Unsolved Mysteries of 9/11

The horror of 9/11 was bad enough, but what makes it worse is the positively sinister undertone of what we are coming to learn about the events surrounding that singular event. In reviewing my "what’s up with that?" file of 9/11 news stories, it looks like I have enough material for a whole television series: "Unsolved Mysteries of 9/11."


To begin with, there is the Israeli "art student" mystery, which I have gone on about at some length in this space – check the archives for details. Essentially this story raises the possibility that the Israelis had foreknowledge of the attacks, and didn’t tell us all they knew in order to protect their sources and methods. But if the Israelis knew in advance, then so did practically every other intelligence agency on earth – including the Brits, the French, the Russians, the Egyptians, the Moroccans, and the Jordanians. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear that Liechtenstein is next on the list.


Intelligence agencies, however, are limited in what they can disclose to their allies. Since allies are always spying on one another, no one wants to reveal how they know what they know. We can’t depend on our "friends," and must rely on the FBI, the CIA, and all the other myriad intelligence bureaucracies (each division of the military has its own, plus miscellaneous offspring) that proliferate like maggots inside the rotten corpse of Empire.

Yes, I said rotten. What other word is there when the FBI’s own paid informant says he warned them, a memo written by their Phoenix office predicted the whole thing, and the central administration of the FBI apparently obstructed the agency’s investigation into Al Qaeda and Hamas?

Surely the central enigma of 9/11 is this: How did 19 hijackers manage to pull off the most spectacular terrorist act in modern history – in the face of so many warnings, and so many US tax dollars spent combating terrorism – without state support?


This question of who had foreknowledge – apparently everyone, if we are to believe news reports – is taking on some bizarre connotations. There’s the San Diego stock analyst accused of bribing an agent of the FBI in exchange for confidential information, and of whom a government prosecutor said in a recent court hearing:

"Perhaps Mr. Elgindy had preknowledge of Sept. 11, and rather than report it he attempted to profit from it."

Say what?!

On September 10, Amr Ibrahim Elgindy told his stockbroker that the Dow Jones industrial average would fall below 3000. It then stood at 9,600. Prosecutors are eager to know why he tried to sell $300,000 in stock the day before the attacks. Elgindy and four others, including one FBI agent and one former agent, have been charged with using insider information gleaned from government sources to manipulate stocks and extort targeted companies. Prosecutors contend that Jeffrey A. Royer, an ex-agent, took $30,000 from Elgindy’s firm in exchange for inside information.

If Kenneth Breen, an assistant United States attorney, was serious when he suggested the Egyptian-born investment counselor – a Muslim and a prominent supporter of Kosovar Albanians – may have had foreknowledge of 9/11, then is he also saying that this is the "confidential" information Elgindy bought from the FBI secret files for 30,000 pieces of silver? The news that classified information was found in the possession of Royer during a search certainly lends credence to this scenario. Newsday reports:

"During arguments over whether Royer should be given bail, Breen said that the former agent posed a risk of flight, partly because of classified information about ‘another subject matter’ that was unearthed during the execution of a search warrant of his possessions."

Taken in context with the accusations of obstruction brought forth in the Rowley memorandum, this latest unsolved mystery is rather like a particularly dark and convoluted episode of "The X-Files." And it gets darker…


Speaking of stock manipulation, remember that story about unusual activity in airline stocks in the days before 9/11? The flurry of reports in the international media characterized it as "terrorist insider trading" – but it looks like it wasn’t only the terrorists who were doing the trading. The promised Securities and Exchange Commission investigation seems to have fallen into a black hole. Has anyone heard from any of those German banks that were supposed to be getting on the case? I thought not….


Another great unsolved mystery is what the government thinks it is doing with all these off-the-wall terror warnings. Many believe that the answer to this ought to be clear enough: they’re trying to scare us to death. Okay, fair enough, but, between the threat of attack by scuba diving terrorists, and the apparent certainty shared by high government officials that a nuclear attack is "inevitable," the most bizarre terrorist threat of them all seems to have gotten no notice at all – the threat from our own military! Before you start fitting me for a tin foil hat, please check out this story from the Savannah Morning News [May 16, 2002]:

"Jacksonville, Fla., police arrested a Fort Stewart soldier Saturday after finding him armed, wearing black clothes and leaving a power plant where he allegedly left an explosive.

"Spc. Derek Lawrence Peterson, 27, is being held on a $5 million bond by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Department of Corrections. He has been charged with attempting to detonate an explosive device.

"Peterson belongs to B Company, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor and has been stationed at Fort Stewart since March, said Dina McCain, a Fort Stewart spokeswoman."

Peterson was stopped by the cops for speeding near midnight, and was wearing "all black clothing and black, plastic pads on his knees," according to the sheriff’s department. A search of his truck yielded "a 12-inch knife, a six-inch knife, a 12-gauge shotgun, shotgun shells, .45-caliber bullets, four ammo magazines, a six-volt battery, duct tape, speaker wire and plastic from an explosive device."

Oh, but here’s my favorite part:

"After being informed of his rights, wrote arresting officer D.F. Valiante, ‘the suspect advised me that he was on the power plant property to practice recon tactics.’"

Oh, right, dude, you were just "practicing" – then what’s up with that Hoffman explosive device the cops found underneath the power lines?

This story is so bizarre that, when I first read it, I refused to believe it: but a call to the Jacksonville jail confirmed it. "Oh, yes, he’s here," they told us somewhat ruefully, and it didn’t seem like they were about to let him go anytime soon. Peterson’s court date is June 4: meanwhile, the prisoner isn’t allowed any visitors…


The American Society for Microbiology had its annual meeting over the Memorial Day weekend, and the possibility that the Anthrax Terrorist may have been in attendance hung over the conference like a dark cloud of foreboding, reminding us of yet another unsolved mystery. The anthrax letters – mailed to prominent government officials, with messages crudely designed to make it look like the work of Muslims – have definitively been proved to come from within our own scientific community. Clearly, the pool of likely suspects can be narrowed down to the few dozen experts capable of making high-grade "weaponized" anthrax. Indeed, as I have written, the identity of the Anthrax Madman is obvious to anyone with access to a computer and the skills to research the topic. Imagine what Sherlock Holmes could’ve done with google.com!

But the point is you don’t have to be a super-genius on the level of Holmes to discover the truth, or something very close to it, when it comes to the anthrax "mystery" – so why is the FBI, as Barbara Hatch Rosenberg points out, seemingly dragging its feet, throwing far too wide and cumbersome a net? The Rowley memorandum clued us in to the obstructionist tactics thrown in the path of local FBI investigators by the central office in the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, the alleged "20th hijacker" – is such obstructionism happening in this case, too? You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist, these days, to think it’s more than likely.


Finally, there’s this story about the "US plan to strike enemy with Valium," as the [UK] Observer headline writer phrased it:

"American military chiefs are developing plans to use Valium as a potential weapon against enemy forces and to control hostile populations, according to official documents seen by The Observer."

Since San Francisco certainly qualifies as the center of a "hostile population," at least as far as the Bush administration is concerned, I guess I can look forward to the day when, after taking a quaff of Valiumized tap water, I’ll suddenly reach a state of narcotized Nirvana. Good! We could all use a good dose of Valium, these days, or perhaps something far stronger.

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of Antiwar.com, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].