In a public statement issued on Monday, January 31, members of the 9/11 Family Steering Committee demanded a prompt response from the former Chairman and the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission regarding Former FBI Language Specialist Behrooz Sarshar's censored testimony to the Commission. The former commissioners failed to respond to this request.
In February 2004 Behrooz Sarshar provided the 9/11 Commission's investigators with specific documents and names of the related witnesses, including the full name and contact information of the key "FBI Asset/Informant" in an FBI case titled "Kamikaze Pilots.' However, the commission chose not to contact or interview any of these witnesses, including FBI Director Robert Mueller. The Commission's final report did not mention a single word of this documented testimony, and their recently released memorandum omitted the entire interview with no explanation provided.
The following information was provided by Mr. Sarshar to several Congressional offices and investigators, including staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Committee's leading Democrat at the time, Senator Patrick Leahy, and the Justice Department's Inspector General Office. I was present during at least four meetings where the briefings were recorded and documented. While working at the Bureau I was briefed on this case by not only Mr. Sarshar but another firsthand witness, and I saw the actual 302 forms filed with the unit's squad supervisor (FBI language specialists get to keep a copy of their reports/forms). Further, I personally briefed the 9/11 commission investigators on the details of this particular case, which is confirmed by the commission's memorandum.
I have only deleted sensitive personal information related to the FBI informant-Asset, and as you'll see every single deleted item (by me-indicated as S.E.) has been indicated in bold-italics. Other than that, the information below is exactly what was recounted by Mr. Sarshar on four occasions:
FBI File Name: "Kamikaze Pilots"
In the early 90s the Bureau hired an Iranian man as an informant, placed him on its payroll at approximately fifteen hundred dollars per month, and used him and his information in several criminal, counterintelligence and counterterrorism operations and investigations. Over time this informant, a man in his (Informant's Age Information Deleted by S.E.), proved to be extremely reliable, and his information was found to be trustworthy.
This man had been the head of SAVAK, Iran's main Intelligence agency, counterintelligence unit during the Shah's regime. His area of operations involved the East and Southeastern region of Iran, and the countries under him were Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. He also managed the unit's intelligence gathering operations in Sistan and Baluchistan, two semi-independent regions on the border with Afghanistan. Unlike U.S. agencies, the intelligence agency in Iran conducted most, if not all, of its surveillance and information gathering operations via human intelligence and sources. The man, the informant, was very good at what he did; he had established a large number of sources and informants scattered in the strategically most important areas within these countries.
Immediately after the Islamic Revolution, he planned his escape out of the country. All former SAVAK and military intelligence had been placed on the black list of the new regime, and death warrants had been issued for them. He successfully escaped Iran, and then spent several years in (Names of the informant's previous residences/countries deleted by S.E.) where he tried to obtain a U.S. visa and come to the states, where many of his relatives and friends had already settled. In the late (date of Informant's US entry deleted by S.E.) he succeeded and moved to the United States.
His reputation and his fame of having a wealth of resources for information all over the world had somehow reached the FBI by the early 1990s -" around 1991-1992. Via a middleman, the Bureau was able to contact the man and persuade him to become an informant. He was placed on the payroll and began providing the Bureau with extremely useful and reliable information. The Bureau was so pleased with his performance that it began using him both as an informant and as an asset. On a regular basis, almost monthly, agents from the FBI HQ and WFO would meet with him at " and "and " (Meeting locations Deleted by S.E.) to obtain information and intelligence on various on-going operations and investigations.
Since the informant didn't speak English very well, was by no means considered fluent, often if not always, the agents took an interpreter, a translator, with them to these regular monthly meetings. This is where Amin and I came into the picture. For these sessions the agents would have either Amin or me accompany them. By sheer coincidence, I happened to recognize the man during the first meeting from a gathering I frequented. I knew where he lived, and I had his phone number.
Around the end of April, 2001, I was asked to accompany two special agents from the FBI-WFO, Tony and John, to a meeting arranged with this informant; we hooked up with him somewhere near the (Meeting Location Deleted by S.E.). The agents and I were working on a particular criminal investigation that was going to court in (Possible sensitive date deleted by S.E.), and the informant's information played an extremely important role in building the case.
We met the informant in this park-like area and spent nearly an hour discussing the case, asking detailed questions, and of course, with me translating the communication which went back and forth. Once we were finished with the session and ready to head back to the WFO, the informant urged us to stay for a few minutes and listen to something very important and alarming he had recently received from his sources. We looked at one another and sat down on the bench; we were all ears.
The informant said:
"Listen, I was recently contacted by two extremely reliable and long-term sources-neither one Iranian; one in Afghanistan; the other in Pakistan's border region with Afghanistan. In the past, these guys had provided me with inside information and intelligence that was extremely hard to come by, considering the tightly-based networks and groups they were able to enter and penetrate. They notified me that an active mujahideen group led by Bin Laden had issued an order to attack certain targets in the United States, and were planning the attack as we spoke.'
Now the informant had our full attention; the agents seemed very alarmed, since their main unit of operation was under the WFO Counterterrorism division. They asked the guy to stop, asked him to repeat that again, and ordered me to take verbatim notes as I translated. They too took notes.