Public officials who “failed” to protect the United States“ on 9/11, were promoted
by Elias Davidsson
According to the official version of 9/11, the United States was successfully attacked on 9/11 by 19 amateur terrorists, who only used simple knives and relied on their luck to defeat the formidable military and intelligence machinery of the sole remaining super-power. In order to lend credibility to this legend, journalists were induced to promote the view that government agencies acted incompetently, were too bureaucratic or that the military lacked the imagination to expect such attacks. If that had been the case, one would have expected incompetent public officials to be demoted, fired or even punished for their gross failures.
Senator Charles Grassley expressed a widespread astonishment when he said „I can’t think of a single person being held accountable anywhere in government for what went on and what went wrong prior to Sept. 11. It seems that nobody in government makes any mistakes anymore.“1 Apparently not one single individual within the CIA, FBI, FAA, NORAD and NSA has been reprimanded, punished, or fired for mistakes or negligence regarding the events of 9/11.
Less known is that a number of officials who clearly ‚failed‘ to prevent the attacks, were given awards or were promoted. A Justice Department official commented that the FBI, „basically promoted the exact same people who have presided over the… failure.“2
While such promotions do not make any sense to those who consider the conduct of these individuals as failures, they make sense if one assumes that the silence of these individuals had to be bought. Below is a sample of the most notorious promotions and awards.
General Richard B. Myers, acting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 9/11: promoted
General Richard Myers was the acting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) during the September 11th attacks because the Joint Chief of Staff General Henry Shelton was en route to Europe.3 In his capacity as the acting chairman of the JCS, he was on that day the top military official of the United States.
According to Myers he sat during the events in a meeting on Capitol Hill with Senator Max Cleland. They were discussing his „confirmation hearing to become [the next] chairman [of the JCS]“. Myers said that before entering the Senator’s office, he saw a TV report of a plane crash into the WTC’s North Tower: „They thought it was a small plane or something like that“ he said, trying to explain his initial lack of concern.4 From here on, accounts regarding Myers‘ movements diverge.
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on September 13, 2001, Myers stated, „[A]fter the second tower was hit, I spoke to the commander of NORAD, General Eberhart. And at that point, I think the decision was at that point to start launching aircraft.“5 Apparently he was still with Cleland at 9:37 when the Pentagon was hit.6 In an interview with military media, weeks after 9/11, Myers claimed, „Nobody informed us“ when the second tower was hit, „But when we came out [of our meeting], that was obvious.“7
In 2002 the story began to change. Myers told NBC News, „[S]omewhere in the middle of that meeting [with Cleland], they came in and said the second tower has been hit… and I think that’s when we figured out something–that America or at least the World Trade Center is under attack.“ He added, „And then I left the office,“ and, added that NORAD Commander Ralph Eberhart then called him.8 In 2003 he told CNN, „I was on Capitol Hill on 9/11 (…) And we saw the events — I was meeting with a senator, getting ready for confirmation hearings from this particular job when 9/11 happened. And when the second target was hit, we knew something was up, so we rushed back to the Pentagon.“9 Max Cleland equally revised his earlier testimony. In a speech he held in 2003 he said: “ „I was in my office in the Senate discussing the future of American defenses, particularly against worldwide terrorism, with the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Meyers. The first plane had already hit the World Trade Center and Gen. Meyers bolted from his seat. We rushed into an adjoining office as we saw on TV the second plane slam into the second tower. Gen. Myers rushed out of my office, headed for the Pentagon. At that moment, the Pentagon was hit.“10 Myers repeated his revisionist version when addressing the Council on Foreign Relations in 200611 and added some flourishes that he did not mention earlier:
I was on the–on Capitol Hill doing some–doing an in-call, a courtesy call with a senator. I had been nominated for the job of chairman and–but had not had the confirmation hearing. So I was over there with Senator Max Cleland from Georgia. And he said, „I make a very good tea. So don’t have anything to drink, and we’ll make tea, and we’ll have this little conversation about national security.“ And as I walked into his suite, it was a little before 9:00, you know, and the first tower had been struck but not the second. And we’re standing around saying, „What in the world happened?“ I remember the day being beautiful. I said, „How could a pilot be that stupid, to hit a tower? I mean, what“–but then you think, „Well, whatever.“
And so we walked into the meeting, and then the second tower was hit shortly thereafter. The meeting was over very quickly. And on the way out, the security–I talked to General Eberhart at NORAD, and we talked about what he was doing to react to all the hijack codes that were in the system. There were several other hijack codes. We had the United flight over Pennsylvania and so forth. And he said, „The decision I’m going to make is, we’re going to land everybody, and we’ll sort it out when we get them on the ground.“ And then I made my way out of the building, trying to head back to the Pentagon when we got the–my security guy got the call the Pentagon had been hit.
Contradicting both Cleland and Myers, counterterrorism „tsar“ Richard Clarke claimed that when he joined a video teleconference shortly after the time of the second crash (that is after 9:03 a.m.), he saw Myers on screen, indicating that Myers was at the Pentagon already at that time rather than on Capitol Hill12
For his failure to direct the defense of the United States on 9/11 Myers was promoted to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
He took officially his position on October 1, 2001.13 He then served as the principal military advisor to the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Council during the earliest stages of the War on Terror, including the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. When he retired on November 9, 2005, Myers received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, inter alia for flying some 600 combat hours in Vietnam and playing a „central role in our Nation’s defense“.14 In 2006 he joined the board of directors of Northrop Grumman Corporation, United Technologies Corporation and AON Corporation.15
A couple of young Americans confronted Richard B. Myers at a lecture by reminding the audience that he did not tell the truth about his whereabouts on 9/11. They were immediately attacked by civilian-clad security personnel and forcibly removed from the hall for merely making such comments.16
Ralph Eberhart, in charge of NORAD on 9/11: promoted
General Ralph Edward Eberhart was Commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and of the United States Northern Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. He was in charge of NORAD on 9/11.
When asked who was responsible for coordinating the multiple war games running on the morning of September 11, 2001, General Ralph E Eberhart, the man in charge of NORAD on the morning in question replied,
Tim Roemer was the only Commissioner to pose a question about military exercises running on the morning of 9/11. He opened by making reference to an 8:38 FAA communication to NEADS regarding a hijacked aircraft headed to New York. The response from NEADS was, „Is this real world or an exercise?“ FAA response was, „No, this is not an exercise, not a test.“
Roemer then asked General Eberhart:
My question is, you were postured for an exercise against the former Soviet Union. Did that help or hurt? Did that help in terms of were more people prepared? Did you have more people ready? Were more fighters fueled with more fuel? Or did this hurt in terms of people thinking, „No, there’s no possibility that this is real world; we’re engaged in an exercise,“ and delay things?
Sir, my belief is that it helped because of the manning, because of the focus, because the crews – they have to be airborne in 15 minutes and that morning, because of the exercise, they were airborne in six or eight minutes. And so I believe that focus helped.
If the war games helped „because of the focus,“ why would General Eberhart be reluctant to go on record regarding the issue of just who was the central person coordinating that focus? Was the General himself, the man who headed NORAD that very morning, in charge of coordinating the multiple war games on 9/11?
From the moment Generals Myers, Eberhart, and Arnold were sworn in to testify, they continually stated that NORAD’s „military posture on 9/11, by law, by policy and in practice was focused on responding to external threats, threats originating outside of our borders“ (a quotation from General Myers sworn testimony).
In response to General Myers‘ statement regarding NORAD’s legal mission, Commissioner Gorelick noted that it includes control of the airspace above the domestic U.S. (the Continental United States, or CONUS). She read the mandate aloud: „Providing surveillance & control of the airspace of Canada and the United States.“ Myers actually had the nerve to attempt to use Posse Comitatus as a rationale for absolving the Air Force of responsibility for what happened on 9/11.
On a day in which routine aircraft interception procedures should have prevented 9/11 from even happening, the attacks were mirrored in military drills.17 NORAD commander-in-Chief Ralph Eberhart was asked by the 9/11 Commission if these war games „helped“ response to the 9/11 attacks and responded nonsensically, „sir, my belief is that it helped because of the manning, because of the focus, because the crews―they have to be airborne in 15 minutes and that morning, because of the exercise, they were airborne in six or eight minutes. And so I believe that focus helped.“ This was a double lie. First, aircraft were not dispatched at this speed. Secondly, the war games moved air defenses away from New York and Washington to Alaska, Iceland and other remote areas and, in addition, by the injection of phony blips on controllers‘ radars, created general confusion. Like Richard Myers, Eberhart was shortly after 9/11 „nominated by President Bush to command the… U.S. Northern Command,“18 a new creation of the Department of Defense which Eberhart said was „needed“ after the attacks.
Brigadier General Montague Winfield: promoted
In his testimony before the 9/11 Commission on June 17, 2004, Captain Charles J Leidig explained that in August 2001 he qualified to stand watch as the Deputy Director for Operations in the National Military Command Center (NMCC). He said that on „10 September 1001, Brigadier General Winfield, U.S. Army, asked that I stand a portion of his duty as Deputy Director of Operations, NMCC, on the following day. I agreed and relieved Brigadier General Winfield at 0830 on 11 September 2001″19
Brigadier General Winfield reassumed his responsibilities probably around 10:30, as can be adduced from the following exchange in the public hearing held on June 17, 2004:
Mr. Ben-Veniste: And do you recall at some point — we have it at 10:37 — that the vice president of the United States reported on that call that there was an anonymous threat against Air Force One, using the then-code name Angel, that it was to be the next target? Do you recall that, sir?
Charles J Leidig: Sir, I think that occurred right after I was relieved on the watch by General Winfield. Right after we resolved what was going on with United 93, around that time General Winfield took over. So I’m familiar because I’ve looked at the transcript, but I wasn’t on the conference at that time.20
Winfield’s absence during exactly the two critical hours of the attack was significant because the NMCC was responsible for coordinating information on the 9/11 attack. In May of 2003, Winfield was nominated by President Bush for promotion to the rank of major general.21
It was not revealed why Winfield asked his Deputy to replace him precisely between 8:30 and 10:00 a.m. on the morning of 9/11. The 9/11 Commission did not deem it necessary to inquire about the reason.
In May, 2003 Bush nominated Brigadier General Matague Winfield for promotion to the two-star rank of Major General and Captain Charles Leidig has recently been nominated by the President to the two-star rank of Navy Admiral.
Marion (Spike) Bowman: promoted
FBI director Robert Mueller awarded Bowman with a presidential citation and cash bonus of about 20 percent of his salary. Bowman, who was head of the FBI’s National Security Law Unit, was given an award for „exceptional performance“ after a 9/11 Congressional Inquiry report stated that his unit gave Minneapolis FBI agents „inexcusably confused and inaccurate information“ that was „patently false.“ As well, Bowman’s unit „blocked an urgent request by FBI agents to begin searching for Khalid Almihdhar after his name was put on a watch list.“
Michael Maltbie, the supervisor handling the case at the FBI’s Radical Fundamentalist Unit – promoted
According to FBI Agent Harry Samit, he „wrote FBI headquarters about 70 memos about Moussaoui’s likely terrorist plans between his arrest on Aug. 16 and Sept. 11, all to no avail.“ He was warned by his supervisor Michael Maltbie that pursuing this could be „bad for his career“, and that he should not pursue this to „preserve the existence of his advancement potential“ in the FBI. Instead of being reprimanded for blocking these warnings, Michael Maltbie was promoted to the Joint Terrorism Task Force at the FBI’s Cleveland office after 9/11.
Mike Feghali – promoted
When linguist Sibel Edmonds showed up for her first day of work at the FBI, a week after 9/11, she was offered cookies filled with dates. She knew the dessert is customarily served in the Middle East at celebrations, and asked therefore what the happy occasion was. To her shock, she was told the Arab linguists were celebrating the 9/11 attacks. She found out later that it was the wife of her supervisor, Mike Feghali, who helped organize the office party and brought the cookies. At the time her supervisor, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Lebanon, was in charge of FBI’s Turkish and Farsi desks. According to Ms. Edmonds, Feghali told her to „take long breaks, to slow down translations, and to simply say ’no‘ to those field agents calling us to beg for speedy translations so they could go on with their investigations and interrogations of those they had detained“. She added: „My supervisor went as far as getting into my computer and deleting almost completed work so that I had to go back and start all over again.“ Ms. Edmonds, who reported to the 9/11 Commission numerous irregular practices within the translation unit of the FBI, including a case of spying, was punished with dismissal and has been gagged by the Department of Justice. Mike Feghali has since been promoted to the more important Arabic desk, a key position in the interception and translation of messages from the Arabic world.
Richard Blee – promoted
Blee, who worked in Algeria as a CIA case officer in the early 90s, at the time of the regime’s horrendous policies of massacres and assassinations, was appointed in 1999 as the chief of the Alec Station, designated as the CIA’s „bin Laden unit“, whatever that means. His unit is said to have surveilled an important al-Qaeda meeting in Malaysia in 2000, including photographing its participants. Yet, his unit failed to make a report of this surveillance operation and mention that one of the participants, Khalid Almihdhar, later designated as one of the 9/11 hijackers, already possessed a U.S. entry visa. According to Bamford, an FBI official familiar with the case said, „[The CIA] purposely hid [Almihdhar] from the FBI, purposely refused to tell the bureau…The thing was, they didn’t want John O’Neill and the FBI running over their case. And that’s why September 11 happened…They have blood on their hands.“ While the explanation given by this unidentified FBI official for this failure to inform is highly speculative, others have corroborated the failure by the Blee’s unit to inform his superiors and the FBI about the identities of those of participated in the Malaysia meeting. The Alec Station was then merged into a larger group within the Counter Terrorism Center (CTC) of the CIA and Blee was promoted to the head of that section.
Richard Blee was one of the few persons who apparently knew weeks before 9/11 that a „spectatular“ attack „designed to inflict mass casualties“ will be carried out „in the coming weeks.“ He evidently ascribed this attack to Osama bin Laden’s organisation. This foreknowledge, coupled with the evidence that Osama bin Laden’s organisation had nothing to do with 9/11, suggests that Blee was among those few who were informed about the impending attacks and whose role was to leak these warnings to his superiors (who disregarded his frantic warnings).
After Ahmed Shah Massoud, the leader of the Afghan Northern Alliance was assassinated on September 9, 2001, it was Richard Blee who was the first person contacted by Northern Alliance leader Amrullah Saleh. Richard Blee – who failed to report what he knew about one of the later alleged hijackers – was made on December 9, 2001 the CIA’s new station chief in Kabul, replacing Gary Berntsen. Berntsen could not understand the logic behind this replacement, „in the middle of the most important battle of the war“, namely when the battle of Tora Bora just began. Under the eyes of Richard Blee, Osama bin Laden was allowed to escape Afghanistan. Blee was also instrumental in protecting Al Qaeda assets from FBI interrogations.
Ben Sliney, in charge of FAA on 9/11–Promoted
9/11 was Ben Sliney’s first day on the job as National Operations Manager, described as „the chess master of the air traffic system.“ He successfully accomplished the landing of all commercials aircraft–an unprecedented event carried out „flawlessly“. As David Ray Griffin observes, „[is] it plausible that FAA personnel, on the same day that they carried out an unprecedented task so flawlessly, would have failed so miserably with a task that they, decade after decade, had been performing routinely?“ The interception of aircraft was a routine protocol as noted previously. Perhaps it was a bad day to start his job, but Sliney was not reprimanded and was later promoted.
1. Jake Tapper, Senate Report: FBI still unprepared, Salon, March 4, 2003, at http://www.salon.com/2003/03/04/fbi_6/
2. Romesh Ratnesar and Timothy J. Burger, The FBI: Does it want to be fixed? Time Magazine, December 22, 2002, at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101021230-402001,00.html
4. Myers and Sept. 11: „We hadn’t thought about this“, American Forces Press Service, October 23, 2001, at http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=44621. Author’s document #553
5. Senate Armed Services Committee, General Myers Confirmation Hearing, September 13, 2001, at http://www.cogsci.uci.edu/~ddhoff/Myers.html, cached at http://emperors-clothes.com/9-11backups/mycon.htm
6. CNN, Larry King interviews Max Cleland, November 20, 2001, at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0111/20/lkl.00.html
7. Armed Forces Radio and Television Service, Interview with Richard B. Myers, October 17, 2001, at http://web.archive.org/web/20011118060728/http://www.dtic.mil/jcs/chairman/AFRTS_Interview.htm; and American Forces Press Service, Interview with Richard B. Myers, October 23, 2001, at http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=44621
8. MSNBC, September 11, 2001 (not available anymore)
9. CNN, Interview with Richard B. Myers, April 15, 2003, at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0304/15/lkl.00.html
10. Tom Baxter and Jim Galloway, Max returns, with fire in his eyes, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 16, 2003, at http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/insider/0603/061603.html
11. History Makers Series: General Richard B. Myers, Council on Foreign Relatioins, June 29, 2006, at http://www.cfr.org/defensehomeland-security/history-makers-series-general-richard-b-myers-us-air-force-retired-former-chairman-joint-chiefs-staff-rush-transcript-federal-news-service-inc/p11062
12. Richard A. Clarke, Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror, pp. 1-3
13. Wikipedia on Richard B. Myers
16. WeAreChangeLA confronts 9-11 Criminal General Richard Myers, Part I, June 7, 2009, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0y3SeRpQejM
17. Philip Shenon and David Johnson, supra n. 64
18. Gerry J. Gilmore, Eberhart To Head U.S. Northern Command, American Forces Press Service, May 8, 2002, at http://www.spacedaily.com/news/terrorwar-02i.html
19. Emphasis added. http://www.9-11commission.gov/hearings/hearing12/leidig_statement.pdf
20. 9/11 Commission, 12th Hearing, June 17, 2004. At http://www.9-11commission.gov/archive/hearing12/9-11Commission_Hearing_2004-06-17.htm
21. US Department of Defense, News Release, May 13, 2003 at http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=3817