At the time, Clarke was part of a high level meeting to discuss the response to the Cole bombing, which included William Cohen, George Tenet, the State Department coordinator for counterterrorism, Michael Sheehan, and several others.  In this meeting, Clarke was the hawk, proposing attacks throughout Afghanistan in response.  None of the voting attendees supported Clarke’s plan and, after the meeting, Sheehan told Clarke – “What’s it going to take to get them to hit al-Qaeda in Afghanistan?  Does al-Qaeda have to hit the Pentagon?”[17]   Once again, that was quite a prediction. 

In May 2001, the CIA gave its photos of the January 2000 Malaysian meeting to an intelligence operations specialist at FBI headquarters.  One of the photos was of Almihdar, who FBI Director Mueller would later say was likely responsible for coordinating the movements of all the non-pilot hijackers.  In June 2001, FBI and CIA officials discussed these photos and one FBI agent remembers that Almihdar was mentioned in these discussions. 

Phoenix FBI agent Ken Williams wrote a memo to FBI headquarters, in July 2001, saying that Bin Laden’s followers were going to flight schools to train for terrorist attacks.  If the FBI had followed through on this, it would have found Alhazmi very easily, as he had been reported as staying in Phoenix with Hani Hanjour over a period of months from January to June 2001. The memo was reviewed by the agency’s Bin Laden and Islamic extremist counterterrorism units, but it has been reported that neither Attorney General John Ashcroft nor newly appointed FBI Director Robert Mueller briefed President Bush and his national security staff about these revelations.  Of course, this was well before the September 4th date that Clarke now claims was the best chance for him and the FBI to have first found out. 

Zacarias Moussaoui visited Malaysia too, and stayed at the same condominium where the January 2000 meeting took place.  The owner of the condo even signed letters that convinced the INS to allow Moussaoui into the US.  Alhazmi and Almihdar were referenced in papers that the FBI confiscated, in August 2001, from Moussaoui when he was arrested.  FBI headquarters refused multiple requests from the FBI agents pursuing the case to search Moussaoui ‘s possessions.  Those confiscated possessions and papers would have immediately led the FBI agents to Atta, Almihdar, Alhazmi and the other alleged hijackers.

But the FBI had to know about these alleged hijackers well before that, because Alhazmi and Almihdar lived with an FBI informant, Abdussattar Shaikh, for at least four months in late 2000. Shaikh was a “tested” asset working with the local FBI.  Shaikh had regular visits from Mohammed Atta and Hani Hanjour as well, and even introduced Hanjour to a neighbor. [18]

Newsweek reported that, once, when Shaikh was called by his FBI agent handler, Shaikh said he couldn’t talk because Almihdar was in the room. This suggests that the FBI knew full well that this future 9/11 hijacker was living with an FBI asset.  But a more damning fact is that the FBI refused to allow the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry to interview either Shaikh or his FBI handler.

The FBI absolutely knew about the movements of these alleged 9/11 hijackers.  In January, 2001, it was the FBI that gave information to the CIA about how USS Cole bombing operatives had delivered money to al Qaeda planners at the time of the January 2000 Malaysia meeting.  CNN reported, in 2002, that “At that point, the CIA – or the FBI for that matter – could have put Alhazmi and Almihdar and all the others who attended the meeting in Malaysia on a watch list.”

In the new interview, Clarke further speculates that the reason that the CIA information was not shared with him, the DOD and the FBI was because CIA (i.e. Cofer Black as of June, 1999) was courting these two as sources within al Qaeda.  Some might wonder why Clarke never thought of his good friends within the UAE royal family, who met with OBL regularly, as sources on al Qaeda.  Surely people who met with OBL personally in the two years before 9/11, and were big supporters of al Qaeda like Clarke’s friend, Al Maktoum, might have some information to provide!

In any case, Clarke goes on in the interview to suggest that Tenet and Black might have recruited Alhazmi and Almihdar (who had been accused of perpetrating the USS Cole bombing) as inside sources on al Qaeda.  To the CIA’s chagrin, Clarke implies, they at some point became double agents.  It is amazing that Clarke insinuates that Black and Tenet were too dim-witted to see that these two Saudis might also be working for the Saudis.  Clarke appears to be making the absurd suggestion that a CIA director could not predict that the Saudi, who arranged housing for Alhazmi and Almihdar, arranged payments for them, and arranged to move them to San Diego, might have turned them into double agents.

When Alhazmi and Almihdar arrived in Los Angeles in early 2000, they were met by a strange benefactor named Omar Al-Bayoumi who brought them to Parkwood Apartments in San Diego.  It is Al-Bayoumi that Clarke is referring to when he suggests that the “Saudi has connections to the Saudi government, and some people believe that this guy was a Saudi intelligence officer.  If we assume that this Saudi intelligence officer was the handler for these two, then presumably he would have been reporting to the CIA office in Los Angeles.  There was a strong relationship between the CIA director and the minister of intelligence of Saudi Arabia [Prince Turki al Faisal].”

Better questions about strong relationships

Ignoring Clarke’s own strong relationship to the UAE, and therefore to the BCCI network, support for the Taliban and al Qaeda, and OBL, one interviewer then asked: “How long do you think it would take [the CIA] to decide — this isn’t working”?  Clark replied: “I don’t know. I do know that in August of 2001 they decide they’re gonna tell the FBI.”

This remark refers to the idea that it was not until August 21 that the FBI figured out that al Qaeda operatives were in the United States.  This claim is transparently false, as we know they were, at the very least, aware of Moussaoui and the Phoenix memo saying that terrorists were taking flight lessons in the US.  But in August, it was said that an FBI analyst assigned to the CIA’s Counter-Terrorism Center suddenly determined that Alhazmi and Almidhar had entered the US in January 2000.

Additionally, on August 23, 2001, the Israeli Mossad gave US officials an urgent warning in the form of a list of terrorists known to be living in the US and panning to carry out an attack in the near future.  The list included the names of Alhazmi, Almihdra, Alshehhi and Atta.

An “all points bulletin” was issued that same day, instructing the FBI and other agencies to put Alhazmi and Almihdar on the watch list.  Doing so would have made certain that these two were caught before the attacks.  The FBI did not do so, however.  The FBI did not even use this information to check national databases of bank records, drivers license records, or the records of the credit cards that were used to purchase the 9/11 tickets.  These facts seem to render Clarke’s new, vague insinuations moot, because the FBI wasn’t going to act on such information no matter what it was told.

In yet another example, on August 28, a report was received by the New York FBI office requesting that an investigation be conducted “to determine if Almihdar is still in the United States.”  FBI headquarters immediately turned down the request.  An FBI agent wrote an email in response, saying “someday someone will die [because of this]. Let’s hope the [FBI’s] National Security Law Unit will stand behind their decisions then, especially since UBL [Osama bin Laden] is now getting the most protection.”  

All this was before September 4th, the date that Clarke now says would have given plenty of time for him and the FBI to catch Alhazmi and Almihdar, if only they had known the two were in the US. But those of us who have been looking into the events of 9/11 and the history behind those events are not likely to put much credence in Mr. Clarke’s new tale.

Clarke’s most recent interviewers didn’t seem too troubled by his statements though, and one of them finished off asking, “Have you asked George Tenet, Cofer Black or Richard Blee about any of this after the fact?”  Clarke responded: “No”.

The second interviewer then asked, “Kind of the facts tripped out to you over time, right, over these investigations”?  A smirking Clarke replied, “Took a while.”

For the rest of us, it will still take a while to get to the bottom of all this and Mr. Clarke’s interview does not appear to help.  In the meantime, here are a dozen questions for whoever conducts Clarke’s next interview:

1. Is the COG plan that you and Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Oliver North, George H.W. Bush, Kenneth Duberstein, and James Woolsey created, and that you implemented on 9/11, still in effect?

2. Do you have any information on how your friends in the UAE royal family used the terrorist network BCCI after they bought it?

3. Do you have any explanation for how you could have predicted in 1998, at the same time that you updated the COG plan to be a response to a terrorist attack, that America’s enemies “will go after our Achilles’ heel” which is “in Washington.  It is in New York.”?

4. When you met with UAE Defense Minister Al Maktoum in February 1999, just days before the CIA planned to kill or capture Bin Laden as he was meeting with UAE royals, who else did you meet with?

5. Why did you vote down the CIA plan to kill or capture Bin Laden while he was hunting with UAE royals in February 1999?

6. Why did you expose the CIA’s secret plan, without approval from the CIA or the president, to kill or capture Bin Laden in March 1999 as he was meeting with UAE royals again?

7. Don’t you think those two actions on your part were far more detrimental to the United States than any of your current, vague speculations?

8. Did you ever communicate with NSA Director, Michael Hayden, between January 2000 and the attacks of 9/11?  If so, why did you not, in your recent interview, accuse him of withholding information on Alhazmi and Almihdar?  He has spoken openly of having known about their presence in the US and said that he did share it with the intelligence community.

9. Why did you take no action in December 1999, as “Counterterrorism Czar”, when you and the NSC were given evidence that Khalil Deek’s next door neighbor was operating an al Qaeda sleeper cell in Anaheim, CA?

10. You appear to be saying that neither you nor the FBI knew that Almihdar and Alhazmi lived with Abdussattar Shaikh, a tested FBI asset, for at least four months in the year 2000. Is that correct and, if so, don’t you think that contradicts your claim in this interview that “I know how all this stuff works, I’ve been working it for 30 years. You can’t snowball me on this stuff.”?

11. Do you know why the FBI would not allow Abdussattar Shaikh or his FBI handler to be interviewed as part of the 9/11 investigation?

12. These days, when you’re talking with your UAE friends in your own offices in the UAE, do you ever discuss 9/11, the hijackers that spent their time there, and the UAE money that financed the 9/11 attacks?

Clarke currently works with his COG partner and former CIA Director, James Woolsey, at Paladin Capital, which has offices in New York and the UAE.  Clarke is also the chairman of Good Harbor Consulting, where he is in partnership with many people who are making a fortune off the war on terror.  Good Harbor Consulting has had an office in Abu Dhabi since 2008, and Clarke is known to have a “big footprint” in the UAE.[19]


[1] Interview with Richard Clarke,,

[2] NYPD Confidential, Charm school for top cops, May 6, 1996,

[3] Peter Dale Scott, Continuity of Government: Is the State of Emergency Superseding our Constitution?,, November 24, 2010,

[4] Peter Dale Scott, ‘Continuity of Government’ Planning: War, Terror and the Supplanting of the U.S. Constitution, Japan Focus,

[5] History Commons 9/11 Timeline, Profile: Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan,

[6] Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne, Scandals: Not Just a Bank, September 2, 1991,,9171,973732-4,00.html

[7] Peter Truell and Larry Gurwin, False Profits: The Inside Story of BCCI, The World’s Most Corrupt Financial Empire, Houghton Mifflin, 1992

[8] The BCCI Affair: A Report to the Committee on Foreign Relations United States Senate, December 1992, Abu DhabiI: BCCI’S founding and majority shareholders,

[9] Ibid

[10] Congressional Research Service, Terrorist Attacks by Al Qaeda, March 31, 2004,

[11] History Commons 9/11 Timeline, Profile: United Arab Emirates (UAE),

[12] PBS News Hour, Bin Laden’s Fatwa, August, 1996,

[13] PBS News Hour, Al Qaeda’s Fatwa, February 23, 1998,

[14] Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001, Penguin Books, 2004, pp 447-450

[15] The 9/11 Commission Report, 2004, p 138,

[16] History Commons 9/11 Timeline, Profile: United Arab Emirates (UAE), Context of ‘August 2001: Six 9/11 Hijackers Live Near Entrance to NSA’,

[17] Richard Miniter, Losing Bin Laden: How Bill Clinton’s Failures Unleashed Global Terror, Regnery Publishers, 2003

[18] History Commons 9/11 Timeline, Alhazmi and Almihdhar: The 9/11 Hijackers Who Should Have Been Caught,

[19] Intelligence Online, Richard Clarke’s Big Footprint in United Arab Emirates