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C.I.A. Chief Defends Handling of Hijacker Data

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
C.I.A. Chief Defends Handling of Hijacker Data

Published: February 25, 2004

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 — The director of central intelligence on Tuesday defended his agency's handling of information it received about one of the Sept. 11 hijackers some two and a half years before the attacks, saying, "We didn't sit on our hands."

German intelligence officials gave the C.I.A. the first name of the hijacker, Marwan al-Shehhi, and his phone number in early 1999 after monitoring conversations of a well-known Islamic extremist in Hamburg. The commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks said it was trying to determine what American intelligence officials did with that information.

The director of central intelligence, George J. Tenet, told members of Congress on Tuesday that he would not discuss details of the operation publicly, but said "we did some things to go find out some things." Although American officials "didn't have enough" to move against Mr. Shehhi, "we didn't sit around," Mr. Tenet said.

German officials have expressed frustration over what they saw as the Americans' failure to follow up adequately on important intelligence about Mr. Shehhi, who turned out to be a central Sept. 11 plotter and piloted United Airlines Flight 175 into the south tower of the World Trade Center.

But Otto Schily, Germany's interior minister, dismissed any differences with the United States over the matter, telling reporters in Washington on Tuesday that the intelligence was "routine." He emphasized that neither the Germans nor the Americans* had any way of knowing in 1999 that Mr. Shehhi might be plotting an attack.

Some Democrats, however, saw the episode as fresh evidence of problems at the Central Intelligence Agency. Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, a senior member of the Homeland Security Committee, said the "tragic consequences," coupled with intelligence failures in Iraq, were grounds for Mr. Tenet's removal.


*because he is qualified to say this.

Someone please start a 9/11 debate with me again.

The American government and intelligence had extensive foreknowledge of the Sept. 11 attack and allowed it to happen to justify a war on the middle east to the rest of the country.

Someone challenge me on that.
Last edited:
Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room