The US may have missed opportunities to prevent 9/11 due to a turf war between the CIA and the FBI, a British parliamentarian has claimed.
Tory MP David Davis claimed the rival US agencies spent over 12 months arguing about who should tap Afghanistan’s phone system. As a result, nothing was in place to monitor calls before terror attacks killed nearly 3,000 people Sep 11, 2001, the Sun reported Wednesday.
“The FBI and CIA spent more than a year fighting over who should be in charge,” he said.
Davis made the claims under parliamentary privilege in the Commons.
Davis said that in 1998 the FBI seized upon an opportunity to eavesdrop on every landline and telephone call into and out of Afghanistan in a bid to build intelligence on the Taliban, the Guardian reported.
The Bureau discovered that the Taliban regime had awarded a major telephone network contract to a joint US-UK venture, run by an American entrepreneur and two British businessmen.
Davis said: “Because the Taliban wanted American equipment for their new phone network, this would allow the FBI and the National Security Agency to build extra circuits into all the equipment before it was flown out to Afghanistan for use.
“Once installed, these extra circuits would allow the FBI and NSA to record or listen live to every single landline and mobile phone call in Afghanistan.”
He said the FBI would know the time the call was made and its duration. They would know the caller’s name, the number dialled, and even the caller’s PIN.
But the plan, Operation Foxden, was delayed by a turf war, during which “the FBI and the CIA spent more than a year fighting over who should be in charge”, Davis said.
The operation was eventually given the green light on Sep 8, 2001 – barely three days before the al-Qaida attacks. “A huge opportunity was missed,” he said.(IANS)