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PSC 309: Terrorism & Developing Countries

Outlines | Summary of the 9/11 Commission Report

Compiled by Prof. Jeremy Lewis, revised 6 Sep. '07.

Ch. 1: We Have Some Planes
Ch. 2: The Foundation of the New Terrorism
Ch. 3: Counterterrorism Evolves
Ch. 4: Responses to Al Qaeda's Initial Assaults
Ch. 5: Al Qaeda Aims at the American Homeland
Ch. 6: From Threat to Threat
Ch. 7: The Attack Looms
Ch. 8: The System was Blinking Red
Ch. 9: Heroism and Horror
Ch. 10: Wartime
Ch. 11: Foresight -- and Hindsight
Ch. 12: What to Do? A Global Strategy.
Ch. 13: How to Do it?  A Different Way of Organizing the Government.


Ch. 1. We Have Some Planes
Ch. 2: The Foundation of the New Terrorism
A Declaration of War
- In 1998, when interviewed Bin Ladin claimed it was more important for Muslims to kill Americans than other infidels: fatwa issued
- Plans to attack the United States were developed throughout the 1990’s
- Bin Ladin and Al Qaeda say America attacked Islam and America is responsible for all conflicts involving Muslims
- In the 1990’s, the Iranian revolution lost momentum, prestige and public support, and Pakistan’s rulers found most of its population had little enthusiasm for fundamentalist Islam
The Rise of Bin Ladin and Al Qaeda
- A decade of conflict in Afghanistan, 1979-1989, rallying point and training field
- "Golden Chain", Ladin’s financial support network, US & Saudi funding Mujahadeen in Afghanistan
- World wide network
- Bin Ladin had access to family fortune
- Bin Ladin soon took over the Taliban in 1996
- 1998 2 US embassies bombed in East Africa, injuring 5,000

Ch. 3: Counterterrorism Evolves
1993 first WTC bombing; FBI responded well by law enforcement means, under single field office command tradition
1991 CT reorganization at FBI did not succeed
1978 Congress passed Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which regulated intelligence collection.
1995 Janet Reno issued formal procedures on sharing of intelligence between the intelligence side of the house to the criminal side.
FBI perceived could not share intell with criminal law side
1997-98, a "watchlist" was created
FAA concerned with sabotage, not CT, did not receive intell, did not enforce locked cockpit door rule
CIA & NSA surveillance both more alert to CT, but cuts post cold war, controls post watergate
State & Defense had global databases but systems had holes, deterrence not designed for non-state enemies
Presidency increasing concern with CT
Iran-Contra affair made bureaucracy skeptical about directives from White House.
Congress used external commissions instead of own work, ignored their many recommendations
unclear whether presidency needed congressional authority on CT

Ch.4. Responses to Al Qaeda's Initial Assaults
1993 Bin Ladin was put on the TIPOFF watchlist
1997 no policy with regards to Afghanistan
Pakistan/India civil war main focus in region
U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, & Dar es Salaam, Tanzania were bombed.
This led to the firing of cruise missiles, none of which killed Bin Ladin.
Lewinsky scandal a distraction
Diplomacy: little success pressing Taliban & Pakistan to give up Bin Ladin
Intelligence: shared with Saudi, US agents interrogated Saudi prisoners
Covert: Clinton memo of notification: CIA to use tribal assets to capture Bin Ladin
Never got actionable intelligence on Bin Ladin's location, even in 1999 when very close
July 1999 authorized CIA to collaborate with governments and Northern Alliance to capture OBL.

Ch. 5: Al Qaeda Aims at the American Homeland
Terrorist Entrepreneurs
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) was the principal architect of 9/11 attacks, & involved in the first World Trade Center Bombing, was captured in 2003.
Jemaah Islamiah (JI) cooperated with AQ in Indonesia, but not under OBL command
Only part of KSM's 9/11 operation proceeded, because of practical difficulties in EAst Asia
Frankfurt jihadists fluent in English; all trained in Afghan by KSM, most concealed radicalization at home.
cost under half $M, funded by AQ, jihadists inserted to US from 2000 onwards, leaving money trail

Ch. 6: From Threat to Threat
Millennium Crisis, arrests of plotters in Jordan, CIA surveilling OBL, FBI communicative
March 2000 CIA knew one plotter flew to Los Angeles, but only CTC was told
CIA needed more funding after milliennial surveillance, need to disrupt AQ fundraising
principals agreed on border controls
2000 Clinton spoke on improving covert action
2000 Attack on USS Cole, needed intell before reprisals
CTC wanted support of Afghan & Uzbek tribes, anti-Taliban groups
2001, Bush admin: Condi Rice shifted priorities to China, missile defence, middle east peace process collapse, & Persian Gulf.
3 phase strategy: ultimatum to Taliban, diplomatic pressure, covert action, international coalition -- if not, covert action.
September 2001 Clarke sent Rice a strong note criticizing U.S. counterterrorism efforts of past and present.
Predator search for OBL seen ineffective, new plan needed

Ch. 7: The Attack Looms
Early 2000, KSM led first jihadists to California, to study English before learning to fly, some difficulties in both
Summer 2000: Hamburg group learned to fly in Florida, others in Arizona
Only one, Mindhar, did not stay in country
Dec. 2000 pilots completed training
Muscle hijackers from Saudi learned self defense in gyms and opened bank accounts
Atta was told in Spain of OBL's desire for quick strikes (after Sharon's provocative visit to Temple Mount), & made plans for each plane's group.
Teams based on few with English skills, at least one per team
Evidence shows Iran facilitated AQ transfers from Afghan
Second wave of attacks was dropped for lack of pilots

Chapter 8: “The System was Blinking Red”
2001: CIA daily presidential briefings on OBL threats
Spring 2001 highest terror threat since Millennium alert, then higher still in summer
August 6, 2001, the CIA issued a report during the Presidential Daily Briefing, “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in the US.”  It was the 36th PDB item in 2001, first to mention US as specific target.

July 27 Clarke informed Rice and Hadley that the threat of the al Qaeda attack had ended.
9/11 attacks fell in the void between foreign and domestic threats -- US was protecting its installations abroad, mostly
3 Mistakes, when govt ran out of time and failed to see connections:
Mindhar, who left US when homesick, was still issued US visa.
FBI memo from Phoenix to HQ warned of OBL's flight students -- but not read till later.
FBI investigation on Moussaoui [the absent, 20th hijacker] who was thought to be planning to hijack a plane. The FBI sought to end his flight training and issue a deportation order. The investigation failed to search his laptop computer.

Ch. 9: Heroism and Horror
Port Auth had improved emergency facilities at WTC after 1993, if not procedures
NYPD commissioner had operational authority when needed
NYFD commissioner lacked operational authority
Mayor's Office of Emergency Management: monitor comms; improve city's capability for major incidents; manage city's overall response
On 9/11:
enormous volume of calls, dispatchers lacked info, lacked location of callers.
FDNY responded immediately
Police and Port Auth closed bridges & tunnels
N. Tower upper floor sprinklers failed
Port Auth quickly ordered evacuation of WTC
FD mobilized 2000 after second plane hit
improvised, lack of rooftop rescue procedures, lack of control of local units, lack of effective comms

Ch. 10. Wartime
White House: temporary "domestic consequences" group created a checklist for future crisis planners
Pakistan immediately agreed to war on terrorism
Sec. Powell received numerous offers of aid, Search & Rescue (SAR) & medical teams
Wolfowitz called for attack against Iraq as source of terrorism (on 12 Sep.)
Phase 2: air strikes and SOF attacks on AQ & Taliban, CIA & SOF together
Dec. 2001: all cities in hands of coalition, killed a quarter of AQ's known leaders.

Ch. 11: Foresight -- and Hindsight
Ch. 12: What to Do? A Global Strategy
Generational challenge is to view terrorism as threat at home, not just abroad
Specific focus on Islamist terrorism -- not some generic evil.
Attack terrorists and their organizations
Include Pakistan as Muslim ally
Make Afghanistan stable & secure
Confront Saudi about past & present problems
Prevent growth of Islamist terrorism
Encourage reform & democracy for muslims
Multilateralism, US to accept help from others
Protect against terrorist attacks
500 million border crossings legally, 500K illegally -- needs travel intelligence
Tighten up on identity fraud
Screen for explosives

Ch. 13: How to Do it?  A Different Way of Organizing the Government
Five major recommendations:
National Counter terrorism Center against Islamist threat
National Intelligence Director to unify intelligence on Islamist threat
Network-based information sharing system for CT agencies
Unifying congressional oversight on this topic
Strengthening FBI and Homeland Defenders

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