Zacarias Moussaoui and the ghosts of 9/11…

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More than 14  years and five months after an attack which took more than 2800 lives in ways so horrible that the U.S. Government and the nation’s television networks seamlessly colluded—in real time—to prevent the American people from seeing what really was happening, last month some were finally hailing a “break” in the case.

In a deposition in a lawsuit filed by families of 9/11 victims against the Saudi Government,  Zacarias  Moussaoui, the man authorities dubbed the 20th hijacker, fingered a dozen prominent Saudis—including several Princes of the Royal House of Saud— as patrons of Al Qaeda whose support enabled the 9/11 attack.

His accusations were based on first-hand knowledge he gained, he said, while head of digital fundraising for Osama bin Laden.

Bob Graham, former chair of the Joint Congressional Intelligence Committee inquiry into 9/11, used the opportunity to again call for the release of 28 blank pages dealing with Saudi Arabian complicity.

Kabuki-lite in Washington D.C.

Said Graham, “The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11, and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier.”

Author Anthony Summers seconded Graham’s call for the release of the material on the Saudis.  

Both men cited the suspicious flight two weeks before 9/11 of the wealthy family of Abdulaziz al-Hijji, his wife, Anoud, and her father, Esam Ghazzawi, an advisor to a Saudi prince, from their mansion in Sarasota, which records show was visited by Mohamed Atta.

When the Saudi family’s panicked flight from Sarasota became public, FBI officials acknowledged the investigation, but said it had turned up no connection to 9/11 — statements contradicted by the handful of records made public in response to a Freedom of Information lawsuit.

The exercise is an elaborate charade. Its Kabuki Theater—whose theme is conflict between humanity and feudal lords—for Washington insiders. Its not supposed to be told, as it is here, from the point of view the Overlords themselves. 

Pointing the finger of blame at the Saudis is an easy sale.  But it isn’t even news. A decade ago Craig Unger’s “House of Bush, House of Saud detailed Saudi complicity in 9/11. So did elfin JFK assassination apologist,  CIA asset, and plagiarist Gerald Posner’s “Why America Slept.”

Fighting for disclosure of information about Saudi involvement in 9/11 is a noble pursuit, and I’ve also uncovered details of the cover-up of Saudi involvement.  But for Graham and Summers it comes in lieu of exposing the other side of the coin: the errors of omission of the FBI, and criminal activities of agencies of America’s national security state.

This wasn’t Zac’s first rodeo

Last month’s deposition wasn’t the first time Zacarias Moussaoui has made an important contribution to what we know about the 9/11 attack. 

His trial a decade ago produced twin bombshells—Mohamed Atta’s cell phone records, and an undisclosed aviation incident in Clearwater—each of which would have been at least as explosive, had anyone shown any interest—as the classified pages about the Saudis of the Joint Intelligence Committee report.

Both involve American failings, specifically FBI malfeasance in their investigation into 911,  showing the Bureau’s official chronology—the chief tool in every criminal investigation—to have been a tissue of half-truths, distortions and lies. Neither Graham nor Summers have ever evinced any concern over either disclosure. 

Bob Graham and Anthony Summers muster their outrage only to point the finger of blame outwards. These two highly intelligent men can’t be under the illusion that the Saudis were playing solitaire with themselves in pre-9/11 Florida. They know there was a CIA or military intelligence operation bringing Saudi and other Arab student pilots to the U.S. in 2000 and 2001.

They just won’t say it out loud.

The Fourth Estate: The New York Mets of American institutions

The first bombshell revelation from Moussaoui’s trial involved a previously-undisclosed aviation incident that took place in February of 2001.

Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi were caught practicing takeoffs and landings at a tiny Clearwater airpark that had already closed for the night, breaking the airport’s curfew and drawing the attention of a night watchman who wrote down the plane’s ‘N’ number.

The plane’s FAA registration revealed it belonged to Huffman Aviation in Venice. Yet according to the FBI’s official chronology, as well as sworn testimony before Congress, Atta and Marwan left Huffman in Venice for good almost two months earlier, on December 26, 2000.

The discrepancy was never addressed. Worse, the mainstream media either completely missed the point, or deliberately muddied the waters.

“Why the two men chose the small Clearwater airpark 75 miles north of Venice remains a mystery,” reported the St. Petersburg Times. “The incident was another example of how closer scrutiny of Atta and the other 9/11 hijackers might have averted the 2001 disasters.” 

‘Time-line discrepancies’ are the ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ of the FBI

The disclosure, or “time-line discrepancy,” left Huffman Aviation principal Rudi Dekkers, convicted of drug trafficking in 2012 in Houston,  open to charges of perjury before Congress.

In sworn Congressional testimony, Dekkers stated “On December 24th, 2000, Atta and Al-Shehhi rented a Warrior from Huffman Aviation for a flight… one to two days later Atta and Al-Shehhi returned to Huffman Aviation to make final payments on their outstanding bills.”

“Because they were not taking any more flying lessons, they were asked to leave the facility due to their bad attitudes and not being liked by staff and clients alike. Huffman never heard about or from them again until September 11th, 2001.”

Why didn’t Graham and Summers call for Dekkers to be indicted for perjury before Congress?

Why haven’t they demanded Congressional investigation of the mountain of embarrassing evidence proving FBI malfeasance in the 9/11 investigation? 

“All our friends are not our friends.”

Back in 2008 and 2009, I showed Anthony Summers— who’s written well-respected books on everything from the Kennedy Assassination to J. Edgar Hoover, Frank Sinatra, and Marilyn Monroe— around Venice for a month, and introduced him to my sources, including aviation executives and local observers who’d seen Mohamed Atta and others of the 9/11 hijackers daily as well as witnessed the criminal pursuits of their American hosts.

Summers was writing, for release on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attack, what for the foreseeable future (to the present date, certainly) would be the last ‘big’ book about the attack. As he prepared to leave Venice, on his way to interview recently-retired Senator Bob Graham in Miami, Summers promised to alert the Senator (on the off-chance he didn’t already know) about two discoveries made in my investigation.

It didn’t seem a lot to ask. I’d been squiring him around Venice for a month, hoping against hope his book would bring some truth of what happened to a larger audience than had my own meager efforts. 

An Idiot’s Guide to 9/11

Here’s what Summers promised to tell Graham:

During July of 2000, the same month Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al Shehhi arrived to attend flight school at Huffman Aviation, DEA agents discovered 43 pounds of heroin aboard a Lear jet belonging to the flight school’s owner, Wally Hilliard. 

Authorities had called it “the biggest seizure of heroin ever in central Florida.” Given the state’s sordid past, clearly no mean feat.

The international heroin trafficking was being carried out in tandem with the operation training hundreds of Saudis and other Arabs to fly, in large part at two flight schools owned by Hilliard, and run by Dekkers.

While Mohamed Atta practiced touch and go’s off the Venice Airport’s runway in front of Huffman Aviation, DEA agents toting sub-machine guns  were surrounding the flight school owner’s Learjet at Orlando Executive Airport.

Hilliard’s Learjet had flown 39 weekly flights to Venezuela and back before getting busted, for the same Latin client who each time insisted on paying for each weekly charter flight in cash, a major no-no in South Florida aviation.

Another “legend” bites the dust

The second thing Summers promised to inform Graham about was something I’d discovered by accident. I would never have gone to San Diego, and learned anything about the blatant lies told about one of the principals there,  had not one of my oldest friends died suddenly in Newport Beach, where I’d spent almost a decade.

I’d been intrigued by news about the Joint Intelligence Committee’s attempts to learn more about two hijackers who’d lived in the home of a man who was an FBI informant for, of all things, counter-terrorism.

Sen. Graham called the hijackers’ host, Abdussattar Shaikh, the “best chance to uncover the Sept. 11 plot before it happened.”

So after attending my friend’s funeral in Newport Beach I drove to San Diego and ‘poked around’ for two very fruitful days.

Abdussattar Shaikh had been identified in wire reports as “a retired professor of English at San Diego State,” and “Vice President for International Projects at American Commonwealth University.”

In truth, he was nothing of the kind. 

Maybe call the Make a Wish Foundation

What no U.S. media outlet has reported is that Abdussattar Shaikh is nothing of the kind.  During just a two-day visit to locations around San Diego where he was said to have worked, I learned that every single detail in the biography of Abdussattar Shaikh was untrue. To wit:

1. Abdussattar Shaikh never taught at San Diego State;

2. He has never been a Professor of English… anywhere;

3. He has a phony PhD purchased from a bogus diploma mill run by people with U.S. military and intelligence connections;

4. The “University” which he was said to be “Vice President for International Projects” does not, in fact, exist. There is no “American Commonwealth University.”

5. “Abdussattar Shaikh” was not even his real name. A profile on the Indian-born Shaikh in India revealed his real name was “Abdussattar Chhipa.”

Most importantly, “Professor” Abdussattar Shaikh had been shielded from questioning by the Bush Administration. The FBI had refused to serve the only subpoena issued by the Joint Congressional Intelligence Committee investigation into the 9/11 attack, which was to him. 

If they wanted to interview the Professor, the Intelligence Committee probably would have had better luck calling the “Make A Wish” Foundation.  

A slippery slope

In his book, Summers makes much of Saudi connections to two hijackers who lived in San Diego, but never mentions the startling—and easily verifiable evidence I provided about “Abdussattar Shaikh.”

Turns out, he never mentioned Shaikh to Bob Graham, either.

Several years ago former Senator Graham came through Venice on a book tour, a fictional retelling he’d written of events similar to the 9/11 attack.

During the question and answer session which followed a reading from the book, I asked if he’d been told about the heroin trafficking through Venice; or if he knew about the phony biography, or ‘legend’ in spook-speak, of Abdussattar Shaikh.

His answer was “No.” He hadn’t, he said, looking puzzled and disconcerted. In a private conversation later, he said Anthony Summers had never mentioned either matter.

Of course everybody knows that politicians lie, almost as much as spooks do. Graham was a long-time politician. Still, it seemed an unforced admission. I believed him.  

The full story of 9/11? Or anything but?

When Summers and his writing partner Robyn Swann’s book was released several years ago, I felt their book would be our last best hope. Summers and Swann are veteran investigative reporters, with eight award-winning biographies between them. 

I remained silent. I hid my bitter disappointment, swallowed hard, tasted ashes,  and kept my mouth shut. I wasn’t about to do anything that might hurt the book’s chances of rousing the nation to reexamine the FBI cover-up that passed for an investigation.  

After it was clear that opportunity had passed, I let go of my anger. It was made easier by the fact that I found him personable, even charming. But when he puts himself forward as a champion of truth justice and the American Way—on a subject h was too lazy to address in his 500-page door-stop—his arrogance becomes a bridge too far for natural reticence. 

That he’s been living off the fumes of his former reputation has recently become widely-known, in a controversy in which I have no opinion,  save to say many of the criticisms retroactively appear valid about his 9/11 book. 

The kindest thing I can say about  “The Eleventh Day, The Full Story of 9/11,” is: “Its anything but.”

For example, there’s nothing in his book about the thwarted attempt made on the life of President George W. Bush at the Colony Beach Resort where he was staying the evening before the 9/11 attack. This, despite details published in NEWSWEEK, the Sarasota Herald Tribune, the Longboat Observer, and on the ABC affiliate in Sarasota’s local newscast, all accumulated here. 

Or read this list of ten more things about Mohamed Atta , and you’ll  learn ten things more about Mohamed Atta than you’ll find in “The Full Story of 9/11.  

So how could I have been so wrong? 

How’s that again? “Pretty strong. But full of weaknesses.”

Summers considerable reputation was made with his first book, about the Kennedy assassination, titled “Conspiracy.”   When Summers re-released it with minor changes for the 50th Anniversary of the JFK Assassination, in publicity quotes I was surprised to discover that he’s become The Great Equivocator, which I certainly didn’t know when I agreed to work with him.

Two quotes from Summers as he promoted the book, which even he would say are representative, tell the story: 

 “I have tried to write a book for the sane citizen that is open both to the lone assassin theory and something more complex. The evidence that Oswald fired is pretty strong but also full of weaknesses.”

“Given the way the case was treated and the evidence so badly handled it isn’t possible to say that it was the work of a lone assassin and it isn’t possible to say that it was definitely a conspiracy.”

To spruce up the re-released book, he changed the title to “Not in Your Lifetime,”touting it now as “The Definitive Book on the JFK Assassination.” In it, he now reveals—no doubt to pull in those put off by his pronounced tendency to equivocation—the name of one of the assassins in Dealey Plaza. 

Summers ferrets out JFK shooter  

It was stop-the-presses! time in the National Enquirer.

Based on a 2007 interview with an 81-year-old Cuban exile living in Miami , Summers candidate for JFK triggerman is Herminio Diaz Garcia, a Cuban whose resume included being a triggerman who did assassinations for Batista, supposedly boasting in prison of having killed Kennedy, and having died in 1966.

The Cuban in Miami who told Summers the big news, Reinaldo Martinez Gomez, learned of it from Tony Cuesta, leader of an anti-Castro raid in 1966 that had ended in Diaz’s death, while the two men were in prison in Cuba. 

Cuesta told Martinez that before he died Diaz uttered words he would never forget.  Said Martinez: “Herminio confessed to Tony Cuesta that he had taken part  in the death of the US president.”

Oddly enough, Herminio Diaz, who Martinez calls “his best friend,” never heard from him that he had been a JFK shooter.  Perhaps for this reason, Summers cites a third party, Remegio Arce,  who the Cuban in Miami, Martinez, said had confirmed that Diaz said he’d done the hit.

Summers believes Martinez was telling the truth, he told interviewers. “Martinez struck me – after two days of tough interviewing of a man in his eighties – as someone with nothing to gain, who appeared to be credible. Diaz ticks the boxes.”

Anthony Summers was flogging a 40-year old book with a tall tale about a dead guy who told another dead guy he killed JFK, who then repeats it to a guy who is himself now dead. Ouch.

If a bombshell goes off in the forest…

This is all great good fun, until one realizes that Summers is now applying his “rigorous standards of proof” to the claim in his book, “The Eleventh Day,” that Mohamed Atta never knew Amanda Keller. 

One of the bombshell revelations produced by the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui was the release of Mohamed Atta’s cell phone records.

They showed he had used a Verizon cell phone with a Sarasota cell phone number (941-685-0468) , purchased from and serviced by Wissam Taysir Hammoud, the local authorized Verizon cell phone dealer in Sarasota.

(A decade ago I reported Hammoud, a native of Lebanon, belonged to a terror ring in Sarasota, and was brutally violent. He’s currently in prison for hiring a hit man to murder an ATF agent and his informant, instructing the hit man to first tie the informant to a tree, then slowly cut pieces of his body off, and, when he ran out of limbs, to behead the informant, and bring it to him.)

The released cell phone records list all of Atta’s phone calls between July of 2000, when the FBI says he arrived in Venice, and January 20th of 2001, more than three weeks after the FBI said he left Venice for good.

However a second court document released at the same time—the return of subpoena  document from Verizon to the court— flatly contradicts the FBI claim. It shows that Atta’s Nokomis cell phone was in service for four months longer than the period covered by the phone bills being released presented as complete by the FBI. 

His phone records end when we say they do

Four months of Atta’s phone records were missing when the FBI released the “complete records.”

Reports in this space—alone among media outlets worldwide—attempted to draw attention to what was clearly another FBI cover-up. 

 “Atta’s Verizon cell phone, a PrePay account, was active from 7/15/2000 until 5/12/2001 and was listed at the 516 Laurel Rd Nokomis address,” summarized Bill Warner, a Sarasota private investigator.

 “Yet if he’d already moved to Ft Lauderdale or Miami he wouldn’t continue to use a cell phone with a Sarasota/Venice area code, because all his calls would have incurred huge roaming charges, which were exorbitantly expensive back in 2000 and 2001,” Warner stated.

 “If Atta had actually moved out of the Sarasota/Venice area the way the FBI says he did by January of 2001, he would have never continued to pay huge roaming and long distance charges. So he must have still been in Sarasota and Venice during this time period.”

The FBI’s modified limited hang-out release of Atta’s phone documents also give the lie to attempts by the terrorists’ hometown Sarasota Herald-Tribune to invalidate the testimony of Amanda Keller, who years before the records were released said she lived with Atta in Venice between late January and early May.

Adding historical insult to historical injury

The cover-up finally rises to the level of authentic “conspiracy theory” when Anthony Summers cited the FBI’s release of Mohamed Atta’s cell phone records to discredit the account of Amanda Keller.

Summers acts as if the Bureau’s malfeasance in withholding four months of Atta’s cell phone records hadn’t already been proven, fully five years before his book was published. 

Before fleeing the state in the aftermath of the attack, Amanda Keller spoke only a dozen words to reporters.  She said, “I can’t really discuss anything. I’m afraid I’ll get in trouble.”

 Summers had an important dinner meeting with a counter-terrorism official where they discussed Amanda Keller, he told me later.  The official said he admired her, as well he might, speaking of someone who’d undergone days of relentless grilling by the FBI without cracking.  

The unnamed official told Summers, “She never changed her story once.” 

Eyewitnesses speak of “FBI intimidation”

He also interviewed another source I told him about,  Stephanie Frederickson, who’d been Amanda Keller and Mohamed Atta’s next-door neighbor at the Sandpiper Apartments. Her story, he admitted to me later, was unchanged from what she’d told me.

A stay-at-home Mom, whose husband was a Maytag repairman, Frederickson hardly qualifies as a “conspiracy theorist.” 

When I met her, there was one burning topic she wanted to discuss, something both she and Sandpiper Apartment manager Charlie Grapentine, an ex-marine, felt strongly about. It wasn’t Mohamed Atta, but how she’d been harassed and intimidated by the FBI. 

“At first, right after the attack, they told me I must have been mistaken in my identification,” she stated. “Or they would insinuate that I was lying. Finally they stopped trying to get me to change my story.

For at least six months after the 9/11 attack, Frederickson says, she received weekly visits from an agent in the FBI’s Sarasota office. “The question they asked was always the same. You aren’t saying anything to anybody, are you?”

“Who was I going to tell?” She shrugged. “Most everyone around here already knew.” 

Summers also neglects to tell his readers that three local newspapers in the Venice area all reported Amanda Keller and Mohamed Atta’s brief “hook-up” fully a year before I did. 

None of this matters to Summers. All of it is intellectually dishonest.  His “remit” from Random House, one source told me,  had forced him to call into question any testimony which exposed criminal activity during the U.S. operation which brought the terrorists to the U.S.

That’s why he so blithely dismissed Keller in a footnote, as if—if he could only make the type small enough—it might diminish the testimony of the most important eyewitness to Mohamed Atta’s character and motives.

He throws mud against the wall hoping something will stick, citing a thoroughly discredited account from the New York Times-owned Sarasota Herald Tribune, a paper whose publisher moonlighted as a weapons manufacturer selling slow-flying turbo-props with specially-mounted machine guns designed to efficiently mow down protesting peasants and indigenous people to the world’s most repressive regimes. 

The Herald-Tribune reported, Summers states, “Keller’s mother and sister had described his as tall and lanky.” 

“What she said was, he had a ‘flank-y’ ass.”

I don’t know what Keller’s mother, who  was suffering from cancer at the time (she’s now dead, like Summer’s witnesses to his supposed JFK shooter) said. In any event she only saw Atta once, and then just briefly. 

But in my interview with Amanda Keller and her sister Tammy,  recounted in “Welcome to TERRORLAND”, Tammy, who said she met Atta on a dozen occasions, described him, not as “lanky, but “flank-y.” After seeing him wearing a green speedo at the pool, she said he had a “flank-y ass.” (pg 35) It wasn’t a compliment. 

Summers then delivers what he expects is the kill-shot. But his effort, like that of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, defies logic, is stunningly intellectually dishonest, and betrays his true motive.

“After a lengthy analysis of a tangled scenario, the authors concluded this had been a case of mistaken identity.”

“Phone checks, said a counterterrorism agent cited in the second 2006 report, indicate that the real Atta and Keller never called each other.”

This is some neat trick. The released phone checks he is citing don’t include the four months (January through May 2001) of Atta’s cell phone records which the FBI neglected to release, the same months that Amanda Keller was living with him at the Sandpiper Apartments across from the Venice Airport.  

His biased opinion, or “authors conclusion,” will be rendered inoperative by the verdict of history. Till then, we struggle on with tinny music playing. As Gary Webb wrote, “The Mighty Wurlitzer plays on.”

Anthony Summers has proven a worthy successor to CIA asset and JFK assassination apologist Gerald Posner, whose widely-reviled “Case Closed” ignored any evidence which didn’t support his thesis that Oswald acted alone.   

Anthony Summers is the Gerald Posner of 9/11. 

He wasn’t the first person seeking to discredit Keller’s inconvenient testimony, which to her everlasting credit directly contradicts the FBI’s carefully-drawn portrait of the leader of the 9/11 hijackers.  But he might be the last.

As Shakespeare wrote, “Murder will out.”

Send out for more blank pages

We come now to The Big Taboo.

The discovery that DEA agents found 43 pounds of heroin aboard Huffman Aviation flight school owner Wally Hilliard’s Lear jet is  important enough to rate another 28 blank pages in Senator Graham’s Joint Intelligence Committee’s report.

Instead, it was relegated to a footnote on page 529 of Summers’ book, where, through omitting crucial facts, he equivocated enough to make it appear inconsequential. 

The Lear jet in question had only been “co-owned” by Hilliard, Summers’ footnote asserted, ending with the statement that “Hilliard maintained he was the ‘innocent owner’ of the plane.”

Since neither of the other two straw owners of the dummy front company Hilliard incorporated to register the plane possessed either the citizenship necessary to own an American-registered plane, or the wherewithal to pick up the check for both dinner and dessert, its safe to say Wally Hilliard owned—not “co-owned”—the plane.

Mentioning the drug trafficking violates The Big Taboo

For the duration of the operation, which  ended on September 11, 2001,  Hilliard owned as many as 30 to 40 jets at any one time, a truly astonishing statistic for any individual aircraft owner.  He showed no apparent need for outside financial assistance.

Like everything else having to do with general aviation in Florida, a subject  crucial to understanding what was going on in the run up to the 9/11 attack,  this fact escaped Summers notice.  He never mentions it.

Evidence to the contrary, there was no drug trafficking through the Venice Airport while Atta was there. Summers sums up with  a complete non-sequitur:  “Hilliard maintained he was the ‘innocent owner’ of the plane.”

As if that were, finally, that. Had Hilliard maintained he was Santa Claus, or the second coming of Christ, that would not, by itself, have made it true. But it allows Summers the opening he needs to come down, as firmly as possible, on the side of equivocation, the familiar one-two punch of the poseur, or the quisling: 

“Experts disagree.” “We may never know the real truth.”

A Gerald Posner for our time

What matters, far more than Summers weak tea, is that that the judge in the case ruled that Hilliard was so not an innocent owner that he (Hilliard) had forfeited any claim to the plane, a ruling so far from standard practice in such cases that it jumps off the page.  

Several times, I sent the judge’s order to Summers, but it became another inconvenient (and thus omitted) detail in his rush to exonerate Hilliard against a very-provable charge of drug trafficking which he deigned to mention only in a footnote.

Everybody gets the fact that mention of drug trafficking in the same sentence with any organ of the national security state is breaking a big taboo.  

But, did no one tell Summers that that’s what they do in Florida?  

If Anthony Summers did find anything objectionable about the FBI’s malfeasance in its investigation into 9/11, or the criminal activities of the American “contract agents” who were using training Arab student pilots to fly as “cover” for running drugs, he was careful not to mention it. 

An American Tradition: The Modified Limited Hang-Out

The full story of the 9/11 attack remains to be told. While the disclosure of classified information about Saudi involvement in 9/11 is a goal worth fighting for, there are also massive black holes in the story of what happened which remain hidden from the American people.

Yet those calling the loudest for the release of the classified information about Saudi involvement are puzzlingly silent about cover-ups closer to home.

Senator Graham may have done all he could to overcome the blanket of “national security” placed over the most important areas of the 9/11 attack. But, by any objective reckoning, he failed.  That the second investigation—the 9/11 Commission—failed as well makes Graham’s failure no less disappointing.

Author Anthony Summers is an even bigger 9/11 fail.  His 500-page book, “The Eleventh Day,” was so bereft of new revelations about the 9/11 attack that he was forced to use a discovery that wasn’t his—and wasn’t even in his book—to drum up sales during his book tour.

Why are two people who haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory uncovering the truth about the 9/11 attack clamoring for the release of the 28 blank pages about the Saudis in Graham’s Joint Intelligence Committee Report?

The answer remains unclear. However despite their heavy breathing about the Saudis, it is obvious that the charge they’re leading will result—at best—in a “modified limited hang-out” that will leave the American people no closer to the truth.

The ghosts of 9/11

In 1999 there were few Arabs—at most a smattering—attending Southwest Florida flight schools. Two years later there were hundreds. It didn’t happen by accident.

Late in 1999, a retired insurance executive from Green Bay named Wally Hilliard walked unannounced into founder Stan Huffman’s office at Huffman Aviation and set down a briefcase filled with cash, according to an aviation executive at a neighboring facility who heard the story from someone who was in the room, and offered to pay far in excess of what Huffman’s floundering business—which wasn’t for sale—was worth.

Hilliard convinced Stan Huffman to take the money and walk away from a business he hadn’t been trying to sell. Hilliard’s motives for getting into the flight school business were never questioned. Had they been, a major part of the 9/11 cover-up would have been exposed.

Watergate Committee Chairman Sam Ervin would have made mincemeat of Wallace J. Hilliard. 

“Flight schools don’t make money,” a former business partner of Hilliard’s told me. “Everyone in aviation knows that.”

After the 9/11 attack, Venice, Florida was the biggest 9/11 crime scene which wasn’t reduced to rubble. Yet it was utterly ignored by the mainstream media. Early on, in frustration, I contacted one of the few members of America’s national security establishment who would take my calls.

“How could hundreds of Saudis and other Arabs just waltz enmasse into Florida flight schools,” I asked, “without the CIA knowing about it?”

“Why I assume that they did know,” he replied gently. “It would have been impossible for them not to.”

Bob Graham and Anthony Summers know that the operation underway in the two years before the 9/11 attack in Venice and other locations in Southwest Florida—Charlotte County Airport, Hilliard’s second flight school in Naples—was culpable and bears responsibility for leaving the country defenseless to the terrorist’s attack.

They just won’t say it out loud.

What’s left behind isn’t total silence. Just a faint stirring in a bitter breeze late at night, the rustling of fallen leaves blowing across the snow.  Maybe its the whisper of unquiet spirits, pleading “Remember me,” like the ghost from Hamlet. 

Maybe its the ghosts of 9/11.

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