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Inside the FBI's Counterterrorism Division

The National Whistleblowers Center created this special page with links to the extensive sworn testimony and documentary evidence concerning the FBI's actual response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. Included are the sworn depositions of every major FBI manager responsible for the creation the FBI's post September 11th counterterrorism division and the implementation of the FBI's "War on Terror," including the sworn depositions of FBI Director Robert Mueller, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, and the major managers responsible for running the FBI's counterterrorism program from the year prior to the attacks through 2006. More


The NWC is making this unprecedented release in order to give the American public the inside and uncensored view of the domestic response to the September 11th attacks. The NWC strongly encourages every American concerned with the prevention of the next September 11th to carefully evaluate this documentation and use the materials to insist the U.S. government defend our democracy from a new attack. For the convenience of the public, at the bottom of this page is a "highlights" section outlining some of the critical testimony, most of which has not yet been the subject of media coverage.

Document Source

Highlights from the Deposition Testimony

Robert Mueller Highlight 1 ; Highlight 2 ; Highlight 3 ; Highlight 4
Louis Freeh Highlight
Gary Bald
Dale Watson Highlight 1 , Highlight 2 ; Highlight 3
John Pikus
Edward Curran
Pasquale D'Amuro
Ellen Knowlton
Paul Vick
William Chornyak
Bassem Youssef's Background
   

Sworn Testimony:

  • Dr. Daniel Byman
    Professor,
    Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University;
    Staff member, 9/11 Commission
    Expert Testimony

    Byman CV

 

Additional Documents:

  Media Coverage:

Highlights from the Depositions:

The deposition testimony and other documentary evidence released today by the National Whistleblower Center should be carefully reviewed in its entirety in order for the public to fully understand the issues confronting the FBI's management of America's Middle Eastern-related counterterrorism program. The following is a small sample of some of the information contained in the depositions related to the ability of the FBI to properly conduct its "war on terror."

GARY BALD, THE FBI'S POST 9/11 EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR COUNTERTERRORISM AND COUNTERINTELLIGENCE, TESTIFIED THAT SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTICE NOT NEEDED WITHIN THE FBI:

 It was the official policy of the FBI, after the 9/11 attacks, that its counterterrorism (CT) managers did not need to possess any subject matter expertise in counterterrorism.  It was the official policy of the FBI that the numerous CT managers promoted or hired after the 9/11 attacks did not need to have any actual experience in operational counterterrorism. Additionally, the FBI did not recruit or promote managers with Arabic speaking language abilities or knowledge of Middle Eastern history or culture into its CT program.  Instead, the FBI decided that such expertise was not necessary for FBI "leaders."  

 The FBI's post 9/11 Executive Assistant Director for Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence, Mr. Gary Bald, testified as follows:

 Q:        Isn't it true that a strong background in international terrorism is essential for someone to be selected into the SES [the FBI's senior management group]?  Do you know?

 A:        I disagree.  The reason is because you need leadership.  You don't need subject matter expertise.  The subject matter expertise is helpful, but it isn't a prerequisite.  It is certainly not what I look for in selecting an official for a position in the counterterrorism [program]. 

 Tr. 77 (emphasis added).

             Additionally, Mr. Bald did not have CT experience himself before being hired to manage the counterterrorism program.  Mr. Bald testified about his background and experience at the time he was selected, after the 9/11 attacks, to be a Deputy Assistant Director in the CTD:  

 Q:        Up through your assignment as the DAD Counterterrorism, can you describe in which of these offices did you perform substantive operational counterterrorism work?

             A:        None.

 Q:        Were you ever assigned with primary duties for counterterrorism like a CT desk or something like that?

             A:        No.  No.

 Q:        What would you define as your first substantive job in counterterrorism?

             A:       It would have been the DAD Ops.

             Q:       That would be the DAD Counterterrorism Division?

             A:       Correct.  

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 FBI DIRECTOR MUELLER - WHO WAS RESONSIBLE FOR BALD'S APPOINTMENT, CONTRADICTED BALD'S TESTIMONY AND THOUGHT THAT BALD DID HAVE CT EXPERIENCE:

             When Director Mueller was asked if he was aware that his current EAD for CI/CT had no background in counterterrorism, Mr. Mueller denied it.  (See deposition of Robert Mueller, 4/26/05, page 25, lines 13-15, and line 18):

 Q:        Were you aware that at the time Mr. Bald took his position in the counterterrorism division he had no background or experience in counterterrorism?

             A:       I don't think that's accurate.

 DALE WATSON, THE TOP FBI COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL ON 9/11/01, TESTIFIED THAT EXPERTISE ABOUT THE MIDDLE EAST AND BIN LADEN WERE NOT NEEDED:

             The former Assistant Director for Counterterrorism, and later the Executive Assistant Director for CI/CT, Dale Watson, on whose watch the events of 9/11 unfolded, agreed that, post-9/11, nothing was done to bring into the FBI managers with CT background and experience in Middle Eastern terrorism.  (See deposition of Dale Watson, 12/8/04, page 135, lines 16-19, and line 21):

 Q:        What steps did the FBI take after 9/11 to ensure that managers at the GS-15 or above level hired into counterterrorism had a background and experience and knowledge of Middle Eastern culture?

             A:       None that I'm aware of.

 DALE WATSON DID NOT KNOW BASIC FACTS CONCERNING MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTERTERRORISM, YET HE WAS APPOINTED BY DIRECTOR MUELLER AFTER 9/11 AS THE TOP COUNTERTERRORISM MANAGER IN THE FBI:

             Of the fundamentals of Middle Eastern terrorism, Mr. Watson similarly was not well informed.  (See Watson deposition, page 149, lines 14-22, and page 150, lines 1-11.):

 Q:        Now did there come a time when you offered an opinion about Mr. bin Laden being killed or dead?

              A:       Yes I did.

             Q:       What was your factual basis for that?

             A:         It's my gut instinct.

             (Page 152, lines 6-11):

             Q:       Do you know who Osama bin Laden's spiritual leader was?

             A:       Can't recall.

 Q:        And do you know the differences in the religion between Shi'a and Sunni Muslims?

             A:       Not technically, no.

             (And finally, page 155, lines 10-14):

 Q:        And if someone in the 1990s was to say they worked on an investigation known as Islamic Group, do you know who they would be looking into.

             A:       No, I do not.

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 AFTER FIVE YEARS ON THE JOB - AND AFTER DECLARNG MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTERTERRORISM AS THE NUMBER ONE PRIORITY OF THE FBI, DIRECTOR MUELLER WAS IGNORANT ABOUT BASIC FACTS RELATED TO MIDDLE EASTERN TERRORISM:

             Even the Director of the FBI is unfamiliar with some of the fundamentals.  (See Mueller deposition, page 36, lines 21-22, and page 37, lines 1-5):

 Q:        And you're familiar with the blind sheik, Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman?

             A:       I am.

             Q:       And are you aware of his relationship with bin Laden?

             A:       ... I'm actually not.

             (And, lines 10-16)

 Q:        Were you aware that the blind sheik was Mr. bin Laden's spiritual leader?

 A:         ... Again, I am not certain of the role between the blind sheik and bin Laden.

           THE FBI SECTION CHIEF RESPONSIBLE FOR COORDINATING POST-9/11 HIRING/PROMOTIONAL ACTIVITIES, MR.JOHN PIKUS,  ADMITTED THAT THE FBI TOOK NO ACTION TO RECRUIT COUNTERTERRORISM EXPERTS AS MANAGERS IN ITS MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTERTERRORISM PROGRAM

                           In the Youssef case, FBI Section Chief  John Pikus testified as the official FBI representative on matters related to post-9/11 CT promotional activities.  In accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Mr. Pikus was the official FBI "representative" "designated" to testify on behalf of the FBI's official polices and practices concerning the following:

  to testify on [the FBI's] behalf with regard to all promotional activities concerning counter-terrorism in which any employee for the FBI who had a rank of GS-15 or below was promoted into the SES since 2001

 See, Youssef v. FBI, Pikus Deposition Exhibit 2.

             In his official capacity Mr. Pikus testified that the FBI did not change its promotional polices and procedures within counterterrorism after the 9/11 attacks.  No efforts were made to recruit or hire managers with expertise in Arabic, Middle Eastern religion and culture or operational counterterrorism.  The testimony speaks for itself:

 No Need for Middle Eastern Counterterrorism Experts:

 Q:        Okay. Do you remember when you served in the position, whether there was any discussion about how best to promote persons who speak Arabic, have Counter Terrorism Operational experience, have knowledge and experience in the Middle East, or experience dealing with, say, experience dealing with  terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, Middle Eastern Terrorist groups, the best way to try to get the persons with those qualifications into the SES?

 A:           No.

 Q:          And, to the best of your knowledge, that type of discussion never happened, that you knew of?

 A:           I was never privy to, no.

 No Need for Arabic Language Managers

 

Q:        And was there ever any discussion when you were serving in your position, vis-a-vis, promotions into the 14 or 15 SES ranks, formal or informal by anybody, about any need to try to get more people, say, who are Arabic speaking into any positions whatsoever?

 A:           No.

 See Youssef v. FBI, Pikus Deposition Tr. 89

 

No Need to Change Hiring Policies in Counterterrorism After 9/11:

 

Q:        Do you know if -- At the time you were there, were there any meetings, discussions, white papers, whatever, about how the 9/11 attacks and the new emphasis of the FBI, in terms of counter terrorism  would impact on the criteria for promoting persons into the SES?

 A:           No.

 Q:        And what about in terms of promotions to persons into GS 14 or 15 rank, was there ever any discussions whatsoever about how the 9/11 attack and any lessons learned, or needs of the Bureau, based upon that attack, and what we now know about Middle Eastern Terrorism, were there any discussions, looking at those needs, about how that would impact on the skills and qualifications we're looking for in the GS 14, 15 or SES ranks?

 A:           No.

 See Youssef v. FBI, Pikus Deposition Tr. 89.

 No Effort to Recruit/Promote into Management Persons with Expertise in Operational Counterterrorism: 

 Q:        And do you know of any steps taken by the FBI in terms of the Counter Terrorism Division to recruit persons who had Arabic speaking skills into SES positions within the Counter Terrorism Division?

 A:           No.

 Q:        And do you know of any specific steps taken by the FBI to recruit persons with Arabic speaking skills into GS 15 positions?

 A:           No.

 Q:        In terms of direct operational counter terrorism experience in Middle Eastern Counter Terrorism Operations, do you know of any steps taken to recruit persons to apply up to SES positions, who had that background?

 MS. WELLS: 

 I'm going to object to the form of the question.  I don't know that it's clear what you mean by "direct operational counter terrorism experience."

                MR. KOHN:  Okay.

               BY MR. KOHN: 

 Q:        Would you know, if I were to say someone had operational experience in Middle Eastern terrorism cases, would that have a meaning to you as an FBI --

 A:           It would mean that that person had expertise in that area.

 Q:        And was actively involved in actual operational activities related to Middle Eastern terrorist groups?

 A:           Right.

 Q:        Okay. Do you know of any efforts made to recruit persons with that background and experience to an SES position in the Counter Terrorism Division?

 A:           No.

 Q:          And the same question as for GS 15 positions?

 A:           No.

 Q:        In terms of knowledge and experience with the Middle East, you know, in terms of the culture and the heritage and the history of that region of the world, do you know of any specific steps taken to recruit or encourage persons with that level of expertise into an SES position within the Counter Terrorism Division?

 A:           No.

 Q:          And the same question as for a GS 15 position?

 A:           No.

 Q:        Now I think I asked you this once before, but I'm going to try to make it even a broader question, which is, after 9/11, are you aware of any review whatsoever from agent recruitment through who you want for Director of the FBI, any level, anything where anyone sat down formally or informally, and said, "Look what happened on September 11, 2001, and how that impacts the needs of the FBI and the needs of national security," and looked at that and said, what, specifically, are the new staffing needs of the FBI?

 A:           No.

 See Youssef v. FBI, Pikus Deposition Tr. 100-103.     

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 DALE WATSON TESTIMONY: A BOMB IS A BOMB:

     The view that investigating a traditional domestic crime, such as a bank robbery, is no different from conducting a Middle Eastern counterterrorism investigation, is still prevalent among all the senior CT management, even Director Mueller, as revealed in the depositions. 

             Mr. Watson testified that law enforcement guidelines were all that is needed to prevent al-Qaeda from attacking the United States homeland again.  (See Watson deposition, page 87, lines 3-14):

 Q:        (W)hat skills would an agent need in addition to those that your GS-13 with 10 or 12 years of experience in American law enforcement here in the United States, what skill sets would they need to better identify, penetrate and/or prevent a future Osama bin Laden-style terrorist attack?

 A:        They would need to understand the Attorney General guidelines for counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence investigation.

             This statement by Mr. Watson reflects the FBI's lack of distinction between investigating a simple crime after the fact, versus putting in the extraordinary effort it takes to deal with an organization like al-Qaeda.  The element of prevention is missing in how Mr. Watson regards the two.  (See Watson deposition, page 46, lines 20-22, and page 47, lines 1-4):

 Q:        Would you think the bombing case say of Oklahoma City was similar to the bombing case say of KhobarTowers or the embassy bombings?

 A:        Without going into specifics, I mean, if you look at it, yes, you can make those comparisons.  Truck bomb, truck bomb.  The explosives were different.

            And when asked about what skill sets were needed for each type of investigation, Mr. Watson said that a strong criminal investigation background was superior. (See page 48, lines 2-18):

 A:        They have similarities.  And if you don't have a strong criminal investigative background working general criminal matters, you'd probably be, you know, behind a little bit on that.

             Q:       And what would be the differences in terms of the skill sets?

 A:        Differences would be location, obviously.  Foreign country as opposed to being inside the U.S.

             Q:       Any other differences come to your mind?

             A:       Oh, probably access to witnesses and the language.

 Q:         ... What about in terms of understanding the criminal, the culprit who did it?

 A:        ... I wouldn't say that was any different than what you look at from the general criminal mind of people that do that.

 DIRECTOR MUELLER JUSTIFIED HIS APPOINTMENT OF BALD, TESTIFYING THAT BALD'S EXPERIENCE IN THE DC SNIPER CASE QUALIFIED AS THE TYPE OF EXPERIENCE NECESSARY TO LEAD THE FBI'S MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTERTERRORISM PROGRAM: 

 Q:          And you know Mr. Gary Bald?

 A:           Yes. 

 * * *

                BY MR. KOHN (Youssef's attorney):

 Q:        Were you aware that at the time Mr. Bald took his position in the counter-terrorism division he had no background or experience in counter-terrorism?

                             MS. WELLS (attorney for FBI):

                Object to the form of the question.

                THE WITNESS: 

 A:        I don't think that's accurate.  He was the SAC of Baltimore for a period of time. 

                MR. KOHN: 

 Q:        I'm just going to call the witness . . . [to] Bald deposition page 9, lines 13 through 17.  I'd just ask if this meets with your recollection:

     "Up through your [Bald's] assignment as the DAD counter-terrorism, can you describe in which of these offices ?he talked about his prior work history? did you perform substantive operational counter-terrorism work?  Answer: none."

                "Were you [Bald] ever assigned with primary duties for counter-terrorism      

               like a CT desk or something like that?  Answer: No."

 Q:          . . . . is that consistent with your understanding of his testimony?

                THE WITNESS: 

 A:        That testimony goes to sitting on a desk or being primarily assigned or principally assigned to counter-terrorism.  Certainly as SAC he had some familiarity with terrorism, because he ran the Baltimore terrorism program for a period of time, during which he was SAC.

                BY MR. KOHN:

 Q:        So your understanding of Mr. Bald is, his knowledge and background in counter-terrorism was as an SAC?

 A:           Based on what you read to me from his deposition, my knowledge of Mr. Bald's exposure to counter-terrorism would have been running an office in which counter-terrorism was a substantial program.

 Q:          And are you -

 A:           I might also add, he had during the time he was there he had the sniper case, which I don't know whether it was actually documented as a domestic terrorism program, but certainly it could fall under the category of domestic terrorism. So running the office gave him some exposure to terrorism matters.

 Q:          In terms of the sniper case, do you think background experience running the sniper case would provide a manager with the expertise they would need to manage an intelligence-based counter-terrorism operation?

                              MS. WELLS: 

    Object to the form.   What do you mean by intelligence and counter-intelligence?

                MR. KOHN: 

    In other words as opposed to law enforcement where you're prosecuting a crime, I'm talking about when I say counter-terrorism intelligence -

                THE WITNESS: 

 A:        Yes, I think absolutely it would give, contribute to his ability to handle counter-terrorism, whether it be intelligence based or responsive to an act, absolutely.

 See Youssef v. FBI, Deposition of Director Mueller Tr. 24-28

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 MR. EDWARD CURRAN TESTIFIES AS TO HOW THE FBI'S APPROACH TO COUNTERTERRORISM THREATENS NATIONAL SECURITY

 One of he FBI's former high-ranking counterintelligence officers, Edward J. Curran, was also deposed.  Mr. Curran, a 38-year high ranking FBI veteran, also served as the Director of Counterintelligence for the Department of Energy and in the mid-1990s was Mr. Youssef's second-line supervisor, in charge of the CT and CI desk in Los Angeles.  Mr. Curran took sharp exception to the statement by Mr. Bald that expertise in CT management was not a necessary requirement for FBI CT managers.  He testified that the failure of the FBI to understand that its CT managers need expertise was one of the primary reasons why the Blind Sheik and bin Laden were able to twice bomb the WorldTradeCenter. 

 After being shown Mr. Bald's testimony that "you don't need subject matter expertise" to manage the FBI's CT program, Mr. Curran's response was honestly blunt: 

             A:        The statement is absolutely ridiculous.  It's asinine....

             Q:       Why would you consider that to be an asinine statement?

 A:        You could have the background, the knowledge of your area of expertise and still have leadership, but... I don't know how you could be a leader with no expertise.  The people you are supervising and coming in contact with would know within 24 hours that you don't know what the hell you're talking about.  So how are you going to lead and address people and have them follow you if you don't have a clue what's going on?  To say that, that you don't need to have expertise in your field, is absolutely ridiculous.  I think that's why we had two bombings in the FBI.  We have people in there that don't know their field.  You think after the first bombing we would have solved the problem rather than waiting for the second one.  The problem right now, we have people that don't know what they are supposed to be doing.

 At the time of his deposition, Mr. Curran was the Deputy Director of the Office of Counterterrorism, State of New Jersey and a member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in New Jersey, working daily with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.  Mr. Curran explains the distinction between the criminal and counterterrorism investigatory tactics, and points out that the Bureau is still improperly conducting counterterrorism investigations (See deposition of Edward J. Curran, 4/21/05, page 41, lines 2-5 and 15-24):

 A:        Most of the people other than the Intelligence Division were criminal agents. Their whole culture was from a criminal investigation point of view and it still is today... You can arrest somebody to prevent something and that's not the only way.  And I think the FBI is still dealing with that.

 Q:        What do you mean by that?

 A:        We deal with the FBI and their whole focus is the arrest... rather than trying to get into the organization, develop other assets in the organization, find out what the organization is.  It always appears the first thing they want to do is arrest somebody.

             Mr. Curran also rebutted the Watson/Mueller testimony that understanding the nature of domestic criminal activity (such as the conduct of a bank robber) constitutes the same skill set necessary to effectively conduct a Middle Eastern-based counterterrorism investigation (See Curran deposition, page 44, lines 3-19):

 Q:        Now what about in terms of knowledge of the target, would you agree that, say, that a criminal is a criminal and understanding that, say, the mindset of a Middle Eastern terrorist like al-Qaeda would be similar to the mindset of a bank robber?

 A:        No, there's absolutely no comparison whatsoever.  A bank robber is a local thug, a criminal.  Al-Qaeda or whatever is an ideologue.  He is doing this because that is what he totally believes. He believes in killing the enemy. He's going to heaven or wherever the hell he's going to reach.  There's no negotiations.  It's an entirely different mindset you're addressing other than criminal.  These people don't perceive themselves to be criminal.  How do you attack a target like that?  You have to have somebody that understands the target.

             (And, on page 42, lines 12-24):

 A:        ... It's a mentality approach.  The closest division that you come to, the Intelligence Division, in the criminal side, is the organized crime side of the house.  They work it as an intelligence-gathering activity.  They don't go out and arrest the first person they find.  They want to develop something, get to the next guy, get to the next guy, it's long term, day in and day out.  You give up the arrest when appropriate and penetrate that organization.  It's extremely difficult in that the mindset you can't change, even today.  Even with the terrorism investigation, they are looking for the arrest.

Curran explained in his deposition that Bassem Youssef was the agent who got the intelligence to obtain a FISA to monitor the Blind Sheikh. (See Curran Depo. Page 20, lines 4-21)

 Q:  In terms of the Blind Sheikh, was Mr.Youssef able to do anything that furthered the ability of the FBI to monitor him?

 A:  It was my understanding that the information that was developed by Los Angeles, mainly by Bassem, that information was provided back to headquarters obviously and that allowed headquarters to get additional FISAs on Rahman, on him directly or part of his members, the Mosque itself.  It was based on Bassem's information that they were able to get FISA going on the person or persons.

             Q:    So the information --

             A:     They had not gotten it or had it before.

 Q:     The information provided by Mr. Youssef permitted the Newark or Newark to obtain a FISA related to the Blind Sheikh and --

             A:  Correct and his group.

 Also, he testified that Mr. Youssef developed the key source within the Blind Sheikh's terrorist network (note: the Blind Sheikh was Osama Bin Laden's spiritual leader and the mastermind of the first World Trade Center Bombing). (See Curran Depo. Page 14, line 24 thru Page 17, line 9)

 

Q.               And just briefly, just for the record, explain how you would have had the opportunity to observe Mr. Youssef?

         A: ...There was directives coming out of FBI headquarters saying that terrorism was the number one target. They had asked me, not asked me, they told me to reassign, I believe it was 14 to 15 of my agents to work terrorism in addition to what we had already going. Based on discussions with Bassem's supervisor and Bassem, it was apparent to me we had a very, very serious threat posed by the various terrorists groups in the state but mainly the Rahman group.  And that's how I came to know Bassem almost on a daily, if not hourly basis, because it was very clear to me that the threat in Los Angeles was very significant and required my direct intervention in a lot of that stuff.   

         Q: When you say the Rahman group, also known as the Islamic group?

                     A: Yes, involved in the '93 World Trade Center bombings.

         Q: The time frame you were there with Mr. Youssef would have been before the World Trade Center bombings and after the World Trade Center bombings?

              A: Yes.

             Q: They occurred in New York?

             A: Yes.

             Q: And I understand there was a cell in Newark?

             A: Correct.

 Q:  And the Blind Sheikh -- when you say Islamic, the Blind Sheikh was the leader of that?

             A: Correct.

 Q:  How then does Los Angeles get involved in something from Newark?

 A:  I'm going back ten years. I need help to refresh some of my memory. It was my understanding that the Blind Sheikh had already been to Los Angeles on one or several occasions before I got there, and then he was there or he visited there while I was there.  And at that time, there was a great deal of interest in him and attention by not just Los Angeles, the headquarters was interested, the FBI, and a lot of groundwork that had been developed and the understanding of our network out there had been developed mainly by Bassem was the one that went out and did that.

 Q:  When you say the groundwork on that was done by Mr. Youssef, what do you mean by that?

 A:  Basically that cell would have been there and nothing would have happened if nobody was there investigating and identifying the cell members and these activities.  As far as I was concerned, Bassem was the only one really doing that.

 Mr. Curran testified that Mr. Youssef developed the First major live source inside of the Blind Sheikh's network. (See Curran Depo Page 20, line 21 thru Page 21, line 25)

 Q: You mentioned identification of cells. What does that mean, to obtain a live source and existence of cell?

 A:  You can't even begin to describe it. First of all, you have a source who is trusted the organization who is willing and able to provide you with other members of that cell.  For you to be able to get that information without having to do months, years of investigation, it's invaluable information that you may never have been able to find  out through any other means.  Working with foreign governments and knowing these people and having a much better idea, at least I have a much better idea how these people work today, it's not a local issue, it's a global issue, and these cells are all over the world.  That was the first time we were able to identify a lot of these people overseas and Los Angeles ourselves.

 Q:  Do you know if Mr. Youssef's work in that, on that matter was recognized in any formal way?        

 A:  I know, I was only there -- I don't know what happened after I left.  He got the D.C.I. award, one or two of the -- what do you call them, Most Valuable Player awards, Q.S.I. award, Quality Service awards, which means a lot to the people.  Not very many of them are given out.  It acknowledges not only from a monetary point but also acknowledges the high performance that person has conducted themselves over the years and months.

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 Mr. Curran also explained why having knowledge of the Middle East is critical for and effective Counterterrorism operation (See Curran Depo, page 24, line 19 thru Page 26 line 18).

 Q:  First off, why would having a Middle Eastern background and inherent knowledge of the region's traditions, why would other people have come to ask him or seek information from him about that?

 A:     I can only speak for L.A.  Basically Bassem was the counterterrorism program.  He was the entire program. Because of the knowledge he brought with him as to how these terrorist groups work, how to talk to these people, the direction of  investigations, how they should go, the language ability that they did have, the daily traditions of these various groups, remember, you had many different kinds of group, the customs, it is absolutely essential that an agent know that when he's looking at a target.  It's the same if I'm looking at a Russian target, I have to know how Russian thinks if I'm going out and targeting that person for an arrest or intelligence.  From that point, he was the entire program in L.A.  From these other comments, I can see the other offices probably felt the same way with Bassem, whether it was San Francisco or St. Louis or previous assignments, he had probably developed a reputation within those offices as an expert, and they would be calling him and asking for advice, the same I would do if he was at another office and I had known he was in L.A.  I can basically say that's my impression of why that would have been in there.  It's invaluable.  We had no one in the office or bureau that I know that could bring these issues to the table that Bassem brought through based on the knowledge of the group, the demeanor, his attitude and judgment, and his ability to get along with people.  It was just invaluable.

 Q:  And also in the part that's not classified, it references that he gave briefings to other law enforcement departments, the sheriff's department on international terrorism?

             A: Right.

             Q:  Why would Mr. Youssef be the person used to give such briefings?

 A:  He brings the credibility. There's no agent or even myself, if I gave talks, that would have the credibility that Bassem would have because he's been there, he's done that, he's grown up in that area.  When he speaks, he knows what he's talking about, and I think that is very clearly made known by people and Bassem is being used like this certainly gives credibility to the FBI when you send someone out like that. You would not hesitate putting Bassem out front.

 Curran confirmed in his testimony that the FBI lacked expertise in Counterterrorism and that they needed to incorporate Mr. Youssef's  expertise (See Curran Depo. Page 38, line 20 thru Page 41, line 25)

 A:  In my opinion, there was very, very little expertise and experience not only in the field but also in FBI headquarters.  There was a lot of terrorists' acts taking place overseas prior to the World Trade Center.  Obviously, the World Trade Center was the first attack in the United States. That was the first time it brought it home that we are also vulnerable. It's not in Europe or London or Paris.  That was a wake-up call. Their intention was to take down that building at that time. They failed at that.  In my opinion, we should have stopped everything, because we realized these people are coming after our homeland at that point. That's how important it was to me. Where Bassem, I appreciated his talents, not because of only his background but the knowledge of the different groups.  You have to approach something not from a criminal end, although a criminal act has taken place, there's no question, people have to be arrested, but counterterrorism is to prevent that from happening.  It happened.  So you have the act itself that has to be investigated, but what led up to that, where are the cells, the people, what was the planning, the support group, you're looking from an intelligence point of view.  You're not looking to go out and make an immediate arrest or bust. Bassem understood that.  I understood it  because I had 30 years of intelligence.  We made very little arrests of Russians or whatever, and most of the time we arrested because they arrested one of ours, and we need to arrest one of theirs.  You had to get inside the organization, you had to get informants.  And when you're dealing with this type of group, and I think you can recognize it today, we do not have people on the inside.  We had or he developed somebody on the inside that was telling us  what was going on.  Since the last 9/11 it's apparent the intelligence community does not have advocate sources, live sources, within this group.  It's a very, very difficult group to penetrate.  He did it. He did it day and night.  He was out on the street, was taking opportunities where they presented itself. He knew where the opportunities were, he knew how to exploit them more than any other person in the office.  That's where the big difference came from as far as I was concerned.

 Q:  In terms of Mr. Youssef understanding as you've testified the difference between doing an investigation based upon intelligence gathering versus a standard criminal arrest, I mean, just why was Mr. -- now, Mr. Youssef understood that in the terms of counterterrorism?

              A:  Correct.      

Q:     Did other people in counterterrorism understand fully the importance of using that for intelligence purposes as opposed to arrest?       

 A:     No, and this is not to degrade them. Most of the people other than the Intelligence Division were criminal agents.  Their whole culture was from a criminal investigation point of view and it still is today.  We were the minority.  We had the intelligence.  It doesn't tell you or give you any group, if you're going to go out an arrest three people in a cell that are planning operations.  You arrest those people, you disrupt that event, but yet how many other events could that have led to if you kept developing that.  That's the difference.  And I think that's how we got along so well.  We were looking at it from intelligence, from a counterterrorism to prevent something from happening.  And there's many ways.  You can arrest somebody to prevent something and that's not the only way.  And I think FBI is still dealing with that.

             Q:    What do you mean by that?

 A:     We deal with the FBI and their whole focus is the arrest, have that person rather than trying to get into the organization, develop other assets in the organization, find out what the organization is.  It always appears the first thing they want to do is arrest somebody. That's my opinion.

 Curran rebuts the Watson Mueller opinion that investigating Al Qaeda requires the same skill sets as investigating a bank robber. (See Curran Depo, Page 44, line 3 thru Page 45, line 7...)

 Q:     Now, what about in terms of knowledge of the target, would you agree that, say, a criminal is a criminal and understanding, say, the mind set of a Middle Eastern Terrorist like Al-Quaeda would be similar to the mind set of a bank robber?

 A:     No, there's absolutely no comparison whatsoever.  A bank robber is a local thug, a criminal. Al-Quaeda or whatever is an ideologue. He is doing this because this is what he totally believes.  He believes in killing the enemy.  He's going to heaven or wherever the hell he's going to reach.  There's no negotiations.  It's an entirely different mind set you're addressing other than criminal. These people don't perceive themselves to be criminal.  How do you attack a target like that? You have to have somebody that understands the target.  When I was ASAC, I didn't understand the target.  I knew how to do it from intelligence. Bassem knew how to do it from an intelligence point of view but he also knew the target.  How to interview people, turn one against the other, what direction should we go, what does this mean when they do this when you uncover this money or this transaction.  I didn't know that, Bassem knew those things.  That's where you save a lot of time and you go in the direction you want to go.  He not only brought the intelligence to it, he also brought the knowledge and the culture and the history and the expertise that you have to have to attack an enemy like that.

 (...and page 42, line 1 thru Page 43, line 4)

 Q:     Would you, based upon what you said,  would you say that the skills an effective counterterrorism manager would need, would be the same skill set as a -- someone coming from the law enforcement background, white collar crime, bank robberies, or would they need a different perspective?

 A:     A different perspective.  We were working counterintelligence in New York, and get agents in, and a lot of times they were criminal people coming in.  That person was not productive for at least three to five years.  It's a mentality approach.  The closest division that you come to, the Intelligence Division in the criminal side is the organized crime side of the house.  They work it as an intelligence-gathering activity.  They don't go out and arrest the first person they find.  They want to develop something, get to the next guy, get to the next guy, it's long term, day in and day out.  You give up the arrest when appropriate and penetrate that organization.  It's extremely difficult in that the mind set you can't change, even today.  Even with the terrorism investigation, they are looking for the arrest.

 Q:     It's your testimony that even as far back as '93, '94 in Los Angeles, Mr. Youssef had a different perspective, understood the need for intelligence?

             A:    Absolutely.

  Mr. Youssef's knowledge of the terrorist target (Al Qaeda and the Islamic Group). (SeeCurran Depo. Page 46, line 9-17)

 Q:     When you were working with Mr. Youssef in the Los Angeles division, how would you compare his knowledge of the target to anyone else within the FBI that you are aware of?

 A:     There's nobody in my opinion that could hold a candle to Bassem, the knowledge of the target, whether an assistant director, a unit chief. He had that knowledge and impressed the hell at me with that.

 Curran compares Mr. Youssef's knowledge with that of Art Cummings. (Note: prior to 9/11, Cummings was a GS-14 and Bassem Youssef was a GS-15. At the request of Director Mueller, Cummings was given a "2-step" promotion into the SES and is currently one of the FBI's top Middle East Counterterrorism managers.) In 2004, while serving as Deputy Director of counterterrorism for new Jersey, Curran requested that the FBI permit Mr. Youssef to conduct a terrorism training for his field agents. The FBI blocked that request, but offered Cummings instead as a substitute. (SeeCurran Depo. Page 47, line 16 thru page 48, line 22)

 (Curran Speaking)

 ...Over a year ago I had asked FBI headquarters if they would be willing to send Bassem to talk to the investigators, look at our cases, give us an opinion whether they were going in the right direction or wrong direction or where we should be going, are we on the right track or wrong track.  I thought he would be outstanding. These are seasoned investigators.  But, again, they don't have the experience in terrorism-related fields.  I had asked that and they came back and said no.  That to me, the FBI has been noted for cooperating with law enforcement, and I thought that was a very, very minor request and it was turned down.

              BY MR. KOHN:

Q:     Now, did they offer you Mr. Art Cummings(ph) as a substitute? Did you know Mr. Art Cummings?

 A:     Yes, I did.

 Q:     Was he in your supervisory chain in Los Angeles?

             A:     Yes, he was.

 Q:     How would you compare Mr. Cummings, what you were looking for in terms of knowledge and expertise in Middle Eastern terrorism, with Mr. Youssef?

 A:     It was a joke.  I mean, I couldn't even believe they would mention Cummings' name in the same vein. I didn't even respond to the letter. I threw it out.  Cummings would provide absolutely nothing. That was my opinion.  He's a Chinese agent, he knew nothing about terrorism, nothing.

 Curran also explained the importance of Saudi Arabia (and Mr. Youssef's experience there) to the overall counterterrorism mission. (See Curran Depo. Page 62, line 13 thru page 63, line 23)

 ...Question for you:  In terms of executive FBI management, people working in counterterrorism at an SES level, from a section chief on up, would there be any need for those managers to have this type of relationship or rapport with a nation like Saudi Arabia?

             MS. WELLS: Objection.

 THE WITNESS: Absolutely.  Saudi Arabia was the key to all our terrorism activities. They knew the 9/11 people came out of there, we knew they were using it as a center for funds, whatever. There was no way we could have satisfactorily addressed the terrorism problem without their cooperation.  If you have a person like Bassem there who has established these relationships, the credibility and the trust who's able to get the director of the FBI to meet high level officials, it's phenomenol.  To do it that quickly, it's phenomenol, period. But to do it in that period of time is outstanding.

 BY MR. KOHN:

 Q:     Now, in terms of the current needs and your understanding in terms of the position you hold in the Counterterrorism Office in New Jersey working with the FBI, is there a current need for good liaison with Saudi Arabia?

 MS. WELLS:  Object to the form.

 THE WITNESS:  From my experience, I'm on a state level now, not federal, Saudi Arabia is still the center of the terrorism activity in the world.  If the FBI does not have that relationship, we are in big trouble, big trouble.  But, again, on a state level, not federal.  I assume they would have that capability.

  ...and the importance of managers within the Counterterrorism Division to have expertise in counterterrorism. (Page 67, line 18 thru page 69, line 5):

 A:     Absolutely.  If you don't, you don't have the credibility of your peers, the credibility of agents you are supervising.  It's absolutely essential.  Absolutely. All my positions, I had the experience in counterintelligence.  I'm telling people what to do, how to do it.  They are constantly asking me why do this or that.  I knew the answers to that.  From a management point of view, if he's supervising 20 agents and they are asking him for direction, he better know his subject matter or it's going to take them a week to realize he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. Then he's an ineffective manager. The more you know about the subject matter, the better you're going to do.

 Q:     In terms of liaison and problem solving?

 A:     He solved the liaison thing with Saudi Arabia.  He had a great relationship in L.A. with the police departments, anyone he came in contact with. The problem solving, you can't get any more complicated than some of the cases he was working on. He was able to digest, not digest, take apart and solve these issues.  Very, very complicated investigation, there's no question.  And inter- personal skills, I never heard anybody say anything negative against him.

 Q:     In terms of liaison and problem solving,  is it important to be a subject matter expert in your area?

 A:     Absolutely.  How are you going to solve a problem in terrorism or the Al-Quaeda if you don't know the subject matter at all.  How do I solve a complicated foreign counterintelligence problem if I don't know the target or I don't have the experience or the background in intelligence. You lose total credibility with the people you're dealing with, the people on your squad, the fellow supervisors, your ASAC.  It's just you have no credibility unless you know the subject matter.

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 PASQUALE D'AMURO, THE MANAGER RESPONSIBLE FOR STAFFING SENIOR COUNTERTERRORISM POSITIONS WITHIN THE FBI AFTER 9/11, TESTIFIED THAT HIS MAJOR CRITIERIA FOR RECRUITING THE FUTURE TOP LEADERS FOR THE "WAR ON TERROR" WAS HIS PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE EMPLOYEES; HE WAS UNAWARE OF THEIR BACKGROUND OR EXPERTISE IN COUNTERTERRORISM

             Following September 11, 2001, the FBI's counterterrorism division was radically expanded and reorganized by Pasquale D'Amuro, a manager who was appointed as the FBI's top counterterrorism manger after Dale Watson retired. Tr. Deposition of Dale Watson, at p. 110, ln.13 - p. 111, ln. 11; p. 115, ln. 14 - p. 116, ln. 6. Mr. D'Amuro testified that immediately following September 11, 2001, he was appointed to the position of Inspector in Place for the FBI's 9/11 investigation at FBI Headquarters, and that he brought roughly 30 investigators to FBI Headquarters, "to begin running [the September 11th] investigation down in Washington," on a temporary duty (TDY) basis.  Tr. Deposition of Pasquale D'Amuro, at p. 24, ln. 3 - p. 25, ln. 14; p. 42, ln. 18 - p. 43, ln. 2; p. 48, ln. 8 - p. 49, ln. 3. 

 Mr. D'Amuro testified in his deposition that the only process he used to screen agents for the CTD positions he staffed was, "the process of having worked with those people for four and a half years.   Tr. Deposition of Pasquale D'Amuro, at p. 31, ln. 21-22. 

Mr. D'Amuro also provided several examples of employees who were assigned to temporary high level management positions within the CT division following September 11, 2001. See Tr. Deposition of Pasquale D'Amuro, at p. 52, ln. 8 - p. 57, ln. 2; p. 106, ln. 10 - p. 107 ln. 14; p. 108, ln. 16 - p. 110, ln. 4; p. 110, ln. 10 - p. 112, ln. 12; p. 114, ln. 1 - p. 116, ln. 12; p. 118, ln. 16 - p. 119, ln. 10; p. 119, ln. 14 - p. 120, ln. 14.  Each of these individuals was subsequently awarded a permanent high level management job in CT. Deposition of Pasquale D'Amuro, at p. 52, ln. 8 - p. 57, ln. 2; p. 106, ln. 10 - p. 107, ln. 14; p. 108, ln 16 -p. 110, ln. 4; p. 114, ln. 1 - p. 117, ln. 5; p. 118, ln. 13 - p. 119, ln. 10.  Mr. D'Amuro also testified that he was unaware of the specifics of each of these individuals' experience and expertise, if any, in conducting and managing counterterrorism operations.  See, e.g., Tr. Deposition of Pasquale D'Amuro, at p. 54, ln. 4 - p. 55, ln. 5, p. 110, ln 10 - p. 113, ln. 22. 

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 FBI DIRECTOR MUELLER MISLED CONGRESS INTO BELEIVING THAT POST-9/11 THE FBI WOULD CHANGE ITS WAYS:  

             In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, FBI Director Mueller went before the Congress and the public, in an act of reassurance, promising to transform the FBI into a prevention-oriented agency with the capability and expertise to prevent the next attack upon the United States.  The FBI had requested more statutory authority, more agents and a higher budget to implement Director Mueller's vision.  His restructuring of the Counterterrorism Division was his "commitment" to establishing the necessary organizational framework, and cultural and behavioral changes necessary to prevent future terrorist acts (see Statement of Director Mueller before the Senate Judiciary Committee, June 6, 2002, pages 312-313 in official Committee Record).

            For example, in his submitted written testimony following a June 6, 2002 hearing before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, in response to a question submitted by Senator Patrick Leahy, Mr. Mueller promised that the FBI would create opportunities for agents with CT experience to be promoted into management positions in headquarters:

 Q:  (From Senator Leahy)  The Director's written testimony notes that FBI Headquarters needs to develop a cadre of skilled experts to fight terrorism and that this is impossible with the constant turnover in headquarters personnel.  I understand that the unit to which the Phoenix E.C. was initially sent is staffed entirely by agents who have been at FBI headquarters and in that unit for under a year.  How do you propose to both attract and retain agents at headquarters long enough to develop the needed expertise to fight terrorism?

 A:  (From Director Mueller)  ...The decision to manage the Counterterrorism Program in a more centralized manner will provide greater extended promotional opportunities within FBIHQ than have previously existed.  GS-14 Agents will have enhanced opportunities for advancement within the Counterterrorism Division (CTD) which should result in the ability to maintain greater continuity of expertise and management in the CTD.

             However, in his sworn deposition in the Youssef v. FBI case, Mr. Mueller denied that this was his testimony, and denied that he had reviewed and approved of the responses, as required by the Committee (see, Youssef v. FBI,  Mueller deposition, page 105).  He also denied knowing about the policy changes for continuity in CT expertise, as stated in his response to Senator Leahy's question (see, Youssef v. FBI, page 106, lines 7-11).

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 THE FBI MANAGER PLACED IN CHARGE OF INVESTIGATING THE AL QAEDA ATTACK ON THE PENTAGON HAD NO COUNTERTERRORISM EXPERIENCE: 

 Within days of the 9/11 attacks, the FBI appointed Ellen Knowlton to oversee the investigation into the hijacking of Flight 77 (the plane that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11/01).  Her supervisor for this investigation was Dale Watson.  Ms. Knowlton, who served between 2002 and 2006 as the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Las Vegas Division, admitted on her 2005 deposition that she had no prior "terrorism background" prior to being assigned the chief investigator for the Pentagon attack.  During this same time period, Ms. Knowlton recommended that Mr. Youssef be assigned to a job in a budget office, with no role whatsoever in terrorism related functions. See Knowlton Deposition, page 41, line 19 thru page 42, line 7:

 Q:  ...were you, yourself, given an assignment related to 9/11?

 A:  Yes.

 Q:  What was that?

 A:  I was responsible for the oversight of the hijacking investigation of Flight 77, which was crashed into the Pentagon, and I was responsible to set up security at Dulles International and Reagan National until we could get both airports back up and running, and I also had an assignment that had to do with continuity of government.

 (and page 42, lines 11 -14)

                Q: And who was your supervisor during your work on that?

 A I was reporting to Dale Watson, who was the assistant director of the Terrorism Division.

 (and page 43, lines 1 - 14)

                Q:  Was that a significant project in your career?

                              A:  Yes.

                              Q:  And did you supervise people in during that time?

               A: Yes, I supervised the agents from the Washington Field Office who conducted the investigation under my direction.

               Q: And were you aware during your either during that investigation or sometime thereafter that there had been a liaison problem with Saudi Arabia concerning one or more of the hijackers who was on that flight?

                              A : No.

 (also page 44, line 20 thru page 45, line 8)

                Q: ...Do you speak Arabic?

               A:  No.

               Q:  Have you ever worked for the FBI in a Middle Eastern country?

               A:  I have had a TDY assignment to the Middle East.

               Q:  When was that?

 A: In 19 ‑‑ it was when I was the FCI-ASAC (phonetic), so it would have been probably in 1997.

               Q:  And how long was that assignment?

               A:  About two and a half weeks.

 (also page 45, line 14 thru page 46, line 5)

 Q: ...prior to being assigned to work on the Flight 77 investigation, what was your background and experience in Middle Eastern counter‑terrorism?

                              MS. WELLS:  Object to the form of the question.

 THE WITNESS:  I had periodically filled in for Dave Williams when he would be overseas, and he did spend a lot of time overseas.  I would cover the terrorism programs for him and supervise the investigations that were ongoing.  I do not have a terrorism background myself.

 (and finally, page 46, line. 22 thru page 47, line 2)

                           Q:  Did you ever conduct a counter-terrorism operational investigation?

               A:  No.

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Excerpts from the Affidavit of Paul Vick

 1. My name is Paul Vick. [Address Omitted]

 2. I was employed as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") for twenty-one years. I retired in December, 2004 as a GS-14 Supervisory Special Agent (SSA).

 ...

 13. After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, I personally witnessed the fact that Mr. Youssef was not assigned to work on that case. I also understood that he was not busy on any major work projects at the time of the terrorist attack and clearly could have been assigned to work on 9/11 matters.

 14. I knew that Mr. Youssef had many skills that were badly needed after the 9/11 attacks, including knowledge of Arabic, the ability to conduct polygraph examinations on suspects or sources, extensive contacts within Saudi Arabia and extensive knowledge of Middle Eastern counterterrorism. I also knew that the FBI was in need of the precise skills possessed by Mr. Youssef. I found the fact that the FBI failed to utilize Mr. Youssef's substantial skills after the 9/11 attacks to be inappropriate and a waste of a very important human resource.

 15. During the course of my employment with the FBI I came to know Mr. William Chornyak. I consider Mr. Chornyak to be a personal friend and have known him for many years.

 16. During the week of June 9, 2003, I was in charge of conducting a one week regional seminar on National Security matters in Kansas City. As this was not far from the personal residence of Mr. Chornyak, I had hoped to visit him during my Kansas City trip as he had retired from the FBI. We spoke on the telephone and he invited me to come over to his home. He told me that Mr. Youssef had filled and EEO complaint and that he was reviewing a statement he was giving to the EEO investigator. His exact words on the telephone were, "you've got to read this sh-t."

 17. I did not ask to review Mr. Chornyak's statement or have any involvement in the EEO matter.

 18. I went to Mr. Chornyak's home and Mr. Chornyak read his statement ot me. I distinctly remember that Mr. Chornyak referred to Mr. Youssef as a Muslim in his statement. When he did that I challenged Mr. Chornyak on that point, and I informed him that Mr. Youssef was not a Muslim, but was a Christian, having come from a Coptic Christian background in Egypt.

 19. Based on my comments, Mr. Chornyak told me that he changed his statement and took out the part of the statement that referred to Mr. Youssef as a Muslim.

 20. I also knew a Mr. Jim Olsen, a former FBI employee and a member of the Senior Executive Service. Mr. Olsen retired from the FBI in 2003 and was rehired as a contractor to work at the NCIX. Mr. Olsen had served as a Section Chief for the FBI. On or about August 2003, during a conversation I had with Mr. Olsen at NCIX, Mr. Youssef's name came up. Mr. Olsen then informed me that Mr. Youssef had refused to carry out orders for the FBI because of his religious (i.e. Muslim) faith. I also recollect that Mr. Olsen informed me that Mr. Youssef had worn the traditional Arabic head-gear while assigned to Saudi Arabia.

 21. In informed Mr. Olsen that Mr. Youssef was not a Muslim and that he was not referring to the right person.

 ...

 24. On or about July 1, 20004,  I was sent to Riyadh,Saudi Arabia, as a part of an FBI emergency deployment. A few days before I left I spoke with a Ms. _ _ , a GS-14 FBI analyst who is fluent in Arabic. At the time of my conversation with her, I understood that Mr. Youssef may be part of this deployment. Mr. Youssef's potential participation in the deployment was the subject of a discussion between myself and Ms. _ _ _ .

 25. Ms._ _ informed me that it would "not be a very good idea" for Mr. Youssef to be deployed to Saudi Arabia. She told me that the Mabahith did not like Mr. Youssef and that they did not have a good opinion of him. I asked her how she knew this to be true. She informed me that it was "common place knowledge."

26.  I informed her that the statement was not true, and that I knew that Mr. Youssef had excellent relations with the Mahabith. It appeared that she, like others, had confused Mr. Youssef with the individuals who replaced him as the Legat and Assistant Legat in Saudi Arabia.

27.  I was in charge of the FBI deployment to Saudi Arabia and Mr. Youssef was unable to go on the trip. When I arrived in Saudi Arabia, I did in fact meet with a very high ranking official from the Mabahith. During my meeting with this representative from the Mabahith, I learned first hand that Mr._ _ _ _ 's "common place knowledge" was not true. The high ranking Mahabith official gave me a strong personal hug. He told me that this "hug" was to be "passed back to Bassem Youssef." This very warm show of friendship was consistent with my understanding of Mr. Youssef's excellent professional relationship with the Mahabith.

 ...

 Note: Paragraph 16 of the Vick Affidavit refers to an EEO Statement by William Chornyak (Former Acting Deputy Assistant Director, Counterintelligence Division). The following is the statement made by Mr. Chornyak to the EEO investigator confirming the confusion within the FBI as to Mr. Youssef's identity.

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(Allegations presented by EEO Investigator)

 

"... Since September 11, 2001, Youssef was excluded from work assignments in the area of counterterrorism, in spite of the fact that counterterrorism became the most important task for the FBI.

 (Investigator's Report of Chornyak's Response)

 "Chornyak had no personal knowledge of his issue. However, he speculated that this may have been possible, but had no factual data to support his opinion. Chornyak heard from a third party that an Office Professional Responsibility (OPR) investigation was conducted while Youssef was assigned as the Legat in Riyadh. The investigation, he believed  was initiated because the CT SC, Dale Watson requested Youssef to conduct various CT investigations that Youssef percievd to be in contradiction to his (Youssef's) ethnic background (or possible religious belief) or political situation, e.g., insubordination. Thus, Chornyak speculated that this may have been the reason that Youssef was considered persona non grata in the CT area. 

 Link Excerpts of the declassified EEO Statement of William Chornayak

 FBI MANAGERS AND SUPERVISORS CONFUSED YOUSSEF WITH OTHER AGENTS WITH ARABIC-SOUNDING NAMES: 

             Within the FBI only a handful of agents have Arabic-sounding names.  Shortly after 9/11/01, top level managers within the FBI confused Mr. Youssef with another FBI agent.  Unlike Mr. Youssef (whose performance in counterterrorism was award-winning), the other agent had a checkered career.  At the time of the confusion, the other agent was the subject of an official investigation and various administrative disciplinary proceedings based on allegations that the agent had failed to perform undercover CT mission).  FBI Supervisory Special Agent Paul Vick executed an affidavit documenting some of this confusion.

 (See Vick Affidavit, ¶ 2; and ¶¶ 12 - 29)

 BASSEM YOUSSEF'S BACKGROUND

Mr. Bassem Youssef is the highest ranking Arab-American FBI agent employed by the Bureau. He is currently a Unit Chief in the FBI's Counterterrorism Division.   He coordinated major investigations into Middle Eastern terrorist groups commencing in the late 1980s.  He speaks fluent Arabic (the highest ranking FBI official with this skill).

 In 1994 he earned the Intelligence Community's  prestigious and coveted award, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, awarded by the Director of Central Intelligence.  The award was for outstanding accomplishments in a terrorism case involving an al-Qaeda-related investigation. 

 After obtaining the DCI award, he was selected by the former FBI Director Louis Freeh to head the FBI's overseas office with responsibility for Saudi Arabia and the contiguous Gulf States, including UAE, Kuwait,Oman, Yemen, Bahrain and Qatar.  The FBI's internal inspection of that office, conducted in 2000, highly praised Mr. Youssef's performance.  Inspection reports are kept confidential within the FBI, and are tasked with identifying problems in various programs. 

 The Director of Central Intelligence awarded the DCI award to Mr. Youssef in 1994.  Both the CIA and the FBI based the award on Mr. Youssef's proven expertise in Middle Eastern counterterrorism: 

 "SA Youssef has shown creativity and relentless initiative in pursuing his international terrorism cases and as an example has, as a result of numerous pretext telephone calls in the Arabic language, obtained valuable information which otherwise would not have been elicited.  As a direct result of his relentless investigative efforts, FBI Los Angeles has more than (redacted) IG (Islamic Group) cases pending which is a significant step in identifying the local IG's network which has the potential for committing terrorist acts anywhere in the U.S. comparable to the 2/26/93 bombing of the World Trade Center, New York, New York."

 See, DCI award documentation.

 Comments about Mr. Youssef's performance in the Middle East contained in the FBI's official inspection report concerning Mr. Youssef's service as the head of the FBI's office in Riyadh,Saudi Arabia:

 [Youssef] established and maintained effective liaison with law enforcement entities . . . Liaison contacts with each of the host countries were viewed as excellent. . . . He was successful in establishing an excellent relationship with the Mabahith, the Saudi Arabian counterpart of the FBI . . . [The] Mabahith indicated that the FBI was the only western law enforcement agency having direct liaison with [the] office, and characterized the relationship with the FBI as exceptional . . . . Based upon the numerous contacts within the Legat's territory, it was determined that [Mr. Youssef] had established positive and valuable relationships with the numerous law enforcement agencies within its territory . . . especially in the area of cooperation and unprecedented access to information from host countries involving the Khobar Towers investigation. . . . [and providing to the FBI] invaluable insights into bin Laden . . . .

 See,FBI Inspection Report.

 

6/17/15 Letter from National Whistleblowers Center to Senators Specter, Grassley, and Leahy

6/20/05 Follow-up Letter from NWC to Senators Specter, Grassley, and Leahy

2/15/06 Letter from Senators Specter, Grassley, and Leahy to Inspector General Fine

Youssef 2006 Performance Appraisal Report

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Tags: Background Information, National Security