June 12, 2002
Now we are told, belatedly, that the 9/11 attack on the World
Trade Center could have been detected beforehand. FBI Director Robert
S. Mueller III has admitted that mistakes were made, the "dots should
have been connected," situations should have been handled differently,
and "different actions should have been taken."
In response to these mea culpas, we are told that the Bureau will
be "overhauled," that we will have "a redesigned and refocused FBI,"
and that 400 agents will be reassigned. Of course, to do all this, we
are told that the FBI needs "more resources" (even though immediate
past Director Louis Freeh added 5,000 agents and 4,000 technicians).
But why hasn't anybody been fired? Where's the accountability?
FBI policy is clearly to "circle the wagons," as whistleblower Coleen
Rowley labeled it in her now-famous 15-page letter on May 21.
The warnings that could have alerted the FBI prior to 9/11 came
both from agent Kenneth Williams of the Phoenix office on July 10, and
in August from the Minneapolis FBI office which wanted to do a thorough
investigation of a suspicious character named Zacarias Moussaoui.
Incidentally, his case proves that racial/religious profiling works; he
was arrested not because he paid $8,000 in cash for flight lessons or
wanted to learn to fly a jumbo jet, but because his profile of a young
Arab Muslim male who didn't speak good English alerted the flight
school. (Hear that, Norman Mineta!)
When the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) mailed to a
Florida flight school approvals of student visas for hijackers Mohamed
Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi, six months after they died in the 9/11 World
Trade Towers attack, President Bush said he was angry. Wouldn't you
think that, within hours after the 9/11 tragedy, the FBI would have
collected whatever information INS had about the 19 hijackers, all of
whom entered the United States legally with a government-issued visa?
The inspector general of the Justice Department reported in May
that at least two of the hijackers should have been denied visas
because they were on a watch list of suspected terrorists.
INS's response to this embarrassment was to reassign several mid-
level INS bureaucrats, leaving the open-borders senior officials in
tighter control than ever. This gives new meaning to the cliche about
moving deck chairs around on the deck of the Titanic.
President Bush said in his State of the Union Address: "Thousands
of dangerous killers, schooled in the methods of murder, often
supported by outlaw regimes, are now spread throughout the world like
ticking time bombs, set to go off without warning." Why hasn't anybody
been fired for letting some of these characters into the United States,
and then for failing to track them?
The most shocking of the FBI's scandals was its failure to
discover the 21-year espionage of its own agent Robert Hanssen, despite
numerous telltale signs. Hanssen gave 6,000 pages of documents and
dozens of computer disks to the Russians, including "extraordinarily
sensitive intelligence operations."
In 1992, an FBI sharpshooter shot and killed Vicki Weaver as she
stood in her own cabin at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, holding her 10-month-old
baby in her arms. Compounding that outrage (for which the government
paid $3 million in damages to her husband) were the FBI's coverup and
allowing some implicated FBIers to retire on generous pensions.
Timothy McVeigh's execution had to be delayed when the FBI
suddenly discovered that it had failed to turn over to the defense and
prosecution more than 3,000 pages of documents relating to the Oklahoma
City bombing, as the law requires. Attorney General John Ashcroft
called this "human error," but no human paid any price for this
concealment of information from the jurors and the public.
Who in the FBI is responsible for the refusal even to look at the
considerable evidence about a Middle East connection to the Oklahoma
City bombing? And who is responsible for the notorious
unprofessionalism in the FBI's crime lab?
The FBI's failure to protect our most sensitive military secrets
from Chinese espionage was exacerbated by its total bungling of the Wen
Ho Lee case. FBI misbehavior reached new heights of arrogance with its
unfair targeting of security guard Richard Jewell at the 1996 Olympics
Another "terrible mistake" (Bill Clinton's words) was the
incineration of 80 Branch Davidians, including 20 children, most of
them younger than 10, at Waco in April 1993. Even if we accept the
government's story that David Koresh started the fire (which is highly
debatable), the government was clearly negligent in using military
tanks against civilians while failing to protect the children.
Don't ever forget that the FBI turned over hundreds of secret
files to the White House in 1993, enabling Bill and Hillary Clinton to
go after their adversaries. The FBI has allocated enormous resources
to political, environmental and regulatory investigations and
prosecutions while displaying a peculiar lack of interest in foreign-
Again and again, the public is brushed off with the comment that
"mistakes" were made (note the passive tense), and a demand to give the
FBI increased powers and a bigger budget. We want to know who were the
mistake-makers and when they are going to be fired.