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Why America Slept: The Failure to Prevent 9/11 Hardcover – 1 August 2003
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- Publisher : Random House Inc (T); 1st edition (1 August 2003)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 241 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0375508791
- ISBN-13 : 978-0375508790
- Dimensions : 16.13 x 2.34 x 24.18 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 745,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A major recurring theme of the book is the now-familiar refrain of lack of intra- and inter-agency cooperation (most notably between the CIA and FBI), utter incompetence by the INS, failure to correctly analyze threats by militant religious factions (starting with the takeover of the Alkifah Refugee Center in Brooklyn, New York by Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, ultimately giving bin Laden prime influence at the Center,) and political cowardice in pursuing religious enemies of the United States, including enemies who had repeatedly threatened US interests.
This is a very concise and well documented history of the government inaction that utterly failed to prevent the worst surprise attack in American history. I highly recommend it to everyone.
To quote the last paragraph of the book:
"It's interesting that we can't talk to most of the people that Zubaydah named because they all died after he told us about them," one CIA official familiar with the Zubaydah disclosures told me.
If I had one minor criticism it would be that Posner left out intel related to al-Hazmi & al-Midhar, two of the 9/11 hijackers. al-Hazmi & al-Mihdhar had a close relationship with an FBI informant (Abdussattar Shaikh) in San Diego. In fact, al-Hazmi rented a room in Shaikh's house for some time before 9/11. Posner did not mention any of this though.
Also, both al-Hazmi & al-Mihdhar received financial support from Saudi operative al-Bayoumi. Al-Bayoumi's money came from two sources, a Saudi gov contractor (Ercan) and a member of the Saudi royal family (Princess Haifa al-Faisal). Although Posner does mention that al-Hazmi & al-Mihdhar received money from Princess Haifa al-Faisal, he does not mention the US-based Saudi operative (al-Bayoumi) who facilitated the transfer of funds. Posner also does not mention the $100,000 that Pakistani ISI Chief (General Mahmoud Ahmad) allegedly wired (by way of Ahmad Umar Sheikh) to lead hijacker Mohammad Atta just before 9/11.
Despite these omissions this book was still insightful and left me in disbelief numerous times.
One of the big take-aways for me is that, with all of the evidence of Saudi funding of terrorists, how could the 9/11 Commission still conclude that "there is no convincing evidence that any government financially supported al-Qaeda before 9/11." Maybe they should have read Posner's book before finalizing their report? Or better yet, maybe the 9/11 Commission should have read the 'Joint (House/Senate) Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001' which was published in Dec 2002, before the 9/11 Commission began their investigation?
In reading the Joint Inquiry report they would have discovered a major link between the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the funding of 9/11 hijackers. I wonder why the 9/11 Commission, surely with knowledge of the Joint Inquiry findings, came to the opposite conclusion (that no gov financially supported al-Qaeda...)? To read about the Joint Inquiry investigation get the book "Intelligence Matters" by former Senator Bob Graham. It was also very interesting although missing key information like Posner's book.
Excellent research with lots of footnotes to back up and explain the facts.
Posner's new book, 'Secrets of the Kingdom: The Inside Story of the Secret Saudi-U.S. Connection', picks up where this book leaves off.