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Congress has shown no signs of examining how the United States dismissed offers of help from its allies in stopping al-Qaida – before Sept. 11.
In particular, according to intelligence sources, the FBI ignored Israeli offers to provide information on al-Qaida suspects in the United States – including Abdullah Abu Mujahir, or Jose Padilla.
Israel knew of Padilla long before 9-11. The sources said Israel’s intelligence services dropped the CIA and FBI a line on the American citizen. Nobody along the Potomac was interested.
The FBI did return the favor and brief Israeli intelligence officials in May after Padilla was arrested. But the Israeli Security Agency, the former Shin Bet, wasn’t impressed.
It was another example of how U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies operate according to concepts not in accord with the reality on the ground, the sources said.
Simply put, they said, U.S. intelligence doesn’t know how to use information on terrorists, and law enforcement agencies are not interested – unless a specific investigation is directly affected. While the Israelis view Islamic terrorists as linked – both formally and informally, the CIA and FBI have long dismissed that view.
The Israelis even offered to help translate the testimony from Arabic-speaking suspects. The FBI declined. The result was that U.S. security officers trained in Arabic couldn’t understand anything of the intercepts gathered by the National Security Agency. Nobody in the agency understood that the language has scores of dialects that have little in common with literary Arabic, the sources said.
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