Genral Intelligence Agency

Washington, D.C. 20505

22 IuLy

201 0

R*eference

: F -201 0-01 409

Dear

This is a final response to your 19 June 2010 Freedom of lnformation Act unJ pri,ru.y Coordinator on 30 June 2010, for "a copy of the binder given by Michael scheuer to the 9/11 Commission's executive director philip Zellkow.,,

(Fo{A) request, received in the offi." of the Information

with regard to your request, responsive records, shourd they exist, would be contained in operationar files. The clAlnformation a.t, so u.s.c. $ 431, as amended, exempts CIA operationai fi1es frorn the search, review, publication, and disclosure requirements of the Freedom of Infonnation Act.
Sincerely,

&''^*h'

Delores M. Nelson

u

Infonnation and Privacy coordinator

Author's Note tainly cannot answer to the satisfaction of all. I faced it before while a serving member of the CIA s Senior Intelligence Service, however, and it may help the current reader if I explain how I then tried to be credible to my audience using much of the same material that informs this book.
On the day of the 9/11 attacks it was clear that the CIA and the other lC components would be investigated for their "failures." As it turned out, I and my CIA colleagues participated in three such investigations: one by the CIA s inspector general; another by a joint congressional panel cochaired by then-senator Bob Graham (D-Florida) and then-congressman Porter Goss (R-Florida); and the independent investigatory commission headed by Governor Kean and Congressman Hamilton. Faced with these investigations, the veteran CIA officers who were most closely involved in tracking bin Laden and providing the White House with opportunities to capture or kill him, decided that their testimony-whether under oath or notwould be useless if they could not provide documents to back up what was told to the commissioners and their staffers.u Cognrzant of our imperfect memories, and well aware of the always-overriding desire of such postdisaster investigatory cornmissions to flay the lowest-ranking civil servants,T those of us at the center of operations against bin Laden and al-Qaeda col-

Author's Note
knew it and as the documents showed it. To that end, I prepared a compilation of between 480 and 500 pages of official documents to take along

l,

)

with me whenever I was appearing before either commissioners or staffers. The documents included cables to and from CIA facilities overseas, internal CIA memoranda, e-rrnil messages between and amoqg CIA oflicers, after-action reports, and a smattering of official documents from other government agencies.e The binder in which I placed my documents, I must stress, did not contain notes I wrote down from rnemory long after the events, but rather contempor&ty, official, and electronically retrievable documents that would either support or not support what I had to say. To make the process work as smoothly as possible for the Kean-Hamilton commission,
be in front of them whenever we spoke.'0 passed to the

I decided to

pass the entire binder to those commissioners and their staffers so

lectively decided to provide official documents to support testimony whenever possible. We naively believed that if the commissioners had been sent to protect the leaders of both parties and their lieutenants in the bureaucrelcy, they could ignore what we said-*chalking it up to hearsay-but that they would be hard pressed, in the context of three thousand dead Americans, to ignore what was contained in official documents. We were wrong. Let me here part company with my former CIA colleagues and say that

Commission through the clearinghouse that DCI George Tenet established in the CIA for the transfer of such material. I do not know why the first two attempts were unsuccessful, but on the third try I numbered each page by hand and consecutively with a black indelible markel, then telephoned the commission's executive director, Philip Tnlikow, to confirm that it was in his hands. Mr. Zehkow confirmed that the binder had
arrived, but I was never again called on to testify to or brief the commission. I go into this detail to emphasize that the CIA thoroughly screened the

glll

it would It took me three attempts to get it

henceforth I am speaking only for myself. Most of my colleagues are still working at the CIA and are therefore forbidden from speaking publicly about the issues raised in this book. If they did so, they would be subject to disciplinary action or dismissal. I also must add that nothing I have written in this book is based on any conversation with any officer still employed by the CIA or other lC component that occurred after the effective date of my
resignation, November 12,z}A{.Letme say it clearly: I alone am responsible far aII of the contents of this book and it contains no information from any still-serving IJ.S. intelligence officer.* As I was preparing to brief, answer questions, or give testimony to the trio of glll investigatory panels, I wanted to be able to tell the truth as I
14

documents in my binder, redacted them appropriately to protect sources and methods, and forwarded them to the glLL Commission. The documents therefore have no potential for damaging IJ.S. national security or for compromising the CIA s past or ongoing operations. Indeed, they were cleared of sensitive data by the CIA for the express purpose of allowing their use to help Americans understand why the 9/1 1 attacks occured. The
documents do, however, hold significant potential for embarrassing senior U.S. officials-elected, appointed, and civil service-but CIA regulations
state that embarrassment does not constitute grounds for censoring. These documents, others, and the testimony held by the glII Commission identify those who did not act to protect Americans and their interests; shows Americans the truth about foreign enemies, like Saudi Arabia, that U"S. leaders have for decades consistently identified as friends and allies; and shames each 9lII commissioner for failing to give Americans a complete ascounting of the events preceding 9lIL"
15

Author's Note Finally, I would like to remind readers that when I refer to the documents in my bindel I am doing so from memory. I studied those documents so closely and for so long, however, that I am confident that I am paraphrasing them correctly. For those interested in pursuing further study on these issues, I believe that I have described the binder (a black, four-orfive-inch, three-ring, government-issue binder) well enough to permit a fairly accurate Freedom of Information Act request for the material, which again has already been redacted by the CIA to eliminate all the concerns the CIA had in regard to the possible compromise of sources and methods. This is one case where the paucity of documents by government officials lamented by Jefferson is not a problem. Indeed, I think that many of these documents could be described as what Jefferson called on another occasion "morsel[s] of history" which are things "so rare always to be valuable."ro And their publication, along with other documents and testimony held by the 9/11 Commission, might begin to negate the effort of the George W. Bush administration and our overall governing elite to "dissuade AmeriWere they to do so, they might just pose discomfiting questions about the competence of our leaders, the organrzatron and purposes of government, and the rationale of U.S.
cans from peering too deeply at the events of

PART

I

GtrTTIi\G TO g/TL

If the liberties of America are ever completely ruined . . . it will in all probability be the consequence of a mistaken notiop of prudence, which leads men to acquiesce in measures of the most clestl1rctive
tendency for the sake of present ease" Samuel Adarns

glIL

. 177 l

foreign policy."2'

On September LI, 2001, history began exacting revenge from Americit's bipartisan governing elite for thirty years of ill-considered, path-of-leastresistance decisions and policies that had disinvestecl in lJ.S. security, as

well as forits inability to alter the worldview that forms the basis for U.S. national-security policy-even as they chanted that the Cold Wer \^,;ts over and fresh foreign-policy thinkirrg was required. The gll i ;:tr., l-s
found IJ.S. leaders ignorant both of America's lack of options t6ai lr., ; i,;cp created by a quarter-century of decisions taken "for the sake oi Dr.::?llt ease," and of the dimensions and power of the Islarnist foe their' :-^!;cies had nurtured. They also were bor-rndlessly confident that the epl,r-t':rcles destruction of the forces led, inspired,
and al-Qaeda"

that brought victory in the Cold War would ensllre the quick and utter an,C instigate,C by Osama bin Laden

Between 1973 and 9111, {J.S. foreign policy in the Muslim wo;I..{ committed Americans to the untenable position of supporting and p, otecting the viability of an endless religious war-to-the-death between Isi'relis ancl Arabs. In economic policy, moreovero Washington ignored rh., ,;rr-ning shot fired by the Saudi Arabia-led I 913 oil ernbargo and clecirjci1 t9 let rhe
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19
&i::

ft,i

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