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The September 11th "Cover Story" For Taking The War On Terrorism Into Iraq (Part 1)

"The CIA is the biggest cover story of them all", the late Colonel Fletcher Prouty told me in a conversation at his home in Alexandria, Va. in 1996. "It is the National Security Agency (NSA) that is the most powerful of all of the agencies dealing with intelligence. The CIA gets all of the attention while the NSA does the work, with the most powerful equipment." Col. Prouty added.

Colonel Prouty should know, having had access and an inside view of the workings of the United States intelligence community. While many so-called experts on the intelligence community speak from limited knowledge, Colonel Prouty was on the point, in many instances, responsible for carrying out unspeakable activities. For many years, he operated at the very nexus of the military-industrial complex. He was most famous, in the years just prior to his death, for writing a critical part of the script for Oliver Stone's movie JFK.

In 1994 Colonel Prouty wrote me a letter that explained his unique point of view while working within the United States government as well as a critical aspect to the work of some others, in the government, that I am convinced has a relevance to the efforts by some to use the events of September 11th to, among other things, justify an invasion of Iraq. Colonel Prouty focused on the subject of the assassination of President Kennedy, in the referred to portion of the letter that he wrote to me. He wrote:

" will recall that I view the whole assassination process in a much different way than others.

From my experience and point of view the whole thing was an elaborately planned conspiracy to accomplish a Coup d'etat. To do so it was necessary to kill JFK, among other things. This is why there has never been any prosecution or trial for anyone since that crime. A coup d'etat of such dimensions is carefully planned, is the consensus decision of many powerful people, and then the work of pure professionals who are highly skilled.

For such a plan, the most important part is the "Cover Story." The murder took a bit of deft work and then a terrific load of cover story all the way from Oswald to books and media collaboration and the masterful scenario of the Warren Commission Report. We live with a 30-year old story today.

When I was the Chief of Special Operations in the Pentagon during the years 1955-1964, I worked at three levels, Air Force, Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In all cases wherever my office was there would be a "Cover and Deception" office nearby. I had the operations to run. They had the big job of covering the operation. That's work, and effective."

Nowhere have Colonel Prouty's words rung any truer to me, than in the last few weeks of controversy surrounding "what did the FBI and CIA know and when?" To me, the constant harping on the CIA and FBI coupled with virtually no attention placed on the NSA has persuaded me to believe that a massive misdirection play is in the works, using the growing distrust of both major government agencies as a cover to serve the interests of many within the military-industrial complex who are pressing President Bush to invade Iraq. It is difficult for anyone who has undertaken a half-way decent study of the United States intelligence community to accept on face-value that the single-minded attention placed on the CIA and FBI, by Congress, the Bush administration (in public), and the mainstream media is appropriate. As Colonel Prouty told me, the NSA is much more powerful in its capabilities than both the CIA and the FBI, yet, scant attention in the aftermath of September 11th has been devoted to the awesome capabilities and accomplishments of the NSA, which included intimate knowledge of Ossama Bin Laden's communications and more. Any attempt to "connect the dots" would have to include the work of the agency most familiar with Bin Laden, one would think.

The peculiarity of the lack of focus on the NSA naturally caught the eye of James Bamford, author of Body of Secrets, his 600-plus page magnum opus with the subtitle, "Anatomy Of The Ultra-Secret National Security Agency." In a June 4th op-ed for the Houston Chronicle Mr. Bamford finally raised the subject in public that I raised in the privacy of my own mind and on our weekly "Make It Plain" segment on satellite radio. Mr. Bamford wrote:

Amid all the questions about possible intelligence failures at the CIA and FBI related to Sept. 11, one spy group -- the National Security Agency -- has largely escaped the public spotlight. But a congressional joint intelligence committee, which is examining those questions in closed hearings that began Tuesday, will give particular attention to missed opportunities at the secretive NSA -- the largest of all such agencies and the one specifically created to warn America of surprise attack at home.

The NSA, which intercepts massive amounts of signals intelligence from all over the world, didn't know that some of the terrorists had set up shop literally under its nose. It's now clear that NSA officials passed within feet of the terrorists who were on their way to blow up the Pentagon. An al-Qaida cell had improbably chosen to live in Laurel, the Maryland bedroom community just outside the NSA's gates, while they planned their attack.

Contrary to Mr. Bamford's expectations, the attention given to the National Security Agency was minimal in its public nature. Fortunately, in his book, published in 2001, Mr. Bamford describes in more detail the extent to which the NSA was acquainted with Ossama Bin Laden:

According to information obtained for Body Of Secrets, NSA regularly listens to unencrypted calls from suspected terrorist Ossama Bin laden, in hiding in Afghanistan. Bin Laden uses a portable INMARSAT phone that transmits and receives calls over spacecraft owned by the International Maritime Satellite Organization. This is the same system used by most ships and some people who travel to remote locations, such as oil explorers. According to intelligence officials, Bin Laden is aware that the United States can eavesdrop on his international communications, but he does not seem to care. To impress cleared visitors, NSA analysts occasionally play audiotapes of Bin Laden talking to his mother over an INMARSAT connection.

Why all of the attention on the CIA and FBI, when it is the NSA which had been listening to Bin Laden's conversations; has the most power of all government agencies to track international communications and travels of terrorist suspects; and was the government agency next door to Laurel, Maryland where the alleged terrorists who flew into the Pentagon lived? Anyone serious about who knew what and when, would place the NSA at the top of the list of agencies to be investigated and questioned.

Unless, there is something to be gained by not connecting the real September 11 dots, just yet...

End Of Part 1

Cedric Muhammad

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

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