Skip to main content /LAW /LAW

find law dictionary

Phoenix memo, Moussaoui information went to same FBI task force

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The July memo from a Phoenix, Arizona, FBI agent talking about Middle Eastern men taking flying lessons and the information about Zacarias Moussaoui arrested in August went to the same FBI task force at headquarters, according to an official.

Attack on America
 CNN NewsPass Video 
Agencies reportedly got hijack tips in 1998
Intelligence intercept led to Buffalo suspects
Report cites warnings before 9/11
Timeline: Who Knew What and When?
Interactive: Terror Investigation
Terror Warnings System
Most wanted terrorists
What looks suspicious?
In-Depth: America Remembers
In-Depth: Terror on Tape
In-Depth: How prepared is your city?
On the Scene: Barbara Starr: Al Qaeda hunt expands?
On the Scene: Peter Bergen: Getting al Qaeda to talk

FBI and Justice Department officials still do not know, however, if both the memo and the Moussaoui information was seen by the same person or persons within the Radical Fundamentalist Unit task force, according to the official.

The Phoenix memo, written by agent Kenneth Williams, actually went to two task forces at FBI headquarters: the Radical Fundamentalist Unit and one dedicated to Osama bin Laden, but no action was taken on its recommendation for a nationwide survey of Arab-American students attending flight schools.

Agent Coleen Rowley, in her letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller last week, says an unidentified FBI supervisory special agent "seemed to have been consistently, almost deliberately thwarting the Minneapolis FBI agents' efforts" to push the Moussaoui investigation. She does not say where this agent worked within headquarters.

"HQ (headquarters) personnel never disclosed to the Minneapolis agents that the Phoenix Division had, only approximately three weeks earlier, warned of al Qaeda operatives in flight schools seeking flight training for terrorist purposes," Rowley wrote in her letter.

After Moussaoui's arrest, headquarters staff refused to push the request by the Minneapolis field office to either get a criminal search warrant or a special national security warrant to authorize a search of the suspect's computer.

Rowley also alleges in her letter this unidentified agent did not add information he had promised to put in and made "several changes in the wording" of the application asking for permission to seek the special national security warrant.




Back to the top