S T R A T F O R
THE GLOBAL INTELLIGENCE COMPANY
11 September 2001
The Intelligence Failure
1745 GMT, 010911
By George Friedman
As of this moment, what is clear is that a substantial number of civilian aircraft were hijacked this morning by pilots with sufficient ability to maneuver those multi-engine aircraft into collisions with major buildings. The flights originated at a number of airports. Each incident required the presence of at least one and probably more hijackers, each prepared to die in the attack.
Mounting an attack of this sort is not simple. In the case of the World Trade Center, the collapse of the towers indicates massive delayed explosions. This means either the planes were loaded with explosives or that massive explosive charges were planted in the buildings to go off later. This is supposition, but a secondary explosion is a necessary factor for explaining the collapse.
This means many individuals had to be involved in the operation. There had to be a coordinated effort spanning several continents, timed to occur at roughly the same time. At best guess, dozens of people had to be involved. Messages had to flow, coded or otherwise. Yet no human intelligence sources appear to have been among or near the conspirators. No significant messages were intercepted or decoded.
For U.S. intelligence to have missed an operation of this magnitude indicates one of two things. First, the competence of U.S. intelligence is overrated or the willingness of policymakers to heed warnings has declined. In either case, the system is badly broken. Alternatively, the sophistication of terrorist counter-intelligence has improved to such an extent that the prior level of expertise bought to bear is simply no longer sufficient.
Whether we are facing a decline in U.S. intelligence capability or an increase in counter-intelligence blocking the United States, Sept. 11, 2001, will go down as one of the major intelligence failures in U.S. history.
George Friedman is the founder and chairman of STRATFOR.
700 Lavaca, Suite 405
Austin, TX 78701
Understand the globe, with intelligence.
Copyright 2001, Strategic Forecasting, LLC
This is from a wonderful Yahoo Groups message-board archive, JustPeaceUK, which describes itself as a "UK based peace resource group for information and activities regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." Like Thomas Crosbie Media in Ireland, this electronic repository has maintained many single-source pieces of information and ephemeral truth from that pivotal day. Reading the board with its honest human expression and personal contact between well-intentioned individuals sharing a common commitment and a path of service, has been a great tonic to my heart and soul.
Even when I find some perception or analysis likely to be wrong, it still rings true as being real error---unlike the staged lies, artificial poses, and faux dialectics making up the more recent 9/11 research forums. That this buried material is reemerging now is a sign to me that something transformative is just over the horizon. Go visit the STRATFOR web site yourself to judge Mr. Friedman professional credibility. Given the stature he lends to this unequivocal statement of scientific supposition, its reappearance after a decade of dormancy will give a boost to our collective understanding. They don't call it "the global intelligence company" for nothing.