“I can’t really enter the mind of Barack Obama or George Bush to know what they really know and what they really believe. I only know what the facts are. I only know that in fact just because they’re violent doesn’t mean they are not a religion. And in fact there are some fifty different descriptions of violent jihad in the Koran.
“Not only that, the Koran goes into gross detail on how to dispatch an infidel, striking at the throat, cutting off the hands and the feet. And remember this isn’t something we interpret — some people say the bible is an allegory — these are the perfect words of Allah that transcend all time and space, and in fact to say Allah didn’t actually mean what he said through the prophet Mohammed in that moment is blasphemy under Islam.
“To say its not a religion, I think [Obama] knows better. I can’t possibly know that. I know that he has invited the Muslim Brotherhood into his administration and consults with them regularly. Well, the Muslim Brotherhood is the political wing of violent Islamist Islam. The Muslim Brotherhood absolutely believes in a global caliphate.”
President Barack Obama said on Friday, “In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong. We did a whole lot of things that were right. But we tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.” Yet the Department of Justice has twice closed investigations of alleged torture by the CIA without filing charges against anyone. Obama’s remarks were not only politically self-serving and contrary to the findings of fact, they went viral in the Muslim world and provided Islamist radicals with ready-made propaganda with which they will recruit many to the jihad.
In February 2013, I did what the Senate Intelligence Committee did not do while it spent years and $50 million dollars “investigating” whether EITs provided credible intelligence; I interviewed a top official directly involved with the program, Jose Rodriguez who headed the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. He directed the enhanced interrogations of high-value detainees, and led worldwide intelligence collection programs and covert action operations. Here is the complete audio of my Freedom Radio interview of him:
If you listened, you heard Mr. Rodriguez tell of how the enhanced interrogation program was developed and that it was briefed to leaders in Congress in August and September of 2002, including those on the House and Senate intelligence committees.
A detainee — after he became compliant through the use of EITs — was the first to tell the CIA that Ahmed al-Kuwaiti was bin Laden’s courier; interrogating and observing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confirmed that it was credible information. Subsequently, the CIA got the courier’s real name through human intelligence and traditional trade craft, they spotted him in Pakistan, and he led them to Osama bin Laden:
“No doubt about it; the information that was obtained from al Qaeda terrorists in our custody at our black sites using enhanced interrogation techniques led to the demise of bin Laden.”
It is important to understand the scope of the intelligence gained. Mr. Rodriguez described it:
“The intervening ten years we were up against all kinds of threats, a second wave of attacks. We also knew they had a nuclear program, they had a biological weapons program, they had operatives that were coming after us, and the enhanced interrogation program gave us the intelligence that allowed us to capture all of them or kill them. We were actually able to disseminate al Qaeda because of this program.
“This program was the key to doing that. And to say otherwise is to try to rewrite history, and it based on ideology and politics which really is of great concern to me. We need an honest assessment of the value of these techniques, and if we can’t be honest with ourselves, I think we are in big trouble.”
What we did right after 9/11 included not rewarding unlawful enemy combatants with the Geneva Conventions protection to not answer questions. Overwhelming, Americans believe those protections should only be provided to lawful enemy combatants who follow the Rules of War.
My family and I thank those who did what was necessary to defend our Nation. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s 6,000-page deception about the effectiveness of EITs and President Obama falsely claiming that detainees were tortured will not diminish our appreciation.
By January 14, 2009, only 35% of the 9/11 Commission’s staff documents had been processed by the National Archives. They are Congressional records not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. There are nearly 2,000 memorandums for record (MFRs) of the summaries and transcripts of interviews conducted by 9/11 Commissioners and staff, as well as the briefings they received.
117 MFRs are still pending declassification review. Key interviews among them illustrate the 9/11 Commissioners’ lip service last week to transparency. They briefly called for declassification on page 39 of their 49-page “update” to their original 2004 recommendations:
“The job of fully informing the American people is incomplete, however. The commission’s records, including summaries of our interviews and important intelligence and policy documents, are held by the National Archives. Some of those documents and records remain classified and are thus unavailable to the public. Authority to declassify those documents rests with the agencies that created them.”
On July 21, 2004, 9/11 Commissioners met to decide when to release this body of work. Richard Ben-Veniste asked: “Is the theory here the great cover-up of partisan differences?” The notes of the meeting do not show he received an answer. Regardless, the vote was 6 to 3 to kick the responsibility 4 1/2 years down the road. 
What motivated Samuel “Sandy” Berger in 2004 to steal classified documents from the National Archives while he acted as former President Bill Clinton’s designated representative to the 9/11 Commission? The answer may be within the 9/11 Commission interviews of Richard Clarke, George Tenet, and Sandy Berger held by the National Security Counsel. [See correction at Note 4].
Surely the Commission asked former CIA Director Tenet what efforts were made to alert the NSC and President Clinton on the movement of al Qaeda operatives immediately preceding and following the Millennium terrorist attacks plots.
On January 15, 2000, two known al Qaeda operatives, future 9/11 hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, arrived in Los Angeles. During December 1999, the CIA had tracked their movements in Southeast Asia, observed their meeting with Walid bin Attash (now at Guantanamo awaiting military commission trial alongside Khalid Sheikh Mohammed), and covertly photocopied the open-ended U.S. visas within their passports. Beginning in March 2000 and before September 11, 2001, more than 50 people at the CIA knew they had entered the United States.
The 9/11 Commission staff also prepared a 78-page monograph of NSC counterterrorism efforts from 1998 to 9/11. Yet the 9/11 Commissioners have never publicly spoken of its existence which is not classified. I filed for declassification review of it in 2009.
In addition, there is the still classified (by the FBI) 9/11 Commission interview of former FBI Director Louis Freeh. Subsequent to my April 2009 request, a previously unheard of staff monograph was declassified in June 2009.  It was prepared by staffer (and former DOJ IG) Barbara Grewe on the intelligence sharing “Wall.” It concluded: “Simply put, there was no legal reason why the information could not have been shared.” Indeed. A MFR declassified and released on January 15, 2009 of 9/11 Commission staff interviews of former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick states in part:
“Gorelick said she did not know anything about how the wall was structured within the FBI. She did not believe that the FBI was required to erect a wall between intelligence and criminal agents, particularly those on the same squad and working related intelligence and criminal cases. She said she was surprised that the FBI interpreted the provisions that way.”
Strangely, the 9/11 Commissioners reminded no one that Executive Director Philip Zelikow and Commissioner Jamie Gorelick had authored a 7,000-word summary  of presidential daily briefs (PDBs). It is in former President George W. Bush’s records. It has been subject to declassification review by the NSC since January 20, 2014 as federal statute mandates a 5-year delay after a President leaves office. And there is the still classified MFR summarizing the President Bush-Vice President Cheney interview conducted by all 10 Commissioners.
Massive finger pointing as the WTC Pile, Pentagon, and a field outside of Shanksville still smoldered would have distracted key government personnel then scrambling to rally our Nation’s defense, and it would not well serve us now. Yet the American people must know the rest of the story. 2,978 names and the face of a 9/11 firefighter on a funeral mass card that I’ve long carried in my wallet haunt me; we owe it to them and future generations.
The 9/11 Commissioners can finally raise their voices and fulfill their charter to provide a “complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, including preparedness.” I pray they do.
Note 1: Also present were “PZ” Philip Zelikow and “GC” General Counsel Daniel Marcus.
Legal Barriers to Information Sharing: The Erection of a Wall Between Intelligence and Law Enforcement Investigations
Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
Barbara A. Grewe
Senior Counsel for Special Projects
August 20, 2004
Note 3: Zelikow confirmed its existence in a 2011 Reuters report.
Note 4: Tenet’s interview remains pending declassification review by the CIA while Clarke’s and Berger’s interviews are being held back by the NSC.