Friday, February 9, 2007

Triple-Spun: Peter Lance's Finely Woven Yarn

[This piece was written in late November, 2006 but has not been posted until now. I apologize for the delay but thought it might still be an interesting supplement to a more recent post.]

Peter Lance has been making a lot of noise lately, doin' the book sale thang and positioning himself in a very peculiar spot, whether intentionally or otherwise.

Why peculiar? Well, for instance, his interview with Amy Goodman started this way:
AMY GOODMAN: Well, lay out this story.

PETER LANCE: Okay. Well, Ali Mohamed was -- the story actually begins 20 years before 9/11 with the murder of Anwar Sadat. Ali Mohamed was actually a member of the radical Egyptian army unit that murdered Sadat. Only, at the time, he escaped investigation because he happened to be at Fort Bragg even then on an officer exchange program.
Three sentences! (Well, four if you count the "Okay." as a sentence.) And my red flag is up already! Ali Mohamed "escaped investigation because he happened to be at Fort Bragg"?? How curious!! I'm always suspicious when a story starts out with a key "coincidence". And Peter Lance is selling a story laced with such "coincidences"; it's The New Coincidence Theorist's Guide to the Official Conspiracy Theory.

Lance's story follows the "al Qaeda spy named Ali Mohamed" who "penetrated the CIA, the Green Berets and the FBI..." (which sets off more red flags for me -- anyone else?) and points out a number of times when Mohamed could have been stopped, pinning the blame squarely on ... Patrick Fitzgerald!

Jason Leopold is into it:
Triple Cross presents no conspiracy theory. It's a 489-page thriller. And it's all true. Lance, a five-time Emmy award-winning reporter and former ABC News correspondent, sticks closely to the facts.
Larry Johnson is not:
Peter’s venom spewed at Patrick Fitzgerald is particularly crazy. Consider the following claim by Lance:
How was it that Fitzgerald, the man Vanity Fair described as the bin Laden "brain," possessing "scary smart" intelligence, had not connected the dots and ordered the same kind of "perch" or "plant" to watch Sphinx that the Bureau had used against Gotti?
Well, for starters, prosecutors in the United States are not like prosecutors in France. Fitzgerald and other junior prosecutors do not have the luxury of waking up each morning and deciding on their own to follow a hunch. Moreover, they normally don’t direct Federal investigations. The investigative part is handled by FBI agents who run field offices. They collect evidence until they have a case put together that enables them to secure an indictment or an arrest warrant and then the prosecutor gets involved. Once again, Peter misses a basic fact that anyone who has watched Law and Order already knows.
Lance doesn't think much of Johnson's criticism:
Larry Johnson is a joke, okay? ... Larry Johnson has had an animus against me personally for years. ... Larry Johnson’s upset because I’ve named him in my book as an example of how the feds failed on the road to 9/11.
Rory O'Connor doesn't seem to know what to make of Lance's story:
What if I told you that a member of Osama bin Laden's inner circle operated with impunity within the United States for years before Sept. 11? That despite being an ardent and avowed jihadi, he managed to become a naturalized citizen, join the U.S. Army, get posted to the Special Warfare Center where Green Berets and Delta Force train, and work with both the CIA and the FBI? And all the while, he was a top al Qaeda operative, hosting the organization's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, when he traveled to the United States in the 1990s to raise money, and training both bin Laden's personal bodyguard and radical Muslims who would go on to assassinate Jewish militant Meir Kahane and detonate a truck bomb at the World Trade Center?

Would you take it as evidence that our so-called intelligence community was abjectly incompetent and dysfunctional in the months and years before 9/11? Or would you see it as further proof that the powers-that-be were the powers behind 9/11, either "making it happen on purpose?" Or alternately: "letting it happen on purpose?"
Personally, I've been wondering what to think on a number of levels, while watching some of the people I normally read as they react to Lance and his story, and pondering...

Now, as it turns out, Jack Cashill may have a vital key in his pocket:
Almost no one in the mainstream media will utter the words "TWA Flight 800." This includes several prominent terrorist experts, who deeply distrust the government's mechanical explanation for the plane's demise but who are understandably reluctant to go public. Kudos to "Triple Cross" author Peter Lance for breaking this taboo. He risks his career in so doing.
Although Lance pushes the mainstream media to their limits, he has largely stayed within their pale. This I understand, especially on the subject of TWA Flight 800. To mention the word "missile" in that context is to risk losing a TV presence.
But which way does the key turn?

Perhaps -- just perhaps -- Peter Lance has bitten off more than he can safely chew. In other words, if he connects the dots in the way that the connections would seem to point, his story is too dangerous to tell. So he does the safe thing -- the only thing that will allow his story to see the light of day. He points out all the dots but rather than connecting them in the way that seems most natural, he connects them in a way that seems most politically acceptable.

There's political danger in the story, to be sure, and Peter Lance perhaps -- just perhaps -- walks right up to the line when he talks about "the al-Q'aeda spy who penetrated the CIA, the Green Berets and the FBI". By which I mean, he would probably lose his job if he saw the same events in a slightly different light, if for instance he saw Ali Mohamed as CIA's al-Q'aeda liasion. But then ...

What if Peter Lance began to notice the weaknesses in his model -- the model in which 9/11 was allowed to happen strictly through incompetence? What if Peter Lance finally began to see something more sinister in the data he's been collecting lo these many years? Would he lose his job if he spoke freely about such things? Maybe more to the point, would he believe that speaking out would put him in personal danger -- or might cost him his job?

So ... is Peter Lance speaking to us in code? Is he saying: "Look: Here are the dots. You know how the connections look? Well that's what they are. But I work for a major establishment presence and I've got kids to feed. So listen. Ali Mohamed [wink] infiltrated the CIA! Yeah! and he [wink] infiltrated the FBI too! Yeah! because they were [wink] incompetent!"

I'm just wondering, because it sure looks like more than incompetence to me.

I mean, could Osama bin Laden schedule wargames that took the most of the air cover away from the Eastern Seaboard?

Could Ali Mohamed turn off the Pentagon's anti-aircraft defenses that morning?

Could Blind Shiek Bellbottom call Air Force One and rattle off top-secret "national security" codewords?

Did Ali Mohamed's plans for the demolition of the World Trade Center include thermate, nukes, or both?

How did the Blind Shiek manage to ensure that the testimony of witnesses such as Sibel Edmonds and Coleen Rowley would be brushed aside in favor of more appealing lies?

Did Ali Mohamed arrange for Philip Zelikow -- a man who was required to testify before the 9/11 Commission -- to become the executive director of that very Commission?

Was it the Blind Shiek who made sure George Bush, Dick Cheney and Condoleeza Rice were permitted to testify in closed session, without swearing any oath, and that no notes of these sessions could be retained?

In other words, did Osama bin Laden change the parade route?



Peter Lance at Huffington Post, Aug 29:
TRIPLE CROSS: Nat Geo Channel's Whitewash of the Ali Mohamed Story

Rory O'Connor at AlterNet, Nov 15:
The 9/11 Conspiracy of Incompetence

Peter Lance at Huffington Post, Nov 17:
Al Qaeda and The Mob: How the FBI Blew It on 9/11

Jason Leopold at Scoop, Nov 20:
Peter Lance's 9/11 Masterpiece

Larry Johnson at TPM Cafe, Nov 20:
Peter Lance, Criss-Crossed

Jack Cashill at WorldNetDaily, Nov 22:
'Triple Cross' blows TWA 800 wide open

Jack Cashill at WorldNetDaily, Nov 30:
The Path from WTC I to WTC II

Peter Lance with Amy Goodman at Democracy Now, Nov 29:
Triple Cross: Journalist Peter Lance on How Bin Laden's Master Spy Penetrated the CIA, the Green Berets and the FBI - And Why Patrick Fitzgerald Failed to Stop Him