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Report: FAA Had 52 Pre-9/11 Warnings

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The Federal Aviation Administration received repeated warnings in the months prior to Sept. 11, 2001, about al-Qaida and its desire to attack airlines, according to a previously undisclosed report by the commission that investigated the terror attacks.

A previously undisclosed report by the 9/11 commission that investigated the suicide airliner attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon detailed 52 such warnings given to FAA leaders from April to Sept. 10, 2001, about the radical Islamic terrorist group and its leader, Osama bin Laden.

The commission report, written last August, said five security warnings mentioned al-Qaida's training for hijackings and two reports concerned suicide operations not connected to aviation. However, none of the warnings pinpointed what would happen on Sept. 11.

Al Felzenberg, former spokesman for the 9/11 commission, which went out of business last summer, said the government had not completed a review of the 120-page report for declassification purposes until recently.

The unclassified version, first reported by The New York Times, was made available by the National Archives Thursday.

According to the report:

_Aviation officials were "lulled into a false sense of security" and "intelligence that indicated a real and growing threat leading up to 9/ll did not stimulate significant increases in security procedures."

_Of the FAA's 105 daily intelligence summaries between April 1, 2001 and Sept. 10, 2001, 52 mentioned Osama bin Laden, al Qaida, or both, "mostly in regard to overseas threats."

_It notes that the FAA did not expand the use of in-flight air marshals or tighten airport screening for weapons. It said FAA officials were more concerned with reducing airline congestion, lessening delays and easing air carriers' financial problems than thwarting a terrorist attack.

_ A proposed rule to improve passenger screening and other security measures ordered by Congress in 1996 had been held up by the Office of Management and Budget and was still not in effect when the attacks occurred, according to the FAA.

_Information in this report was available to members of the 9/11 commission when they issued their public report last summer. That report itself contained criticisms of FAA operations.


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