U.S. & U.K. Conceal Intelligence Failures Before 9/11
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 Bureau discovered that the Taliban regime had awarded a major telephone network contract to a joint US-UK venture, run by an American entrepreneur, Ehsanollah Bayat and two British businessmen, Stuart Bentham and Lord Michael Cecil.
“The plan was simple” Davis said. “Because the Taliban wanted American equipment for their new phone network, this would allow the FBI and NSA, 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. 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”, he said.
The operation was eventually given the green light on 8 September 2001 – three days before the al-Qaida attacks. “A huge opportunity was missed,” Davis said.
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