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Profile: James Bamford

 
  

Positions that James Bamford has held:



 

Quotes

 
  

Quote, Early March 2003

   The NSA has been spying on the UN “for 50 years and the idea that they're targeting countries that are going to make a difference in the vote is something you would expect.... So if this is not a real memo, I'm sure there is a real memo saying the same thing.” [Baltimore Sun, 3/4/03, The Sydney Morning Herald, 3/4/03, The Age, 3/4/03]

Associated Events


 

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James Bamford actively participated in the following events:

 
  

April 24, 2001: US Military Planned for Attacks Against Americans in 1960s To Use as Justification for Attacking Cuba      Complete 911 Timeline

      
The first lines of the declassified Northwoods document.
James Bamford's book, Body of Secrets, reveals a secret US government plan named Operation Northwoods. All details of the plan come from declassified military documents. [Washington Post, 4/26/01; ABC News, 5/1/01; Baltimore Sun, 4/24/01; Associated Press, 4/24/01 Sources: Operation Northwoods] The heads of the US military, all five Joint Chiefs of Staff, proposed in a 1962 memo to stage attacks against Americans and blame Cuba to create a pretext for invasion. Says one document, “We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington. ... We could blow up a US ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba. Casualty lists in US newspapers would cause a helpful wave of indignation.” In March 1962, Lyman L. Lemnitzer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presented the Operation Northwoods plan to President John Kennedy and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. The plan was rejected. Lemnitzer then sought to destroy all evidence of the plan. [ABC News, 5/1/01; Baltimore Sun, 4/24/01] Lemnitzer was replaced a few months later, but the Joint Chiefs continued to plan “pretext” operations at least through 1963. [ABC News, 5/1/01] One suggestion in the plan was to create a remote-controlled drone duplicate of a real civilian aircraft. The real aircraft would be loaded with “selected passengers, all boarded under carefully prepared aliases,” and then take off with the drone duplicate simultaneously taking off near by. The aircraft with passengers would secretly land at a US military base while the drone continues along the other plane's flight path. The drone would then be destroyed over Cuba in a way that places the blame on Cuban fighter aircraft. [Harper's, 7/1/01] Bamford says, “Here we are, 40 years afterward, and it's only now coming out. You just wonder what is going to be exposed 40 years from now.” [Insight, 7/30/01] Some 9/11 skeptics later claim that the 9/11 attacks could have been orchestrated by elements of the US government, and see Northwoods as an example of how top US officials could hatch such a plot. [Oakland Tribune, 3/27/04]
People and organizations involved: Robert McNamara, Lyman L. Lemnitzer, John F. Kennedy, Operation Northwoods, James Bamford
          

June 21, 2001: Senior al-Qaeda Officials Say Important Surprises Coming Soon      Complete 911 Timeline

       A reporter for the Middle East Broadcasting Company interviews Osama bin Laden. Keeping a promise made to Taliban leader Mullah Omar, bin Laden does not say anything substantive, but Ayman al-Zawahiri and other top al-Qaeda leaders promise that “[the] coming weeks will hold important surprises that will target American and Israeli interests in the world.” [Associated Press, 6/25/01; Associated Press, 6/24/01] The reporter says, “There is a major state of mobilization among the Osama bin Laden forces. It seems that there is a race of who will strike first. Will it be the United States or Osama bin Laden?” [Reuters, 6/23/01] After 9/11, the reporter concludes, “I am 100 percent sure of this, and it was absolutely clear they had brought me there to hear this message.” [Bamford, 2004, pp 236] The reporter is also shown a several-months-old videotape with bin Laden declaring to his followers, “It's time to penetrate America and Israel and hit him them where it hurts most.” [CNN, 6/21/01] Author James Bamford theorizes that the original 9/11 plot involved a simultaneous attack on Israel and that shoe bomber Richard Reid may have originally wanted to target an Israeli aircraft around this time. For instance, Reid flies to Tel Aviv, Israel on July 12, 2001, to test if airline security would check his shoes for bombs. [Bamford, 2004, pp 236-39]
People and organizations involved: Ayman al-Zawahiri, James Bamford, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, Mullah Omar
          

June 21, 2002      US Military

       Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld sends his special assistant, Stephen A. Cambone, to the Armed Services Committee to deliver and explain a request that Congress create a new top-level Pentagon position—the undersecretary of defense for intelligence. The proposal is quietly slipped into the fiscal 2003 defense authorization bill as an amendment and approved by the Senate on August 1, by the Conference Committee on November 12 and signed by the president on December 2 (see December 2, 2002). The move is seen by some as an attempt to preempt the Scowcroft Plan (see March 2002). [US News and World Report, 8/12/2002; Washington Post, 8/19/2004; USA Today, 10/24/2004] US News and World Report calls it a “bureaucratic coup” that “accomplishes many Pentagon goals in one fell swoop” and notes that “members of Congress aren't even aware it is happening, let alone what it means.” [US News and World Report, 8/12/2002] Intelligence expert James Bamford warns about the implications of creating this new post in an October 24 op-ed piece: “Creating a powerful new intelligence czar under Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld could shift [the] delicate balance [between CIA and the DoD] away from the more independent-minded Tenet and increase the chances that intelligence estimates might be ‘cooked’ in favor of the Pentagon.... [I]f the Pentagon runs the spy world, the public and Congress will be reduced to a modern-day Diogenes, forever searching for that one honest report.” [USA Today, 10/24/2004] In 1998, then-Deputy Defense Secretary John J. Hamre had proposed a similar idea, but Congress opposed the suggested reform “in part from concern at the CIA that the new Pentagon official would have too much power.” [Washington Post, 8/19/2004]
People and organizations involved: Stephen A. Cambone, Donald Rumsfeld, James Bamford, US Congress, John J. Hamre
          

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