Michael Isikoff

Terror Watch: The Secrets Of September 11

Even as White House political aides plot a 2004 campaign plan designed to capitalize on the emotions and issues raised by the September 11 terror attacks, administration officials are waging a behind-the-scenes battle to restrict public disclosure of key events relating to the attacks.At the center of the dispute is a more-than-800-page secret report prepared by a joint congressional inquiry detailing the intelligence and law-enforcement failures that preceded the attacks--including...

Saudis: No 'Particular Concern'

In a move expected to infuriate religious conservatives and human-rights advocates alike, the Bush administration has decided to reject the recommendation of a special government commission to place Saudi Arabia on an American blacklist of countries that violate religious freedom.

Graham: His 9-11 'Outrage'

What prompted Florida Sen. Bob Graham to join the Democratic presidential sweepstakes last week? The 66-year-old Graham--who recently had heart surgery--has toyed with the idea of running for years, but says he always lacked "fire in the belly." What gave it to him this time, he tells NEWSWEEK, was his experience last year overseeing a joint House-Senate inquiry into the events of 9-11.

Hiding In Plain Sight

For George W. Bush, it was just another campaign stop. But for Sami Al-Arian, a University of South Florida engineering professor, it was a golden opportunity.

Cia &Amp; Fbi: A Forced Marriage

President Bush's announcement last week of a new Terrorist Threat Integration Center masked still simmering tensions between the FBI and CIA. The new office, which will be overseen by CIA Director George Tenet, is designed to "fuse" intelligence from both agencies, as well as the Defense Department, about potential terrorist threats to the country.But originally, the plan was to go much further.

Caught On Tape

The Bush administration is preparing to release supersensitive electronic intercepts obtained by the National Security Agency that officials say prove that Iraq has repeatedly lied to United Nations inspectors, plotted among themselves about how to conceal weapons material and even appeared to boast afterward at their success in doing so, NEWSWEEK has learned.The decision to allow Secretary of State Colin Powell to use the electronic intercepts in his speech next Wednesday to the U.N.

Hard Time For Corporate Perps

In a dramatic Christmas-season crackdown, Attorney General John Ashcroft's top deputies have rebuked the director of federal prisons and ordered her to summarily remove 125 white collar felons from relatively lenient halfway houses and immediately relocate them to actual prisons.The directive--spelled out in internal memos obtained by NEWSWEEK--is part of a potentially far-reaching new policy designed by Ashcroft's top aides to insure "real time" in federal prisons for convicted tax evaders,...

The Saudi Money Trail

When the two Qaeda operatives arrived at Los Angeles International Airport around New Year's 2000, they were warmly welcomed. Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar would help hijack American Airlines Flight 77 and crash it into the Pentagon a year and a half later, but that January in Los Angeles, they were just a couple of young Saudi men who barely spoke English and needed a place to stay.

'04 Using 9-11

For nearly a year, the White House had resisted an independent commission to investigate the September 11 terror attacks. But last week Bush aides were suddenly pushing to make it happen as quickly as possible.

9-11 Hijackers: A Saudi Money Trail?

The FBI is investigating whether the Saudi Arabian government--using the bank account of the wife of a senior Saudi diplomat--sent tens of thousands of dollars to two Saudi students in the United States who provided assistance to two of the September 11 hijackers, according to law-enforcement sources.The bureau, they say, has uncovered financial records showing a steady stream of payments to the family of one of the students, Omar Al Bayoumi.

A Mounting Toll

The gunshot rangout in the night. Benny Oberoi, a 22-year-old clerk at a liquor store in Silver Spring, Md., dropped to the ground. It was about 10:30 p.m.

A Wide World Of Trouble

George Tenet could not have been more plain-spoken. "They are coming after us," the CIA director warned last week, on the edge of his seat, glaring. "The threat environment we find ourselves in today is as bad as it was last summer--the summer before 9-11." Tenet's words were unnerving; it was almost as if a year of "war on terror" had not happened.

Investigators, Keep Out

Dick Cheney played a behind-the-scenes role last week in derailing an agreement to create an independent commission to investigate the 9-11 attacks. Last month the White House endorsed the formation of the panel.

Ashcroft's Baghdad Connection

When the White House released its Sept. 12 "white paper" detailing Saddam Hussein's "support for international terrorism," it caused more than a little discomfort in some quarters of Washington.The 27-page document--entitled "A Decade of Deception and Defiance"--made no mention of any Iraqi ties to Osama bin Laden.

Scandal: Still Going

A long-running federal probe into President Bill Clinton's last-minute pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich may be heating up. The politically sensitive investigation hasn't received any public attention for some time.

Looking For A Link

Top Bush officials, eager to bolster their case for an invasion of Iraq, want the FBI to give them more ammunition. Last week Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, an Iraq hawk, summoned two FBI officials to brief him on claims by Czech intelligence that 9-11 hijacker Mohamed Atta had met last year in Prague with an Iraqi intelligence agent.

And Justice For All

Word spread quickly through the Charleston Naval Station last June: a big-time terrorist was headed for the brig. An entire wing of the base's military lockup was emptied out.