Monday, March 10, 2003

Colleen Rowley, the FBI whistleblower who testified about the failure of the FBI to act on warnings of the 9-11 attacks, has written a letter, dated February 26 and addressed to FBI Director Mueller, concerning the complete lack of preparedness in the FBI should there be another terrorist attack, particularly given the fact that the war to steal Iraq's oil will almost certainly inspire many more terrorist attacks on the United States. It is an outstanding letter, raising questions which go far beyond the FBI and hint as to problems for the United States caused by the Iraq war, including problems which will be caused by the undiplomatic way the United States is currently dealing with the rest of the world. I want to focus on one issue. She writes:

"If, as you have said, 'the prevention of another terrorist attack remains the FBI’s top priority,' why is it that we have not attempted to interview Zacarias Moussaoui, the only suspect in U.S. custody charged with having a direct hand in the horror of 9-11? Although al-Qaeda has taken pains to compartmentalize its operations to avoid compromise by any one operative, information obtained from some al-Qaeda operatives has nonetheless proved invaluable. Moussaoui almost certainly would know of other al-Qaeda contacts, possibly in the U.S., and would also be able to alert us to the motive behind his and Mohammed Atta's interest in crop dusting."

She also writes that: "little or no apparent effort has been made to interview convicted terrorist Richard Reid, who obviously depended upon other al-Qaeda operatives in fashioning his shoe explosive." This is rather astonishing. While Moussaoui has denied involvement in 9-11, he has admitted to being a member of the organization which the U. S. government calls 'al-Qaeda'. What possible reason would the FBI have for failing to even attempt to interview Moussaoui or Reid? Here are some possible answers:

  1. The FBI is utterly incompetent.

  2. The FBI is aware that an interview would involve some cost in a plea bargain with Moussaoui, and is unwilling to give up on asking for the death penalty. If in fact Moussaoui does have information that could prevent another terrorist attack, this is a stupid position for the FBI to take. As well, there is absolutely no excuse for the FBI to avoid asking questions of the already sentenced Reid.

  3. At least in the case of Moussaoui, the FBI knows that it has no real case against Moussaoui and that he is very unlikely to know anything about terrorism or future terrorist attacks. Therefore, there is no reason to ask him any questions.

  4. The FBI knows who was really behind the 9-11 attacks and realizes that investigating al-Qaeda is pointless.

If the FBI has in custody a man who they claim was involved in the 9-11 attacks, and they have failed to even try to ask him questions with a view to stopping future attacks, one has to severly question the good faith of the FBI in pursuing the war on terrorism. If no one has bothered to ask vital questions, people all the way up to Mueller should be fired.