Oh George! You got some ‘splainin‘ to do!

Who at Alex Station knew what in August-September 2001?

By Kevin Fenton

tenetRecent allegations made by former counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke against former CIA Director George Tenet and two other former CIA managers, Cofer Black and Richard Blee, have thrown one of the key unanswered questions of 9/11 into sharp relief. What happened at Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, after an officer there discovered that two of the 9/11 hijackers, Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, had entered the US?

The officer, Margaret Gillespie, says she made the discovery on August 21 and the record indicates she began to notify the FBI and other government agencies on this day. However, while a substantial amount of information has been made public about how the news circulated around the FBI, almost nothing is known of how Alec Station dealt with it.

In an interview recently broadcast as a trailer for the forthcoming audio documentary “Who Is Rich Blee?” Clarke alleged that the CIA had deliberately withheld from him information about Almihdhar and Alhazmi—in particular the news that Almihdhar had a US visa—for over twenty months before 9/11. Clarke also highlighted the importance of the information, saying it was more important than, for example, any of the key pieces of intelligence discussed at a controversial meeting with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice on July 10, 2001.

According to a statement recently released by Tenet, Black and Blee, neither Tenet nor any other senior CIA official was told of the visa or of travel to the US by Alhazmi and Almihdhar before 9/11. This was also the 9/11 Commission’s conclusion, although this conclusion was hedged. If this is true, then one appropriate question would be: why not? [Read more...]