1,629. 1/5/2000

On January 5, 2000, future 9/11 Hijacker Khalid al-Mihdhar had his Saudi passport secretly photocopied by customs agents in Dubai. His information was sent to the CIA’s Alec Station. “Mihdhar’s Saudi passport contained a valid multi-entry visa for the United States. And his visa application…showed Mihdhar’s destination was New York. Doug Miller, one of three FBI employees at Alec Station, took one look at the faxes and became instantly alarmed. …At 9:30 a.m., Miller started pecking out a message to alert his superiors at FBI headquarters, who could then put Mihdhar on a watch list to bar him from entry. But inexplicably, the message–known as a Central Intelligence Report (CIR)–was spiked by his CIA boss, Tom Wilshire, the deputy chief of Alec Station. At about 4:00 p.m., one of the CIA analysts assigned to the station, a twenty-nine-year-old woman, typed a note onto it: ‘pls hold off on CIR for now per Tom Wilshire.’ Without Wilshire’s approval, Miller could not pass on the information, even verbally. …A potential terrorist and member of al-Qaeda was heading for the U.S., the FBI’s jurisdiction–its turf–and he [Miller] was putting the FBI on notice so it could take action. There was no reason to kill the message.” When a colleague of Miller questioned Wilshire’s deputy as to why the message was blocked, the deputy responded: ” ‘Look, the next attack’s going to happen in Southeast Asia–it’s not the FBI’s jurisdiction. When we want the FBI to know about it, we’ll let them know. But the next bin Laden attack’s going to happen in Southeast Asia.’ …’They refused to tell us because they didn’t want the FBI…muddying up their operation,’ said one of the FBI agents assigned to the station, expressing his anger. ‘They didn’t want the bureau meddling in their business–that’s why they didn’t tell the FBI. Alec Station worked for the CIA’s CTC [Counterterrorism Center]. They purposely hid from the FBI… The thing is, they didn’t want…the FBI running over their case.’ ”

 – James Bamford, The Shadow Factory, Pages 19-20

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