In United States v. Zacarias Moussaoui, Criminal Case No. 01-455-A, the government, for once, had to present its case, under oath and under adversarial conditons, for its version of the events of 9/11. As a result of that, many documents were released to the public, which otherwise would likely not have been released.
At the link provided, you can see documents that the defense presented. The image above is from the now-famous "Phoenix Memo", drafted by one Kenneth J. Williams and dated July 10, 2001. This memo was Defense Exhibit 129 at the Moussaoui trial. In this series of posts, entitled Phoenix, many documents from the Moussaoui trial will be referenced. To see these documents, merely go to the link and scroll to the appropriate exhibit number.
As you can see in the above image, the content of this memo can be summarized that agents in the FBI's field office in Phoenix had become aware of people associated with Osama bin Laden (spelled by the FBI at the time as Usama bin Laden, thus abbreviated UBL), and who were attending schools learning about civil aviation.
This was described as an "inordinate number of individuals of investigative interest" on the first page of the memo.
In hindsight, we (supposedly) know a great deal about what happened. At the time, the agents of the Phoenix office had some information, some ideas as to how to interpret it, and some concerns and suspicions. Specifically, they felt "that a coordinated effort [was] underway to establish a cadre of individuals who will one day be working in the civil aviation community around the world." Ominously, they were concerned that "[t]hese individuals [would] be in a position in the future to conduct terror activity against civil aviation targets."
"Phoenix believes that it is more than a coincidence that subjects who are supporters of UBL are attending civil aviation universities/colleges in the State of Arizona."
The Phoenix Memo was not written in a vacuum.
On April 13th of 2001, the Usama Bin Laden Unit (UBLU) sent out a tasking to all field offices (Defense Exhibit 428):
The memo warned that UBL's organization was "capable of long term surveillance and planning in a target area that enables them to recognize and exploit vulnerabilities, including those that have a limited window of opportunity."
The tasking then pointed out: "Historically, attack planning and execution have taken at least several months."
With these thoughts in mind, having UBL's people attending civil aviation schools -- which takes "at least several months" to arrange and then actually do -- may have reasonably come to mind as something that the UBLU was looking for.
The tasking also pointed out that explosives and arms were being smuggled for use against U.S. and Western targets.
The tasking finally directed:
Offices are requested to task all resources to include electronic databases and human sources for any information pertaining to the current operational activities relating to Sunni extremism. Recipients are again reminded that the information in this communication should not be used or referred to during discussions with sources/assets.
In other words, FBI personnel should check with their people on the streets, but should not let on why they were asking.
The tasking concluded by directing that anything turned up through investigations be communicated immediately to FBI Headquarters, Usama Bin Laden Unit:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is the best America has to offer. FBI agents are intelligent, brave, loyal, dedicated, and well-trained. There are, of course, exceptions, and anyone can have a bad day. But, despite those exceptions and those bad days, the FBI is second to none.
Sure, there are bureaucrats who lose sight of the goal; but, to offset them, there are also highly talented agents -- agents who are to law enforcement, counterterror and criminal investigation what Mozart was to music.
Having sent out such a specific tasking from headquarters earlier in the year, how was it that the FBI then failed to recognize in July the answer to the question that had been asked in April? Put another way, how was it that the best of the best failed to "connect the dots" of a picture, when they already had some vague idea what the picture looked like?
Did these Einsteins of investigation actually fail to "connect the dots"?
Or, was someone hindering them? Derailing the investigations, burying the leads, mischanneling the efforts -- erasing the lines among the dots, and redrawing them where they shouldn't be?
In the Phoenix series, we shall consider this question, examining declassified FBI documents and other official records.
This series is dedicated to Sibel Edmonds and the other whistleblowers, and to all those working on their cases, and to all who are interested in the truth about 9/11.