A leader member of the intelligence community under four presidents claims that two of the 911 hijackers were well known to the CIA. The CIA had been monitoring them since before they arrived in the US. He says information was intentional hid from the White House and FBI that could have stopped the attacks. He believes that the CIA hoped to recruit the pair.
After 911, President George Bush declared that no one could have seen the 911 terrorist attacks coming. In fact, several foreign intelligence agencies had warned the US about impending attacks. This included several Middle Eastern and European nations. There was even a very specific warning from Egypt that 20 Al-Qaida members were currently receiving flight training in the US for the purpose of a quadrupedal hijacking.
It was also well known that the WTC was a major target of any potential terrorist. FOX even had an episode of an X Files spinoff shows in which a commercial airliner is hijacked and an attempt is made to fly it into the WTC. This episode aired years before the actual attack.
Richard Clarke is a major figure in the US intelligence community. He worked for the State Department during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush appointed him to chair the Counter-terrorism Security Group and to a seat on the United States National Security Council. President Bill Clinton retained Clarke and in 1998 promoted him to be the National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism, the chief counter-terrorism adviser on the National Security Council. Under President George W. Bush, Clarke initially continued in the same position, but the position was no longer given cabinet-level access. He later became the Special Adviser to the President on cybersecurity, before leaving the Bush Administration in 2003.
Clarke is alleging that the CIA is covering up information that they had prior contact with 911 hijackers. He says the CIA hid information from the White House and the FBI that could have stopped the attacks.
In the interview for the documentary, Clarke offers an incendiary theory that, if true, would rewrite the history of the 9/11 attacks, suggesting that the CIA intentionally withheld information from the White House and FBI in 2000 and 2001 that two Saudi-born terrorists were on U.S. soil—terrorists who went on to become suicide hijackers on 9/11.
Clarke speculates—and readily admits he cannot prove—that the CIA withheld the information because the agency had been trying to recruit the terrorists, while they were living in Southern California under their own names, to work as CIA agents inside Al Qaeda. After the recruitment effort went sour, senior CIA officers continued to withhold the information from the White House for fear they would be accused of “malfeasance and misfeasance,” Clarke suggests.
Clarke said that if his theory is correct, Tenet and others would never admit to the truth today “even if you waterboarded them.”
Clarke’s theory addresses a central, enduring mystery about the 9/11 attacks— why the CIA failed for so long to tell the White House and senior officials at the FBI that the agency was aware that two Al Qaeda terrorists had arrived in the United States in January 2000, just days after attending a terrorist summit meeting in Malaysia that the CIA had secretly monitored.