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9/11: Puzzling Evidence

Unanswered questions surrounding the terror attacks

9/11: Puzzling Evidence
By Sam Beckwith Add to favorites email print this article Share on FaceBoook

In the aftermath of 9/11, it seemed unthinkable that the day's tragic events could have been anything but a surprise attack.

More than two years later, however, key questions remain unanswered, leading some observers to wonder just how much the Bush administration knew in advance.

Here are a few bones of contention to gnaw on:

Bush's Behavior
At the time of the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush was visiting an elementary school in Sarasota, Florida. Bush arrived at the school shortly after the first plane had crashed into the World Trade Center at 8:46am. The second plane hit the WTC at 9:03.

Bush learned of the second incident around five minutes after it had happened but remained in the classroom for around 10 more minutes, even though it had become obvious that the WTC collisions were no accident. Why?

(To add to the confusion, Bush would later say that he had seen the first plane crash into the WTC live on TV, even though this would have been impossible. For more on this see:

Among the classified material left out of the official Congressional report on 9/11 is a Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) from August 6th, 2001. The PDB, prepared by National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice for President Bush is believed to warn against Al-Qaeda attacks on US soil. Why it is classified remains unclear.

In an article for The Observer newspaper (The Enemy Within, October 27th, 2002), Gore Vidal quotes an earlier brief, prepared for Bush in July 2001: "We believe that OBL [Osama bin Laden] will launch a significant terrorist attack against US and/or Israeli interests in the coming weeks. The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against US facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning."

Beyond these official sources, numerous other intelligence reports prior to 9/11 hinted at the scale and scope of coming events.

See also:

Flight 77
Gore Vidal questions why the U.S. military was so slow to react to the 9/11 attacks.

The two planes hit the World Trade Center at 8:45 and 9:03, yet no air force jets were scrambled from nearby Andrews Air Force Base to intercept American Airlines Flight 77, which, having made an unscheduled turn over Ohio and Kentucky headed toward Washington DC and crashed into the Pentagon at 9:38.

Standard procedure would have been to scramble jets as soon as Flight 77 first strayed from its flight path, at 8:46. Why didn't this happen?

See also: ml

Saudi Arabia
Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens, so why did the US government link Afghanistan and Iraq to the attacks more closely than it did Saudi Arabia?

Some conspiracy theorists, including Michael Moore, have suggested that the Saudi government – or a faction of it – was actually behind the attacks but that the Bush family's strong links with the kingdom – through oil connections - mean that the president is willing to let the Saudis off the hook.

There are well-documented links between the Bushes and the Saudi royal family and between the Bushes and the bin Laden family. On the day of the attacks for instance, George Bush Sr. was in a business meeting in Washington DC with one of Osama bin Laden's brothers.

And shortly after 9/11, with the approval of the FBI, around two dozen members of the bin Laden family living in the United States were allowed to return to Saudi Arabia by private jet. Beyond assurances from the Saudi ambassador that the relatives involved weren't involved in 9/11, there seems to have been little official screening.

Further intrigue surrounds the 28 pages deleted from the official 800-page Congressional Report on 9/11. There is strong speculation that the classified material concerns the Saudi government's relationship with the hijackers. Chief Investigator Eleanor Hill would only tell Canadian broadcaster CBC that the missing pages deal with "sources of foreign support for the hijackers."

See also:

Vidal believes that the Bush administration's foreign policy is heavily influenced by President Carter's former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. In a 1997 study, Brzezinski argued that control of Eurasia – all the territory east of Germany – is vital for control of the world economy, since Eurasia accounts for 75 percent of the world's energy resources.

Vidal suggests that the Bush administration might have allowed 9/11 in order to justify an invasion of Afghanistan, paving the way for the construction of pipelines linking oil-rich Central Asia with the Indian Ocean.

In fact, Taliban representatives met with representatives of the oil and energy giant Unocal in Texas in 1997, while George W. Bush was governor, to discuss just such a pipeline. Vidal claims that when it became apparent that the Taliban couldn't safeguard the pipelines, the Bush administration began plotting regime change in Afghanistan.

According to CBS News, quoted in William Bunch's column, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was already making notes about a possible response to 9/11 on the day of the attacks. He wanted "best info fast. Judge whether good enough [to hit [Saddam Hussein] at the same time. Not only [Osama bin Laden]. Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not."

Rumsfeld had been involved with a think-tank called Project for a New American Century. PNAC has argued that the United States should invade Iraq and, in 2000, suggested that the United States needed "some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor" to justify such an action.

Center for Cooperative Research

Dude, Where's My Country? – Notes & Sources notessources/index.php

The Enemy Within by Gore Vidal
Unofficial Online Version:

the fifth estate: Conspiracy Theories (CBC)

Why don't we have answers to these 9/11 questions? by William Bunch

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