Michael Moynihan and John Avlon discuss The Observer’s questionable story on European officials who has allegedly reached a secret deal with the NSA to turn over private data to the United States.
In response to 7 July neocon gabfest with Michael Moynihan, Josh Rogin, and John Avlon, all with the same media outlet Newsweek/Daily Beast. How balanced!
What a segment dull of outright lies and slander. For one thing, I never said the Israelis hit the USS Cole. I reported that a CIA source plus the Yemeni government made that charge. Here is the transcript of the 2005 report, as if facts mean anything to CNN. BTW, Ted Turner and a dozen former anchors and reporters feel CNN stinks. I'm waiting for the journalistic courtesy of the right to reply to this slander, but I'm not holding my breath.
Clearing the Baffles for 911
By Wayne Madsen, Oct. 2, 2005
A joint CIA-FBI computer system, code named “Alex,” was entirely focused on Bin Laden’s network. A unit at Langley, called “Station Alex,” was established in 1995. It began to detect that “Al Qaeda” was actually a diversified financial, drug smuggling, arms smuggling, and diamond smuggling network with tentacles in over 60 countries around the world. And, as with any large criminal syndicate, it had ties with legitimate companies such as banks, hawalahs, and religious charities, but also with criminal enterprises, including the Russian-Israeli, Latin American, and Balkan Mafias. This first step at coordinating the efforts of the CIA and FBI in combating Al Qaeda was successful. The FBI lead Alex agent was John O’Neill. His CIA counterpart was Michael Scheuer, who would later abruptly leave Langley upset that the threat posed by Al Qaeda was not being taken more seriously by the Bush administration. Scheuer’s worries mirrored those of O’Neill in the months before he was killed at the World Trade Center. As O’Neill got closer to those who would be behind 911, he found himself locked out of the Alex computer system. His access authorization had been pulled by higher authority. Eventually, Alex, like its counterpart, Able Danger, would be shut down by the Bush administration.
Foreign intelligence agencies would prove more useful than either the CIA or FBI in tracking leads on Al Qaeda and other terrorist threats against the West. The French, who had a long history of problems with Islamist terrorists dating from its Algerian War, had tremendous assets who had penetrated both the Taliban and Al Qaeda. A Confidential “French Eyes Only” DGSE intelligence document dated January 9, 2001, which was written about terrorist activities at the Al Qaeda training camp at Darounta, Afghanistan, bolsters what a CIA source reported about the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole. O’Neill was particularly interested in doing a DNA analysis of the hat worn by one of the so-called suicide bombers in the small boat that pulled alongside the Cole. He also wanted to conduct an explosives analysis of the mud beneath the ship.
The Cole was at THREATCON (threat condition) BRAVO, which means that its crew was on alert for suspicious approaching craft. One of the security detail aboard the Cole said he was under the impression that the small boat was a harbor services craft used to assist in garbage disposal and other routine operations.
The classified French intelligence report concludes that there was never a link between Al Qaeda units trained in Afghanistan for amphibious operations against ships and the attack on the Cole. This begs the question: if Al Qaeda did not bomb the Cole (as affirmed by the Yemeni prime minister), who did?
The following is from the French intelligence report:
“A group of Arab nationals, whose nationality is undetermined, were trained in amphibious operations at Darounta at the end of 1999 under the command of a Yemeni. In addition, in January 2000, a project to attack an American destroyer in Aden failed due to a lack of preparation. Finally, in February 2000, a group comprising 10 Yemenis had arrived in Darounta. Until May 2000, they were trained in using explosives supplied by Abou Khabab before they were sent to Jordan and Yemen.
No proof exists to connect these elements to the attack on the destroyer USS Cole perpetrated on October 12, 2000, but the American intelligence service has rapidly attempted information on Abou Khebab after the attack.
Finally, for what concerns France, it has been established that several French Islamists implicated in the attacks of 1995 and 1996 traveled to Afghan camps. Among them appear former Bosnian combatants like Joseph Jaime and David Vallat, and especially Farid Mellouk, who, in 1995, attended a training course in explosives at Darounta. Investigated by French police, he was arrested on 5 March 1998 in Belgium. A search resulted in the seizure of explosives, various types of detonators, potassium cyanide, and different written notes similar to the information in the course run at Darounta.
Excepting the Maghrebian enclave, the training given at Darounta, for a duration of about 2 months, principally concerned the making of explosives for the use by terrorists. This instruction, originally provided at Khalden camp in Paktia, was transferred during 1995, on the order of Ibu Cheikh, to Darounta after their break from the control of the special services of certain countries, notably the United States and United Kingdom.”
The classified report also gives some background on Abou Khebab: “Abou Khebab – Egyptian. He is identified in March 1999 by the CIA as the person in charge of training the Islamists associated with Osama bin Laden in the manufacture and use of chemicals and biological weapons. According to Egyptian intelligence, he was in Yemen in June 1999 and makes frequent trips to Pakistan."
Given O’Neill’s close ties to French intelligence, he would have been aware of the cold trail the French had linking Al Qaeda to the Cole bombing. He would have also been aware of the CIA’s bird dogging of Abou Khebab between Yemen and Pakistan. So, if the Yemeni prime minister and the French are correct, who bombed the Cole?
The former CIA agent who worked with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York and New Jersey stated that the USS Cole was hit by a specially-configured Popeye cruise missile launched from an Israeli Dolphin-class submarine. Israeli tests of the missile in May 2000 in the waters off Sri Lanka demonstrated it could hit a target 930 miles away. The ex-CIA agent also stated that Ambassador Bodine threw John O’Neill and his team out of Yemen lest their investigation began uncovering evidence that the Cole was not blown up by an explosive-laden boat but by an Israeli cruise missile.
The former CIA agent said the reason for the Israeli attack was to further galvanize U.S. public opinion against both Al Qaeda and the Democrats in the weeks prior to the 2000 presidential elections. The Bush-Cheney team could blame the Democrats for not taking the Al Qaeda threat seriously. However, this is exactly the tact the Bush administration took after taking office: failure to support the CIA-FBI’s Alex Station, pressuring John O’Neill and other agents like Minneapolis agent Coleen Rowley and others across the nation who detected activity involving Arab flight students, and pulling the plug on a major data mining operation directed against Al Qaeda code named Able Danger, which was being jointly run by the DIA and the Special Operations Command.
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Brian Stelter is the host of "Reliable Sources" and the senior media correspondent for CNN Worldwide. Before he joined CNN in November 2013, Stelter was a media reporter for The New York Times. He is the author of the New York Times best-seller "Top of the Morning."
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