Deadly Mistakes: A Chronology of Failure

The following article by Oliver Schrom is over a year old, but it certainly has relevance in light of the revelations about the U.S. government’s pre-9/11 perception of the threat posed by Al Qaeda. Schrom’s piece is a chronology of failure – our government’s failure to carry out its only legitimate function, which is protecting America from foreign threats and invasion, and is so structured, with important dates highlighted. Readers will be particularly interested in the entry dated Aug. 6, 2001 – the date of the recently released Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) – which notes:

"Instead of the usual two or three pages, today’s briefing paper consists of eleven and a half printed page and carries the title ‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.’"

The version released by the White House is barely a page and a half long. Is the White House holding back? That question, I believe, can safely be modified to read: What is the White House holding back?

In any case, read Schrom’s piece: it couldn’t be more timely.

Deadly Mistakes
by Oliver Schröm

translated from Die Zeit
October 2, 2002

U.S. investigators knew that terror attacks were being planned, but let the suspects roam free. There are increasing signs that the CIA and FBI could have prevented the attack on America.

Washington, D.C. September 11, 2001 A few hours earlier 19 terrorists had hijacked four airplanes and flown two of them into the towers of the World Trade Center. The third crashed into the Pentagon and the fourth smashed into a field in Pennsylvania. Firemen were at the crash sites searching for survivors and President George W Bush already announced who was behind the attacks: Osama bin Laden.

Really? The voices were loud, the proof was wanting. Secretary of State Colin Powell announced that he would present documents very soon. Finally Powell let British Prime Minister Tony Blair present the evidence. The 20-page document that Blair published was an agglomeration of evidence and speculation that would prove that only bin Laden’s terror organization was capable of planning and implementing such an act of terror. According to the document: “There is evidence of a very specific nature relating to the guilt of bin Laden and his associates that is too sensitive to release.”

Indeed. The evidence shows not only that two of the hijackers had close contact with the Al Qaeda terror organization. But it in fact also illustrates the failure of the CIA, which learned that terror attacks were being planned 18 months before September 11, yet didn’t take any action against the terrorists.

In the meantime a congressional Joint Intelligence Committee is investigating those events. Die Zeit has heard from eyewitnesses and examined the committee’s reports. The commission uncovers new details almost daily, slowly turning grim hunches into certitude: The CIA could have prevented the September 11 attacks if systematic errors hadn’t been made.

Kuala Lumpur, January 5, 2000 The terrorist Tawfiq bin Atesh called a few trusted followers to a meeting in the Malaysian capital. Bin Atesh, whose nom de guerre is Khalid, is a close confidante of Osama bin Laden. Together they fought the Red Army in Afghanistan and bin Atesh lost a leg. The one-legged bin Atesh deliberately chose Kuala Lumpur as his meeting place. Malaysia had established Islam as the state religion years earlier. Muslims can enter without a visa. A Malaysian member of Al Qaeda owns an eight-story apartment building on the edge of Kuala Lumpur. One of the apartments was regularly used as a safe house by the terror organization. The one-legged man invited his accomplices there to plan an attack.

The CIA learned of the correct time and place for the meeting and asked the Malaysian Secret Service to place it under surveillance. As the terrorists left the apartment, the Malaysian police clicked away with their cameras. There was enough material for a whole photo series. The terrorists strolled around town like regular tourists. They casually searched out an Internet cafe and spent many hours in front of the computers, always surreptitiously watched by an observation team. Along with the one-legged man the Malaysian police also photographed Ramzi Mohammed Binalshibh. The then 27-year-old Yemeni had lived in Germany since 1995. He was the logistics man for the Hamburg Al Qaeda cell, whose members would murder 3,000 people only 18 months later.

Binalshibh came to the meeting directly from Germany. But for still unexplained reasons the CIA never told their German counterparts that the logistics man was in Malaysia. He was able to return to Germany unchallenged and started to organize the attacks with the other members of his Hamburg cell. There are many indications that the decisive plans for the attacks on the US were formed in Malaysia. Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar also took part in that meeting. They were later among the 19 hijackers.

Al-Midhar was well known to the CIA. US intelligence knew his name, passport number and other personal details long before his appearance in Malaysia. The CIA also knew that Al-Midhar had long had a Multiple Entry Visa to the US, which he obtained at the US consulate in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. It was valid until April 6, 2000.

Al Midhar unknowingly brought the CIA with him to Malaysia. The Saudi citizen and his clan had long been in the agency’s sights. Al-Midhar’s father-in-law owned an apartment in the Yemeni capital San’a which served as an Al Qaeda safehouse. The apartment was an important node in the terror organization’s network. Information about operations from around the world converged there. And therefore investigators were in the picture.

The FBI had landed on this apartment as early as the end of August 1998. At the time they were tracking down the perpetrators of the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Suicide commandos blew up the US government buildings almost simultaneously, killing 223 people and injuring 5,000. Shortly after the attacks, a fax claiming credit was sent to London. The FBI managed to trace its origin to Baku, in Azerbaijan. From there the trail led directly to Al-Midhar’s father-in-law’s apartment in Yemen. The FBI successfully placed the house and telephone under surveillance. A member of the suicide squad called Al-Midhar’s father-in-law from Kenya and said “Tell them that I haven’t started the journey”. The attacker lost his courage seconds before the attack and jumped out of the car which contained the bomb. Shortly thereafter the FBI agents recorded another call. This time it was from a satellite telephone assigned to Osama bin Laden. Since then the CIA had also been monitoring Al Midhar’s brother-in-law’s telephone. And so the agency learned of the planned meeting in Malaysia a month in advance.

Los Angeles, January 15, 2000 After the rendezvous with the one-legged bin-Atesh, al-Midhar and al-Hazmi left Kuala Lumpur separately. Al-Midhar headed toward Los Angeles with a stop in Bangkok. His accomplice traveled there by way of Hong Kong. The security precautions and controls at LAX at the time were as strict as never before. A month earlier an Algerian Al Qaeda member was arrested at the US-Canadian border with 50 kilos of explosives in the trunk of his car. The Algerian was on his way to Los Angeles where he intended to blow up the airport on New Year’s Eve.

But al-Midhar and al-Hazmi presumably knew about none of that, as they gave their information to the immigration control. Both had US visas, in their own names, which the CIA were familiar with. The immigration officers didn’t give them any trouble and the computer terminals gave no indication that the two Saudi citizens were involved with terrorists. Because for still inexplicable reasons neither the CIA nor the FBI informed either the INS or the State Department that the two were not innocent students. This may well be the most fateful error in a whole chain of failures and mishaps that ultimately led the American security agencies to give a free pass to the eventual September 11 attackers.

Al-Midhar and al-Hazmi presumably already had a clear assignment when they arrived in Los Angeles. Only the place, time and exact game plan for the attacks were still unclear. They both stayed briefly in Los Angeles and went on to San Diego where they rented an apartment. At the Parkwood Apartments, a 175 unit complex, they rented number 127. Al-Hazmi signed the lease. They apparently weren’t the least concerned about being discovered. There were no signs that they tried to disguise their identities. Al-Hazmi got a telephone line and allowed his address and number to appear in the local directory. He bought a 1988 blue Toyota Corolla for $3,000 and registered the car in his own name.

In May 2000, four months after arriving in the US, Al-Hazmi and Al-Midhar called on a San Diego flying school. The both took a six-hour theory class at the Sorbi Flying Club. They didn’t make a secret of the fact that they wanted to learn how to fly Boeings as soon as possible. But first they had to start with small Cessnas. The very first flight was a disaster. The terrorists were exceptionally maladroit, they had no talent for flying planes. As al-Hazmi was preparing to land under the instructor’s guidance, al-Midhar panicked, and started praying loudly."Nothing’s going to come of this," said the instructor. He refused to train them both.

Frankfurt, June 2000 The mission of the two terrorists appears to have ended, even before it actually began. Al-Midhar traveled to Frankfurt in June 2000. What he was doing in Germany is unclear. He probably met with Binalshibh, the logistics man for the Hamburg cell. Al-Midhar was able to enter the country unobserved, because the CIA didn’t tell its German counterparts about the terrorists. Al-Midhar and Binalshibh were seen most recently in Malaysia, but they knew each other long before the meeting in Asia. They were related. Binalshibh was Al-Midhar’s wife’s cousin. Presumably al-Midhar told his in-law that the pilot training didn’t work out, and that he would have to find a replacement.

This presented the logistics man with a formidable problem, at least in the short term. He registered by phone with a flight school in the States, but he still wasn’t going to become a pilot. On May 17, two weeks before al-Midhar’s arrival in Germany, the US Embassy told Binalshibh that he wasn’t going to get a visa. Other members of the Hamburg cell had better luck. Like Binalshibh, they applied for their visas immediately after their return from Malaysia, and inquired by phone or e-mail about the training programs at 31 American flight schools.

Shortly after al-Midhar arrived in Germany, Mohammed Atta and two other members of the Hamburg Al Qaeda cell went to the US and started their pilot training in Florida. On September 11, 2001 Atta would fly the plane that sped into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Al-Midhar also went back to the US. After it became clear that he and Al-Hazmi weren’t going to become pilots, his assignment was to coordinate the planning for the attacks. But first he had to take care of his ability to stay in the country. His visa was running out. On July 7, 2000 he went to see the INS. Shortly before that CIA headquarters in Langley received yet another explicit notice from its Malaysia station that the Al Qaeda terrorist al-Hazmi had already entered the U.S. in January. But in Langley they stayed calm. Al-Hazmi wasn’t designated for investigation, and neither the FBI, the State Department, nor the INS were informed. Consequently, nobody had any reason to be suspicious when al-Hazmi applied to extend his visa, giving his address in San Diego. His wish was granted.

San Diego, September 2000 The neigbors in San Diego grew suspicious. Al-Hazmi and Al-Midhar lived in the apartment complex for eight months and still didn’t have any furniture. They slept on the floor and regularly made calls from phone booths even though they had a phone in their apartment. The two Saudis apparently noticed the skeptical glances of their neighbors. They terminated the lease and moved in with Abduss Attar Sheikh, a Muslim they met at the Mosque in San Diego. This friend, a retired English teacher, rented them a room and helped them open a bank account and get Internet access.

As it turned out, the retiree was also helping out the local FBI. He was providing the police information on militant Muslims in San Diego. His contact officer regularly visited him at home. Al-Midhar and al-Hazmi were in the house during some of these visits. Sheikh quickly closed the living room door at such moments so his boarders wouldn’t find out about his activities as an informer. Neither the informer nor his officer had any idea that the two young men were Al Qaeda terrorists.

Al-Midhar moved out after six weeks. He told his host that he was returning to his wife and children in Saudi Arabia. In fact he was involved in an act of terrorism. On October 12, 2000 a suicide squad carried out an attack on the naval ship USS Cole in Aden harbor. A dinghy packed with explosives rammed into the port side of the ship. 17 US soldiers died, 38 were wounded. The CIA assumes that al-Midhar took part in the attack.

Al-Hazmi remained in San Diego for the time being, still living with the FBI informant. The latter never had any idea what was going on while the worst act of terrorism in American history was being prepared in his house. Al-Hazmi would sit at the computer and spend hours surfing the Internet. He told his landlord he was looking for a wife, preferably a Mexican. The informer tried to teach al-Hazmi a few Spanish phrases, like “Que pasa?”

At the end of December 2000 al-Hazmi also left the house in San Diego. He moved in with his fellow countryman Hani Hanjur in Mesa, Arizona. Hanjur had been living in the US since 1996 and earned his license at a flight school in Scottsdale. After al-Hazmi and al-Midhar’s flight training didn’t work out, Hanjur would now fill the role for the trained pilot.

But the pilot still needed some actual flying time. So he tried to take a few lessons at a flight school in Phoenix. Despite the fact that he had been in the States for several years, his English was so bad that the flight school operator assumed that he couldn’t have had a valid pilot’s license. He assumed the license certificate was a forgery and notified the FAA. But the suspected license turned out to be genuine.

Washington, DC January 2001. Both the FBI and the CIA are tracking down the perpetrators of the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen. The CIA conclusively determined that the one-legged bin Atesh was the mastermind of the attack. They consulted the observation report from the meeting in Malaysia. It suggested that the attack on the Cole was decided and planned in Kuala Lumpur. The other participants at the meeting, among them al-Hazmi and al-Midhar, were now under suspicion, at least implicated in the planning of the attack. Although the CIA had enough information to know that al-Midhar possessed a valid visa and that al-Hazmi still had to be in the USA, it didn’t raise a red flag with the investigators, and they didn’t bother to notify the FBI. The CIA, as the foreign intelligence agency, is forbidden by law from operating inside the US.

Pursuit of terrorists from bin Laden’s network was the CIA’s top priority."We are at war [with Al Qaeda]," wrote CIA Director George Tenet in an internal memo “I want no resources or people spared in this effort”. In February 2001, shortly after Bush’s inauguration, the CIA Director, speaking to the Senate Intelligence Committe, explicitly warned of further attacks by the terrorist organization."Osama bin Laden and his global network of lieutenants and associates remain the most immediate and serious threat to US national security”. And “As the United States has strengthened security around government buildings and fixed military facilities, terrorists are seeking out ‘softer’ targets [to guarantee the greatest losses]”

There was still a lot left to be organized. Al-Hazmi was constantly driving around in his old Toyota. He didn’t always obey the speed limit. On April 1, 2001 he was caught in a speed trap on I-40 in western Oklahoma. He was stopped by the police and had to show his ID, license and registration. The officer radioed in to see if there was anything on the driver. The police database had nothing. Al-Hazmi got a ticket and kept driving. The fine for speeding was $138. He paid it by mail.

New York, June 11, 2001. FBI agents from the New York bureau and from headquarters in Washington met with representatives of the CIA to exchange information and make progress in the USS Cole investigation. The CIA agents showed their colleagues from the FBI the photos from Malaysia and finger the one-legged bin Atesh as the mastermind behind the attack. They casually let slip the name of Al-Midhar, who was in one of the pictures with bin Atesh. When the FBI asked for more specific details, the CIA kept quiet. They didn’t mention to the FBI that Al-Midhar had a valid US visa and was probably in the US at that moment. A year later one of the CIA agents told an investigating committee with tears in his voice that they weren’t authorized at the time to disclose this to the FBI.

Internally the CIA feared the worst. Its agents reported their analysis to leading members of the adminstration."Based on a review of all-source reporting over the last five months, we believe that UBL [Usama bin Laden] will launch a significant terrorist attack against US and/or Israeli interests in the coming weeks. The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against US facilities or interests." A likely date of July 4, 2001 was mentioned.

On July 4 al-Midhar returned to the US on Saudi Arabian Airlines flight 53 after an absence of several months. Shortly before that, while still in Saudi Arabia, he extended his US visa until October 3, 2001. Although the CIA had in the meantime implicated him in the attck on the Cole, he had no problems entering the US. He presented his Saudi passport, which was in his own name, and on his immigration form gave his local address as the Marriott Hotel in New York. He subsequently made his way to Arizona to see al-Hazmi and others.

Phoenix, July 10, 2001. Kenneth Williams is an experienced policeman. He has been working at the FBI counter-terrorism unit in Phoenix for eleven years. Today Williams sent a multiple page report to his superiors at FBI headquarters in Washington and to his counter-terrorism colleagues in New York who have been experts on Islamic extremism since the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.

Williams has grown concerned over the last few months that there has been an increase in the number of young Muslims from the Middle East undergoing pilot training in Arizona. Williams counted a total of 10 individuals from Pakistan, India, Kenya, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Some of them have taken flight time, others are studying aircraft construction or international aviation security. The FBI has questioned several of these students and heard them making hostile statements about the United States. Williams noticed, moreover, that these students were suspiciously well informed about American airport security measures. In his report Williams concluded that these aviation students could have been followers of Osama bin Laden. He thought it was plausible that terrorists might want to become pilots so as to hijack passenger airliners.

The FBI agent recommended looking at all flight schools. His New York colleagues deemed his arguments “speculative and not particularly significant”. As it would turn out in a few months, someone from one of the flight schools that Williams was looking at was an acquaintance of the death pilot who crashed the hijacked jet into the Pentagon.

Crawford, August 6, 2001. George W Bush is on vacation. He wanted to spend the whole month at his ranch in Texas."The Presidential Daily Brief” was part of his morning routine. In the PDB, as its called in CIA jargon, a senior CIA official presents the President with a summary of the security situation. On this morning the CIA Director personally briefs the President. Instead of the usual two or three pages, today’s briefing paper consists of eleven and a half printed page and carries the title “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.". The CIA chief argued that Al Qaeda was now also attempting to carry out attacks inside the US, and there were probably already members of the terror organization located in the US for some time. It’s not clear whether or not the CIA Director told the President about statements made by Al Qaeda members who were already in custody. According to their statements, the terror organization had long thought about hijacking airplanes in order to use them as missiles.

Minneapolis, August 15, 2001. One flight school in Minneapolis informed the FBI that one if its students was interested in flying Boeings, although he didn’t even have a license for small Cessnas. The flight student was arrested the next day, officially for immigration violations. He was a French citizen of Moroccan origin named Zacharias Moussaoui. His letters and his laptop were confiscated and immediately sent to FBI headquarters in Washington, where they sat unexamined.

An FBI agent took up the case at the flight school. The 47-year-old Coleen Rowley, a 21-year veteran of the FBI, got in contact with French authorities and learned that Moussaoui was suspected in France of having ties to Islamic extremists. She informed FBI headquarters and asked to have Moussaoui’s laptop examined closely. Her request was denied."We don’t know he’s a terrorist. You don’t have enough to show he’s a terrorist”. The investigator persisted, asking permission to examine the laptop herself. Headquarters got irritated and told her not to bring this subject up again. In fact, the Frenchman was in close contact with the September 11 attackers. Evidence of this was found on his laptop, which was, however, closely examined after September 11. One clue led to Germany. Moussaoui received a money transfer from Binalshibh, the logistics man of the Hamburg cell.

Rowley didn’t know about any of this when she composed a memo to her superiors at the end of August 2001. She wrote that the circumstances indicated that Moussaoui was taking flying lessons solely for the purpose of flying into buildings, and that he was probably planning to fly a plane into the World Trade Center.

Langley, August 23, 2001. The Israeli Mossad intelligence agency handed its American counterpart a list of names of terrorists who were staying in the US and were presumably planning to launch an attack in the foreseeable future. According to documents obtained by Die ZEIT, Mossad agents in the US were in all probability surveilling at least four of the 19 hijackers, among them al-Midhar. The CIA now does what it should have done 18 months earlier. It informs the State Dept., the FBI and the INS.

The names al-Midhar and al-Hazmi are promptly put on an investigation list, as probable members of Al Qaeda. al-Midhar is expressly noted as a probable accomplice in the USS Cole attack. The first acknowledgement arrives quickly. The INS writes that according to its information, both men are currently in the US.

Now both men are pursued vigorously. On his entry into the US al-Midhar gave his address as the Marriott Hotel in New York. FBI agents visited all the chain’s hotels in the New York area, without success.

One of the FBI agents on the case called headquarters in Washington and asked for reinforcements. He wanted to expand the investigation for al-Midhar. The agent properly assessed the danger that al-Midhar posed. He had already been working on the USS Cole investigation for months.

In this context he had met with his colleagues from the CIA once and al-Midhar’s name slipped out. Now that he reads this name in the investigation file, with the note that al-Midhar was implicated in the Cole attack, the FBI agent became angry with his CIA colleagues. They had previously withheld this detail from him.

But his anger increases when his own headquarters declines to give him additional support. The attorneys at the FBI’s National Security Law Unit made very clear that the law prescribes a strict wall between intelligence and police investigations. And the search for al-Midhar has now returned to being an intelligence matter."someday someone will die – and wall or not – the public will not understand why we were not more effective and throwing every resource we had at certain ‘problems’." one frustrated FBI agent writes to his headquarters on August 29, 2001."Let’s hope the National Security Law Unit will stand behind their decisions then, especially since the biggest threat to us now, UBL [Usama bin Laden], is getting the most protection."

Laurel, Maryland, August 25, 2001. Al-Midhar is staying in room 343 of the Valencia Motel in Laurel. He is not alone. With him are al-Hazmi, his brother, the pilot and another terrorist. The five seldom left the room. Whenever the maid knocked and wanted to make the beds, the terrorists opened the door only a crack and took fresh hand towels."We thought they were gay, five men in one room," a neighboring guest later said.

The timing and schedule for the attacks had been set. One after another they bought their tickets. Twelve days remaining. Everything is going according to plan.

Washington, DC, September 11, 2001. Early in the morning the five terrorists drive to Dulles Airport. Police later seize the Toyota and find a receipt for tuition at the Phoenix flight school, four diagrams of a Boeing 757 cockpit, a carpet knife, a map of Washington and slips of paper with notes and phone numbers.

At 7:30 the terrorists check in. Investigators have been searching everywhere for al-Hazmi and al-Midhar for the last 20 days. Despite that, the two pass unhindered through security along with their accomplices. Both the tickets and passports which they presented were in their own names. A few hours later the hijacked planes started infernos in New York and Washington.

The CIA Director learned of this over breakfast at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, only a few meters from the White House. He said that all signs pointed to Osama bin Laden. The President would have to be informed who was most likely behind the attack. Tenet rose from the breakfast table and made a hasty good-bye.

Washington, DC, September 12, 2001. The large police investigation in American history is underway. Thousands of FBI agents fan out across the country and within days reconstruct the lives of the hijackers. It wasn’t especially difficult because in the US the terrorists conducted themselves as anything but a secret conspiracy. Al-Hazmi had even called the police once after he was assaulted. FBI Director Robert Mueller, who started his term only a few weeks before the attacks, put it this way: “I can’t say for sure that there wasn’t a possibility that we would have come across some leads that would have led us to the hijackers."

CIA Director George Tenet, who has been in his position since the Clinton Administration, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he was proud to be able to say about the CIA: The agency had nothing to be ashamed of. The attacks were “not the result of the failure of attention and discipline and focus and consistent effort”.

New York, October 23, 2001. It is clear that Hamburg was the “central base” for the September 11 attacks, Attorney General John Ashcroft said, accompanied by German Interior Minister Otto Schily during a press conference in New York. The investigation in Europe would therefore need to be intensified.

Minneapolis, May 21, 2002. When FBI agent Coleen Rowley could no longer stand seeing the authorities covering up their failures, she sat at her computer and wrote a 13 page letter to the FBI director enumerating all of the mistakes and failures that she was aware of. She had warned insistently about the possibility of attacks by Muslim militants back in August 2001."I have deep concerns," she wrote, “that a delicate and subtle shading/skewing of facts by you and others at the highest levels of FBI management has occurred and is occurring." The agent personally brings her file to Washington and hands two copies to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Two weeks later a picture of her letter adorns the cover of Time Magazine under the headline “The Bombshell Memo.” The FBI gets pilloried.

Washington, DC, June 4, 2002. The FBI doesn’t want to take all the blame for what the CIA dragged it into. The CIA finally has to contend with its decisive error in which it failed for 18 months to pass along its information about al-Hazmi and al-Midhar. This information was leaked to Newsweek, which quotes an unnamed FBI official as saying if the bureau had had more on the two it could have tied all the 19 hijackers together in one plot. The spy agencies mud-wrestling is now out in the open. Did the FBI and CIA make catastrophic errors? A joint committee of the House and Senate would be dealing with this question.

Washington, DC, September 11, 2002. The joint committee has been working for three months, but was torpedoed by the Bush Administration, as Richard C. Shelby, vice chair of the committee, was now telling the New York Times. The Administration refused to disclose what information the intelligence agencies had given the President prior to the attacks. Shelby said that he was sure that the committee’s questioning had only “scratched the surface”.

As further information about the mistakes and failures of the CIA and FBI made it into the media, accusations were made against members of the committee. The FBI lead an investigation and asked the Senators and Congressmen if they were prepared to submit to lie detector tests.

Washington, DC, September 18, 2002. The committee’s public hearings have begun. Survivors of the September 11 victims also testify. 1,300 of them have formed an association. Their spokesman is Stephen Push, who lost his wife. She was sitting in the plane that al-Midhar’s comrades flew into the Pentagon."had the CIA and FBI displayed any initiative," he told the committee, his wife would still be alive.

After that FBI and CIA agents addressed the committee, under a pledge of anonymity. A curtain protected the agents from the eyes of the audience. Many of the survivors sat there, silently taking souvenir photographs.

As some of the agents confess with tears in their voices how their supervisors prevented them from investigating, it was too much for the widow of one fireman, who died in the World Trade Center."These people were guilty of malfeasance," she complained."They should stand trial. They are at least partially responsible for the deaths of 3,000 people."

Copyright 2002 Die Zeit