Follow the Soapbox
Jon Gold

For this article, I’m going to skip the partnerships between the CIA, Saudi Arabia, and the Pakistani ISI during the Afghanistan/Russia War to support the Mujahideen against the Soviet Union.  Instead, I’m going to move past that time, and into the 90’s where a lot of interesting things took place.

First, we’ll take a look at what was called “Vulgar Betrayal.”  In 1996, “the most significant US government investigation into terrorist financing before 9/11, is launched. This investigation grows out of investigations Chicago FBI agent Robert Wright had begun in 1993, and Wright appears to be the driving force behind Vulgar Betrayal. He later will say, “I named the case Vulgar Betrayal because of the many gross betrayals many Arab terrorists and their supporters” committed against the US, but the name will later prove to be bitterly ironic for him. Over a dozen FBI agents are assigned it and a grand jury is empanelled to hear evidence.” On August 3rd, 1999, “Chicago FBI agent Robert Wright is abruptly removed from the Vulgar Betrayal investigation into terrorism financing. The entire investigation apparently winds down without his involvement, and will shut down altogether in 2000. A New York Post article will state, “[T]he official reason was a fear that Wright’s work would disrupt FBI intelligence-gathering. My sources find this dubious: After years of monitoring these individuals, the bureau had likely learned all it could.… [But] conversations with FBI personnel indicate that HE WAS TOLD INFORMALLY THAT HIS WORK WAS TOO EMBARRASSING TO THE SAUDIS (emphasis mine). In support of this is the fact that Wright was shut down as he seemed to be closing in on Yassin al-Qadi.”

In the late 1990’s, George Tenet will develop direct, private channels to Saudi leaders.  George Tenet, appointed as CIA director in 1997, develops close personal relationships with top Saudi officials, ESPECIALLY PRINCE BANDAR (emphasis mine), the Saudi ambassador to the US. Tenet develops a habit of meeting with Bandar at his home near Washington about once a month. But CIA officers handling Saudi issues complain that Tenet doesn’t tell them what he discusses with Bandar. Often they are only able to learn about Tenet’s deals with the Saudis later and through Saudi contacts, not from their own boss. Tenet also makes one of his closest aides the chief of the CIA station in Saudi Arabia. This aide often communicates directly with Tenet, avoiding the usual chain of command. APPARENTLY, AS A FAVOR TO THE SAUDIS, CIA ANALYSTS ARE DISCOURAGED FROM WRITING REPORTS RAISING QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SAUDI RELATIONSHIP TO ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS (emphasis mine).

In 1996, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia allegedly collaborated on illegal weapons deliveries to Bosnian Muslims.  The Washington Post reports that the Saudi Arabian government spent hundreds of millions of dollars to channel weapons to the Muslim Bosnians, and that the US government KNEW ABOUT IT AND ASSISTED IT (emphasis mine). An anonymous Saudi official who took part in the effort will say that the US role “was more than just turning a blind eye to what was going on.… It was consent combined with stealth cooperation.… American knowledge began under [President George] Bush and became much greater under [President] Clinton.” The Bosnian program was modeled on Saudi and US cooperation to fund the mujaheddin in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

After June 25th 1996, CIA Agents are told not to track militants in Saudi Arabia. In the wake of the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi government continues to stonewall about their knowledge of radical militants in the country. Official inquiries about bin Laden go unanswered and the Saudis give no help to a US probe about the bombing. BUT OFTEN THE U.S. DOES NOT EVEN ASK THE SAUDIS QUESTIONS FOR FEAR OF UPSETTING THE SAUDI GOVERNMENT (emphasis mine). Former US officials will later claim that even after the bombing, the CIA instructed officials at its Saudi station not to collect information on Islamic extremists in Saudi Arabia. It is not known how long this policy will continue, but there is evidence it continues until 9/11. In August 2001, former CIA agent Robert Baer will attempt to give the CIA a list of hundreds of al-Qaeda operatives in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, BUT THE CIA WILL SHOW NO INTEREST IN IT (emphasis mine). Fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers will reportedly come from Saudi Arabia.

In Early 2000, the Treasury Department is blocked from freezing assets of Al-Qaeda financiers in Saudi Arabia.  Treasury Department official Richard Newcomb has been to Saudi Arabia with other US officials in an attempt to pressure the Saudis to crack down on financing al-Qaeda, but no action has resulted. He had threatened to freeze the assets of certain individuals and groups funding al-Qaeda if not action is taken, and now he starts to act on that threat. As head of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, he submits names for sanctions. But imposing sanctions requires approval from an interagency committee, AND THE PERMISSION TO GO AHEAD IS NEVER GIVEN (emphasis mine). CIA and FBI officials are “lukewarm to the idea, worried that sanctions would chill what little cooperation they had with their Saudi counterparts.” But the State Department puts up the most opposition. One official will later recall, “The State Department always thought we had much bigger fish to fry.”

After George W. Bush came into office, his administration tells U.S. intelligence to “back off” from investigating Bin Laden financing and Saudi connections.  The BBC later reports, “After the elections, [US intelligence] agencies [are] told to ‘back off’ investigating the bin Ladens and Saudi royals, and that anger[s] agents.” This follows previous orders to abandon an investigation of bin Laden relatives in 1996, and difficulties in investigating Saudi royalty. An unnamed “top-level CIA operative” says there is a “major policy shift” at the National Security Agency at this time. Bin Laden could still be investigated, BUT AGENTS COULD NOT LOOK TOO CLOSELY AT HOW HE GOT HIS MONEY (emphasis mine).

Between February and March 2001, the Bush Administration shuts down surveillance of Saudi Arabians.  The Defense Intelligence Agency began a project to monitor Saudi Arabian targets in the 1990s. The project, called Monarch Passage, was originally intended to track Saudi assistance to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, but is expanded to become a comprehensive communications spying program against Saudi businessmen and members of the royal family. However, it is shut down in the early days of the Bush administration. THIS IS PART OF A LARGER U.S. POLICY CHANGE THAT MAKES SAUDI LINKS TO TERRORISM OFF LIMITS TO U.S. INVESTIGATORS (emphasis mine).

Sometime in mid July 2001, FBI Agent John O’Neill rails against the White House over Saudi Obstructionism.  FBI counterterrorism expert John O’Neill privately discusses White House obstruction in his bin Laden investigation. O’Neill says, “THE MAIN OBSTACLES TO INVESTIGATE ISLAMIC TERRORISM WERE U.S. OIL CORPORATE INTEREST AND THE ROLE PLAYED BY SAUDI ARABIA IN IT (emphasis mine).” He adds, “All the answers, everything needed to dismantle Osama bin Laden’s organization, can be found in Saudi Arabia.” O’Neill also believes the White House is obstructing his investigation of bin Laden because they are still keeping the idea of a pipeline deal with the Taliban open.

Right now there is a push to get the 28 redacted pages from the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 released.  You can read about it at  I am all for transparency.  I have fought for the release of these pages going on a decade. This practice of protecting and collaborating with Saudi Arabia has continued LONG AFTER 9/11 (emphasis mine).

If we want the full truth about the situation with Saudi Arabia, NO ONE must be allowed to point a finger at Saudi Arabia for their connections to terrorism, knowing full well how we have enabled them and even collaborated with them, without having 5 fingers pointing back to the United States.

Here’s a little tidbit of information I wrote that’s too long for what it was intended for, and I thought it would make for a good article. - Jon

Jon Gold

Throughout many of the investigations of 9/11, one thing the Bush Administration did was to make sure that Saudi Arabia and their possible connection to the 9/11 attacks was kept a secret, and that they were protected. They made it difficult for the 9/11 Families to sue any Saudis possibly connected to the attacks. This “protection” lasted throughout the Bush Administration.

When Obama came into office, one of the very first things he did was to invite 9/11 Family Members and families from the U.S.S. Cole bombing to the White House. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the closure of GITMO. The Washington Post reported that “President Obama will gather tomorrow with victims and families of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and U.S.S. Cole bombing for a face-to-face meeting as his administration struggles to decide how to handle detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, several of those invited said. The previously undisclosed meeting at the White House tomorrow afternoon will give the new president a chance to explain his decision to close the controversial prison facility where the U.S. has placed many suspected terrorists since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.” [WaPo, Obama to Meet Victims, Relatives of 9/11 attacks, 2/5/2009]

At that meeting, 9/11 Family Member, Jersey Girl, and September Eleventh Advocate Kristen Breitweiser asked him to release the 28 redacted pages of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11. Pages that spoke of possible Saudi connections to the 9/11 attacks. Pages that were censored by the Bush Administration. The New York Times reported that “Kristen Breitweiser, an advocate for Sept. 11 families, whose husband was killed in the World Trade Center, said in an interview that during a White House meeting in February between President Obama and victims’ families, the president told her that he was willing to make the pages public. But she said she had not heard from the White House since then.” -[NYTimes, Documents Back Saudi Link to Extremists, 6/23/2009]

A few days after Obama’s meeting with the families, he held a press conference. At that press conference, he was asked the following question by CNN’s Ed Henry. “Mr. President. You promised to send more troops to Afghanistan. And since you've been very clear about a timetable to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq within 16 months, I wonder what's your timetable to withdraw troops eventually from Afghanistan?”

So basically, Obama was asked about sending more troops to Afghanistan, and what his timetable on bringing the troops home would be. He responded by saying “with respect to Afghanistan, this is going to be a big challenge.” […] “you've got the Taliban and al Qaeda operating in the FATA and these border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and what we haven't seen is the kind of concerted effort to root out those safe havens that would ultimately make our mission successful.” […] “The bottom line, though -- and I just want to remember [sic] the American people, because this is going to be difficult -- is this is a situation in which a region served as the base to launch an attack that killed 3,000 Americans. AND THIS PAST WEEK, I MET WITH FAMILIES OF THOSE WHO WERE LOST IN 9/11 — A REMINDER OF THE COSTS OF ALLOWING THOSE SAFE HAVENS TO EXIST (emphasis mine). My bottom line is that we cannot allow al Qaeda to operate. We cannot have those safe havens in that region. And we're going to have to work both smartly and effectively, but with consistency, in order to make sure that those safe havens don't exist. I do not have yet a timetable for how long that's going to take. What I know is, I'm not going to make -- I'm not going to allow al Qaeda or bin Laden to operate with impunity, planning attacks on the U.S. homeland.” - [White House Press Conference, East Room, 2/9/2009]

What Obama did essentially was have a meeting with 9/11 Family Members and others to discuss closing GITMO, and USED that meeting as a “reminder” to justify sending more troops to Afghanistan. Using 9/11 to justify war, or more war. Something his predecessor was very well known for doing.

With regards to the “protection” of Saudi Arabia, Obama continued Bush’s policies. A few months after telling Kristen Breitweiser that he would release the 28 redacted pages of the Joint Congressional Inquiry, the New York Times Reported that “the Justice Department, in a brief filed Friday before the Supreme Court, said it did not believe the Saudis could be sued in American court over accusations brought by families of the Sept. 11 victims that the royal family had helped finance Al Qaeda.” After this happened, Kristen Breitweiser said “I find this reprehensible. One would have hoped that the Obama administration would have taken a different stance than the Bush administration, and you wonder what message this sends to victims of terrorism around the world.” - [NYTimes, Justice Dept. Backs Saudi Royal Family on 9/11 Lawsuit, 5/29, 2009]

The victims’ family members released two press releases. The first one states, “today the Obama Administration filed in the Supreme Court a document that expressed the Administration’s decision to stand with a group of Saudi princes and against the right of American citizens — 9/11 family members — to have our day in court. Let there be no doubt: The filing was political in nature and stands as a betrayal of everyone who lost a loved one or was injured on September 11, 2001.” - [Statement On Behalf of the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism In Response to the Solicitor General's Refusal to Support The 9/11 Families' Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court, 5/30/2009]

The second one states, “on the day that President Obama holds his first summit with Saudi Arabian King Abdullah in Riyadh, the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism charged that recent actions by his administration would enable five of the king’s closest relatives to escape accountability for their role in financing and materially supporting the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.” The second press release lists “allegations made in 2002 of the Saudi royal family’s sponsorship and support of al Qaeda that the families believe have been ignored by the Obama Administration.” - [Obama Administration Enables Saudi Princes to Escape Accountability for Mat. Support 9/11 Attacks, 6/3/2009]

It’s interesting to note that the Solicitor General that asked the Supreme Court not to take the case was Elena Kagan, who later went on to become a Supreme Court Justice. Arlen Specter peppered her with questions about this very incident during her confirmation hearings.

There is a lot more to this story, but that is the basic gist of what Obama did within his first 6 months in office. He continued Bush’s “protection” of Saudi Arabia with regards to their possible connection to the 9/11 attacks, and still does to this day (the date that I’m writing this is 1/13/2015). He also used and is continuing to use 9/11 as the justification for MANY horrible things that he has done, and continues to do.

Since that time, Obama also told 9/11 Family Member Bill Doyle that he would release the 28 redacted pages, and hasn’t. Several Congressmen have jumped on the bandwagon to release those pages. A new site called has also started. There is a lot more to the 9/11 Cover-Up besides Saudi Arabia, but I thought this was the best story to show how much of a hypocrite Obama has been. At least with regards to 9/11.

PictureJon Gold
NSA Lied About Knowledge Of 2 9/11 Hijackers In U.S., Didn't Inform The FBI By Jon Gold

For a long time now, I've been trying to figure out just exactly what the NSA knew about the hijackers and 9/11.

The main reason for this was because the 9/11 Commission barely looked at them, and the information they did come across tried to tie Iran to Al-Qaeda and 9/11. "[For executive director Philip] Zelikow and other staff on the commission, it was just more interesting—sexier—to concentrate on the CIA."

In late 2003, the NSA will allow the 9/11 Commission access to its archives on Al-Qaeda. "[P]erversely, the more eager [NSA director] General Hayden was to cooperate, the less interested [9/11 Commission executive director Philip] Zelikow and others at the commission seemed to be in what was buried in the NSA files."

Towards the end of the 9/11 Commission, "Zelikow would later admit he too was worried that important classified information had never been reviewed at the NSA and elsewhere in the government before the 9/11 commission shut its doors, that critical evidence about bin Laden’s terrorist network sat buried in government files, unread to this day. By July 2004, it was just too late to keep digging."

Interesting, since he seems to be the main reason the 9/11 Commission stayed away from the NSA.

According to this entry from "...both the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry and the 9/11 Commission examine the NSA’s intercepts of various calls made by the hijackers to an al-Qaeda communications hub in Sana’a, Yemen." The portion of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry that touches on this "is heavily redacted so most details remain unknown. It states that, although the NSA intercepted the calls and disseminated dispatches about some of them, THE NSA DID NOT REALIZE THE HIJACKERS WERE IN THE U.S. AT THE TIME THE CALLS WERE MADE (emphasis mine)."


"The 9/11 Commission Report contains a briefer section on the intercepts and deals with those which led to the surveillance of the al-Qaeda summit in Malaysia. In addition, it mentions that Almihdhar called his wife from San Diego in the spring of 2000, but fails to mention that his wife lived at an al-Qaeda communications hub and that the calls were intercepted by the NSA." On 12/17/2005, George W. Bush says, "as the 9/11 Commission pointed out, it was clear that terrorists inside the United States were communicating with terrorists abroad before the September the 11th attacks, and the commission criticized our nation’s inability to uncover links between terrorists here at home and terrorists abroad. Two of the terrorist hijackers who flew a jet into the Pentagon, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, communicated while they were in the United States to other members of al-Qaeda who were overseas. But we didn’t know they were here until it was too late."

In her book "Wake-Up Call: The Political Education of a 9/11 Widow," 9/11 Family Member Kristen Breitweiser states: "Unfortunately, the NSA never checked to see where al Mihdhar’s calls were originating from— i.e., San Diego. The NSA’s oversight in not checking to see where the phone calls were being made from seems hard to believe. Nevertheless, the NSA’s negligence in this regard has been excused and overlooked. So for the nearly five months al Mihdhar was in this country and living with al Hazmi in San Diego, the NSA listened in to his phone calls back to Yemen. Notably, because NSA assumed that al Mihdhar was overseas, they passed all of their information regarding al Mihdhar solely to the CIA— not the FBI. If only the billions budgeted to NSA for intelligence had had room for caller ID. If they had just informed the FBI about the presence of al Mihdhar within our borders, the FBI would have been able to begin its investigation more than a full year before 9/ 11. " (pp. 181-182) Author Lawrence Wright makes two statements on the issue: "[h]ad a line been drawn from the [communications hub] in Yemen to Alhazmi and Almihdhar’s San Diego apartment, al-Qaeda’s presence in America would have been glaringly obvious."


"You know, this is the key. The NSA is all over this phone. And everybody, you know, that has any connection with it is drawing links from that phone. Now imagine eight lines from Yemen to San Diego. How obvious would it be that al-Qaeda is in America[?]" So basically, we are led to believe that the NSA was monitoring calls from San Diego to Yemen from the hijackers, but the NSA could not identify that the calls were coming from within the U.S. Meaning they had no idea the hijackers were in the United States.

On 5/14/2012, an article entitled "NSA Analyst: We Could Have Prevented 9/11" was released on HuffPo. In that article, NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake said: "I can't say fully, because it's classified. But I showed that NSA knew a great deal about the 9/11 threats and Al Qaeda, electronically tracking various people and organizations for years -- since its role is to collect intelligence. The problem is, it wasn't sharing all of the data. If it had, other parts of government could have acted on it, and more than likely, NSA could have stopped, I say stopped 9/11. Later, it could have located Al Qaeda -- at the very time the U.S. was scouring Afghanistan." Obviously, that tidbit of information further sparked my curiosity. I went to, and found every entry on the NSA that I could find, but could not see what Thomas Drake was talking about.

On 1/7/2014, in this article written by several NSA Whistleblowers, we get a clue about one of the lies about 9/11. "NSA knew the telephone number of the safe house in Yemen at least by 1996 and was, of course, keeping track of calls to it from the U.S. Would Mueller, Morell and Cheney have us believe NSA doesn’t know about caller ID? As William Binney has explained, automated systems take over when such calls are made and as long as you have one valid number you can obtain the other. Was it a case of gross ineptitude on NSA’s part; or was NSA deliberately withholding information linking al-Mihdhar to the known al-Qaeda base in Yemen?" On 6/4/2014, Abby Martin has on two NSA Whistleblowers on her show "Breaking The Set." They are William Binney and Kirk Wiebe. During this interview, William Binney tells us: "I know specifics… like six or seven phone calls from San Diego back to the Yemen facility. And by the way, BOTH ENDS WERE KNOWN. I MEAN BOTH NUMBERS WERE THERE. THAT'S HOW CALLER ID WORKS (emphasis mine)." What do we learn from all of this? It seems the NSA lied, had BOTH numbers, and presumably knew the hijackers were in the United States and did not tell the FBI about it.

Is this what Thomas Drake was talking about? I don't know, but it is a pretty big lie. Personally, I would like access to all of the transcripts of the intercepts, and all other information the NSA had on Al-Qaeda before the 9/11 attacks.

Maybe someday.

PictureClick on Image to Listen
Recently, I had an extensive interview with Robbie Martin of Media Roots. Thanks to both Robbie and Abby for giving me this opportunity.

I made a few mistakes during this interview when citing things from memory.

One of them was that Richard Clarke was given a flight manifest at 9:59 with the name of the hijackers on it.

"Richard Clarke heard that the FBI had the names at 9:59 AM, the time of the collapse of WTC Tower 2. See Richard A. Clarke, Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terrorism (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004), 13-14"

Another is the date of the multiple hijackings incident that took place in the 1970's referred to as the "Dawson's Field Hijackings."

The last mistake, so far as I know, is that Dick Cheney did not testify under oath during his questioning for the Valerie Plame Affair.

I apologize, and ask people to please remember that I am only human. :)