Fbi Protects Osama Bin Laden's "right To Privacy" In Document Release

  1. http://www.judicialwatch.org/printer_5286.shtml

    FBI PROTECTS OSAMA BIN LADEN'S "RIGHT TO PRIVACY" IN DOCUMENT RELEASE

    Judicial Watch Investigation Uncovers FBI Documents Concerning Bin Laden Family and Post-9/11 Flights

    (Washington, DC) Judicial Watch, the public interest group that fights government corruption, announced today that it has obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") has invoked privacy right protections on behalf of al Qaeda terror leader Osama bin Laden.

    In a September 24, 2003 declassified "Secret" FBI report obtained by Judicial Watch, the FBI invoked Exemption 6 under FOIA law on behalf of bin Laden, which permits the government to withhold all information about U.S. persons in "personnel and medical files and similar files" when the disclosure of such information "would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." (5 U.S.C. 552(b)(6) (2000))

    Before invoking privacy protections for Osama bin Laden under Exemption 6, the FBI should have conducted a balancing "test" of the public's right to disclosure against the individual's right to privacy.

    Many of the references in the redacted documents cite publicly available news articles from sources such as The Washington Post and Associated Press.
    Based on its analysis of the news stories cited in the FBI report, Judicial Watch was able to determine that bin Laden's name was redacted from the document, including newspaper headlines in the footnoted citations.

    "It is dumbfounding that the United States government has placed a higher priority on the supposed privacy rights of Osama bin Laden than the public's right to know what happened in the days following the September 11 terrorist attacks," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "It is difficult for me to imagine a greater insult to the American people, especially those whose loved ones were murdered by bin Laden on that day."

    The redacted documents were obtained by Judicial Watch under the provisions of the FOIA and through ongoing litigation (Judicial Watch v. Department of Homeland Security & Federal Bureau of Investigation, No. 04-1643 (RWR)).

    Among the documents was a declassified "Secret" FBI report, dated September 24, 2003, entitled: "Response to October 2003 Vanity Fair Article (Re: [Redacted] Family Departures After 9/11/2001)."

    Judicial Watch filed its original FOIA request on October 7, 2003. The full text of the report and related documents are available on the Internet by clicking here (Adobe Acrobat Reader required - http://www.judicialwatch.org/archive/2005/osama.pdf
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from spacenurse
    http://www.judicialwatch.org/printer_5286.shtml

    "It is dumbfounding that the United States government has placed a higher priority on the supposed privacy rights of Osama bin Laden than the public's right to know what happened in the days following the September 11 terrorist attacks," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "It is difficult for me to imagine a greater insult to the American people, especially those whose loved ones were murdered by bin Laden on that day."


    [/url]
    OMG this IS dumbfounding. :angryfire
  4. by   fab4fan
    OK, let me see if I understand how this works. Osama gets protection from the FBI, and FOIA doesn't apply to him.

    However, we citizens, due to the Patriot Act, can be subject to all kinds of scrutiny in the name of "national security."
  5. by   SmilingBluEyes
    So it would seem. Is that not grand, fab4?
  6. by   Roy Fokker
    Wait! I thought OBL didn't matter anymore?

    "I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority."
    - G.W. Bush, 3/13/02

    "I am truly not that concerned about him."
    - G.W. Bush, repsonding to a question about bin Laden's whereabouts,
    3/13/02 (The New American, 4/8/02)
    I don't understand why you all are getting so flustered and angry! I mean, the President knows whats good for us and he says Bin laden doesn't matter and that he doesn't care!

    Stop whining and moaning you damned liberals!
















    Last edit by Roy Fokker on Apr 21, '05
  7. by   BeachNurse
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    OMG this IS dumbfounding. :angryfire
    :stone :angryfire I agree
  8. by   Thunderwolf
    Not so dumbfounding really. My understanding is that the the bin Laden family were key to Pres Bush getting his oil fields in the Persian Gulf. In fact, I think that immediately after 9/11, any of the bin Laden family who were still in the states were spirited out by one of OUR OWN agencies. No wonder Bush doesn't care much about his whereabouts. It may connect Bush too closely with his company's dealings with him and the family. At least, this is what I have read.
  9. by   BeachNurse
    Media Fund Twists the Truth More Than Michael Moore

    Radio ad claims most air traffic was grounded when bin Laden's family was allowed to leave. Not true. In fact, the FBI questioned 22 of them and found no links to terrorism.

    October 27, 2004

    Modified:October 27, 2004
    Summary



    This anti-Bush radio ad is among the worst distortions we've seen in what has become a very ugly campaign. It states as fact some of the most sensational falsehoods that Michael Moore merely insinuated in his anti-Bush movie Farenheit 9/11 .

    The ad was released Oct. 25 by The Media Fund, an independent Democratic group run by former Clinton deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes. It falsely claims that members of the bin Laden family were allowed to fly out of the US "when most other air traffic was grounded," though in fact commercial air traffic had resumed a week earlier.

    The ad also falsely claims that the bin Laden family members were not "detained," when in fact 22 of them were questioned by the FBI before being allowed to leave -- and their plane was searched as well.

    And by the way, the man who gave approval for the flight wasn't Bush or even any of his close aides, it was former White House anti-terrorism chief Richard Clarke, now one of Bush's strongest critics.
    Analysis



    This one is wrong, wrong, wrong. Let us count the ways:

    Media Fund Radio Ad

    "Flight Home"

    Announcer: After nearly 3,000 Americans were killed, while our nation was mourning the dead and the wounded, the Saudi royal family was making a special request of the Bush White House. As a result, nearly two dozen of Osama bin Laden's family members were rounded up...

    Not to be arrested or detained, but to be taken to an airport, where a chartered jet was waiting...to return them to their country. They could have helped us find Osama bin Laden. Instead the Bush White House had Osama's family flown home, on a private jet, in the dead of night, when most other air traffic was grounded.

    We don't know whether Osama's family members would have told us where bin Laden was hiding. But thanks to the Bush White House...we'll never find out.

    Air Traffic Not Grounded

    The ad is as false as it can be when it claims the bin Laden family members flew home "when most other air traffic was grounded" following the attacks of September 11, 2001. In fact, according to the final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission), the bin Laden flight was on Sept. 20. (See footnote 28 in the 9/11 Commission's report in "supporting documents" at right). That was one week after the FAA allowed commercial air traffic to resume at 11am on Sept. 13.

    By that time all major airports in the US had re-opened, with the sole exception of Washington DC's Reagan National airport, which the bin Laden flight didn't use.

    The bin Laden family members were among a number of other Saudi citizens and government officials who left the US on special charter flights because they feared possible reprisals in the emotional aftermath that swept the US in the days after the 9/11 attacks. Neither the FBI nor the 9/11 Commission has found any of the departing Saudis had any links to terrorism:

    9/11 Commission (page 330): The FBI interviewed all persons of interest on these flights prior to their departures. They concluded that none of the passengers was connected to the 9/11 attacks and have since found no evidence to change that conclusion.
    Our own independent review of the Saudi nationals involved confirms that no one with known links to terrorism departed on these flights .

    Bin Laden Family Was Questioned

    The ad is also false when it says members of the bin Laden family were not "detained." In fact, the 9/11 Commission report states that the FBI questioned 22 of the 26 passengers on the bin Laden flight, some of them in detail. The FBI first checked faces of the passengers against passports to confirm identities, and also ran all names through several law-enforcement databases. It even searched the aircraft:

    9/11 Commission (page 557 & 558): Twenty-two of the 26 people on the Bin Ladin flight were interviewed by the FBI. Many were asked detailed questions. None of the passengers stated that they had any recent contact with Usama Bin Ladin or knew anything about terrorist activity. . . . The FBI checked a variety of databases for information on the Bin Ladin flight passengers and searched the aircraft.

    The FBI had previously investigated two of the passengers on the bin Laden flight but had closed their cases prior to 9/11 after turning up "no derogatory information," according to the Commission's report. And in the years since then, the FBI has found no reason to re-open those cases.

    Furthermore, the 9/11 Commission said the bin Laden family members might not have been interviewed had they simply departed the country in the usual way, rather than on a charter flight with special White House clearance:

    9/11 Commission (page 557): Having an opportunity to check the Saudis was useful to the FBI. This was because the U.S. government did not, and does not, routinely run checks on foreigners who are leaving the United States. This procedure was convenient to the FBI, as the Saudis who wished to leave in this way would gather and present themselves for record checks and interviews, an opportunity that would not be available if they simply left on regularly scheduled commercial flights.

    In other words, had the bin Laden family members merely driven across the border to Canada and flown home from there, they probably would not have been questioned at all.

    Bush White House

    The ad gives a false impression when it says the "Bush White House" made the decision agreeing to the Saudi government's request. Neither President Bush nor any of his immediate aides had anything to do with the decision.

    Richard Clarke -- the national security aide who later became one of Bush's strongest public critics -- testified repeatedly that he made the decision to allow the flights, after consulting with the Federal Bureau of Investigation:

    9/11 Commission (page 329): We found no evidence that anyone at the White House above the level of Richard Clarke participated in a decision on the departure of Saudi nationals. . . . Clarke told us, "I asked the FBI, Dale Watson . . . to handle that, to check to see if that was all right with them, to see if they wanted access to any of these people, and to get back to me. And if they had no objections, it would be fine with me." Clarke added, "I have no recollection of clearing it with anybody at the White House."

    Clarke had been the top anti-terrorism aide in the White House under Clinton, then stayed on under Bush. Since leaving the Bush White House he has become an outspoken critic of the current administration, accusing the Bush team of ignoring his recommendations prior to the September 11 attacks.

    What Michael Moore Didn't Say

    This ad rushes in where even Michael Moore feared to tread in his anti-Bush movie Fahrenheit 9/11 . Moore merely led viewers to believe -- but never actually stated -- that the bin Laden flight left while US airspace was closed. And viewers who listened closely -- very closely -- might have heard Moore acknowledge that the bin Ladens were in fact interviewed by the FBI before being allowed to leave. Here's the way Moore manipulated his viewers:

    Moore (Fahrenheit 9/11): In the days following September 11th, all commercial and private airline traffic was grounded. The FAA has taken action to close all of the airports in the United States. Even grounding the President's father, former President Bush, on a flight forced to land in Milwaukee. Dozens of travelers stranded, among them, Ricky Martin, due to perform at tonight's Latin Grammy awards. Not even Ricky Martin would fly. But really, who wanted to fly? No one. Except the bin Ladens.

    (video of plane taking off... song, "We've got to get out of this place") . . .
    It turns out that the White House approved planes to pick up the bin Ladens and numerous other Saudis. At least six private jets and nearly two dozen commercial planes carried the Saudis and the bin Ladens out of the U.S. after September 13th. In all, 142 Saudis, including 24 members of the bin Laden family, were allowed to leave the country.

    (video of Osama bin Laden)

    Notice that Moore drops in the words "after September 13" without explaining the significance of that date -- the day airspace reopened to commercial traffic at 11am. Viewers were invited to believe from all that Moore said before that airspace was still closed, when in fact it was not. That's a false insinuation, but not a false statement.

    Moore went on to interview a retired FBI agent who stated that "I think it would have been prudent, hand the subpoenas out, have 'em come in, get on the record. You know, get on the record." Perhaps, being retired, that agent wasn't aware that the FBI had interviewed the bin Laden family members. In any case, Moore didn't correct him.

    Moore also presented an interview with Craig Unger, author of the book House of Bush, House of Saud :

    Moore: Did the authorities do anything when the bin Ladens tried to leave the country?

    Unger: No, they were identified at the airport, they looked at their passports, and they were identified.

    Moore: But that's what would happen to you or I if we were...

    Unger: Exactly. Exactly.

    Moore: So a little interview, check the passport, what else?

    Unger: Nothing.

    So Moore knew the bin Ladens had been interviewed when he made the movie. Those three words -- "a little interview" -- are difficult to hear on the movie soundtrack, however. One blogger who posted an "unofficial transcript" of the movie missed them at first, recording that line as "So what did they do , they checked the passports, what else?" He later went back to correct the transcript after another pointed out the discrepancy.

    (Unger's book, published in March of this year, reports that the FBI was only able to check papers and identify everyone on the bin Laden flight. That is contradicted by the more authoritative Commission report, published July 22, 2004. The Commission interviewed, among others, the FBI agent who supervised the questioning of the bin Laden family members.)

    So, as misleading as Moore's sly insinuations are on this point, his movie isn't as bad as the Media Fund's outright falsehoods.
    Sources



    "The 9/11 Commission Report : Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States," (New York, W.W. Norton & Company Inc. July 2004) pages 329, 330, 556-58.

    Janelle Carter, "Members of Congress, Airline and Airport Workers Hope for Reagan National to Reopen," The Associated Press, 21 Sep 2001.

    http://www.factcheck.org/article294.html
  10. by   URO-RN
    Quote from BeachNurse
    Media Fund Twists the Truth More Than Michael Moore

    Radio ad claims most air traffic was grounded when bin Laden's family was allowed to leave. Not true. In fact, the FBI questioned 22 of them and found no links to terrorism.

    October 27, 2004

    Modified:October 27, 2004
    Summary



    This anti-Bush radio ad is among the worst distortions we've seen in what has become a very ugly campaign. It states as fact some of the most sensational falsehoods that Michael Moore merely insinuated in his anti-Bush movie Farenheit 9/11 .

    The ad was released Oct. 25 by The Media Fund, an independent Democratic group run by former Clinton deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes. It falsely claims that members of the bin Laden family were allowed to fly out of the US "when most other air traffic was grounded," though in fact commercial air traffic had resumed a week earlier.

    The ad also falsely claims that the bin Laden family members were not "detained," when in fact 22 of them were questioned by the FBI before being allowed to leave -- and their plane was searched as well.

    And by the way, the man who gave approval for the flight wasn't Bush or even any of his close aides, it was former White House anti-terrorism chief Richard Clarke, now one of Bush's strongest critics.
    Analysis



    This one is wrong, wrong, wrong. Let us count the ways:

    Media Fund Radio Ad

    "Flight Home"

    Announcer: After nearly 3,000 Americans were killed, while our nation was mourning the dead and the wounded, the Saudi royal family was making a special request of the Bush White House. As a result, nearly two dozen of Osama bin Laden's family members were rounded up...

    Not to be arrested or detained, but to be taken to an airport, where a chartered jet was waiting...to return them to their country. They could have helped us find Osama bin Laden. Instead the Bush White House had Osama's family flown home, on a private jet, in the dead of night, when most other air traffic was grounded.

    We don't know whether Osama's family members would have told us where bin Laden was hiding. But thanks to the Bush White House...we'll never find out.

    Air Traffic Not Grounded

    The ad is as false as it can be when it claims the bin Laden family members flew home "when most other air traffic was grounded" following the attacks of September 11, 2001. In fact, according to the final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission), the bin Laden flight was on Sept. 20. (See footnote 28 in the 9/11 Commission's report in "supporting documents" at right). That was one week after the FAA allowed commercial air traffic to resume at 11am on Sept. 13.

    By that time all major airports in the US had re-opened, with the sole exception of Washington DC's Reagan National airport, which the bin Laden flight didn't use.

    The bin Laden family members were among a number of other Saudi citizens and government officials who left the US on special charter flights because they feared possible reprisals in the emotional aftermath that swept the US in the days after the 9/11 attacks. Neither the FBI nor the 9/11 Commission has found any of the departing Saudis had any links to terrorism:

    9/11 Commission (page 330): The FBI interviewed all persons of interest on these flights prior to their departures. They concluded that none of the passengers was connected to the 9/11 attacks and have since found no evidence to change that conclusion.
    Our own independent review of the Saudi nationals involved confirms that no one with known links to terrorism departed on these flights .

    Bin Laden Family Was Questioned

    The ad is also false when it says members of the bin Laden family were not "detained." In fact, the 9/11 Commission report states that the FBI questioned 22 of the 26 passengers on the bin Laden flight, some of them in detail. The FBI first checked faces of the passengers against passports to confirm identities, and also ran all names through several law-enforcement databases. It even searched the aircraft:

    9/11 Commission (page 557 & 558): Twenty-two of the 26 people on the Bin Ladin flight were interviewed by the FBI. Many were asked detailed questions. None of the passengers stated that they had any recent contact with Usama Bin Ladin or knew anything about terrorist activity. . . . The FBI checked a variety of databases for information on the Bin Ladin flight passengers and searched the aircraft.

    The FBI had previously investigated two of the passengers on the bin Laden flight but had closed their cases prior to 9/11 after turning up "no derogatory information," according to the Commission's report. And in the years since then, the FBI has found no reason to re-open those cases.

    Furthermore, the 9/11 Commission said the bin Laden family members might not have been interviewed had they simply departed the country in the usual way, rather than on a charter flight with special White House clearance:

    9/11 Commission (page 557): Having an opportunity to check the Saudis was useful to the FBI. This was because the U.S. government did not, and does not, routinely run checks on foreigners who are leaving the United States. This procedure was convenient to the FBI, as the Saudis who wished to leave in this way would gather and present themselves for record checks and interviews, an opportunity that would not be available if they simply left on regularly scheduled commercial flights.

    In other words, had the bin Laden family members merely driven across the border to Canada and flown home from there, they probably would not have been questioned at all.

    Bush White House

    The ad gives a false impression when it says the "Bush White House" made the decision agreeing to the Saudi government's request. Neither President Bush nor any of his immediate aides had anything to do with the decision.

    Richard Clarke -- the national security aide who later became one of Bush's strongest public critics -- testified repeatedly that he made the decision to allow the flights, after consulting with the Federal Bureau of Investigation:

    9/11 Commission (page 329): We found no evidence that anyone at the White House above the level of Richard Clarke participated in a decision on the departure of Saudi nationals. . . . Clarke told us, "I asked the FBI, Dale Watson . . . to handle that, to check to see if that was all right with them, to see if they wanted access to any of these people, and to get back to me. And if they had no objections, it would be fine with me." Clarke added, "I have no recollection of clearing it with anybody at the White House."

    Clarke had been the top anti-terrorism aide in the White House under Clinton, then stayed on under Bush. Since leaving the Bush White House he has become an outspoken critic of the current administration, accusing the Bush team of ignoring his recommendations prior to the September 11 attacks.

    What Michael Moore Didn't Say

    This ad rushes in where even Michael Moore feared to tread in his anti-Bush movie Fahrenheit 9/11 . Moore merely led viewers to believe -- but never actually stated -- that the bin Laden flight left while US airspace was closed. And viewers who listened closely -- very closely -- might have heard Moore acknowledge that the bin Ladens were in fact interviewed by the FBI before being allowed to leave. Here's the way Moore manipulated his viewers:

    Moore (Fahrenheit 9/11): In the days following September 11th, all commercial and private airline traffic was grounded. The FAA has taken action to close all of the airports in the United States. Even grounding the President's father, former President Bush, on a flight forced to land in Milwaukee. Dozens of travelers stranded, among them, Ricky Martin, due to perform at tonight's Latin Grammy awards. Not even Ricky Martin would fly. But really, who wanted to fly? No one. Except the bin Ladens.

    (video of plane taking off... song, "We've got to get out of this place") . . .
    It turns out that the White House approved planes to pick up the bin Ladens and numerous other Saudis. At least six private jets and nearly two dozen commercial planes carried the Saudis and the bin Ladens out of the U.S. after September 13th. In all, 142 Saudis, including 24 members of the bin Laden family, were allowed to leave the country.

    (video of Osama bin Laden)

    Notice that Moore drops in the words "after September 13" without explaining the significance of that date -- the day airspace reopened to commercial traffic at 11am. Viewers were invited to believe from all that Moore said before that airspace was still closed, when in fact it was not. That's a false insinuation, but not a false statement.

    Moore went on to interview a retired FBI agent who stated that "I think it would have been prudent, hand the subpoenas out, have 'em come in, get on the record. You know, get on the record." Perhaps, being retired, that agent wasn't aware that the FBI had interviewed the bin Laden family members. In any case, Moore didn't correct him.

    Moore also presented an interview with Craig Unger, author of the book House of Bush, House of Saud :

    Moore: Did the authorities do anything when the bin Ladens tried to leave the country?

    Unger: No, they were identified at the airport, they looked at their passports, and they were identified.

    Moore: But that's what would happen to you or I if we were...

    Unger: Exactly. Exactly.

    Moore: So a little interview, check the passport, what else?

    Unger: Nothing.

    So Moore knew the bin Ladens had been interviewed when he made the movie. Those three words -- "a little interview" -- are difficult to hear on the movie soundtrack, however. One blogger who posted an "unofficial transcript" of the movie missed them at first, recording that line as "So what did they do , they checked the passports, what else?" He later went back to correct the transcript after another pointed out the discrepancy.

    (Unger's book, published in March of this year, reports that the FBI was only able to check papers and identify everyone on the bin Laden flight. That is contradicted by the more authoritative Commission report, published July 22, 2004. The Commission interviewed, among others, the FBI agent who supervised the questioning of the bin Laden family members.)

    So, as misleading as Moore's sly insinuations are on this point, his movie isn't as bad as the Media Fund's outright falsehoods.
    Sources



    "The 9/11 Commission Report : Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States," (New York, W.W. Norton & Company Inc. July 2004) pages 329, 330, 556-58.

    Janelle Carter, "Members of Congress, Airline and Airport Workers Hope for Reagan National to Reopen," The Associated Press, 21 Sep 2001.

    http://www.factcheck.org/article294.html
    That MM.....

    he is sooo credible.

    Last edit by Jo Anne on Apr 22, '05
  11. by   fab4fan
    So is he important or isn't he?
  12. by   Roy Fokker
    Quote from jo anne
    that mm.....

    he is sooo credible.

    secrecy reigns within the bush administration

    here's a short snippet from a boston globe article regarding government secrecy under the bush administration:


    for years, a citizen who wanted to know the name and phone number of a pentagon official could buy a copy of the defense department directory at a government printing office. but since 2001, the directory has been stamped ''for official use only," meaning the public may not have access to such basic information about the vast military bureaucracy.

    after a 1984 chemical plant accident killed 20,000 people in bhopal, india, congress in 1986 passed the emergency planning & community right to know act, giving americans the right to know if they lived downwind from dangerous chemicals. until 2001, the environmental protection agency posted on its website each plant's plans for dealing with a disaster, leading to public pressure on the chemical industry to maintain safer conditions. the database has been removed from the website for security reasons.

    for decades, the defense department's map office has made its topographic charts available to the public. biologists use them to map species distribution, and airlines use them to create flight charts. but the administration has proposed removing the maps from public use this fall, in part to keep them away from ''those intending harm" to the united states.


    the number of documents declassified over the past decade has dropped by more than one hundred million. however in recent years the bush team has taken secrecy to new and ridiculous levels.

    as a perfect example of the current privacy standards, here's a document that did not get the exposure that it deserved when it was recently uncovered:

    http://www.judicialwatch.org/archive/2005/osama.pdf


    the document was released by the fbi as a result of a freedom of information act request by the government watchdog group, judicial watch. if you took a look at the above pdf, you'll find that it is filled with boxes that obscure the name and subject of the memo (the handwritten "fill-ins" were added by judicial watch).


    whose privacy was the fbi protecting? osama bin laden's. . .

    while our soldiers continue to risk their lives searching for the man responsible for the september 11th attacks (albeit in a limited capacity), our federal government run under the strict guidelines of this republican administration is busy protecting the privacy of the world's worst terrorist.



    bureaucracy at its best.
    @: http://www.lp.org/article_135.shtml

    the last line, ladies and gents, imho... is the kicker.

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