[Mb-civic]   Ex-Feds Blast 9-11 Panel and Bush   By James Ridgeway    Village Voice

Michael Butler michael at michaelbutler.com
Tue Sep 14 17:49:39 PDT 2004

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  Ex-Feds Blast 9-11 Panel and Bush
  By James Ridgeway
  Village Voice

  Tuesday 13 September 2004

Government agencies roasted for screw-ups in war on "terror".

  WASHINGTON, D.C. - A group of 25 former federal employees directly
involved in the government's counterintelligence and counterterrorism
programs held a press conference here this morning to lambaste both the 9-11
Commission and the Bush administration for failing to hold government
officials accountable for failures leading up to 9-11.

  The ex-employees, from the FBI, CIA, FAA, Customs, and the Defense
Intelligence Agency, had firsthand knowledge of their agencies' activities
in counterintelligence and counterterrorism. Bogdan Dzakovic, a former
special agent at the FAA, said he repeatedly sought to warn his superiors of
mismanagement and the dangers of terrorism, but to no avail. He was a leader
of a "Red Team" at FAA, engaged in preparing for terrorist attacks. But he
said the security measures in his agency were "little more than window
dressing," and quoted one frustrated colleague as saying, "The FAA is so
screwed up I don't know where to begin."

  Diane Kleiman, a former Customs agent at JFK who was fired in 1999,
scoffed at the idea that airport security has been improved. Emphasis on
checking passengers coming into the airport hides the real problems in the
back of the airport, she said, where literally anybody can board a parked
plane. She outlined a scenario, for instance, in which, say, 10 terrorists
could apply to be cargo handlers (a job with high turnover), get hired and
work, but then quit, retaining their passes, which give them access to ramps
and the unlocked aircraft. They then could enter the airports with backpacks
full of explosives, get on the planes, stash the bags in the cargo holds,
and leave. In this way, 10 planes with all their passengers could be blown

  Holding up a special government security-clearance pass, she described how
lax airport security remains. Her pass gave her entrance to every nook and
cranny of the airport, from ramps to runways to planes to cargo-handling
entrances. Such a pass is worth thousands of dollars to any would-be
terrorist. When she was fired, nobody took this valuable passport from her.
"The leadership and management at JFK are terrible," she said.

  The 25 signed a letter to Congress - organized by Sibel Edmonds, the
former FBI whistleblower who is blocked from telling what she knows by a
Justice Department gag order - citing "intentional actions or inaction by
individuals responsible for our national security, actions or inaction
dictated by motives other than the security of the people of the United

  The 9-11 Commission's final report, the letter added, "deliberately
ignores officials and civil servants who were, and still are, clearly
negligent and/or derelict in their duties to the nation. If these
individuals are protected, rather than held accountable, the mindset that
enabled 9-11 will persist, no matter how many layers of bureaucracy are
added, and no matter how much money is poured into the agencies. Character
counts. Personal integrity, courage, and professionalism make the
difference. Only a commission bent on holding no one responsible and
reaching unanimity could have missed that."



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