Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ray McGovern: Did Tenet Hide Key Info on 9/11?

Did Tenet Hide Key Info on 9/11?

By Ray McGovern (about the author)

With few exceptions, like some salacious rumor about the Kennedy family, the mainstream U.S. news media has shown little interest in stories that throw light on history -- even recent, very relevant history. So it comes as no surprise that, when a former White House counter-terrorism czar accuses an ex-CIA director of sitting on information that could have prevented a 9/11 attack, the story gets neither ink nor air.

Bulletin for those of you who get your information only from the New York Times, the Washington Post and other outlets of the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM): Former White House director for counterterrorism Richard Clarke has accused former CIA Director George Tenet of denying him and others access to intelligence that could have thwarted the attack on the Pentagon on 9/11.

Deliberately withholding critical intelligence from those who need it, and can act on it, is -- at the least -- gross dereliction of duty. The more so if keeping the White House promptly and fully informed is at the top of your job jar, as it was for Director of Central Intelligence Tenet. And yet that is precisely the charge Clarke has leveled at the former DCI.

In an interview aired on Aug. 11 on a local PBS affiliate in Colorado, Clarke charges that Tenet and two other senior CIA officials, Cofer Black and Richard Blee, deliberately withheld information about two of the hijackers of American Airlines Flight 77 -- al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar. The two had entered the United States more than a year before the 9/11 attacks.

Clarke adds that the CIA then covered it all up by keeping relevant information away from Congress and the 9/11 Commission.

Lying by senior officials is bad enough, and there is now plenty of evidence that former CIA Director George Tenet and his closest agency associates are serial offenders. Think for a minute about the falsehoods spread regarding Iraq's non-existent "weapons of mass destruction" stockpiles.

But withholding intelligence on two of the 9/11 hijackers would have been particularly unconscionable -- the epitome of malfeasance, not just misfeasance. That's why Richard Clarke's conclusion that he should have received information from CIA about al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar, "unless somebody intervened to stop the normal automatic distribution" amounts, in my view, to a criminal charge, given the eventual role of the two in the hijacking on 9/11 of AA-77, the plane that struck the Pentagon.

Tenet has denied that the information on the two hijackers was "intentionally withheld" from Clarke, and he has enlisted the other two former CIA operatives, Cofer Black (more recently a senior official of Blackwater) and Richard Blee (an even more shadowy figure), to concur in saying "Not us; we didn't withhold."

Whom to believe? To me, it's a no-brainer. One would have to have been born yesterday to regard the "George is right" testimony from Black and Blee as corroborative.

Tenet's Dubious Credibility  

Tenet is the same fellow who provided the "slam dunk" on the existence of "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq, as well as the "artist renderings" of equally non-existent mobile laboratories for developing biological warfare agents, based on unconfirmed information from the impostor code-named (appropriately) "Curveball."

It was Tenet who, under orders from President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, ordered up and disseminated a fraudulent National Intelligence Estimate on WMD in Iraq, the purpose of which was to deceive our elected representatives out of their constitutional prerogative to authorize war. No small lies.

After a five-year investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee, Chairman Jay Rockefeller described the intelligence adduced under Tenet to "justify" attacking Iraq as "uncorroborated, contradicted, and non-existent." Good enough to win Tenet the Presidential Medal of Freedom, though. The corruption of intelligence worked just fine for the purposes of Bush and Cheney, thank you very much.

It is a actually a matter of record that Tenet lies a lot -- on occasion, displaying what I would call chutzpah on steroids. Recall, for example, Tenet in April 2007 snarling at Scott Pelley on "60 Minutes" -- five times, in five consecutive sentences -- "We do not torture people."
Even Under Oath  

Tenet has lied about 9/11, too. The joint statement from Tenet, Black and Blee -- orchestrated by former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow -- concludes: "We testified under oath about what we did, what we knew and what we didn't know. We stand by that testimony."

Almost made me laugh ... almost.

In his sworn testimony to the 9/11 Commission on April 14, 2004, Tenet said he had not spoken to Bush -- even on the telephone -- during the entire month of August 2001.

But Tenet did fly down to see the President in Crawford -- not once, but twice during August 2001, and briefed Bush again in Washington on the 31st.

After the TV cameras at the 9/11 Commission hearing were shut off, Bill Harlow phoned the commission staff to say, Oops, sorry, Tenet misspoke. Even then, Harlow admitted only to Tenet's Aug. 17 visit to Crawford (and to the briefing on the 31st).

How do we know Tenet was again in Crawford, on Aug. 24? From a White House press release quoting President Bush to that effect -- information somehow completely missed by our vigilant Fawning Corporate Media.

Funny, too, how Tenet could have forgotten his first visit to Crawford on Aug. 17. In his memoir, At the Center of the Storm, Tenet waxes eloquent about the "president graciously driving me around the spread in his pickup and me trying to make small talk about the flora and the fauna." But the visit was not limited to small talk.

In his book Tenet writes: "A few weeks after the August 6 PDB was delivered, I followed it to Crawford to make sure the president stayed current on events." The Aug. 6, 2001, President's Daily Brief contained the article "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US." According to Ron Suskind's The One-Percent Doctrine, the president reacted by telling the CIA briefer, "All right, you've covered your ass now."

If, as Tenet says in his memoir, it was the Aug. 6, 2001 PDB that prompted his visit on Aug. 17, what might have brought him back on Aug. 24? I believe the answer can be found in court documents released at the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the fledgling pilot in Minnesota interested in learning to steer a plane but indifferent as to how to land it.

Those documents show that on Aug. 23, 2001, Tenet was given an alarming briefing focusing on Moussaoui, titled "Islamic Extremist Learns to Fly." Tenet was told that Moussaoui was training to fly a 747 and, among other suspicion-arousing data, had paid for the training in cash.

It is an open question -- if a key one -- whether Tenet told Bush about the two hijackers, al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar, while keeping that key information from the person who most needed it -- White House counter-terrorist czar Richard Clarke. Clarke finds the only plausible explanation in his surmise that Tenet was personally responsible. Clarke says:

   "For me to this day, it is inexplicable, when I had every other detail about everything related to terrorism, that the director didn't tell me, that the director of the counter-terrorism center didn't tell me, that the other 48 people inside CIA that knew about it never mentioned it to me or anyone in my staff in a period of over 12 months."

Enter Harlow  

But Tenet's aide-de-camp Bill Harlow has branded Clarke's statements "absurd and patently false." And the statement Harlow shepherded for Tenet, Black and Blee adds, "reckless and profoundly wrong ... baseless ... belied by the record ... unworthy of serious consideration."

And Harlow never lies? Right. I'm reminded of Harlow's reaction to Newsweek's publication on Feb. 24, 2003, of the intelligence information provided by Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, Hussein Kamel, when he defected to Jordan in 1995. Kamel brought with him a treasure trove of documents and unique knowledge of Iraq's putative "weapons of mass destruction."

Most significantly, he told his U.S. debriefers there were no WMD in Iraq. He knew. He had been in charge of Iraq's chemical, biological, nuclear and missile programs for almost a decade, and he ordered what weapons existed destroyed before the U.N. inspectors could discover them after the war in 1991. In his words:

   "I ordered the destruction of all chemical weapons. All weapons -- biological, chemical, missile, nuclear were destroyed."

He told the U.S. much more, and the information that could be checked out was confirmed. But Kamel's information didn't fit with the Bush administration's propaganda regarding its certainty that Iraq did have WMD stockpiles and was defying United Nations demands that the WMD be destroyed.

Those pushing the Iraq War juggernaut in early 2003 almost had a conniption when Newsweek acquired a transcript of Kamel's debriefing and published this potentially explosive story barely three weeks before the invasion.

Newsweek noted gingerly that this information "raises questions about whether the WMD stockpiles attributed to Iraq still exist." It was, in fact, the kind of impeccably sourced documentary evidence after which intelligence analysts and lawyers lust.

But this was not at all what Bush, Cheney, and -- by sycophantic extension -- Tenet wanted Newsweek readers, or the rest of us, to learn less than a month before the U.S./U.K. attack on Iraq ostensibly to find and destroy those non-existent weapons.

Bill Harlow to the rescue: he told the FCM in no uncertain terms that the Newsweek story was, "incorrect, bogus, wrong, untrue." And the media cheerleaders for war breathed a sigh of relief, saying, Gosh, thanks for telling us, and then dropped the story like a hot potato.

By all indications, Harlow is still able to work his fraudulent magic on the FCM, which have virtually ignored this major Clarke v. Tenet story since it broke six days ago.

If Harlow says it's not true " and hurls still more pejorative epithets and adjectives, in a crude attempt to discredit the very serious charge Clarke has made ... well, I guess we'll have to leave it there, as the FCM is so fond of saying.

No matter Clarke's well-deserved reputation for honesty and professionalism -- and Tenet's for the opposite. And so it goes.

Bookmark and Share
posted by u2r2h at 2:43 AM 0 comments

Monday, August 08, 2011

Bush not re-elected 2004 -- CONNELL SAGA

New Court Filing Reveals How the 2004 Ohio Presidential Election Was Hacked

A new filing in the King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell case includes a copy of the Ohio Secretary of State election production system configuration that was in use in Ohio's 2004 presidential election when there was a sudden and unexpected shift in votes for George W. Bush.

The filing also includes the revealing deposition of the late Michael Connell. Connell served as the IT guru for the Bush family and Karl Rove. Connell ran the private IT firm GovTech that created the controversial system that transferred Ohio's vote count late on election night 2004 to a partisan Republican server site in Chattanooga, Tennessee owned by SmarTech. That is when the vote shift happened, not predicted by the exit polls, that led to Bush's unexpected victory. Connell died a month and a half after giving this deposition in a suspicious small plane crash.

Additionally, the filing contains the contract signed between then-Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell and Connell's company, GovTech Solutions. Also included that contract a graphic architectural map of the Secretary of State's election night server layout system.

Cliff Arnebeck, lead attorney in the King Lincoln case, exchanged emails with IT security expert Stephen Spoonamore. Arnebeck asked Spoonamore whether or not SmarTech had the capability to "input data" and thus alter the results of Ohio's 2004 election. Spoonamore responded: "Yes. They would have had data input capacities. The system might have been set up to log which source generated the data but probably did not."

Spoonamore explained that "they [SmarTech] have full access and could change things when and if they want."

Arnebeck specifically asked "Could this be done using whatever bypass techniques Connell developed for the web hosting function." Spoonamore replied "Yes."

Spoonamore concluded from the architectural maps of the Ohio 2004 election reporting system that, "SmarTech was a man in the middle. In my opinion they were not designed as a mirror, they were designed specifically to be a man in the middle."

A "man in the middle" is a deliberate computer hacking setup, which allows a third party to sit in between computer transmissions and illegally alter the data. A mirror site, by contrast, is designed as a backup site in case the main computer configuration fails.

Spoonamore claims that he confronted then-Secretary of State Blackwell at a secretary of state IT conference in Boston where he was giving a seminar in data security. "Blackwell freaked and refused to speak to me when I confronted him about it long before I met you," he wrote to Arnebeck.

Read the email correspondence here [pdf].

On December 14, 2007, then-Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, who replaced Blackwell, released her evaluation and validation of election-related equipment, standards and testing (Everest study) which found that touchscreen voting machines were vulnerable to hacking with relative ease.

Until now, the architectural maps and contracts from the Ohio 2004 election were never made public, which may indicate that the entire system was designed for fraud. In a previous sworn affidavit to the court, Spoonamore declared: "The SmarTech system was set up precisely as a King Pin computer used in criminal acts against banking or credit card processes and had the needed level of access to both county tabulators and Secretary of State computers to allow whoever was running SmarTech computers to decide the output of the county tabulators under its control."

Spoonamore also swore that "...the architecture further confirms how this election was stolen. The computer system and SmarTech had the correct placement, connectivity, and computer experts necessary to change the election in any manner desired by the controllers of the SmarTech computers."

Project Censored named the outsourcing of Ohio's 2004 election votes to SmarTech in Chattanooga, Tennessee to a company owned by Republican partisans as one of the most censored stories in the world.

In the Connell deposition, plaintiffs' attorneys questioned Connell regarding gwb43, a website that was live on election night operating out of the White House and tied directly into SmarTech's server stacks in Chattanooga, Tennessee which contained Ohio's 2004 presidential election results.

The transfer of the vote count to SmarTech in Chattanooga, Tennessee remains a mystery. This would have only happened if there was a complete failure of the Ohio computer election system. Connell swore under oath that, "To the best of my knowledge, it was not a fail-over case scenario – or it was not a failover situation."

Bob Magnan, a state IT specialist for the secretary of state during the 2004 election, agreed that there was no failover scenario. Magnan said he was unexpectedly sent home at 9 p.m. on election night and private contractors ran the system for Blackwell.

The architectural maps, contracts, and Spoonamore emails, along with the history of Connell's partisan activities, shed new light on how easy it was to hack the 2004 Ohio presidential election.

Download the Plaintiffs' Brief here [zip].

Bob Fitrakis is co-counsel in the King Lincoln case.

The 2004 United States presidential election in Ohio took place on November 2, 2004 throughout all 50 states and D.C., which was part of the 2004 United States presidential election. Voters chose 20 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.

Ohio was won by incumbent President George W. Bush by a 2.1% margin of victory.

On 6 January 2005, Senator Barbara Boxer joined Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio in filing a Congressional objection to the certification of Ohio's Electoral College votes.

The Senate voted the objection down 1-74; the House voted the objection down 31-267.

Apartheid Ballot Counting System in America

Greg Palast speaking at the New York Society for Ethical Culture on December 7, 2004.

"If you are a Black person in America, the chance of your vote being tossed in the garbage ... is 800% higher than if you are a white voter, okay? See, and it kind of adds up with 2 million votes which are discarded in America, half of them by Black voters, 1 million Black votes not counted in America. We have an apartheid ballot counting system in America."

Mike Connell had been deposed and was seen as a key witness in a lawsuit alleging voter fraud.
Mike Connell had been deposed and was seen as a key witness in a lawsuit alleging voter fraud.

CONNELL Request for protection

In July 2008, the lead attorney in the King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association v. Blackwell case, Cliff Arnebeck, sent a letter [3] to U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey seeking protection for Connell as a witness in the case, saying he had been threatened. Arnebeck wrote, "We have been confidentially informed by a source we believe to be credible that Karl Rove has threatened Michael Connell, a principal witness we have identified in our King Lincoln case in federal court in Columbus, Ohio, that if he does not agree to 'take the fall' for election fraud in Ohio, his wife Heather will be prosecuted for supposed lobby law violations." [4] Arnebeck claims that months later, his source called back and warned that Connell's life was in danger.

He was served with a subpoena in Ohio on September 22, 2008,[6] in a case alleging that vote-tampering during the 2004 presidential election resulted in civil rights violations. Connell, president of GovTech Solutions and New Media Communications, was a website designer and IT professional and created a website for Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell that presented the results of the 2004 election in real time as they were tabulated. At the time, Blackwell was also chairman of the Bush-Cheney 2004 reelection effort in Ohio. Connell refused to testify or to produce documents relating to the system used in the 2004 and 2006 elections, lawyers said.

A January 2010 article in Maxim Magazine speculated that because Connell possessed knowledge which, if revealed, would be damaging to high-level Republicans, his death may have been the result of sabotage of his aircraft,[11] particularly as his cell-phone was never recovered.[12] Project Censored, a small non-profit organization, has called for a Federal criminal investigation; and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has called the case "more serious than Watergate."

Karl Rove case witness killed in plane crash, sisters want answers
Web guru was potential witness in Ohio voting fraud case

Shannon Connell of Madison says her brother Michael rarely talked about work. She knew he ran an Ohio company called New Media Communications that set up websites for Republicans including former President George H.W. Bush and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. But it wasn't until after he died last December, when the small plane he was piloting crashed, that she learned via the Internet of his tie to a voter fraud case and to allegations that presidential adviser Karl Rove had made threats against him.

"At first, it was really hard for me to believe Mike was dead because somebody wanted him dead," says Shannon, a buyer for a local children's resale shop. "But as time goes on, it's hard for me not to believe there was something deliberate about it."

A native of Illinois, Shannon moved to Madison in 2002, the same year as her sister, Mary Jo Walker. Walker, a former Dane County Humane Society employee, has similar concerns about their brother's death: "It doesn't seem right to me at all."

Michael Connell — who died at age 45, leaving a wife and four kids — was a computer networking expert who lived near Akron. Last July 17, an attorney who's filed a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging a conspiracy to rig elections in Ohio held a press conference at which he identified Connell as a principal witness.

The attorney, Cliff Arnebeck of Columbus, Ohio, tells Isthmus he doesn't believe Connell was engaged in criminal activity but may have been a "data-processing implementer" for those who were. "I was told he was at the table when some criminal things were discussed."

A week after the press conference, on July 24, Arnebeck wrote U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey seeking protection for Connell, whom he said had been "threatened" by Rove, a key player in the campaigns of George W. Bush. Arenebeck says Connell was told through an intermediary that unless he agreed to "take the fall" for election fraud in Ohio, his wife [and New Media partner] faced prosecution for lobby law violations. There was no claim of a threat on Connell's person.

Arnebeck was permitted to depose Connell last Nov. 3. The portion of this deposition that dealt with the alleged threats was sealed, but Arnebeck is preparing a motion to make it all public. He affirms that Connell denied any involvement in voter fraud, but thinks Rove still had reason to regard him as a threat.

"The problem that Mike Connell represented is [he was] a guy of conscience," says Arnebeck. "If it came right down to it, he would not commit perjury." Arnebeck "absolutely" would have called Connell as a witness in his lawsuit.

Shannon and Mary Jo both say their brother, a devout Catholic, seemed upset in the weeks before his death. Mary Jo feels he was "stressed out and depressed" on his birthday last November; Shannon says he atypically did not respond to an email she'd sent.

On Dec. 19, Connell flew alone in his single-engine Piper Supercub from a small airport near Washington, D.C. The plane crashed on its final approach to his hometown Akron-Canton Airport, between two houses. The cause is still under investigation but is presumed accidental.

The blogosphere refuses to accept this. "Mike was getting ready to talk," writes one online journalist  ('One of my sources died in a plane crash last night...' see below ***) who labels Connell a source. "He was frightened."

Connell's widow has rejected such speculation. "He wasn't about to talk, because there was nothing to talk about," Heather Connell told the Huffington Post. "Nobody did anything wrong."

Shannon Connell, for her part, dismisses reports that her brother was warned not to fly, but still considers the crash that killed him "very suspicious." Michael was an experienced pilot, and his plane had recently been serviced. Plus there's the timing — "after the deposition and before the trial. It just seems very convenient."

Arnebeck goes further in suggesting foul play. "I have been told by multiple sources," he says, "that this plane crash was not an accident, and by multiple sources that the technology is available to bring down a plane in this way."

What's his evidence? Arnebeck repeatedly cites a recent online article by Minnesota emeritus professor Jim Fetzer. The article, datelined Madison and headlined "Has Cheney Been Murdering Americans?", mentions Connell along with other possible victims, including Sen. Paul Wellstone and Pat Tillman, the former NFL player killed in Afghanistan.

Michael Connell's sisters don't know what to believe. Says Shannon, "I really just want the truth to come out." So does Mary Jo, who doubts this will happen: "With so many things that people in power get away with in this country, I don't expect anyone to ever be named, much less prosecuted, in the death of my brother."

*** One of my sources died in a plane crash last night...

I don't usually reveal sources, but I think this is incredibly important. Michael Connell died in a plane crash last night. He was a key witness in the Ohio election fraud case that I have been reporting on. More importantly, however, he had information that he was ready to share.

You see, Mike Connell set-up the alternate email and communications system for the White House. He was responsible for creating the system that hosted the infamous accounts that Karl Rove and others used. When asked by Congress to provide these emails, the White House said that they were destroyed. But in reality, what Connell is alleged to have done is move these files to other servers after having allegedly scrubbed the files from all "known" Karl Rove accounts.

In addition, I have reason to believe that the alternate accounts were used to communicate with US Attorneys involved in political prosecutions, like that of Don Siegelman. This is what I have been working on to prove for over a year. In fact, it was through following the Siegelman-Rove trail that I found evidence leading to Connell. That is how I became aware of him. Mike was getting ready to talk. He was frightened.

He has flown his private plane for years without incident. I know he was going to DC last night, but I don't know why.

I have been to Mr. Connell's home. Mr. Connell has confided that he was being threatened, something that his attorneys also told the judge in the Ohio election fraud case (allegedly, because they asked for the files to be sealed relating to any answers he gives about alleged threats). When I met with Heather, his wife, I did so carefully because of the alleged threats he was getting (and told her this at our meeting).

I left a note for her .. and asked her to meet me in a local park near their home. Heather came and through our conversation I got the sense that these were not bad people or corrupt people. The Connell's really believed that what they were involved in served God's plan.

Bookmark and Share
posted by u2r2h at 6:47 AM 0 comments