The author is indebted to the good people at History Commons for their “Complete 9/11 Timeline.”  If a reference is not evident below, it can probably be found there.

A recent interview with former “Counterterrorism Czar,” Richard Clarke, is making a splash in the alternative media.[1]  In this interview, Clarke speculates about CIA malfeasance related to the pre-9/11 monitoring of two alleged September 11 hijackers.  This interview is somewhat interesting due to Clarke’s vague suggestion that the CIA had courted 9/11 suspects as sources, but it is far more interesting for what was not said with regard to Clarke’s personal history and associations.

Richard ClarkeThe seeming point of these new statements from Clarke is that the CIA might have withheld information from him, the FBI, and the Department of Defense (DOD) in the twenty months leading up to the 9/11 attacks.  Clarke is not suggesting that the CIA did this maliciously, but only that his good friend, George Tenet, and two others made a mistake in their approach.  Clarke says of these CIA leaders — “They understood that al Qaeda was a big threat, they were motivated, and they were really trying hard.”  The mild twist that Clarke now puts on the story is that  the CIA’s diligent effort to secure much needed sources within the al Qaeda organization was pursued without any suspicion that these sources might turn out to be “double agents.”

Clarke claims that if the CIA had simply told him, the FBI and the DOD, “even as late as September 4th, [2001]” they would have “conducted a massive sweep, we would have conducted it publicly, we would have found those assholes.  There’s no doubt in my mind.  Even with only a week left.”

There are many obvious problems with these new claims from Clarke.  For one thing, the evidence we have indicates that FBI headquarters did everything it could to protect the alleged 9/11 hijackers in the months leading up to 9/11. Another spectacularly obvious problem is that those “assholes” lived with an FBI asset for at least four months and there are reasons to believe the FBI knew that.  More importantly, Richard Clarke personally thwarted two of the attempts the CIA made to capture Osama bin Laden (OBL) in the two years before 9/11.  It seems disingenuous at best that Clarke would say he didn’t have enough information to capture two of OBL’s underlings in 2000 when he was responsible for preventing the capture of OBL just the year before. 

In an attempt to make sense of these matters, we should take a closer look at Richard Clarke.  His own history might shed some light on why he is trying to confuse us today.

Not just another COG

Clarke began his government career in the Ford Administration’s DOD as a nuclear weapons analyst.  At the time, several characters that were central to the events of 9/11 were in the highest positions of that administration.  Toward the end of that era, White House chief of staff Dick Cheney and DOD secretary Donald Rumsfeld were fighting a war of public perception to preserve the increasingly unpopular aspects of the CIA.  Nuclear policy was a big issue at the time as well, and at least one of Clarke’s closest colleagues in later years, Paul Wolfowitz, worked to present false “Team B” information.

After getting his MA from MIT, Clarke went on to become President Reagan’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence.  In this role, Clarke negotiated US military presence in Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.  He asked these foreign governments for “access” agreements and the right to enhance existing facilities.  As a result, the US moved large numbers of contractors into Saudi Arabia.  One such contractor, Bernard Kerik, the New York City police commissioner and “9/11 hero” who had worked for Morrison-Knudsen’s Saudi group in the mid-seventies, went back for another three year tour as the “the chief investigator for the royal family of Saudi Arabia.”[2]

During his half a dozen years in Reagan’s State department, Clarke called Morton Abramowitz, the Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, his boss and mentor.  Abramowitz, who was said to be influential in the career of Clarke, had worked as Assistant Secretary for Defense under Donald Rumsfeld in the seventies when Clarke worked in the DOD.  Abramowitz left his position at State in 1989 to become the Ambassador to Turkey.  The next person for whom Abramowitz was boss and mentor was his Deputy Ambassador, Marc Grossman, who is a 9/11 person of interest according to Sibel Edmonds.

In 1984, Clarke was selected to take part in one of the most highly classified programs of the Reagan Administration.  This was the highly secret Continuity of Government (COG) program run by the National Program Office that continued up to and after the attacks of September 11.[3]  The members of the COG group included Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Oliver North, George H.W. Bush, Kenneth Duberstein, James Woolsey, and Richard Clarke.  Although Cheney and Rumsfeld were not government employees throughout the twenty years that Clarke participated in this official government program, they both continued to participate anyway.

COG was developed to install a shadow “government in waiting” to replace the US Congress and the US Constitution in the event of a national emergency like a nuclear war. The first and only time that COG was put into action was when Richard Clarke activated it during the 9/11 attacks.  Clarke had been the one, in 1998, to revise the COG plan to use it as a response to a terrorist attack on American soil.  Apparently, COG and the shadow government these men created are still in play to this day. [4]

In 1989, Clarke was appointed by George H.W. Bush to be the Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs, under James Baker. Clarke was in this position until 1992, and his role was to link the Department of Defense and the Department of State by providing policy in the areas of international security, security assistance, military operations, defense strategy, military use of space, and defense trade.  One important aspect of his job during this time was that Clarke coordinated State Department support of Operation Desert Storm and led the efforts to design the international security structure after the Gulf War.

Throughout the years of the George H.W. Bush Administration, Clarke worked intimately with many people who should be investigated with regard to the events of 9/11 and the crimes that followed. This included:

• James Baker, the Secretary of State who went on to join the Carlyle Group

• Donald Rumsfeld, the State Department “Foreign Policy Consultant” who was Chairman Emeritus of the Carlyle Group at that time, and Secretary of Defense on 9/11

• Dick Cheney, the Reagan Secretary of Defense who, later as Vice President, coordinated the response to the 9/11 attacks

• Paul Wolfowitz, the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy who, in the week before 9/11, ran meetings with Pakistani ISI General Ahmed

• Duane Andrews, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence who left to run SAIC

• Robert Gates, the CIA Director who was implicated in the Iran-Contra crimes and later also worked with SAIC

• Senate Intelligence Committee representatives George Tenet and William Cohen, the latter of whom, in 1997, dramatically reduced the number of jet fighters protecting the US

• And Reagan advisor Richard Armitage, who participated in the failed air defense teleconference on 9/11

According to his book, Clarke remembers that “Wolfowitz and I flew on to Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Salaleh” to coordinate relations with the UAE, at Cheney’ request.  Over the following decade, Clarke negotiated many deals with the Emirates, essentially becoming an agent of the UAE, and he was “particularly close to the UAE royal family.”[5] 

Not long after Clarke began going there,the royal family of Abu Dhabi took over full ownership of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).  BCCI is significant relative to 9/11 because it was involved in funding terrorists in the late 1980s and was linked to the Pakistani intelligence network from which several alleged 9/11 conspirators came, including Khalid Sheik Mohammed. In fact, Time magazine reported that, relative to BCCI — “You can’t draw a line separating the bank’s black operatives and Pakistan’s intelligence services.”[6]

More importantly, there are strong suspicions that the CIA was involved in the founding of BCCI.[7]  The CIA connection to the origins of the BCCI terrorist network is interesting in this context because the royal family of the UAE was also said to have played a primary role in the creation of BCCI.  As the official US government report on the subject pointed out — “There was no relationship more central to BCCI’s existence from its inception than that between BCCI and Sheikh Zayed and the ruling family of Abu Dhabi.”[8]

As stated before, Clarke’s friends in the UAE royal family not only created the BCCI terrorist network, they took it over when the Bank of England shut it down:

By July 5, 1991, when BCCI was closed globally, the Government of Abu Dhabi, its ruling family, and an investment company holding the assets of the ruling family, were the controlling, and official “majority” shareholders of BCCI — owning 77 percent of the bank. But since the remaining 23 percent was actually held by nominees and by BCCI’s alter-ego ICIC, Abu Dhabi was in fact BCCI’s sole owner.[9]