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The Commission is also mandated to provide recommendations designed to guard against future attacks. We present the narrative of this report and the recommendations that flow from it to the President of the United States, the United States Congress, and the American people for their consideration.
At 8:46 on the morning of September 11, 2001, the United States became a nation transformed. An airliner traveling at hundreds of miles per hour and carrying some 10,000 gallons of jet fuel plowed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. This immeasurable pain was inflicted by 19 young Arabs acting at the behest of Islamist extremists headquartered in distant Afghanistan. In February 1993, a group led by Ramzi Yousef tried to bring down the World Trade Center with a truck bomb. In August 1998, Bin Ladin's group, al Qaeda, carried out near-simultaneous truck bomb attacks on the U.S.
In December 1999, Jordanian police foiled a plot to bomb hotels and other sites frequented by American tourists, and a U.S.
In October 2000, an al Qaeda team in Aden, Yemen, used a motorboat filled with explosives to blow a hole in the side of a destroyer, the USS Cole, almost sinking the vessel and killing 17 American sailors. Who is this enemy that created an organization capable of inflicting such horrific damage on the United States? In the 1980s, young Muslims from around the world went to Afghanistan to join as volunteers in a jihad (or holy struggle) against the Soviet Union. The history, culture, and body of beliefs from which Bin Ladin shapes and spreads his message are largely unknown to many Americans. Bin Ladin also stresses grievances against the United States widely shared in the Muslim world. Upon this political and ideological foundation, Bin Ladin built over the course of a decade a dynamic and lethal organization.
After launching cruise missile strikes against al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan and Sudan in retaliation for the embassy bombings, the Clinton administration applied diplomatic pressure to try to persuade the Taliban regime in Afghanistan to expel Bin Ladin.
In January 2000, the intense intelligence effort glimpsed and then lost sight of two operatives destined for the "planes operation." Spotted in Kuala Lumpur, the pair were lost passing through Bangkok. Because these two al Qaeda operatives had spent little time in the West and spoke little, if any, English, it is plausible that they or KSM would have tried to identify, in advance, a friendly contact in the United States. We do know that soon after arriving in California, the two al Qaeda operatives sought out and found a group of ideologically like-minded Muslims with roots in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, individuals mainly associated with a young Yemeni and others who attended a mosque in San Diego. By the summer of 2000, three of the four Hamburg cell members had arrived on the East Coast of the United States and had begun pilot training.
During 2000, President Bill Clinton and his advisers renewed diplomatic efforts to get Bin Ladin expelled from Afghanistan. After the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole, evidence accumulated that it had been launched by al Qaeda operatives, but without confirmation that Bin Ladin had given the order. The transition to the new Bush administration in late 2000 and early 2001 took place with the Cole issue still pending. Bin Ladin's inference may well have been that attacks, at least at the level of the Cole, were risk free. The Bush administration began developing a new strategy with the stated goal of eliminating the al Qaeda threat within three to five years.
Although Bin Ladin was determined to strike in the United States, as President Clinton had been told and President Bush was reminded in a Presidential Daily Brief article briefed to him in August 2001, the specific threat information pointed overseas. While the United States continued disruption efforts around the world, its emerging strategy to eliminate the al Qaeda threat was to include an enlarged covert action program in Afghanistan, as well as diplomatic strategies for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Though the "planes operation" was progressing, the plotters had problems of their own in 2001. As final preparations were under way during the summer of 2001, dissent emerged among al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan over whether to proceed.
The day began with the 19 hijackers getting through a security checkpoint system that they had evidently analyzed and knew how to defeat. What ensued was a hurried attempt to improvise a defense by civilians who had never handled a hijacked aircraft that attempted to disappear, and by a military unprepared for the transformation of commercial aircraft into weapons of mass destruction.
A shootdown authorization was not communicated to the NORAD air defense sector until 28 minutes after United 93 had crashed in Pennsylvania.
In New York City, the Fire Department of New York, the New York Police Department, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the building employees, and the occupants of the buildings did their best to cope with the effects of almost unimaginable events-unfolding furiously over 102 minutes.
At the Pentagon, while there were also problems of command and control, the emergency response was generally effective.
Nonetheless, there were specific points of vulnerability in the plot and opportunities to disrupt it. Since the plotters were flexible and resourceful, we cannot know whether any single step or series of steps would have defeated them. There were also broader management issues with respect to how top leaders set priorities and allocated resources.
From 1999 through early 2001, the United States pressed the United Arab Emirates, one of the Taliban's only travel and financial outlets to the outside world, to break off ties and enforce sanctions, especially those related to air travel to Afghanistan.
In response to the request of policymakers, the military prepared an array of limited strike options for attacking Bin Ladin and his organization from May 1998 onward. Following the August 20, 1998, missile strikes on al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan and Sudan, both senior military officials and policymakers placed great emphasis on actionable intelligence as the key factor in recommending or deciding to launch military action against Bin Ladin and his organization.
The Director of Central Intelligence, policymakers, and military officials expressed frustration with the lack of actionable intelligence. Many dedicated officers worked day and night for years to piece together the growing body of evidence on al Qaeda and to understand the threats.
From the time of the first World Trade Center attack in 1993, FBI and Department of Justice leadership in Washington and New York became increasingly concerned about the terrorist threat from Islamist extremists to U.S.
The FBI attempted several reform efforts aimed at strengthening its ability to prevent such attacks, but these reform efforts failed to implement organization-wide institutional change. There were opportunities for intelligence and law enforcement to exploit al Qaeda's travel vulnerabilities. Neither the State Department's consular officers nor the Immigration and Naturalization Service's inspectors and agents were ever considered full partners in a national counterterrorism effort.
Hijackers studied publicly available materials on the aviation security system and used items that had less metal content than a handgun and were most likely permissible. The civilian and military defenders of the nation's airspace-FAA and NORAD-were unprepared for the attacks launched against them. Effective decisionmaking in New York was hampered by problems in command and control and in internal communications. The Congress, like the executive branch, responded slowly to the rise of transnational terrorism as a threat to national security.
So long as oversight is undermined by current congressional rules and resolutions, we believe the American people will not get the security they want and need. The problem is that al Qaeda represents an ideological movement, not a finite group of people.
The enemy is not just "terrorism." It is the threat posed specifically by Islamist terrorism, by Bin Ladin and others who draw on a long tradition of extreme intolerance within a minority strain of Islam that does not distinguish politics from religion, and distorts both.
We propose a strategy with three dimensions: (1) attack terrorists and their organizations, (2) prevent the continued growth of Islamist terrorism, and (3) protect against and prepare for terrorist attacks. Confront problems with Saudi Arabia in the open and build a relationship beyond oil, a relationship that both sides can defend to their citizens and includes a shared commitment to reform. Where Muslim governments, even those who are friends, do not offer opportunity, respect the rule of law, or tolerate differences, then the United States needs to stand for a better future. Communicate and defend American ideals in the Islamic world, through much stronger public diplomacy to reach more people, including students and leaders outside of government. Offer an agenda of opportunity that includes support for public education and economic openness.
Develop a comprehensive coalition strategy against Islamist terrorism, using a flexible contact group of leading coalition governments and fashioning a common coalition approach on issues like the treatment of captured terrorists. Devote a maximum effort to the parallel task of countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Expect less from trying to dry up terrorist money and more from following the money for intelligence, as a tool to hunt terrorists, understand their networks, and disrupt their operations.
Address problems of screening people with biometric identifiers across agencies and governments, including our border and transportation systems, by designing a comprehensive screening system that addresses common problems and sets common standards.
Quickly complete a biometric entry-exit screening system, one that also speeds qualified travelers.
Set standards for the issuance of birth certificates and sources of identification, such as driver's licenses. In aviation, prevent arguments about a new computerized profiling system from delaying vital improvements in the "no-fly" and "automatic selectee" lists.
Determine, with leadership from the President, guidelines for gathering and sharing information in the new security systems that are needed, guidelines that integrate safeguards for privacy and other essential liberties. Underscore that as government power necessarily expands in certain ways, the burden of retaining such powers remains on the executive to demonstrate the value of such powers and ensure adequate supervision of how they are used, including a new board to oversee the implementation of the guidelines needed for gathering and sharing information in these new security systems. Make homeland security funding contingent on the adoption of an incident command system to strengthen teamwork in a crisis, including a regional approach. Breaking the older mold of organization stovepiped purely in executive agencies, we propose a National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) that would borrow the joint, unified command concept adopted in the 1980s by the American military in a civilian agency, combining the joint intelligence function alongside the operations work.
The NCTC would build on the existing Terrorist Threat Integration Center and would replace it and other terrorism "fusion centers" within the government.
The NCTC should perform joint operational planning, assigning lead responsibilities to existing agencies and letting them direct the actual execution of the plans.
Placed in the Executive Office of the President, headed by a Senate-confirmed official (with rank equal to the deputy head of a cabinet department) who reports to the National Intelligence Director, the NCTC would track implementation of plans.
The community's head-the Director of Central Intelligence-has at least three jobs: running the CIA, coordinating a 15-agency confederation, and being the intelligence analyst-in-chief to the president.
The national intelligence centers would be the unified commands of the intelligence world-a long-overdue reform for intelligence comparable to the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols law that reformed the organization of national defense.
This National Intelligence Director (NID) should be located in the Executive Office of the President and report directly to the president, yet be confirmed by the Senate. The NID should receive a public appropriation for national intelligence, should have authority to hire and fire his or her intelligence deputies, and should be able to set common personnel and information technology policies across the intelligence community.
The CIA should concentrate on strengthening the collection capabilities of its clandestine service and the talents of its analysts, building pride in its core expertise.
The President should lead a government-wide effort to bring the major national security institutions into the information revolution, turning a mainframe system into a decentralized network. But no agency can solve the problems on its own-to build the network requires an effort that transcends old divides, solving common legal and policy issues in ways that can help officials know what they can and cannot do. Congress took too little action to adjust itself or to restructure the executive branch to address the emerging terrorist threat.
For intelligence oversight, we propose two options: either a joint committee on the old model of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy or a single committee in each house combining authorizing and appropriating committees. Congress should create a single, principal point of oversight and review for homeland security. We propose reforms to speed up the nomination, financial reporting, security clearance, and confirmation process for national security officials at the start of an administration, and suggest steps to make sure that incoming administrations have the information they need.
We have considered several proposals relating to the future of the domestic intelligence and counterterrorism mission. We propose the establishment of a specialized and integrated national security workforce at the FBI, consisting of agents, analysts, linguists, and surveillance specialists who are recruited, trained, rewarded, and retained to ensure the development of an institutional culture imbued with a deep expertise in intelligence and national security. The Department of Defense and its oversight committees should regularly assess the adequacy of Northern Command's strategies and planning to defend against military threats to the homeland. The Department of Homeland Security and its oversight committees should regularly assess the types of threats the country faces, in order to determine the adequacy of the government's plans and the readiness of the government to respond to those threats.
We look forward to a national debate on the merits of what we have recommended, and we will participate vigorously in that debate. To answer these questions, the Congress and the President created the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (Public Law 107-306, November 27, 2002). In pursuing our mandate, we have reviewed more than 2.5 million pages of documents and interviewed more than 1,200 individuals in ten countries. We learned that the institutions charged with protecting our borders, civil aviation, and national security did not understand how grave this threat could be, and did not adjust their policies, plans, and practices to deter or defeat it. We need to design a balanced strategy for the long haul, to attack terrorists and prevent their ranks from swelling while at the same time protecting our country against future attacks. As we complete our final report, we want to begin by thanking our fellow Commissioners, whose dedication to this task has been profound.
We have listened to scores of overwhelming personal tragedies and astounding acts of heroism and bravery. Tuesday, September 11, 2001, dawned temperate and nearly cloudless in the eastern United States. For those heading to an airport, weather conditions could not have been better for a safe and pleasant journey. When he checked in for his flight to Boston, Atta was selected by a computerized prescreening system known as CAPPS (Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System), created to identify passengers who should be subject to special security measures. In another Logan terminal, Shehhi, joined by Fayez Banihammad, Mohand al Shehri, Ahmed al Ghamdi, and Hamza al Ghamdi, checked in for United Airlines Flight 175, also bound for Los Angeles. The security checkpoints through which passengers, including Atta and his colleagues, gained access to the American 11 gate were operated by Globe Security under a contract with American Airlines.
In passing through these checkpoints, each of the hijackers would have been screened by a walk-through metal detector calibrated to detect items with at least the metal content of a .22-caliber handgun. While Atta had been selected by CAPPS in Portland, three members of his hijacking team-Suqami, Wail al Shehri, and Waleed al Shehri-were selected in Boston. Mihdhar and Moqed placed their carry-on bags on the belt of the X-ray machine and proceeded through the first metal detector.


About 20 minutes later, at 7:35, another passenger for Flight 77, Hani Han-jour, placed two carry-on bags on the X-ray belt in the Main Terminal's west checkpoint, and proceeded, without alarm, through the metal detector.
When the local civil aviation security office of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) later investigated these security screening operations, the screeners recalled nothing out of the ordinary. At 7:50, Majed Moqed and Khalid al Mihdhar boarded the flight and were seated in 12A and 12B in coach.
The four men passed through the security checkpoint, owned by United Airlines and operated under contract by Argenbright Security.
The 19 men were aboard four transcontinental flights.21 They were planning to hijack these planes and turn them into large guided missiles, loaded with up to 11,400 gallons of jet fuel. At that same time, American 11 had its last routine communication with the ground when it acknowledged navigational instructions from the FAA's air traffic control (ATC) center in Boston. Reports from two flight attendants in the coach cabin, Betty Ong and Madeline "Amy" Sweeney, tell us most of what we know about how the hijacking happened. We do not know exactly how the hijackers gained access to the cockpit; FAA rules required that the doors remain closed and locked during flight. It’s easy to get lost in the world of cheap Internet plans while looking for cheap wireless Internet. Yes, you can buy cheap wireless Internet without locking yourself into a contract that lasts for a year or two. So when navigating through the wireless plan maze, know you have an option to dump contracts entirely and use contract-free or prepaid services to save money. No-plan services got their start with mobile phone services, when companies began offering prepaid plans to help customers save while avoiding contracts. By the early 2010s, prepaid plans began expanding and offering full wireless options, including Internet capabilities, for interested customers.
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Ten Commissioners-five Republicans and five Democrats chosen by elected leaders from our nation's capital at a time of great partisan division-have come together to present this report without dissent. September 11, 2001, was a day of unprecedented shock and suffering in the history of the United States. Some had been in the United States for more than a year, mixing with the rest of the population. Islamist extremists had given plenty of warning that they meant to kill Americans indiscriminately and in large numbers.
Seizing on symbols of Islam's past greatness, he promises to restore pride to people who consider themselves the victims of successive foreign masters. He built an infrastructure and organization in Afghanistan that could attract, train, and use recruits against ever more ambitious targets.
The administration also devised covert operations to use CIA-paid foreign agents to capture or kill Bin Ladin and his chief lieutenants. Bin Ladin and his chief of operations, Mohammed Atef, occupied undisputed leadership positions atop al Qaeda. We explored suspicions about whether these two operatives had a support network of accomplices in the United States. After a brief stay in Los Angeles about which we know little, the al Qaeda operatives lived openly in San Diego under their true names.
In early 2001, a fourth future hijacker pilot, Hani Hanjour, journeyed to Arizona with another operative, Nawaf al Hazmi, and conducted his refresher pilot training there. They also renewed secret efforts with some of the Taliban's opponents-the Northern Alliance-to get enough intelligence to attack Bin Ladin directly. The Taliban had earlier been warned that it would be held responsible for another Bin Ladin attack on the United States. The process culminated during the summer of 2001 in a draft presidential directive and arguments about the Predator aircraft, which was soon to be deployed with a missile of its own, so that it might be used to attempt to kill Bin Ladin or his chief lieutenants.
Several possible participants dropped out; others could not gain entry into the United States (including one denial at a port of entry and visa denials not related to terrorism).
Moussaoui aroused suspicion for seeking fast-track training on how to pilot large jet airliners.
No one working on these late leads in the summer of 2001 connected them to the high level of threat reporting.
Their success rate in penetrating the system was 19 for 19.They took over the four flights, taking advantage of air crews and cockpits that were not prepared for the contingency of a suicide hijacking. Planes were scrambled, but ineffectively, as they did not know where to go or what targets they were to intercept. Casualties were nearly 100 percent at and above the impact zones and were very high among first responders who stayed in danger as they tried to save lives. The Incident Command System, a formalized management structure for emergency response in place in the National Capital Region, overcame the inherent complications of a response across local, state, and federal jurisdictions.
We are mindful of the danger of being unjust to men and women who made choices in conditions of uncertainty and in circumstances over which they often had little control.
The FBI did not have the capability to link the collective knowledge of agents in the field to national priorities. Any serious examination of the possibility of a suicide hijacking could have suggested changes to fix glaring vulnerabilities-expanding no-fly lists, searching passengers identified by the CAPPS screening system, deploying federal air marshals domestically, hardening cockpit doors, alerting air crews to a different kind of hijacking possibility than they had been trained to expect. Action officers should have been able to draw on all available knowledge about al Qaeda in the government.
For instance, on December 4, 1998, DCI Tenet issued a directive to several CIA officials and the DDCI for Community Management, stating: "We are at war. When they briefed policymakers, the military presented both the pros and cons of those strike options and the associated risks.
They did not want to risk significant collateral damage, and they did not want to miss Bin Ladin and thus make the United States look weak while making Bin Ladin look strong. Some officials inside the Pentagon, including those in the special forces and the counterterrorism policy office, also expressed frustration with the lack of military action. The combination of an overwhelming number of priorities, flat budgets, an outmoded structure, and bureaucratic rivalries resulted in an insufficient response to this new challenge.
Yet, while there were many reports on Bin Laden and his growing al Qaeda organization, there was no comprehensive review of what the intelligence community knew and what it did not know, and what that meant.
But there were limits to what the CIA was able to achieve by disrupting terrorist activities abroad and by using proxies to try to capture Bin Ladin and his lieutenants in Afghanistan. It was important to engage proxies in Afghanistan and to build various capabilities so that if an opportunity presented itself, the CIA could act on it. On September 11, 2001, the FBI was limited in several areas critical to an effective preventive counterterrorism strategy. The hijackers opened accounts in their own names, using passports and other identification documents. Given that lack of preparedness, they attempted and failed to improvise an effective homeland defense against an unprecedented challenge. NORAD's Northeast Air Defense Sector personnel reached out for information and made the best judgments they could based on the information they received. The legislative branch adjusted little and did not restructure itself to address changing threats. The United States needs a strong, stable, and capable congressional committee structure to give America's national intelligence agencies oversight, support, and leadership.
The enemy goes beyond al Qaeda to include the radical ideological movement, inspired in part by al Qaeda, that has spawned other terrorist groups and violence. Al Qaeda and other groups are popularly described as being all over the world, adaptable, resilient, needing little higher-level organization, and capable of anything. But the American people are entitled to expect that officials will have realistic objectives, clear guidance, and effective organization. To Muslim parents, terrorists like Bin Ladin have nothing to offer their children but visions of violence and death. Our efforts here should be as strong as they were in combating closed societies during the Cold War. As standards spread, this necessary and ambitious effort could dramatically strengthen the world's ability to intercept individuals who could pose catastrophic threats. Such assistance should not remain a program for general revenue sharing or pork-barrel spending. Allocate more radio spectrum and improve connectivity for public safety communications, and encourage widespread adoption of newly developed standards for private-sector emergency preparedness-since the private sector controls 85 percent of the nation's critical infrastructure. To implement it will require a government better organized than the one that exists today, with its national security institutions designed half a century ago to win the Cold War. The effort of fighting terrorism has flooded over many of the usual agency boundaries because of its sheer quantity and energy.
The NCTC would become the authoritative knowledge bank, bringing information to bear on common plans.
It would be able to influence the leadership and the budgets of the counterterrorism operating arms of the CIA, the FBI, and the departments of Defense and Homeland Security. Its operations and planning should follow the policy direction of the president and the National Security Council. It does not employ common standards and practices in reporting intelligence or in training experts overseas and at home. The home services-such as the CIA, DIA, NSA, and FBI-would organize, train, and equip the best intelligence professionals in the world, and would handle the execution of intelligence operations in the field. Our central message is the same: the intelligence committees cannot carry out their oversight function unless they are made stronger, and thereby have both clear responsibility and accountability for that oversight. Adding a new domestic intelligence agency will not solve America's problems in collecting and analyzing intelligence within the United States. Responsibility for America's national defense is shared by the Department of Defense, with its new Northern Command, and by the Department of Homeland Security.They must have a clear delineation of roles, missions, and authority.
Unity of purpose and unity of effort are the way we will defeat this enemy and make America safer for our children and grandchildren.
The law directed us to investigate "facts and circumstances relating to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001," including those relating to intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies, diplomacy, immigration issues and border control, the flow of assets to terrorist organizations, commercial aviation, the role of congressional oversight and resource allocation, and other areas determined relevant by the Commission. This included nearly every senior official from the current and previous administrations who had responsibility for topics covered in our mandate. From the outset, we have been committed to share as much of our investigation as we can with the American people. The enemy rallies broad support in the Arab and Muslim world by demanding redress of political grievances, but its hostility toward us and our values is limitless. We learned of fault lines within our government-between foreign and domestic intelligence, and between and within agencies. We hope that the terrible losses chronicled in this report can create something positive-an America that is safer, stronger, and wiser. We have reasoned together over every page, and the report has benefited from this remarkable dialogue.
The dedicated professional staff, headed by Philip Zelikow, has contributed innumerable hours to the completion of this report, setting aside other important endeavors to take on this all-consuming assignment.
Executive branch agencies have searched records and produced a multitude of documents for us. We have endeavored to provide the most complete account we can of the events of September 11, what happened and why. Among the travelers were Mohamed Atta and Abdul Aziz al Omari, who arrived at the airport in Portland, Maine.
Under security rules in place at the time, the only consequence of Atta's selection by CAPPS was that his checked bags were held off the plane until it was confirmed that he had boarded the aircraft.
Seven minutes later, Atta apparently took a call from Marwan al Shehhi, a longtime colleague who was at another terminal at Logan Airport. Anyone who might have set off that detector would have been screened with a hand wand-a procedure requiring the screener to identify the metal item or items that caused the alarm. Their selection affected only the handling of their checked bags, not their screening at the checkpoint.
The Hazmi brothers were also selected for extra scrutiny by the air-line's customer service representative at the check-in counter. Like the checkpoints in Boston, it lacked closed-circuit television surveillance so there is no documentary evidence to indicate when the hijackers passed through the checkpoint, what alarms may have been triggered, or what security procedures were administered. On September 11, Captain John Ogonowski and First Officer Thomas McGuinness piloted the Boeing 767.
Just before 8:14, it had climbed to 26,000 feet, not quite its initial assigned cruising altitude of 29,000 feet. Sixteen seconds after that transmis-sion, ATC instructed the aircraft's pilots to climb to 35,000 feet. From Cell Phone Providers to Broadband companies and all the hybrids in between, everyone has multiple plans to offer.
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When not outdoors, he writes about the latest tech trends and the most interesting business news he can find. We provide relevant and reliable information for consumers shopping for digital home services, like TV, Internet, Phone and Home Security. It had been aimed at the United States Capitol or the White House, and was forced down by heroic passengers armed with the knowledge that America was under attack. Although Usama Bin Ladin himself would not emerge as a signal threat until the late 1990s, the threat of Islamist terrorism grew over the decade. Plans by Omar Abdel Rahman and others to blow up the Holland and Lincoln tunnels and other New York City landmarks were frustrated when the plotters were arrested.
In February 1998, Usama Bin Ladin and four others issued a self-styled fatwa, publicly declaring that it was God's decree that every Muslim should try his utmost to kill any American, military or civilian, anywhere in the world, because of American "occupation" of Islam's holy places and aggression against Muslims.
Canadian border as he was smuggling in explosives intended for an attack on Los Angeles International Airport. Following the defeat of the Soviets in the late 1980s, Bin Ladin and others formed al Qaeda to mobilize jihads elsewhere.
Within al Qaeda, they relied heavily on the ideas and enterprise of strong-willed field commanders, such as KSM, to carry out worldwide terrorist operations. Bin Ladin provided KSM with four initial operatives for suicide plane attacks within the United States, and in the fall of 1999 training for the attacks began. A number of al Qaeda operatives had spent time in Arizona during the 1980s and early 1990s. Diplomatic efforts centered on the new military government in Pakistan, and they did not succeed. The CIA described its findings as a "preliminary judgment"; President Clinton and his chief advisers told us they were waiting for a conclusion before deciding whether to take military action. Bush and his chief advisers accepted that al Qaeda was responsible for the attack on the Cole, but did not like the options available for a response.
At a September 4 meeting, President Bush's chief advisers approved the draft directive of the strategy and endorsed the concept of arming the Predator.
In the words of one official, no analytic work foresaw the lightning that could connect the thundercloud to the ground. Although facing opposition from many of his senior lieutenants, Bin Ladin effectively overruled their objections, and the attacks went forward. Despite weaknesses in preparations for disaster, failure to achieve unified incident command, and inadequate communications among responding agencies, all but approximately one hundred of the thousands of civilians who worked below the impact zone escaped, often with help from the emergency responders.
The terrorist danger from Bin Ladin and al Qaeda was not a major topic for policy debate among the public, the media, or in the Congress. Though top officials all told us that they understood the danger, we believe there was uncertainty among them as to whether this was just a new and especially venomous version of the ordinary terrorist threat the United States had lived with for decades, or it was indeed radically new, posing a threat beyond any yet experienced.
Its planning scenarios occasionally considered the danger of hijacked aircraft being guided to American targets, but only aircraft that were coming from overseas. Yet the FAA did not adjust either its own training or training with NORAD to take account of threats other than those experienced in the past.
Management should have ensured that information was shared and duties were clearly assigned across agencies, and across the foreign-domestic divide. I want no resources or people spared in this effort, either inside CIA or the Community." The memorandum had little overall effect on mobilizing the CIA or the intelligence community.
On three specific occasions in 1998-1999, intelligence was deemed credible enough to warrant planning for possible strikes to kill Bin Ladin.
But for more than three years, through both the late Clinton and early Bush administrations, the CIA relied on proxy forces, and there was growing frustration within the CIA's Counterterrorist Center and in the National Security Council staff with the lack of results.
Throughout the 1990s, the FBI's counterterrorism efforts against international terrorist organizations included both intelligence and criminal investigations.
Those working counterterrorism matters did so despite limited intelligence collection and strategic analysis capabilities, a limited capacity to share information both internally and externally, insufficient training, perceived legal barriers to sharing information, and inadequate resources. Additional expenses included travel to obtain passports and visas, travel to the United States, expenses incurred by the plot leader and facilitators outside the United States, and expenses incurred by the people selected to be hijackers who ultimately did not participate. Their transactions were unremarkable and essentially invisible amid the billions of dollars flowing around the world every day. If a particular source of funds had dried up, al Qaeda could easily have found enough money elsewhere to fund the attack. Individual FAA controllers, facility managers, and command center managers were creative and agile in recommending a nationwide alert, ground-stopping local traffic, ordering all aircraft nationwide to land, and executing that unprecedented order flawlessly. The Port Authority's response was hampered by the lack both of standard operating procedures and of radios capable of enabling multiple commands to respond to an incident in unified fashion. We therefore make the following recommendations that we believe can make America safer and more secure.
Thus our strategy must match our means to two ends: dismantling the al Qaeda network and, in the long term, prevailing over the ideology that contributes to Islamist terrorism. But long-term success demands the use of all elements of national power: diplomacy, intelligence, covert action, law enforcement, economic policy, foreign aid, public diplomacy, and homeland defense. Yet the group was fragile and occasionally left vulnerable by the marginal, unstable people often attracted to such causes. They are entitled to see standards for performance so they can judge, with the help of their elected representatives, whether the objectives are being met. Americans should not settle for incremental, ad hoc adjustments to a system created a generation ago for a world that no longer exists.
This balance should change; and as a start, open information should be provided about the overall size of agency intelligence budgets. Official after official has urged us to call attention to problems with the unglamorous "back office" side of government operations.
Both Congress and the executive need to do more to minimize national security risks during transitions between administrations. Its purpose is to rid the world of religious and political pluralism, the plebiscite, and equal rights for women. We learned of the pervasive problems of managing and sharing information across a large and unwieldy government that had been built in a different era to confront different dangers. The massive departments and agencies that prevailed in the great struggles of the twentieth century must work together in new ways, so that all the instruments of national power can be combined. We want to express our considerable respect for the intellect and judgment of our colleagues, as well as our great affection for them.
We thank officials, past and present, who were generous with their time and provided us with insight. This final report is only a summary of what we have done, citing only a fraction of the sources we have consulted. We have admired their determination to do their best to prevent another tragedy while preparing to respond if it becomes necessary.
We decided consciously to focus on recommendations we believe to be most important, whose implementation can make the greatest difference. At 7:15, a pair of them, Khalid al Mihdhar and Majed Moqed, checked in at the American Airlines ticket counter for Flight 77, bound for Los Angeles. He did so because one of the brothers did not have photo identification nor could he understand English, and because the agent found both of the passengers to be suspicious. Salem al Hazmi cleared the metal detector and was permitted through; Nawaf al Hazmi set off the alarms for both the first and second metal detectors and was then hand-wanded before being passed. They also understand that some customers want to dodge contracts and live a more adaptable Internet lifestyle. Prepaid plans also favor mobile users who prefer to reach the Internet on the go and are very comfortable with smartphones. He appeals to people disoriented by cyclonic change as they confront modernity and globalization. He had forged a close alliance with the Taliban, a regime providing sanctuary for al Qaeda. New recruits included four from a cell of expatriate Muslim extremists who had clustered together in Hamburg, Germany.
The efforts with the Northern Alliance revived an inconclusive and secret debate about whether the United States should take sides in Afghanistan's civil war and support the Taliban's enemies.
This directive on the al Qaeda strategy was awaiting President Bush's signature on September 11, 2001.
Zacarias Moussaoui, who showed up at a flight training school in Minnesota, may have been a candidate to replace him. In late August, officials in the intelligence community realized that the terrorists spotted in Southeast Asia in January 2000 had arrived in the United States.
Across the government, there were failures of imagination, policy, capabilities, and management. This episode indicates the limitations of the DCI's authority over the direction of the intelligence community, including agencies within the Department of Defense.
On the other hand, government officials of Saudi Arabia at the highest levels worked closely with top U.S. But in each case the strikes did not go forward, because senior policymakers did not regard the intelligence as sufficiently actionable to offset their assessment of the risks.
The development of the Predator and the push to aid the Northern Alliance were products of this frustration. The FBI's approach to investigations was case-specific, decentralized, and geared toward prosecution.
Even though several hijackers were selected for extra screening by the CAPPS system, this led only to greater scrutiny of their checked baggage. If we favor one tool while neglecting others, we leave ourselves vulnerable and weaken our national effort. The test before us is to sustain that unity of purpose and meet the challenges now confronting us.
The PENTTBOM team at the FBI, the Director's Review Group at the CIA, and Inspectors General at the Department of Justice and the CIA provided great assistance. But in an event of this scale, touching so many issues and organizations, we are conscious of our limits. We emerge from this investigation with enormous sympathy for the victims and their loved ones, and with enhanced respect for the American people. In addition, his over-the-shoulder carry-on bag was swiped by an explosive trace detector and then passed. For these customers, certain providers offer wireless Internet month by month, without plans or contracts. However, with no-contract iPhone plans on their way and multiple smartphone choices already present, finding the right phone should not prove challenging. Many companies allow you to use your wireless data on multiple devices, a must for switching to no-contract services. No surprise, no-contract plans work best for younger people without large families or long-term commitments in one place.
If you are used to High Speed Internet through Broadband service, switching to a 3G data plan for cheap Wireless Internet may cause a slowdown in service.
The Twin Towers, where up to 50,000 people worked each day, both collapsed less than 90 minutes later. In groups of four or five, carrying with them only small knives, box cutters, and cans of Mace or pepper spray, they had hijacked the four planes and turned them into deadly guided missiles. In June 1996, a truck bomb demolished the Khobar Towers apartment complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing 19 U.S.
His rhetoric selectively draws from multiple sources-Islam, history, and the region's political and economic malaise.
The CIA also produced a plan to improve intelligence collection on al Qaeda, including the use of a small, unmanned airplane with a video camera, known as the Predator.
Significant FBI resources were devoted to after-the-fact investigations of major terrorist attacks, resulting in several prosecutions. Once on board, the hijackers were faced with aircraft personnel who were trained to be nonconfrontational in the event of a hijacking. The Secretary of Defense did not enter the chain of command until the morning's key events were over.
The Defense Department alone has three unified commands (SOCOM, CENTCOM, and NORTHCOM) that deal with terrorism as one of their principal concerns. We owe a huge debt to their investigative labors, painstaking attention to detail, and readiness to share what they have learned.
All of us have had to pause, reflect, and sometimes change our minds as we studied these problems and considered the views of others.
Services like Cricket Wireless continued to specialize in providing service without locking you in for years at a time.
Upfront costs will probably be higher, though, since prepaid plans require you to buy your phone upfront. Air National Guard units with different rules of engagement were scrambled without the knowledge of the President, NORAD, or the National Military Command Center. We have built on the work of several previous Commissions, and we thank the Congressional Joint Inquiry, whose fine work helped us get started.
For a new iPhone, that is an immediate cost of several hundred dollars that would be partly spread out through a contract otherwise. The attack was carried out primarily by Saudi Hezbollah, an organization that had received help from the government of Iran. We thank the City of New York for assistance with documents and witnesses, and the Government Printing Office and W.W. We present this report as a foundation for a better understanding of a landmark in the history of our nation.



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