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Profile: Counterterrorism and Security Group

 
  

Positions that Counterterrorism and Security Group has held:



 

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Counterterrorism and Security Group actively participated in the following events:

 
  

Early January 2001: Al-Qaeda Threat Highlighted for Powell      Complete 911 Timeline

       Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke briefs Secretary of State Powell about the al-Qaeda threat. He urges decisive and quick action against al-Qaeda. Powell meets with the CSG (Counterterrorism and Security Group) containing senior counterterrorism officials from many agencies. He sees that all members of the group agree al-Qaeda is an important threat. For instance, Deputy Defense Secretary Brian Sheridan says to Powell, “Make al-Qaeda your number one priority.” [Clarke, 2004, pp 227-30]
People and organizations involved: Brian Sheridan, Richard A. Clarke, Colin Powell, Counterterrorism and Security Group, al-Qaeda
          

May 2001: Warnings About Impending Terrorist Attack Fail to Alert White House      Complete 911 Timeline

       Around this time, intercepts from Afghanistan warn that al-Qaeda could attack an American target in late June or on the July 4 holiday. However, the White House's Counterterrorism and Security Group does not meet to discuss this prospect. This group also fails to meet after intelligence analysts overhear conversations from an al-Qaeda cell in Milan suggesting that bin Laden's agents might be plotting to kill Bush at the European summit in Genoa, Italy, in late July. In fact, the group hardly meets at all. By comparison, the Counterterrorism and Security Group met two or three times a week between 1998 and 2000 under Clinton. [New York Times, 12/30/01]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Counterterrorism and Security Group, Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush
          

July 5, 2001: Clarke Warns of Something Really Spectacular; FAA and FBI Respond Poorly      Complete 911 Timeline

       At the request of National Security Adviser Rice and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke leads a meeting of the Counterterrorism and Security Group, attended by officials from a dozen federal agencies. They discuss intelligence regarding terrorism threats and potential attacks on US installations overseas. Two attendees recall Clarke stating that “something really spectacular is going to happen here, and it's going to happen soon.” One who attended the meeting later calls the evidence that “something spectacular” is being planned by al-Qaeda “very gripping.” [Time, 8/4/02; Washington Post, 5/17/02] Clarke directs every counterterrorist office to cancel vacations, defer non-vital travel, put off scheduled exercises, and place domestic rapid-response teams on much shorter alert. By early August, all of these emergency measures are no longer in effect. [CNN, 3/02; Washington Post, 5/17/02] The FAA issues general and routine threat advisories that don't reflect the level of urgent emergency expressed by Clarke, Tenet, and others (see January-August 2001). FAA Administrator Jane Garvey later claims she was unaware of a heightened threat level, but in 2005 it will be revealed that about half of the FAA's daily briefings in this time period referred to bin Laden or al-Qaeda (see April 1, 2001-September 10, 2001). [New York Times, 4/18/04] Clarke says rhetorically that he wants to know if a sparrow has fallen from a tree. A senior FBI official attends the meeting and promises a redoubling of efforts. However, just five days later, when FBI agent Ken Williams sends off his memo speculating that al-Qaeda may be training operatives as pilots in the US, the FBI fails to share this information with any other agency. [Washington Post, 5/17/02; Clarke, 2004, pp 236-37] The FBI also fails to tell Clarke about the arrest of Zacarias Moussaoui (see August 15, 2001), or what they know about Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar (see August 24, 2001).
People and organizations involved: Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, Ken Williams, Richard A. Clarke, al-Qaeda, Federal Bureau of Investigation, George Tenet, Andrew Card, Zacarias Moussaoui, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, Condoleezza Rice, Counterterrorism and Security Group
          

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