The Phoenix memo is a letter sent to FBI headquarters on July 10, 2001 by FBI special agent Kenneth Williams recommending the assembling of a worldwide listing of civil aviation schools.[1] Williams, then stationed in Phoenix, Arizona, was at the time investigating students at some of these schools for possible terrorist links.

Content[edit | edit source]

According to Williams, the purpose of the memo was to

advise the Bureau and New York of the possibility of a coordinated effort by Osama Bin Laden to send students to the United States to attend civil aviation universities and colleges. Phoenix has observed an inordinate number of individuals of investigative interest who are attending or who have attended civil aviation universities and colleges in the State of Arizona.

The recommendations outlined by Williams were ignored or put aside due to other concerns. David Frasca was the head of the FBI's fundamentalist terrorist unit at the time and was considered to be responsible for not making these recommendations known to other relevant investigative units. Frasca was promoted by the Bush administration after the 9/11 attacks.[citation needed]

Coleen Rowley (2002)[edit | edit source]

The memo became the subject of another communiqué in 2002 when FBI agent Coleen Rowley took advantage of the federal Whistleblower Protection Act provisions to inform FBI Director Robert Mueller that his public statements about lack of "advance knowledge" by the Bureau have no basis in facts. In her memo, Rowley wrote about the alleged suppression of the investigation concerning Zacarias Moussaoui.[2]

Analysis[edit | edit source]

Bill Gertz of The Washington Times suggests that the lack of attention to the memo is one of several intelligence failures leading to the September 11, 2001 attacks.[citation needed]

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