|19/05/04||Posting to International Wire of Scoop Press Release: www.UnansweredQuestions.org Date: Wednesday, 19 May 2004 Time: 12:41 pm NZT
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9/11 Disaster Could Have Been Prevented by Advance Responses Emergency Preparedness and Massive Security Are Much More Costly
(Washington, DC) 9/11 CitizensWatch, a public group working to monitor the national 9/11 Commission and demand transparency, accountability and a thorough investigation agrees with Commission Chair Gov. Thomas Kean that 9/11 “was not something that had to happen”. “If normal procedures had been followed by FAA and NORAD, numerous and specific warnings and forewarnings had been acted on, and investigative leads had been allowed to be properly followed, it is certainly possible that the plot could have been foiled,” notes John Judge, a co-founder of CitizensWatch.
“There was an across-the-board failure of every possible warning, prevention, interception and defense system simultaneously that made 9/11 possible. This goes beyond simple incompetence or failure of agencies to cooperate. Routine procedures were breached that had the potential to save thousands of lives, and systems were inexplicably blind to known threats. Standard defenses were never mobilized on 9/11… all raise the disturbing spectre of insider complicity,” said Kyle Hence, the group's co-founder.
* FBI, CIA and US Military Intelligence agencies were alerted by over a dozen foreign intelligence agencies as well as their own assets and agents about the possibility of such an attack. These agencies were on a state of high alert in the months preceding the event. FBI field agents suggested or began investigations that could easily have led to the plotters or those backing them. Several FBI investigations were called off. Reporting procedures were violated across agency lines. Leads and warnings that should have led to full investigations were never followed up.
* FAA and NORAD regulations and procedures for simple air emergencies were never implemented. NORAD was on full alert at the time due to an exercise, yet no planes were scrambled in timely fashion to intercept multiple commercial airliners that had violated communication and command procedures. These interceptions do not require hijackings or shootdown orders, and they routinely occur within minutes of the first sign of trouble. Both NORAD and the Pentagon had planned exercises and simulations regarding the use of planes as weapons against the actual targets of 9/11, well in advance of the event. The Pentagon and the Secret Service had taken special precautions against such an attack as early as 1998 and as recently as the Genoa summit meeting in the summer of 2001.
* Airline security procedures were apparently lax, but had they been followed that day there were opportunities to foil the plotters. Warning lists and profiling could have identified several of the plotters in advance of boarding, and regular procedures caused a few of them some delay.
US foreign policy in the past decades, as well as US funding of covert operations abroad led to the arming and training of many of the terrorist groups that are attacking the US today. Ongoing military and covert interventions and operations continue to create new enemies abroad. Nothing condones the acts of terrorists against innocent civilians, but these actions have not prevented ongoing covert funding and arming of these groups by US intelligence agencies over the years.
“A full investigation of the history of Osama bin Laden, the Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the mujehaddin resistance inside Afghanistan to the Soviet Union will reveal ties to Pakistani intelligence (ISI), the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (now defunct), certain Saudi royal families and intelligence links, the bin Laden family, and illegal drug profits and operations in the region. These connections continue up to the attacks of 9/11 and beyond. We hope the Commission will pick up where the Congressional Joint Inquiry left off on these matters. Our current foreign policy has as much to do with the prevention of future attacks and the growth of terrorism as does any security precautions taken now,” Judge noted.
The families of victims of 9/11 have raised legitimate questions about the emergency response of 9/11, The courageous rescue workers, and police and fire prevention teams that risked and lost their lives to save others that day deserve our praise. Improper building structure and fire systems, poor communication equipment, and inadequate protection from toxic chemical waste created by the fire and the collapse hampered their efforts. “A complete forensic investigation into the collapse of the Trade Center towers, including Building 7, should be required by the Commission in order to understand and prevent future disasters,” Hence said.
CitizensWatch supports adequate funding and equipment for building safety and local emergency response to disasters, as well as legal liability for failures. “However,” Hence said, “massive and costly security procedures that invade privacy and incur on basic civil liberties and a foreign policy that does not gain international support and cooperation, and increases hostility will not prevent future attacks. Common sense precautions, unhampered investigations, and sharing of intelligence information can uncover criminal plots, create reasonable precautions, and alert adequate defenses. The breakdown of these standard procedures is what allowed 9/11 to happen. Holding those accountable responsible and restoring a healthy ability to respond in advance will do more to protect us than excessive security measures, and it will obviate the need for an emergency response.”
9/11 CitizensWatch will continue to pursue a thorough and transparent investigation. We have called many times for the public testimony under oath of key officials in the last several administrations. We have called for full release of all forensic evidence collected to the public, since films, photos and evidence reports should not be classified data. “We were disappointed by the limitations placed on the Commission regarding access to documents as well as witnesses, and surprised to learn that two of the Commissioners left the closed testimony of presidents Bush and Cheney before they concluded. We are also aware that the Commissioners had to agree to allow only one person to take notes, Director Philip Zelikow, and that these notes were confiscated by White House counsel for editing before release to the Commission,” Judge noted.
9/11 CitizensWatch, PO Box 772, Washington, DC 20004–
Contacts: Kyle Hence 401-935-7715
John Judge 202-277-1992
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