I thought this was a very interesting development in the botched Zacarias Moussaoui trial. The man who arrested Moussaoui, Special Agent Harry Samit, is blaming the FBI for not following up on his requests to look harder into Moussaui. He believes that had the FBI done its job 9/11 could have been prevented.
snipSamit's recollections Monday were the first ground-level account of how FBI agents in Minneapolis — where Moussaoui was arrested on a visa violation 3½ weeks before the attacks — were appalled that their Washington supervisors denied their requests for search warrants in the effort to find out why the Frenchman was taking flying lessons and what role he might have in a wider plan to attack America.
"They obstructed it," a still-frustrated Samit told the jury, calling his superiors' actions a calculated management decision "that cost us the opportunity to stop the attacks."
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationw...1mar21,0,4983416.story?coll=la-home-headlinesMoussaoui pleaded guilty last year to being a part of the Sept. 11 conspiracy. His lawyers maintain that the government had plenty of leads in the summer of 2001 that a major terrorist action was afoot, even without Moussaoui's cooperation. They point to a memo by an FBI agent in Phoenix warning of Middle Eastern men taking flying lessons, and the fact that then-CIA Director George J. Tenet was apprised of Moussaoui's arrest.
Samit testified Monday that he never knew of the Phoenix memo or of Tenet's interest in the case. He also said he was kept in the dark about the Aug. 6, 2001, presidential daily briefing given to Bush during his vacation in Texas. That briefing, titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.," noted "patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks."
"I didn't see it," Samit testified. "I did not see anything like that."
Defense lawyer Edward B. MacMahon Jr. also used his cross-examination of Samit to suggest that law enforcement officials never took such threats seriously then anyway.
Under MacMahon's daylong questioning, Samit said that officials at the FBI headquarters in Washington rejected a series of attempts to obtain a warrant to search Moussaoui's personal belongings.
Had the belongings been opened before Sept. 11, agents would have found numerous small knives, jumbo-jet pilot manuals, rosters of flight schools and other clues that might have helped them understand the Sept. 11 plot.