge of the Kennedy assassination, a fact hard to reconcile with the Warren Commission conclusion that Oswald, a disgruntled loner, acted on his own. The most significant case was that of a Southern racist and activist, Joseph Milteer, who correctly predicted to a Miami police informant that Kennedy would be shot ’from an office building with a high-powered rifle.’ But Milteer was not unique. And in 2001 there were pre-9/11 indications and warnings, far too numerous to enumerate here, of knowledge about an impending attack using hijacked airplanes.” Compare Scott: “The War Conspiracy”, lit.cit., pp. 342-344.
Regarding JFK ’63, take also notice that according to the Spartacus website, Jack Alston Crichton, who was the main COG figure in Dallas in 1963, and D.H. Byrd sat on the board of the same company, named Nafco: „Crichton was president of Nafco Oil and Gas. He also owned a company called Dorchester Gas Producing. A fellow director was David Harold Byrd who along with Clint Murchison, Haroldson L. Hunt and Sid Richardson, was part of the Big Oil group in Dallas.” Compare “Jack Alston Crichton”, published at Spartacus Educational under: http://spartacus-educational.com/MDcrichton.htm. For evidence that the COG project was an operational factor in both the JFK assassination and 9/11, see Peter Dale Scott: “The American Deep State – Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U.S. Democracy”, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, 2015, pp. 109-120. For the development of COG planning from 1936 to 2001, see ibid pp. 135-150.
(75) Lars Schall: “Let’s Talk About the American Deep State”, Interview with Peter Dale Scott, published at LarsSchall.com on June 20, 2014 under: http://www.larsschall.com/2014/06/20/lets-talk-about-the-american-deep-state/
(76) Compare footnote 2 in Lars Schall: “Let’s Talk About the American Deep State”, lit.cit. For video footage of the event, see a report by CNN correspondent John King under the segment “9/11 Mystery” in “Anderson Cooper 360°”, that was soon taken off the internet by CNN, but is available at Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4upVtXLJ3Ps. It is sometimes said that all of the three existing E-4B „Doomsday Planes“ were in the sky on 9/11 connected to a war game exercise called „Global Guardian“. A news report from early 2002 stated: „Aboard one of the three planes was the Federal Advisory Committee, whose chairman is retired Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft. The plane had been dispatched to bring committee members to Offutt to observe Global Guardian.“ Joe Dejka: „Inside StratCom on Sept. 11 – Offutt Exercise Took Real-life Twist“, The Omaha World Herald, February 27, 2002. Scrowcroft himself said on this in 2008: “I certainly remember where I was on 9/11. I was the chairman of a Department of Defense review called the ‘End to End Review’, which was to look at nuclear weapons and their command and control. (…) On the morning of 9/11, we were going to fly in one of the president’s flying command posts out to Offut Air Force Base. We were sitting at Andrews waiting to take off when the first plane hit the Trade Centers. We thought it was an accident.
We were in the air when the second one hit. And I had a chance to watch our command and control operations in action, with the president in Florida, the vice president in the White House command post. It was not a pretty picture. So I had a sort of reserved seat at 9/11.” Zbigniew Brzezinski / Brent Scowcroft: “America and The World – Conversations on the Future of American Foreign Policy”, Basic Books, New York, 2008, page 17.
(77) Air Force One flew from Florida first to Barksdale AFB and then to Offutt AFB. For September 11, 2001, „a charity event hosted by Warren Buffett“ had been planned at Offutt AFB. For that purpose, some U.S. business leaders came to Omaha on the morning of 9/11, among them Anne Tatlock, chairman and CEO of Fiduciary Trust Co. International. As an occupant in the South WTC Tower, Fiduciary lost 87 employees that day. See Ron Leuty: „Franklin unit rebuilds after 9/11 tragedy“, published in San Francisco Business Times on February 3, 2002 under: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2002/02/04/story3.html
(78) Compare Peter Dale Scott: “American War Machine – Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan”, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, 2010, pp. 204, 348.
(79) Christopher Ketcham: “The Last Roundup”, Radar Magazine, April 28, 2008, republished at Information Clearing House on May 5, 2008 under:
(80) Tim Shorrock: “Exposing Bush’s historic abuse of power”, published at Salon on September 23, 2008 under: http://www.salon.com/2008/07/23/new_churchcomm/
(81) Compare J. Orlin Grabbe: “Allegations Regarding Vince Foster, the NSA, and Banking Transactions Spying”, published 1995, archived under: https://archive.org/details/VinceFoster-NSA-Banking-Transactions-Spying
(82) Michael Morisy: “The top secret Cold War countermeasure that would have placed the United States under martial law”, published at Muckrock on January 26, 2015 under: https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2015/jan/26/plan-c-top-secret-cold-war-battle-plan-bring-unite/
(83) Tim Shorrock: “Exposing Bush’s historic abuse of power”, lit.cit.
(85) Compare Kevin Fenton: “Bob Woodward on Main Core”, published at History Commons Groups on July 28, 2008 under: https://hcgroups.wordpress.com/2008/07/28/bob-woodward-on-main-core/
(86) Compare J. Orlin Grabbe: “U.S. Accused of ‚Promis‘ Information Warfare Program – An Aspect of Echelon“, Translation of an interview by Denis Jeambar and Yves Stavrides for Le Vif / L’Express with Fabrizio Calvi and Thierry Pfister (”L’Oeil de Washington“, 1997).
(87) William Hamilton told the author: “Elliot Richardson requested that Woodward meet with him and the Hamiltons and Charles R. Work, another INSLAW litigation counsel, in Richardson’s law office because we had recently obtained corroboration from a respected former partner at Dicksteen, Shapiro, and Morin, the law firm that had represented INSLAW when the Company initially filed its PROMIS software piracy lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice, that he and other partners, associates and paralegals in that firm had been required to sign a non-disclosure agreement that they would never voluntarily disclose anything they may have learned about the circumstances surrounding the departure from Dicksteen, Shapiro and Morin in October 1986, several months after the firm had filed INSLAW’s lawsuit against the government in federal bankruptcy court, of Leigh Ratiner, the Dicksteen, Shapiro and Morin partner in charge of the litigation. The respected and recently resigned partner, who was well known by Congressional leaders, told us that the partners understood that the money used to pay Leigh Ratiner’s severance did not come out of the pockets of the partners but instead had come from Israel, through Earl Brian at Hadron, Inc., and finally to Leonard Garment, a senior partner at Dicksteen, Shapiro and Morin. INSLAW already had several other sources who had previously made similar claims. Woodward’s reaction was to tell us that the use of non-disclosure agreements was a familiar NSA tactic and that he made it a practice never to investigate NSA projects because the President of the United States would just telephone Katherine Graham, the publisher of the Washington Post, and appeal to her to abstain from publication of any article based on the national security interests of the United States, and Katherine Graham would accede to the President’s appeal.”
One reporter, who showed interest in the PROMIS saga, is Seymour Hersh. During the 1990’s, he and William Hamilton discussed the INSLAW affair in-depth. It is said that Hersh informed Hamilton later that three successive mainstream media organizations had turned down his proposals to write a piece on the INSLAW affair. For this article, I wrote to Mr. Hersh to tell me about this matter, and here is his reply: “You’re asking about a story I looked into on nearly three decades ago. I never thought I got close to the bottom of the Promis issue. Bill was asking questions to which I could not find all the answers. I did propose to The New Yorker, for which I began working steadily in the early 1990s, that we do a piece about Promis and the Hamiltons – a piece with more questions than answers –, and my terrific editor at the time, John Bennet, did not think it would work. (One issue, of course, is that the magazine paid me very well. Those were the days in which mags did make money. The cost of me going off to try to answer some of the unresolved issues was probably too high.) I do not have to explain to you that not every idea a reporter has gets published, especially when it could involve the National Security Agency. Nothing mysterious about the mag saying no, although I guess Bill thought differently. I do not recall offering a piece on Promis to anyone else, since I was working pretty much full time for The New Yorker from the early 1990s to 2012 or so, always as a freelancer. I may have considered doing so, essentially because I did like Bill and his wife Nancy and they were indefatigable in terms of getting after me to do something, but there was no one in the publishing world that could pay as much as The New Yorker.”
(88) Peter Dale Scott: “American War Machine“, lit.cit., pp. 205, 211-212, and Peter Dale Scott: “The American Deep State”, lit.cit., pp. 31-42.
(89) Compare. Peter Dale Scott, „Is the State of Emergency Superseding the US Constitution? Continuity of Government Planning, War and American Society”, published at The Asia-Pacific Journal on November 29, 2010 under: http://www.japanfocus.org/-Peter_Dale-Scott/3448.
(90) “Letter — Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Certain Terrorist Attacks”, published at the website of the White House on August 30, 2016 under: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/08/30/letter-continuation-national-emergency-respect-certain-terrorist-attacks
(91) Compare Peter Dale Scott: “Dick Cheney, John Yoo, and COG on 9/11”, published at Journal of 9/11 Studies in September 2016 under: http://www.journalof911studies.com/dick-cheney-john-yoo-and-cog-on-911/
The following source references 92 – 107 are taken from the essay „Dick Cheney, John Yoo, and COG on 9/11“ by Peter Dale Scott.
(92) Mann, The Rise of the Vulcans, 139. Cf. Robert J. Darling, 24 Hours Inside the President’s Bunker (iUniverse, 2010), 57. 67. Bush himself was directed on 9/11 to an underground COG site at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska (Bill Kelly, “Military insiders recall Bush’s 9/11 stop at Stratcom,” KVNO News, September 7, 2011, http://www.kvnonews.com/2011/09/military-insiders-recall-bushs-911-stop-at-stratcom/).
(93) Shirley Anne Warshaw, The Co-Presidency of Bush and Cheney (Stanford, CA: Stanford Politics and Policy, 2009), 164–65. Cf. Scott, The American Deep State, 34; Scott, Road to 9/11, 237; Gellman, Angler, 157: “Joseph Hagin, the deputy White House chief of operations, kept a rotating cadre of 70 to 150 senior managers from across the executive branch on twenty-four hour bunker duty in a hollowed-out mountain away from Washington.”
(94) This gave the president the power to confiscate without trial or warning the property of individuals providing funds to entities, such as charitable foundations, which were judged to be supporting terrorism. The executive order initially blocked property of twenty-seven designated terrorists. But the list has become enormous. By November 18, 2010, the list included eighty-seven pages just for the letter A. By August 2016 the letter A took 192 pages.
(95) Alan Brinkley, “Black Sites,” New York Times, August 3, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/books/review/Brinkley-t.html?_r=0.
(96) Mann, The Rise of the Vulcans, 145./
(97) Vgl. Peter Dale Scott: “Dick Cheney, John Yoo, and COG on 9/11”, a.a.O.
(98) Jane Mayer, The Dark Side: The Inside Story on How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (New York: Anchor, 2009), 49.
(99) Barton Gellman and Jo Becker, “’A Different Understanding with the President‘,” Washington Post, June 24, 2007, http://voices.washingtonpost.com/cheney/chapters/chapter_1/. Kurt Eichenwald, 500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars [QQ: Touchstone, 2012], 35.
(100) Jeremy Scahill, Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield (New York: Nation Books, 2013), 24.
(101) Comapre Peter Dale Scott: “Dick Cheney, John Yoo, and COG on 9/11”, lit.cit.
(102) Mayer, The Dark Side, 69; Gellman, Angler, 141-43. After the warrantless surveillance program was revealed in 2005, Bush justified it, linking it to “terrorist threats to the continuity of our government” (David E. Sanger, “Bush Says He Ordered Domestic Spying,” New York Times, December 18, 2005, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/18/politics/bush-says-he-ordered-domestic-spying.html.)
(103) Charlie Savage, Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy (2008), 43,
(104) Mayer, The Dark Side, 60.
(105) Kurt Eichenwald, 500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror War, 38. Yoo, unlike Cheney and Addington, used the common law term “prerogative” sparingly in his articles. Yet the effect of the War Council was to create, in Jane Mayer’s words, “a doctrine of presidential prerogative” (Mayer, The Dark Side, 47).
(106) Peter Dale Scott: “Dick Cheney, John Yoo, and COG on 9/11”, lit.cit. Scott refers to Gellman, Angler, 138.
(107) Andrew Bacevich, “Collateral Damage,” Washington Post, July 13, 2008, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/story/2008/07/11/ST2008071101354.html
(108) Peter Dale Scott: “American War Machine“, lit.cit., page Seite 213. Related to the National Emergencies Act, which is critical with respect to the COG measures, Gregory Korte wrote: “A post-9/11 state of national emergency declared by President George W. Bush — and renewed six times by President Obama — forms the legal basis for much of the war on terror. (…) In his six years in office, President Obama has declared nine emergencies, allowed one to expire and extended 22 emergencies enacted by his predecessors. Since 1976, when Congress passed the National Emergencies Act, presidents have declared at least 53 states of emergency — not counting disaster declarations for events such as tornadoes and floods, according to a USA TODAY review of presidential documents. Most of those emergencies remain in effect. Even as Congress has delegated emergency powers to the president, it has provided almost no oversight. The 1976 law requires each house of Congress to meet within six months of an emergency to vote it up or down. That’s never happened.” Compare Gregory Korte: “Special report: America’s perpetual state of emergency”, published at USA Today on October 23, 2014 under: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/10/22/president-obama-states-of-emergency/16851775/. See also Gregrory Korte: “White House: States of emergency are just formalities”, published at USA Today on April 9, 2015 under: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2015/04/09/pro-forma-states-of-national-emergency/25479553/, and Christopher Ingraham: “The United States is in a state of emergency – 30 of them, in fact”, published at The Washington Post on November 19, 2014 under: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2014/11/19/the-united-states-is-in-a-state-of-emergency-30-of-them-in-fact/.
(109) Peter Dale Scott: “Is the State of Emergency Superseding our Constitution?”, lit.cit.
(110) Peter Dale Scott: “American War Machine“, lit.cit., page 213.
(111) Compare. Francie Grace: “’Shadow Government‘ News To Congress”, published at CBS on March 1, 2002 under: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/shadow-government-news-to-congress/, and “Backup U.S. government in place”, published at CNN on March 1, 2002 under: http://edition.cnn.com/2002/US/03/01/bunker.government/index.html
(112) Compare Transcript of Peter De Fazio’s speech at U.S. Congress, “America needs a plan to provide for Continuity of Government”, delivered August 2, 2007, published under: http://fas.org/sgp/congress/2007/cog.html
(113) Compare Peter Dale Scott: “Congress, the Bush Administration and Continuity of Government Planning–The Showdown”, published at Global Research on May 1, 2008 under: http://www.globalresearch.ca/congress-the-bush-administration-and-continuity-of-government-planning-the-showdown/8864
(114) Peter Dale Scott: “Is the State of Emergency Superseding our Constitution?”, lit.cit.
(115) Compare Dana Priest und William Arkin: “Top Secret America – The Rise of the New American Security State”, Little Brown, New York, 2011, page 52.
(116) Lars Schall: “Plumbing the Depths of NSA’s Spying”, Interview with William Binney, published at Consortium News on November 12, 2014 under:
(117) A permanent violation against the Fourth Amendment exists for example in the fact that NSA records all telephone conversations and other digital communications in automated fashion, so that there is at all time access to that stored data. Compare James Corbett: “Russ Tice Reveals the Truth About NSA Spying”, published at Corbett Report on June 21, 2013 under: https://www.corbettreport.com/interview-685-russ-tice-reveals-the-truth-about-nsa-spying/. See furthermore the statements made by former FBI agent Tim Clemente at CNN in May 2013, in Glenn Greenwald: “Are all telephone calls recorded and accessible to the US government?”, published at The Guardian on May 4, 2013 under: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/may/04/telephone-calls-recorded-fbi-boston. In March 2017, FBI director James Comey stated at a conference on cybersecurity: „There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America; there is no place outside of judicial reach. Even our communications with our spouses, with our clergy members, with our attorneys are not absolutely private in America.” See Mary Kay Mallonee / Eugene Scott: “Comey: ‘There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America’”, published at CNN on March 9, 2017 under: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/08/politics/james-comey-privacy-cybersecurity/
(118) Erik Kirschbaum: “German Firm Probes Last-Minute World Trade Center Transactions“, published at Reuters on December 19, 2001, online archived at:
(120) Michael C. Ruppert: “Crossing the Rubicon“, lit.cit., page 244.
(121) Ibid., page 423.
(122) The exact zone of impact was floor 95.
(123) James Corbett: “9/11 Trillions – Follow The Money”, published by The Corbett Report on September 12, 2015 under: https://www.corbettreport.com/episode-308-911-trillions-follow-the-money/
(128) Ibid. James Corbett cites from Lars Schall: “Terror Trading 9/11”, published at LarsSchall.com on March 31, 2012 under: http://www.larsschall.com/2012/03/31/terror-trading-911/
(130) Michael C. Ruppert: “Crossing the Rubicon“, lit.cit., page 423.
(131) Compare Kevin Ryan: “The Nexus Between Terror Propaganda and Terrorism: Bremer and Jenkins”, published at Dig Within on July 21, 2012 under: https://digwithin.net/2012/07/21/nexus/
(132) Compare Lars Schall: “Insider trading 9/11 … the facts laid bare”, published at Asia Times on March 21, 2012 under: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/NC21Dj05.html
(133) “Memorandum for the Record – FBI Briefing on Trading”, August 18, 2003, page 11, online at: http://media.nara.gov/9-11/MFR/t-0148-911MFR-00269.pdf. Among “the assembled agents”, who spoke to the 9/11 Commission staffers, was Dennis Lormel, then-Chief of Terrorist Financing Operations Section at the FBI.
(134) Another U.S. Government agency that stated that no insider trading connected to September 11, 2001 took place, was the FBI. Dennis Lormel, then-Chief of the Terrorist Financing Operations Section (TFOS) at the FBI – which was initially started as Financial Review Group (FRG) – said in a briefing with 9/11 Commission staffers: “D. Lormel began the briefing by stating that the allegations of trading with foreknowledge of 9/11 surfaced very early after 9/11, and the FBI set up a team to look into the issue. He identified SA Bill Mackey as the team leader of the FBI’s team. In addition, he said that the FBI reached out to the SEC very early on, and began cooperating with the official heading the SEC’s inquiry, Director of Market Surveillance, Joe Cella. Lormel said he also raised the trading issue with the inter-agency Policy Coordinating Committee (PCC). As a result, the CIA was involved in looking for intelligence on any illicit trading. Lormel said the FBI raised the trading issue a number of times during its many meetings with various foreign law enforcement officials about the investigation of the 9/11 plot. In summary, Lormel said a thorough investigation was conducted, and there exists no evidence that any person traded any security with foreknowledge of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.” At the end, the memorandum of the briefing says: “The agents present stated that at present there is no open investigation related to the trading issue and that no case was ever referred for prosecution. As far as the FBI is concerned, there was no evidence ever found of any trading with advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks.” Compare Doug Greenburg: “Memorandum for the Record – FBI Biefing on Trading”, August 18, 2003, pp. 1-2 and 12. Dennis Lormel also said at another briefing with staffers of the 9/11 Commission “he has great confidence there was no ’insider trading’ in advance of 9/11 in the U.S. Intensive investigation did not reveal it. In the U.S. securities markets, trading cannot be invisible. The profitable trades would be evident to investigators – although the identity of the trader may not be (if, for example, he trades through off-shore shell companies). Here, all of the potentially suspicious trades were investigated and the trades explained. There were no blind alleys or dead ends which remain as question marks. Lormel said he is very confident that no illicit trading occurred overseas either. No evidence of such trading was ever presented.” Compare Doug Greenburg: “Memorandum for the Record – Interview of Dennis M. Lormel”, January 19, 2004, pp. 3-4.
(135) Lars Schall: “9/11: Currency joins insider trades claims“, published at Asia Times Online on September 13, 2013 under: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/GECON-01-130913.html
(136) James Corbett: “9/11 Trillions: Follow The Money”, published at The Corbett Report on September 12, 2015 under: https://www.corbettreport.com/episode-308-911-trillions-follow-the-money/
(137) James Corbett: “9/11 Suspects: Robert Baer”, published at The Corbett Report on September 9, 2016 under: https://www.corbettreport.com/911-suspects-robert-baer/
(138) Compare Lars Schall: “9/11 Terror Trading – 15 Years Later”, published at LarsSchall.com on September 10, 2016 under: http://www.larsschall.com/2016/09/10/911-terror-trading-15-years-later/