Monday, April 16, 2007

TRANSLATION: 328 pages of secret French documents related to 9/11 leaked to 'Le Monde'

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From: jensenmk@... <jensenmk@...>
Date: Apr 16, 2007 8:40 PM
Subject: [ufpj-news] TRANSLATION: 328 pages of secret French documents
related to 9/11 leaked to 'Le Monde'
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TRANSLATION: 328 pages of secret French documents related to 9/11
leaked
to 'Le Monde'

[On Monday, *Le Monde* (Paris) reported on a massive collection of
leaked
French intelligence documents in a 2,400-word article, translated
from the
original below.[1] -- French intelligence sources confirmed that the
documents constitute "just about all of the DGSE productions on the
subject for this crucial period" of July 2000 to October 2001" --
about
328 pages in all. -- They contain many items of interest, including,
above all, this "surprise: the number of notes solely devoted to
al-Qaeda's threats against the United States, months before the New
York
and Washington suicide attacks. Nine entire reports on the subject
between September 2000 and August 2001. One of which is a five-page
synthesis, entitled 'Plan for Plane Hijacking by Islamist Radicals,"
and
marked with a date -- Jan. 5, 2001! Eight months before September 11,
the
DGSE was reporting on tactical discussions underway since the
beginning of
the year 2000 between Osama bin Laden and his Taliban allies,
concerning
an operation to hijack American airliners." --Mark]

http://www.ufppc.org/content/view/6094/

1.

[Translated from *Le Monde* (Paris)]

Investigation

SEPTEMBER 11, 2001: THE FRENCH KNEW A LOT

Le Monde (Paris)
April 16, 2007

http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0,36-896448,0.html

The number of documents is impressive. From a distance, you'd think it
was a university dissertation. Close-up, though, there's no
resemblance.
Little red stamps -- "Confidential -- prohibited" and "National use
only"
-- on each of the pages. In the upper left-hand corner, a royal blue
logo: that of the DGSE, the Direction générale des services
extérieurs,
the French intelligence agency. In all, 328 classified pages. Notes,
reports, syntheses, maps, graphics, organizational charts, satellite
photos. All of it devoted exclusively to al-Qaeda, its leaders,
lieutenants, hideouts, and training campus. To its sources of
financial
support, too. Nothing less than the most important DGSE reports
drafted
between July 2000 and October 2001. A veritable encyclopedia.

At the end several months of investigation into this very special
mass of
documents, we contacted the DGSE headquarters. And on Apr. 3, the
present
*chef de cabinet*, Emmanuel Renoult, met with us there, inside the
Tourelles barracks in Paris. After having looked through the 328 pages
that we put on his desk, he couldn't help but deplore such a leak,
even as
he gave us to understand that the packet represents just about all of
the
DGSE productions on the subject for this crucial period. On the other
hand, as for the contents, he wouldn't say a thing. Too sensitive.

It's true that these intelligence agency chronicles about al-Qaeda,
with
their various revelations, raise many questions. And first of all, a
surprise: the number of notes solely devoted to al-Qaeda's threats
against the United States, months before the New York and Washington
suicide attacks. Nine entire reports on the subject between September
2000 and August 2001. One of which is a five-page synthesis, entitled
"Plan for plane hijacking by Islamist radicals," and marked with a
date --
Jan. 5, 2001! Eight months before September 11, the DGSE was
reporting on
tactical discussions underway since the beginning of the year 2000
between
Osama bin Laden and his Taliban allies, concerning an operation to
hijack
American airliners.

Pierre-Antoine Lorenzi, the DGSE head's *chef de cabinet* until 2001,
who
today is the president of a company that specializes in crisis and
lobbying strategy (Serenus Conseil), skims through the 328 pages, and
he,
too, pauses when he comes to this note. He hesitates, takes the time
to
read it, and admits: "I remember that one." "You have to recall," says
"that till 2001, airplane hijacking doesn't have the same meaning as
after
September 11. At the time, it implied forcing a plane to land at an
airport in order to conduct negotiations. We're used to managing
that."
A useful reminder to understand why this Jan. 5 alert provoked no
reaction
from those to whom it was addressed: the pillars of executive power.

Already in January 2001, the al-Qaeda leadership was nonetheless an
open
book for the eyes -- and ears -- of French spies. Those who wrote the
report even give details on the disagreements between terrorists
about the
practical methods for the planned hijacking. They never doubted their
intent. The jihadists tentatively favored the capture of a plane
between
Frankfurt and the United States. They established a list of seven
possible airlines. Two of them would be chosen in the end by the
September 11 pirates: American Airlines and United Airlines (see the
facsimile). Introducing the note, its author noted: "According to the
Uzbek intelligence agency, the plan to hijack a plan seems to have
been
discussed at the beginning of 2000 at a meeting in Kabul between
representatives of Osama bin Laden's organization . . ."

Uzbek spies thus informed French agents. At the time, the
fundamentalist
Muslim opposition to the pro-American regime in Tashkent had joined
with
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). A military faction of that
party,
led by a certain Taher Yuldash, went to the Afghanistan camps and
pledged
allegiance to Osama bin Laden, promising to export his jihad in
Central
Asia. Military identification documents and letters from the IMU
found in
al-Qaeda's Afghan camps attest to this.

The episode has stuck in Alain Chouet's memory. Until October 2002, he
directed the Service de renseignement de sécurité, the DGSE
subdivision
charged with following terrorist movements. According to him, the
Uzbek
channel's credibility goes back to the alliances made by General
Rachid
Dostom, one of the principal leaders of the Afghan wars, who is also
of
Uzbek ethnicity and who was then fighting the Taliban. In order to
please
his protectors in the intelligence services of neighboring Uzbekistan,
Dostom infiltrated some of his men inside the IMU, reaching the
command
structures of the al-Qaeda camps. That was how he was able to inform
his
friends in Tashkent, knowing that this information would make its way
to
Washington, London, or Paris.

The way the January 2001 French note is written clearly indicates that
other sources corroborated this information on al-Qaeda's plans.
According to well-established procedures in Afghanistan, the DGSE did
not
rely solely on exchanges with friendly intelligence agencies. In
order to
penetrate the secrets of the camps, it on the one hand manipulated and
"turned" young jihad candidates coming from banlieues in Europe's
large
cities, and on the other, sent agents to Commander Massud's Northern
Alliance. Satellite telephone communications were also intercepted.

A close associate Pierre Brochand, the present DGSE boss, has assured
us
that the agency has had a "Osama bin Laden cell" since at least 1995.
The
Jan. 5 alert thus relied on a often-tested set-up. Alain Chouet, after
having asked us to point out that he was not speaking officially for
French bodies, was laconic, but clear: "It is rare that we transmit a
paper that we have not confirmed." All the more so in that the paper
in
question followed and preceded multiple DGSE reports supporting the
credibility of Osama bin Laden's belligerent incantations.

In its note, the DGSE concluded that al-Qaeda's intention to realize
its
act of piracy against an American aircraft was beyond doubt: "In the
month of October 2000, Osama bin Laden attended a meeting in
Afghanistan
during which agreement in principle to carry out this operation was
upheld." This was on Jan. 5, 2001, the die was cast, the French knew -
-
and they were not alone.

As is the case for all information referring to risks against American
interests, the note was transmitted to the CIA via the DGSE's
*services
des relations extérieures* ('external relations services'),
responsible
for working with allies (which has since been renamed '"service de
liaisons"). It was addressed, first of all, to the head of the CIA
post
in Paris, Bill Murray, a Francophone with the build of John Wayne,
who has
since returned to the United States. We were able to reach him, but
Mr.
Murray did not wish to follow up on our requests. Pierre-Antoine
Lorenzi,
whose responsibilities at the DGSE then covered questions relating to
cooperation with foreign agencies, does not believe it possible that
this
information would not have been given to him: "Typically, that's the
kind
of information that is transmitted to the CIA. It would even be wrong
not
to have done so."

On the other side of the Atlantic, two former CIA agents specializing
in
al-Qaeda, whom we contacted, do not remember particular alerts sent
by the
DGSE. Neither Gary Berntsen, with agency operations from 1982 to 2005,
nor Michael Scheuer, the former head of the bin Laden unit at CIA
headquarters, can recall specific information coming from the DGSE.

In Washington, Congress's commission of inquiry into September 11, in
its
final report published in July 2004, emphasized the inability of the
FBI,
the CIA, or the immigration service to put together scattered pieces
of
information related to some members of the September 11 commandos. The
commission never mentioned the possibility that the CIA might have
passed
on to political authorities as early as January 2001 information
coming
from the French agency on Osama bin Laden's tactical decision to
organize
the hijacking of American planes.

Beyond that, the most disorienting thing about reading the DGSE's 328
pages is perhaps the juxtaposition between the notes that call
attention
to threats -- like the one on January 2001 -- and the ones that
describe,
very early on, and in great detail, how the organization functions.
Already on Jul. 24, 2000, with the drafting of a thirteen-page report
entitled "Osama bin Laden's networks," the essential outline is there
in
black and pale yellow, the color of the DGSE originals. The context,
the
anecdotal details, and all the strategic aspects respecting al-Qaeda
are
already there. Quite often, the subsequent documents merely clarify
them.
Thus the speculation about the death of bin Laden -- which went quite
far
in September 2006 -- takes, in the Jul. 24, 2000, note, the tone of an
oft-repeated, but nevertheless well-founded, refrain: "The ex-Saudi,
who
has been living for several years in precarious conditions, always on
the
move, from camp to camp, also suffers from kidney and back
problems. . . .
Recurrent rumors mention his imminent death, but he does not, so far,
appear to have changed his life style."

On an aerial photograph of Aug. 28, 2000, DGSE agents located a key
man
who was extremely close to Osama bin Laden. His name: Abu Khabab. This
munitions expert of Egyptian origins, known for having taught the
science
of homemade explosives to generations of jihadists, was in principle a
priority target. In two biographical notices on this figure, dated
Oct.
25, 2000, and Jan. 9, 2001, the DGSE listed items of information
about him
exchanged with the Israeli Mossad, the CIA, and Egyptian intelligence.
Everything was known about his career and his movements.

This is also the case for Omar Chabani, the emir charged with
organizing
support for all the Algerian militants who came to Afghanistan,
according
to the DGSE. Thanks to him, in the course of the year 2001 al-Qaeda
put
resources at the disposition of the Groupe salafiste pour la
prédication
et le combat (GSPC) ('Salafist Group for Preaching and Fighting'), the
Algerian terrorist movement whose historic leader, Hassan Hattab, bin
Laden's ex-ally, signed on in 2006 to Algerian President Abdelaziz
Bouteflika's policy of national reconciliation -- which provoked the
ire
of the GSPC's younger generations. These resumed as of October the
armed
struggle abandoned by their elders, while proclaiming their
allegiance to
a new GSPC -- renamed al-Qaeda for the Islamic Maghreb -- which seems
to
have been responsible for the Apr. 11 attacks in Algiers.

In the margins of the operational aspects concerning how al-Qaeda
functions, these DGSE documents take another look at its leader's
political support. One example: in a Feb. 15, 2001, note devoted in
part
to the risks of attacks against the French military base of Djibouti,
the
authors reveal that Osama bin Laden's representative for the Horn of
Africa, Nidal Abdel Hay al Mahainy, is in the country. This man, who,
it
is specified, arrived on May 26, 2000, has "met with the president of
the
Republic of Djibouti," no less.

But it is above all Saudi Arabia that appears as a constant
preoccupation
when it comes to sympathy outside of Afghanistan from which Osama bin
Laden is benefiting. The DGSE reports explore his relations with
businessmen and various organizations of that country. Some Saudi
figures
proclaimed their hostility to al-Qaeda but it is clear that this did
not
convince everyone. Pierre-Antoine Lorenzi remembers well the state of
mind of the officials in French intelligence: "The DGSE found it very
difficult to consider definitively that because he was at odds with
them,
there were no more relations with the Saudi monarchy. That was
difficult
to accept."

The Jul. 24, 2000, note mentions a payment of $4.5m to the al-Qaeda
leader
by the International Islamic Relief Organisation (IIRO), a structure
placed directly under the control of the Muslim World League, which
itself
was considered to be the political tool of Saudi ulema. But it was not
until Aug. 3, 2006, that IIRO offices appeared on the American
Treasury
Department's official list of organizations financing terrorism.
During
July 2000, two years after the Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam attacks, the
authors of this memo doubt the sincerity of the public positions of
even
bin Laden's family: "It seems more and more probable that Osama bin
Laden
had remained in contact with certain members of his family, even
though
the latter, which directs one of the world's most important
construction
groups, has officially denied it. One of his brothers is thought to be
playing the role of intermediary in his professional contacts or in
keeping up with his affairs." According to Mr. Lorenzi, these
recurrent
doubts, and more specifically the IIRO's ambivalence, are what led the
DGSE to work with the French Foreign Ministry in 1999, when the latter
proposed to the United Nations an international convention against the
financing of terrorism.

Another French intelligence note, dated Sept. 13, 2001, and entitled
"Basics on Osama bin Laden's Financial Resources," repeats these
suspicions regarding the Saudi Ben Laden Group, the family empire. It
also presents a powerful banker, formerly close to the royal family,
as
the historic architect of a banking arrangement that "seems to have
been
used to transfer funds coming from Gulf countries to the terrorist." A
Sept. 13, 2001, annex to this note lists the assets which a priori are
under the direct control of Osama bin Laden. Surprise -- in the
middle of
these structures known to have been run by the "Sheikh" in Sudan,
Yemen,
Malaysia, and Bosnia, there still figures, in 2001, a hotel situated
in
Mecca, in Saudi Arabia.

Alain Chouet expresses a genuine skepticism regarding the will of
Rihadh
authorities to apprehend Osama bin Laden before September 11: "His
loss
of Saudi nationality is a piece of slapstick comedy . . . . To my
knowledge, no one did anything to capture him between 1998 and 2001."
As
this note of Oct. 2, 2001, testifies -- "The Departure of Prince Turki
al-Faisal, Head of Saudi Intelligence: A Political Eviction" -- which
reveals what was behind the spectacular dismissal just before
September
11. The authors emphasize "the limits of Saudi influence in
Afghanistan .
. . On Prince Turki's recent trips to Kandahar, he failed to convince
his
interlocutors to extradite Osama bin Laden."

And six years later? In a lengthy DGSE report that we were able to
consult, entitled "Saudi Arabia, a Kingdom in Peril?" and dated Jun.
6,
2005, French agents draw up a rather positive balance sheet of the
Saudi
regime's initiatives against al-Qaeda. But some paragraphs betray
persistent fears. French intelligence still fears the inclinations of
a
few Saudi doctors of the faith for holy war.

--
Translated by Mark K. Jensen
Associate Professor of French
Department of Languages and Literatures
Pacific Lutheran University
Tacoma, WA 98447-0003
Phone: 253-535-7519
Web page: http://www.plu.edu/~jensenmk/
E-mail: jensenmk@... <jensenmk%40plu.edu>

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