|Senior Corporate Executives Warned to Leave N.Y. on 9/11: Source
Foreign Policy Journal | November 3, 2008
Foreign Policy Journal has learned that senior executives of a major U.S. international corporation may have been warned to leave New York on September 11, 2001.
According to an inside source, one of the senior executives of the corporation told him beforehand that “something big” was going to occur and so other corporate executives would be travelling out of New York.
The source, who spoke to the Journal on the condition of anonymity, worked at a European branch of the media giant Warner Bros. He served as the number two under the managing director of that office, a man with whom he had developed a close personal friendship. His boss was also friends with one of the senior executives at the head office in Los Angeles. According to the source, he had been told by his director that the executive in L.A. had formerly worked for the CIA and still kept in touch with the agency.
It is not an uncommon practice for the CIA to recruit business executives, particularly individuals who do a lot of international travelling and might be able to use their business contacts to gather information.
The CIA is also known to have recruited journalists and media executives. According to Carl Bernstein, the former Washington Post reporter who worked with Bob Woodward breaking open the Watergate story during the Nixon administration, executives who lent their cooperation to the CIA included Henry Luce of Time Inc., founder of Time and Life magazines. C.D. Jackson, a Time Inc. vice-president and publisher of Life magazine until his death in 1964, approved arrangements to provide the CIA with cover under Time-Life, according to an article Bernstein wrote for Rolling Stone magazine in 1977.
When the managing director of the overseas Warner Bros. office passed away, the individual who spoke with the Journal was contacted by the senior executive from L.A. about the plans for the memorial service. Senior executives from the company would attend, including from the Warner Bros. parent corporation, Time Warner, headquartered in New York.
When he answered that one of the potential dates for the service was September 11, he was told that would be no good because “something big is happening that day” and the top executives from the New York office would all be travelling out of the city.
When asked further about this big event, the executive replied that it was a confidential matter and disclosed no further details, except to say that it was “not corporate”.
The source told the Journal, “I had no reason to think that the ‘event’ could be anything more than perhaps a junket, an out of town think tank exercise or whatever – I remember that these possibilities ran through my mind.”
But after 9/11, thinking back upon the conversation, he grew more curious and tried to ascertain where the board members had been that day. They had indeed been out of New York, he says, travelling not to one location, but each to their own destination. Destinations included overseas locations such as Paris, London, and Amsterdam.
Foreign Policy Journal has not been able to verify the location of individuals on 9/11 or other aspects of the story concerning any potential warning received or given by any Time Warner executives, but did confirm the source’s position at the foreign branch office, the name and position of that office’s managing director, and the name and position of the senior executive from the Los Angeles office.
There have been numerous other indications that individuals within the U.S. had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks.
One such indication was the evidence of insider trading in the days just prior. Short selling and trading in put options, which are essentially bets that stock will drop, skyrocketed over a period of days before 9/11 only in companies that were directly affected.
For instance, purchases were made on 4,744 put options for United Airlines between September 6 and 7. On September 10, purchases were placed on 4,516 put options for American Airlines. United and American were the two airlines that had planes hijacked and destroyed in the attacks. There was no similarly unusual trading in other airlines.
Other companies directly affected also experienced a spike in the purchase of put options, such as Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Merril Lynch, both of which had offices in the World Trade Center.
Numerous countries around the world, including the U.S., Japan, Germany, the U.K., France, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and Spain, opened investigations into what had apparently been insider trading based on foreknowledge of the attacks.
Together, these purchases were worth millions. Yet with the reports of insider trading and foreknowledge circulating in the media, whoever was responsible chose not to collect the money.
One of the banks involved in the purchases was Alex Brown, the U.S. branch of the German Deutsche Bank, which was headed until 1998 by A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard. He afterwards joined the CIA, and was Executive Director of the agency at the time of the attacks.
Trading is monitored through special software in real time by the CIA, so the agency would have been aware of the suspicious activity in the days just prior to the attacks.
Despite all this, the FBI announced that its own investigation had turned up no evidence that anyone had tried to profit from inside knowledge that the attacks would occur.
According to the 9/11 Commission Report, which echoed the conclusion of the FBI, 95 percent of the purchases on United and American Airlines shares on September 6 and 10, respectively, were made by a single U.S. based institutional investor.
Robert Baer is a former CIA case officer and author of “Sleeping with the Devil” and “See No Evil”, which served as the basis for the film “Syriana” starring George Clooney. Baer told Stewart Howe and Jeremy Rothe-Kushel of the L.A. branch of the organization We Are Change, “I know the guy that went into his broker in San Diego and said ‘cash me out, it’s going down tomorrow.’” Baer added that “his brother worked at the White House.”
Baer also indicated that the 9/11 Commission Report had been a cover-up of what really happened and questioned why certain other oddities about 9/11 had not been investigated, such as “the famous white van”, which he said was “an intriguing story” that “deserves a book”.
He was referring to the case of the five Israelis who were witnessed on 9/11 celebrating beside their white van at the sight of the smoking towers from a parking lot in New Jersey. They were later arrested and detained. Upon arrest, the driver of the van told the arresting officers, “We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.”
The van was registered to an Israeli-owned company called Urban Moving Systems, whose owner immediately closed shop and fled to Israel. At least two of the five Israelis witnessed videotaping and celebrating the attacks were learned to be operatives of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency.
In other reporting that may or may not have been related to the five Israelis with the white van, it became known publicly that an enormous Israeli spy ring had been uncovered operating within the United States.
Reports of investigations into Israeli spying within the U.S. had emerged early in 2001. After 9/11, Fox News reported that according to investigators the Israeli intelligence operatives of a large spy ring may have gathered information in advance about the attacks of 9/11, but that the evidence for this was classified.
As part of the operation, Israelis posed as art students. Under the guise of selling art, they targeted government officials at their offices or homes, including members of the military, the DEA, the FBI, and other law enforcement and intelligence personnel.
One group of the Israeli “art students” lived at 4220 Sheridan St. in Hollywood, Florida, just down the street from the 3389 address where Mohammed Atta and three of the other 9/11 hijackers lived.
In addition, almost all the call records and billing for U.S. phone companies is handled by an Israeli-based private communications company called Amdocs Ltd. The NSA had warned other U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies about the potential security breaches that this situation might make possible.
There was some evidence that wiretaps were indeed being compromised. Law enforcement officials observed that suspects under surveillance suspiciously changed their behavior after wiretaps began, according to officials who spoke to Fox News.
It’s known that the DEA had also been investigating Israeli organized crime involved the multi-billion dollar ecstasy trade.
The FBI had also been investigating Amdocs and there were fears that even the telephone lines in the White House, which were installed by Bell Atlantic and Amdocs in 1997, might have been compromised.
According to a leaked DEA report from that agency’s investigation into the Israeli spy ring, one of the “art students” who was arrested was held on a $10,000 bond that was placed by an Israeli man named Ophir Baer who was in the U.S. under employment by Amdocs.
Another Israeli company, Comverse Infosys, was responsible for providing wiretapping for U.S. law enforcement. But, again, there was a fear among U.S. agencies that the wiretaps themselves could be intercepted by unauthorized parties through a back door in the Comverse system. Adding to these fears was the fact that Comverse was reimbursed for up to half of its research and development costs by the Israeli Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Comverse was partnered with an Israeli messaging service company called Odigo. The Israeli paper Haaretz reported that workers at Odigo, which had offices near the World Trade Center, had received warnings on the morning of September 11 of an impending attack. The Washington Post confirmed that two employees of Odigo had “received text messages warning of an attack on the World Trade Center two hours before terrorists crashed planes into the New York landmarks.”
There is no direct evidence that the Israeli government or any Israeli nationals were involved in 9/11. In fact, Mossad had reportedly warned the U.S. intelligence community of an impending attack, including the potential that it might come in the form of hijackings. The possibility remains that Israeli intelligence came across the information leading to its warnings to the U.S. during the course of the extensive operation that was broken up in 2001.
There have also been several other incidents possibly related to the apparent insider trading before 9/11. In one case, a German firm, Convar, was hired to attempt to retrieve data from the hard drives of computers destroyed as a result of the attacks on the World Trade Center. In doing so, it was discovered that there had been transactions of unusually large sums of money through some systems in the WTC, leading to the suspicion that someone with insider knowledge had illegally transferred as much as $100 million through the system as the attacks unfolded.
In May 2002, the FBI raided the home of Amr Ibrahim Elgindy, who was held on charges of racketeering, extortion, and obstruction of justice. He was later convicted. According to the indictment, Elgindy had led a ring of traders that included two FBI agents, Jeffrey A. Royer and Lynn Wingate, who used their access to confidential databases to give Elgindy inside information about publicly traded companies. The prosecutor in his case said there were indications he might have had foreknowledge of the attacks, since he had predicted a huge drop in the market and ordered the sale of $300,000 worth of stock in his children’s trust fund on September 10.
The compelling evidence of insider foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks has been largely dismissed. This is perhaps most evident by the conclusions of the 9/11 Commission report itself, which also stated that there was no evidence of any involvement by any foreign government or government official and that the question of who financed the attacks is “of little practical significance”, despite reports that Mahmud Ahmed, the head of Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence agency, or ISI, had been responsible for authorizing the transfer of $100,000 to hijacker Mohammed Atta. This information was received by the Commission.
Bob Graham, who co-chaired the 9/11 Joint Inquiry with Porter Goss, has also said there is evidence of the involvement of a foreign government. The 9/11 Commission made no attempt to explain or reconcile the disparity between its conclusions and those of Graham or the reports of the ISI chief’s involvement.
In another strange twist, Graham and Goss were having breakfast in Washington with General Ahmed on the morning of September 11 as the planes struck the towers. Ahmed was in Washington visiting his counterpart at the CIA, George Tenet, as well as a number of other high-level officials. Both Graham and Goss had also travelled to Pakistan where they met with the ISI chief just a couple weeks before Ahmed’s reciprocal visit.
Goss was later appointed Director of Central Intelligence.