9/11 and Cyberterrorism: Did the real "cyber 9/11" happen on 9/11?15/11/2010 17:12
The Corbett Report
17 July, 2009
Government sources immediately began blaming North Korea for the recent cyberterror attacks on South Korea and the U.S., despite having no evidence to back up those claims. Now, an examination of the evidence by independent computer experts show that the attack seems to have been coordinated from the UK. The hysterical media coverage in the attack's wake, however, echoing the government line that it was likely the work of North Korea, served to cement in the minds of many that this was an act of cyberwarfare.
The idea that this surprisingly unsophisticated attack could have come from a well-organized, hostile state or terrorist group comes as a blessing in disguise to those groups, agencies and advisors who have been calling for greater and greater federal snooping powers in the name of stopping a "cyber 9/11" from happening.
The "cyber 9/11" meme stretches back almost to 9/11 itself. Back in 2003, Mike McConnell, the ex-director of the National Security Agency (NSA), was fearmongering over the possibility of a cyber attack "equivalent to the attack on the World Trade Center" if a new institution were not created to oversee cyber security. Since then, report after report has continued to use the horror of 9/11 as a way of raising public hysteria over "cyber terrorism," a subject more often associated with juvenile hackers and lone misfits than radical terrorist organizations.
The real reason behind the invocation of 9/11 in the context of "cyber terror" was revealed last year by Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig. He told a technology conference that former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke admits there is a cyber equivalent of the constitution-destroying Patriot Act ready to be rubber stamped into law; all it requires is a "cyber 9/11" to make such legislation politically viable. In effect, the cyber security establishment—the advisors, agents and experts in the newly-minted multi-billion dollar cyber security industry—are waiting for a spectacular cyber terrorist attack to go ahead with plans for 'identity management' schemes like fingerprinting for internet access which would put an end to the free Internet as we have known it.
What the cyber security establishment does not want you to know is that the most incredible cyber terrorist story of all time began 15 years ago. And it centers on 9/11. The establishment is interested in suppressing this story because it demonstrates that the very investigative bodies that are clamoring for more power on the pretext of the "cyber terror" hysteria are the exact same bodies that failed to investigate the documentable links between government-designated terrorists and a software company with direct access to some of the most sensitive computer systems in the United States. FBI agents whose investigation into this story were suppressed have even said that these investigations could have prevented 9/11.
It is a story of international terror and terrorist financiers. It stretches from New England to Saudi Arabia and involves businessmen, politicians and terror networks. And it begins in the most unlikely of places: the offices of an enterprise architecture software firm in Quincy, Massachusetts.
Enterprise Architecture: The God's-Eye View of Systems and Infrastructure
"Enterprise architecture software" refers to a computer program that allows someone to look at all of the data produced throughout an organization's structure in real time. This effectively gives the program user a god's-eye view of an enterprise, allowing for the mapping, visualization and analysis of all transactions, interactions, systems, processes and personnel in the entirety of a business or agency. This type of software could, for example, be used for robust business modeling, allowing for extremely detailed and accurate projections of how changes in an organization's structure or processes would effect a business' bottom line. What would happen if two departments were merged, for example, or if a business were to outsource one of its processes.
As this software began to mature in the 1990s, however, it went from a merely useful tool to something truly incredible. Sophisticated enterprise architecture software could, for example, examine all of the transactions taking place across a financial institution in real time and examine that data for possible money laundering operations or rogue traders. Such software could even have potentially detected and identified the insider trading leading up to 9/11. Combined with rudimentary a.i. capabilities, such a program would not only be able to alert the appropriate personnel about such transactions, but even stop them as they are happening. If the software were sophisticated enough, it may even be able to identify the possibility of such transactions before they happen.
The utility of such software for organizations of all stripes should be obvious enough. It is unsurprising, then, that numerous government agencies and powerful corporations were hungry for this software in the 1990s. A surprising number of them, including DARPA, the FBI, the Secret Service, the White House, the Navy, the Air Force, the FAA, NATO, IBM, Booz Allen Hamilton and Price Waterhouse Coopers (amongst many others) turned to a small New England-based software firm called Ptech.
Ptech: Not Your Average Software Firm
Ptech was founded in Quincy, Mass. in 1994 and by 1996 had secured a contract with DARPA to help transfer commercial software methodologies to the defense sector. In 1997, it gained security clearance to bid on sensitive military contracts and bid on work for a range of other government agencies. Within four years Ptech had built up a stable of clients that would make any third-party software vendor green with envy. From the inner sanctum of the White House to the headquarters of the FBI, from the basement of the FAA to the boardroom of IBM, some of the best-secured organizations in the world running on some of the most protected servers housing the most sensitive data welcomed Ptech into their midst. Ptech was given the keys to the cyber kingdom to build detailed pictures of these organizations, their weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and to show how these problems could be exploited by those of ill intent. For all of its incredible success, however, many of the firm's top investors and employees were men with backgrounds that should have been raising red flags at all levels of the government.
The firm was founded on $20 million of startup money, $5 million of which was provided by Yassin al-Qadi, a wealthy and well-connected Saudi businessman who liked to brag about his acquaintance with Dick Cheney. He also had connections to various Muslim charities suspected of funding international terrorism. In the wake of 9/11 he was officially declared a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the U.S. government and his assets were frozen. At the time, Ptech's owners and senior management denied that al-Qadi had any involvement with the company other than his initial investment, but the FBI now maintains they were lying and that in fact al-Qadi continued investing millions of dollars in the company through various fronts and investment vehicles. Company insiders told FBI officials that they were flown to Saudi Arabia to meet Ptech's investors in 1999 and that al-Qadi was introduced as one of the owners. It has also been reported that Hussein Ibrahim, Ptech's chief scientist, was al-Qadi's representative at Ptech and al-Qadi's lawyers have admitted that al-Qadi's representative may have continued to sit on Ptech's board even after 9/11.
Ibrahim himself was a former president of BMI, a New Jersey-based real estate investment firm that was also one of the initial investors in Ptech and provided financing for Ptech's founding loan. Ptech leased office space and computer equipment from BMI and BMI shared office space in New Jersey with Kadi International, owned and operated by none other than Ptech's sweetheart investor and Specially Designated Global Terrorist, Yassin al-Qadi. In 2003, counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke said: "BMI held itself out publicly as a financial services provider for Muslims in the United States, its investor list suggests the possibility this facade was just a cover to conceal terrorist support."
Suheil Laheir was Ptech's chief architect. When he wasn't writing the software that would provide Ptech with detailed operational blueprints of the most sensitive agencies in the U.S. government, he was writing articles in praise of Islamic holy war. He was also fond of quoting Abdullah Azzam, Osama Bin Laden's mentor and the head of Maktab al-Khidamat, which was the precursor to Al-Qaeda.
That such an unlikely cast of characters were given access to some of the most sensitive agencies in the U.S. federal government is startling enough. That they were operating software that allowed them to map, analyze and access every process and operation within these agencies for the purpose of finding systemic weak points is equally startling. Most disturbing of all, though, is the connection between Ptech and the very agencies that so remarkably failed in their duty to protect the American public on September 11, 2001.
Ptech on 9/11: The Basement of the FAA
For two years prior to 9/11, Ptech was working to identify potential problems or weaknesses in the FAA's response plans to events like a terrorist hijacking of a plane over U.S. airspace. According to their own business plan for their contract with the FAA, Ptech was given access to every process and system in the FAA dealing with their crisis response protocols. This included examining key systems and infrastructure to analyze the FAA's "network management, network security, configuration management, fault management, performance management, application administration, network management and user desk help operations." In short, Ptech had free reign to examine every FAA system and process for dealing with the exact type of event that was to occur on 9/11. Even more incredible, researcher Indira Singh points out that Ptech was specifically analyzing the potential interoperability problems between the FAA, NORAD and the Pentagon in the event of an emergency over U.S. airspace.
Ptech also presumably had operational information about the systems that the FAA, NORAD and others employed during crisis response exercises like Vigilant Guardian, the NORAD exercise that was taking place on 9/11 and included simulations of hijacked jets being flown into New York and hijacked jets being flown into government buildings. This is significant because there is every indication that just such drills were confusing NORAD's response to the real hijackings that were taking place that day. As researcher Michael Ruppert points out, a rogue agent with access to a Ptech backdoor into the FAA's systems could have been deliberately inserting fake blips onto the FAA's radars on 9/11. That scenario would explain the source of the phantom Flight 11 that the FAA reported to NORAD at 9:24 a.m. (well after Flight 11 had already hit the World Trade Center), a report whose source the 9/11 Commission claims they were unable to find.
In short, Ptech's software was running on the critical systems responding to the attacks of 9/11 on 9/11 itself. The software was designed for the express purpose of giving its users a complete overview of all the data flowing through an organization in real time. The father of enterprise architecture himself, John Zachman, explained that with Ptech-type software installed on a sensitive server "You would know where the access points are, you’d know how to get in, you would know where the weaknesses are, you’d know how to destroy it."
|Robert Wright: 9/11 "a direct result of the incompetence of the FBI's International Terrorism Unit."|
In the late 1990s, Robert Wright—an FBI special agent in the Chicago field office—was running an investigation into terrorist financing called Vulgar Betrayal. From the very start, the investigation was hampered by higher-ups; the investigation was not even allocated adequate computers to carry out its work. Through Wright's foresight and perseverance, however, the investigation managed to score some victories, including seizing $1.4 million in U.S. funds that traced back to Yassin al-Qadi. Wright was pleased when a senior agent was assigned to help investigate "the founder and the financier of Ptech", but the agent did no work and merely pushed papers during his entire time on the case.
Shortly after the 1998 African embassy bombings, Vulgar Betrayal began to uncover a money trail linking al-Qadi to the attack. According to Wright, when he proposed a criminal investigation into the links, his supervisor flew into a rage, saying "'You will not open criminal investigations. I forbid any of you. You will not open criminal investigations against any of these intelligence subjects." Wright was taken off the Vulgar Betrayal investigation one year later and the investigation itself was shut down the following year.
In the aftermath of 9/11, Indira Singh—a risk management conultant for JP Morgan—was looking for enterprise architecture software to implement the next generation of risk management at the financial juggernaut. Impressed by their client list, Singh invited Ptech to demonstrate their software. It wasn't long before she began discovering the connections between Ptech and international terrorist financing. She worked exhaustively to document and uncover these links in an effort to persuade the FBI in Boston to open their own investigation into Ptech, but she was told by one agent that she was in a better position to investigate this than someone inside the FBI. Despite the persistent efforts of Singh and the testimony of company insiders, the FBI did not inform any of the agencies contracting with Ptech that there were concerns about the company or its software.
In late 2002, Operation Green Quest—a Customs Department-led multi-agency investigation into terrorist financing—raided Ptech's offices due to its ties to al-Qadi and others. The very same day of the raid White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer declared the company and its software safe. Mainstream news articles defending Ptech after the story broke, however, blithely admit that the company was informed of the raid weeks in advance, hoping perhaps that readers will not notice that his completely defeats the purpose of such a raid or calls into question its results. Eventually, Michael Chertoff led an effort to give the FBI total control over Greenquest, leading to Customs officials accusing him of sabotaging the investigation. No indictments were laid in the immediate aftermath of the Ptech raid against al-Qadi or anyone else related to the company. Chertoff went on to become the head of Homeland Security.
The 9/11 Commission Report, obviously, does not mention Ptech. Given the incredible information about this company and its links to Specially Designated Global Terrorist Yassin al-Qadi, this is perhaps surprising. This startling omission becomes more ominous however, when it is understood that the 9/11 Commission co-chair, Thomas Kean, made $24 million dollars off a land deal with al-Qadi linked organization BMI.
For over a decade, investigations into Ptech, its employees and its investors have been stifled, suppressed or derailed by people in key positions. But all of that finally changed this week.
A Break in the Case
On Wednesday the Boston Field Office of the FBI unsealed a 2007 indictment of Oussama Ziade, Ptech's former CEO, and Buford George Peterson, the former CFO and COO. The indictment charges that the pair knowingly lied to investigators about the extent of al-Qadi's investments and ties with Ptech. Another unsealed indictment, this one from 2005, alleges Ziade attempted to engage in transactions involving al-Qadi's property, a federal offence as al-Qadi was a Specially Designated Global Terrorist at the time. If the pair are convicted on the charges, they face 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
Whether this represents a significant breakthrough in the case and the beginning of the official unraveling of the Ptech story will likely depend on whether political pressure is brought to bear by an informed public who are concerned with this story. Given that the public has been whipped into cyber-hysteria over the North Korean figments of the government's imagination, it will require the media to stop parroting the government's talking points and begin informing the public about the very real, documentable links between terrorist financiers and the technological capability to override key emergency response systems on 9/11.
Two questions remain to be answered: Did the real "cyber 9/11" happen on 9/11? And will the public care enough to demand the answer to that question? If the answer to either question is 'yes,' concerned readers are advised to download the mp3 file of Episode 045 of The Corbett Report podcast, "Ptech and the 9/11 software," and begin distributing it to others to bring awareness to this incredible story.
Related works from The Corbett Report:
Ptech Inc. was a participant or observer in the following events:
Ptech is founded in 1994 by Oussama Ziade, Hussein Ibrahim, and James Cerrato. Ziade came from Lebanon to study at Harvard University. As the Associated Press will describe it, Ptech’s “idea was to help complicated organizations like the military and large companies create a picture of how their assets—people and technology—work together. Then the software could show how little changes, like combining two departments, might affect the whole.” They raise $20 million to start the company. A number of Ptech employees and investors will later be suspected of having ties to groups that have been designated by the US as terrorist organizations: [CNN, 12/6/2002; Wall Street Journal, 12/6/2002; Associated Press, 1/3/2003]
Yassin al-Qadi, a Saudi multimillionaire. He will invest $5 million of Ptech’s start-up money. The US will declare him an al-Qaeda financier shortly after 9/11 (see October 12, 2001). In 1998, al-Qadi will come under investigation by FBI agent Robert Wright (see October 1998) for potential ties to the 1998 US embassy bombings (see 10:35-10:39 a.m., August 7, 1998). Al-Qadi is also a major investor in BMI Inc., an investment firm with connections to a remarkable number of suspected terrorist financiers (see 1986-October 1999). Al-Qadi later will claims that he sold his investment in Ptech in 1999, but there will be evidence he may continue to hold a financial stake after that year, and even after the US will officially declare him a terrorism financier (see 1999-After October 12, 2001). [Wall Street Journal, 12/6/2002; Washington Post, 12/7/2002; Associated Press, 1/3/2003]
Gamel Ahmed, Ptech’s comptroller in the mid-1990s. One al-Qadi loan Wright will investigate also involves Ahmed. [Associated Press, 1/3/2003]
Hussein Ibrahim, Ptech vice president and chief scientist. He also serves as vice president and then president of BMI from 1989 until 1995. He has no known direct terrorism finance connections, but it has been reported that al-Qadi brought Ibrahim into Ptech as his representative. [Wall Street Journal, 12/6/2002; WBZ 4 (Boston), 12/9/2002; Associated Press, 1/3/2003]
Soliman Biheiri. He is the head of BMI and a member of Ptech’s board. US prosecutors will later call him the US banker for the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned Egyptian militant group. He will later be convicted for lying and immigration fraud (see June 15, 2003). [FrontPage Magazine, 6/17/2005]
Abdurahman Alamoudi. He is one of Ptech’s founders, as well as an investor in BMI. In 2004, the US will sentence him to 23 years in prison for illegal dealings with Libya (see October 15, 2004). [Washington Post, 10/16/2004; FrontPage Magazine, 6/17/2005]
Muhammed Mubayyid and Suheil Laheir. Neither have any known direct ties to terrorism financing. However, both are longtime Ptech employees whom formerly worked for Care International, a Boston-based suspect Islamic charity (not to be confused with a large international charity having the same name). [Wall Street Journal, 12/6/2002] In 2005, Mubayyid will be charged with conspiring to defraud the US and making false statements to the FBI. Care International had previously been the Boston branch of the Al-Kifah Refugee Center (see [a0493kifahboston]]) and a recruitment office for Mektab al Khidmat (MAK), the precursor organization to al-Qaeda (see 1985-1989). Laheir, Ptech’s chief architect, wrote many articles in support of Islamic holy war. He frequently quoted Abdullah Azzam, bin Laden’s mentor. [Associated Press, 5/13/2005; FrontPage Magazine, 6/17/2005]
Yaqub Mirza. He is a Ptech investor and on a Ptech advisory board. He directs SAAR, a multi-million dollar network of companies and charities in Herndon, Virginia (see July 29, 1983). In March 2002, US investigators will raid the SAAR network for suspected terrorism ties (see March 20, 2002). In late 2002, the Wall Street Journal will report, “US officials privately say Mr. Mirza and his associates also have connections to al-Qaeda and to other entities officially listed by the US as sponsors of terrorism.” [Wall Street Journal, 12/6/2002; WBZ 4 (Boston), 12/9/2002; Associated Press, 1/3/2003]
BMI itself directly invests in Ptech. It also gives Ptech a founding loan, and leases Ptech much of its office and computer equipment. [Wall Street Journal, 12/6/2002; Associated Press, 1/3/2003] Ptech president Ziade and other Ptech employees will claim that all of their ties to suspected terrorist financiers are coincidental. By 2002, Ptech will have annual revenues of up to $10 million. [Wall Street Journal, 12/6/2002] Ptech’s potential ties to suspected terrorist financiers will be of particular concern because of its potential access to classified government information (see 1996-1997). [Wall Street Journal, 12/6/2002; Boston Globe, 12/7/2002] Joe Bergantino, a CBS journalist who will be the first to report on Ptech, will say of Ptech in 2002, “The worst-case scenario is that this is a situation where this was planned for a very long time to establish a company in this country and in the computer software business that would target federal agencies and gain access to key government data to essentially help terrorists launch another attack.” [National Public Radio, 12/8/2002]
Ptech is a Boston computer company connected to a number of individuals suspected of ties to officially designated terrorist organizations (see 1994). These alleged ties will be of particular concern because of Ptech’s potential access to classified government secrets. Ptech specializes in what is called enterprise architecture. It is the design and layout for an organization’s computer networks. John Zachman, considered the father of enterprise architecture, later will say that Ptech could collect crucial information from the organizations and agencies with which it works. “You would know where the access points are, you’d know how to get in, you would know where the weaknesses are, you’d know how to destroy it.” Another computer expert will say, “The software they put on your system could be collecting every key stroke that you type while you are on the computer. It could be establishing a connection to the outside terrorist organization through all of your security measures.” [WBZ 4 (Boston), 12/9/2002] In late 1996, an article notes that Ptech is doing work for DARPA, a Defense Department agency responsible for developing new military technology. [Government Executive, 9/1/1996] In 1997, Ptech gains government approval to market its services to “all legislative, judicial, and executive branches of the federal government.” Beginning that year, Ptech will begin working for many government agencies, eventually including the White House, Congress, Army, Navy, Air Force, NATO, FAA, FBI, US Postal Service, Secret Service, the Naval Air Systems Command, IRS, and the nuclear-weapons program of the Department of Energy. For instance, Ptech will help build “the Military Information Architecture Framework, a software tool used by the Department of Defense to link data networks from various military computer systems and databases.” Ptech will be raided by US investigators in December 2002 (see December 5, 2002), but not shut down. [Wall Street Journal, 12/6/2002; CNN, 12/6/2002; Newsweek, 12/6/2002; Boston Globe, 12/7/2002] A former director of intelligence at the Department of Energy later will say he would not be surprised if an al-Qaeda front company managed to infiltrate the department’s nuclear programs. [Unlimited (Auckland), 12/9/2002] Ptech will continue to work with many of these agencies even after 9/11. After a Customs Department raid of Ptech’s offices in late 2002, their software will be declared safe of malicious code. But one article will note, “What no one knows at this point is how much sensitive government information Ptech gained access to while it worked in several government agencies.” [WBZ 4 (Boston), 12/9/2002]
FBI agent Robert Wright will later recall that at this time, he is pleasantly surprised when FBI management provides his Vulgar Betrayal investigation with a 10 year veteran agent to assist with his efforts. According to Wright, the unnamed agent is assigned to “investigate a company and its 20-plus subsidiaries which were linked to a major financer of international terrorism.” However, Wright and fellow agent John Vincent will soon become dismayed when they realize the agent is not actually doing any work. He merely shuffles papers to look busy when people walk by. He will continue to do no work on this important assignment until the Vulgar Betrayal investigation is effectively shut down one year later (see August 3, 1999). Wright will claim in 2003, “The important assignment he was given involved both the founder and the financier of Ptech.” Presumably these could be references to Oussama Ziade, the president and chief founder of Ptech, and Yassin al-Qadi, apparently Ptech’s largest investor. [Federal News Service, 6/2/2003]
Timeline Tags: Complete 911 TimelineAfter a 2002 US government raid on the offices of Ptech, a Boston based computer company (see December 5, 2002), Ptech officials will downplay any connection between Ptech and Yassin al-Qadi, a multimillionaire suspected of financing groups that have been officially designated as terrorist organizations. For instance, Ptech vice president Joseph Johnson will say al-Qadi had no ties to the company but “may have had something to do with it [in 1994].” Al-Qadi was one of Ptech’s biggest initial investors in 1994, if not the biggest investor (see 1994). [Associated Press, 12/7/2002] However, there is considerable evidence al-Qadi is still involved in Ptech at least through 1999. Company insiders will later tell investigators that they were summoned to Saudi Arabia in 1999 to brief Saudi investors in Ptech. They are introduced to al-Qadi, who is described as an owner of Ptech. A photograph taken at this meeting shows al-Qadi with Ptech CEO Oussama Ziade and others. [WBZ 4 (Boston), 12/9/2002] Most media accounts say al-Qadi invested about $5 million in Ptech in 1994, one quarter of the company’s start-up money. But one account claims that al-Qadi invested an additional $9 million indirectly through BMI, the New Jersey-based investment firm with ties to several individuals suspected of financing Islamic militant groups (see 1986-October 1999). Swiss investigators also allege that al-Qadi transfers $2 million to Ptech between 1997 and 2000. [FrontPage Magazine, 6/17/2005] There are even allegations that al-Qadi continues to support Ptech after the US officially designates him a terrorist financier on October 12, 2001. In late 2002, CNN will report, “Sources said Ptech executives are believed to have been aware of al-Qadi’s suspected connections but did not sever their relationship with him.” [CNN, 12/6/2002] Al-Qadi will deny allegations that he had any interest in Ptech after 9/11. But in late 2002 al-Qadi’s lawyer will concede that it is possible an al-Qadi representative continued to sit on Ptech’s board after 9/11. [Newsweek, 12/6/2002]
Yassin al-Qadi, a Saudi multimillionaire businessman, was officially declared a terrorist financier in October 2001 (see October 12, 2001). [Arab News, 9/26/2002] That same month, a number of employees at Ptech, a Boston-based computer company that al-Qadi and other individuals suspected of financing officially designated terrorist groups invested in (see 1994), tell the Boston FBI about the connections between Ptech and al-Qadi. However, FBI agents do little more than take their statements. A high-level government source later will claim the FBI does not convey the Ptech-al-Qadi link to Operation Greenquest, a Customs Department investigation into al-Qadi and other suspected financiers, and none of the government agencies using Ptech software are warned about the possible security threat Ptech represents. [Boston Globe, 12/7/2002; WBZ 4 (Boston), 12/9/2002] According to a private counterterrorism expert involved in investigating Ptech at the time, “Frighteningly, when an employee told [Ptech president Oussama Ziade] he felt he had to contact the FBI regarding al-Qadi’s involvement in the company, the president allegedly told him not to worry because Yaqub Mirza, who was on the board of directors of the company and was himself a target of a [Greenquest] terrorist financing raid in March 2002 (see March 20, 2002), had contacts high within the FBI.” [National Review, 5/27/2003] A Ptech investigation will finally begin in 2002 after more whistleblowers come forward (see May-December 5, 2002).
Serious tensions develop between the FBI and Operation Greenquest investigators in the wake of the Greenquest raid on the SAAR network in March 2002 (see After March 20, 2002). The Customs Department launched Greenquest, an investigation into the financing of al-Qaeda and similar groups, weeks after 9/11. In June 2002, the Washington Post will headline an article, “Infighting Slows Hunt for Hidden al-Qaeda Assets.” [Washington Post, 6/18/2002]
FBI Wants Control of Greenquest - With the creation of the new Department of Homeland Security (see November 25, 2002), the FBI and its parent agency the Justice Department are given a chance to gain total control over Operation Greenquest. Newsweek reports, “Internally, FBI officials have derided Greenquest agents as a bunch of ‘cowboys’ whose actions have undermined more important, long-range FBI investigations into terrorist financing.” Meanwhile: “The FBI-Justice move, pushed by [Justice Department] Criminal Division chief Michael Chertoff and Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, has enraged Homeland Security officials.… They accuse the [FBI] of sabotaging Greenquest investigations—by failing to turn over critical information to their agents—and trying to obscure a decade-long record of lethargy in which FBI offices failed to aggressively pursue terror-finance cases. ‘They [the FBI] won’t share anything with us,’ [says] a Homeland Security official. ‘Then they go to the White House and they accuse us of not sharing. If they can’t take it over, they want to kill it.’”
Derails Greenquest's Investigation into Firm with Terrorist Ties - This battle has a large effect on the investigation into Ptech, a Boston-based computer company with ties to suspected terrorist financiers. When Ptech whistleblowers approach the FBI, the FBI “apparently [does] little or nothing in response” (see Shortly After October 12, 2001 and May-December 5, 2002). Then Greenquest launches an investigation in Ptech, which culminates in a raid on the Ptech offices in December 2002 (see December 5, 2002). “After getting wind of the Greenquest probe, the FBI stepped in and unsuccessfully tried to take control of the case. The result, sources say, has been something of a train wreck.” [Newsweek, 4/9/2003]
Greenquest Based on Single FBI Agent's Investigations - Greenquest appears to have been heavily based on the pre-9/11 investigations of FBI agent Robert Wright. The New York Post will report in 2004: “After 9/11, Wright’s work was picked up by David Kane of the US Customs Service, who raided companies owned by [Yassin] al-Qadi, leading to al-Qadi’s designation as a ‘global terrorist’ and to money-laundering indictments of companies in Northern Virginia linked to al-Qadi and Soliman Biheiri (another Wright investigatee). The [Greenquest] indictments rely heavily on Wright’s work.” [New York Post, 7/14/2004]
F BI Will Win Battle for Greenq uest - The FBI will eventually win the battle with Homeland Security and Customs, and Greenquest will cease to exist at the end of June 2003 (see May 13-June 30, 2003). [Newsweek, 4/9/2003]
In October 2001, Ptech insiders attempted to warn the FBI that suspected terrorist financier Yassin al-Qadi had funded Ptech (see Shortly After October 12, 2001). Then Indira Singh, an employee at JP Morgan Chase bank, develops her own suspicions about Ptech after her bank assigned her to investigate Ptech for a potential business deal. In May 2002, she speaks with the FBI about her concerns. Weeks later, she learns the FBI still has not told any other government agencies about the potential Ptech security threat. She later will recall, “the language, the kind of language law enforcement, counterterrorism, and the FBI agents themselves were using basically indicated to me that absolutely no investigation was going on, that it was totally at a standstill, at which point my hair stood on end.” She contacts a Boston CBS television station, WBZ-TV, and a reporter for the station named Joe Bergantino begins investigating Ptech. [Boston Globe, 12/7/2002; National Public Radio, 12/8/2002; WBZ 4 (Boston), 12/9/2002] Around the same time, a former government official with contacts in the Bush administration tells officials at the National Security Council about the Ptech allegations. By late August, Operation Greenquest then opens its own Ptech investigation. The FBI then tries “to muscle its way back into the probe once it [becomes] clear that [Greenquest is] taking the case seriously.” [Newsweek, 12/6/2002; WBZ 4 (Boston), 12/9/2002] Beginning in late November, US agents begin calling Ptech officials and asking them if they have ties to money laundering, thus tipping them off. Ptech will also be notified when a December raid will be occurring before it happens. [Associated Press, 1/3/2003] WBZ-TV prepared a story on Ptech, but withheld it from the public for more than three months after receiving “calls from federal law enforcement agencies, some at the highest levels.” The station claims the government launched its Ptech probe in August 2002, after they “got wind of our investigation” and “asked us to hold the story so they could come out and do their raid and look like they’re ahead of the game.” [Boston Globe, 12/7/2002; WBZ 4 (Boston), 12/9/2002]