Second in a series

Notice also, the commission makes no mention in its footnote of the 36 other companies identified by the SEC in its insider trading probe. What about the pre-9/11 surge in call options for Raytheon, for instance, or the spike in put options for the behemoth Morgan Stanley, which had offices in WTC 2? The 9/11 Commission Report offers not one word of explanation about any of this. The truth, we must conclude, is to be found between the lines in the report’s conspicuous avoidance of the lion’s share of the insider trading issue. Indeed, if the trading was truly “innocuous,” as the report states, then why did the SEC muzzle potential whistleblowers by deputizing everyone involved with its investigation? The likely answer is that so many players on Wall Street were involved that the SEC could not risk an open process, for fear of exposing the unthinkable. This would explain why the SEC limited the flow of information to those with a “need to know,” which, of course, means that very few participants in the SEC investigation had the full picture. It would also explain why the SEC ultimately named no names. All of which hints at the true and frightening extent of criminal activity on Wall Street in the days and hours before 9/11. The SEC was like a surgeon who opens a patient on the operating room table to remove a tumor, only to sew him back up again after finding that the cancer has metastasized through the system.

At an early stage of its investigation, perhaps before SEC officials were fully aware of the implications, the SEC did recommend that the FBI investigate two suspicious transactions. We know about this thanks to a 9/11 Commission memorandum declassified in May 2009 which summarizes an August 2003 meeting at which FBI agents briefed the commission on the insider trading issue. The document indicates that the SEC passed the information about the suspicious trading to the FBI on September 21, 2001, just ten days after the 9/11 attacks.[28]

Although the names in both cases are censored from the declassified document, thanks to some nice detective work by Kevin Ryan we know whom (in one case) the SEC was referring to.[29] The identity of the suspicious trader is a stunner that should have become prime-time news on every network, world-wide. Kevin Ryan was able to fill in the blanks because, fortunately, the censor left enough details in the document to identify the suspicious party who, as it turns out, was none other than Wirt Walker III, a distant cousin to then-President G.W. Bush. Several days before 9/11, Walker and his wife Sally purchased 56,000 shares of stock in Stratesec, one of the companies that provided security at the World Trade Center up until the day of the attacks. Notably, Stratesec also provided security at Dulles International Airport, where AA 77 took off on 9/11, and also security for United Airlines, which owned two of the other three allegedly hijacked aircraft. At the time, Walker was a director of Stratesec. Amazingly, Bush’s brother Marvin was also on the board. Walker’s investment paid off handsomely, gaining $50,000 in value in a matter of a few days. Given the links to the World Trade Center and the Bush family, the SEC lead should have sparked an intensive FBI investigation. Yet, incredibly, in a mind-boggling example of criminal malfeasance, the FBI concluded that because Walker and his wife had “no ties to terrorism … there was no reason to pursue the investigation.” The FBI did not conduct a single interview.

The 9/11 Commission Report also fails to mention the other compelling evidence for insider trading that I have not yet discussed, namely, the approximately 400 computer hard drives found by workmen in the ruins of the WTC. According to Reuters and CNN, in the period after 9/11, U.S. credit card, telecommunications and accounting firms hired a German company named Convar to recoup data from the damaged hard drives.[30] Convar got the contract because, two years before, it had developed a proprietary method for recovering data using a cutting edge laser scanning technology. Peter Wagner, a Convar spokesman, told CNN that the new laser process makes it “possible to read the individual drive surfaces and then create a virtual drive.” As of December 2001, Convar had examined 39 hard drives and in most cases succeeded in recovering 100% of the data. The company was specifically searching for encryption keys, indicating a financial record. Convar found evidence stored on the drives of “an unexplained surge in transactions prior to the attacks.” Convar director Peter Henschel told CNN that “unusually large sums of money, perhaps more than $100 million, were rushed through the computers as the disaster unfolded. Said Henschel: “The suspicion is that insider information about the attack was used to send financial transaction commands and authorizations in the belief that amidst all the chaos the criminals would have a good head start…..Of course it’s possible that Americans went on an absolute shopping binge, that Tuesday morning. But at this point there are many transactions that cannot be accounted for.” After the initial story by CNN and Reuters, the issue of the WTC hard drives disappeared from the news, and nothing has been heard since. Although reports on the Internet that Kroll purchased Convar remain unsubstantiated, it is nonetheless clear that someone made the story (and the evidence) go away.[31] But what reason would they possibly have for doing so? Unless the initial indications from Convar that insider trading had occurred were correct.

The above CNN quote by Peter Henschel that “unusually large sums of money, perhaps more than $100 million, were rushed through the computers as the disaster unfolded,” was later confirmed in truly chilling fashion by a Deutsche Bank New York branch employee who survived the attacks. The whistleblower, who insists on remaining anonymous for his own protection, told Mike Ruppert that “about five minutes before the attack the entire Deutsche Bank computer system had been taken over by something external that no one in the office recognized, and every file was downloaded at lightning speed to an unknown location” (emphasis added).[32] Here, the important phrase is “five minutes before the attack.” Chilling indeed.

To be continued…

Notes

[1] World News Tonight, 20 September 2001.

[2] Dave Eberhart, “Still Silence From 9-11 Stock Speculation Probe”, NewsMax, June 3, 2002, http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2002/6/2/62018.shtml

[3] William Drozdiak, “‘Insider trading’ by terrorists is suspected in Europe”, Miami Herald, September 24, 2001, http://web.archive.org/web/20011109160700/www.miami.com/herald/special/news/worldtrade/digdocs/099922.htm

[4] James Doran, “Insider Trading Apparently Based on Foreknowledge of 9/11 Attacks,” London Times, September 18, 2001. Archived at http://911research.wtc7.net/cache/sept11/londontimes_insidertrading.html

[5] Christian Berthelsen, Scott Winokur, “Suspicious profits sit uncollected,” San Francisco Chronicle, September 29, 2001. Archived at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2001/09/29/MN186128.DTL

[6] “Profiting from Disaster,” CBS Evening News, September 19, 2001. Archived at http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/09/19/eveningnews/main311834.shtml

[7] Michelle Ciarrocca, “Post-9/11 Economic Windfalls for Arms Manufacturers,” Foreign Policy in Focus, September 2002. Posted at http://old.911digitalarchive.org/objects/50.pdf

[8] Bank of America among 38 stocks in SEC’s attack probe,” Bloomberg News, October 3, 2001. Archived at http://911research.wtc7.net/cache/sept11/bloombberg_BAamong38.html

[9] Cited by Barry Grey, “Suspicious trading points to advance knowledge by big investors of September 11 attacks,” World Socialist Web Site, October 5, 2001. Posted at http://www.wsws.org/articles/2001/oct2001/bond-o05.shtml

[10] Bloomberg News, October 3, 2001. The list included stocks of American, United, Continental, Northwest, Southwest and US Airways airlines, as well as Martin, Boeing, Lockheed Martin Corp., AIG, American Express Corp, American International Group, AMR Corporation, Axa SA, Bank of America Corp, Bank of New York Corp, Bank One Corp, Cigna Group, CNA Financial, Carnival Corp, Chubb Group, John Hancock Financial Services, Hercules Inc, L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc., LTV Corporation, Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc., MetLife, Progressive Corp., General Motors, Raytheon, W.R. Grace, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., Lone Star Technologies, American Express, the Citigroup Inc. ,Royal & Sun Alliance, Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc., Vornado Reality Trust, Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter & Co., XL Capital Ltd., and Bear Stearns.

[11] Erin E. Arvedlund, “Follow The Money: Terrorist Conspirators Could Have Profited More From Fall Of Entire Market Than Single Stocks,” Barron’s (Dow Jones and Company), 6 October 2001.

[12] Scott Winokur, “SEC wants data-sharing system,” San Francisco Chronicle, October 19, 2001. Posted at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2001/10/19/BU142745.DTL

[13] Michael Ruppert, Crossing the Rubicon,(New Society Publishers, 2004), p. 243.

[14] Bloomberg reportedly acknowledged the fact in a September 2003 newswire. Although the wire has since disappeared from the Internet, the text is archived at http://s15.invisionfree.com/Loose_Change_Forum/ar/t1699.htm

[15] Chris Blackhurst, “Mystery of terror ‘insider dealers’,” The Independent, October 14, 2001, posted at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/mystery-of-terror-insider-dealers-631325.html

[16] “Whether advance knowledge of U.S. attacks was used for profit,” New York Times, October 1, 2001. Archived at http://www.hinduonnet.com/2001/10/01/stories/06010006.htm

[17] George Tenet, At the Center of the Storm, Harper Collins, New York,  2007, p. 19.

[18] Hearings before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, 106th Congress, November 9 and 10, 1999, p.879. Posted at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=106_senate_hearings&docid=f:61699.pdf

[20] Raymond W. Baker, “The Biggest Loophole in the Free Market System,” The Washington Quarterly, Autumn 1999, p. 29. Posted at (see p. 1061) http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=106_senate_hearings&docid=f:61699.pdf

[21] “Chief Steps Down At Alex Brown,” New York Times, September 15, 2001.

[22] Timothy L. O’Brien, “The Deep Slush at Bankers Trust,” The New York Times, May 30, 1999. Posted at http://www.nytimes.com/1999/05/30/business/the-deep-slush-at-bankers-trust.html?src=pm

[23] “Chief Steps Down At Alex Brown,” New York Times, September 15, 2001.

[24] 9/11 Commission Report, W.W. Norton, 2004, p. 499.

[25] Allen M. Poteshman, “Unusual Option Market Activity and the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001,” The Journal of Business, 2006, vol. 79, no. 4, http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/503645

[26] Marc Chesney, et al, “Detecting Informed Trading Activities in the Options Markets,” Social Sciences Research Network, 13 January 2010, http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1522157

[27] Wing-Keung Wong, et al, “Was there Abnormal Trading in the S&P 500 Index Options Prior to the September 11 Attacks?,” Social Sciences Research Network, April 2010, http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1588523

[28] 9/11 Commission memorandum entitled “FBI Briefing on Trading”, prepared by Doug Greenburg, 18 August 2003, p. 4-5. Posted at http://media.nara.gov/9-11/MFR/t-0148-911MFR-00269.pdf

[29] Kevin Ryan, “Evidence for Informed Trading on the Attacks of September 11,” Foreign Policy Journal, November 18, 2010. Posted at http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/11/18/evidence-for-informed-trading-on-the-attacks-of-september-11/all/1/

[30] “German firm probes final World Trade Center deals,” Reuters, December 17, 2001. Posted at http://www.rediff.com/money/2001/dec/17wtc.htm

Rick Perera, “Computer disk drives from WTC could yield clues,” CNN, December 20, 2001. Posted at http://archives.cnn.com/2001/TECH/industry/12/20/wtc.harddrives.idg/

[31] Michael Fury, “The Ghost in the Machines: Evidence of Foreknowledge in the WTC Hard Drive Recoveries,” Journal of 9/11 Studies, December 2008. Posted at http://www.journalof911studies.com/volume/2008/GhostWTC.pdf

[32] Crossing the Rubicon, p. 244.