RealNews

Inquiry Into Attack on the Cole in 2000 Missed 9/11 Clues

The American investigators probing the October 2000 terrorist attack against the Navy destroyer Cole came tantalizingly close to detecting the Sept. 11 plot, F.B.I. and C.I.A. officials now say. But the government missed the significance of a series of clues because some investigators believed that the evidence fit narrowly into their case against the ship bombers and, others say, they did not have access to all the information. The lost opportunity, described by the officials for the first time in interviews this week, involved two of the eventual Sept. 11 hijackers, Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaq Alhazmi, who fell under suspicion by the C.I.A. early in 2000 but were not put on a watch list of foreigners barred from entering the United States until August 2001, after they were already here. A reconstruction of events shows that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency failed to recognize the significance of the two men and to act in concert to intercept them because of internal miscommunications and legal restrictions on the sharing of C.I.A. intelligence information with criminal investigators at the F.B.I. Problems developed even though F.B.I. agents and C.I.A. officers were assigned to each other’s operational and analytical units. Full Story

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