Julie Sirrs
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The story...

"2001: At some point during the year, Julie Sirrs, a Defense Intelligence Agency agent, travels twice to Afghanistan. She claims DIA officials knew in advance about both trips. Sirrs sees a terrorist training center there, and meets with Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Massoud, who is later assassinated by the Taliban on September 9. On her second trip she returns with what she later claims is a treasure trove of information, including evidence that bin Ladin is planning to assassinate Massoud. However, upon returning, a security officer meets her flight and confiscates her material. The DIA and the FBI investigate her. She says no higher-ups want to hear what she had learned in Afghanistan. Ultimately, Sirrs' security clearance is pulled and she resigned. She eventually quits the DIA in frustration".

Our take...

This claim is occasionally used to support the idea that the Bush administration ignored warnings from its top analysts (it’s included in David Ray Griffins “The New Pearl Harbor”, for instance). But is it true?

Problem number one is that we only have Sirrs side of the story. Is it there more that her superiors could say? We don't know.

Problem number two, though, is that this account has the date wrong. Her problems with the DIA started in 1998, before Bush was even President, so can hardly be blamed on his administration. And it seems unlikely that such an early account could have much to say about 9/11, either.

From 1995 to 1999 I was an analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and monitored events in Afghanistan...

In October 1998, I traveled to Afghanistan on my own time, but with DIA approval, and met with Mr. Massoud. Contrary to conventional wisdom in Washington, his resistance remained a capable, though undersupplied, force and a viable option for countering al Qaeda and the Taliban threat.

By the time I returned home, senior officials at the Departments of State and Defense as well as the CIA were aware of my trip. On the day I was to brief the wider intelligence community about my findings, the DIA suspended my security clearance and placed me on administrative leave. Eventually, I was forced to resign.

Even after hiring a lawyer and struggling for a year to regain her security status within the agency, Ms. Sirrs remained out in the cold. She left the D.I.A. in the fall of 1999.

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