Airlines Sue FBI, CIA Over Sept. 11
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Associated Press
Posted: August 14th, 2007
Airlines and aviation-related companies sued the CIA and the FBI on Tuesday to force terrorism investigators to tell whether the aviation industry was to blame for the Sept. 11 attacks. The two lawsuits in U.S. District Court in Manhattan sought court orders for depositions as the aviation entities build their defenses against lawsuits seeking billions of dollars in damages for injuries, fatalities, property damage and business losses related to Sept. 11, 2001. The aviation companies said the agencies in a series of boilerplate letters had refused to let them depose two secret agents, including the 2001 head of the CIA's special Osama bin Laden unit, and six FBI agents with key information about al-Qaida and bin Laden. The [plaintiffs] said they were entitled to present evidence to show the terrorist attacks did not depend upon negligence by any aviation defendants and that there were other causes of the attacks. In the CIA lawsuit, companies ... asked to interview the deputy chief of the CIA's bin Laden unit in 2001 and an FBI agent assigned to the unit at that time. The names of both are secret. In the FBI lawsuit, the companies asked to interview five former and current FBI employees who had participated in investigations of al-Qaida and al-Qaida operatives before and after Sept. 11. Those individuals included Coleen M. Rowley, the former top FBI lawyer in its Minneapolis office, who sent a scathing letter to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller in May 2002 complaining that a supervisor in Washington interfered with the Minnesota investigation of Zacarias Moussaoui weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks. Requests to interview the agents were rejected as not sufficiently explained, burdensome or protected by investigative or attorney-client privilege, the lawsuits said.
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