The government intercepted conversations by early 1999 indicating that two Sept. 11 hijackers-to-be were connected to a suspected al-Qaida facility in the Middle East, but the National Security Agency did not pass on the information to other agencies, a congressional report on intelligence failures says. The NSA interception was the first evidence in American possession that eventual hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi were connected to each other and to al-Qaida, but some of that information was not brought to the attention of other agencies until early 2002 after Congress began investigating pre-Sept. 11 failures, according to excerpts of the report to be released Thursday. The Associated Press obtained excerpts from officials who had read it after it was declassified. The document criticizes the performance of all the major U.S. terrorism-fighting agencies for missing signs and miscalculating the growing threat of a terror attack on U.S. soil but concludes none had information that could have directly prevented the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington, which killed more than 3,000 people. Full Story
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