Why have official investigations, including the 9/11 Commission Report, entirely failed to pursue reports that the alleged 9/11 plotters received funding from the Pakistani Interservices Intelligence Agency (“ISI”)?
1. As the hijackings of September 11 began, Pakistani Gen. Mahmud Ahmad, then director of the ISI, was in a breakfast meeting at the Capitol in Washington, DC with Rep. Porter Goss (R-FL) and Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL), then the chiefs of the House and Senate committees on intelligence, respectively. Ahmad had just spent a working week in Washington, meeting with leading U.S. officials including his American counterpart, then CIA director George Tenet. Historically, the ISI and CIA have had a close relationship dating back to the 1980s, when Pakistan was a leading recipient of U.S. military aid, and by treaty the CIA therefore has veto power over the appointment of the ISI director. The ISI was instrumental in arming and training the mujahedeen fighters during the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan, doing so with funding and other support from both Saudi Arabian and U.S. sources, including funds from the CIA variously estimated at $2 to $6 billion for the period from the early 1980s to the fall of the Soviet-backed Afghan government in 1992. The ISI later coordinated and trained the Taliban fighters who took power in Kabul after prevailing in the Afghan civil war of 1993-1996.
2. In the weeks after September 11, news reports in the Indian and European press claimed Ahmad and his agency authorized the transfer of $100,000 to Mohamed Atta through the intermediary of a veteran ISI asset, Omar Saeed Sheikh. American news reports and a United Nations report on the financing of the alleged 9/11 hijackers confirmed wire transfers to the alleged hijackers from Pakistan, without specifying whether there was an ISI connection. In early October 2001, Ahmad was forced to resign his post, allegedly at the behest of the FBI, as Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf reshuffled his cabinet to remove alleged fundamentalist sympathizers, on the eve of the invasion of Afghanistan by a U.S.-led coalition of forces.
3. At a press conference May 16, 2002, following revelations that the White House had received warnings of possible hijackings in the United States prior to September 11, National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice was asked about the alleged ISI connection to financing the 9/11 plot. While she answered that she knew nothing about any such report and did not meet with “him” [Ahmad, during his visit to Washington], it is perhaps revealing that the White House version of the press conference transcript, as well as the version published by CNN, both deleted the words “the ISI chief” from the journalist’s question, making it incomprehensible. The correct transcript with the missing words was made available by the Federal News Service. (See documentation at www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO206A.html)
4. In the spring and summer of 2002, Goss and Graham were the prime movers of the Congressional Joint Inquiry, the first major 9/11 investigation by a legislative body. Their 858-page report, published in 2003 with about 25 percent of the overall text redacted, fails to pursue, clarify or mention the allegations of Pakistani financing for the 9/11 plotters and the allegations of an ISI connection to al-Qaeda, at least in the unredacted portions of the text. However, in a television appearance Sen. Graham said of the investigation, “I was surprised at the evidence that there were foreign governments involved in facilitating the activities of at least some of the terrorists in the United States” (note the use of the plural). Graham did not name any of these governments, but said, “It will become public at some point when it’s turned over to the archives, but that’s 20 or 30 years from now.” (Graham on News Hour with Jim Lehrer, PBS, 12/11/02). A full investigation would ask Graham to explain what he meant by these comments.
5. A year later, in its final and authoritative report, the Kean Commission also ignored allegations of Pakistani ISI financing for the alleged 9/11 terrorists. The 9/11 Commission Report flatly states, “We have seen no evidence that any foreign government – or foreign government official – supplied any funding” to the alleged 9/11 plotters (p. 172). This is unlikely, as groups such as 9/11 CitizensWatch repeatedly supplied the Kean Commission with the available evidence of an ISI funding connection at various times during the 18-month inquiry, for example supplying Commission staff with the well-documented timelines at www.cooperativeresearch.org. The 9/11 Commission Report goes so far as to suggest that the issue of terror financing is irrelevant: “To date, the U.S. government has not been able to determine the origin of the money used for the 9/11 attacks. Ultimately the question is of little practical significance.” (p. 172)
6. Are the allegations of an ISI connection to the 9/11 plotters not worthy of an explanation? Porter Goss is now Director of Central Intelligence. During his recent confirmation hearings before the Senate, he was questioned neither about his September 11 breakfast with Ahmad, nor the failure of the Congressional Joint Inquiry , which he co-chaired in 2002, to explore or explain the ISI connection to the alleged hijackers. It constitutes a curious blindspot in the official 9/11 investigations and in the media. The Pakistani ISI connection has never to our knowledge been the subject of an official U.S. government statement, not even for the sort of “debunking” to which many other more minor-seeming issues have been subjected. This issue therefore survives as a red-flag contradicting the official story, and constitutes an important avenue of inquiry for an independent criminal investigation into the origins of the attacks.
7. The financing of the alleged 9/11 plotters was connected in early stories to Omar Saeed Sheikh, a mysterious figure who reportedly has a history of working with the ISI. He is on death row in Pakistan, awaiting execution after conviction for the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Sheikh’s name dropped out of news reports alleging Pakistani ISI financing of terrorism after November, 2001.
8. Two dramatic but under-covered U.S. news-media revelations further indicate an unusual triangular complex of relations among the Bin Ladin-connected networks of “al-Qaeda,” the ISI and Pakistani military establishment, and U.S. government agencies and their covert networks:
a. CBS Evening News, 1/28/02: On the night of September 10, 2001, Osama Bin Ladin was receiving dialysis treatments at a Pakistani military hospital in Rawalpindi, hospital workers report.
b. The New Yorker, 1/28/02: In November 2001, U.S. forces in Afghanistan cleared an air corridor between the besieged Taliban stronghold of Kunduz and Pakistan, allegedly allowing safe passage and escape to possibly thousands of ISI personnel and al-Qaeda fighters in advance of taking the town. This is one of many cases in which U.S. forces or authorities were apparently ordered to allow the “terrorists” they were meant to pursue to escape.
(See, newyorker.com/fact/content/?020128fa_FACT and also, Appendix B2)
9. It is of further interest to note that Pakistan is the country of origin of the alleged operative masterminds of the 9/11 plot, Ramzi Binalshibh and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (“KSM”). Both of these men were provided to U.S. authorities after their arrests in Pakistan in September 2002 and March 2003, respectively. KSM has reportedly been held by the CIA at an undisclosed location for more than 20 months and was indicted in secret on charges relating to 9/11 (the indictment was first revealed 18 months later). While KSM’s statements as provided by the U.S. government have been used as a source for investigations by the Kean Commission and others, KSM has never been produced in public, and no member of the Kean Commission or its staff was allowed to interview him personally.
See, the well-documented compilations of mainstream news sources on a possible Pakistani ISI connection in “The Complete 9/11 Timeline” at www.cooperativeresearch.org/essay.jsp?article=mahmoodahmad
“September 11’s Smoking Gun: The Many Faces of Saeed Sheikh,” by Paul Thompson, online at www.cooperativeresearch.org/essay.jsp?article=essaysaeed
“They Tried to Warn Us: Foreign Intelligence Warnings Before 9/11” by Paul Thompson, online at www.cooperativeresearch.org/essay.jsp?article=essaytheytriedtowarnus
“Political Deception: The Missing Link Behind 9/11” by Michel Chossudovsky, online at www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO206A.html
(Forward to Trading based on Foreknowledge of 9/11.)