Mohamed Atta was protected from official scrutiny as part of an officially-protected cocaine and heroin trafficking network with ties to top political figures, including Republican officials Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris, and it was this fact—and not the “terrible lapses” of “weak on terror” Clinton Administration officials cited by Republican Congressman Curt Weldon—which shielded him from being apprehended before the 9.11 attack.
Weldon alleges that Pentagon lawyers rejected the military intelligence unit’s recommendation to apprehend Atta because he was in the country legally, and therefore information on him could not be shared with law enforcement.
But the “terrible lapses” cited by Weldon do not stem from the nonsensical assertion that Atta had a green card (he did not) which rendered him immune from military investigation but were the result of an officially-protected heroin trafficking operation being conducted on planes like those of Wally Hilliard, whose Lear jet flew "milk runs" down and back to Venezuela every week for 39 weeks in a row before finally running afoul of local DEA agents not been clued-in on the 'joke.'
Moreover the secret military intelligence operation which identified Mohamed Atta and three other hijackers as a threat a year before the 9.11 attack, called Able Danger, was by no means the first military intelligence investigation into the activities of the Hamburg cadre.
Watching the river (of heroin) flow
As far back as 1991, military investigators had been detailed to Hamburg Germany, tracking what one military investigator who was there told us were “Al Qaeda heroin flows” from Afghanistan to the West.
A two-year investigation in Venice, Fl. into the flight school attended by Atta and his bodyguard Marwan Al-Shehhi and which provided them with their “cover” while in the U.S. unearthed the amazing fact that during the same month the two men began flying lessons at Huffman Aviation, July of 2000, the flight school’s owner’s Lear jet was seized on the runway of Orlando Executive Airport by Federal Agents who found 43-pounds of heroin onboard.
43 pounds of heroin is known in the drug trade as “heavy weight.”
In a story in the August 2, 2000 Orlando Sentinel authorities called the bust “the biggest drug seizure in central Florida history.”
“It confirms the sad fact that a massive amount of heroin is coming through Central Florida,” U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration special agent Brent Eaton told the paper. “It’s very disturbing to the DEA that more and more high quality heroin is coming from Colombia and at a cheaper price.”
The DEA was “very disturbed” enough to look more closely at Wally Hilliard’s jet charter operation. The result was their firm opposition to returning the Lear to Hilliard, even though no one from Hilliard’s company, Plane 1 Leasing, had been charged with any crime.
DO JEB AND KATHERINE SHARE 'A FEELING FOR THE LITTLE GUY?'
And even while his companies were being used to train terrorists to fly and smuggling heroin into the U.S., prominent Florida politicians Governor Jeb Bush and Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris publicly endorsed Hilliard’s operation.
Governor Jeb Bush honored Hilliard's operation (called at various times Florida Air, Sunrise Airlines and Discover Air) with a personal visit, posing for photos with the "Discover Air family."
Katherine Harris' endorsement of Hilliard’s operation was splashed across the pages of her beloved hometown Sarasota Herald Tribune. "As one of Florida's top politicians, Katherine Harris doesn't have much time to do a lot of personal traveling," the paper reported.
"But twice in the past month or so, the secretary of state… has taken the 75-minute plane ride from her current home in Tallahassee to her old stomping grounds in Sarasota. Her choice of airline? Florida Air, a start-up commuter airline based here, grasping to be an air-taxi for the entire state."
The Herald Tribune quoted Harris spokesman Ben McKay saying, “She appreciates the convenience that Florida Air offers.”
Ms. Harris' reputation as a stickler for the letter of the law from the contested 2000 Presidential election was apparently put ‘on hold’ on Wally Hilliard’s behalf: While she was "appreciating their convenience," the operation was flying passengers without holding an air carrier certificate.
The juxtaposition of the discovery of a huge cache of heroin on a Lear jet belonging to Wallace J. Hilliard, 70, of Naples, Fl, Huffman Aviation’s owner, at the exact same time terrorist and Osama bin Laden associate Mohamed Atta arrived to attend his flight school from Afghanistan, a country producing well more than half of the world’s heroin, would normally have had U.S. Attorneys looking up the sentencing guidelines appropriate to major RICO narcotics trafficking cases, and getting ready to throw the book at him.
In fact, they did nothing of the sort, which strongly indicates that the Army’s secret military intelligence unit Able Danger’s inability to prod federal authorities to move on Atta and other terrorists known to be in the U.S. encountered the same obstacles, and for the same reason.
In fact, the only effort made at holding financier Wallace J. Hilliard, 70, of Naples, Florida accountable was the weak one of confiscating his plane. When Hilliard sued to get the DEA to return the Lear jet inn forfeiture hearings, attempting to show himself to have been an “innocent owner,” his motion was opposed by the Government and roundly rejected in court.
The U.S. Attorney’s office opposed the plane’s return. Their motion said, “because the property was used or acquired as a result of a violation of the Controlled Substances Act.”
Court documents revealed that Hilliard’s leasing company, Plane 1 Leasing, had been paid in cash for each charter by the two Latin passengers, which aviation experts in South Florida said strains credulity.
“DEA would not return it, they auctioned it off, they told Wally they had ‘reasons,’” said an aviation source in Naples. “It was the first seizure in history for a so-called ‘innocent person’ where they took and kept the plane.”
The court concluded Hilliard’s company knew what was going on. Affidavits later filed by the machine-gun toting DEA agents who had surrounded the Lear jet indicated Hilliard’s company’s involvement went much deeper than anyone was willing to acknowledge publicly.
Red Flags, Red Faces, Red Blood Everywhere
“It was just blatant,” said a manager who worked there at the time. “That same plane flew that same run thirty or forty times, ferrying the same people. And they always paid cash for the rental! The red flags could not have been raised any higher.”
Hilliard lost his Lear jet. America lost (almost) 3000 lives.
And something else as well. The fact that this story was first broken exclusively (and only) by the MadCowMorningNews, and not “papers of record” like the New York Times and Washington Post amply demonstrates the massive 9.11 cover-up led by the FBI which is still in place, a cover-up which has contemptuously mocked the very concept of American democracy, of a “free press,” and of the “people’s right to know.”
Nor were we alone in our discovery of the officially-protected drug trafficking network. FBI whistle-blower Sibel Edmonds, in the months after the attack, bumped into the arms for drugs deals. Edmonds alleged that the US State Department blocked investigations showing links between criminal drug trafficking networks and the terror attacks on 9/11.
"Certain investigations were being quashed, let's say per State Department's request, because it would have affected certain foreign relations [or] affected certain business relations with foreign organizations," she stated.
Even if military intelligence unit Able Danger had been allowed to notify the FBI, the information which fingered Mohamed Atta and others of the hijackers was already well-known to the Bureau.
“FBI Knew Terrorists Were Using Flight Schools” the Washington Post reported on Sept 23, 2001. “Federal authorities have been aware for years that suspected terrorists with ties to Osama bin Laden were receiving flight training at schools in the United States and abroad, according to interviews and court testimony.”
Indications of the FBI's "guilty knowledge" were widespread in the aftermath of the attack included the widely-reported fact that the FBI was at Huffman Aviation with search warrants at 2.30 a.m. the night after the attack. An executive of Huffman Aviation told us that FBI agents were on the scene even earlier than that.
"They moved pretty fast for guys in black Florsheims"
"How do you think the FBI got here (Huffman Aviation) so fast after the attack?" asked the executive. "They knew what was going on here. Hell, they were parked in a white van outside my house less than four hours after the buildings collapsed."
"We heard that 16 of the 19 terrorists had been on Interpol's Most Wanted list," this aviation executive continued. "But early on I gleaned that these guys had Government protection. They were let into this country for a specific purpose. It was a business deal."
Amazingly, the smuggling operation being protected continues to this day.
The pilot of Hilliard’s busted Lear jet, was not taken into custody. “The pilot was not arrested, according to a DEA spokesman, because of a lack of evidence,” reported the Orlando Sentinel. He has since been identified as also being the chief pilot on Venezuela’s “Air Force One,” which provides a bit of context for last week’s news that the State Department was revoking the visas of three Venezuelan military officers suspected of involvement in drug trafficking.
When we first published the DEA’s official report to the court about the Orlando heroin bust (read it here) on our website and in the appendix to “Welcome to TerrorLand,” we received a very credible death threat… even though the report is a public document available to anyone.
And Rudi Dekkers just told his favorite newspaper, (of course, the Sarasota Herald Tribune) that he was out of work.
Poor man. We guess the trips to Colombia don’t count.