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Red Lines

(Particularly sensitive questions that should not be asked)

Diplomacy (Albright, Powell)

• Private sensitive discussions with friendly foreign officials

Military (Cohen, Rumsfeld)

• Specific capabilities and deployments of military forces


• Current intelligence and military operations against al Qaeda

Intelligence Policy (Tenet)

• Open discussion of capture vs. kill authorities


• Specific covert operations and their authorities
Sources and methods

National Policy Coordination (Berger, Clarke, Armitage)

• Private advice to the President (for current officials)


• Specific discussions of covert action (per guidelines)
CLANDESTINE & COVERT ACTION
SUGGESTED QUESTIONS FORGEORGE J. TENET
Designated Commissioners: Fred Fielding & Jamie Gorelick

1) A Global Strategy of Renditions and Disruptions. The CIA pursued a global


strategy of renditions and disruptions for going after al Qaeda in the period before 9-
11. The DCI has testified that these efforts prevented a number of terrorist attacks
and saved American lives.

a. How effective were the CIA's global efforts at disrupting al Qaeda cells
before 9/11?
b. Given that al Qaeda was turning out thousands of operatives from its training
camps, how much impact did a rendition strategy have on staunching
terrorism before 9/11?

2) Covert Action Strategy. The CIA needed a new strategy in terrorist safe-havens
such as Afghanistan, where the U.S. government was unable to gain the cooperation
of the Taliban movement in arresting or extraditing Bin Ladin. The CIA began
employing proxy forces to plan operations against Bin Ladin in Afghanistan as early
as 1997, and actively used them to carry out operations after August 1998. The CIA
made efforts to expand proxy options, and develop more unilateral sources, in a new
operational strategy called "The Plan " introduced in mid-1999. But the proxy
strategy continued until 9-11.

a. Without going into specific operations, please describe the CIA's overall
covert action strategy before 9/11.
b. What were the goals of this strategy?
c. Did the strategy itself, and its goals, change in the years leading up to 9/11 ?
d. How effective do you think the CIA's covert action strategy was in meeting
these goals before 9/11?

In late 2000, the CIA developed an offensive initiative for Afghanistan focused more
on eliminating the Afghanistan terrorist sanctuary than Bin Ladin himself. The Bush
administration built on these plans as part of its Afghan policy.

e. Without going into specific operations, were the CIA's efforts against Bin
Ladin and al Qaeda in the first 8 months of the Bush administration
effectively different than what it had been doing during the Clinton
administration?
f. Specifically, how different was the Bush administration's covert action
strategy developed before 9/11 from what the CIA had already been pursuing?

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g. If implemented before 9/11, how effective do you think this strategy would
have been in reducing the terrorist threat?

3) The Assassination Ban. Senior legal advisers in the Clinton administration have
told us that, even before August 1998, they had determined that Executive Order
12333 banning assassination did not apply in the case of Bin Ladin. Killing Bin
Ladin, they explained, -would be justified in terms of self-defense according to the law
of armed conflict.

How would a covert action designed to kill Bin Ladin, or which might likely
result in the death of Bin Ladin, be consistent with the Executive Order banning
assassination?

4) Sufficient Covert Action Authority. Some working-level officers in the CIA's


Counterterrorist Center (CTC) have told us they never had the covert authority they
wanted to effectively go after Bin Ladin before 9/11.

a. In your opinion, did the CIA receive appropriate and sufficient covert action
authority to go after Bin Ladin before 9/11?
b. Did you ever express to the policymakers, at any point before 9/11, a concern
that the CIA had insufficient covert action authority to go after Bin Ladin?
c. Did you ever ask for authorities regarding Bin Ladin before 9/11 that you did
not get?

5) CIA Direct Action in Afghanistan. Although the CIA did send its officers on
hazardous missions in Afghanistan before 9/11, it did not use its own personnel to
actively go after Bin Ladin. Yet after 9/11, CIA personnel were used to great effect in
Afghanistan against al Qaeda and Taliban forces, operating in an extremely
dangerous environment.

a. Did the CIA ever put its own personnel on the ground in Afghanistan to go
after Bin Ladin rather than relying on proxy forces before 9/11?
b. If not, why not?

6) Using Proxies. For three years, from August 1998 to 9/11, the CIA actively used
Afghan tribal assets to gather intelligence and carry out covert actions in Afghanistan
against Bin Ladin before 9/11. During this period, CIA senior managers told us they
were always wary of the reliability of the tribals' intelligence. Moreover, the tribals
do not appear to have carried out a single operation against Bin Ladin or his
principal lieutenants before 9-11.

a. Without getting into specific operations, what were the problems and benefits
involved in working with the Afghan tribal assets in Afghanistan before 9-11?
b. How reliable were they as intelligence reporters?
c. How confident were you at the time that they would actually carry out covert
actions? Did this confidence increase or decrease over time?

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d. To you knowledge, did the tribals ever carry out any operations against Bin
Ladin before 9-11?

One proxy group employed by the CIA in Afghanistan against Bin Ladin was the
Northern Alliance, led by Massoud. This group was the Taliban's strongest
opponent. Although he was willing to work with the CIA, his goals were focused less
on attacking al Qaeda and more on trying to defeat the Taliban. There was
considerable debate within the U.S. government—and within the CIA—as to how
much the U.S. ought to be backing Massoud, given his ties with Iran and drug
trafficking. On the one occasion when the Northern Alliance attacked a Bin Ladin
facility in Afghanistan (with little effect), without authorization from the CIA, there
was real anxiety within the CIA about this action.

e. Without getting into specific operations, what were the problems and benefits
involved in working with Massoud and his Northern Alliance forces in
Afghanistan before 9-11?
f. To what extent did Massoud share United States' objectives in Afghanistan?
g. How confident were you in Massoud and his fighters as a proxy force that the
CIA could use effectively in Afghanistan?
h. Did the tribals ever carry out any covert action operations (other than
intelligence gathering operations) against Bin Ladin before 9-11?

The proxy strategy in Afghanistan was clearly ineffective against Bin Ladin. Yet the
CIA continued to use proxies to carry out covert action for the entire period before
9/11.

i. Did you inform policymakers of the risks involved in using proxies—as


opposed to U.S. personnel—to carry out covert action in Afghanistan? Please
discuss in detail any conversations that you had on this topic with
policymakers in the period before 9/11.
j. Did you ever frankly advise policymakers of the prospects that any of the
CIA's proxy forces would carry out a successful operation against Bin Ladin
in the period before 9/11?
k. In short, if the proxy force strategy wasn't working, what steps did you take to
pursue alternatives to use of proxy forces?
1. What alternatives did you recommend to policymakers?

7) Actionable Intelligence. Yesterday, we heard how many senior Department of


Defense officials continually argued that the CIA's inability to produce "actionable
intelligence " limited their ability to undertake military action in the Afghanistan
terrorist sanctuary before 9/11.

a. Why was the CIA unable to produce actionable intelligence sufficient to meet
the military's requirements for action in Afghanistan before 9/11?
b. How is the CIA working with the military to solve this problem now?

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Yesterday, we heard how on three occasions between December 1998 and mid-1999,
the CIA 's intelligence was strong enough to set in motion active preparations to
launch military strikes to kill Bin Ladin. National Security Adviser Berger told the
Commission that on each occasion DCI Tenet advised that the intelligence was not
reliable enough to go ahead with the action.

c. National Security Adviser Samuel Berger told the Commission that on each of
three occasions after August 1998 when policymakers considered using
military action against Bin Ladin in Afghanistan, you advised that the
intelligence was not reliable enough to go ahead with the action. Was this in
fact your advice?
d. If so, please explain the general basis for such advice?

8) The U.S.S. Cole. Yesterday, we heard that while most counterterrorism officials
almost immediately suspected that al Qaeda was behind the October 2000 attack on
the U.S.S. Cole, the CIA was never able to provide a definitive judgment of
responsibility. National Security Adviser Berger told us that before using military
force he needed his senior intelligence adviser to have come to the conclusion that al
Qaeda was responsible for the attack.

a. What were your conclusions as to who was responsible for the attack on the
U.S.S. Cole, and when did you reach these conclusions?

9) Predator. According to several NSC and CIA officers, the CIA's senior management
resisted development of the Predator as a reconnaissance platform in 2000, and only
agreed to fly Predator over Afghanistan on an experimental basis.

a. Did you originally support the development of Predator in 2000 as a


reconnaissance platform to use over Afghanistan? Why was there resistance
from some senior CIA officers for this project?

The Predator's flights in fall 2000 were very successful: CIA analysts think that Bin
Ladin was spotted on two occasions.

b. In your opinion, did Predator spot Bin Ladin in fall 2000?


c. How valuable was the intelligence Predator collected from reconnaissance
flights in fall 2000?

When winter weather prevented further flights, senior managers at the CIA, including
in the CTC, wanted to bring the Predator back to the U.S. and not redeploy the
Predator until an armed capability was ready. CIA analysts said that, since the
Taliban had spotted the Predator in the fall, further reconnaissance flights might
jeopardize the effectiveness of future armed flights.

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CIA senior managers argued with DOD about funding the Predator project, and
about command-and-control issues. There were no Predator flights over Afghanistan
in 2001 until after 9/11.

d. What were your reasons for opposing flying Predator for reconnaissance
purposes in 2001?
e. Why didn't the Predator (reconnaissance or armed) fly in spring/summer
2001?
f. Did CIA disputes over funding or command-and-control issues have the effect
of stalling Predator missions?
g. Why did you change your position after the September 4,2001 Principals'
Committee meeting, and agree to fly reconnaissance flights in 2001?

10) Commission Recommendations. We are considering a range of topics for


recommendations. Currently, the DCI is both the principal analyst of the terrorist
enemy as well as the commander for many operations in the field in the war on
terror.

a. How has the role of the CIA in fighting terrorism changed post-9/11 ?
b. How has the leadership role of the Director of Central Intelligence changed
post-9/11?
c. What do you spend most of your time doing? How much of your time is spent
on full operations against terrorism, and how much is spent on analysis of the
terrorism threat or on other activities? Is this the right balance and use of your
time?

In the DCI's recent Worldwide Threat briefing before the Senate Select
Committee on Intelligence, he stated that the al Qaeda leadership structure has
been seriously damaged since 9/11, but there is still a significant and ongoing
terrorist threat.

d. Two and a half years after the 9/11 attacks, why has the U.S. Government
been unable to find Usama Bin Ladin, and other terrorist and Taliban leaders
such as Ayman al-Zawahiri, or Mullah Omar?
e. What kind of conflict is the United States currently in—and against what
enemy? Is this a war on "terrorism" or a struggle for the future of the Muslim
world?
f. What is the appropriate role of the CIA and the Intelligence Community in the
war, and what role is inappropriate?

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HEARING AGENDA

STAFF STATEMENT
Diplomacy

THE HONORABLE MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT


Former Secretary of State

THE HONORABLE COLIN L. POWELL


Secretary of State
TABLE OF CONTENTS

STAFF STATEMENT
The Military

THE HONORABLE WILLIAM S. COHEN


Former Secretary of Defense

THE HONORABLE DONALD H. RUMSFELD


Secretary of Defense

STAFF STATEMENT
8 Clandestine and Covert Action

THE HONORABLE GEORGE J. TENET


9 Director of Central Intelligence

STAFF STATEMENT
10 National Policy Coordination

THE HONORABLE SAMUEL R. BERGER


11 Former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

MR. RICHARD A. CLARKE


12 Former National Coordinator for Counterterrorism

THE HONORABLE RICHARD L. ARMITAGE


13 Deputy Secretary of State

14 REFERENCES
NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TERRORIST ATTACKS UPON THE UNITED STATES
EIGHTH PUBLIC HEARING - MARCH 23-24,2004
HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING, ROOM 216 • WASHINGTON, DC

COUNTERTERRORISM POLICY

TUESDAY, MARCH 23

9:00 - 9:30 a.m. STAFF STATEMENT NO. 5 Diplomacy

9:30-11:00 a.m. The Honorable Madeleine K. Albright (Q: Lehman & Roemer)

Former Secretary of State

11:00- 12:30 p.m. The Honorable Colin L. Powell (Q: Gorelick & Thompson)
Secretary of State

12:30-1:30 p.m. BREAK

1:30-2:00 p.m. STAFF STATEMENT NO. 6 The Military

2:00-3:30 p.m. The Honorable William S. Cohen (Q: Fielding & Kerrey)
Former Secretary of Defense

3:30-5:00 p.m. The Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld (Q: Gorton & Kerrey)
Secretary of Defense
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24

9:00- 9:30 a.m. STAFF STATEMENT NO. 7 Clandestine and Covert Action

9:30-11:00 a.m. The Honorable George J. Tenet (Q: Fielding & Gorelick)
Director of Central Intelligence

11:00 - 11:30 a.m. STAFF STATEMENT NO. 8 National Policy Coordination

11:30-1:00 p.m. The Honorable Samuel R. Berger (Q: Ben-Veniste & Lehman)
Former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

1:00- 2:00 p.m. BREAK

2:00-4:00 p.m. Mr. Richard A. Clarke (Q: Gorton & Roemer)


Former National Coordinator for Counterterrorism, National Security Council

4:00-5:30 p.m. The Honorable Richard L. Armitage (Q: Ben-Veniste & Thompson)
Deputy Secretary of State

5:30 p.m. Hearing concludes. Press availability to follow.


DIPLOMACY

SUGGESTED QUESTIONS FOR MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT


Designated Commissioners: John Lehman & Tim Roemer

1) Counterterrorism in U.S. Foreign Policy before the East Africa Attacks.

a. Upon taking office in January 1997 and through August of 1998, when the
two U.S. embassies were bombed, what were our major foreign policy
issues?

b. Where did terrorism fall in this agenda and what was the diplomatic
strategy to combat it?

2) Diplomacy after the Embassy Bombings.

a. Generally, how did diplomacy's role change after the embassies were
attacked?

b. Was there an interagency consensus about what diplomatic steps to


pursue?

c. What policies did you push to address the question of terrorism?

3) Addressing the Afghan Sanctuary. In late 1997, you traveled to Pakistan


and publicly said "We are opposed to the Taliban because of...their
despicable treatment of women and children and their general lack of respect
for human dignity."

a. Given your comments, was Bin Ladin's presence not a concern at that
time?

b. Why did U.N. Ambassador Richardson travel to Afghanistan in April


1998? What did he achieve?

c. What was driving our Afghan policy before the east Africa attacks?
Describe the extent that human rights, poppy production, efforts to end the
civil war and Bin Ladin's presence shaped our approach?
d. In the late 1990s, an American oil company, UNOCAL, sought to run a
pipeline from central Asia through Afghanistan. How did that company's
ambitions affect our approach to Afghanistan and specifically the Taliban?
Did you support it? When and why did it cease its efforts to build its
Afghan pipeline?

e. We have heard that the major diplomatic tools used to force Bin Ladin 's
expulsion from Afghanistan after the east Africa attacks included
demands, threats, sanctions as well as employing certain allies to apply
additional pressure on the Taliban. Were these the only instruments
considered and/or used? Why were these selected?

f. After the east Africa attacks, senior State Department officials constantly
demanded that the Taliban hand over Bin Ladin, and threatened Taliban
representatives that "they would be held responsible "for any future Bin
Ladin attacks. These included the threat of preemptive or retaliatory
military strikes. To what extent was State working with the Pentagon to
ensure that such operations would be ready for use in the event the USG
had to make good on these threats? What specific military options were
made available? How did the military view the threats being made by
State's diplomats?

g. In your interview with us, you said that sanctioning the Taliban was the
most pragmatic diplomatic way to push the Bin Ladin issue and that the by
the end of 2000 the administration was working on additional sanctions to
tackle terrorist financing. But you also admitted that sanctions were not
"airtight". Why did the USG put so much faith in sanctions? During
your tenure, did they produce any results? If so, what were they?

h. You mentioned why the State Department did not designate the Taliban as
a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Was this a widely debated topic?
Alternatively, why was the Taliban not designated as a Foreign Terrorist
Organization?

i. In your interview with us, you described a debate on whether to aid the
Taliban's rival, the Northern Alliance. You also said that you were
against providing them with lethal aid to fight the Taliban. What was
your logic for this decision?

j. Looking back, what could have been done differently with the Taliban?
Did you ever appreciate that the Taliban was more willing to be forced
from power rather than surrender Bin Ladin?
4) Enlisting Pakistani Support. As we have heard, Pakistan was the Taliban's
strongest supporter and thus had the most leverage to move them on the Bin
Ladin issue. But prior to 9/11, Pakistan's military was still assisting the
Taliban.

a. In your interview with us, you described that, upon taking office, Pakistan
was an incredibly complicated country for the USG and that you wanted
to increase engagement with that country. You also said that as time went
on, Islamabad's relationship with the Taliban became increasingly
important in our agenda. How did American diplomats address the
Taliban with the Pakistanis and what options did we consider and/or use to
enlist cooperation? What were their limits? Why did the USG not
designate Pakistan as a State Sponsor of Terrorism?

b. Some USG officials feared that if Washington punished the Pakistani too
harshly on counterterrorism issues by imposing additional sanctions, the
country could implode economically. This, they believed, would lead to a
chaotic situation where Islamic radicals could take control of the country
and its nuclear arsenal. Did you subscribe to this theory? If so, what was
your basis for your decision?

c. You mentioned how congressional sanctions punishing Pakistan for its


nuclear ambitions and democratization problems affected our Pakistan
policy. How in turn did this affect our Bin Ladin policy? Can you
describe in more specificity how the Clinton administration addressed
congress on lifting the sanctions?

d. In your interview with us, you mentioned how the USG wanted to increase
engagement with Pakistan in hopes of turning them on a number of issues.
As we have heard, there were a number of high level diplomatic
dispatches to that country, especially in the winter and spring of 2000,
which included President Clinton. Given these high level interactions,
why did they fail to produce results on the Bin Ladin problem?

5) Working with the Saudis. During your interview, you characterized our
relationship with Saudi Arabia as one of the most difficult we had and noted
that the USG constantly reminded them of the dangers posed by Bin Ladin.

a. How well did the Saudis cooperate with us on pressuring the Taliban to
expel Bin Ladin? Did other objectives, such as access to Saudi oil,
Riyadh's involvement in the Middle East peace process, and the use of
U.S. aircraft from Saudi bases restrict our ability to push them on
counterterrorism? Did we consider withdrawing any support when the
Saudis did not cooperate?
b. In our interview, you said that the USG did not have a clear picture of the
problems associated with Saudi charities that could be funding radical
groups. What kept us from seeing the "whole picture"? To the extent did
the USG know of the problems relating to Saudi charities; what was done
to address them?

c. You mentioned in the interview that the USG raised terrorism financing
issues with the Saudi leadership, including Crown Prince Abdullah.
When did the USG become concerned with the money emanating from the
Kingdom? What success did you have in addressing the problem?

6) Sudan as a Terrorist Sanctuary. Despite leaving Sudan in 1996, the USG


believed that Bin Laden's network apparently remained in that country.

a. What diplomatic efforts were being conducted by the USG to elicit


Sudanese cooperation on terrorism generally and al Qaeda specifically?

b. Some had alleged that the Sudanese were willing to work with the USG on
terrorism, but that our hard-line isolation policy toward that country
prevented any cooperation. Did State aggressively pursue offers it may
have received from the Sudanese to cooperate?

In February 1997, Sudanese Foreign Minister AH Taha, in hopes of


improving relations and alleviating U.S. concerns for terrorism, sent you
a letter inviting a U.S. mission to Sudan. You responded to that letter in
May calling for the Sudanese to take "substantial, concrete " steps on
counterterrorism, human rights and reaching a settlement to their civil
war before USG relations could improve. Was our counterterrorism
agenda diluted by other concerns such ending Sudan's civil war? Given
the fact that the Sudanese had expelled Carlos the Jackal and Bin Ladin,
how did the USG measure Sudanese cooperation? Was a formal system
used to measure their progress?

c. State Department personnel left embassy Khartoum in the winter of 1996.


Given that terrorism was a top priority for you after the east Africa attacks,
why did the State Department not restaff an embassy that could have
provided valuable diplomatic reporting on terrorist activities in Sudan?

7) Assessment of Diplomacy as an Instrument of Counterterrorism.

a. As you look at the record of the Department of State during your tenure,
what would you have done differently, knowing what you know today?

b. What policies would you change, what different steps would you take?
8) Commission Recommendations. We are considering a range of topics for
making recommendations to fight the war on terrorism. What suggestions
would you make to the Commission bringing foreign policy back into a
national strategy involving the full range of instruments of diplomacy? [TO
THE EXTENT NOT DISCUSSED IN HER ORAL STATEMENT]

a. What policies, programs and structures would you change at the


Department of State?

b. What changes in the foreign policy of the United States would you
recommend?

c. What changes do you recommend in U.S. policy toward Afghanistan,


Pakistan and Saudi Arabia?

d. What message should the United States be conveying to the Muslim and
Arab world, and how should we be conveying it?
DIPLOMACY

SUGGESTED QUESTIONS FOR COLIN L. POWELL


Designated Commissioners: Jamie Gorelick & James Thompson

1) Bush Foreign Policy Agenda before 9/11.

a. Could you describe the most pressing foreign policy issues facing the
incoming Bush administration?

b. Where would you rate counterterrorism on this list? What was the basis for
that particular concern? Did representatives from the previous administration
voice any concerns to you about this issue? How were they conveyed?

c. Generally, how did the Bush administration seek to address al Qaeda before
9/11? Where did diplomacy fit into this strategy? What did you see as the
elements of continuity and change in the diplomacy used by the
administration to address the al Qaeda threat? How was this diplomacy fine
tuned as the level of threat reporting increased during the summer of 2001?

2) Pressure on the Taliban. Through the spring and early summer of 2001, how
was diplomacy used to pressure the Taliban on the Bin Ladin problem? Was it
producing any movement by the Taliban on expelling Bin Ladin? If not, why
not?

a. Both Clinton and Bush administration envoys demanded that the Taliban
hand over Bin Ladin, and threatened Taliban representatives that "they
would be held responsible "for any future Bin Ladin attacks. This
included the threat of preemptive or retaliatory military strikes. To what
extent was State working with the Pentagon to ensure that such operations
would be ready for use in the event the USG had to make good on these
threats? What specific military options were made available? How did
the military view the threats being made by State's diplomats?

b. In our meeting, you recalled supporting the notion of aiding the Northern
Alliance. Was this support aimed at staving off its defeat or building it
into a force that could overthrow the Taliban? What were the pros and
cons of doing so? Iran and Russia were providing them with arms and
they were making little progress on the battlefield; would American
assistance really make a difference? Why was there not robust support
for this before 9/11?
c. Why did the State Department not designate the Taliban as a State
Sponsor of Terrorism or a Foreign Terrorist Organization?

d. Today, what is being done diplomatically in order to prevent Afghanistan


from once again becoming a terrorist sanctuary?

3) Pakistan. In your discussion with the Commission, you mentioned that


Washington's relationship with Islamabad before 9/11 was a strained one and
there was concern about Pakistan's support for the Taliban.

a. What were U.S. priorities regarding Pakistan before 9/11 ?

b. What diplomatic efforts were considered and/or used in hopes of


changing Pakistan's Afghan policy? Why was Pakistan not designated a
State Sponsor of Terrorism? Were you aware of the prior
administration's attempt to persuade Islamabad on the Taliban issue?
How did their approach differ from those employed by the Bush
administration up until 9/11?

c. To what extent did congressional sanctions complicate our approach?


Describe State's efforts to seek congressional repeal or waiver of these
sanctions.

d. You mentioned to us that on the night of September 13, 2001, you called
Pakistan's Prime Minister Pervez Musharraf. Can you describe the
requests you made and the prime minister's responses?

e. What is the State Department doing to address the presence of al Qaeda in


Pakistan today? What do you see as the success or lack of success of
American diplomacy in persuading Pakistan to gain control of its frontier
areas and apprehending al Qaeda elements?

f. During the 1990 's, it appeared that Pakistan's Afghan policy was, above
all, a result of insecurity with India. Despite US concerns and pressures,
Pakistan subscribed to the "strategic depth " argument and aided the
Taliban. What is Washington currently doing to alleviate Pakistani
concerns towards India, which if not reduced, could led them to return to
risky and desperate policies including support to Islamic radicals in the
Kashmir region?

4) Saudi Arabia. What diplomatic efforts were being conducted by the USG on
eliciting Saudi cooperation on terrorism financing, pressuring the Taliban and
sharing al Qaeda related intelligence prior to 9/11? How did Riyadh respond?
Did the USG consider withdrawing any support if the Saudis failed to respond
positively?
a. You met twice with Crown Prince Abdullah before 9/11 but records
indicate that neither terrorism nor Bin Ladin was discussed at either
meeting. What was the nature of your discussion in these two meetings
and other conversations with the Crown Prince?

b. In our meeting, you described Riyadh's cooperation on counterterrorism


as much improved, especially since the al Qaeda attacks in the Kingdom
last spring. Why did it take almost two years for Saudi cooperation to
increase to an acceptable level? Generally, what is being done today to
ensure that the Saudis continue with this level of cooperation? What is
the Saudi government not doing that it should be?

5) Diplomacy in the Present and Future. How is this administration using foreign
policy to combat al Qaeda today? What are the tools in the State Department's
"tool box"? Are you using them, and with what effect?

a. As a Pew Research survey indicated last year, global attitudes towards the
United States have eroded significantly since 2000 ~ what do you cite as
the cause for this drop and what is being done to remedy it? How are we
using diplomacy to win the hearts and minds of potential adversaries in
the Islamic world? What needs to be done to reverse these negative
perceptions of the United States, and how important is it to American
foreign policy to succeed in this effort?

b. South Asia and the Middle East are receiving most of the USG 's attention
in its war on terror. What are other "at risk" regions and what are we
doing to prevent them from becoming the next Afghanistan? For
example, what is being done in east Africa and south east Asia where
many of the countries have large Muslim populations and porous borders?

6) Commission Recommendations. We are considering a range of topics for


making recommendations to fight the war on terrorism. What suggestions would
you make to the Commission bringing foreign policy back into a national strategy
involving the all the instruments of diplomacy?
THE MILITARY

SUGGESTED QUESTIONS FOR WILLIAM S. COHEN


Designated Commissioners: Fred Fielding & Bob Kerrey

1) The Role of the Military in Counterterrorism Strategy. The U.S. military's


traditional domestic role had been specialized support to state and local
authorities for dealing with the consequences of terrorist attack, and security
support for special events. Abroad, the role of the U.S. military had been to
provide support for law enforcement, such as military transport for renditions of
suspected terrorists, or support for other agencies as they responded to a terrorist
attack, such as the East Africa bombings. Under Presidential Directive 62, the
Defense Department did not have a leading role in counter-terrorism efforts during
your tenure. Overall, the military has been criticized for being reluctant to
conduct military operations against al-Qaeda and Bin Ladin.

a. Given that some critics believe that the U.S. military could have done
more to protect America against terrorism, do you now think the U.S.
military was too focused on defensive, force protection measures as
opposed to more aggressive counterterrorism operations?
b. Given that DoD was given no lead agency counterterrorism
responsibilities in Presidential Directive 62, is it not true that the military
was underused in the U.S. counterterrorism strategy against Bin Laden?
c. As we noted, there were lower level officials in the Pentagon, both civilian
and military, who sought a more aggressive role for the military in
counterterrorism efforts after the Embassy bombings. Why was it that
these ideas were not fully developed by the Pentagon in the months
following those attacks?
d. What discussions took place within the Pentagon during your tenure on
the establishment of a unified command in the United States dedicated to
homeland defense, and what happened as a result of those discussions?

2) The Military Response to the Embassy Bombings. On August 7,1998, the U.S.
embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam were bombed. On August 20, 1998, the
U.S. military responded with cruise missile attacks against terrorist camps in
Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan.

a. What was the military objective of the August 20 cruise missile attack
against terrorist camps in Afghanistan? Was that objective achieved?
What lessons did you learn from this attack regarding military action
against al Qaeda elements in Afghanistan?
b. The cruise missile attack on the pharmaceutical plant in Sudan was
heavily criticized at the time. Given the evidence we have today, do you
believe now that plant was used by Bin Ladin to make biological or
chemical weapons?
c. Recalling the negative reaction to the U.S. military response at the time,
how did that criticism affect your thinking about the use of military force
in defending the United States against the threat posed by al-Qaeda? Were
you prepared to take further military action? How so?
d. Given the controversy following the military strikes, what was your
assessment of the viability of the military option as part of a strategy to
defeat the al-Qaeda terrorist threat that was growing in Afghanistan?
e. What is your view regarding the criticism that some voiced at the time that
the administration used the military response of August 20 to deflect
attention from President Clinton's domestic political concerns?

3) Subsequent Military Planning for Follow-on Operations. On August 20, 1998,


General Shelton, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued a planning
order for the preparation of follow-on military operations against al-Qaeda in
Afghanistan. Although several military options were developed, we understand
that General Zinni, the commander of U.S. Central Command, was reluctant to
use military force due to the high potential for unwelcome consequences to
important U.S. interests throughout the region. After our cruise missile attacks on
al-Qaeda camps on August 20, 1998, the U.S. military did not undertake any
further military operation against al Qaeda and Usama Bin Ladin in Afghanistan.

a. What directions did you give the military for the development of military
plans against Bin Ladin and al-Qaeda in his Afghanistan sanctuary
after August 20, 1998?
b. How did you assess General Zinni's concerns at the time about using
military force in the region in the months following the attacks of August
20, 1998. Did these concerns effectively rule out the use of military force
against Bin Ladin and his al-Qaeda groups in Afghanistan?
c. Given that the Taliban regime, which was harboring Bin Ladin and al
Qaeda, did have infrastructure, did your guidance to the military include
operations against the Taliban, or was it solely focused on Bin Laden?
Was planning done to conduct military operations against the Taliban?
d. Given the comments by several senior military officers on the practical
limitations in conducting military operations in Afghanistan, did these
considerations effectively rule out the use of U.S. military force against
Bin Laden in Afghanistan? Why not?
4) Domestic Support for a Large Military Campaign. Several senior military and
civilian officials say that before 9/11 neither the Congress nor the American
people would have supported a large-scale U.S. military campaign involving two-
to-four divisions against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

a. What is your assessment of this conclusion?


b. Would the nation have supported a large-scale military invasion of
Afghanistan before 9/11 against al-Qaeda and Usama Bin Ladin?

5) Reluctance to Employ Special Operations Forces Against Bin Ladin. When in


the Senate, you were a champion for the establishment of the United States
Special Operations Command, and you pushed this initiative through despite
opposition from many parts of the Pentagon. However, there seems to have been
an unwillingness to use America's very expert Special Operations forces, which
elements had trained for counterterrorism operations, against al Qaeda and Usama
Bin Ladin.

a. Was there consideration given to directing the U.S. Special Operations


Command to prepare for conducting special operations in Afghanistan
against bin Ladin? If so, what were the considerations? How did you
view them?
b. Why was there a reluctance to use Special Operations forces in military
operations against al Qaeda and Usama Bin Ladin?

6) The Military's Pursuit of Actionable Intelligence. The paramount limitation


that was repeatedly cited by senior military officials on each decision for using
military force was the lack of "actionable intelligence." We understand that this
meant that the specific location of bin Laden and his key followers was not
sufficiently determined to launch military strikes. There were at least three
opportunities to use force against bin Laden before 9/11, however, in each case it
was determined that the intelligence was not actionable.

a. What was your experience in how the lack of actionable intelligence


inhibited the use of military force against al-Qaeda and Bin Ladin in
Afghanistan?
b. Given these setbacks in using force, what was your assessment of our
existing capacity to obtain the required actionable intelligence needed to
use military force against al Qaeda and Bin Ladin?
c. Since having actionable intelligence was a serious limitation to the use of
military force against this threat to the United States, what steps did you
direct the military take to augment the CIA efforts in acquiring better
actionable intelligence? What was the result of your efforts?
7) The "Default" Non-Option of a Cruise Missile Attack. Some DoD individuals
have described a cruise missile attack as the "default option" for military action
against al Qaeda and Bin Ladin targets in Afghanistan before 9/11 because all
other options were deemed either too damaging, undesirable, or impracticable.
However, the use of cruise missiles was severely limited by a lack of actionable
intelligence and concerns about the killing of large numbers of innocent civilians.

a. Was the "default option" really an option? Wasn't a cruise missile attack
very unlikely due to the remote possibility of getting actionable
intelligence and the high likelihood of collateral damage?
b. Did the Pentagon rely solely on cruise missiles as the method to attack al-
Qaeda and Bin Ladin targets in Afghanistan?
c. Given the potential for collateral damage from a cruise missile attack,
what alternatives did the Pentagon seek in order to minimize the effects of
this adverse consequence for potential military operations in Afghanistan?

8) Military Response to the Attack on the U.S.S. Cole. On October 12, 2000,
suicide bombers rammed into the U.S.S. Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen killing
17 U.S. sailors and almost sinking the vessel. The Clinton administration did not
launch a military response on either Bin Laden or the Taliban in self-defense of
further attacks on the United States.

a. What preparations did the military undertake after the U.S.S. Cole incident
to conduct operations if policymakers decided to respond to the attack?
b. Why was there no military response to defend the United States from
further attacks following the bombing of the U.S.S. Colel

9) Military Support to Diplomatic Pressure. This morning, we heard about the


efforts of the Department of State to threaten Taliban representatives beginning in
early 1999, that "if the Taliban continue to harbor and support Bin Ladin, the U.S.
will hold the Taliban directly responsible for further attacks against the U.S. by
Bin Ladin" and that "the U.S. reserves the right to use military force."

a. To what extent did the Pentagon work with the Department of State to
ensure the Taliban understood that this threat was credible and that it was
backed up with ready military capability in case of an attack?
b. Was the military prepared to launch a military response against the
Taliban to follow-through our diplomatic threat?
10) Effectiveness of the Transition to the Bush Administration. You have told us
that during the change in administration in January 2001, you briefed Secretary
Rumsfeld on approximately 50 items, including the threat posed by al-Qaeda and
Usama Bin Ladin. He was also briefed on existing military plans against al Qaeda
and Usama Bin Ladin-linked targets.

a. Where did the al-Qaeda threat to the United States fit into this list of
50 items you discussed with Secretary Rumsfeld?
b. Did you discuss the matter of responding to the attack on the U.S.S.
Cole? Can you tell us what you said to Secretary Rumsfeld?
c. Given your keen interest in Bin Laden and the threat he posed to the
United States, what advice did you give to Secretary Rumsfeld as he
was entering office? Do you think he understood the gravity of the
threat to the United States?

11) Commission Recommendations. Our report will include recommendations for


the future.

a. Are we winning or losing the war on terrorism, and what should we do as


a nation to adjust our strategy and tactics? Is it your perspective that we
are relying too much or too little on the use of the military in our
counter-terrorism policy? What other elements need to be in our policy?
b. Specifically, what should the U.S. military do to adjust to the war on
terrorism? How should doctrine, organization, and the deployment and use
of forces change?
c. What is your perspective on Homeland Defense? What should the military
do and not do in support of Homeland Defense? What do you see as the
appropriate role, if any, of the military in domestic intelligence? How do
you see the Posse Comitatus Act apply to such activities?
THE MILITARY

SUGGESTED QUESTIONS FOR DONALD H. RUMSFELD


Designated Commissioners: Slade Gordon & Bob Kerrey

1) The Effectiveness of the Transition: During the transition, former Secretary


Cohen informed us that he briefed you on 50 items, including al Qaeda, Usama
Bin Ladin, and existing military plans for military operations against al Qaeda and
Usama Bin Ladin in Afghanistan. During our recent interview with you in
January, you said you had no detailed recollection of the content of these
briefings.

a. Can you tell us whether al Qaeda and Usama Bin Ladin was emphasized
as a significant threat to the United States as compared with the other
items discussed during your transition briefing with former Secretary
Cohen?

b. During the transition period, both Secretary Powell and National Security
Advisor Rice were briefed at length by members of the Counterterrorism
Security Group, the working group of counterterrorism experts in the U.S.
government. We understand that you did not receive such a briefing from
this group. Why did you not seek a briefing from these experts during the
transition period?

c. The outgoing Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and


Law Intensity Conflict, Brian Sheridan, was the Pentagon's senior civilian
official for managing Defense counterterrorism policy during the
transition. He has told us that although he had scheduled two briefings for
you, both were cancelled. In addition, he said he was not able to brief
anyone on your transition team. Why did you not seek out a briefing by
this Defense policy expert on counterterrorism during the transition?

2) No OSD Policy Manager for Counterterrorism on 9/11. The Assistant


Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict is
formally the senior civilian policy manager for counterterrorism in the Office of
Secretary of Defense. Yet this position was unfilled when 9/11 occurred, and it
remained unfilled until the summer of 2003. Given that this delay would likely
diminish the Pentagon's role in counterterrorism, can you give us your
explanation on why there was no OSD policy manager for counterterrorism for
nearly two and half years?
3) Early Defense Priorities. You have told us that upon assuming office in January
2001, you were consumed with completing the Quadrennial Defense Review,
initiating defense transformation, and updating existing contingency plans.
Lower-level officials working in the Pentagon during this period state that the
new team at the Pentagon was focused on other issues, most not related to
counterterrorism.

a. After you assumed office in January 2001, can you tell us how much
emphasis you devoted to counterterrorism issues before 9/11?

b. What did you see as the most significant threats to the United States and
how did al Qaeda and Usama Bin Ladin factor into your concerns? What
directions did you give regarding the threat of al Qaeda to Americans?

4) No Military Response to the U.S.S. Cole. When you assumed office in January
2001, you were aware that just three months earlier on October 12, 2000, suicide
bombers rammed into the U.S.S. Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen killing 17 U.S.
sailors and almost sinking the vessel. The Clinton administration did not
authorize a military response. After if was concluded in February 2001 that it was
probable that al Qaeda conducted the attack, the Bush administration did not
conduct military action against Bin Laden.

a. Did you review military options to respond to the bombing of the U.S.S.
Colel Were any preparations ordered by you to respond to the attack on
the U.S.S. Colel

b. When you learned that al Qaeda was behind the attack, why was there not
a military response against al Qaeda?

c. Should the United States respond to attacks on its military forces?

5) The Role of the Military in Counterterrorism before 9/11. The military has
been criticized for being reluctant to conduct military operations against al Qaeda
and Usama Bin Ladin before 9/11. Critics believe that the U.S. military could
have done more to protect America against terrorism.

1) Do you now think the U.S. military was too focused on defensive, force
protection measures as opposed to the use of force in more active
counterterrorism operations before 9/11?

2) What was your view on the use of military force in Afghanistan against al
Qaeda and Usama Bin Ladin during your tenure before 9/11?

3) Would the nation have supported a large-scale military invasion of


Afghanistan before 9/11 against al Qaeda and Usama Bin Ladin?
6) No Military Planning for New Strategy. Our investigation shows that no new
military plans were developed to target al Qaeda or Bin Ladin during your tenure
before 9/11. It also indicates that the military did not receive any new guidance
on preparing military options for use against al Qaeda and Bin Ladin targets
during your tenure before 9/11. At the same time, in the spring and summer 2001,
NSC officials state that the administration was engaged in developing a new
counterterrorism strategy that included a more robust role for the military. Yet,
there seem to have been no steps taken in the Department to prepare for a
potential new role in counterterrorism.

a. Did you ever receive any requests from the White House to develop
military plans against al Qaeda and Usarna Bin Ladin that would support a
new counterterrorism strategy?

b. What directions, if any, did you give the military to develop plans against
al Qaeda and Usama Bin Ladin targets in the Afghanistan sanctuary before
9/11?

7) Actionable Intelligence. The paramount limitation cited by senior Department of


Defense officials on every proposed use of military force against al Qaeda and
Usama Bin Ladin targets in Afghanistan was the lack of "actionable intelligence."
What steps did the military take to assist the CIA in acquiring better actionable
intelligence?

8) Military Support to Diplomatic Pressure. This morning we heard about the


efforts of the Department of State to threaten the Taliban representatives that
"they would be responsible," for attacks conducted by Usama Bin Ladin,
including the threat of U.S. military retaliation against the Taliban.

a. To what extent did the Pentagon work with the Department of State to
ensure the Taliban understood that there was a committed military
component of the political-military strategy to threaten the Taliban with
military force?

b. To what extent was the military prepared to launch a response if there was
an attack by Usama Bin Ladin or al Qaeda?

9) Reorganization for Combating Terrorism: In 2002, the United States Special


Operations Command was tasked to be the lead command to plan military
operations in the global war on terror. In addition, the United States Northern
Command, stood up in October 2002, is responsible for homeland defense.

a. How has the decision to make the U.S. Special Operations Command the
lead command for planning military operations in the global war on terror
increased the capabilities and effectiveness of the Department to fight the
global war on terrorism?
b. How has the decision to establish a Northern Command increased the
capability of the United States to defend against terrorist attacks in the
United States?

10) Commission Recommendations. Our report will include recommendations for


the future.

a. Are we winning or losing the war on terrorism, and what should we do as


a Nation to adjust our strategy and tactics? Is it your perspective that we
are relying too much or too little on the use of the military in our
counterterrorism policy? What other elements need to be in our policy?
b. Specifically, what should the U.S. military do to adjust to the war on
terrorism? How should doctrine, organization, and the deployment and use
of forces change?
c. What is your perspective on Homeland Defense? What should the
military do and not do in support of Homeland Defense? What do you see
as the appropriate role, if any, of the military in domestic intelligence?
How do you see the Posse Comitatus Act apply to such activities?
CLANDESTINE & COVERT ACTION
SUGGESTED QUESTIONS FOR GEORGE J. TENET
Designated Commissioners: Fred Fielding & Jamie Gorelick

1) A Global Strategy of Renditions and Disruptions. The CIA pursued a global


strategy of renditions and disruptions for going after al Qaeda in the period before 9-
11. The DCI has testified that these efforts prevented a number of terrorist attacks
and saved American lives.

a. How effective were the CIA's global efforts at disrupting al Qaeda cells
before 9/11?
b. Given that al Qaeda was turning out thousands of operatives from its training
camps, how much impact did a rendition strategy have on staunching
terrorism before 9/11?

2) Covert Action Strategy. The CIA needed a new strategy in terrorist safe-havens
such as Afghanistan, where the U.S. government was unable to gain the cooperation
of the Taliban movement in arresting or extraditing Bin Ladin. The CIA was using
proxy forces in Afghanistan to plan operations against Bin Ladin as early as 1997.
Beginning in August 1998, the CIA employed proxy forces to carry out covert actions
against Bin Ladin and his principal lieutenants. This strategy continued until 9/11.

a. What was the CIA's covert action strategy for attacking Bin Ladin and al
Qaeda in the Afghanistan terrorist sanctuary after the East Africa Embassy
bombings in August 1998?
b. What were the goals of this strategy, and how effective was it in meeting these
goals?
c. Would arresting or eliminating Bin Ladin in August 1998 have stopped the
9/11 attacks?

In mid-1999, the CIA introduced a new operational strategy called "The Plan, " to
expand proxy options for going after Bin Ladin, and develop more unilateral sources
(as opposed to relying on foreign liaison).

d. How did the CIA's covert action strategy for attacking Bin Ladin and al
Qaeda in the Afghanistan terrorist sanctuary change with the implementation
of "The Plan"?
e. How effective was "The Plan" in attacking Bin Ladin and al Qaeda?

-1-
In late 2000, the CIA developed an offensive initiative for Afghanistan. It involved
increasing support to anti-Taliban groups, and a major effort to back Northern
Alliance forces to (i) try to postpone a victory by the Taliban army and (ii) tie down
al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan. The Bush administration built on these plans as
part of their Afghan policy.

f. What was the CIA doing to attack Bin Ladin and al Qaeda in the first 8
months of the Bush administration that was effectively different than what it
had been doing during the Clinton administration?
g. How different was the Bush administration's covert action strategy developed
before 9/11 from what the CIA had already been pursuing?
h. If implemented before 9/11, how effective do you think this strategy would
have been in reducing the terrorist threat?

3) Capture vs. Kill. National Security Adviser Samuel Berger testified to the
Commission under oath that he sent specific language to the DCI, regarding covert
action authorities against Bin Ladin, which said: you may kill him. He also said that
these authorities contained explicit language saying UBL could be killed. The
National Coordinator for Counterterrorism Richard Clarke testified to the
Commission under oath that he had told the DCI that the president wanted Bin Ladin
dead, and was assured by Tenet that he knew exactly what the policymakers' intent
was.

a. Please describe your understanding of what the policymakers' intent was in


employing covert action against Bin Ladin in Afghanistan from August 1998
to the end of the Clinton administration. Did you think the intent was for the
CIA to use its assets to kill Bin Ladin?
b. Was it your understanding that the CIA was given covert action authority to
kill Bin Ladin?

4) The Assassination Ban. Senior legal advisers in the Clinton administration have
told us that, even before August 1998, they had determined that an order from the
president to kill Bin Ladin in a covert action would not violate Executive Order
12333, banning assassination. Killing Bin Ladin, they explained, would be justified
in terms of self-defense according to the law of armed conflict.

a. Was it your understanding at the time that E. O. 12333 was applicable in the
case of Bin Ladin?
b. Was it your understanding that if the CIA had been ordered to kill Bin Ladin
this would have been a violation of the assassination ban?
c. Was it your understanding that if Bin Ladin were killed in the context of a
capture operation that this was not a violation of the assassination ban?

-2-
5) Sufficient Covert Action Authority. Some working-level officers in the CIA's
Counterterrorist Center (CTC) have told us they never had the covert authority they
wanted to effectively go after Bin Ladin before 9/11. They complained that their
ability to go after Bin Ladin was inhibited by the fact that they could only kill him
within the context of a capture operation, and that consequently their assets did not
think the U.S. government was serious about wanting to kill Bin Ladin.

a. In your opinion, did the CIA receive appropriate and sufficient covert action
authority to go after Bin Ladin before 9/11?
b. Did you ever express to the policymakers, at any point before 9/11, a concern
that the CIA had insufficient covert action authority to go after Bin Ladin?
c. Did you ever ask for authorities regarding Bin Ladin before 9/11 that you did
not get?

6) CIA Direct Action in Afghanistan. After 9/11, the CIA used its own personnel to
great effect in Afghanistan against al Qaeda and Taliban forces, operating in an
extremely dangerous environment.

Why did the CIA never put its own personnel on the ground in Afghanistan before
9/11 in order to capture or kill Bin Ladin?

7) Capabilities of the Tribal Assets. DCI Tenet told the Commission that in spring
1998 he "turned off" an operation to capture Bin Ladin using CIA employed Afghan
tribal assets. He said this decision was based on the recommendation of his chief
operational officers. The operation's prospect of success was described to him at the
time as less than 30%.

a. Where were the weak points of this operation? Did your operational officers
have confidence in the ability of the tribal assets to carry out the operation?
b. What was the estimated likelihood of the operation being successful, as a
percentage? What would have been an acceptable percentage, that is, a
likelihood of success that would have led you to approve the operation?

For three years, from August 1998 through to 9/11, the CIA continued to employ
these Afghan tribal assets to mount offensive operations against Bin Ladin and al
Qaeda in Afghanistan. About half a dozen times during this period the assets
reportedly attempted to ambush Bin Ladin. By fall 1999, briefings by the
Counterterrorist Center (CTC) stated the tribals' chances of success in capturing Bin
Ladin as less than 10%. [Note: the CIA's new operational strategy for going after
Bin Ladin and al Qaeda, "The Plan " introduced in fall 1999, was in part a response
to this understanding that the CIA could not rely solely on the tribals to capture Bin
Ladin].

-3-
c. What gave you confidence that CIA's Afghan tribal assets had any more
capability to mount attacks on Bin Ladin after August 1998 than in the spring
of 1998?
d. Did you believe at the time of their reporting that the assets did in fact try to
ambush Bin Ladin?
e. If you had to assign a percentage to the likelihood of the tribal assets carrying
out a successful ambush against Bin Ladin in the period before 9/11, what
would that number have been?
f. Did you ever discuss the capabilities of the tribal assets with policymakers
before 9-11? Please discuss in detail any such conversations.

8) Massoud and the Northern Alliance. In February 1999, the CIA had authority to
employ the Taliban's strongest opponent, Northern Alliance commander Massoud
and his forces in covert action against Bin Ladin. Beginning in mid-1999, the CIA
began to focus more attention on Massoud, with the recognition that "the enemy of
my enemy is my friend. " CIA personnel who met up with Massoud to convey to him
the U.S. government's requirement that he capture rather than kill Bin Ladin told us
that Massoud laughed at such a request.

a. To what extent did Massoud share United States'objectives in Afghanistan?

By fall 1999, briefings by the Counterterrorist Center (CTC) stated Massoud's


chances of success in capturing Bin Ladin as no more than 15%.

b. How confident were you in Massoud and his fighters as a proxy force that
CIA could use against Bin Ladin?
c. If you had to assign a percentage to the likelihood of Massoud carrying out a
successful attack against Bin Ladin in the period before 9/11, what would that
number have been?

From 2000 to 2001, the CIA and policymakers gave great consideration to apian to
use Massoud's forces to tie down the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan, although
there was disagreement within the CIA as to how much support to give Massoud. In
early 2001, CIA analysts warned that the Northern Alliance might be knocked off the
battle-field in spring fighting.

d. From 2000 on, were you confident that Massoud would be able to hold back
the Taliban?
e. How concerned were you that Massoud could be defeated in 2001, and with
what potential consequences?

-4-
9) Using Proxies. Although the CIA actively used local forces as proxies to carry out
covert actions in Afghanistan, these proxies do not appear to have ever carried out a
single assault against Bin Ladin or his principal lieutenants before 9/11.

a. Were you confident at the time that the CIA's various proxy forces would
capture or kill Bin Ladin during the period before 9/11? Did this confidence
increase or decrease at any point?
b. Did you inform policymakers of the risks involved in using proxies—as
opposed to U.S. personnel—to carry out covert action against Bin Ladin?
Please discuss in detail any conversations that you had on this topic with
policymakers in the period before 9/11.
c. If you had to assign a percentage to the likelihood of any of the CIA's proxy
forces either capturing or killing Bin Ladin in the period before 9/11, what
would that number be?
d. Did you ever frankly advise policymakers of the chances that any of the CIA's
proxy forces would capture or kill Bin Ladin in the period before 9/11?
e. In short, if the proxy force strategy wasn't working, what steps did you take to
pursue alternatives to use of proxy forces?
f. What alternatives did you recommend to policymakers?

10) Actionable Intelligence. Yesterday, -we heard how many senior Department of
Defense officials continually argued that the CIA's inability to produce "actionable
intelligence " limited their ability to undertake military action in the Afghanistan
terrorist sanctuary before 9/11.

a. Why was the CIA unable to produce actionable intelligence sufficient to meet
the military's requirements for action in Afghanistan before 9/11?
b. How is the CIA working with the military to solve this problem now?

Yesterday, we heard how on three occasions between December 1998 and May 1999,
the CIA's intelligence was strong enough to set in motion active preparations to
launch military strikes to kill Bin Ladin. National Security Adviser Berger told the
Commission that on each occasion DCI Tenet advised that the intelligence was not
reliable enough to go ahead with the action.

c. Please explain the basis for your advising against military action on these
three occasions.

11) Predator. According to several NSC and CIA officers, the CIA's senior management
resisted development of the Predator as a reconnaissance platform in 2000, and only
agreed to fly Predator over Afghanistan on an experimental basis.

a. Did you originally support the development of Predator in 2000 as a


reconnaissance platform to use over Afghanistan? Why was there resistance
from some senior CIA officers for this project?

-5-
The Predator's flights in fall 2000 were very successful: CIA analysts think that Bin
Ladin was spotted on two occasions.

b. In your opinion, did Predator spot Bin Ladin in fall 2000?


c. How valuable was the intelligence Predator collected from reconnaissance
flights in fall 2000?

When winter weather prevented further flights, senior managers at the CIA, including
in the CTC, wanted to bring the Predator back to the U.S. and not redeploy the
Predator until an armed capability was ready. CIA analysts said that, since the
Taliban had spotted the Predator in the fall, further reconnaissance flights might
jeopardize the effectiveness of future armed flights.
CIA senior managers argued with DOD about funding the Predator project, and
about command-and-control issues (including whether the CIA or the military would
pull the trigger on the armed Predator). There were no Predator flights over
Afghanistan in 2001 until after 9/11.

d. What were your reasons for opposing flying Predator for reconnaissance
purposes in 2001?
e. Why didn't the Predator (reconnaissance or armed) fly in spring/summer
2001?
f. Did CIA disputes over funding or command-and-control issues have the effect
of stalling Predator missions?
g. Why did you change your position after the September 4, 2001 Principals'
Committee meeting, and agree to fly reconnaissance flights in 2001?

12) Commission Recommendations. We are considering a range of topics for


recommendations. Currently, the DCI is both the principal analyst of the terrorist
enemy as well as the commander for many operations in the field in the war on
terror.

a. How has the role of the CIA in fighting terrorism changed post-9/11 ?
b. How has the leadership role of the Director of Central Intelligence changed
post-9/11?
c. What do you spend most of your time doing? How much of your time is spent
on full operations against terrorism, and how much is spent on analysis of the
terrorism threat or on other activities? Is this the right balance and use of your
time?

In the DCI's recent Worldwide Threat briefing before the Senate Select
Committee on Intelligence, he stated that the al Qaeda leadership structure has
been seriously damaged since 9/11, but there is still a significant and ongoing
terrorist threat.

-6-
d. Two and a half years after the 9/11 attacks, why has the U.S. Government
been unable to find Usama Bin Ladin, and other terrorist and Taliban leaders
such as Ayman al-Zawahiri, or Mullah Omar?
e. What kind of conflict is the United States currently in—and against what
enemy? Is this a war on "terrorism" or a struggle for the future of the Muslim
world?
f. What is the appropriate role of the CIA and the Intelligence Community in the
war, and what role is inappropriate?

-7-
NATIONAL POLICY COORDINATION
SUGGESTED QUESTIONS FOR SAMUEL R. BERGER
Designated Commissioners: Richard Ben-Veniste & John Lehman

1) The First Term of the Clinton Administration. By the time Bill Clinton became
president in January 1993, terrorism against the United States had subsided. But the
January 1993 killings at CIA headquarters and the February 1993 bombing of the
World Trade Center put the threat front and center almost immediately. In 1995 the
president signed Presidential Decision Directive-39 which called terrorism a
"potential national security threat" as well as a "criminal act" and made keeping
weapons of mass destruction out of terrorists' hands a top priority. In 1998,
Presidential Decision Directive-62 designated lead agencies to plan for and respond
to terrorism and created a form ofcounterterrorism czar.

a. When did Usama Bin Ladin and al Qaeda first come on the scope of the
Clinton administration as a threat to the United States?
b. How did the president—through you and other policymakers—organize the
government to respond to the threat?
c. From the early 1990s through 1996, Bin Ladin was in Sudan. Some have said
that the Sudanese government offered to turn him over to the USG and to
provide intelligence on al Qaeda. Did Sudan in fact make such overtures?
How did the United States respond to them? Was an opportunity to get Bin
Ladin missed?
d. Where in the U.S. government was policy made on fighting terrorism in
general and Bin Ladin in particular?
e. Before the East Africa embassy bombings of August 1998, what was the
administration's strategy for dealing with Bin Ladin and al Qaeda? Was it
working?

2) Khobar Towers. You have testified to the Commission that there was no doubt in
your mind that the 1996 attack on U.S. Air Force personnel at Khobar Towers in
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia had links to the Iranian government, but you said you were
never sure how high up responsibility went inside the regime in Tehran. You said that
policymakers worried that military strikes on Iran would kill the Iranian reform
movement and might trigger further Iranian attacks against the U.S. or its allies. You
said that the intelligence community never definitively said that Khobar was an Iranian
government operation, and if it had, the president would have had to make a tough
choice but would have taken the appropriate action.

a. Who was responsible for the 1996 Khobar Towers attack?


b. How and when did you learn who was responsible?
c. What did the U.S. government do in response to this attack?
3) The Second Clinton Administration: The East Africa Embassy Bombings.
The United States responded to the August 7, 1998 bombings with cruise missile strikes
on Bin Ladin camps in Afghanistan and on a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan that
intelligence indicated was producing a precursor for the lethal nerve agent VX. You
told us the objective of the strike on Afghanistan was to kill Bin Ladin and his
lieutenants, as some extraordinary intelligence indicated they were meeting in one of
the camps. You said that following this response, the president was eager for options
beyond missile strikes and expressed interest in a "boots on the ground" option. You
said that stealthy commando options to capture or kill Bin Ladin or his deputies were
seen by the Pentagon as high-risk, while a full-blown invasion of Afghanistan was
inconceivable in a pre-9/11 world. Following the August 1998 strikes, National
Counterterrorism Coordinator Richard Clarke pushed for an ongoing series of follow-
on strikes on Bin Ladin targets as intelligence became ripe.

a. What was the objective of the U.S. missile strikes on al Qaeda camps in
Afghanistan on August 20, 1998? Did missing Bin Ladin make the strikes a
failure?
b. What was the objective of the attack on the al-Shifa plant in Sudan? Did we
achieve that objective? How did Congress and the U.S. public react to these
strikes? Did criticism of the strikes inhibit policymakers from using force
against al Qaeda?
c. Were the August 1998 strikes too weak?
d. Why didn't the administration follow Clarke's recommendation for follow-on
military strikes?
e. In particular, why didn't the president authorize the use of special operations
forces to go after Bin Ladin in Afghanistan?
f. Why was there no stronger military effort in the Afghanistan sanctuary?
g. Yesterday, former Secretary of Defense Cohen said that military options in
Afghanistan were limited because the CIA was never able to provide
"actionable intelligence" on Bin Ladin's location. Do you agree with that
view? Why not use the military itself to gain the intelligence?

4) Using Missiles to Strike Bin Ladin. From December 1998 through May 1999, on at
least three occasions, DCI Tenet provided policymakers with intelligence on Bin
Ladin's location good enough that policymakers considered cruise missile strikes to
try to kill him. You have told us that while the possibility of killing or injuring
innocents was always factored in, strikes were never ruled out for that reason. In each
case, you told us, policymakers chose not to recommend strikes because DCI Tenet
advised that the intelligence was not strong enough.

a. Why were strikes never authorized?


b. To what extent did concerns about harming civilians near Bin Ladin affect
policymakers' decisions? Were worries about killing civilians ever what
swung a decision?
c. We don't want to mention specific time windows in this forum. Still, given
both the time it would take policymakers to decide whether to strike and the
flight time for a cruise missile to reach its target, do you think that
policymakers would ever have had strong enough intelligence on Bin Ladin's
location to make the decision to launch a strike?

5) Capture vs. Kill. You testified to the Commission that you sent specific language to
the DCI regarding covert action authorities against Bin Ladin, which said: you may
kill Bin Ladin. You also said that these authorities contained explicit language saying
Bin Ladin could be killed. Your point man on counterterrorism, Richard Clarke,
testified privately that he had told the DCI that the president wanted Bin Ladin dead.

a. Please describe your understanding of what the president's intent was in


employing covert action against Bin Ladin in Afghanistan from August
1998 to the end of the Clinton administration. Did you think the intent
was for the CIA to use its assets to kill Bin Ladin?
b. Was it your understanding that the White House was giving the CIA
covert action authority to kill Bin Ladin?
c. Were you ever told by DCI Tenet that the CIA had not been authorized to
kill Bin Ladin outside of a planned capture operation?
d. By early 2000, how confident were you that the proxy forces the CIA was
using against Bin Ladin would ever achieve their objectives? Did they
have the capability to capture or kill Bin Laden—or even to find him?

6) Direct Action in Afghanistan. The Clinton administration never authorized


clandestine, unilateral, military direct action in Afghanistan. Nor did it authorize
direct-action use of CIA personnel in Afghanistan to conduct a capture or kill
operation against Bin Ladin.

a. After the 1998 embassy bombings, why didn't we put our most highly trained
people—Joint Special Operations Command units or CIA paramilitary
officers—into Afghanistan to deal with Bin Ladin?
b. Weren't we running real risks of future terrorist attacks by relying on proxies
rather than U.S. forces?

7) The Millennium Plots. In late 1999, the USG learned ofal Qaeda plots to mount
attacks against U.S. tourists in Jordan and caught an Algerian jihadist, Ahmed
Ressam, who was on a mission to allegedly bomb Los Angeles International Airport.
You told us that during this high threat period, you and your fellow principals met
constantly over the course of a month to manage and respond to the threat. After the
threat had passed, you and Clarke led an after-action review to step up U.S. efforts to
disrupt Bin Ladin's network abroad, boost law enforcement's ability to root out
terrorists inside America, and strengthen immigration and border controls.
a. How did you and other cabinet officials manage the al Qaeda threat in the run-
up to the Millennium celebrations?
b. Did the FBI share information it held on al Qaeda during this period? Did this
contrast with the FBI's willingness to share al Qaeda information previously?
If so, why was the FBI willing to share information now? Did that cooperation
last?
c. What lessons were learned from this intense threat period when al Qaeda was
attempting to attack our homeland? How did these lessons become
institutionalized in the government in the weeks after the threat?
d. In the aftermath of the millennium, what institutional changes were made
across the government to deal with al Qaeda and terrorism?

8) Coercive Diplomacy. From 1998 through the end of the Clinton administration,
senior State Department officials repeatedly warned the Taliban regime that it would
be held responsible for any al Qaeda attacks on the United States emanating from
Afghanistan.

a. When the United States warns a country that it will use force if that country is
responsible for actions affecting U.S. interests, is it important that we follow
through on any such threats?
b. When senior State Department officials warned Taliban officials that it would
be held responsible for al Qaeda attacks on the United States, had
policymakers decided to back the warning with force? Was the U.S. military
prepared to strike the Taliban should another attack on the United States take
place? Or was this just a bluff?

9) The Attack on the USS Cole. On October 12, 2000, the USS Cole was bombed in
Yemen, and 17 sailors were killed. You told us that neither the FBI nor the CIA
presented the president or his senior advisers with an authoritative judgment that the
attack was directed by Bin Ladin or emanated from his Afghanistan-based al Qaeda
network. You offered this by way of explanation as to why the administration didn 't
respond militarily to the attack.

a. In the days after the October 2000 attack on the Cole, was the president
advised who was responsible for the attack?
b. When did you know that al Qaeda was behind the attack? Did anyone
seriously think anyone other than al Qaeda could have been responsible?
c. If you needed a more definitive judgment from the CIA to act, what did you
do to prod the CIA to get you more clarity?
d. Why didn't the administration respond militarily for the killing of American
troops?
e. The USG had repeatedly warned the Taliban that if another attack on the U.S.
originated from Afghanistan, it would be held responsible. Why didn't we
follow through on this warning? What signal did the absence of a military
response to the Cole send?
f. What is the standard of evidence that a president needs to authorize force to
respond to an attack?
10) The Clinton-Bush Transition. You told us that you met during the transition with
your successor, Condoleezza Rice, and told her that you believed the Bush
administration would spend more time on terrorism in general and al Qaeda in
particular than any other issue they would deal with.

a. During the transition, what advice did you offer Condoleezza Rice regarding
the al Qaeda threat? How did she respond?
b. Did you advise Rice or any other incoming Bush NSC official regarding who
was responsible for the attack on the Colel Did you explain how the Clinton
administration had handled the attack?

11) Commission Recommendations. In your prepared statement to the Commission, you


recommend that the USG work toward improved policy integration,
information/intelligence integration, and resource integration. Regarding policy
integration, you say that traditional bureaucratic barriers between domestic and
externally focused agencies need to be taken down.

a. You recommend consolidating the structure of the Homeland Security


Council into the National Security Council. Should this be the first national
security decision of a new administration? Why is this so important?
b. You recommend a Director of National Intelligence. Why is this so
important? Is this achievable, given the huge turf battles it would provoke?
c. Why do you recommend a domestic intelligence agency? Do you believe the
FBI simply cannot do the job? How long would it take to set up, and what do
you do in the meantime to meet the threat? How do you create such an entity
consistent with our traditions of protection of civil rights?
d. You stress the importance of fusing open source analysis with collection from
clandestine sources. Were you dissatisfied with the analysis you received in
your time in office? Do you believe the Intelligence Community failed to
provide warning of the 9/11 attacks? Does your proposal address or
ameliorate the problem of warning?
e. You have limited your recommendations to structural reforms within the U.S.
government. Do you have recommendations on foreign or military policy?
Are we pursuing the proper strategy in the war on terrorism? What aspects of
current strategy would you change, either to diminish or highlight? What
recommendations do you have on public diplomacy? Do we need to change
how we deliver the message or do we need to change the message we deliver?
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NATIONAL POLICY COORDINATION


SUGGESTED QUESTIONS FOR RICHARD A. CLARKE
Designated Commissioners: Slade Gorton & Tim Roemer

1) Priorities. You coordinated counterterrorism policy in both the Clinton and Bush
administration. Over the 1990s, you witnessed a shift in emphasis from state-
sponsored terrorism, from countries such as Libya, Syria, and especially Iran, to
transnational terrorism from al Qaeda.

a. How high a priority was terrorism for NSC policymakers? How did that
change over the years?
b. Should it have been a higher priority, compared to other urgent national
security issues—Russia, China, Iraq, the Balkans, the Middle East, and so
on—in a pre-9/11 era where the al Qaeda attack that claimed the most
American lives killed 17 Americans?

2) Resources. In 1998, DCI Tenet wrote his staff that no resources were to be
spared in what he called a declaration of war against al Qaeda. In February
2001, Paul Kurtz of your NSC office wrote Condoleezza Rice that what OMB was
suggesting as the CIA 's budget for fighting al Qaeda in FY2002 was "wholly
inadequate. "Afew weeks later, you also urged a sharp rise in CIA funding for
efforts against al Qaeda.

a. Did the USG ensure that it had enough resources to fight al Qaeda?
Enough funding? Enough personnel?
b. Did you have particular problems with the CIA? You complained to us
that the CIA wouldn't reprogram one dollar away from other programs—
from translations to the Agency cafeteria—to al Qaeda.
c. Did you have particular problems with the FBI? Berger told us that FBI's
counterterrorism resources rose 350 percent under the Clinton
administration, but he doesn't know where the money went.

3) Continuity Versus Change.


a. Did you see a sharp break in counterterrorism policy between the Clinton
and Bush administrations? Please explain.
b. Was policy development reactive or proactive? Was enough time spent
trying to look ahead and anticipate the enemy's moves?

4) The Role of the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism Czar. In 1998,


President Clinton signed PDD-62, creating the role of the national coordinator
for counterterrorism—a role you held from then until after 9/11.

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a. Did your position have enough clout to be effective?


b. Did you have the resources, staff, and access you needed?

5) The Role of the CSG. You also continued to chair the Counterterrorism Security
Group (CSG), a body composed of assistant-secretary-level officials from U.S.
agencies. The CSG wore two hats: it assessed and responded to terrorist threats,
and it served as the main inter agency group running counterterrorism policy. In
the late Clinton administration, it -wound up reporting to a "Small Group " of
cabinet-rank officials; in the pre-9/11 Bush administration, it reported to the
Deputies' Committee, not to the Principals.

a. Was the CSG a sufficiently high-ranking body to be effective?


b. Should the CSG have reported to the deputies or the principals?
i. Did the Clinton-era practice of placing the CSG under the cabinet-
level Small Group make it harder to coordinate policy and keep
officials who weren't CSG members in the loop?
ii. Did the Bush-era decision to place the CSG under the deputies
make for better integrated policy, or did it hurt your ability to get
quick decisions?

6) Understanding the Bin Ladin Threat. Bin Ladin first appeared as a terrorist
financier, then an increasingly influential jihadist, and then finally a terrorist
mastermind.

a. How did you evaluate the quality of intelligence reporting on terrorism in


general and al Qaeda in particular, both overseas and at home?
b. Did the USG appreciate the severity of the terrorism threat quickly
enough?
c. Did the USG focus enough on the possibility of terrorism at home before
the Millennium plot?

7) The Sudan Allegations. Some critics have alleged that Sudan offered in 1996 to
hand over Bin Ladin to the United States or other countries that might have
brought him to justice, and that the Clinton administration failed to pursue the
lead. The staff has found no credible evidence of any such offer from Sudan.
Moreover, Mr. Berger and you testified under oath that you never received any
Sudanese proposal to hand over Bin Ladin, which, you said, Sudan's terror-
supporting government would never have done.

a. Did Sudan ever offer to turn over Bin Ladin to the United States, Saudi
Arabia, or any other country that might have brought him to justice?
b. Did the Clinton administration turn down potentially useful information
from the Sudanese?

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8) The East Africa Bombings. With the August 7, 1998 bombings of two U.S.
embassies in East Africa, which killed 224 people, including 12 Americans, al
Qaeda crossed the line into massive, direct attacks on U.S. targets. Thirteen days
later, the USG fired cruise missiles at Bin Ladin camps in Afghanistan, including
a strike on a terrorist conference fired in hopes of killing Bin Ladin himself.
Washington also destroyed a Bin Ladin-linkedpharmaceuticals plant in
Khartoum, Sudan, where soil samples taken before the bombing showed traces of
a precursor to the lethal nerve agent VX.

a. Was the U.S. response adequate? Should anything further have been done?
b. Are Rice and Hadley right to describe these strikes as weak, "tit-for-tat"
responses that might have actually emboldened al Qaeda?
c. Did President Clinton's acute political troubles at the time have any effect
on the decision-making or the outcome?
d. Were we right to bomb the al-Shifa pharmaceuticals plant?
e. Why didn't the strike hit Bin Ladin?

9) Plan Delenda. In a September 1998 paper by your office called "Political


Military Plan Delenda "—a classical allusion evoking ancient Rome's destruction
of its rival city-state Carthage—sought to "immediately eliminate any significant
threat to Americans "from Bin Ladin's organization. Your plan called for a
synergistic effort: high-level diplomacy to deprive Bin Ladin of his Afghan haven
and to ask foreign partners to disrupt cells abroad; stepped-up CIA efforts,
including top-priority efforts to keep WMD out of Bin Ladin's hands and use
Afghan proxies to seize senior terrorists; a global campaign to dry up terrorist
finances; and Pentagon planning to hit Bin Ladin targets in Afghanistan and
Sudan.

a. Was Plan Delenda ever approved or discussed by the Small Group or


Principals Committee? Were bits of it de facto adopted?
b. Was anyone else trying to come up with this sort of strategy?
c. Could this plan have worked? Was it really tried?

10) Follow-on Military Strikes. Defense Secretary Cohen, JCS Chairman Shelton,
and regional commander Gen. Anthony Zinni all recommended against further
strikes or ground missions to find Bin Ladin without reliable intelligence about
his whereabouts; they also argued that rudimentary, easily rebuilt training camps
were not worth million-dollar missiles, and that far-flung commando missions
could mean another debacle like the failed 1980 Desert One raid inside Iran.

You, however, consistently advocated an ongoing campaign of military strikes to


throw the network on the defensive, scare potential recruits away from terrorist
camps, and pressure the Taliban. The principals, including Berger, ultimately
decided that ongoing strikes on the Afghan camps could inflame the region, make
Bin Ladin more of a hero in the Muslim world, and risk what Deputy National

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Security Adviser James Steinberg—mindful of U.S. interventions in Iraq and


Kosovo—once called "blowback against [a] bomb-happy US. "

a. Was it a mistake not to engage in an ongoing campaign of strikes on Bin


Ladin targets after the August 1998 strikes?
b. Would Congress, the American public, or the international community
have supported further military action before the shock of 9/11? Was the
destruction of two embassies too little to justify additional strikes?

11) Attempts to Kill Bin Ladin with Cruise Missiles. Senior officials remember
three episodes in which the CIA had good enough information about Bin Ladin's
whereabouts to convene the principals to consider trying to kill him with cruise
missiles fired from Navy submarines. In all three cases, NSC officials say, the
DCI ultimately decided that the intelligence was inadequate. "George would call
and say, We just don't have it,'" Berger told us. The principals also weighed
collateral damage issues, as well as the solidity of the intelligence.

a. Did we ever have actionable intelligence after August 1998? If not, why
not? Why couldn't we find Bin Ladin?
b. Was DCI Tenet too cautious in his assessments? Did the NSC push the
CIA to get better intelligence on Bin Ladin's whereabouts? What more
should have been done to get the intelligence we needed?
c. Did fears about collateral damage ever prevent the Clinton administration
from taking a shot?
d. While we don't want to mention specific timeframes in this forum, is it
your view that the mechanism of using cruise missiles to try to kill Bin
Ladin could have workedfast enough to get him?

12) Capture vs. Kill. President Clinton signed Jive documents authorizing CIA-
directed proxies to take offensive actions against Bin Ladin. Mr. Berger and you
have told us, under oath, that the president's intent was clear: he wanted Bin
Ladin dead. CIA officials say they were told to plan a capture. Both sides agree
that the CIA never ashed for additional authorities.

a. What did President Clinton order—a capture or a kill?


b. Did the CIA have the authorities it needed? Were the CIA's hands being
tied?
c. Why wasn't Bin Ladin captured or killed? Is all this just finger-pointing
since we didn't find him?

13) The Millennium Alert. In late 1999, intelligence services discovered al Qaeda
plots for attacks in Jordan during celebrations for the Millennium, and an alert
Customs agent caught Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian jihadist, trying to cross from
Canada into Washington state on a mission to allegedly bomb Los Angeles
International Airport. Berger and Albright told us the cabinet-level Small Group

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convened almost daily for close to a month in the White House Situation Room to
manage the crisis.

a. During the Millennium alert, was it useful to have cabinet-rank officials


handling operational matters? Or did it get in the way?
b. Why didn't the FBI usually share information the way it did during the
Millennium?

14) The Millennium Review. You wrote that the CSG had drawn two main
conclusions from the Millennium crisis: first, after "some soul searching, " they
had concluded that U.S. disruption efforts "have not put too much of a dent" in
UBL 's network abroad; and second, "sleeper cells " and foreign terrorist groups
had been allowed to "take root" in the United States. You pushed a package of
reforms to boost disruptions abroad, strengthen law enforcement efforts against
terrorists or their supporters at home, and better secure U.S. borders.

a. Were there Millennium review items—like a translation center for


wiretaps—that weren't implemented?
b. Were the Justice Department, FBI, and Treasury willing to find the funds?
c. Why didn't the review include reforms to ensure that the FBI better shared
its information on domestic terrorist threats?
d. Had previous CIA disruptions been effective? Weren't they just rounding
up a handful of the estimated thousands of jihadists trained in
Afghanistan?

15)Recon Predator. In fall 2000, the USG flew pilotless drones over Afghanistan;
CIA analysts say they probably spotted Bin Ladin twice.

a. Was CIA supportive of this program? Which parts of it—the Bin Ladin
unit, the Counterterrorism Center, the Directorate of Operations, and the
seventh floor and the DCI himself?
b. What difference did the Predator intelligence make to efforts against Bin
Ladin? Could it have solved the actionable intelligence problem of not
knowing enough about his whereabouts? Could it have enabled us to kill
Bin Ladin?

16) The Attack on the USS Cole. On October 12, 2000, a U.S. Navy destroyer called
the Cole was attacked by suicide bombers off the coast of Yemen, killing 17 U.S.
sailors. In November, you drafted memosfor President Clinton arguing that,
while CIA, FBI, and Yemeni investigations were ongoing, you expected that they
would conclude that the attack had been carried out by a cell headed by al Qaeda
members. In December 2000, a CIA briefing for the principals was more hedged.
It offered the preliminary conclusion that the attack on the Cole had been
supported by individuals linked to al Qaeda, but said the CIA still had not
concluded whether the plotters acted on orders from Bin Ladin or al Qaeda.

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a. Did anyone seriously doubt that al Qaeda was responsible? Did you ever
tell President Clinton or National Security Adviser Berger that al Qaeda
was to blame? Was the CIA hedging or holding back?
b. Why didn't the Clinton administration respond militarily?
c. What objections, if any, did the State Department, the Defense
Department, and others make at the time to a strike after the Cole?
d. Did the NSC do all it could to prod the CIA and the FBI to give them the
judgment that Berger and other policymakers told us they needed?
e. Did the circumstances of the 2000 election or the fast-approaching end of
the Clinton administration make any difference to policymakers?
f. The Taliban had been warned repeatedly after 1998 that they could be
struck for any future attacks on U.S. targets. What signal was sent to the
Taliban and al Qaeda by the absence of a military strike after the Cole?

17) The Clinton-Bush Transition. The incoming Bush NSC team—led by the new
national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, and her deputy, Stephen Hadley—
decided to keep you and your core counterterrorism staff. During the transition,
Clarke briefed Vice President-elect Cheney, Secretary of State-designate Powell,
Rice, and Hadley on al Qaeda.

a. What did you tell Cheney, Powell, Rice, and Hadley about al Qaeda
during the transition? Did you warn of attacks inside America?
b. Did Berger or other outgoing officials pass along messages of their own
about terrorism in general or al Qaeda in particular?
c. Did you lose staff, access, trust, or clout in the change of administrations?

18) Structural Changes in the Bush Administration. The Bush administration


decided to have the CSG that you chaired report to the Deputies Committee,
chaired by Hadley, rather than directly to the principals. Rice and Hadley told us
that this change would improve policy coordination. Clarke would continue to
attend Principals Committee and Deputies Committee meetings on terrorism, but
with a less prominent role than he played in the Clinton-era Small Group.

a. Did you complain about the decision to place the CSG under the deputies?
Or about your role at meetings of the Deputies Committee or Principals
Committee?
b. Did it make any difference that there was no longer a terrorism Small
Group?
c. Did it take time, in your judgment, for the new team to get up to speed?

19) The Opening Bush Administration Memo. On January 25, 2001, you wrote
Rice to urgently ask for a principals-level review on al Qaeda to decide if it's a
"first order threat" or something being overhyped by "chicken little " types like
yourself. You listed two key deferred issues—helping the Northern Alliance and
other covert aid—and three key new issues: tough early messages to Pakistan and
the Taliban, significant FY02 budget growth to fund CIA operations against al

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Qaeda, and a response to the Cole. You also attached your staff's September
1998 and December 2000 strategy papers.

a. Did the Bush administration move quickly enough on aid to the Northern
Alliance, in your view?
b. Did you get decisions in the timeframe you believe you needed? If not, did
that have any substantive impact?
c. Should the principals have met earlier on the question of al Qaeda? Were
the issues ripe for discussion at the most senior levels of government?

20) The Question of the Cole. You pushed from October 2000 onwards for a
response, in both administrations. In January 2001, you said it should come at a
time and place of America's choosing. As late as September 4, 2001, you wrote
Rice that the fact that the Cole was attacked in the Clinton administration did not
mean that the Bush administration did not have a responsibility to respond.

a. Did you think the standard of proof being used—by the CIA, the FBI, or
implicitly by policymakers—for culpability for the Cole was too high?
Did you have any question that al Qaeda was responsible for the attack?
Did anyone else? Did anyone push the CIA or FBI to produce a more
definitive judgment?
b. How did you recommend that policymakers respond—militarily or
otherwise—to the Cole?

21) Afghanistan Policy Review. Rice and Hadley told us they decided to hold an
overall review of U.S. policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan to ensure that
counterterrorism policy was integrated into a wider regional strategy. You
disagreed and recommended moving quickly ahead on a narrow agenda to
pressure the Taliban and Pakistan to expel al Qaeda. On September 10, the
deputies adopted a three-part strategy, starting with renewed diplomatic pressure
and ending with attempts to try to find ways to oust Mullah Omar's regime.

a. Was the review helpful or necessary?


b. You and others, including DDCI John McLaughlin, worried that the
review was moving slowly; Hadley told us he moved it along as fast as he
could. Did it move fast enough?
c. Did holding the review slow down the formulation or implementation of
measures against al Qaeda, including aid to the Northern Alliance?
d. Did the final plan on the Taliban produced by the deputies depart in
important ways from previous policy? Please explain.
e. Could we have ever fomented a coup to topple Mullah Omar? If so, in
what timeframe?

22) Draft NSPD on al Qaeda. The NSC-produced draft of a presidential directive on


al Qaeda—known as an NSPD—was first circulated to deputies in June 2001. Its

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objective was to eliminate al Qaeda as a threat over several years. It called for
more support for the 'Northern Alliance and other anti-Taliban groups, as well as
significantly more covert action funding. On September 4, the principals adopted
a draft presidential directive on al Qaeda, made a handful of small changes, and
sent it forward to President Bush to sign.

a. Who wrote the draft plan? What was its origin?


b. What did it ask of the two agencies with the greatest ability to take the
short-term fight to al Qaeda: the Pentagon and the CIA?
c. Did it differ from previous ideas discussed by your office? If so, how?
Were the goals the same? Did it differ from Plan Delenda in September
1998 or its sequel in December 2000?
d. You wrote Rice on September 4 that, without money, the NSPD would be
a hollow shell that the president would be better off not signing. Was there
an adequate funding strategy to go along with the plan?

23) Predator Issues in 2001. The CIA urged that Predator not fly additional
reconnaissance missions lest it foul the U.S. capability to use the armed Predator
being developed. In April, the deputies seem to have asked for spring
reconnaissance flights, although CIA disputes this. At the September 4 Principals
Committee meeting, DCI Tenet was urged to change his position, and he seems to
have decided days before 9/11 to again back Predator reconnaissance flights.

a. Why didn't Predator fly recon missions in the spring and summer of 2001 ?
b. What difference would it have made if it had flown?
c. Who was resisting the resumption of recon flights? How did Rice and
Hadley try to resolve these disputes? Did this drag on too long?
d. Could we have killed Bin Ladin with a cruise missile or another air
platform if he'd been spotted by an unarmed Predator in the spring or
summer of 2001?
e. Could an armed Predator have been available before 9/11?
f. Could killing Bin Ladin in spring/summer 2001 have averted 9/11, or
would it have not made a difference, in your view?

24) The Summer 2001 Alert. In late July, you warned Rice and Hadley that you and
intelligence analysts at State, CIA, and the Pentagon were convinced that major
terrorist attacks were probably imminent and that ongoing intelligence had
reached a crescendo. On July 5, domestic agencies including the FBI and the
FAA were briefed by the White House and issued alerts. The next day, the CIA
told you and other CSG participants that al Qaeda members "believe the
upcoming attack will be a 'spectacular,' qualitatively different from anything they
have done to date. " Policymakers were particularly worried about attacks on
world leaders at a G-8 summit held in Genoa, Italy, and about Fourth of July
celebrations. On July 27, you wrote Rice and Hadley that the crescendo had
passed but urged them to keep readiness high during the August vacation.

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a. Did the USG take the summer 2001 threat seriously enough?
b. Did you ever know about the Moussaoui arrest, the Phoenix memo, or the
San Diego hijackers' presence in America? Why not?
i. Why couldn't you get that information out of FBI counterparts?
ii. Why couldn't Rice or Hadley do the same?
iii. Why didn't the White House know what parts of the FBI knew?
Didn't the CSG regularly assess information far less reliable than
these three data points?
iv. Would your knowledge of this information have made a
difference?
c. What would you have done if you'd known about these three data points?
d. You were concerned enough about aviation threats to bring the FAA into
White House discussions of the threat in July; the G-8 summit in Genoa
put up air defenses and closed airspace due to terrorism concerns. Did you
push for additional airline security measures? Were other measures
considered but not adopted?
e. Was it sensible to have the CSG and not the principals running the alert?
Are there any comparisons to the handling of the Millennium crisis?
f. Could we have done anything differently in summer 2001 that might have
averted 9/11?
g. In retrospect, what did we spot in June/July 2001? Was this the 9/11 plot,
or something else?

25) The September 4, 2001 Principals' Committee Meeting. The principals seem to
have approved the draft NSPD, agreed that armed Predators were needed but not
ready, and held afar-ranging discussion about whether CIA should have the
armed Predator's trigger.

a. What was decided—about the draft NSPD, and about Predator?


b. Did the principals give the guidance required to have the Predator program
move forward?
c. Should—and could—the principals have met earlier than September 4?

26) Clarke's Frustrations. Your annoyance at what you saw as a truculent, passive-
aggressive bureaucracy and your disagreements with DOD and CIA stretched
back for years. The day of the September 4 Principals Committee meeting, you
sent Rice a blunt personal note blasting DOD for its unwillingness to use force
and CIA for trying to block Predator. You also urged policymakers to imagine a
day after hundreds of Americans lay dead, at home and abroad, after a terrorist
attack—and ask themselves what they could have done sooner.

a. What could have been done sooner? Would it have made a difference on
September 11?
b. What was the point of your fiery Sept. 4 personal note to Rice? How did
she respond?

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c. In discussing the Bush administration with us in January 2004, you said,


"I'd come to the conclusion the administration wasn't serious about al
Qaeda." Why did you say this?
d. By September, Clarke was slated to shift out of his job as national
coordinator to take a new post on cybersecurity. Why the shift?

27) Airplanes as Terrorist Weapons. In 1996, you were concerned that a small,
Cessna-like plane might be used as a terrorist weapon to plunge into the Atlanta
Olympics. In December 1998, you led the CSG as East Coast airports went on
alert over CIA reports of "a possible hijacking of a U.S. commercial airliner at a
New York airport by operatives of the Usama bin Ladin network. " During the
December 1999 Millennium scare, your office sent Berger a memo discussing
possible domestic threats and asking, "Is there a threat to civilian aircraft? " In
March 2001, a CSG agenda mentioned "Alleged Bin Ladin Interest in Targeting
U.S. Passenger Plane at Chicago Airport. " Al Qaeda's interest in hijackings was
also described in historical terms in an August 6, 2001 PDB briefing that
President Bush received in Crawford, Texas.

a. Was the U.S. intelligence community sufficiently concerned with this


threat? Were U.S. policymakers?
b. Did you ever suggest airline-security measures that were not adopted?
c. On the basis of what we knew at the time, should we have been better
prepared for possible al Qaeda hijackings?

28) Afghanistan and Coercive Diplomacy. From 1998 up until 9/11, the State
Department in both the Clinton and Bush administrations issued warnings to the
Taliban that it would be held responsible for any future al Qaeda attacks on U.S.
interests.

a. Were high-ranking U.S. military officials present when the diplomats


made their warnings?
b. Was the U.S. government ready to strike in the event of another attack—
that is, did the Pentagon have the plans ready, and were the policymakers
ready to order them to go?

29) Pakistan. We heard yesterday about ongoing diplomatic efforts to get Pakistan to
pressure the Taliban to hand Bin Ladin over so he could be brought to justice.
a. Was Pakistan doing enough to help us fight al Qaeda before 9/11?
b. Was the State Department on the right track?

30) Saudi Arabia. Few topics are more controversial than Saudi Arabia and 9/11.
We heard yesterday about the difficulties in working with the Saudis.
a. Were the Saudis doing enough to help us fight al Qaeda before 9/11?
b. Was our approach to the Saudis fundamentally misguided? Were they with
us or against us?

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c. Why were Saudi private citizens, including members of Bin Ladin's


extended family, permitted to fly out of U.S. airspace immediately after
9/11 when most aviation was grounded?

31) Commission Recommendations. We are considering a range of topics for


making recommendations to fight the war on terrorism. We are interested in
hearing your suggestions on these topics including defining our national strategy,
using the instruments of policy more effectively, organizing our government, and
living in a world of risk. As the former national coordinator, your views would be
most useful in helping us develop our recommendations.

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NATIONAL POLICY COORDINATION
SUGGESTED QUESTIONS FOR RICHARD ARMITAGE
Designated Commissioners: Richard Ben-Veniste & James Thompson

(To Be Provided by Mike Hurley & Warren Bass)


REFERENCE

CHRONOLOGY OF KEY EVENTS


Dec 1979 through Sep 2001

The Early Years

December 26, 1979 Soviet Union invades Afghanistan

August 17-20, 1988 Al Qaeda is founded

February 15, 1989 Soviet Union withdraws from Afghanistan

December 1992 Al Qaeda attacks hotel in Yemen quartering U.S. military


personnel

January 25, 1993 Kansi attacks cars at CIA HQ, kills three CIA employees

February 26,1993 First terrorist attack is made on the World Trade Center in New
York by Ramzi Yousef.

March 1994 Bin Ladin is stripped of Saudi citizenship

1995

Early 1995 Khalid Sheikh Muhammad is discovered in Doha, Qatar.

February 10,1995 Ramzi Yousef is sent from Pakistan to the United States to stand
trial for the February 1993 attack on the World Trade Center

March 1995 Bin Ladin is described as a terrorist financier by U.S. intelligence

March 20, 1995 Aum Shinrikyo conducts sarin gas attack in Tokyo subway

April 19, 1995 Timothy McVeigh conducts Oklahoma City bombing

November 13, 1995 OPM/S ANG bombing in Riyadh


1996

May 1996 Bin Ladin moves to Afghanistan when Sudan expels him

June 25, 1996 Khobar Towers bombing

August 23, 1996 Bin Ladin issues first fatwa

September 1996 Taliban forces occupy Kabul and assert control over Afghanistan

1997

May 1997 Saudis and Pakistanis formally recognize the Taliban government

June 1997 Kansi is taken into custody in Pakistan and rendered to the United
States to stand trial.

1998

February 22, 1998 Bin Ladin issues second fatwa

April-May 1998 Civil war in Afghanistan: significant fighting between Taliban and
Northern Alliance

May 11-13, 1998 India conducts nuclear tests

May 28, 1998 Pakistan conducts nuclear tests

June 10, 1998 U.S. indicts Bin Ladin (under seal)

August 7, 1998 U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania are bombed

August 20, 1998 U.S. military conducts Operation INFINITE REACH with cruise
missile strikes against targets in Afghanistan and Sudan

September 1998 Saudi Arabia suspends diplomatic relations with the Taliban

1999

March/April 1999 Spring fighting in Afghanistan begins

Late May 1999 Kargil crisis begins


October 12, 1999 Prime Minister Sharif is ousted by General Musharaff

October 15,1999 UNSC adopts resolution 1267 imposing sanctions on Taliban

Late November 1999 In Jordan, the first bombing plot cell is arrested before the
Millennium. Other arrests follow

December 14, 1999 US Border Patrol arrests Ahmed Ressam along Canadian border
with bomb-making gear intended for LAX.

December 15, 1999 In Jordan, the second bombing plot cell is arrested

2000

January 3, 2000 Terrorist attack fails on the USS Sullivans in Yemen

October 12, 2000 USS Cole is attacked in Yemen

2001

September 9, 2001 Al Qaeda assassinates Masood, the leader the Northern Alliance

September 11,2001 Al Qaeda attacks the World Trade Center and the Pentagon

October 7, 2001 U.S. military launches Operation ENDURING FREEDOM