Triple Cross by Peter Lance

In Triple Cross the author explains how many things the U.S. intelligent agencies missed, that could have helped stop 9/11; here are some examples:

In December 1994, Algerian Armed Islamic Group terrorists hijacked an Air France flight in Algiers and threatened to crash it into the Eiffel Tower. French authorities deceived the terrorists into thinking the plane did not have enough fuel to reach Paris and diverted it to Marseilles. A French antiterrorist force stormed the plane and killed all four terrorists.

In January 1995, a Philippine National Police raid turned up material in a Manila apartment suggesting that Ramzi Yousef, Abdul Murad, and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed planned, among other things, to crash an airplane into CIA Headquarters. The police said that the same group was responsible for the bombing of a Philippine airliner on December 11, 1994. Information on the threat was passed to the FAA, which briefed U.S. and major foreign carriers.

In January 1996, the Intelligence Community obtained information concerning a planned suicide attack by persons associated with Shaykh al-Rahman and a key al Qaeda operative to fly to the United States from Afghanistan and attack the White House.

In October 1996, the Intelligence Community obtained information regarding an Iranian plot to hijack a Japanese plane over Israel and crash it into Tel Aviv. A passenger would board the plane in the Far East, commandeer the aircraft, order it to fly over Tel Aviv, and crash the plane into the city.

In 1997, an FBI Headquarters unit became concerned about the possibility that an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) would be used in terrorists attacks. The FBI and CIA became aware of reports that a group had purchased a UAV and concluded that the group might use the plane for reconnaissance or attack. The possibility of an attack outside the United States was thought to be more likely, for example, by flying a UAV into a U.S. embassy or a U.S. delegation.

In August 1998, the intelligence community obtained information that a group, since linked to al Qaeda, planned to fly an explosive-laden plane from a foreign country into the World Trade Center. As explained earlier, the FAA found the plot to be highly unlikely given the state of the foreign country's aviation program. Moreover, the agencies concluded that a flight originating outside the United States would be detected before it reached its target. The FBI's New York Office took no action on the information.

In September 1998, the intelligence community obtained information that bin Laden's next operation might involve flying an explosives-laden aircraft into a U.S. airport and detonating it. This information was provided to senior government officials in late 1998.

In November 1998, the intelligence community obtained information that the Turkish Kaplancilar, an Islamic extremist group, had planned a suicide attack to coincide with celebrations marking the death of Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. The conspirators, who were arrested, planned to crash an airplane packed with explosives into Ataturk's tomb during a celebration. The Turkish press said the group had cooperated with bin Laden, and the FBI's New York Office included this incident in a bin Laden database.

In February 1999, the intelligence community obtained information regarding an alleged bin Laden plot to hijack a Boeing 747. The source, a "walk in" to the FBI's Newark office, claimed that he had learned hijacking techniques and received arms training in a Pakistani camp. He also claimed that he was to meet five or six persons in the United States. Some of these persons would be pilots who had been instructed to take over a plane, fly to Afghanistan, or, if they could not make it there, blow the plane up. Although the source passed a polygraph, the Bureau was unable to verify any aspect of his story or indentify his contacts in the United States.

In August 2001, the intelligence community obtained information about a plot to bomb the U.S. embassy in Nairobi from an airplane or crash the airplane into it. The intelligence community learned that two people who were reportedly acting on instructions from bin Laden met in October 2000 to discuss this plot.

In March 1999, the intelligence community obtained information obtained information regarding plans by an al Qaeda member, who was a U.S. citizen, to fly a hang glider into the Egyptian Presidential Palace and detonate explosives. The person, who received hang-glider training in the United States, brought a hang glider to Afghanistan. However, various problems arose during the testing of the glider. He was subsequently arrested and is in custody abroad. (pages 190 to 192)

This is not your run of the mill conspiracy book; unless you think that gross incompetence is a conspiracy. The book shows how many times the FBI, CIA and other government agencies dropped the ball leading up to and after 9/11. The only thing close to a conspiracy theory in the book is where he shows that these agencies often tried to cover up their misakes and keep them from the public. In the process of covering their collective rear ends they made the public less safe.

I was unable to tell which side of the polical spectrum the author was coming from. He was hard on the Bush administration, but he was equally hard on the Clinton administration and even the Bush (I) administration and even further back to the Reagan administration, but his most scathing comments were reserved for those agencies run, not by politicians, but by career government workers.

I found the book hard to put down but also hard to read, I didn't like what I was reading, I felt much less safe after reading this book. Until our government is willing to stand up and admit that there have been real mistakes made in the past, we will not be safe because we can't correct problems we deny are there.

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