Three Stooges National Security Service
January 26, 2004
3 Stooges Security Service
We should change our nation�s laws every time some lazy, inefficient, group of individuals screws up, right? We didn�t need the Patriot Act to stop the terrorists, we needed those that we depended on to do their jobs, to do their jobs.
In the future, such morons not doing their jobs can hide behind a veil of secrecy, and maybe those news hounds that try to expose the story can be imprisoned as terrorists for trying to get the word out if something along the same lines happens again, thanks to the Patriot Act.
Customs agent: Lead Sept. 11 hijacker should have been denied entry WASHINGTON (AP) � A border agent said Monday that the suspected ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks raised enough red flags at customs � including having the wrong student visa � that he should been prevented from entering the United States.
Customs agent Jose E. Melendez-Perez, testifying at a public hearing on border and aviation security, said lead hijacker Mohamed Atta's age and impeccable clothes also appeared to contradict his story about being a student.
"I would have recommended refusal," Melendez-Perez said.
Atta's improper entry is one of a series of errors by government officials prior to Sept. 11 that could have prevented the attacks, an independent commission investigating the terrorist attacks said Monday in releasing new details about the attack.
Some of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were allowed into the country despite carrying fraudulent visas and being questioned by customs agents, the commission said.
Click for piece (or see item below)
Posted 1/26/2004 2:01 PM Updated 1/26/2004 11:37 PM
Panel: Series of red flags missed before Sept. 11
By Mimi Hall and Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON � Some of the 19 hijackers who carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were allowed into the USA even though they were known al-Qaeda operatives, had fraudulent visas, lied on their visa applications or were questioned by border agents, according to an independent commission investigating the attacks.
(Related item: Inspector may have prevented "20th" hijacker from entering the U.S.-see story below)
The charges, made Monday at the start of a two-day hearing on border and aviation security, contradict earlier assertions by top Bush administration officials that the hijackers entered the country legally.
"Our government did not fully exploit al-Qaeda's travel vulnerabilities," commission Executive Director Philip Zelikow said in a statement.
The statement said:
� At least two of the hijackers' passports were "clearly doctored." Because details are classified, the statement said only that they were "manipulated in a fraudulent manner" in ways known to be "associated with al-Qaeda."
� Two of the hijackers had passports with "suspicious indicators." Again, no details were offered because the information is classified.
� Three hijackers submitted applications that contained false statements that could have been proved false when they applied.
� At least six hijackers violated immigration laws while in the USA, either by staying longer than allowed, failing to show up for school or leaving and returning with a visa application pending.
� Suspicious agents sent several hijackers through "secondary inspection" as they entered the country. Saeed Alghamdi, one of the hijackers on United Airlines Flight 93, talked his way through the process in June 2001 even though he spoke little English, had no address on his arrival form, came with a one-way ticket and had only $500. Mohamed Atta, the 9/11 ringleader, and hijacker Marwan Al-Shehhi also made it through even though they had only tourist visas but said they intended to enroll in flight school.
The commission did hear about one case in which a border agent in August 2001 stopped a man commissioners say they believe would have been the 20th hijacker.
Border agent Jose Melendez-Perez described turning away a man later determined to be al-Qaeda operative Mohamed al-Kahtani at the airport in Orlando because he had a gut feeling that al-Kahtani was up to no good.
Passengers overpowered the hijackers on Flight 93, the flight al-Kahtani might have been assigned to. The jet crashed in Pennsylvania, killing all aboard. Commissioners said Melendez-Perez's instincts might have saved countless others.
By contrast, commission staff offered a damning case study of how U.S. intelligence officials identified three of the future hijackers � Nawaf Alhazmi, Salem Alhazmi and Khalid Al-Midhar � almost two years before the attacks and then lost their trail as the al-Qaeda operatives traveled through Asia. A month before the attacks, FBI and CIA officials were stunned to learn that travel records showed that two of the men had entered the USA. Those two had not been located by the time of the attacks.
Although the commission concluded that the attacks may not have been prevented even if authorities had barred the two from the USA, the panel faulted the intelligence community for its "tragic," systematic failure to monitor the movements of known al-Qaeda suspects.
The commission also reported that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, suspected mastermind of the attacks, received a U.S. visa in August 2001, despite a 1996 indictment in New York for his involvement in earlier plots. But there is no evidence he ever used it to get into the USA. Mohammed was arrested in Pakistan last March.
The commission, formed in 2002 in response to demands from victims' families for an independent probe of the attacks, faces a May 27 deadline to finish its work.
Inspector's instincts win praise, gratitude
By Kevin Johnson and Mimi Hall, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON � Jose Melendez-Perez is paid to be suspicious.
But the soft-spoken U.S. immigration inspector said Monday that there was something immediately "chilling" about a young Saudi national who arrived at Orlando International Airport on Aug. 4, 2001.
Melendez-Perez, called to testify before the national commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, told the panel that Mohamed al-Kahtani was carrying no return plane ticket, had no local hotel reservations and became "visibly upset" when Melendez-Perez pressed him about his intentions in the USA.
"What first came to mind at this point was that this subject was a hit man," Melendez-Perez, 58, said. His wife later told him that he had been watching too many movies, he said.
More than two years after the Sept. 11 attacks, commission members say they believe Melendez-Perez's suspicion may warrant a movie of its own someday. Federal investigators say it is possible that al-Kahtani was intended as the "20th hijacker" and that the inspector's decision to put the Saudi man back on a plane to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, may have helped avert additional casualties.
Al-Kahtani has since been identified as a prisoner at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. His presence at the airport in Orlando has drawn increasing interest from investigators since it was determined that Mohamed Atta, the lead hijacker, was there making a telephone call about the time al-Kahtani arrived.
Authorities have always suspected that al-Qaeda meant to assemble five-man teams to overtake the four airliners hijacked on Sept. 11. In the end, the only jet that did not hit its target was United Airlines Flight 93. That flight, which crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, was hijacked by four men who were later overpowered by passengers. That flight was believed headed for Washington, D.C.
Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste praised Melendez-Perez for possibly helping spare the U.S. Capitol or the White House. "We all owe you a debt of gratitude," he said.
After his testimony, Melendez-Perez left the hearing room trailed by reporters. He appeared unfazed by the attention. "What I did on that day was just part of my job," he said. "I'm very honored that they believe what I did was the right thing."
Posted by Vikingas at January 26, 2004 05:04 PM | TrackBack