The governments of at least four countries—Germany, Egypt, Russia and Israel—gave specific warnings to the US of an impending terrorist attack in the months preceding September 11. These alerts, while fragmentary, not only combined to foretell the scale of the attack and its main target, but indicated that hijacked commercial aircraft would be the weapon of choice.
According to an article in one of the major daily newspapers in Germany, published just after the destruction of the World Trade Center, the German intelligence service BND told both US and Israeli intelligence agencies in June that Middle East terrorists were “planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture.”
The newspaper cited unnamed German intelligence sources, who said that the information came through Echelon, the US-controlled system of 120 satellites which monitors all worldwide electronic communications. Echelon is operated jointly by the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand, although its existence is not officially admitted.
The government of Egypt sent an urgent warning to the US June 13 2001, based on a video made by Osama bin Laden. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told the French newspaper Le Figaro that the warning was originally delivered just before the G-8 summit in Genoa. It was taken seriously enough that antiaircraft batteries were stationed around Christopher Columbus Airport in the Italian city.
According to Russian press reports, Russian intelligence notified the CIA during the summer that 25 terrorist pilots had been specifically training for suicide missions. In an interview September 15 with MSNBC, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed that he had ordered Russian intelligence in August to warn the US government “in the strongest possible terms” of imminent attacks on airports and government buildings.
The London-based Sunday Telegraph reported that the Israeli intelligence service Mossad had delivered a warning to the FBI and CIA in August that as many as 200 followers of Osama bin Laden were slipping into the country to prepare “a major assault on the United States.” The advisory spoke of a “large-scale target” in which Americans would be “very vulnerable.”
The Los Angeles Times cited unnamed US officials confirming this Mossad warning had been received. (Source: Sunday Telegraph, September 16, 2001, “Israeli security issued urgent warning to CIA of large-scale terror attacks,”
The Independent, a liberal daily in Great Britain, published an article asserting the US government “was warned repeatedly that a devastating attack on the United States was on its way.” The Independent cited an interview given by Osama bin Laden to a London-based Arabic-language newspaper, al-Quds al-Arabi, in late August. About the same time, tighter security measures were ordered at the World Trade Center, for unexplained reasons. (Source: Independent, September 17, 2001,)
Three incidents of attempted attacks on buildings using airplanes took place during 1994. The first, in April of that year, involved a Federal Express flight engineer who was facing dismissal. He boarded a DC-10 as a passenger and invaded the cockpit, planning to crash the plane into a company building in Memphis, but was overpowered by the crew. The second came that September, when a lone pilot crashed a stolen single-engine Cessna into a tree on the White House grounds just short of the president’s bedroom. The third was the December hijacking of an Air France flight in Algiers by the Armed Islamic Group. The hijackers had the plane land in Marseilles and ordered it loaded with 27 tons of fuel, three times the amount required to reach Paris. Their aim was to crash it into the Eiffel Tower. French special forces stormed the plane on the ground. (Source: New York Times, October 3, 2001)
In January 1995, Philippine police arrested and tortured Abdul Hakim Murad in a Manila apartment where bomb-making equipment was found. He told them of plans to plant timed explosive devices on 11 US airliners simultaneously, and to crash-land an airplane into CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. The preparations were so far advanced that Murad detailed the specific flights targeted, most of them trans-Pacific flights which would explode over the ocean.
Murad had attended flying schools in the United States, earned a commercial pilot’s license, and told investigators he was to fly the plane into CIA headquarters. Another Islamic fundamentalist was to fly a second plane into the Pentagon. (Source: Washington Post, September 23,)
Later that year, the alleged organizer of the first World Trade Center bombing, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, was captured in Pakistan, turned over to US agents and flown back to the United States for trial. On the flight, Yousef reportedly boasted to FBI agent Brian Parr and the other agents guarding him that he had narrowly missed several opportunities to blow up a dozen airliners on a single day over the Pacific and to carry out a kamikaze-type suicide attack on CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Yousef was referring to the same plot for which Abdul Hakim Murad had been arrested in the Philippines. Murad was extradited to the United States, where his testimony played a major role in Yousef’s trial and conviction.
Early in 1996, US officials had identified crop-dusters and suicide flights as potential terrorist weapons, and began taking elaborate steps to prevent an attack from the air during the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. Black Hawk helicopters and US Customs Service jets were deployed to intercept suspicious aircraft in the skies over the Olympic venues.
Agents monitored crop-duster flights within hundreds of miles of downtown Atlanta. Law enforcement agents also fanned out to regional airports throughout northern Georgia “to make sure nobody hijacked a small aircraft and tried to attack one of the venues,” said Woody Johnson, the FBI agent in charge of the Atlanta office at the time. From July 6 through the end of the Games on August 11, the FAA banned all aviation within a one-mile radius of the Olympic Village that housed the athletes.
It also ordered aircraft to stay at least three miles away from other sites beginning three hours before each event until three hours after each event ended. (Source: Los Angeles Times, November 17, 2001)
There is more but how much warning do you need
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Last edited by fodders on May 26 2002 at 18:59