Big Brother rewrites history again
The narrow boxes through which we find ourselves entering public debate over the rise of a totalitarian government surveillance infrastructure are driving me a little crazy.
“Edward Snowden: Hero or traitor?”
Pick one, now, the question demands, before we learn anything else or think of anything more. In this way, our attention is focused onto Snowden, the man, not Uncle Sam, the secret megastate.
“Traitor!” some cry, never noticing that Snowden's leak makes him a “traitor” to the surveillance state — not the republic of memory. But such a gaffe is fine with our Big Brothers, from President Obama and FBI Director Robert Mueller to former Vice President Dick Cheney.
This new big lie about 9/11 is that the Snowden-leaked programs of data mining and cellphone collection might well have led authorities to identify two key Saudi hijackers in San Diego and roll up the whole al-Qaida plot. As former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, who served as co-chairman of the Congressional Joint 9/11 Inquiry, has made abundantly clear, this particular pair, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, was already well known to U.S. intelligence authorities for ties to the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and other hostile activities.
Meanwhile, the information linking 9/11 hijackers to other Saudis in California is information that congressional investigators developed themselves. The FBI, as Graham has long attested, withheld evidence from Congress' Joint Inquiry — and, later, the 9/11 Commission. Why? More Saudi cover-up, it seems.
In 2011, reporters Anthony Summers and Dan Christiansen broke the news in the Broward Bulldog that the FBI withheld more information from the Congress' inquiry: its investigation into another Saudi 9/11 support network, this one in Sarasota, Fla. The FBI rejected the claim, insisting the agency had informed the 9/11 Commission about its investigation at the time, which it also claimed had gone nowhere.
“This assertion by the FBI was not credible,” Graham wrote in a sworn declaration dated May 31, 2013 attached to a new Freedom of Information Act request by the reporters. Graham contacted 9/11 Commission co-chairmen Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton and reported that neither of them had ever heard of an FBI investigation in Sarasota, either.
More important, as Graham states, the FBI's failure to call attention to “documents finding ‘many connections' between Saudis living in the United States and individuals associated with the terrorist (attacks) ... interfered with the Inquiry's ability to complete its mission.”
This stonewalling continues under the Obama administration. In his sworn declaration, Graham names names. These include CIA Director John Brennan, who fobbed him off, and deputy FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce, who has blocked Graham's efforts to pursue the Sarasota story at every turn. Graham states that Joyce advised him that he, Joyce, had instructed the FBI agent in charge of the Sarasota investigation (since transferred to Honolulu) not to speak to Graham.
“I am troubled by what appears to me to be a persistent effort by the FBI to conceal from the American people information concerning possible Saudi support of the Sept. 11 attacks,” Graham writes.
Also troubling is watching the U.S. government hide and twist history in real time. We can't let them do this to us again.
Diana West's new book is “American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character” from St. Martin's Press.