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Profile: Richard Shelby

 
  

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Richard Shelby actively participated in the following events:

 
  

July 1, 2001: Senators Warn of Al-Qaeda Attack Within Three Months      Complete 911 Timeline

       Senators Dianne Feinstein (D) and Richard Shelby (R), both members of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, appear on CNN's “Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer,” and warn of potential attacks by bin Laden. Feinstein says, “One of the things that has begun to concern me very much as to whether we really have our house in order, intelligence staff have told me that there is a major probability of a terrorist incident within the next three months.” [CNN, 3/02]
People and organizations involved: Dianne Feinstein, Richard Shelby, Osama bin Laden
          

August 2, 2002: FBI Questions Members of Congressional Committees About 9/11 Leaks      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Senator Richard Shelby.
The Washington Post reveals that FBI agents have questioned nearly all 37 members of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees about 9/11-related information leaks. They have asked them to submit to lie detector tests but most have refused. Congresspeople express “grave concern” for this historically unprecedented move. A law professor states, “Now the FBI can open dossiers on every member and staffer and develop full information on them. It creates a great chilling effect on those who would be critical of the FBI.” [Washington Post, 8/2/02] Senator John McCain (R) suggests that “the constitutional separation of powers is being violated in spirit if not in the letter. ‘What you have here is an organization compiling dossiers on people who are investigating the same organization. The administration bitterly complains about some leaks out of a committee, but meanwhile leaks abound about secret war plans for fighting a war against Saddam Hussein. What's that about? There's a bit of a contradiction here, if not a double standard.’ ” [Washington Post, 8/3/02] Later the search for the source of the leak intensifies to unprecedented levels as the FBI asks 17 senators to turn over phone records, appointment calendars and schedules that would reveal their possible contact with reporters. [Washington Post, 8/24/02] Most, if not all, turn over the records, even as some complain that the request breaches the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. One senator says the FBI is “trying to put a damper on our activities and I think they will be successful.” [Associated Press, 8/29/02] In January 2004, it is reported that the probe is now focusing on Republican Senator Richard Shelby. There has been no further word or indictments since. [Washington Post, 1/22/04]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, House Intelligence Committee, Richard Shelby, John McCain
          

September 5, 2002: Senator Decries Lack of Government Cooperation in 9/11 Congressional Inquiry      Complete 911 Timeline

       Richard Shelby of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, expresses doubts that the committee's 9/11 Congressional Inquiry will be able to accomplish anything, and he supports an independent investigation. “Time is not on our side,” he says, since the investigation has a built-in deadline at the end of 2002. “You know, we were told that there would be cooperation in this investigation, and I question that. I think that most of the information that our staff has been able to get that is real meaningful has had to be extracted piece by piece.” He adds that there is explosive information that has not been publicly released. “I think there are some more bombs out there ... I know that.” [New York Times, 9/10/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Richard Shelby, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry
          

November 22, 2002: Newsweek Reports Saudi Royals Sent Money to Hijackers' Associates      Complete 911 Timeline

       Newsweek reports that hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar may have received money from Saudi Arabia's royal family through two Saudis, Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Basnan. Newsweek bases its report on information leaked from the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry in October. [Newsweek, 11/22/02; Newsweek, 11/22/02; Washington Post, 11/23/02; New York Times, 11/23/02] Al-Bayoumi is in Saudi Arabia by this time. Basnan was deported to Saudi Arabia just five days earlier. Saudi officials and Princess Haifa immediately deny any connections to Islamic militants. [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02] Newsweek reports that while the money trail “could be perfectly innocent ... it is nonetheless intriguing—and could ultimately expose the Saudi government to some of the blame for 9/11...” [Newsweek, 11/22/02] Some Saudi newspapers, which usually reflect government thinking, claim the leak is blackmail to pressure Saudi Arabia into supporting war with Iraq. [MSNBC, 11/27/02] Senior US government officials claim the FBI and CIA failed to aggressively pursue leads that might have linked the two hijackers to Saudi Arabia. This causes a bitter dispute between FBI and CIA officials and the intelligence panel investigating the 9/11 attacks. [New York Times, 11/23/02] A number of senators, including Richard Shelby (R), John McCain (R), Mitch O'Connell (R), Joe Lieberman (D), Bob Graham (D), Joseph Biden (D), and Charles Schumer (D), express concern about the Bush administration's action (or non-action) regarding the Saudi royal family and its possible role in funding Islamic militants. [Reuters, 11/24/02; New York Times, 11/25/02] Lieberman says, “I think it's time for the president to blow the whistle and remember what he said after September 11—you're either with us or you're with the al-Qaeda.” [ABC News, 11/25/02] FBI officials strongly deny any deliberate connection between these two men and the Saudi government or the hijackers [Time, 11/24/03] , but later even more connections between them and both entities are revealed. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
People and organizations involved: Saudi Arabia, Joseph Lieberman, Mitch O'Connell, Joseph Biden, Omar al-Bayoumi, Charles Schumer, Richard Shelby, Osama Basnan, Central Intelligence Agency, Bush administration, John McCain, Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Bob Graham
          

December 11, 2002: 9/11 Congressional Inquiry Blames Bush and Tenet      Complete 911 Timeline

       The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry concludes its seven month investigation of the performance of government agencies before the 9/11 attacks. A report hundreds of pages long has been written, but only nine pages of findings and 15 pages of recommendations are released at this time, and those have blacked out sections. [Los Angeles Times, 12/12/02] After months of wrangling over what has to be classified, the final report is released in July 2003 (see July 24, 2003). In the findings released at this time, the inquiry accuses the Bush administration of refusing to declassify information about possible Saudi Arabian financial links to US-based Islamic militants, criticizes the FBI for not adapting into a domestic intelligence bureau after the attacks and says the CIA lacked an effective system for holding its officials accountable for their actions. Asked if 9/11 could have been prevented, Senator Bob Graham (D), the committee chairman, gives “a conditional yes.” Graham says the Bush administration has given Americans an “incomplete and distorted picture” of the foreign assistance the hijackers may have received. [ABC News, 12/10/02] Graham further says, “There are many more findings to be disclosed” that Americans would find “more than interesting,” and he and others express frustration that information that should be released is being kept classified by the Bush administration. [St. Petersburg Times, 12/12/02] Many of these findings remain classified after the Inquiry's final report is released. Senator Richard Shelby (R), the vice chairman, singles out six people as having “failed in significant ways to ensure that this country was as prepared as it could have been”: CIA Director Tenet; Tenet's predecessor, John Deutch; former FBI Director Louis Freeh; NSA Director Michael Hayden; Hayden's predecessor, Lieutenant General Kenneth Minihan; and former Deputy Director Barbara McNamara. [Washington Post, 12/11/02 (B); 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 12/11/02] Shelby says that Tenet should resign. “There have been more failures on his watch as far as massive intelligence failures than any CIA director in history. Yet he's still there. It's inexplicable to me.” [Reuters, 12/10/02; PBS Newshour, 12/11/02] But the Los Angeles Times criticizes their plan of action: “A list of 19 recommendations consists largely of recycled proposals and tepid calls for further study of thorny issues members themselves could not resolve.” [Los Angeles Times, 12/12/02]
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Bush administration, Bob Graham, Richard Shelby, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Michael Hayden, Central Intelligence Agency, Saudi Arabia, Kenneth Minihan, George Tenet, Barbara McNamara, John Deutch, Louis J. Freeh
          

December 16, 2002: Members of 9/11 Commission Have Potential Conflicts of Interest      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Richard Ben-Veniste.
The ten members of the new 9/11 Commission are appointed by this date, and are: Republicans Thomas Kean (Chairman), Slade Gorton, James Thompson, Fred Fielding, and John Lehman, and Democrats Lee Hamilton (Vice Chairman), Max Cleland, Tim Roemer, Richard Ben-Veniste, and Jamie Gorelick. [New York Times, 12/17/02; Washington Post, 12/15/02; Chicago Tribune, 12/12/02; Associated Press, 12/16/02] Senators Richard Shelby (R) and John McCain (R) had a say in the choice of one of the Republican positions. They and many 9/11 victims' relatives wanted former Senator Warren Rudman (R), who cowrote an acclaimed report about terrorism before 9/11. But Senate Republican leader Trent Lott blocks Rudman's appointment and chooses John Lehman instead. [Reuters, 12/16/02; St. Petersburg Times, 12/12/02; Associated Press, 12/13/02] It slowly emerges over the next several months that at least six of the ten commissioners have ties to the airline industry. [CBS News, 3/5/03] Henry Kissinger (see December 13, 2002) and his replacement Thomas Kean (see December 16, 2002) both caused controversy when they were named. In addition, the other nine members of the commission are later shown to all have potential conflicts of interest. Republican commissioners:
Fred Fielding also works for a law firm lobbying for Spirit Airlines and United Airlines. [Associated Press, 2/14/03; CBS News, 3/5/03]
Slade Gorton has close ties to Boeing, which built all the planes destroyed on 9/11, and his law firm represents several major airlines, including Delta Airlines. [Associated Press, 12/12/02; CBS News, 3/5/03]
John Lehman, former secretary of the Navy, has large investments in Ball Corp., which has many US military contracts. [Associated Press, 3/27/03 (B)]
James Thompson, former Illinois governor, is the head of a law firm that lobbies for American Airlines, and he has previously represented United Airlines. [Associated Press, 1/31/03; CBS News, 3/5/03] Democratic commissioners:
Richard Ben-Veniste represents Boeing and United Airlines. [CBS News, 3/5/03] Ben-Veniste also has other curious connections, according to a 2001 book on CIA ties to drug running written by Daniel Hopsicker, which has an entire chapter called “Who is Richard Ben-Veniste?” Lawyer Ben-Veniste, Hopsicker says, “has made a career of defending political crooks, specializing in cases that involve drugs and politics.” Ben-Veniste has been referred to in print as a “Mob lawyer,” and was a long-time lawyer for Barry Seal, one of the most famous drug dealers in US history who also is alleged to have had CIA connections. [Hopsicker, 2001, pp 325-30]
Max Cleland, former US senator, has received $300,000 from the airline industry. [CBS News, 3/5/03]
James Gorelick is a director of United Technologies, one of the Pentagon's biggest defense contractors and a supplier of engines to airline manufacturers. [Associated Press, 3/27/03 (B)]
Lee Hamilton sits on many advisory boards, including those to the CIA, the president's Homeland Security Advisory Council, and the US Army. [Associated Press, 3/27/03 (B)]
Tim Roemer represents Boeing and Lockheed Martin. [CBS News, 3/5/03]
People and organizations involved: Richard Ben-Veniste, James Thompson, John Lehman, Max Cleland, Slade Gorton, Jamie Gorelick, Lee Hamilton, United Airlines, Warren Rudman, Tim Roemer, Fred Fielding, Richard Shelby, John McCain, Trent Lott, American Airlines, 9/11 Commission
          

July 28, 2003: Bush Opposes Release of Full 9/11 Congressional Inquiry Report      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal after meeting Bush over the 9/11 report.
In the wake of the release of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry's final report, pressure builds to release most of the still-censored sections of the report, but on this day President Bush says he is against the idea. [New York Times, 7/29/03; Associated Press, 7/29/03 (B)] Through an obscure rule, the Senate could force the release of the material with a majority vote [USA Today, /5/29/03] , but apparently the number of votes in favor of this idea falls just short. MSNBC reports that “the decision to keep the passage secret ... created widespread suspicion among lawmakers that the administration was trying to shield itself and its Saudi allies from embarrassment. ... Three of the four leaders of the joint congressional investigation into the attacks have said they believed that much of the material on foreign financing was safe to publish but that the administration insisted on keeping it secret.” [MSNBC, 7/28/03] Senator Richard Shelby (R), one of the main authors of the report, states that “90, 95 percent of it would not compromise, in my judgment, anything in national security.” Bush ignores a reporter's question on Shelby's assessment. [Associated Press, 7/29/03 (B)] Even the Saudi government claims to be in favor of releasing the censored material so it can better respond to criticism. [MSNBC, 7/28/03] All the censored material remains censored; however, some details of the most controversial censored sections are leaked to the media.
People and organizations involved: Richard Shelby, George W. Bush, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Saudi Arabia
          

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