A new trove of previously classified CIA documents were publicly released for the first time yesterday, shedding new light on the run-up to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
The documents, which were obtained by the National Security Archive through the Freedom of Information Act, point to missed opportunities by intelligence agencies to apprehend or eliminate Osama bin Laden and better prepare security agencies for attacks involving hijacked civilian aircraft.
One memo, dated December 1998, details “planning by Usama [sic] bin Laden to hijack U.S airplane,” and notes that two individuals thought to be part of Al-Qaeda successfully evaded security checks at an undisclosed New York airport during a trial run. Another, dated March 2004, acknowledges that early Predator drone missions over Afghanistan in the fall of 2000 twice observed an individual “most likely to be Bin Laden” but the UAV was not equipped to act on the information.
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