TIME magazine's account of how the Rowley memo was ignored is fascinating, disturbing, and infuriating reading.
I just have to reprint the excerpt from time.com. boldface is my emphasis. original link here.
ROWLEY TO MUELLER
"We Could Have Gotten Lucky"
In the day or two following September 11th, you, Director Mueller, made the statement to the effect that if the FBI had only had any advance warning of the attacks, we (meaning the FBI), may have been able to take some action to prevent the tragedy. Fearing that this statement could easily come back to haunt the FBI upon revelation of the information that had been developed pre-September 11th about Moussaoui, I and others in the Minneapolis Office, immediately sought to reach your office through an assortment of higher level FBIHQ contacts, in order to quickly make you aware of the background of the Moussaoui investigation and forewarn you so that your public statements could be accordingly modified. When such statements from you and other FBI officials continued, we thought that somehow you had not received the message and we made further efforts. Finally, when similar comments were made weeks later, in Assistant Director Caruso's congressional testimony in response to the first public leaks about Moussaoui, we faced the sad realization that the remarks indicated someone, possibly with your approval, had decided to circle the wagons at FBIHQ in an apparent effort to protect the FBI from embarrassment and the relevant FBI officials from scrutiny. Everything I have seen and heard about the FBI's official stance and the FBI's internal preparations in anticipation of further congressional inquiry, has, unfortunately, confirmed my worst suspicions in this regard. After the details began to emerge concerning the pre-September 11th investigation of Moussaoui, and subsequently with the recent release of the information about the Phoenix [memo], your statement has changed...the official statement is now to the effect that even if the FBI had followed up on the Phoenix lead to conduct checks of flight schools and the Minneapolis request to search Moussaoui's personal effects and laptop, nothing would have changed and such actions certainly could not have prevented the terrorist attacks and resulting loss of life. With all due respect, this statement is as bad as the first! It is also quite at odds with the earlier statement (which I'm surprised has not already been pointed out by those in the media!) I don't know how you or anyone at FBI Headquarters, no matter how much genius or prescience you may possess, could so blithely make this affirmation without anything to back the opinion up [other] than your stature as FBI Director. The truth is, as with most predictions...no one will ever know what impact, if any, the FBI's following up on those requests, would have had. Although I agree that it's very doubtful that the full scope of the tragedy could have been prevented, it's at least possible we could have gotten lucky and uncovered one or two more of the terrorists in flight training prior to September 11th, just as Moussaoui was discovered...
William Safire points out:
Why did F.B.I. Director Robert Mueller desperately stamp "classified" on last week's memo to him from the Minneapolis agent and counsel Coleen Rowley?
Answer: Because he is protecting the bureau's crats who ignored warnings from the field before Sept. 11, and because he is trying to cover his own posterior for misleading the public and failing to inform the president in the eight months since.
Mueller shoudl be fired for LYING to Congress and the People. and what about accountability for Louis Freeh? Most of the terrorist infiltration and activity happenned under his watch- Mueller only took office September 4th.
In addition to the FBI lying and failure to protect us, we have the CIA actually TRACKING Al-Qaeda operatives to Malaysia, watching them discuss terrorist plans, and followed them back to the USA, and still did NOTHING.:
A few days after the Kuala Lumpur meeting, NEWSWEEK has learned, the CIA tracked one of the terrorists, Nawaf Alhazmi, as he flew from the meeting to Los Angeles. Agents discovered that another of the men, Khalid Almihdhar, had already obtained a multiple-entry visa that allowed him to enter and leave the United States as he pleased. (They later learned that he had in fact arrived in the United States on the same flight as Alhazmi.)
Yet astonishingly, the CIA did nothing with this information. Agency officials didn�t tell the INS, which could have turned them away at the border, nor did they notify the FBI, which could have covertly tracked them to find out their mission. Instead, during the year and nine months after the CIA identified them as terrorists, Alhazmi and Almihdhar lived openly in the United States, using their real names, obtaining driver�s licenses, opening bank accounts and enrolling in flight schools�until the morning of September 11, when they walked aboard American Airlines Flight 77 and crashed it into the Pentagon.
It gets worse. Even the military failed us:
Condoleeza Rice, the U.S. president�s national security advisor, in a magazine interview with Oprah Winfrey was asked what she did right after the second plane hit the World Trade Center. Dr. Rice replied that it was then that she realized this was a terrorist attack.
So, my question to Dr. Rice would be why wasn�t Andrews Air Force Base alerted and F-16�s put into the air to protect the Pentagon as soon as that realization set in? Why didn�t F-16�s intercept or bring down Flight 77?
The second attack occurred at 9:03 a.m. Then at 9:43 a.m., the Pentagon was hit. It occurred to me instantly: How can the Pentagon, the core of our military command structure, get hit 40 minutes after the WTC attacks? Where was its protection? Forty minutes is a very long time.
Here are some of the facts:
Andrews Air Force Base is a huge military installation just 10 miles from the Pentagon. On the day of the attacks there were two entire squadrons of combat-ready jets at Andrews. Their job is to protect the District of Columbia, the heart of our government. That would include the Pentagon. Despite a terrorist attack in progress, not a single Andrews jet tried to protect the city.
The military, along with the FAA, has cooperative procedures which automatically intercept commercial airplanes under emergency conditions. These procedures weren�t followed. Why not?
Pentagon officials say that they were simply not aware. How come? The whole country was aware. The New York Police broadcasted at 9:06 a.m.: "This was a terrorist attack. Notify the Pentagon."
In Dr. Rice�s interview she says after she realized it was a terrorist act she began to gather the National Security Council principals for a meeting; and she turned to see a television report of a plane hitting the Pentagon.
What was she doing from 9:03 to 9:43 a.m.? Why isn�t she alerting Andrews Air Force Base at 9:04 a.m.? She�s the National Security Advisor!
NORAD failed us:
The NORAD home page declares its mission to include "the detection,
validation, and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles."
According to NORAD's official 9/11 time line, the FAA notified NORAD at 8:40 a.m. Eastern time that there was something peculiar going on with American Flight 11. But NORAD didn't issue an order for fighters to scramble until 8:46 a.m., the time when American Flight 11 hit the first WTC tower. Six minutes later, at 8:52 a.m., two F-15 fighters responded to the order by launching from a base 153 miles from New York City. They still were not on the scene at 9:02 a.m. when the second airliner, United Flight 175, hit the second WTC tower. They wouldn't get there for another eight minutes, at 9:10 a.m. A NORAD senior officer, Major Gen. Larry Arnold, told NBC that when the fighters took off, they were flying straight to New York City. He also said that they were going "about 1.5 Mach, which is, you know, somewhere-11- or 1,200 miles an hour." But note that the F-15 fighters took 18 minutes to cover those 153 miles, which comes out to more like 510 mph. Yet, according to the Air Force, the F-15 has a top speed of 1,875 mph. So, you have to wonder, why were they flying at less than a third of what they're capable of?
According to NORAD, the FAA notified it at 9:24 a.m. that there was
something suspicious with American Flight 77. Two F-16 fighters were
immediately ordered launched, and they got airborne at 9:30 a.m. The New York Times reports that at first, they were headed to New York at "top speed" reaching "600 mph within two minutes," before vectoring toward Washington instead. These planes didn't arrive in the vicinity of the Pentagon until 9:49 a.m., 12 minutes after American Flight 77 hit it. (They then stayed in the skies above Washington to protect against the fourth errant airliner, United Flight 93, with orders to shoot it down if
necessary, a command mooted by an apparent passenger insurrection that caused that plane to crash in a Pennsylvania field.) The F-16s covered the 130 miles of their journey in 19 minutes, which would be an average speed of about 410 mph. Now, that's artificially low because these fighters spent several minutes flying toward New York, but even allowing for this, you don't come up with anything like what the Air Force (which may know better than the New York Times) says is the plane's top speed of 1,500 mph. So, again, why didn't NORAD feel the need for speed?
There were even indications that Something Big was Going down in the MASS MEDIA!
The CIA, the FBI, the military all failed us. Bush professes ignorance. The GOP becomes a pack of whining apologists - reminds me of the Democrats in July of 1998.
It's a farce. and it's infuriating. And the silence of the warbloggers is insulting.