|Posted by George Freund on April 20, 2023 at 6:00 PM|
A newly-released court filing raises grave questions about the relationship between Alec Station, a CIA unit set up to track Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and his associates, and two 9/11 hijackers leading up to the attacks, which was subject to a coverup at the highest levels of the FBI.
Obtained by SpyTalk, the filing is a 21-page declaration by Don Canestraro, a lead investigator for the Office of Military Commissions, the legal body overseeing the cases of 9/11 defendants. It summarizes classified government discovery disclosures, and private interviews he conducted with anonymous high-ranking CIA and FBI officials. Many agents who spoke to Canestraro headed up Operation Encore, the Bureau’s aborted, long-running probe into Saudi government connections to the 9/11 attack.
Despite conducting multiple lengthy interviews with a range of witnesses, producing hundreds of pages of evidence, formally investigating several Saudi officials, and launching a grand jury to probe a Riyadh-run US-based support network for the hijackers, Encore was abruptly terminated in 2016. This was purportedly due to a byzantine intra-FBI bust-up over investigative methods.
When originally released in 2021 on the Office’s public court docket, every part of the document was redacted except an “unclassified” marking. Given its explosive contents, it is not difficult to see why: as Canestraro’s investigation concluded, at least two 9/11 hijackers had been recruited either knowingly or unknowingly into a joint CIA-Saudi intelligence operation which may have gone awry.
‘A 50/50 chance’ of Saudi involvement
In 1996, Alec Station was created under the watch of the CIA. The initiative was supposed to comprise a joint investigative effort with the FBI. However, FBI operatives assigned to the unit soon found they were prohibited from passing any information to the Bureau’s head office without the CIA’s authorization, and faced harsh penalties for doing so. Efforts to share information with the FBI’s equivalent unit – the I-49 squad based in New York – were repeatedly blocked.
In late 1999, with “the system blinking red” about an imminent large-scale Al Qaeda terror attack inside the US, the CIA and NSA were closely monitoring an “operational cadre” within an Al Qaeda cell that included the Saudi nationals Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar. The pair would purportedly go on to hijack American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11.
Al-Hazmi and al-Midhar had attended an Al Qaeda summit that took place between January 5th and 8th 2000, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The meeting was secretly photographed and videotaped by local authorities at Alec Station’s request although, apparently, no audio was captured. En route, Mihdhar transited through Dubai, where CIA operatives broke into his hotel room and photocopied his passport. It showed that he possessed a multi-entry visa to the US.
A contemporaneous internal CIA cable stated this information was immediately passed to the FBI “for further investigation.” In reality, Alec Station not only failed to inform the Bureau of Mihdhar’s US visa, but also expressly forbade two FBI agents assigned to the unit from doing so.
“[I said] ‘we’ve got to tell the Bureau about this. These guys clearly are bad…we’ve got to tell the FBI.’ And then [the CIA] said to me, ‘no, it’s not the FBI’s case, not the FBI’s jurisdiction’,” Mark Rossini, one of the FBI agents in question, has alleged. “If we had picked up the phone and called the Bureau, I would’ve been violating the law. I…would’ve been removed from the building that day. I would’ve had my clearances suspended, and I would be gone.”
On January 15th, Hazmi and Mihdhar entered the US through Los Angeles International Airport, just weeks after the foiled Millennium plot. Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi government “ghost employee” immediately met them at an airport restaurant. After a brief conversation, Bayoumi helped them find an apartment near his own in San Diego, co-signed their lease, set them up bank accounts, and gifted $1,500 towards their rent. The three would have multiple contacts moving forward.
In interviews with Operation Encore investigators years later, Bayoumi alleged his run-in with the two would-be hijackers was mere happenstance. His extraordinary practical and financial support was, he claimed, simply charitable, motivated by sympathy for the pair, who could barely speak English and were unfamiliar with Western culture.
The Bureau disagreed, concluding Bayoumi was a Saudi spy, who handled a number of Al Qaeda operatives in the US. They also considered there to be a “50/50 chance” he – and by extension Riyadh – had detailed advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks.
That remarkable finding wasn’t known publicly until two decades later, when a tranche of Operation Encore documents were declassified upon the Biden administration’s orders, and it was completely ignored by the mainstream media. Don Canestraro’s declaration now reveals FBI investigators went even further in their assessments.
A Bureau special agent, dubbed “CS-3” in the document, stated Bayoumi’s contact with the hijackers and support thereafter “was done at the behest of the CIA through the Saudi intelligence service.” Alec Station’s explicit purpose was to “recruit Al-Hazmi and Al-Mihdhar via a liaison relationship”, with the assistance of Riyadh’s General Intelligence Directorate.
A most ‘unusual’ CIA unit
Alec Station’s formal remit was to track bin Laden, “collect intelligence on him, run operations against him, disrupt his finances, and warn policymakers about his activities and intentions.” These activities would naturally entail enlisting informants within Al Qaeda.
Nonetheless, as several high level sources told Canestraro, it was extremely “unusual” for such an entity to be involved in gathering intelligence and recruiting assets. The US-based unit was run by CIA analysts, who do not typically manage human assets. Legally, that work is the exclusive preserve of case officers “trained in covert operations” and based overseas.
They destroyed Afghanistan and Iraq for nothing as we always knew. God have mercy.
Categories: New World Order, 911