In recent weeks, we’ve learned there were all kinds of tips about an anticipated terrorist attack on America on or around Sept. 11:
- The Egyptians warned us.
- The Israelis warned us.
- The CIA had information.
- The FBI had information.
It seems incredible today that these leads were ignored or at least not properly analyzed and turned into a major national security alert.
Let me explain, once again, why all this data was not properly processed.
Back in 1999, well after the first attack on the World Trade Center, after the Oklahoma City bombing and after the downing of TWA Flight 800, the Clinton administration’s FBI put out a report on terrorism.
It was called Project Megiddo.
And it explained, in no uncertain terms, that right-wing Christian terrorists posed the gravest danger to the republic and were most likely to incite violence in the months and years ahead.
This was the mindset of the Clinton administration. Right-wing Christians were the perceived threat. They were the enemy. Islamists got short shrift in the FBI report. Osama bin Laden was probably bent out of shape by the slight.
The “Project Megiddo” report goes a long way toward explaining why the FBI went to great lengths to avoid seeing, hearing or touching any evidence of a Middle East connection in the Oklahoma City bombing. It explains why most Americans are unaware of the fact that Islamist terror groups indeed had claimed responsibility for downing TWA Flight 800 over Long Island Sound – as terror expert Yossef Bodansky wrote in his book “Osama bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America” that same year. It explains why the Clinton administration viewed the World Trade Center bombing as some sort of aberration that could be ignored, rather than allow it to serve as a warning of bigger things to come.
It’s also worth recalling that while relaxing with a group of reporters after the 1996 elections, Bill Clinton said he owed his political revival to the Oklahoma City bombing. Think about that. Why was that so?
In 1994, Clinton was on the ropes politically. No one expected him to be re-elected. The Republicans had swept into power in both houses of Congress for the first time in a generation. But then that bomb went off.
“It broke a spell in the country as people began searching for common ground again,” Clinton explained.
What did Clinton do? He blamed talk radio for broadcasting “a relentless clamor of hatred and division.” He planned with the FBI a new anti-terrorist strategy with sweeping new powers.
Thus, the investigations of the Oklahoma City bombing, the TWA Flight 800 downing and the World Trade Center explosion all became politicized. Only evidence that led in one direction would be gathered and evaluated. Evidence that pointed to a conspiracy that pointed anywhere but to right-wing Christians would be ignored, discarded and covered up.
It seems unbelievable, but it’s true.
Clinton’s own Justice Department inspector general had to admit that the Oklahoma City bombing investigation offered one of the worst examples of de facto evidence tampering by the FBI crime labs.
The FBI had no scientific evidence for concluding the OKC bombing was the result of an ammonium nitrate fertilizer bomb. The Justice Department found that the explosives unit simply guessed that the bomb was made of 4,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate after the FBI found a receipt suggesting Terry Nichols had purchased that amount. No tests were conducted. No detonator was recovered.
There was no explanation offered for reports broadcast widely the day of the bombing that two other larger bombs were found unexploded in the Murrah Building. The FBI steadfastly refused – even to this day – to accept or examine evidence suggesting Nichols had contact with Islamic terrorists and that some were on the scene the day of the bombing.
Few paid any attention to the World Trade Center bombing trial, which brought to light evidence of a much broader Islamist conspiracy.
Few media outlets bothered to tell the world of the Islamist groups that claimed to have brought down TWA Flight 800.
Thus, the FBI put all of its terrorist eggs in one suspect political basket – the right-wing Christian basket. That’s where the FBI focused its attention officially beginning in 1996, the record shows.
Is it any wonder why they missed the real terrorists? Is it any wonder why they looked in all the wrong places for all the wrong reasons? Is it any wonder that 3,000 Americans unnecessarily lost their lives as a result?
Let me conclude by saying Clinton bears a tremendous amount of responsibility for politicizing the FBI. But let me add that unless the current administration recognizes the deliberate frauds that were perpetrated on the American people, holds those responsible accountable and makes the necessary changes in the agency, it will be equally culpable.
And, more importantly, we will never solve the real problems of terrorism that are still plaguing this country.
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