Four terrorists were known to military in 2000
September 11 victims? relatives speak out on suppressed intelligence
By Joanne Laurier
World Socialist Web Site
13 August 2005
The revelation earlier this week that an American military intelligence unit had identified four September 11 hijackers as Al Qaeda operatives working in the US more than a year before the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, and that this information was never passed on to the FBI, has shocked and angered relatives of some of the more than 3,000 victims.
After initial attempts to deny the accuracy of the story failed, a spokesman for the September 11 commission – the body that conducted the official inquiry into the 9/11 events?acknowledged Wednesday that members of its staff were informed by the “Able Danger? intelligence unit that as early as the summer of 2000, Mohammad Atta, the alleged lead hijacker, had been identified as a possible terrorist suspect operating in the US.
The argument that the failure to communicate the information about Atta and his associates to the FBI was simply one more instance of “intelligence failure? is absurd. It is the least likely explanation. Far more plausible, considering the body of evidence that suggests a “stand-down? by the military-intelligence apparatus in 2000-2001, is that highly placed individuals in the military and the government believed that some sort of terrorist attack was coming in the US and permitted it to take place. This was done in the hope that such an outrage would shift public opinion and make possible the implementation of policies both at home and abroad long desired by the extreme right, including military aggression against Iraq and sharp attacks on constitutionally protected rights in the US.
In response to this week’s extraordinary revelations, a group of widows of victims of the terror attacks, organized in the September 11th Advocates, issued a statement that reads in part:
“Nearly four years since the attacks of 9/11, we are tired of our nation’s leaders (elected and appointed officials from both political parties) not being held accountable for their actions or inactions?particularly when it comes to fighting the “ongoing war against terrorism.”
?[T]he Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Agency, and the National Security Council … are the very same agencies and individuals that are charged with keeping us safe from the terrorists today. Yet, a close inspection of the failures made by these individuals reveals that these same individuals had ample opportunity to unravel the 9/11 plot prior to the 9/11 attacks and failed to do so. In fact, a fair reading of these occurrences could lead one to believe that some of these individual actions or inactions actually contributed to the “catastrophic success” of the 9/11 attacks.
“The revelation of this information [about Atta and the others] demands answers that are forthcoming, clear, and concise. The 9/11 attacks could have and should have been prevented. To date, not one individual has been held accountable for this nation’s failure to prevent the 9/11 attacks. Thus, the 9/11 Commission Report is incomplete and illusory.
“As 9/11 widows who fought tirelessly for the creation of the 9/11 Commission, we are wholly disappointed to learn that the Commission’s Final Report is a hollow failure…. We find this latest revelation of the Commission’s failure to adequately and aggressively pursue the complete truth surrounding 9/11 absolutely shameful.”
The WSWS spoke this week with Bob McIlvaine, a former teacher from Oreland, Pennsylvania, in suburban Philadelphia, who lost his son, Robert McIlvaine, when the World Trade Center was brought down on September 11. McIlvaine has been active among relatives of 9/11 victims, campaigning tirelessly for the full truth to be brought out. He spoke about his son and his response to the latest revelations.
McIlvaine told this reporter: “I lost my son Robert on September 11. He had graduated from Princeton and had recently been hired by Merrill Lynch. Merrill Lynch was not in the World Trade Center, but he was sent over there to arrange a seminar. We did not know that he was going to be there, but when he didn’t answer his cell phone, we got worried. We found out that he had been in one of the towers from his fianc