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Profile: Dietrich Snell

 
  

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Dietrich Snell actively participated in the following events:

 
  

Early 1998: Prosecutors Turn Down Deal That Could Reveal Bojinka Third Plot      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Dietrich Snell.
Abdul Hakim Murad, a conspirator in the 1995 Bojinka plot with Ramzi Yousef, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and others, was convicted in 1996 of his role in the Bojinka plot (see January 6, 1995). He is about to be sentenced for that crime. He offers to cooperate with federal prosecutors in return for a reduction in his sentence, but prosecutors turn down his offer. Dietrich Snell, the prosecutor who convicted Murad, says after 9/11 that he doesn't remember any such offer. But court papers and others familiar with the case later confirmed that Murad does offer to cooperate at this time. Snell claimed he only remembers hearing that Murad had described an intention to hijack a plane and fly it into CIA headquarters. However, in 1995 Murad had confessed to Philippine investigators that this would have been only one part of a larger plot to crash a number of airplanes into prominent US buildings, including the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a plot that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed later adjusts and turns into the 9/11 plot (see January 20, 1995) (see February 1995). While Philippine investigators claim this information was passed on to US intelligence, it's not clear just which US officials may have learned this information and what they did with it, if anything. [New York Daily News, 9/25/01] Murad is sentenced in May 1998 and given life in prison plus 60 years. [Albany Times-Union, 9/22/02] After 9/11, Snell goes on to become Senior Counsel and a team leader for the 9/11 Commission. Author Peter Lance later calls Snell “one of the fixers, hired early on to sanitize the Commission's final report.” Lance says Snell ignored evidence presented to the Commission that shows direct ties between the Bojinka plot and 9/11, and in so doing covers up Snell's own role in the failure to make more use of evidence learned from Murad and other Bojinka plotters. [FrontPage Magazine, 1/27/05]
People and organizations involved: Abdul Hakim Murad, Dietrich Snell, Pentagon, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Ramzi Yousef, World Trade Center
          

July 12, 2004: 9/11 Commission Staff Meet with Navy Officer Involved with Able Danger Unit      Complete 911 Timeline

       Ten days before the 9/11 Commission releases its final report, a senior member of its staff, Dietrich Snell, accompanied by another commission staff member, meets at one of the commission's Washington, DC offices with a US Navy officer who worked with a US Army intelligence program called Able Danger, which had been tasked with assembling information about al-Qaeda networks around the world. This officer, Captain Scott Phillpott, tells them he saw an Able Danger document in 2000 that described Mohamed Atta as part of a Brooklyn al-Qaeda cell. He complains that this information about Atta, and information about other alleged members of the Brooklyn cell, was deleted from the document soon after he saw it, due to the concerns of Department of Defense lawyers. However, despite having this meeting with Phillpott, and having met previously with an Army intelligence officer who was also involved with Able Danger (see October 21, 2003), the 9/11 Commission makes no mention of the unit in their final report. The commissioners later claim that Phillpott's information “[does] not mesh with other conclusions” they are drawing from their investigation. Consequently, the commission staff conclude “that the officer's account [is] not sufficiently reliable to warrant revision of the report or further investigation.” Able Danger is not mentioned in their final report, they claim, because “the operation itself did not turn out to be historically significant.” [Associated Press, 8/11/05; New York Times, 8/11/05; New York Times, 8/13/05; Kean-Hamilton statement, 8/12/05; New York Times, 8/22/05; Washington Post, 8/13/05] Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer additionally claims, “Captain Phillpott actually told the 9-11 Commission about the fact that Able Danger discovered information regarding the Cole attack. ... There was information that Able Danger found that related to al-Qaeda planning an attack. That information unfortunately didn't get anywhere either. So that is another clue that was given to the 9-11 Commission to say, hey, this [Able Danger] capability did some stuff, and they chose not to even look at that.” [Jerry Doyle Show, 9/20/05]
People and organizations involved: US Department of Defense, Anthony Shaffer, al-Qaeda, Able Danger, Mohamed Atta, Scott Phillpott, Dietrich Snell, 9/11 Commission
          

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