I found this gem in the History Channels “Echelon” documentary.
They didn’t exactly break the story, but they unwittingly underscore possibly one of the most overlooked details about the allegid impossibility to catch/kill Usama.
The 9/11 Commission’s entire novel is wrapped around excuse after excuse of how they scouldn’t catch this phantom. Not surprisingly, they failed to make much of a mention about this little morsal in the final report. From my studies of the 9/11 Commission Report, which included directly and extensively looking for their mentionings about this, this is all they had to say about it:
The day after the embassy bombings, Tenet brought to a principles meeting intel that terrorist leaders were expected to gather at a camp near Khowst, Afghanistan, to plan future attacks.
The phone monitoring apparently all started by Nov ’96, after:
Al Qaeda involved “in the 1992 attack on a Yemeni hotel housing U.S. military personnel, the 1993 shootdown of U.S. Army Black hawk helicopters on Somalia, and quite possibly the 1995 Riyadh bombing of the American training mission to the Saudi National Guard.” This was confirmed by the Bin Laden unit in ’96-97.
-9/11 Commission Report, p.109, 341
1993 World Trade Center Bombing:
The Bin Laden unit learned “by 1997” that Usama was connected to the ’94-95 Bojinka Plot, which was by default directly linked to the ’93 WTC bombing.
-9/11 Commission Report, p.109
Jan. 1995: “Bojinka” & Pope Assassination plots foiled (by chance).
Bojinka was to bomb a dozen U.S. bound airliners in midflight, and then have a second attack wave to crash airliners into targets such as CIA Headquarters, the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. These plots were being masterminded by “KSM” & Ramzi Yousef.
Feb. 1992-Feb. 7, 1995: Ramzi Yousef spends time at Bin Laden Guesthouse
US intel is aware of Bin Laden’s connection to this house and will publicly reveal this in 1996. This, again, connects Bin laden to the ’93 WTC Bombings by default.
Novemeber 1995 Riyadh Bombing:
-By “four perpetrators, who admitted being inspired by (UBL). Though nothing proves that UBL ordered this attack, U.S. Inel subsequently learned that Al Qaeda leaders (ordered an attack on) a U.S. target in Saudi Arabia, and had shipped explosives to the penninsula for this purpose. Some of Bin Laden’s associates later took credit.”
-9/11 Commission Report, p.60
The CIA “Bin Laden Unit” was formed in Feb. ’96.
-9/11 Commission Report, p.109 (they didnt mention the month)
May 1996: They let Bin Laden go from the Sudan, after Sudan offered him up.
–“In the end they said, ‘Just ask him to leave the country. Just don’t let him go to Somalia,’ ” Erwa, the Sudanese general, said in an interview. “We said he will go to Afghanistan, and they said, ‘Let him.’ “[Washington Post]
-Denied by the 9/11 Commmission, p.110
-Clinton Administration Officials claimed they didn’t bite because they didn’t believe they could do anything to him. [Washington Post]
June 25, 1996: The Khobar Towers Bombing.
-Bin Laden was considered a suspect:
CIA analytic report, “Khobar Bombing: Saudi Shia, Iran, and Usama Bin Ladin All Suspects,” CTC 9630015, July 5, 1996; DIA analytic report, Defense Intelligence Threat Review 96-007, July 1996; Intelligence report made available to the Commission. See also Benjamin and Simon, Age of Sacred Terror, pp. 224-225, 300-302.
Al Qaeda ‘whistleblowers’, “few months after” May ’96, walked into U.S. Embassies, on 2 different occassions, in “Africa” and “a diffrent U.S. Embassy” and disclosed the “character, direction and intentions of Al Qaeda”.
-9/11 Commission Report, p.109
August 1996: UBL publicly declares war on the U.S.
Usama declared war in a public Fatwa in August ’96, authorizing attacks on Western military targets in the Arabian Peninsula.
“They learned that ‘Al Qaeda’ had a military committee that was planning operations against U.S. interests worldwidde and was actively trying to obtain nuclear material”.
-9/11 Commission Report, p.109
Al Qaeda is known to be attempting to acquire nuclear bomb making materials.
Despite the thus far revelations, “plans to identify and attack Bin Laden’s money sources did not go forward“.
-9/11 Commission Report, p.109
And despite him publicly declaring war and all the rest, the CIA allegidly still considered him merely a terrorist financier.
-9/11 Commission Report, p. 109
February 23, 1998: UBL publicly declares 2nd Fatwa against the U.S. This time it includes targeting even U.S. Civilians.
And to add insult to injury, in light of all aforementioned, the CIA’s Bin Laden Unit is ordered (but doens’t get) disbanded in April-May of ’98.
The U.S. Intellgence community began to acquire intel that Al Qaeda intended to strike targets within the U.S.
–House-Senate Joint Inquiry Report on 9/11
Usama holds a public press conference that discussed “bringing the war home to America”.
Then, after pages and pages of the 9/11 Comm. explained away how they couldn’t ‘capture’ him, the ’98 Embassy Bombings occured on August 7, 1998. Now they were finally ready to attack the sat. phone, but of course they missed.
Sure seems that the CIA and the NSA had no problem exchanging intelligence on this rare occasion, but of course the Report failed to mention anything about how the NSA recorded over two THOUSAND hours of Usama on his phone, or that the phone monitoring revealed virtually his entire worldwide neetwork.
-History Channel, and possibly Gen. Michael Hayden who participated in the H.C.’s video yet doesnt deny this, nor ensure that the H.C. didn’t fudge this detail.
For perspective, in December 1996, the NSA refused to share Bin Laden phone surveillance with other US intelligence agencies.
It’s interesting to note that they didn’t actually try to target his phone on even this occassion, instead they only waited to intercept him at a meeting that he openly arranged using said phone, after the bombings (and alledigly after stopping countless other attacks with sat. phone intel). The ‘countless other attacks’ part is important because for most of this time the CIA was maintaining that:
1) Usama was only a financier
2) the NSA wasn’t sharing information with them (yet somehow all of those ‘other’ attacks were stopped)
Apparently, he stopped using the phone sometime after they tried attacking him after the ’98 embassy bombings.
Of course, the 9/11 Commission final report seems to have completely ignored this important satellite phone issue.
I’ve scoured the 9/11 Commission final report, the 9/11 Commission “Staff Statements”, the 9/11 Commission website and the House-Senate Joint Inquiry into 9/11 for anything mentioning the satellite phone. The only “official 9/11 investigation” place I did find it was by doing a full website search at the Memory Hole, which has text versions of all of those documents. It was mentioned by none other than Paul Wolfowitz, at the 9/11 Commission Hearings, but from what I can tell no other officials commented on this during any of the hearings.
This issue has been mentioned in the news from time to time, but never in this full spectrum context. Could it be because ‘they’ could have shot him directly with a missile when he turned it on? The BBC sure seems to think so:
But calls to the terrorist leader’s laptop-size satphone – relayed via an Inmarsat satellite 40,000 km over the Indian Ocean – are going unanswered.
His number – 00873 682505331 – was disclosed earlier this year in the New York trial of his associates for bombing the US embassy in Kenya. Callers now hear a message stating he is “not logged on or not in the dialled ocean region”.
Bin Laden may, however, have been unaware that NSA “sigint” satellites, listening from space, could pinpoint his location. The satellites are controlled from ground stations near Denver, Munich, and at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire. But they could only locate him when he was logged on.
The INMARSAT phone he was using would appear to have tracking capabilities:
Inmarsat C is recommended for the any of the following applications:
· Remote monitoring
And, It just so happens that INMARSAT technology is based on GMDSS:
And for many thousands of vessels, our satellites form the mainstay of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), which instantly connect mariners around the world to the nearest rescue centre.
That’s too bad, as the Commission Report features well over 6 chapters of 230 pages (this is only counting the beginning sections) on the road to pre-911 and how our ‘bumbling idiotic’ ‘leaders’ couldn’t catch/kill him to save nearly 3,000 lives.
Our omnipotent US Government, including the CIA and NSA, somehow couldn’t manage to shoot Osama while using his cell phone, yet somehow the broken down Russians were able to? … USING THE U.S. NSA??????
American spy satellites, trained on Iraq and Kuwait, were quickly turned north to the Caucasus mountains and Chechnya, according to a former communications specialist with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The satellites pinpointed the Chechen leader’s location to within meters of his satellite phone signal, and the coordinates were sent to a Russian Sukhoi Su-25 fighter jet.
Last but not least, the History Channel seems to paint a picture that may seriosuly contradict the claims that Usama stopped using the phone after the ’98 ordeal, as it’s alleged that he was able to escape in Tora Bora, after 9/11, by sending his messenger boy in the opposite direction as the escape route:
More on Al Qaeda’s history: