On Tuesday Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell told the House Judiciary Committee things that, had a government official said them in the days, weeks, or months following 9/11. would have sparked public outrage-and may have significantly blunted the push for greater police and surveillance powers like the PATRIOT Act.
McConnell told lawmakers that “9/11 should have and could have been prevented.”
See also this piece by the same author:
It is now clear that senior FBI officials, Maltbie and Frasca, did know about Moussaoui’s arrest. They knew the case so well that they denied Samit’s request to seek a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to search Moussaoui’s computer and belongings. Because Samit never made the explicit link to Afghan terror camps, the FBI could not claim a ‘foreign power’ was directing Moussaoui, the test for an intelligence warrant from the court. But had the bureau taken Samit’s fears of mayhem seriously, it could have sought a plain vanilla criminal warrant on Moussaoui based on probable cause. Samit was told that pressing too hard to obtain a warrant would hurt his career.
This decision not to seek a warrant gave rise to the myth that the ‘wall’ between overseas intelligence and criminal investigations made the PATRIOT Act necessary. This myth is cherished among right-wing radio talkers and has now morphed into a clumsy justification for the White House’s warrantless wiretaps. It is pure fantasy. Samit cited ‘obstructionism, criminal negligence and careerism’ by top FBI officials-not domestic spying restrictions-as the factors that stopped his investigation.