September 11th and the Bush Administration: Compelling Evidence for Complicity by Walter E. Davis, PhD, Kent State University October 29th 2003

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September 11th and the Bush Administration:
Compelling Evidence for Complicity

by Walter E. Davis, PhD, Kent State University

October 29th 2003

This article will appear in Bernd Hamm (Ed) (2003).
Bushgang America. London: Zed Books.

Acknowledgements: I would like to thank Bernd Hamm, Ed Rippy, Paul Wolf, Karen Capel, J. Walter Plinge, and Timothy Chandler for their helpful comments.


Why 9/11 was not prevented is one of the most critical questions in current times, because answers may well reveal to more people than ever before, the true nature of the U.S. corporate global empire – the most extensive and most destructive in human history. Newspapers across the U.S. called for an investigation into Bush's lies about the reason for war on Iraq. While it is relatively easy for the American people to accept deception for the killing of the Arab people in distant lands, few people will be as accepting if it is shown that this Administration was complicit in acts of atrocities against its own people.

The evidence I present in this article suggests that the most plausible explanation of the events surrounding September 11, 2001, is that the Bush Administration was complicit in the terrorist attacks and has orchestrated its cover-up. The sources cited contain extensive detailed information, additional sources, and analysis beyond what is possible to provide in this summary. I hope that this information will incite public outrage leading to full accountability.


The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, September 11, 2001, has served as a pretext for draconian measures of repression at home, including a cabinet level Department of Homeland Security, the Patriot Act I, and its sequel. September 11th (9/11) also became the cause for numerous other acts in the U.S. from massive increases in military spending to a Fast Track Trade Agreement for President Bush. More importantly, 9/11 serves as a pretext for a never-ending war against the world, including preemptive strikes against defenseless, but resource rich countries.

As I outline below, there are numerous aspects regarding the official stories about September 11th which do not fit with known facts that contradict each other, that defy common sense, and that indicate a pattern of misinformation and cover-up. The official reports coming out of Washington do very little to alleviate these concerns. For example, the Congressional report released on July 25, 2003 by a joint panel of House and Senate Intelligence Committees concluded that 9/11 resulted from C.I.A. and F.B.I. “lapses.” While incompetence is frightening enough given a $40 billion annual budget for intelligence, it is simply not consistent with known facts. It is consistent with the reports from other government scandals such as the Warren Commission's Report and the report from the Iran Contra affair, which produced damage control and cover-up but not answers to the more probing questions. But perhaps a comparison to Watergate is more apropos since the Bush Administration refuses to release twenty-eight pages of the congressional report. The report from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is believable unless you are seriously interested in the truth. Under more careful scientific scrutiny, some answers seem impossible, most are based on speculation, and still other important answers are completely omitted.

Even after more than two years, investigations stop far too short, the public is left in the dark on too many questions easily answered, and no one in the Bush Administration has been held accountable for any actions surrounding the attacks of September 11, 2001. The National Commission on Terrorists Attacks Upon the United States, formed at the insistence of the families of some of the victims, is continuing to hold hearings and a final report is expected by May, 2004.

It remains to be seen if, after a nearly three-year delay, they will come close to the truth about September 11th. I believe that this will occur only if tremendous public pressure is brought to bear from numerous sources to demand accountability from the Bush Administration. Accountability for any atrocity should attract the attention of serious investigative reporters, media critics, and even news commentators. That is their chosen responsibility. It is well known that the U.S. corporate media ask few probing questions, which aides in government cover-up. But why there has been so little coverage in the alternative press, with obvious exceptions, is a mystery. Too many of these outlets (e.g., Z Magazine and Mother Jones) have ignored the issue of accountability for 9/11. The failure of accountability should be a national and international scandal. Questions of why journalists and others in the mass media are failing the people of the U.S. and the world need to be answered.

What I show in this article is that government agencies knew of impending attacks, were capable of preventing them, but did nothing; their accounts of the events contain contradictions and lies; and they are going to great lengths to prevent any investigation. I further show that they are reaping tremendous benefits including those consistent with previously laid out plans for the U.S. to maintain its imperial hegemony through the military, economic and political takeover of Eurasia. These revelations will shock many people, which is one of the reasons for deliberate corporate media cover-up. But a significant number of people, even within the U.S. see (or will see) the consistencies in the events surrounding 9/11, as described below, with the long history of U.S. imperialism and atrocities both at home and abroad. (1)

Nevertheless, the degree to which this Administration is pursuing a course of world domination at any cost is unprecedented. One of the best ways of halting this destructive course is to expose the Bush Administration and insist on its accountability to the victims' families, the American people and the people of the world.

Therefore, why 9/11 was not prevented is one of the most critical questions in current times because answers may well reveal to more people than ever before, the true nature of the U.S. corporate global empire – the most extensive and most destructive in human history. Newspapers across the U.S. called for an investigation into Bush's lies about the reason for war on Iraq. While it is relatively easy for the American people to accept deception for the killing of the Arab people in distant lands, few people will be as accepting if it is shown that this Administration was complicit in acts of atrocities against its own people.

The evidence I present in this article suggests that the most plausible explanation of the events surrounding September 11, 2001, is that the Bush Administration was complicit in the terrorist attacks and has orchestrated its cover-up. The sources cited contain extensive detailed information, additional sources, and analysis beyond what is possible to provide in this summary. I hope that this information will incite public outrage leading to full accountability.

Evidence of Complicity by the Bush Administration in 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

Here is the U.S. official story as reported by the U.S. corporate media: On the morning of September 11, 2001 four Boeing passenger jets were hijacked within an hour by nineteen Arab terrorists armed with box cutters. Pilots among these terrorists took control of the commercial planes and changed course toward targets in New York City and Washington D.C. Two of the planes were deliberately crashed into the Twin Towers, causing fires within the towers that melted the steel support structures, thereby causing the buildings to collapse completely. A third plane was deliberately crashed into the Pentagon. Passengers on the fourth plane overpowered the hijackers and caused the plane to crash in Pennsylvania. This was an attack on America planned and directed by Osama bin Laden as the leader of al-Qaeda, a previously obscure anti-U.S. international terrorist organization composed mainly of Arabs. This story cries out for further explanations, but nothing official is forthcoming. People are simply expected to believe the official version without question.

The Bush Administration Knew of the 9/11 Attacks Beforehand

There are several major sources of evidence to conclude beyond reasonable doubt that numerous people, in the U.S. and around the world were aware of the possibility of a terrorist attack on the U.S., and contrary to their claims, the Bush Administration was not caught by surprise. First, the entire U.S. intelligence community knew of the 9/11 attacks beforehand, including the fact that commercial jets were to be used as bombs; they also knew the approximate dates and possible targets. (2)

Western intelligence had been aware of plans for such terrorist attacks on U.S. soil as early as 1995. The plan was known as “Project Bojinka.” It was known to both the CIA and FBI and was described in court documents in the trial in New York of Ramzi Yousef and Abdul Murad for their participation in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center (WTC).

As early as 1996, the FBI was following the activities of Arab students at U.S. flight schools. Several persons later identified by the FBI as the hijackers, including Khalid Almihdar and Nawaf Alhazmi along with the man alleged to be the principal organizer, Mohammed Atta, were under active surveillance by U.S. agents prior to 9/11. Several weeks prior to September 11th, all internal U.S. security agencies were warned of the impending al-Qaeda attacks. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was warned of the possible attack but did nothing to beef up security. At least two weeks prior to September 11th the FBI agents again confirmed that an attack on lower Manhattan was imminent. Some field agents predicted, almost precisely, what happened on September 11th. (3)

There are numerous other reasons to dismiss as a lie the claim that the 9/11 plane hijackings and attacks caught the U.S. government agencies by surprised – a rather ominous admission in the first place. For example, an expert panel commissioned by the Pentagon in 1993 discussed how an airplane could be used as a bomb. Notably, U.S. security officials had considered and prepared for possible attacks by suicide planes during the Atlanta Summer Olympics in 1996. There were three incidents that took place in 1994, including the stolen single-engine Cessna, which crashed into a tree on the White House grounds just short of the president's bedroom, and an aborted plan to crash a plane into the Eiffel Tower. As early as 1997, Russia, France, Israel, the Philippines and Egypt all warned the U.S. of the possibility of the attacks. Warning came from several others sources as well. Recently (May 25, 2002), CBS revealed that President Bush had been warned in an intelligence briefing on August 6, 2001, that Bin Laden might be planning to hijack commercial planes for a domestic attack in the U.S.

Second, selected persons were told not to fly that day. Newsweek (September 24, 2001) reported that on September 10th, “a group of top Pentagon officials suddenly canceled travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns” (p. 26). Yet this same information was not made available to the 266 people who died aboard the four hijacked commercial aircraft. A significant number of other selected people were also warned about flying or reporting for work at the WTC. These people include San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, who received a phone call eight hours before the hijacking warning him not to travel by air. Salman Rushdie is under a 24-hour protection of U.K. Scotland Yard; he was also prevented from flying that day. Ariel Sharon canceled his address to Israeli support groups in New York City just the day before his scheduled September 11th address. John Ashcroft stopped flying on public airplanes in July of 2001. These revelations are more indisputable evidence that people knew about the impending attacks.

Third, revelations of profits made by insider trading relating to the 9/11 attacks point to the top levels of U.S. business and the CIA. (4)

The intelligence community regularly analyzes financial transactions for any suspicious activity. Only three trading days before September 11th, an inordinate number of “put” options – bets that a stock will go down – were placed on the stocks of American and United Airlines, the companies whose planes were hijacked in the attacks of 9/11. No such speculation was made on any other airlines. Moreover, similar speculation occurred on other companies housed in the World Trade Towers, including Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. It is noteworthy that some of the put options were purchased through Deutsche Bank/Alex Brown, a firm managed until 1998 by the current executive director of the CIA, A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard. The New York Times reported that Mayo Shattuck III resigned as head of the Alex Brown unit of Deutsche Bank on September 15, 2001.

These multiple, massive and unprecedented financial transactions point unequivocally to the fact that the investors behind these trades were speculating in anticipation of a mid-September 2001 catastrophe that would involve both United and American Airlines and offices in the Twin Towers. To date, both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the FBI have been tight-lipped about their investigations of trades. The names of the investors remain undisclosed and $5 million in profit taking remains unclaimed in the Chicago Exchange account. A probe could isolate the investors. However, this case has recently been closed without any report being made public or anyone being held accountable. The insider-trading incident further establishes the fact that important people knew beforehand of the possible attacks, did nothing about them and are now covering them up.

Emergency Procedures Capable of Preventing Such Attack Exist But Were Not Followed

There is incontrovertible evidence that the U.S. Air Force all across the country was comprehensively “stood down” on the morning of September 11th. Routine security measures, normally in place, which may well have prevented the attacks, or reduced their impact, were suspended while the attacks were in progress and reinstated once they were over. (5)

Sequence of events for each hijacked plane is as follows:

7:59a.m.: American Airlines Flight 11 leaves from Boston's Logan Airport bound for Los Angeles; 8:20a.m.: is hijacked and goes off course; 8:46a.m.: it smashes into the North Tower of the WTC. The tower completely collapses at 10:28a.m.

8:01a.m.: United Airlines Flight 93 sits on the ground for forty-one minutes before leaving from Newark bound for San Francisco; 9:20a.m.: The FAA notifies NORAD that Flight 93 has been hijacked; 9:35a.m.: the plane goes off course near Cleveland, Ohio, where it makes a 135-degree turn, and is now headed to the southeast; 10:10a.m.: it crashes in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

8:14a.m.: United Airlines Flight 175 leaves from Boston bound for Los Angeles; 8:49a.m.: it deviates from its assigned flight path; 9:03a.m.: it smashes into the South Tower. The tower completely collapses at 9:59am.

8:20a.m.: American Airlines Flight 77 leaves from Dulles International, 30 miles west of Washington, D.C. bound for Los Angeles; 8:56a.m.: transponder signal stops. It goes off course and starts making a 180-degree turn over southern Ohio/northeastern Kentucky; 9:38a.m.: it allegedly hits the Pentagon (there are very serious questions as to whether this plane actually hit the Pentagon; see below).

Andrews Air Force Base is a huge military installation about twelve miles from the Pentagon. On September 11th there were two entire squadrons of combat-ready fighter jets at Andrews. They failed to do their job of protecting the skies over Washington, D.C. Despite over one hour's advance warning of a terrorist attack in progress, not a single Andrews fighter tried to protect the city. The FAA, NORAD and the military have cooperative procedures enabling fighter jets to intercept commercial aircraft under emergency conditions. They do not need instructions from the White House to intercept commercial aircraft, yet these procedures were not followed.

Within thirty-five minutes after American Airline Flight 11 departed from Boston's Logan Airport it quit responding to ground control, and radar indicated that the plane had deviated from its assigned flight-path. Two airline attendants on Flight 11 had separately called American Airlines reporting a hijacking, the presence of weapons, and the infliction of injuries on passengers and crew. At this point there was an undeniable emergency. Yet, according to NORAD's official timeline, NORAD was not contacted until twenty minutes later at 8:40a.m. Tragically the fighter jets may not have been deployed until a full thirty-two minutes after the loss of contact with Flight 11.

Flights 175, 77 and 93 all had this same pattern of delays in notification and in scrambling fighter jets – delays that are difficult to imagine considering a plane had, by this time, already hit the WTC. The official account of the plane striking the Pentagon is particularly incomprehensible. After it was known that the Flight 77 had a problem, it was nevertheless able to change course and fly towards Washington, for about forty-five minutes, fly past the White House, and crash into the Pentagon, without any attempt at interception. All the while two squadrons of fighter aircraft were stationed just twelve miles from the eventual target. Since the plane left Dulles Airport, which is close to the Pentagon, why would hijackers fly for forty minutes away from the intended target and then forty minutes back unless they believed there was no chance of being intercepted?

Moreover, well-established emergency protocols were not followed by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense, or the President of the United States. Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard B. Myers stated that he saw a TV report about a plane hitting the WTC but thought it was a small plane. So he went ahead with his meeting with Senator Max Cleland. By the time he came out of the meeting the Pentagon had been hit. Why did General Myers not know about the emergency until too late? The Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was at his desk when AA77 crashed into the Pentagon. How is it possible that the National Military Command Center (NMCC), located in the Pentagon and in contact with law enforcement and air traffic controllers from 8:46a.m., did not communicate to the Secretary of Defense, also at the Pentagon, about the other hijacked planes especially the one headed to Washington? (6) After Secretary Rumsfeld was notified, why did he go to the War Room?

The actions of President Bush, while the attacks were occurring, were particularly suspicious because he did not do anything reasonably expected of a president wanting to protect U.S. citizens and property. The Secret Service is required to inform the president immediately of any national emergency. Yet the president was permitted by the Secret Service to remain in the Sarasota elementary school. At 9:05a.m., nineteen minutes after the first attack and two minutes after the second attack on the WTC, Andrew Card, the presidential chief of staff, whispered something in President Bush's ear. At that time the President did not react as if he was interested in trying to do something about the situation. He did not leave the school, convene an emergency meeting, consult with anybody, or intervene in any way to ensure that the Air Force completed its job. The president's approval is not required for an intercept, but it is required for commercial planes to be shot down.

Yet, President Bush did not even attend to the extraordinary events occurring in New York, but simply continued with the reading class. It was not until twenty minutes after the second Tower had been hit that he met privately with National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, and New York Governor, George Pataki. At 9:30a.m., he made an announcement to the press using the same words his father had used ten years earlier: “Terrorism against our nation will not stand”. His own explanations of his actions that day contradict known facts.

In the case of a national emergency, seconds of indecision could cost thousands of lives; and it is precisely for this reason that the government has a whole network of adjuncts and advisors to ensure that these top officials are among the first to be informed, not the last. Where were these individuals who did not properly inform the top officials? In short, the CIA, the DCI, the State Department, the president and key figures around him in the White House were ultimately responsible for doing nothing in the face of the mounting evidence of an impending threat to U.S. national security. Nafeez Ahmed states that these acts are “indicative of a scale of negligence amounting to effective complicity” (2002, p. 167). Incompetence is a highly improbable explanation. Indeed, the failures of the emergency procedures could not have occurred without coordination at the top. If a routine procedure was aborted, whether accidentally or deliberately, it would be detected by those in the higher positions of the hierarchy, which is the way all emergency systems are organized. At least someone should have received a reprimand, but none has been reported.

Who Are the Alleged Terrorists and Why Were They in U.S. Flight Schools?

There are numerous questions regarding the alleged terrorists including who they were, how they were able to board the planes, and whether in fact they were even on the planes. (7) The names of the alleged terrorists were not on the passenger lists released by the airlines. Photos of the alleged hijackers appeared on the FBI website not long after 9/11, but have since been removed. Both the British and U.S. media reported that several of the individuals, identified as hijackers by the FBI, have been found alive. Thierry Meyssan noted that “Prince Saud Al-Faisal, the Saudi Foreign Minister, declared to the press that, 'It has been proven that five of the persons named in the FBI's list had no connection with what happened'” (2002, pp. 54-55, italics in the original). Indeed, how was it possible for the FBI to be caught by surprise and then produce the names of the alleged hijackers within twenty-four hours following the attacks? There are two possibilities: the FBI made up the names or assisted the hijackers in boarding the planes. Either way, complicity is implied. Questions about who were on the planes are prime examples of the kind of information that is easily verified or refuted but neither has been done officially. One outrageous claim is that Mohamed Atta's passport was found at Ground Zero. The failure to respond to these essential questions is, in itself, incriminating.

If the nineteen alleged terrorists did board the planes, the U.S. security agencies should have stopped them from entering this country for intelligence reasons, prior to 9/11, according to the testimony of Mindy Kleinberg during the hearings of The National Commission on Terrorists Attacks. Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers' visas should have been unquestionably denied because their applications were incomplete and incorrect. Most of the alleged hijackers were young, unmarried, and unemployed males. They were, in short, the “classic over-stay candidates”. A seasoned former Consular officer stated in the National Review magazine, “Single, idle young adults with no specific destination in the United States rarely get visas absent compelling circumstances”. (8)

There are several cases damaging to the credibility of the official accounts of 9/11. But the U.S. response to Mohammed Atta, the alleged lead hijacker, is most extraordinary. (9) The FBI had been monitoring Atta's movements for several months in 2000. According to PBS' Frontline, the Immigration and Naturalization Service failed to stop Atta from entering the U.S. three times on a tourist visa in 2001, even though officials knew the visa had expired in 2000, and that Atta had violated its terms by taking flight lessons. Furthermore, Atta had already been implicated in a terrorist bombing in Israel, with the information passed on to the United States before he was first issued his tourist visa.

Another important aspect, as Daniel Hopsicker and Thierry Messyan have documented, is that many of the alleged terrorist pilots received their initial training in Venice, Florida at one of the flight schools of highly questionable credibility and with approval of U.S. intelligence. Mohammed Atta attended International Officers School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama; Abdulaziz Alomari had attended Aerospace Medical School at Brooks Air Force base in Texas; Saeed Alghamdi had been to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. These are all names of identified hijackers, but the U.S. government has denied the match. Three days after the 9/11 attacks, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III claimed that these findings were new and had not been known by the FBI previously. This claim is a lie.

Zacarias Moussaoui was arrested after his flight trainers at the Minnesota flight school, Pan Am International Flight Academy, reported highly suspicious behavior. He was greatly unqualified; he wanted to learn to fly a 747 but was not interested in takeoffs or landings; he was traveling on a French passport and when contacted, the French said he was a suspected terrorist connected to al-Qaeda. However, a special counter-terrorism panel of the FBI and CIA reviewed the case but did not pursue it.

There are numerous glaring anomalies, illegalities and scandals connected with Wally Hilliard and Rudi Dekkers' Huffman Aviation School at Venice, Florida, where other hijackers trained. Dekkers had no aviation experience and was under indictment in his native country, The Netherlands, on financial charges. He purchased his aviation school at just about the time the alleged terrorists moved into town and began their lessons. He has yet to be investigated even though he initially trained some of the accused hijackers.

According to Hopsicker, Britannia Aviation was awarded a five-year contract to run a large regional maintenance facility at Lynchburg at a time when the company virtually had no assets, employees, or corporate history and did not possess the necessary FAA license to perform the maintenance. Britannia was a company with known CIA connections. It was operating illegally out of Huffman Aviation, the flight school that trained al-Qaeda hijackers and was given a “green light” from the Justice Department's Drug Enforcement Administration, and the local Venice Police Department was warned to “leave them alone.” The CIA is known to be involved in the drug trade.

One answer to the question of how the accused terrorists entered the U.S. with ease is that the Bush Administration made it possible for Saudi visitors to come to the U.S. under a program called U.S. Visa Express, introduced four months before September 11th. This was at a time when the U.S. intelligence community was on alert for an imminent al-Qaeda attack. Michael Springmann, former head of the Visa Bureau at the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia said that he was repeatedly ordered by high-level State Department officials to issue visas to unqualified applicants. His complaints to higher authorities at several agencies went unanswered. In a CBC interview, he indicated that the CIA was indeed complicit in the attacks. (10)

As is well known, most of the accused hijackers were Saudis, as is Osama bin Laden, and the Saudi Arabian government is known to give financial support to terrorist organizations. Why then is Iraq and not Saudi Arabia a target if the U.S. government is concerned about terrorism? The obvious answer seems to be because the Saudi Arabian Monarchy has a long standing cooperative business relationship with U.S. oil and arms industries, possibly including a provision to curtail surveillance on their activities. (11) Iraq at that time of 9/11 had no such cooperative arrangement. Iraq is now forced to cooperate with the U.S., of course. There is evidence that Osama bin Laden continues to receive extensive support, not only from members of his own family, but also from members of the Saudi establishment. A New Statesman report stated that “bin Laden and his gang are just the tentacles; the head lies safely in Saudi Arabia, protected by U.S. forces.” The hijackers the FBI identified as being responsible for 9/11 were not illiterate, bearded fanatics from Afghanistan. They were all educated, highly skilled, middle-class professionals and not the typical kamikaze pilots they are alleged to have been. Of the alleged men involved, thirteen were Saudi nationals.

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